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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/753

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Number of Cities having Inhabitants of

IN 20,000 to
40,000 to
75,000 to
125,000 to
250,000 to
500,000 to
1850 14 7 3 3 1 1 0
1880 55 21 9 7 4 3 1

At the last census fifty cities held 15410 per cent of the aggregate population of the country. Whatever may be said in favor of city life for adults, nothing can be said in favor of its influence upon the vigor or morals of young men. Life in the cities is faster than in the country. The incentives to excess in mental work are greater. The wear and tear of the nervous system is more intense. At the same time the opportunity or necessity of physical effort for the young men of the well-to-do classes is reduced to a minimum.

2. Increasing Knowledge demanding more Brain-Culture.—Thus increasing demands are made upon the brain and nerves by the faster life of the cities, and by the need of a better culture to meet the competitions of that life, while the opportunities are lessened for strengthening the body against these demands. When the population was extensively engaged in rural or mechanical pursuits, without the division of labor which now obtains, the bodies of our young men were hardened by toil and invigorated by life in the open air.

That the concentration of population is reflected in the attendance at our colleges can be established by an examination of catalogues. The fact is certainly evident at Yale University, as will be seen from the accompanying figures. Of every one hundred students in the catalogue, there were registered as coming from cities of thirty thousand inhabitants and upward—

IN CATALOGUE OF Academic department. Sheffield Scientific School.
1856-'57 21 1/5 18
1871-’72 44 39
1886-'87 55 58

Anything that will help to counteract the disintegrating forces of city life, that will help to strengthen our city young men against the insidious forces of ill-health, against the forces of low-living, that will tend to keep young men out of disorders, out of crimes against self and society, is to be welcomed as an ally of the best education. I maintain that the system of athletics existing at our colleges and in our athletic clubs in all the cities of the land does this. It does more. Its work is not only to save but to form men. It helps our schools and colleges to send out into the world not merely scholarly ascetics, but men full of force and energy, men of strong fiber, physical and moral.