Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/506

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482
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of the oldest countries to still maintain a slight increase. But, ultimately, these growing communities must reach a condition in which a very considerable part of the population will remain unmarried.

Is it possible to change any part of this by artificial methods, such as law or preaching, to increase the number of marriages? I think not. And, if it were possible, no matter on what grounds of morality or expediency urged, I firmly believe it would result in a decrease of the average happiness, and ultimately in a social degeneracy. Those philanthropists who lament with such frequency the relative decrease in marriages may justly rest for a season from their jeremiads. It is not the extravagance of women, the selfishness of men, nor yet the ambition of parents and the dissipation of contemporaneous society, that causes the decline. A decided majority of those men who remain single till late in life, or permanently, are among the most prudent and economical, often carrying both qualities to an extreme. "Stingy old bachelor" has passed into a proverb. The single man who follows some legitimate business is filling his place in an old community as well as the married man. He adds one to the producers. From this evil, if it is an evil, there can be no artificial remedy in an old society; it is to be borne as a necessary consequence of the constitution of Nature, and alleviated only by each individual's mental cultivation. This principle may also be modestly commended to those enthusiastic patriots who calculate our probable population in the year 1900. One and all, they expect the percentage of increase to continue the same, which cannot possibly be. It was less from 1860 to 1870 than from 1850 to 1860; and will be still less from 1870 to 1880. The best places are seized upon, and population must now go back and fill up the odd corners left by those who had the first pick of Nature's wealth. The phenomenon of rapidly-growing States, like Illinois and Iowa, will never be witnessed again in this nation; for no such bodies of land are to be found anywhere west of longitude 96°.

It is fitting that I should here notice one powerful corrective to the natural tendency of polygamy in Utah--the non-Mormon population. It now numbers about 15,000, and includes at least four men to one woman. It is customary to divide the people of Utah into two classes, but it should be three: the Orthodox Saints, the "Hickory Mormons," or Liberals, and Gentiles. The second class consists mostly of the native young Mormons, born in the Church, but almost universally freethinkers; for Mormonism in a family never outlasts one generation. The Orthodox may safely be set at 60,000, still more than one-half the whole population—men and women devoted to Brigham Young and the priesthood, and ready to go into polygamy or anything else at his bidding. The "Hickory Mormons" are about half as numerous; and in the various proportions of the sexes between these three classes is the most curious feature of Utah. The Liberals