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Chapter 29: fair women.

Apart from that Conflict of Race which is her permanent tragedy, America has many campaigns to carry on; campaigns in the civil order, and on both her moral and material sides. She has to recover her fair proportion of the female sex. She has to restore a true balance of the sexes on her soil. She has to cure her people of that love of strong drinks which they get from their English ancestors, but which is quickened by a climate rich in extremes of heat and cold. She has to meet a vast amount of that illiteracy which is not only the bane of nations but, as Shakespeare says, “ the curse of God.”

Among the evils which impede White growth in America, that poverty in the female sex, which is caused by separate male adventure in the outset, is the first and worse. No riches in the soil, no beauty in the landscape, no salubrity in the climate, can [301] make up to a colony for the paucity of women. Women are the other halves of men.

The absence of White women at San Diego and San Carlos, was the chief, if not the only, reason for the waste and failure of the first White Conquest on the Slope. If Don Rivera had allowed each of his troopers to bring an Andalusian wife to Monterey, the first people in California would have been Spanish, Catholic and civilized, instead of being mongrel, pagan, and semi-savage. If the Yankee Boys and Sydney Ducks had brought American and English wives to San Francisco, there would have been less drinking, shooting, suicide, and divorce in that delightful city of the Golden Gate. If the trapper and the miner in the Rocky Mountains, could obtain their natural mates, there would be no Jem Bakers, living in cabins with five or six squaws a piece, provoking Shoshones to attack White ranches and Cheyennes to steal White women from the emigrant trains. If America stood in her natural order as regards the sexes, there would be an end of buying and selling Indian girls, and the irruption of an Asiatic horde of female slaves would be less appalling to the moral sense. [302]

Domestic trouble in America would cease for want of aliment. Most of this trouble may be traced directly to the disproportion of the sexes. If the males and females were so fairly mixed, that every man who felt inclined to marry could find a wife, he would be likely to leave his neighbour's wife alone. If every woman had the chance given to her by nature of securing one man's preference, and no more, she would be less dreamy and ideal, less exercised about her rights and wrongs, less moved about her place in creation. A woman with one mate, and no visible temptation to change her partner for another, and still another, would pay scant heed to those quacks of either sex, who come to her with their jargon about affinities and passionals. She would want no higher laws, and seek no greater freedom than her English mothers have enjoyed in wedded love.

But how is moral order to be kept in regions where there are two males to each female, as in Oregon, three males to each female as in Nevada and Arizona., four males to every female as in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana?

No other civilised and independent commonwealth shows the same phenomena as America. [303]

In 1871, the United Kingdom had, in round numbers, a population of thirty-one million six hundred and seventeen thousand souls. Of this total, fifteen million three hundred and sixty thousand were masculine souls; sixteen million two hundred and fifty-seven thousand feminine souls: excess of females over males in the United Kingdom, eight hundred and ninety-seven thousand souls.

In 1870, the United States had also, in round numbers, a White population of thirty-three million five hundred and eighty-nine thousand souls. Of this total, seventeen million and twenty-nine thousand were masculine souls ; sixteen million five hundred and sixty thousand feminine souls: excess of males over females in the United States and Territories, four hundred and sixty-nine thousand souls.

The mischief springs from the immigration of single men, or married men who leave their wives behind in Europe. Taking the country all in all, nothing in the air of America seems to foster male growth at the expense of female growth. Among the Red men there is about the same excess of females as prevails in Europe. Black men show a larger proportion of females; and among their bastard brethren, the [304] Mulattoes, this proportion rises to the figure of ten females to seven males. Mixture of blood seems unfavourable to the natural rule of female births. The White people in America follow the same laws of growth as White people in Europe.

Take the case of Prussia, as a country in which the White race has always grown, and is still growing, in the natural order. Prussia is a staid and prosperous country, where the peasant is well-taught, well-governed and well-drilled. The movement in her population has been very slight. Where Prussia has sent out one emigrant, the United Kingdom has sent out more than fifty emigrants. During the forty years in which the tides of population were rolling at the flood from Europe to America, Prussia only lost a hundred thousand souls. Her people, therefore, may be taken as a sample of the White race in Europe, in their normal state.

In 1871, Prussia had a population of twenty-four million six hundred and ninety-three thousand souls. Of this total, twelve million one hundred and seventy-four thousand were masculine souls; twelve million five hundred and eighteen feminine souls: [305] excess of females over males in Prussia, three hundred and forty three thousand.

These figures give an average for Prussia of thirteen more females than males in every thousand souls: an average which is exactly that of Maryland, and very nearly that of New York and Connecticut.

England and Germany owe to America more than eight hundred thousand females; a debt in face of which all other claims for compensation are the merest bagatelles.

Who can say how much America suffers from this loss? It used to be said, that every man landing in New York was worth a thousand dollars to the republic. Women are worth as much as men; in some parts of America more than men. Suppose each female landing in New York is worth a thousand dollars. What is the value, even on the lowest ground of money, of those eight hundred thousand women who are owing by England and Germany to the United States? Eight hundred million of dollars: two hundred million pounds sterling!

But America is suffering, morally and socially, not only from her absolute and general paucity in [306] female life, but from her partial and unhappy distribution of what she has. In England, France and Germany the sexes find a natural level. One county or one province is no richer than another. Essex has about the same average as Cheshire; Normandie the same average as Provence; Brandenburg the same average as the Rhine. In every region there is a slight excess of female life. Not so in the United States. While the republic as a whole is poor, nearly half the States are rich, some of them over-rich. In seventeen states, and in the district of Columbia, there are more women than men. In some of these states the difference is slight. For instance, in the great State of Pennsylvania, counting more than three million five hundred thousand souls, there is a difference in the sexes of only one in the thousand souls. Maine and Mississippi show the same result. In Louisiana there is a difference of three; in New Jersey of seven; in Tennessee of nine, in each thousand souls. But in several of the older states, the excess of female numbers runs very high; in some beyond that of Great Britain and Ireland. In every thousand souls of the United Kingdom, there are four hundred and eighty-six [307] males to five hundred and fourteen females; a difference in the thousand of twenty-eight, where Prussia shows a difference of thirteen. In every thousand souls of Massachusetts there are four hundred and eighty-three males to five hundred and seventeen females; a difference in the thousand of thirty-four, where Great Britain and Ireland show a difference of only twenty-eight. North Carolina has a greater excess of females than any country in Europe except Sweden, and the old Puritan State of Rhode Island overtops her Puritan neighbour Massachusetts.

The most crowded female region in the civilised world is the district of Columbia, in the centre of which Washington stands. In this purgatory of women, there are, in every thousand souls, five hundred and twenty-eight females to four hundred and seventy-two males. No one appears to understand the causes of this singular phenomenon. We know the reason why Great Britain shows a larger excess of females than Prussia. During the present generation Great Britain has sent out half a million more emigrants than Prussia, and a vast majority of these emigrants have been males. A similar explanation covers the cases of Massachusetts and Rhode Island; [308] but the district of Columbia is. not an ancient colony, from which the sons go out into the western plains, leaving their sisters in the old homesteads. Columbia means Washington, a city of art ; of fashion and of pleasure; a city in which it is easy to drink and dice, to dance and flirt. Women are drawn to Washington, because Washington is the capital; the seat of government; a place in which there are many single men; and in which more money is spent than earned.

In all the other states and territories, there is excess of male life. In some, as Vermont, Delaware, and Kentucky, the excess is slight — not more than seven in each thousand souls. In others, such as Utah, Indiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico, the surplus male life is not excessive. In California, Kansas, and Minnesota, the excess is striking; and in Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, it is enormous-three to one, and even four to one. Does any one need evidence as to the moral and social aspects of a region in which there is only one White woman to four White men?

Physical loss appears to follow closely in the wake of this moral loss. For many years, nobody paid [309] attention to such facts; but since the publication of “New America,” an enquirer here and there has looked at such returns as he could get-always to be disheartened, often to be appalled.

Catharine E. Beecher, an advocate for woman's freedom, has made enquiries into the physical health of American females, and the result is, that among her “ immense circle of friends and acquaintance all over the Union,” she is “unable to recall so many as ten married ladies, in this century and country, who are perfectly sound, healthy, and vigorous.” Passing beyond her own large circle, Catharine Beecher goes into twenty-six towns, and takes ten average cases in each town. Of two hundred and sixty ladies, only thirty-eight are found in a fair state of health. Sixty other towns are tested, with a similar result. If these returns are good for anything (and they are quoted with approval by government officials) they prove that only one American woman in ten is physically fit for the sacred duties of wife and mother!

Three years ago, the Bureau of Education printed a paper on the Vital Statistics of America, which passed like an ice-bolt through the hearts of [310] patriotic Americans. This paper showed that the birth-rate is declining in America from year to year; not in one State only, but in every State. The decline is constant and universal; the same in Arkansas and Alabama as in Massachusetts and Connecticut, in Michigan and Indiana as in Pennsylvania and New York. The rate was higher in 1800 than in 1820; higher in 1820 than in 1840; higher in 1840 than in 1860. The birth-rate is admitted to be larger among the immigrants than among the natives; yet the average, thus increased by strangers, is lower than that of any country in Europe, not excepting the birth-rate of France in the worst days of Louis Napoleon.

Some of the ablest statists and physicians of Boston have come to the conclusion that the White race cannot live on the American soil! Nothing has been done by law to mitigate this curse of an unequal distribution of the sexes. What has been done is the result of accident — as statesmen think of “accidents.” In 1860 America counted no less than seven hundred and fifty thousand more males than females on her soil. Ten years later this enormous balance was reduced by three hundred [311] thousand. Inequality began with immigration, and will cease when immigration stops. America can readily account for the disturbance in her social system; the whole excess of male life in America being due to the fact that, in the ten years from 1860-70, four hundred and fifty thousand more males than females entered the ports of Boston and New York.

Her surplus male population is four hundred and sixty-nine thousand. If during the ten years, from 1860 to 1870, no immigrants had come in-or if the male and female arrivals had been equal in numbers-she would have shown a total of only nineteen thousand males over females. Thus her balance of the sexes would have been partially restored. With the stoppage of immigration the curse will die down. But is not such a cure as bad as the disease?

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