This section is from the "The Science Of Wealth" book, by Amasa Walker.
(2) The foreign population is engaged somewhat less than the native at in-door and sedentary employments, and in so far are likely to be more vigorous.
(3) But the grand cause for the remarkable difference we have observed is found in the fact, that the foreign population are far less influenced by prudential considerations and social restraint. They therefore enter the marriage state with less regard to their ability to support a family respectably. Destitution, in the sense which restricts propagation, hardly exists among them. Indeed, it may be said that they are actually richer, according to the standard of living they were accustomed to at home, than are our native population. Consequently, they do not for a moment hesitate to marry from any fear of want or of losing caste by poverty.
On the other hand, the resistance to marriage from a more costly style of living, is constantly increasing with the native population, among whom the standard of family expenditures rises rapidly with the finer culture, the more elegant arts, and the greater social vivacity of each new year. The foreign population can get food, shelter, and clothing of some kind. That is their idea of life. Why, then, should they not marry, and rear families? To show how this cause operates to produce marriage among them, we refer to the same statistics: —
American marriages............ 7,381
Foreign „............. 4,057
One party foreign............. ,943
Nativity not stated............. ,447
* Of deaths in Massachusetts the same year, we find that the whole
Of which were American............19,404
Nativity not stated............... 283
Here we see that the mortality of the native population exceeds that of the foreign, comparing their respective numbers. So that, while we attribute to the latter a greater proportion of marriages and births, we find them falling off in mortality. And what is true of Massachusetts probably holds true throughout the United States. Of course, this diminished mortality is in part accounted for by the fact before remarked upon, that their aged and feeble members were left at home when the emigration took place.
According to population, the purely American marriages should have been about 18,000, or considerably more than twice the actual number. Here we find the force of social restraint acting on the native population.
Such, then, are the principal causes which limit population. The course of propagation, as affected by subsistence alone, may be described as follows: From a given point des titution will bear it down by the most painful pressure, involving social and individual misery and degradation. Under a scant and difficult livelihood it will bear upward by its inherent forces, but slowly and with constant opposition. Competence gives it an assured and regular course; relieving from all considerations of physical maintenance, but substituting therefor healthful and harmonious restraints, hardly less powerful. Under these influences, society gains in wealth, leisure, and comfort, and is able to organize, educate, and control its population. Every child born into this condition may be born to health and happiness, and to be a strength and ornament to the state. Luxury may now enter as an element (though luxury, in the degree to affect population, is not a necessary concomitant of wealth and culture), and, as such, will either reduce the rate of increase from that of a condition of competence, or, by becoming excessive, it may bring population down with great rapidity. We have, then, these three grand conditions which limit the propagation of the race, of which two can only operate, by debasing and perverting the bodily powers of man; the third adds to his dignity, secures his physical well-being, promotes industrial activity, and establishes the state. There can be no question towards which the effort of the moralist and teacher, or the sanctions of the statesman and jurist, should be directed.
We have thus far spoken of the reproductive forces without recognizing the differences originating in diversities of climate and ethnical stock. These unquestionably exist, and greatly modify the facts of propagation; but, as they are local and peculiar, we shall enter upon no discussion of them.