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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/98

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

looming in the distance—a mighty law we cannot yet tell what, that will reach us, we cannot yet say when. It will involve facts hitherto inexplicable, facts that are scarcely received as such because they appear opposed to our present knowledge of their causes. It is not possible perhaps to hasten the arrival of this generalization beyond a certain point; but we ought not to forget that we can hasten it, and that it is our duty to do so. It depends much on ourselves, our resolution, our earnestness; on the scientific policy we adopt, as well as on the power we may have to devote ourselves to special investigations, whether such an advent shall be realized in our day and generation, or whether it shall be indefinitely postponed. If governments would understand the ultimate material advantages of every step forward in science, however inapplicable each may appear for the moment to the wants or pleasures of ordinary life, they would find reasons patent to the meanest capacities for bringing the wealth of mind, now lost on the drudgery of common labors, to bear on the search for those wondrous laws which govern every movement, not only of the mighty masses of our system, but of every atom distributed throughout space.—Nature.

 

SUICIDE IN LARGE CITIES.

THE increased importance attached to the study of the relations of mind and body (the impetus to such study we have to thank Mr. Maudsley for) enables us to pursue our examination of certain psychical states to greater advantage than in former years. The investigation of suicide is now made much more clear as regards both the motive, behavior, and characteristics of the individual who takes his own life, and by the antecedents of his previous health, and other physical influences.

The object of this paper is to discuss the prevalence of this crime in large cities, its causes both moral and physical, and certain sanitary conditions which affect them. My observations have been made for the most part in New York, the largest city of the continent, and, as the most cosmopolitan, it offers an interesting field for research. I have made comparisons between the statistics of London and Paris, and, although it is impossible to obtain the most recent records of these two cities, I think a few hints may be gained that will be of value in preventing its increase. Statistics do not give us definite information upon the questions of heredity, cerebral injuries, neuroses, or other valuable aid in drawing conclusions, so that many important links are left out of the chain.

In all large cities the number of suicides is governed, to a great