D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

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cemeteries contribute materially to the excess of nitrates in the well-
waters, for the analyses we have made show no sensible difference
from those which were made by 31. Boussingault twenty years ago.
The mean quantity is the same, and our partial results show sometimes
a little less, sometimes a little more, saltness than those of M. Boussin-
gault. Now, people have continued to bury, and the ultimate prod-
ucts of decomposition have become more and more soluble ; and, if
the excess of nitrates that has been observed was due to the ceme-
teries, it would of necessity have increased.

Besides the precise points which we have reviewed, more general
and indeterminate accusations are made against the cemeteries. Such
charges are connected with the prejudice, often ill-founded, under the
influence of which we a priori attribute injurious properties to every-
thing that smells badly. This error arises in part from the repugnant
associations which are commonly attached to the substances and places
from which bad smells emanate ; but, while we admit that effluvia
which offend the sense of smell are not agreeable, it is not true that
such emanations are generally injurious to the public health.

The facts of this order, which have long served as the foundation
of the accusations directed in the name of hygiene against the ceme-
teries, date from the last century, when chemistry and hygiene were
still in the rough. No modem observation enforces them. On the
contrary, contemporary scientists, who have studied the effects of ani-
mal putrefaction, are almost unanimous in regarding it as innocuous.
Such is the opinion of the most authoritative modern authors. Dr.
Warens, Bancroft, Andral, Parent-Duchatelet, and, more especially
with reference to cemeteries. Professors Depaul and Bouchardat.

It is hardly necessary to mention that a number of occupations ex-
pose those engaged in them to putrid exhalations, without producing


injurious results upon them. Thus, soap-boilers and chandlers are
known to enjoy excellent health, and not to be subject to fevers or
epidemic affections, notwithstanding they often use fat in a very ad-
vanced stage of putrefaction (Tardieu). Tanners and curriers are
neither more frequently nor more seriously ill than other men, aside
from the occasional carbuncular affections they may acquire by real
and direct inoculation, although they are often obliged, especially in
summer, to work upon hides that are green with putrefaction. The
same may be said for scavengers. The gases which, confined in pits,
cause asphyxia, bring no diseases upon the men "when a sufficient quan-
tity of atmospheric air is present with them. Grave-diggers, instead
of being more subject than other men to febrile, contagious, or epi-
demic diseases, have always been supposed to enjoy a certain immu-
nity against them. Examples illustrating this principle are not want-
ing. A long catalogue of them might be cited without any trouble,
except to the reader, to whom the reiteration would be tedious.

In conclusion, it may be affirmed that, to the present day, not a sin-
gle instance of positive noxious infection has been laid to the charge
of the cemeteries of Paris. We are in a situation, therefore, to reas-
sure the public on this point, and to deplore with the illustrious Four-
croy " the abuses which certain persons have made of the discoveries
in physics and chemistry, taking advantage of them to magnify and
multiply complaints against the air of cemeteries and against its ef-
fects on the neighboring residences."

Let us say, if we have not courage to support it, that the spectacle
of death ought to be hidden from our sight, that in our life of fever-
ish industrialism we have no time to spare for the dead ; let us even
acknowledge that we have speculative reasons for desiring to remove
the burial-grounds from Paris ; but let us stop invoking science, let us
stop invoking hygiene ; let us stop asserting that cemeteries are real
centers of infection, that they are susceptible of developing the germs
of the gravest maladies ; let us stop frightening the ignorant public
with sonorous words and phrases. It is easy enough to say and repeat
that cemeteries are a source of dangerous emanations, but assertions
are not proofs. — Revue Scientijique.



rrillE tendency in any new character or modification to reappt-ar in
J- the offspring at the same age at which it first appeared in the
parents, or in one of the parents, is of so much importance, in reference
to the diversified characters proper to the larva? of many animate at
successive ages, that almost any fresh instance is worth putting on


record. I have given many such instances under the term of " inheri-
tance at corresponding ages." No doubt the fact of variations being
sometimes inherited at an earlier age than that at which they first ap-
peared — a form of inheritance which has been called by some natural-
ists " accelerated inheritance " — is almost equally important, for, as
was shown in the first edition of the " Origin of Species," all the lead-
ing facts of embryology can be explained by these two forms of inher-
itance, combined with the fact of many variations arising at a some-
what late stage of life. A good instance of inheritance at a corre-
sponding age has lately been communicated to me by Mr. J. P,
Bishop, of Perry, Wyoming County, New York. The hair of a
gentleman of American birth (whose name I suppress) began to turn
gray when he was twenty years old, and in the course of four or five
years became perfectly white. He is now seventy-five years old, and
retains j^lenty of hair on his head. His wife had dark hair, which, at
the age of seventy, was only sprinkled with gray. They had four
children, all daughters, now grown to womanhood. The eldest daugh-
ter began to turn gray at about twenty, and her hair at thirty was
perfectly white. A second daughter began to be gray at the same
age, and her hair is now almost white. The two remaining daughters
have not inherited the peculiarity. Two of the maternal aunts of the
father of these children " began to turn gray at an early age, so that by
middle life their hair was white." Hence the gentleman in question
spoke of the change of color of his own hair as "a family peculiarity."
Mr. Bishop has also given me a case of inheritance of another kind,
namely, of a peculiarity which arose, as it appears, from an injury,
accompanied by a diseased state of the part. This latter fact seems to
be an important element in all such cases, as I have elsewhere endeav-
ored to show. A gentleman, when a boy, had the skin of both thumbs
badly cracked from exposure to cold, combined with some skin-disease.
His thumbs swelled greatly, and remained in this state for a long time.
When they healed they were misshapen, and the nails ever afterward
were singularly narrow, short, and thick. This gentleman had four
children, of whom the eldest, Sarah, had both her thumbs and nails
like her father's ; the third child, also a daughter, had one thumb simi-
larly deformed. The two other children, a boy and girl, were normal.
The daughter Sarah had four children, of whom the eldest and the
third, both daughters, had their two thumbs deformed ; the other two
children, a boy and girl, were normal. The great-grandchildren of
this gentleman were all normal. Mr. Bishop believes that the old gen-
tleman was correct in attributing the state of his thumbs to cold aided
by skin-disease, as he positively asserted that his thumbs were not
originally misshapen, and there w^as no record of any previous inher-
ited tendency of the kind in his family. He had six brothers and sis-
ters, who lived to have families, some of them very large families, and
in none was there any trace of deformity in their thumbs.


Several more or less closely analogous cases have been recorded ;
but until within a recent period every one naturally felt much doubt
whether the effects of a mutilation or injury were ever really inherited,
as accidental coincidences would almost certainly occasionally occur.
The subject, however, now wears a totally different aspect, since Dr.
Brown-Sequard's famous experiments proving that Guinea-pigs of the
next f^eneration were affected by operations on certain nerves. Dr.
P^uf^ene Dupuy, of San Francisco, California, has likewise found, as he
informs me, that with these animals " lesions of nerve-trunks are al-
most invariably transmitted." For instance, " the effects of sections
of the cervical sympathetic on the eyes are reproduced in the young,
also epilepsy (as described by my eminent friend and master Dr.
Brown-Sequard) when induced by lesions of the sciatic nerve." Dr.
Dupuy has communicated to me a still more remarkable case of the
transmitted effects on the brain from an injury to a nerve ; but I do
not feel at liberty to give this case, as Dr. Dupuy intends to pursue
his researches, and will, as I hope, publish the results. — Nature.




THE problem of races in the United States is one of growing in-
terest and of great practical moment ; that of the colored race,
especially at the present time, is full of significance in its social and
political aspects. It is proposed in a couple of articles to inquire
briefly into the phenomena of increase and movement of the colored
population in the light of the most recent observations and statistics
wliich bear upon the subject. The first table we shall consult is that
which gives the increase of the white and of the colored population for
each decade from 1790 to 1880 :







per cent ,

1st census.










Ist decade.








4th "







5th "






4th "

6th "






5th "

7th "






6th «

8th "






7th "

9th "






8th "

10th "






9th "


It will be seen that the ratio of increase in the colored population
had fallen off somewhat before emancipation, although the proportion
of fugitives was less from 1850 to 18G0 than from 18i0 to 1850. By
the annexation of Texas, 59,000 colored were added to the census of
1850, Florida was first counted in 1830, with 16,000 colored. Lou-
isiana was purchased in 1803, adding about 30,000 colored to the
census of 1810. The slave-trade closed in 1808.

The ratio of increase in the white population was less disturbed by
the acquisitions of territory and people. Immigration is the very large
factor which here swells the ratio of increase, and this more in later
decades than in the earlier ones. During the first decade (1790-1800)
the number of immigrants was about 43,000 ; during the second,
60,000 ; during the third, 98,000 ; during the fourth, 150,000 ; during
the fifth, 600,000 ; during the sixth, 1,700,000 ; during the seventh,
2,500,000 ; during the eighth, 2,-400,000 ; and, during the ninth,
2,800,000. It should be kept in mind that, in 1870, there were over
10,000,000 whites in the United States whose mothers were of for-
eign birth, being 30 per cent, of the entire white population. The
tide of immigration received a check during the war (1861-'65), and
also during the period of commercial depression, 1874-'79. The war,
by checking immigration, marriage, and the fruitfulness of marriage,
and by the outright destruction of human life, greatly reduced the
percentage of increase during the eighth decade. The check which
the hard times gave to immigration reduced the percentage of in-
crease for the ninth decade below the figure it would otherwise have
reached. But, after making all allowances for the advantages which
immigration gives to the white population, it is probable that from
1810 to 1800 the whites multiplied somewhat more rapidly than the
colored people.

The ratio of increase of the colored population, though declining,
was quite uniform till the decade 1860-'70. Two classes of influences
were then vigorously at work to reduce the ratio — a war which largely
concerned the colored people, and the transition from the servile to
the free condition. The whole decade was an unsettled period, with
every influence against the rapid multiplication of the freed race. The
rate of increase for that decade was a little less than 10 per cent. — less
than half what it had been the previous decade. The percentage of
increase for the decade 1870-'80 is quite surprising. As it has taken
place under freedom, it contravenes all the prejudices and upsets most
of the philosophies. One would naturally have supposed, from the
reputed bad treatment and destruction of freedmen in the South and
the preordained tendency of an inferior people to decline in presence
of a superior, that the colored race would be dying out, instead of in-
creasing at the marvelous rate of 34 per cent, in ten years.

Previous to emancipation, it was a current opinion, not only ainong
slaveholders but among others, that slavery was conservative of the


colored race, owing to the interest of masters. It was expected that,
with freedom, the colored people would begin to die out like the Ind-
ians. This was based on the general doctrine that, when a superior
and inferior race occupy the same territory, in free competition, the
inferior will go into a decline. That this was a total misconception
of the subject, on theoretical principles, it would not now be difficult
to show ; and, that it was practically wide of the mark, the late census
is abundantly sufficient to prove. Still, in the facts known previous
to this census, there was much in favor of such a view. In the decades
preceding emancipation, the ratio of increase of the free colored was
only about half that of the slaves.

Mr. Kennedy, Superintendent of the Census of 18G0, believed that
freedom was unfavorable to the multiplication of the colored people.
He says, " Leaving the issue of the present civil war for time to de-
termine, it should be observed, if large numbers of slaves shall be
hereafter emancipated, so many will be transferred from a faster to a
slower rate of increase." He held that " the white race is no more
favorable to the progress of the African race in its midst than it has
been to the perpetuity of the Indians on its borders." He was of
opinion that the " developments of the census, to a good degree, ex-
plain the slow progress of the free colored population in the Northern
States, and indicate, with unerring certainty, the gradual extinction of
that people the more rapidly as, whether free or slave, they become
diffused among the dominant race."

If these were the views which appeared to be warranted by the
showing of the eighth and previous censuses, they were certainly not
contravened by anything in the ninth census (1870), but apparently
more than confirmed ; and there was much to encourage the prevailing
notion that after emancipation the colored population would increase
less rapidly than before. Up to the very taking of the last census
this opinion had taken such hold as to enter as a factor into political
calculations. It was expected by leaders of both the great parties
that under the new census the South would lose relatively in Congres-
sional representation.

Perhaps the writer may be permitted to state that, about the mid-
dle of the last decade (1875-76), he made a leisurely trip through the
South, one object of which was to study this subject. He found no
physician in the South, whether native or Northern, but believed that
the colored race was in a decline and slowly undergoing the process
of extinction. It was believed — no doubt the result of a dominating
idea which preoccupied the mind — that births were fewer and deaths
more frequent than formerly under slavery. According to the census
of 1870, the colored people died off more rapidly than the white, as
well in the South as in the North. The report of deaths, though ob-
viously imperfect, shows that this greater mortality of the colored
takes place among the children. It was found that the cemetery


records of sextons in the larger towns of the South confirmed this
showing of the census. But, for all this, all through the South, there
Avere such swarms of little colored people about the huts, that the
writer was constrained to withhold his assent to the notion that the
race was dying out, stating at the time that, " notwithstanding the
showing of these statistics, we suspect that the greater number of
births compensate for the greater number of deaths, and that the next
census returns will show little if any diminution of the relative pro-
portion of the negro to the native white population."

It must be mentioned, however, that the showing of the last two
censuses is not altogether free from suspicion. It has been thought
that either the census of last June made too many colored people, or
that of 1870 made too few. Where most in doubt, the last census has
been retaken with care, in parts of South Carolina three times in all,
and the work first done thus verified as correct. The probability is, that
the census of 1880 is as accurate as such work can well be done. The
census of 1870 is not so well authenticated, but it was thought at the
time to be correct. Whether it failed to enumerate all the colored is
a matter of speculation only, which can never be satisfactorily deter-
mined. It is now believed in the Census-Office at Washington that all
the colored were not enumerated in 1870. Possibly this is the case to
a certain extent, but it is just possible that it may not be necessary to
suppose error in either of the censuses to account for the great increase
during the last decade. The census of 1870 shows that reproduction
had been greatly checked in this as in other classes ; and it shows this
even if we allow a large margin for error. But this state of things
rapidly changed, and the colored people of the South began life anew
about the year 1870. They were no longer disturbed by the war, nor
seriously molested by the lawless elements of the South, They had
become comparatively well settled in their new status of freedom.
They found something to dq, and something that paid, as the succes-
sive great cotton-crops of the South show ; and that hopefulness in life
which followed the period of anxiety contributed an unusual stimulus
to reproduction. With more settled habits came marriage and rap-
idly increasing families. The census of 1870 shows that the propor-
tion of children under ten years of age was nearly one per cent, less
among the colored than among the native whites. This is due, no
doubt, to the American-born children of immigrants being counted as
natives ; but it is probable that the census report of 1880 will reverse
this showing. Comparison can not be made in earlier reports because
the native and foreign whites were not kept distinct.

The following is from an intelligent correspondent of Floyd County,
Georgia, to the "Country Gentleman" of July \f>, 1880 — Mr. J. H.
Dent : " So far as I have heard from the census enumeratoi'S, they
report that the increase of negroes by birth is remarkable. The enu-
merator of this district told me that in three families he found thirtv


living children, which surpasses anything of the kind among the
whites. I have three negro tenants on my farm, and among them they
have fourteen children ; and for health, flesh, and vigor, I would com-
pare them with any children at the North or elsewhere." It is proba-
ble that the advantage of the colored, in the matter of numbers, comes,
not from unusual conservation of the living, but from early mamages
under ordinary circumstances, and the rapidity with which children are
born in the same family, and also, as the census reports show, from the
greater tenacity of life from middle age onward. For these reasons
mortality might be absolutely greater among the colored, and they
still far outstrip the whites in the multiplication of numbers. But
there is nothing in the form of positive evidence to show that, in the
rural districts of the South, mortality is any greater among colored
than among white children.

The colored increase of the last decade, as shown by the census,
does not so far transcend the increase of the early decades of the cen-
tury as to render it at all incredible ; and yet, such are the conditions
under which this has taken place, that it is no doubt to a certain ex-
tent exceptional, and will not be repeated in the future. It is quite
safe to predict that the next decade will not show so large a percent-
age of increase as the last. No doubt the forthcoming " Census Re-
port " will show a greater proportion than usual of colored children in
the South from one to ten or twelve years of age. Reproduction will
cease in a considerable percentage of these families before the close of
the current decade ; and, of those born during the last decade, not a
very large proportion Avill marry before the beginning of the next dec-
ade. If this view has truth in it, and there should be no disturbing
conditions, the rate of increase among the colored in the South will be
greater from 1890 to 1900 than from 1880 to 1890, but not so great as
from 1870 to 1880 (theory of Reichenbach ; " Report of the Eighth
Census," Introduction, viii). But, however this may be, no amount of
question concerning the last two censuses, the ninth and tenth, can so
far invalidate them, but they show the high probability that both free-
dom and diffusion in peace are favorable, rather than otherwise, to the
multiplication of the colored race. This is so, even allowing a good
margin for error in the census of 1870. So far as the census of 1880
covers the ground, it does not afford merely the evidence of negation ;
it is positive, and not likely ever to be shaken.

The aggregate white population of the sixteen Southern States
and the District of Columbia was 9,466,355 in 1870, and 12,577,215
in 1880, the percentage of increase during the decade being 32-9. The
aggregate white population of the twenty-two Northern States in 1870
was 23,864,272, and in 1880, 30,257,557, the percentage of increase be-
ing 26 8. Then we have for the last decade, increase of whites in the
North, 26-8 ; increase of whites in the South, 32*9 ; and increase of
colored in the United States, 34*8 per cent. It should be observed that


the colored people liaTC not so far surpassed the whites of the South
in ratio of gain as to give any considerable encouragement to the sus-
picion of incorrectness in the showing of the census reports. It is as
true that the Southern white population has gained slightly from for-
eign immigration during the decade, but it is also true, as going partly
to offset this, that the colored population of the United States has
gained slightly from the intermarriage of white women with colored

The foreign population in the South is very small compared with
that in the North. The foreign-born population in Missouri is (1880)
but lOf per cent, of the native population of the State ; in Maryland,
9| ; in Texas, 7f ; in Louisiana, 6 ; while in Mississippi, Alabama, and
South Carolina, it is about three fourths of one per cent. ; in Georgia,
two thirds of one per cent., and in North Carolina but one fourth of
one per cent. On the contrary, the foreign-born population bears a
large proportion to the native in the Northern States. In Nevada it is
70 per cent. ; in Minnesota, 52 ; in California, 51 ; in Wisconsin, 44^ ; in
Rhode Island, 39 ; in Massachusetts, 33 ; in New York, 31^ ; in Michi-
gan, 31 ; in Nebraska, 27 ; in Connecticut, 26^ ; in Colorado, 25^ ; in
Illinois, 234^ ; and so on down to Indiana, the lowest, 7f. The aggre-
gate of foreign-born in the Northern States is 5,854,000, while in the
Southern States it is only 658,000 : that is, 1,011 foreigners out of

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 83 of 110)