Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/445

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NOTES.

opment of species, and their value to the biological student depends, not so much on their being of the highest organism, as on the paleontological sequence by which their history is capable of being established. In the same way existing laws, institutions, and arts, wherever they are found in their respective stages of perfection, are to be regarded simply as existing strata in the development of human life, and their value from an anthropological point of view, depends on the faculties they afford for studying their history. The arts of life are of paramount importance, because they admit of being arranged in cases by means of antiquities in the order in which they were actually developed.


The Human Struggle for Existence. — The Malthusian theory was the subject of a discussion at the British Association. A paper by Mr. Edwin Chadwick went to show that, where wages increase, the pressure of population on means of subsistence is diminished; that, instead of the cost of production of land being fixed, it is generally reducible by science and machinery, while the amount of production may be everywhere y augmented; and that, instead of pestilence being a natural check on population, it does not diminish its pressure, but serves to weaken the population and diminish its productive power and increase its pressure on the means of subsistence. The author could not descry the limits of a further advance of prosperity in the country with a further increase of population. Mr. Park Harrison thought that war was not an unmixed evil as a factor of population, and that it was interesting to note the care we took at present at vast expense to enable miserable specimens of humanity to survive and increase that part of the population which is really the main element of the unemployed. The members of society thus produced were perfectly incapable subjects, carefully nursed, and brought up as if they were going to inherit large estates. Natural selection should be allowed to have fair play. It was interfering with the laws of nature to do so much in the direction of perpetuating the survival of the unfittest. Mr. W. L. Bros said that in old times war, by the operation of the rules that prevailed, eliminated the weakest members of society; but, by the system of fighting in the nineteenth century, the soldier should be a picked man of the community. The population, therefore, which suffered from war lost its best, not its worst members. War also added largely to the disproportion in the numbers of the sexes, and meant the prevalence of many social irregularities which tended to degrade the community as a whole, and to cause the survival of a lower type. Sociologists believe that the commercial competition of the present day is acting very much as war used to act in earlier days. The strong, the competent, and the mentally and physically efficient are succeeding in the struggle for life; the feeble in mind and body and in resources are being eliminated by industrial competition. It is desirable, in the interests of the health of the community, that this competition continue. Another speaker maintained that the children of the working classes did not, as a rule, contribute to the lazy population of the country. A poor man with six daughters practically owned a fortune, because they could become useful servants; and if he had three or four sons, the young men could obtain work if capable for it. It was the middle and higher classes who contributed to the surplus and lazy population. This could be seen by the large number of genteel young men who every day crowded after a vacant clerkship. Parents should not be afraid to bring up their sons to learn a useful handicraft.



NOTES.

The statistics of the Japanese Empire for 1887 show that commercial enterprise is developing there in a remarkable degree. The foreign trade of the country has increased more than 86 per cent in ten years. In connection with the addition of 151 miles of railway to the 370 miles before built, the pertinacity with which the Japanese insist upon furnishing their own capital, and not borrowing from abroad, is remarked upon. Naval stations are building at Kune, Nagasaki, and Tauchina Island. A system of water-works has been completed at Yokohama, while such concerns were wholly unknown under the old system; 111 commercial and industrial companies were formed last year in Tokio, Osaka, and Kioto, having an aggregate capital of $21,500,000; and in all, shares to the extent of more than $71,000,000 taken up by the people.