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The Very Rev. DEAN INGE, C.V.O., D.D. 

Mr. HAROLD COX (Editor Edinburgh Review) 



Rev. Principal A. E. GAR VIE, M.A., D.D. 

Rev. F. B. MEYER, B.A., D.D. 
Dr. MARIE STOPES, D.Sc., Ph.D., F.L.S. 




LL.D., C.b!e., F.R.S.ED. 



Zhc f(nicfterboc^er pteas 


Copyright, 1920 





No one can be doubtful as to the usefulness of 
this book. We are living in days when all are 
confessing the responsibility of Parenthood, 
but we find it difficult to know our duty 
because we get such different guidance, and 
because there seems sometimes to be conflict 
between that which is true biologically or 
economically, and that which appeals to us 
from the religious or social point of view. It 
is well then that we should have all sides put 
before us by those who are experts in their 
own particular subject, so that for whatever 
decision we may come to, we may be able to 
give a reason for the faith that is in us. 

We are clear upon certain central facts as to 
marriage and parenthood, which one may 
attempt to summarize. First — Marriage 
should be the outcome of a pure love, and 


should be entered upon with the most sacred 
intention that perfect union shall follow upon 
the vows spoken on the wedding-day. The 
\inion must be both physical and spiritual, and 
each of these parts completes the other. The 
physical imion is mere passion when the whole 
nature is not alive to the oneness of the two 
souls ; the spiritual knows its perfect complete- 
ness only when the parents tend and cherish 
the child which is the outcome of their two 
natures. Second — It is admitted that in an 
ideal state of society the intention of the 
father is that his children should mate in early 
adult life, and that they should bring into this 
world healthy children to be reared up as use- 
fiil citizens. Third — It is imforttmately true 
that the circimistances of present-day life do 
not allow of such happy mating. We are 
cursed by man-made social conditions which 
make it impossible for yoimg folk to marry 
at the natural age, and which frequently cause 
marriages to be arranged for purely worldly 
reasons. Hence come irregular imions and 
conditions of life leading to immorality and to 


prostitution. Foiirth — Consequent upon this 
unsatisfactory state of things, we find that 
books have to be written, conferences have to 
be held, judgments have to be formed to fit 
in with "the present distress," and not with 
the perfect freedom which should be asso- 
ciated with the primal marriage. What are 
the problems which face alike the eugenist, 
the social worker, the religious teacher? 

There is first the antechamber to matri- 
mony. How are the yoxmg to be taught the 
sacredness as to body, the purity of heart and 
the whole-souled offering of themselves implied 
in the word love? Marriage is not to be the 
satisfaction of rash desire, or the calculated 
assurance of a comfortable home, it is the 
tinion of twin souls. Here the parents, the 
religious and the secular teachers, with whole- 
some literature, must all have their share in 
rousing chivalry and in impressing the great 

There is next the wedded life to consider. 
The couple must live one for the other, giving 
honour one to the other, and they must view 


the office of Parenthood as awful in its majesty 
and beauty. Not merely to bring children 
into the world, but to bring in fit children 
whom they can rightly bring up must be their 
determination. This may entail self-denial, 
but nothing is perfect without sacrifice. A 
wise doctor is an almost necessary friend and 
confidant for any married couple. The teach- 
ing of the chapters of this book will surely be 
of great use to wedded lives, as well as to those 
contemplating matrimony. 

There is again the duty of the State to be 
remembered. It must be seen to that every 
mother shall have during and after child- 
bearing the necessary physical and moral help ; 
that every child shall be cared for so that in- 
efficients shall be almost imknown, and true 
citizens shall abound; that undue temptation 
shall not assail the young, and that sin shall 
not abound; that the diseases incidental to 
impurity shall not be allowed to rage im- 
checked ; that men and women shall know the 
dangers which belong to lust ; that we shall all 
imderstand how we depend one upon the other ; 


that whether by emigration or other means 
care may be had for those to whom here at 
home the joys of marriage are denied; and 
above all, that the State shall bear in mind 
that upon the recognition of God in all that 
concerns marriage and parenthood depends 
the future well-being of the land we love, and 
of the people upon whom it would seem that 
at the present time rests the greatest re- 
sponsibility for setting a world-wide example 
of the highest and best in life. 

May the writers of the pages of this book 
have the satisfaction of contributing, as I feel 
stire they will, to the realization of the dreams 
which reading their utterances have stirred in 

H. R. Birmingham. 




The Lord Bishop of Birmingham . . v 

r> I. Prof. J. Arthur Thomson . . 3 

II. Prof. Leonard Hill ... 32 

^ I. The Very Rev. Dean Inge . . 58 
II. Mr. Harold Cox .... 75 

\ I. Dr. Mary Scharlieb ... 96 

II. Rev. Dr. F. B. Meyer . . .138 

III. Rev. Principal Dr. A. E. Garvie . 158 

I I. Sir Rider Haggard . . . .179 

» II. Dr. Marie C. Stopes . . . 207 


The Control of Parenthood 

By Prof. J. Arthur Thomson, MA., LL.D. 

§ I. Various Aspects of Social Problems 

Any social problem may be considered in a 
variety of aspects, each of which is partial or 
abstract, (a) It may be considered in rela- 
tion to the physical criterion of economy in 
the transformation of energy. This economy 
is one of the preconditions of what we call 
progress, but to be preoccupied with it spells 
materialism, (b) The problem may also be 
considered in relation to the biological criterion 
of health — in the deepest and highest sense of 



that term. The securing of health is, again, 
one of the preconditions of progress ; yet to be 
preoccupied with the "healthy animal" aspect 
is apt to lead to a fallacious biologism, except 
in the minds of those who tmderstand some- 
thing of the tmity of the organism and tinder- 
stand that health is subtly correlated with 
beauty and the enjoyment of it, with goodness 
and the doing of it, even with truth and the 
seeking of it. (c) What we really mean by 
progress in htmian affairs is a balanced move- 
ment of a social whole towards a fuller em- 
odiment of the supreme values (the true, 
tfefe beautiful, and the good) in conditions 
which increasingly realize the fundamental 
physical and biological conditions of stability 
and persistence, and in lives which are in- 
creasingly rewards in themselves, both in- 
dividually and socially. This definition may 
seem rather cumbrous to serve as level and 
plummet and square, but it is needed for 
secure building. 

If we decide that a certain course of action 
will increase or save material resources — a 


laudable aim in itself — ^we have further to 
inquire whether it will make for the health of 
the commimity and the conservation and in- 
creasing possession of beauty, goodness, and 
truth. Similarly, if we decide that a certain 
course of action will make for health, we must 
not follow the example of those hasty reformers 
who leap to the conclusion that the change 
contemplated will necessarily make for pro- 
gress. The biological proposal must also be 
brought before the august tribtmal of the 
highest values. For "life is more than food.'' 
These are, it may be said, very obvious 
considerations. If so, they are continually 
disregarded both in argument and in practice. 
We put them in the foregrotmd of our dis- 
cussion here, which considers some of the 
population problems from the biological side. 
What wins the approval of the biologist as 
biological may not be practicable or desirable 
socially. On the other hand, no social proposals 
which nm cotinter to biological or physical cri- 
teria can be radically sound ; for social progress 
has biological and physical pre-conditions. 

§ 2. The Survival Value of Fertility 

The phrase ''the struggle for existence," 
which only the careless think it easy to under- 
stand, is a technical and, at the same time, a 
metaphorical term. It includes all the in- 
dividually variable answers-back which living 
creatures make to environing difficulties and 
limitations — everything that is tried in the 
clash between life and circumstances. It need 
not be directly competitive; it need not be 
literally bloody; it need not even be selective! 
When it is keen enough, however, and when 
there is considerable variability or inequality 
in the individual reactions, and when it lasts 
in the same form for a considerable time, it 
may lead to natural selection — certain var- 
iants surviving a virtue of qualities of relative 
fitness. Some survive because they are strong, 
others because they are clever, others because 
they find a cave of Adullam, others because 
they are agile, and others because they have 
put on a garment of invisibility. Professor 
Punnett calculates that if in a population of 


ten thousand wild animals in a district there 
were ten of a new and promising variety, 
which had a five per cent, selection advantage 
over the original forms, the latter would 
almost completely disappear in less than a 
htmdred generations. We know of such re- 
placements occurring in wild nature, and it is 
plain that the rate of replacement of the old 
by the new will depend in part on the fertility 
of the new. 

i Intense elimination of individuals without 
a certain life-saving peculiarity or variation 
will move a species in a particular direction. 
This is what is called lethal selection. We 
might compare it roughly to what- happens 
when we improve a lawn by eliminating the 
weeds. But it is also clear that variants with 
a valuable life-saving quality will become the 
dominant type more rapidly if they are also 
much more prolific than their neighbours. 
This is what is called reproductive selection. 
We might compare it roughly to what hap- 
pens when we improve a lawn by using 
some fertilizer which stimulates the multi- 


plication of the grass, but does not help the 

As we look around among plants and 
animals we see that many of them are prodig- 
iously fertile. A common weed, Sisymbrium 
Sophia, often has three quarters of a million 
seeds; if all grew to maturity for only three 
years the whole of the land-surface of the 
globe would not hold them. A British starfish, 
Luidia, has two himdred million eggs. If all 
the progeny of one oyster survived and mul- 
tiplied, its great-great-grand-offspring would 
nimiber sixty-six with thirty-three noughts 
after it, and the heap of shells would be eight 
times the size of our earth, ''which is absurd" 
we may well say; but these familiar possibili- 
ties illustrate what might be called the spawn- 
ing solution or the fertility solution of the 
difficulties of life. It is not merely that the 
species in question is helped to hold its own by 
its fertility, surviving not necessarily because 
it is strong or clever, but because it is many; 
we must remember that if the quality of fer- 
tility should become differential, should in- 


crease, for instance, in a new variation or 
mutation, it will operate as a factor in in- 
traspecific change. 

There are some obvious advantages in the 
spawning or fertility method of circumventing 
difficulties. It may save the organism from be- 
ing embarrassed by the need for parental care. 
With a family of a million, there is considerable 
margin for accidents, and there is no great 
need for nursing. The multiplication may be 
concentrated in a short period of the year, or 
to one occasion in a life-time, leaving most of 
the life free for other concerns. On the other 
hand, there are obvious disadvantages. The 
production of large numbers is apt to involve 
the exhaustion of the parent, notably of the 
mother. Thus we see not only delicate crea- 
tures like butterflies, but strong creatures like 
marine lampreys, dying after reproduction. 
We speak of this as a disadvantage, but it is 
so, of course, only from our point of view. It 
precludes what we would regard as of a high 
value — e.g, a long vigorous life and the com- 
panionship of offspring; but it is clearly a line 


of solution that pays well in certain animal 

§ 3. Economized Reproductivity 

Many races of living creatures are helped 
to hold their own by their great fertility, but 
there is another line of solution not less fa- 
miliar — economized reproduction associated 
with increased parental care. The reduction 
in the number of offspring is more than com- 
pensated for by the correlated re(^uction of the 
infantile mortality, by giving the offspring a 
really good start. What has actually happened 
in the course of evolution we can only infer 
from analogy, but in all probability there were 
synchronous variations in the direction of 
reduced reproductivity on the one hand, and 
in the direction of better equipment or nurture 
of the offspring on the other. An old-world 
type such as Peripatus, without armour and 
weapons, has held its own in most parts of the 
world for millions of years, partly in virtue of 
its nocturnal and elusive habits, but partly 


because the young are carried before birth 
for a very long time and are bom as miniature 
adults, ready almost at once to fend for them- 
selves. This is the antithesis of the spawning 
solution, but it is equally successful. 

Compared with fishes and amphibians, most 
of which ''spawn,** birds and mammals illus- 
trate economized reproductivity and parental 
care. It is a contrast of evolutionary tactics, 
and it might, of course, be illustrated not only 
by contrasting mammal with fish, but by con- 
trasting the large litters of rats with the single 
offspring normal among monkeys. On the 
whole it seems fair to say that the reduction 
of fertility, contrasted with ''spawning," 
means that a larger fraction of the year and of 
the life is concerned with reproduction in the 
case of the mother-animals. But the other 
side of it is that the parental life is enriched 
by the prolonged association with the offspring, 
and that the protected infancy makes the re- 
placement of instincts by intelligence more 
practicable. The important general fact is 
that man, however diverse his fertility in 


different races and in different sections of the 
community, is assuredly on that tact of econo- 
mized reproductivity and elaborated parental 
care which marks the higher vertebrates. The 
suggestion is that he should go f tirther in the 
same direction. 

§ 4. Herbert Spencer's Generalization as to 
Individtcation and Genesis 

After a prolonged argimient in his Principles 
of Biology, Herbert Spencer reached the con- 
clusion that genesis decreases as individuation 
increases, the two varying in inverse ratio. 
Individuation means complexity, integration, 
fulness, and freedom of life. The tapeworm 
with its degenerate body and drifting life of 
ease has its millions of embryos; the Golden 
Eagle with its differentiated body and con- 
trolled life has two eaglets at a time. The less 
individuated organisms tend to the spawning 
solution; the more individuated to economized 

Now, it must be noted that what Spencer 


really showed was the fact that individuation 
and genesis tend to be in inverse ratio. This 
is an evolutionary result, a state of affairs that 
has come about. He also sought to explain 
that the result was in agreement with general 
physiological considerations, but he certainly 
did not prove that high individuation directly 
lessens fertility. Perhaps it does, but we do 
not know. Very little is known in regard to 
the physiology of fertility. 

Men of great ability, who illustrate inborn ^^, 
individuation, are often childless. But this 
may be due to mutual, not absolute, infertility. 
We know very little in regard to the meaning 
of nonpathological sterility. It is easy to ask 
for the children of many of the great men of 
the world — ^Aristotle, St. Paul, Descartes, 
Newton, Htmie, Leibnitz, Kant, Kelvin, and 
so on; but it is not difficult to compile a fair' \ 
list of famous fathers — Darwins, Herschels, 
Bemouillis, Jussieus, Hookers. Sir Walter 
Scott was a seventh son; John Wesley was one 
of nineteen ; Tennyson one of seven. 

The average size of the family among well- 


educated people, who illustrate acquired in- 
dividuation at least, is usually small — under 
two among college-bred gentlefolk in the 
United States — ^but it would be rash to con- 
clude that this is the expression of a constitu- 
tional decrease of fecimdity. It is probable 
that a reduction of fertility among the highly 
individuated may be in part due to the fre- 
quency of marriages that are not love marri- 
ages, to the frequency of late marriages, to 
selfish or timid non-maternity, to deliberate 
evasion of parentage, and even to overstrain 
in early efforts after self-realization. But 
this is not evidence of a constitutional 
antithesis between high individuation and 
reproductivity. The strongly individuated 
Brahmins and Rajputs of high caste are 
said to show no dwindling fertility. 

In addition to factors already indicated, it 
should be noted that improved conditions of 
life tend to lessen miiltiplication indirectly, for 
new interests divert the animal nature and 
better housing lessens the provocations to 
sensuaHty. A reasonable spacing out of births 


is more likely to be affected, and the total 
ntimber of children is less likely to be large. 
Without denying the occurrence of types who 
are constitutionally sterile, or relatively in- 
fertile, or with strongly inhibited sex-impulses, 
we would say that almost nothing is known as 
to their relative frequency or as to their in- 
crease or decrease in successive generations; 
and that apparent infertility among the highly 
individuated can be in great part accoimted 
for as an indirect result. There is very little 
evidence that heightened individuation brings 
about lessened reproductivity as a physiologi- 
cal consequence. 

§ 5. Fluctuations of Fertility • 

The biologist is familiar with the pheno- 
menon of fluctuations of population among 
plants and animals, and is not inclined to take 
an alarmist view of either rise or fall of the 
birth-rate in mankind. Among plants and 
animals we see that conditions of prosperity 
tend to allow the river to overflow its banks. 


Waves of life are observed, such as Mr. W. H. 
Hudson has so graphically described in his 
Naturalist in La Plata^ but in a comparatively- 
short time the steady flow adaptively regulated 
by ages of natural selection is restored — ^unless 
man has brought about some far-reaching 

The human sequence in ancient days is more 
or less clear. In a limited area the increasing 
population began to overtake the means of 
subsistence; the growing pressure was relieved 
by exposing the children, infanticide, abortion, 
occasional emigration, frequent wars, epi- 
demics, famine; on the other hand, an in- 
crease in material resources, e,g, through 
irrigation, improved cultivation, made a grad- 
ual increase of population possible. Periods 
of impending overpopulation were followed by 
critical periods in which equilibriimi was re- 
gained by expedients, often -miserable, but 
sometimes progressive. Sometimes, as is well 
known, the population-equilibriima was sus- 
tained by differential rates of increase. There 
were more births than deaths in the country. 


which God made; and there were more deaths 
than births in the towns, which man made; 
and the apologists for Providence in those 
days used to refer to this wonderful adjustment. 

But in the course of the eighteenth century 
the pre-established harmony was dissolved in 
discord by the colossal change of the industrial 
era. It is one of the most stupendous facts in 
human history that the population of Europe, 
about 187 millions in 1800, was 266 millions 
in 1850, and 400 millions in 1900. In the nine- 
teenth century the population of England and 
Wales was more than trebled (in 1789, 12 
millions; in 1890, 38 millions). From one 
case we may learn all. 

In considering the extraordinarily rapid 
increase in the population associated with in- 
dustrialism, much emphasis has been laid on 
the economic factor — that big families paid 
both the workers and their employers. But 
there were at least three other factors, (a) 
In the early industrialism there were waves of 
material prosperity; these tend to lift men off 
their feet. But a slackening of grip and 


restraint tends to raise the birth-rate. The 
most widespread prosperity was in the middle 
of the Victorian period, when the birth-rate 
reached its maximum of 36.3 per thousand. 

(b) But, as Mr. Havelock ElHs says: ''The 
magnificence of this epoch was built over 
circles of Hell to which the imagination of 
Dante never attained.^* And when people lose, 
heart and are reckless, excessive birth-rate may ' 
follow, just as from the opposite causes. We 
read in Exodus i. : * ' But the more they afflicted 
them, the more they multiplied and grew.*' 

(c) Moreover, in the latter part of the period 
there began to be notable advances in preven- 
tive medicine and hygiene. Man was entering- 
into his kingdom — in controlling the death- 
rate. One must never forget the very import- 
ant fact that since 1865 the dtiration of life 
in England and Wales has risen about a third. 

Having recognized these three factors we 
are free scientifically to return to the vast im- 
portance of economic conditions. We cannot 
doubt that the tmprecedented multiplication 
had in some measure to do with the fact that 


children were sent out in tender years — one 
recalls the pictures in Clayhanger — ^to the 
factories and potteries and mines to increase 
their parents* incomes; and that the employers 
said Amen. Those who have gone deeply into 
Natural History say that foxes quite approve 
of large families among rabbits. 

§ 6. The Over 'Population Cry 

Those who are greatly alarmed at the 
present reduction of the birth-rate should 
recall their own student days when they at- 
tended Over-Population meetings. The cry 
was that the world would soon be '^too full of 
people," — the words used in Greece two 
thousand years before. At these meetings 
much reference was made to Malthus, who 
advised his generation to avoid the terrible 
positive checks of famine, disease, infanti- 
cide, and war by practising prudential checks 
of postponing marriage and by disciplining 
themselves in moral restraint after marriage. 
Malthus did not realize the possibilities of 


increasing the food-supply (Mendelism alone 
will serve for centimes!), or the possibilities 
of more or less artificial birth-control. Since 
moral restraint after marriage is apt to defeat 
itself, the most practicable piece of advice 
Malthus gave amotmted to *' marry late," 
and most biologists are agreed that this advice 
was racially and individually very bad. The 
fittest fathers are not those who wait till they 
are past their prime; great disparity of age 
between the parents often means unhappiness; 
other things equal, those children have the 
best chance whose youth is spent with young 
fathers and mothers; and much more might 
be said without supposing that the bridegroom 
has not been equal to the task of self-control 
which the marrying late involves. 

At such meetings we remember there was 
often some considerable misunderstanding of 
Darwinism, for there were some who said: 
*' Let us not interfere with Nature*s sifting ; the 
survival of the fittest, don't you know." In 
spite of Darwin's express warning, it was 
assimied that famine, disease, infanticide, and 


war may be trusted to sift in a progressive 
direction. There were also more excusable 
misimderstandings of Herbert Spencer's doc- 
trine, and the "old woman who lived in a shoe, 
and had so many children that she did not 
know what to do," was told that she should 
really have been more individuated. Finally, 
from James Mill to begin with, there were 
whispers of various means which might be 
employed after marriage to keep down the 
family. There was truth and fallacy, we 
think, in all the suggestions backed by the 
authority of Malthus, Darwin, Spencer, and 
Mill; we need not go into this, for everyone 
knows what happened. The tide was turned. 

§ 7. The Decline of the Birth-rate 

The tide turned, in 1877 in England, while 
men were arguing how to stem its advance. 
The birth-rate per thousand of the population 
was 32 about 1850; it rose a little (helped by 
more thorough registration) to its maximum 
36.3 in 1876, the year of the Bradlaugh-Besant 


trial; it has fallen to about 24 per thousand. 
This movement of decreasing birth-rate, in 
which France led the way, is now common to 
all the more highly civilized nations. 

A perusal of a good deal of literature leaves 
in the mind several impressions, which have 
considerable, if not convincing, backing of 
facts behind them, (a) The decline is most 
marked in areas where the highest standard 
of living prevails, and vice versa; thus Dr. C. 
Killick Millard, in his effective address on 
''Population and Birth Control** (19 17), notes 
that while the birth-rates of Hampstead and 
Shoreditch were in 1881 almost the same, 
30 and 31 respectively, *'in 1914, Hampstead 
birth-rate had fallen to 14.8, whilst that of 
Shoreditch remained at the old figure. The 
same tendency exists in almost every town.** 

(^) The decrease is much more marked in 
the upper and middle classes than among the 
poor, much more marked in certain occupa- 
tions and vocations than in others. In a table 
of comparative fertility for England, which 
refers only to women of child-bearing age, the 


four occupations at the top end are coal- 
miners (126.4), agricultural labourers (113.4), 
boiler-makers (iio.i), farmers (100.5), the 
ntmibers indicating proportions to a general 
population-fertility taken as 100. The four 
at the lower end of the list are Nonconformist 
ministers (79.8), Church of England clergy- 
men (72), teachers (70.3), and doctors (64.7). 
Generalizations contrasting skilled and un- 
skilled workmen are extremely hazardous. 

(c) The smaller the mmiber of rooms the 
larger the family tends to be, and the death- 
rate among infants tends to be highest where 
the birth-rate is highest. Making some note- 
worthy exceptions, e.g. for coal-miners who 
seem, on the whole, to be men of good physique, 
Dr. Millard writes: ''It appears undeniable 
that poverty, degradation, inefficiency, ignor- 
ance, overcrowding, almost everything, in 
fact, that in human judgment tends to dis- 
qualify for parenthood, are just the factors 
nowadays which too often co-exist with large 
families." The biologist is inclined, however, 
to plead for discrimination between the con- 


stitutionally disqualified and those whose dis- 
qualifications are superficial, — ^modificational 
in fact, and therefore not, so far as we know, 

§ 8. Probable Causes of the Reduction of 
the Birth-rate 

The causes of the fall of the birth-rate are 
being investigated, and we cannot do more 
than indicate probabilities. The answer is 
likely to be multiple, for the birth-rate depends 
on many factors, and these are variable. It 
depends on the age-composition of the com- 
mimity, on the number of wives under forty- 
five, on the age at marriage, on the duration 
of marriage, on the loyalty of husband and 
wife, on the amoimt of illegitimacy, on the 
economic conditions which affect control either 
through continence or through some evasion 
of parentage, and on some other factors like 
alcoholism and reproductive diseases. Nutri- 
tive factors do not seem to be directly import- 
ant; the degree of mental development does 


nor seem to have much, if any, direct effect; 
differential decHne in fertiHty with increase 
of individuation is improved. The impression 
among careful students is widespread, that 
the reduction of the birth-rate is mainly due 
to intentional restriction of births, to deliber- 
ate birth-control. The Registrar-General for 
England has made the important statement 
that not more than about 17 per cent, of the 
decline in the birth-rate can be accounted for 
as the result of abstinence from marriage or 
of postponement of marriage, but that nearly 
70 per cent, .of the decline must be ascribed 
to volimtary restriction. 

§ 9. Evil and Good in the Decline of 
the Birth-rate 

Many thoughtful students have the fore- 
boding that the decline of the birth-rate will 
endanger the stability of the British Empire, 
(i) But much depends on how far the decline 
goes. If there should begin to be an excess of 
deaths over births, that would be ominous 


indeed, but a considerable decline in the birth- 
rate may strengthen a nation by raising the 
health-rate and lessening the strain of domestic 
anxieties. (2) The decline in the birth-rate is 
now almost a general phenomenon in civilized 
coimtries, though the amounts differ con- 
siderably. If it extends as it is doing it will 
not greatly alter the nimierical proportions of 
nationalities. (3) One of the conditions that 
makes a nation a menace to others is a high 
birth-rate accompanied by a low death-rate. 
(4) Just as birth-control in a family is relative 
to many conditions, such as the health of the 
mother, the vigour of the children, and the 
prospects of auspicious laimching in life — 
conditions which may change as years pass — so 
the problem for nations is relative to condi- 
tions. When the land is crowded, when open- 
ings are few, when imemployment is rife, and 
distress is at the doors, restriction of the size 
of families might increase national stability; 
but when nimibers are dwindling or have been 
reduced out of proportion to their replacement, 
when new opportimities of industry are offered, 


when new countries are opening out, when new 
discoveries greatly increase material resources, 
when there is vigour and mastery, then it 
might be wise to harken to the old counsel — 
''Be fruitful and multiply/' Neither for the 
family nor for the nation have we to do with 
mutually exclusive alternatives. 

But a second reason for foreboding is foimd 
in the fact that the decline in the birth-rate is 
differential, affecting certain sections of the 
community more than others. The less desir- 
able, it is said — ^the thriftless, the careless, the 
unreliable — tend to be the most prolific; 
the more desirable — the thrifty, the educated, 
the controlled, those who care — tend to be the 
least prolific. If this is quite certain, does it 
not point to inevitable deterioration? (i) 
But there is, in spite of all hygiene, a high 
death-rate among the thriftless. (2) It is 
absurd to talk as if the desirables and the im- 
desirables could be distinguished at a glance. 
Many people who have lost grip and heart 
were made, not bom, undesirable. It takes a 
lot of different kinds of men and women to 


make a world and keep it going. The produc- 
tion of the fit and of the remarkably able (take 
Faraday, for instance) is not a monopoly of 
any class. (3) It has also to be remembered 
that all measures implying increased control 
of life work from the more thoughtful to the 
less thoughtful, and spread gradually. 

Thirdly, many wise men in recent years have 
said that they are less afraid of the decline of 
the birth-rate than of the methods of artificial 
restriction, by which it is said to be in greater 
part effected. It is plain, however, that mod- 
em preventives or contraceptives, which keep 
new lives from beginning, are less to be de- 
precated than abortion and infanticide. As 
to dangers to health that may be involved, it 
appears that these are in a process of being 
reduced, and against them must be set the 
deterioration of health involved in too frequent 
maternity. Perhaps the greatest danger is 
that the evasion of the responsibility of off- 
spring may promote sexual intemperance. 

Fourthly, some thoughtful critics have said 
that what fills them with foreboding is not the 


fact of the reduction of the birth-rate, nor its 
unequal incidence, nor the method of birth- 
control employed, but the motives behind, 
since these are apt to be selfish. It is difficult, 
however, to discover motives, and many mo- 
tives are mixed. One is tempted to think that 
there is a good deal of selfishness behind the 
empty cradle and the celibate club, but it is 
very difficult to make verifiable statements. 
What we have often to do with is not an empty 
cradle, but keeping the cradle from having a 
rapid or long succession of tenants. What we 
have often to do with is birth-control, because 
of the risk of not being able to do well by the 
children, and because of the burdensomeness 
of too frequent maternity — ^neither of them 
deplorable motives. 

It seems to us that the good side of the 
reduction of the birth-rate deserves more con- 
sideration than it usually receives. It may 
tend to improve the health both of children 
and mothers; it may tend to substitute quality 
for quantity; it may make life less anxious, 
more sectire, and with greater possibilities of 


fineness. Associated with birth-control, it 
makes earlier marriage more practicable; it 
facilitates non-parental marriages; it makes 
for the independence of women and increases 
their opportunities of self -development. It 
will probably work against war, of which 
nations with a low birth-rate tend to be most 
intolerant. Personally, we share the view of 
Mr. Havelock Ellis that birth-control within 
limits makes for progress and is likely to con- 
tinue to do so, being not "race suicide" but 


We must not, however, look at things too 
biologically; and if we are forced to methods 
that by their very nature are not more than 
physiological we must cotmteract these by a 
heightened idealism. We are mind-and-body 
creatures, and the greatest thing in human life 
is love. If we jettison this, we are sacrificing 
one of the treasures that makes our voyage 
worth while. If the mode of life and thought 


we are inclined to acqiiiesce in tends towards 
a mere natural history view of marriage and 
children, we must correct it. While we must 
not allow the word "artificial" to be a bogy, 
we know that the substitution of mechanical 
control for moral control can never be regarded 
with entire equanimity. We must, to save 
ourselves, cultivate counteractives to mechani- 
zation, for if we lose the chivalry and tender- 
ness of lovers, the joyousness of the springtime 
of the heart, the adventurousness of early 
marriage or meagre material resources, and 
the delight of having children while we are 
yoimg enough to sympathize with them, we 
are missing some of the fragrant flowers of life. 

. y 


By Professor Leonard Hill, M.D., F.R.S. 

Throughout the material world infinitely 
great, stars, planets, and infinitely little, mole- 
cules and atoms, no less than throughout the 
living world there takes place an endless cycle 
of growth, birth, decay. 

In the living world the whole structure of 
the organism, plant, or animal, is designed for 
two purposes : first, the securing of food and so 
growing to sexual maturity ; secondly breeding. 

Living matter exists in the cellular form, 
either as unicelliilar organisms of microscopic 
size, or as congeries of multitudes of cells 
grouped into organs which subserve different 
fimctions. The different forms of cellular life 
grow assimilating food substance and absorb- 
ing energy from the environment until the 
balance of energy within the living substance 



impels the cell to bud off a part or divide, each 
bud or division then repeating the process. 

Nothing but living matter can organize the 
materials and forms of energy of the non-living 
into the living world. Each living cell (of 
microscopical size) possesses a type of energy 
which is so atttmed to the environment that 
it retains certain attributes of structure and 
function and transmits these to its offspring — 
heredity characteristics. The environment 
however influences the growth and develop- 
ment, so that no two individuals are alike. The 
variations which arise may favour existence and 
propagation of the variants, help them in the 
struggle for existence, or be against them. 

When a unicellular organism is placed in a 
drop of water it may divide into two, and the 
two may become a multitude, but finally the 
stock becomes exhausted and dies off. If, 
however, some of this stock be mixed with 
some of another stock of the same species, 
individuals of the two stocks may fuse and 
become one, and when this happens the vigour 
of Hfe and power of multiplication is restored. 


A refreshment and strengthening of the race is 
brought about by such occasional conjugation. 

Cells divide after a series of striking changes 
have taken place in the nucleus and cell proto- 
plasm which the microscope reveals. 

The living substance of the unicellular animal 
living in water carries out all the functions of 
taking in food and oxygen and excreting waste, 
moving, feeling, and propagating by division. 

In the higher animals myriads of cells con- 
gregate together and live a co-operative life, 
each inevitably subserving certain appointed 
ends fixed by its environment, each kept in 
place by struggle with its fellows, just as men 
in a city. A circulation of blood conveys 
nutriment and oxygen to all the cells; these 
are the digestive organs, the metabolic and ex- 
cretory glands, the breathing organs, the nerv- 
ous system, and the sexual organs which are set 
aside with the special function of propagation. 

In the higher organisms conjugation is im- 
perative, and male and female have been 
evolved to secure it, the male producing the 
spermatozoon, which actively seeks and fer- 


tilizes the female element, the egg or ovum, 
which passively receives the spermatozoon 
and, having conjugated with it, divides into 
cells which multiply and develop all the organs 
and bodily structure of the species, both the 
male and female influencing the offspring in 
hereditary characteristics. In plants the 
male element is the pollen and the female the 
ovule, and here again the pollen actively 
fertilizes the ovtile. 

The ovimi is a minute mass or cell of fluid 
substance called protoplasm, and comparable 
to the raw white of an egg. The ultra-micro- 
scope shows the fluid to be crowded with 
granules of various sizes and nature in active 
vibration. The ovimi, like other cells, con- 
tains a nucleus different in structure and 
chemical nature, and essential to the life and 
dividing power of the cell. The spermatozoon 
has a head containing nuclear material and a 
long vibratile filament, by means of which it 
can actively move through a watery liquid of 
suitable composition. 

The sexual apparatus in the male consists 


of the testes, in which the spermatozoa are 
produced, certain glands, the prostate, etc., 
which aid in the formation of the seminal fluid, 
and the intromittent organ, by means of which 
the semen is introduced into the female during 
the act of sexual intercourse. 

In the female, the apparatus consists of the 
egg-bearing organ or ovary, the womb, or 
uterus, in which the child is nourished during 
the first nine months of growth, the oviducts 
or Fallopian tubes which conduct the egg to 
the uterus from the ovary, and the vulva and 
vagina into which the penis is introduced 
during sexual intercourse, and through which 
the child passes from the uterus on birth. The 
female generative organs imdergo on and after 
adolescence a series of periodic changes at 
monthly intervals — the process of menstrua- 
tion, which ceases about the age of fifty when 
the woman loses the power of conception. 
Menstruation also ceases during pregnancy 
and usually while the woman is suckling a 

Ova ripen before each period and pass down 


the Fallopian tube to the womb, there to be 
fertilized by the spermatozoon mayhap, or \m- 
fertilized to perish. The womb refreshes itself 
at each period by a cycle of changes similar to 
those which occur in domestic animals at the 
time of *'heat, '* a time when sexual attraction 
of the female to the opposite sex is increased 
by flushing of the vulva and by smell and an 
impulsion thus given to fertilize, which is in 
abeyance between the ''heats.'* Before her 
period, a girl becomes most attractive and 
blooming, during it the contrary, and sexual 
intercourse is then forbidden by Mosaic law; 
during menstruation a woman may become 
more irritable, difficult, crotchety, less efficient 
as a worker; some women suffer pain and dis- 
turbance of health. In some the signs are 
slight and unnoticeable. The womb casts off 
the outer portion of its lining and renews this, 
a preparation probably for the implantation of 
an ovtrni and development of the structure 
which nourishes such if fertilized. 

If the ovum is fertilized, profound changes 
take place both in the temperament and bodily 


conditions of the mother, and while the womb 
develops the organ which nourishes the foetus, 
the development of further ova and menstrua- 
tion are kept in abeyance. 

These changes are connected with the 
growth of a structure in the ovary, which 
develops out of the cells surroimding the place 
from which the ovum escaped. 

The breasts develop, and the whole nutrition 
of the body of the mother alters to meet the 
demands of the child. 

In the case of the spinster who cannot con- 
ceive, or a wife who prevents herself conceiving, 
each menstrual period ends, so to speak, in 
a disappointment of all these organs which 
tindergo change on fertilization. In conse- 
quence of the non-fulfilment of desire and the 
physiological functions of the sexual organs, 
the sexual processes become deranged in many, 
and painful menstruation occurs, the breasts 
atrophy, the beauty is lost. In the case of the 
unmarried, the rose, blushing imcared for, fades 
away. The temperament either sours, or 
becomes ttimed to works of mercy and de- 


votion other than motherhood — some becom- 
ing nuns, others hospital nurses. Other 
women become factory hands, approximating 
to the sterile workers of the bee commtmity. 
Some few become sexual perverts and feminists 
and like the worker bees come to hate the 

The suppression of natural sexual impulses 
is the great cause of nervous disturbance of 
health called hysteria. In the war the sup- 
pression of the natural instinct for self-pre- 
servation was the chief cause of nervous 
debility; in peace the suppression of sexual 
desire is a chief cause. 

Non-satisfaction of the natural sexual in- 
stinct leads many to abnormal sexual practices, 
self-abuse practised by both sexes, harmful 
in so far as it affects the nervous temperament 
and afflicts the indulgent with feelings of 
imworthiness, etc. 

Domestic animals of one sex confined to- 
gether no less are impelled to attempts at 
sexual perversion and abuse. 

Medical experience shows that the most/ 



virile men have strong sexual instincts and 
satisfy these — ^for example, the best fighting 

« It is untrue to teach that abstinence from ' 
' sexual life does no harm. Such doctrine is ' 
' taught by old men, worn out, who have for- 1 
gotten their youth and the spring of the yotmg * 
blood, or repent of excess, or by those who are \ 
bom with a small development of the sexual \ 
organs and little desire. 

It must be borne in mind that the sexual 
glands modify the growth and development 
of the whole body and character; the boy at 
adolescence acquires a bass voice, from growth 
of the larynx, muscular development, growth 
of hair, alteration of character; the emascu- 
lated, or spayed, animal is sleek, lazy, peaceful, 
and puts on fat. 

The male animal is developed not only 
attractive, but of an active, fighting natiu-e, so 
that the best stock should win the female and 
propagate the race; the female is developed 
attractive to the male and with organs for 
nourishing the growth of the embryo. 


It is a remarkable fact that fertilization of 
the ovum can be imitated by artificial means, 
e.g. by modifying the physical and chemical 
conditions of the ovum. Sea-urchin eggs can 
be caused to develop by adding traces of 
certain salts to the sea-water in which they 
float; a frog's egg by puncturing it with a glass 
needle. Thus a live frog has been raised from 
an ovum imfertilized by the male element. 
A feminist author knowing these facts and 
hating man has gone so far as to write a book 
in which she looks forward to women in the 
future conceiving without the aid of man — an 
immaculate conception ! 

The acme of life is reached when breeding 
takes place, and many insects after fertiliza- 
tion and egg-laying die. The dragon-fly, after 
many months spent as a grub, mates in a few 
hours of glorious flight, then dies. 

The drive of the sexual instinct may lead to 
death in the very act of fertilization, e.g. the 
drone whose sexual organs are torn from him 
when he mates with the queen bee at the zenith 
of the nuptial flight into the azure of the sky, 


and dies as the reward of winning the race. 
In the autumn drones are driven from the hive 
to die by the sterile female workers. The bees 
have developed an amazing commimity — one 
fertile queen which lays thousands of eggs for 
two or three years, a few males or drones, and 
hosts of sterile workers. The queen bee keeps 
within her the store of living spermatozoa re- 
ceived by her in the one nuptial flight, and uses 
this only to fertilize eggs which are to become 
workers, or queens. The queens are developed 
at the will of the workers from a worker egg by 
a large supply of bee milk, a food of precious 

There is a species of spider wherein the male 
is so small that he has to warily approach the 
gross-bellied female or he is caught and eaten 
for his awkward gallantry. 

The higher animals have not only to pro- 
duce their young, but nourish them through 
long periods, so as to start them successfully on 
the war of life, both male and female sharing in 
this, and thus they live long and develop cim- 
ning in securing food and shelter and warding 


off the ultimate fate of all — death, death which 
is probably brought about by the accumulation 
in the body of waste products which hamper 
and finally choke the living cells, rendering 
them defenceless against the invasion of 

Man has carried the care of the young to 
the greatest extent, having to face not only 
dangers natural to all life, but the struggle 
with his fellow-men, and has evolved co- 
operation — ^the social instinct — to balance the 
struggle between individuals. With the evolu- 
tion of the ctinning of his hands and brain man 
has built up all the defences of civilization; 
handing down traditional experience not only 
by speech but by writing, finally arriving at 
the science and art of modem civilized life; 
elaborating not only all means of receiving 
food, shelter, warmth, through co-operative 
work, but means of amusing and interesting 
himself in leisure hours; the communal interest 
finally culminating in the establishment of 
monogamy and the family life, and the teach- 
ing of love and self-sacrifice, and the doctrine, 


"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to 
you, do ye even so to them." 

So lavish is the propagation of life that any 
organism imchecked would soon fill the earth. 
It has been estimated that a single unicellular 
organism by successive division in five years, 
if none of the progeny were destroyed and food 
for growth were available, would form a 
, volume of living substance ten thousand times 
the volimie of the earth ! 

While the propagation of the young is 
carried out by nature in most prodigal scale, 
the struggle for existence keeps all within 
boimds. Tens of thousands of eggs are laid 
and hatched, and all except the very few fall 
a prey to others, or to untoward conditions of 
the environment. Thousands and thousands 
of tadpoles reach the young frog stage and 
march from the pond, where some dozens of 
frogs have laid their spawn, over the grassy 
bank; but how few ever reach maturity, and 
how many tadpoles have already met their 
fate before ever reaching the frog stage? Na- 
ture cares nothing for the death of myriads, 


as she evolves in ceaseless kaleidoscopic 

The infant death-rate of man, in conditions 
where ignorance is rife and the environment 
bad, reaches 250 per thousand. In big cities 
it may be 170, in the best educated classes liv- 
ing in a garden city 30. 

Man, having learnt to secure food by barter 
and transport and to guard his offspring through 
knowledge, has occupied in millions certain 
parts of the earth. Conditions in these places 
of dense population have become so difficult, 
from mere density and crowding, that man 
now seeks to secure the joys of the act of fer- 
tilization and attain to the comforts of married 
life, and, at the same time, to escape the 
trouble and worry of raising offspring. 

Infanticide has been practised by man, 
and still is by the Terra del Fuegians, who 
have to keep their birth-rate down to their 
food supply. 

The Lacedaemonians chose the best, and 
exposed the less worthy infants in a valley, 
according to the directions of the State au- 


thority, which superseded the natiiral rights 
of the parents. 

An African tribe has selected the finest 
young men as stalHons and educated them to 
breed and exalt the stock, mutilating the 
others so that copulation took place without 
fertilization, the seed escaping outside. 

The crowded city life in itself reduces 
fertility and lowers the birth-rate apart from 
the use of artificial means. 

Those who spend much time actively 
engaged out of doors and eat natural foods, not 
the products of the miller and canner, are the 
ones who remain most virile and breed the best 
stock. Those who suffer most from nervous 
affections, depression of spirits, and unhappi- 
ness, are the sedentary people who spend their 
time in stagnant atmospheres indoors, at- 
mospheres which, as the writer has shown, 
have lower cooling and drying powers than 
those out of doors in himiid tropical climates, 
where women are known to suffer health and 
lose fertility. 

Of enormous importance to health of mother 


and child are the vitamine content of the food, 
and the incentive to appetite of open-air 

SteriHty is common among milch cows 
wherever large numbers are brought together 
and intensively fed for breeding and heavy 
milk production. The higher the dairy de- 
velopment of the cow and the greater the 
restraints of an imnatural environment the 
more the failure to breed. Lack of balance in 
the ration, gross overfeeding, food shortage, 
increases sterility and abortion. Of twenty- 
four yotmg men fed on a low war ration, 
twenty-two acknowledged they had lost sexual 
desire. They dreamt of food, not of love. 

What an effect tenement dwellings and in- 
dustrialism as hitherto carried out has on the 
race is shown by the figures following : 

The Chief Medical Officer of the Board of 
Education reports that not less than a million 
children of school age are so physically or 
mentally defective as to be tinable to derive 
reasonable benefit from the education the 
State provides. In Finsbury, he says, the 


death-rate of infants varied from 41 to 375 in 
the sub-areas, the death-rate being highest 
where there was the highest percentage of 
poor class tenements and low standard of 
social life. 

Dr. John Brownlee finds there is sixteen 
years* difference between the expectation of life 
at birth in a big city and the healthiest dis- 
tricts. At the age of five the difference is 
eleven and a half years. Twenty-one per cent, 
of children in county boroughs of the north 
die before the fifth year, and 9 per cent, in 
rural districts of the south. 

At least a million recruits, said the Prime 
Minister, were found imfit for military service. 
Between the ages of forty and fifty the death- 
rate in the unhealthiest districts is two to three 
times greater than in the healthiest. 

While the death-rate has been lowered 
generally, the relation between density of 
population and high mortality established 
many years ago by Dr. Farr has not been 
altered by improved sanitation, by good drain- 
age, pure water supply, etc. 


The high mortaUty of children is due to 
excess of respiratory and alimentary diseases, 
particularly the latter. 

While proper feeding is of paramount im- 
portance, two factors must be considered: 
(i) the right choice of food; (2) the need for 
food set up by the expenditure of bodily energy. 

The cooling and evaporating powers of the 
air are closely connected with the causes of 
high infant mortality, these acting both on the 
skin and respiratory membrane. Cool morn- 
ing air is the natural stimulus to activity and 
appetite, to deep breathing, active circulation, 
thorough oxygenation, and good digestion. 
Cool air when breathed promotes evaporation 
from, and flow of blood and l5nnph through, 
the respiratory membrane, the natural de- 
fences against infection. 

I estimate a man camping out of doors in 
cool weather, and taking several hours' hard 
exercise, may have almost a ten times greater 
flow of blood and secretion through his respi- 
ratory membrane than one living in a warm 
humid tenement. In the latter the infection 


from dust and saliva spray from ''carriers'* of 
disease is very great; in the former nil. 

Physiological research has proved conclu- 
sively that, apart from the spread of infection 
by ''carriers, '* it is not the chemical impurity, 
but the physical conditions of close air which 
make for discomfort and impoverish health. 
It is not excess of carbonic acid, nor lack of 
oxygen, nor the presence of organic impurities 
which affect us in a crowded room, but the 
heat and moisture of the air. The victims of 
the Black Hole of Calcutta died not of suffoca- 
tion, but of heat stroke. 

I have introduced an instniment, the kata- 
thermometer, by means of which there can be 
measured the cooling and evaporative powers 
of the air exerted on a surface at body tem- 
per atiu'e. 

Exposure to wind has a most potent in- 
fluence on the cooling and evaporative powers, 
an influence which the thermometer fails to 

The open-air workers and agriculturists, 
fishermen, etc., are then exposed to a greater 


cooling and evaporative power than citizens 
who dwell in tenements, travel in crowded 
conveyances, work in schoolrooms or factories, 
eat in canteens, seek amusement in cinemas. 
It is the lack of windage which largely explains 
the correlation between density of population 
and high mortality and morbidity. 

The tenement baby overclothed and con- 
fined indoors by the mother for fear of its 
catching cold, and to save trouble under diffi- 
ctilties of tenement life, dies from digestive, 
nutritive, and respiratory troubles brought on 
by infection in stagnant, warm, himiid atmos- 
pheres, and by bad feeding. Nothing is done 
to secure the natural massage of its belly 
organs by outdoor exercise and the deeper 
breathing excited thereby; to maintain the 
circulation of the blood by the action of the 
muscles during such exercise and by the hard 
tone of the body which results from such exer- 
cise; to stimulate combustion and a full utiliza- 
tion of the food, and so secure a clean bowel, 
free from excessive bacterial fermentation and 
toxic products of the same, and a keen appetite 


which will ensure the securing of enough of the 
rarer building stones required in the food for 
growth and health. 

The want of vitamines, which exist in fresh 
natural foods, milk and butter from grass-fed 
cows, succulent fresh young garden produce, 
results from the present city conditions, and 
causes "deficiency" diseases, such as scurvy, 
rickets, with the decay of teeth, with an enor- 
mous amoimt of ill-health which is not actually 
identified as disease. 

In Glasgow, some 50 per cent, of the children 
of the poor suffer from rickets, and 50 per cent, 
of the population live in tenements. In garden 
cities there is very little rickets. Eighty to 
ninety per cent, of the school children in Lon- 
don suffer from decay of the teeth. Over-feed- 
ing of the tenement babies with dirty cows' 
milk brings about fatal diarrhoea. Mothers' 
milk is defective because the mothers feed on a 
vitamine deficient diet. The older children re- 
ceive, in place of fresh natural foods, separated 
products of the miller and refiner — ^white flour, 
sugar, vegetable oil, margarine, and canned 


foods — from which vitamines are removed. 

It is open air and exercise, good feeding, 
and well-regulated rest which convert weedy- 
citizens into robust soldiers, which restore 
weakly children in open-air schools, and con- 
sumptives in sanatoria. Preventable sickness 
maims and kills as many, and causes as much 
economic loss as the late war. Garden cities 
then should be built. New sites should be 
chosen with beautiful surroimdings, and with 
all the conditions that favour a happy and 
healthy life. The young should be educated 
in the discipline of taking pride in and keeping 
perfect bodily health, all receiving the educa- 
tion in strength and character that public 
school boys obtain on the playing fields. 

The impulse to restrict conception should 
be strongest in the crowded tenements, and no 
doubt is among many harassed poor women 
who have to submit to the desire of their hus- 
bands. Not only forethought is wanting, but 
knowledge of the means, and money to afford 
the use of preventives. Thus the educated 
class tend to limit their families, while the 


careless and thriftless breed. The weak- 
witted girl may have many illegitimate chil- 
dren, conceiving again as soon as she leaves 
the home for the fallen, or workhouse, where 
she was confined, while the genius limits his 
family to one. How many of the upper class 
have limited their sons to one, and lost their 
pride and hope in the war ! 

There is some danger then of the inefficient 
propagating more than the efficient. 

There is a great disadvantage in the practice 
of limiting the family to one child; there is 
danger of the only child growing up a prig or 
neurotic ; the tumble-up struggle of big families 
is good if not too hard; the Cinderella, the 
Aschenputtel, the Benjamin of the stories win 
the prize. The single child is over-coddled, 
made a weakling, over-developed in sensibil- 
ity, the parents, not children, affording his 
interest and amusement. 

But who can wish to see children bom in 
slimi tenements? 

If woman had been evolved as an egg-laying 
animal like a bird, how easy and simple the 


control of population, and what a different 
world — ^women free from menstruation, preg- 
nancy, and the pangs of birth, the eggs selected 
and hatched in incubators! 

In consideration of the methods used to ' 
prevent conception, there is, first, abstinence , 
from intercourse. Every excitement is given 
ko youth by the heightening of sexual attrac- 
(tion through clothes, the showing of ankles, | 
ilow necks, etc. The woman impelled to seek 
a mate uses every artifice to attract. The 
present fashion impels the yotmg girl, whose I 
I complexion exposed to English climate should | 
' be perfect in colour and texture, and is spoilt 
( by indoor sedentary life and bad feeding, to 
^ powder and paint like the faded harlot of the 
^ streets. 

The one effectual means for keeping down 

the vigour of sexual desire is by a wisely regu- 

jlated diet, plus hard physical exercise and 

, occupation. The boy who aims at excelling 

at athletics and at work, who has his energy ^ 

I fully taken up and recognizes the need of 

/ keeping perfectly fit, is not troubled with ' 


joverpowering desire. Overfeeding and lazi- 
ness are great incentives to sexual immorality. 
Wet or fine, yotmg people should take hard 
exercise. If too wet for games, let them take 
an hotir or two's walk in the stinging rain and 
driving wind, and return filled with glow of 
health and joy of clean life. 

The young should not watch but should play 
games. The present system, school without 
adequate playing grounds or daily discipline in 
vigorous outdoor exercise, with the cramming 
for examinations, entailing home work and 
long hours of sedentary indoor life, debilitates 
himdreds of thousands in body and character. 

^ As the fulfilment of the sexual instinct is 
gained by man by the act of copulation, in 
woman by childbirth, the use of preventives 

( tells far more against the woman. 

^ Both are affected in character by the use of 
preventives, through the lack of the discipline 
which comes of upbringing children, the de- 
velopment of qualities of the imselfishness and 
sacrifice, the sharing in children's games and 
renewal of youth thereby, etc. 


The woman who uses preventives tends to 
lose her beauty early, becomes thin and 

The woman with strong maternal feeling 
suffers far more than those with weak feminine 

Each sex has within the body rudiments of 
the sexual organs of the other sex, and there 
are great differences in the degree of feminine 
and masculine characteristics. Some women 
may be compared to Buff Orpingtons, who 
easily become broody and make excellent 
mothers; others to Leghorns, who never want 
to breed. 

There are vast tracts of the British Empire 
waiting^ to be populated by the British race. 
Let the youth of the overcrowded cities then 
emigrate and secure room for a healthy, natu- 
ral, sexual life, a more virile character, and far 
greater happiness. 



^ By The Very Rev. Dean Inge, D.D. 

/ Social politics and religion, the two most 
important subjects on which the htiman mind 
can exercise itself, are also imforttmately the 
two subjects on which passion and prejudice 
most of all nm riot, and on which the voice of 
calm reason has least chance of being heard. 
The question of population touches both alike ; 
it is intimately concerned with social politics, 
and no less intimately with sexual morality, 
in which Christianity has from the first main- 
tained an uncompromising conflict with secu- 
lar practice. We cannot therefore be surprised 
if the majority of the public seem unable to 
treat it in a judicial temper. There is the- 
further difficulty that the subject has long been 



taboo in polite society, so that the most sur- 
prising ignoran,ce prevails about the rudimen- 
tary facts upon which any rational discussion 
must be based. Happily, this embargo is 
now being taken off, so that there is more 
hope than ever before that the public may be 
able to consider the question in all its bearings, 
if the will to form a soimd judgment exists. 

The poet Schiller said : ''While philosophers 
are debating about the government of the 
world, Hunger and Love are performing 
the task." Hunger and Love are indeed the 
motive forces which ''make the world go 
roimd." In primitive societies both are im- 
regulated; civilization, if it regulates the first, 
must at last be driven to regulate the second. 
In barbarous coimtries numbers are kept 
down by war, disease, and famine. Constant 
fighting destroys the balance of the sexes; 
the medicine man does nothing to reduce 
the mortality from disease; and failures of the 
food supply recur periodically. In coimtries 
where the milk of animals cannot be procured, 
every baby whom its mother is unable to 


suckle necessarily dies. Population in these 
barbarous conditions generally remains nearly 
stationary, except among pastoral nomads, 
who can utilize child-labour, and who enjoy a 
remarkable immimity from microbic diseases. 
These wandering tribes used to swarm periodi- 
cally, like bees to the extreme inconvenience 
of their settled neighbours. In coimtries like 
ancient Greece, where the population was 
healthy and the soil poor, and in modem 
China, which is peopled up to the extreme 
limit at which it is possible to live at all, sys- 
tematic infanticide is practised as a sheer 
necessity. But wherever we look, except in 
the rare instances when immigrants find an 
empty and fertile country, it is nowhere pos- 
sible for the natural rate of increase, which of 
course is in a geometrical ratio, to be main- 
tained. The natural rate of increase would 
double the population every twenty or twenty- 
five years. At this rate, the British Isles would 
have to support some 750 millions of htmian 
beings before the end of the next himdred 


Voluntary checks on parenthood have 
always been practised, though not to the ex- 
tent which is now to be seen in all civilized 
countries. But until quite recent times, pre- 
mature death was the chief means by which 
an equilibrium was kept up. All through the 
Middle Ages there was some drain of the rural 
populations into the towns; but the old walled 
town was such a hot-bed of disease that the 
urban population did not grow. The infants- 
mortality was enormous, as may be seen by 
consulting any old pedigree. Dean Colet's 
father, a wealthy Lord Mayor of London, had 
twenty-two children in thirty years, of whom 
the future friend of Erasmus was the only one 
to reach maturity. This is no isolated instance. 
Parents seem to have regarded this dismal 
procession of cradles and coffins as a dispensa- 
tion of Providence, and bore lightly the loss 
of children for whom there was no room. In 
very many cases, as family records show, the 
mother also died early, worn out by excessive 
child-bearing. Luther, in a brutal passage^ 
says, ''What matter? It is what she is there v 


for.** But the time came when there was room 
for a large increase in population, and (for 
reasons which I think have not been made 
quite clear) the children began to survive. 
The discovery of machinery on the one hand, 
, .and of new sources of abimdant food supply 
on the other, produced what is known as the 
^jindustrial revolution. We exchanged our 
manufactures for food, and the coal coimtries, 
among which Britain led the way, became 
gigantic workshops, depending for their exist- 
ence on being able to supply other coimtries 
with commodities which they could not pro- 
duce so cheaply themselves. To this system 
we owe our great towns, our great forttmes, 
and our social unrest. As the population grew, 
and the law of diminishing returns asserted 
itself, there came more speeding-up in manu- 
factiire, more exploitation of overseas posses- 
sions, and more concentration in towns. 
Meanwhile, improved sanitary and medical 
science more than doubled the average ex- 
pectation of life, as compared with the Middle 
Ages: diuing the last sixty years the gain has 


been from 30 to 35 per cent. So great an 
improvement in the survival-rate conld not 
be absorbed by increasing trade; for though 
we had the advantage of a long start, other 
nations were becoming serious competitors. 
The "Expansion of England" was necessarily 
slacking off. So the birth-rate began to fall 
shortly before 1880, and till the beginning of 
the war the decline corresponded closely with 
the fall in the death-rate. The net increase 
remained at its earlier figure, about i per cent, 
per annum. 

During the nineteenth century, the pressure 
was partially relieved by emigration, without 
which this i per cent, increase every year 
could not have been maintained. There is 
still abundant room for more colonists, but 
this outlet will be available only if the govern- 
ments of the Dominions wish to receive them, 
and organize schemes of colonization in co- 
operation with the home government. 

But the dominant factor in the present 
situation is that the industrial revolution has 
led to a general discontent in the populations 


of the large towns, whom it has gathered to- 
gether under unnatural conditions such as 
have never existed before. We are witnessing 
a revolt against the whole system, at the very 
time when competition with other nations was 
becoming more acute. We are, as I have said, 
losing the advantages over our rivals which 
we have enjoyed since the reign of George III, 
and it is plain that industrialism in this coun- 
try must in the future be conducted on im- 
privileged terms; in other words, the relation 
of wages to output must be that which pre- 
vails in the world generally. But it is equally 
plain that our working-class will refuse to 
accept this position. They will not be content 
even with the standard which existed when 
things were most prosperous. This revolt, 
which I am not concerned either to justify or 
to condemn in this paper, means nothing less 
than the destruction of urban industrialism in 
England, and with it must go the possibility 
of exchanging commodities for the food with- 
out which our present population cannot live. 
There may be a partial modification of the 


present attitude of Labotir; but it is not likely 
to go far enough to restore our pre-war pro- 
sperity, still less to maintain our former indus- 
trial ascendancy. The population, therefore, 
is more likely to diminish than to increase, 
and the arguments of militarists will have no 
effect in stopping a process in which Htmger, 
not Love, must have the decisive word. 

These are the facts; and we cannot approach 
the moral aspect of the subject without first 
realizing what the problem is with which we 
have to deal. 

But since moral choice is always made by 
individuals, we must consider what the usual 
motives are which lead married couples to 
restrict their families. There are two sections 
of the population in which little or no restraint 
is practised. These are: first, the reckless and 
largely parasitic people of the slums, who, 
having no pride, ambition, or self-restraint, 
produce very large families, their birth-rate 
being nearly forty per thousand. The other 
class consists of the miners, a prosperous and 
improvident set of men, much given to gam- 


bling, drinking, and other amusements, and 
among whom — this is the important factor — 
the women do not contribute to the family 
budget, and therefore do not disarrange the 
finances of the household by pregnancy and 
child-bearing. Among other well-paid work- 
men the birth-rate has fallen heavily, es- 
pecially in the textile trades, and others in 
which the wife is a wage-earner. The motive 
here is plainly economic; but we must also 
allow for the reasonable desire of the wife to 
be something more than a household drudge, 
whose working hours are far more than forty- 
eight a week. The agricultural labourer is 
often obliged to defer his marriage from the 
difficulty of finding a cottage. In the pro- 
fessional classes, where the drop has been most 
severe, the chief motives with the poor clerk 
and his like are sheer poverty, and the wish of 
the wife, who is often well-educated, to have 
a little time to herself. In the upper middle- 
class family pride is a potent motive. Parents 
wish their children to remain gentlemen and 
ladies, and desire to give them a good start in 


life, which they may succeed in doing if they 
have only two or three to help. The incidence 
of taxation, and artificial competition created 
by State-aid to promising boys from the work- 
ing-class, bear with crushing weight upon this 
class, and it is not surprising to find the lowest 
birth-rate among them. Doctors are proved 
by statistics to have the smallest families, 
then teachers, then ministers of religion. 

So far, it does not seem to me that we have 
come upon anything that calls for moral 
censure, except that the public is culpably 
blind to the disastrous results of a social order 
which encourages the multiplication of the 
most undesirable section of the population — 
the people of the slums — ^while it penalizes 
and steadily eliminates the intellectual elites 
who in this country are also, as a class, far 
above the average in physique. Family pride 
may perhaps be blamed from the highest 
Christian point of view, but it is a natural and 
certainly not ignoble sentiment. Social pre- 
judices are, in point of fact, quite as strong 
among the wage-earners, though aristocratic 


socialists know nothing of the niunerous class- 
divisions among the poor. Still less can we 
condemn the revolt of the female sex from a 
regime which confined them to what the 
Germans call the three K's, — Kirk, Kitchen, 
and "Kids/' Women have shown that they 
can engage profitably in almost every art and 
craft ; they have proved equally that they have 
a right to share in the culture and intellectual 
life of the nation. These claims are reasonable, 
and must be granted; and they are incompat- 
ible with large families, except in exceptional 
cases. There is also another cause of the lower 
birth-rate which must not be overlooked. It 
is very common for medical men to tell hus- 
bands that their wives ought not to have 
another child for two or even three years. If 
this advice is complied with — and it cannot be 
ignored without gross want of consideration 
on the part of the husband — such families as 
that of Dean Colet's parents are impossible; 
and in the educated classes some degree of 
social condemnation falls on the husband, if he 
allows his wife to suffer in health by having 


too many children. It is interesting to find 
that the Registrar-General is of the opinion 
that the slight diminution of cancer among 
women of child-bearing age is to be accounted 
for by the longer intervals which now separate 
the births of children. We come lastly to the 
rich leisured class, who are often accused of 
shirking their duties to the next generation 
from purely selfish motives. That such cases 
exist cannot be denied ; but, from the national 
point of view, the mischief which they do con- 
sists chiefiy in bad example, since their nimi- 
bers are so small as to be almost negligible. 
Very often the fashionable lady is imjustly 
suspected: she has done everything in her 
power to become a mother, but nature forbids. 
It is of course possible that a more natural and 
less self-indulgent life would sometimes bring 
her into a normal state of health. There is, 
however, much need for exhortation, in all 
classes alike, against a self-centred individual- 
ism which is attractive to many persons, 
especially those of a timid, anxious tempera- 
ment. We have other duties to society besides 


the duty to make the most of our own lives. 
To make sacrifices for one*s children is a form 
of self-denial which brings its own reward; 
and a woman, especially, who despises the 
honour and responsibilities of motherhood is 
sinning against nature, and renouncing what 
must always be the greatest privilege and 
glory of her sex. There are some, no doubt, 
who are called to benefit posterity by bringing 
ideas instead of children to the birth, and 
others who find their life's work in the service 
of causes which demand the sacrifice of domes- 
tic happiness; there may be some who are 
legitimately drawn by the Catholic ideal of 
ascetic virginity; but for the large majority, 
the high-road of marriage and parenthood is 
marked out as the right way in which they may 
serve their generation, and hand on the torch 
which they have received. 

It remains to consider briefly the contention 
that it is wrong to interfere with the processes 
of nature. If this argimient were pushed to its 
logical conclusion it would condemn celibacy, 
and prescribe early marriage as a moral duty 


for all healthy persons. It seems to me that 
such a view in untenable. And yet there is a 
grave danger that familiarity with the laws of 
physiology may lead to a materialistic view of 
all sexual questions, which would have disas- 
trous results on the morality of the nation. 
Those who at present are disposed to brush 
aside all the scruples of old-fashioned people 
about birth-control, may find in the near 
future that safeguards have been sacrificed 
which they would be glad to recover. The 
process of tearing away veils is destined to go 
further even than it has gone already. There 
is no danger, I think, to marriage as an institu- 
tion; it is far too deeply rooted in human 
nattire and social habit; but there may easily 
be a great outbreak of outwardly decent licen- 
tiousness, protected by the new methods of 
avoiding its consequences, and perhaps even a 
toleration of abnormal practices which Chris- 
tian ethics largely diminished and drove tinder- 
ground. The subject is as difficult as it is 
delicate. Moralists can only insist on the ex- 
hortations of St. Paul to treat those natural 


functions with ^'sanctification and honoiir, 
not in the lust of concupiscence, '* remembering 
the fine metaphor that our bodies are the 
temples of God, or of the Holy Spirit. It must 
be left to the conscience of individuals to apply 
this principle to their own married life. The 
high-minded man and woman will probably 
find that some degree of self-restraint is not 
only an excellent moral discipline, but also 
increases, by spiritualizing, the happiness of 
conjugal love. But no one who has had ex- 
perience and received the confidences of others 
will advocate the complete separation of hus- 
band and wife for long periods, or even per- 
manently; and short of this, abstinence is no 
solution of the problem. 

It goes without saying that the destruction 
of life which has already begun is never justi- 
fiable, except to save the life of the mother. 
Experience shows that to legislate against 
methods of preventing conception, and to 
pimish those who impart knowledge of this 
kind, has no effect except to encourage the 
practice of abortion, which is deplorably pre- 


valent in America and in the North of England. 
We must rely on other methods, not on igno- 
rance, to discourage undesirable habits, if we 
think that they are tmdesirable. 

The whole problem is created by the fact 
that in the reproductive instinct we have the 
strongest instance of what Metchnikoff calls 
the maladaptions caused by civilization. Just 
as the himian body contains (according to this 
savant) yards of tubing which the science of 
cookery has made superfluous, so the sexual 
instinct is far stronger than is necessary for 
the perpetuation of the species. A great part 
of hiiman misery is traceable to this source. 
The remedy can only come from the resources 
of civilization itself, from the right use of the 
reason which in man takes the place of instinct, 
and enables us to look forward, and take pre- 
cautions against coming dangers. It is prob- 
able that, when the food-producing cotmtries 
have all been brought imder cultivation, 
arrangements will be made to preserve an 
equilibrium between births and deaths all over 
the world. One of the chief causes of war and 


economic distress would then be removed. 
But I do not think that this side of himian life 
will ever be taken away from the sphere of 
morality and religion. Life is sacred at both 
ends; and the reverence with which mankind 
has always surrounded the mysteries of birth 
and death is no irrational survival, but a part 
of the respect which we owe to our common 
htimanity, ''made in the image of God." 


By Harold Cox 

When Malthus launched, more than a hund- 
red years ago, the theory of population which 
has since made his name known throughout 
the world, he argued that a deliberate restric- 
tion of the birth-rate was necessary in order 
to relieve the pressure of population against 
the means of subsistence. It happened, how- 
ever, that the publication of the Essay on 
Population was followed by a remarkable 
expansion of machine industry, with the result 
that in England the economic demand was for 
more, not for fewer, people. In particular 
there was an insistent demand in the manu- 
facturing districts for young children to tend 
the new machinery. A wise government would 
have prohibited the employment of children 
so young; but governments rarely are wise, 
and as a matter of fact the increased supply 



of children was largely due to the action of the 
State itself in first sanctioning a Poor Law 
system which encouraged irresponsible parent- 
age, and then permitting the Poor Law Guar- 
dians to send wagon-loads of tiny children 
from the agriciiltural districts of the South 
to work in the factories of the North. In any 
case, it is true to say that the rapid increase 
of the population of England during the first 
half of the nineteenth century was the econom- 
ic outcome of the development of machine 
industry. Large families were wanted to 
supply labour for the new machines, and in 
turn the new machines produced more than 
enough wealth to support the large families, 
though in the case of worst paid classes it is 
probable that the standard of living was tem- 
porarily lowered. These facts involve no 
refutation of the theory that population tends 
to expand up to the available means of sub- 
sistence; on the contrary they confirm that 
theory. But the facts did imply that the 
practical warnings of Malthus, so far at any 
rate as England was concerned, were for the 


moment unheeded. In spite of widespread 
poverty, population was pressing less severely 
than before against the means of subsistence, 
because the means of subsistence were ex- 
panding even more rapidly than the popula- 
tion. Machine industry and world-wide trade 
were enabling us to support within our little 
island a larger population than before. It is 
not surprising that the Malthusian doctrine 
as a practical code of life was temporarily 

The subsequent revival of the Malthusian 
doctrine was due to the conscious desire of 
large sections of the population for an im- 
proved standard of domestic and individual 
comfort. Of necessity the average citizen 
looks at the problem of population not from 
the universal, nor even from the national, but 
from the personal point of view. Prospective 
parents do not worry their minds about the 
potential food resources of the universe; they 
are content to note that by prudence in pro- 
creation they can secure for themselves and 
their children a larger life than would be at- 


tamable if the size of the family were imre- 
stricted. The direct comiection between cause 
and effect is here so palpable that no argument 
on one side or the other is needed. 

This aspect of the problem was of course 
present to the mind of Malthus. It may 
indeed be described as the dominant motive 
of his Essay. He wished to raise the standard 
of comfort of the poorer classes by checking 
the multiplication of mouths. But he had to 
meet the opposition which every proposal 
for a reduction of the birth-rate encounters 
from people whose minds are dominated either 
by rigid theological dogma or by a vague 
socialistic sentimentalism. He therefore ex- 
amined the general problem of world popula- 
tion in order to justify the primary proposition 
that it is the duty of parents only to bring 
into the world children whom they can afford 
to maintain in comfort. The same general 
considerations are involved today. The 
parents who, in ever-increasing ntmibers, are 
practising birth control for indisputable do- 
mestic advantages, find themselves criticized 


from the outside by various groups of persons 
who even go so far as to assert that the reduc- 
tion of the birth-rate is a national calamity. 
We are constantly told that there are vast 
areas of still undeveloped territory ; that there 
are incalculable possibilities of scientific dis- 
covery which will render available for human 
enjoyment natural resources now largely or 
wholly wasted; we are warned that if our 
English birth-rate be reduced the English race 
may be swamped by races more prolific. 

Even if these statements and warnings could 
be fully justified, they would constitute no 
reply to the theory of population as laid down 
by Malthus. His whole contention is that 
population ever tends to increase up to the 
means of subsistence, unless checked either 
by a prudential reduction of the birth-rate or 
by the positive evils which follow unlimited 
procreation. With a wealth of historical illus- 
tration he showed that those evils include 
disease, pestilence and famine, racial warfare, 
infanticide, and systematic abortion. 

Thus stated, the Malthusian theory is so 


obviously true as to be almost a truism. In 
all forms of animated life the inherent capacity 
for increase is practically imlimited. Malthus 
effectively quotes Franklin's saying: ''Were 
the face of the earth vacant of other plants it 
might be gradually sowed and overspread with 
one kind only, as for instance with fennel; and 
were it empty of other inhabitants it might in 
a few years be replenished from one nation 
only, as for instance with Englishmen." By 
one means or another this inherent capacity 
for increase must sooner or later be checked. 
Even if, to take Franklin's illustration, all the 
other races of the world were to disappear so 
as to leave room for the English race to occupy 
the whole globe, it would still be necessary for 
that race, sooner or later, to cease from ex- 
panding. Nor is it possible to argue that the 
issue is so remote that it need not now be con- 
sidered. For where a rate of increase is not 
progressively diminished, the volume of in- 
crease expands with ever-growing rapidity. 
To take a concrete illustration : the population 
of England and Wales in 1801 was 8,893,000. 


In fifty years the population had slightly more 
than doubled, the actual increase being just 
over nine millions. If the same rate had 
continued, the population would again have 
doubled by 1901, but the number of persons 
added would have been not nine millions but 
eighteen millions. In the next fifty years the 
same rate of increase would have produced a 
further addition of thirty-six millions; then 
seventy-two millions, and so on, till in less than 
three hundred years from the present time, 
without any alteration in the rate of increase , the 
population of England and Wales would have 
grown to 2,295,000,000, or considerably more 
than the present population of the whole globe. 
The arithmetical law which produces such 
results as these is ever operative and inevit- 
able. It follows that as the volume grows the 
rate of growth must be diminished. All living 
things are compelled to observe this law. Take 
for example, a daffodil. On the second day 
after it has peeped through the earth its visible 
height will be more than double that on the 
first day. If the same rate of increase were 


maintained, the humble daffodil, even before 
it was ready to flower, would have out-topped 
the highest oak. For this purely arithmetical 
but absolutely inevitable reason the popula- 
tion question cannot be honestly answered by 
the plea of postponement. The Anti-Mal- 
thusians may, of course, argue that the present 
rate of increase is not excessive for our present 
needs; they may even argue that it is too low. 
But no rate of increase, however low, can be 
maintained indefinitely, and therefore those 
who wish to give an honest answer to an eter- 
nal problem ought to be willing to say today 
by what means they think the rate of increase 
of the English race or of the human race ought 
to be reduced when the necessity for reduction 
can no longer be denied. 

As a matter of fact, however, the problem is 
not theoretic and prospective, it is actual and 
practical. The inherent power of increase in 
our population is today being checked, and 
always has been checked. Both the pruden- 
tial check of a controlled birth-rate and the 
pimitive check of an exaggerated death-rate 


are today operative, as they always have been. 
At no time in our history have all the members 
of our race brought children into the world, as 
rabbits do, to the full extent of their procrea- 
tive capacity ; at all times death has exacted 
heavy toll of infant life, and preventible dis- 
ease has ever been rampant. Therefore no 
speculations about the unexhausted possi- 
bilities of the globe justify the refusal of the 
anti-Malthusians to answer the plain question : 
Do you wish the potential rate of increase of 
population to he kept down by a prudential 
control of the hirth-rate or hy a punitive expan- 
sion of the death-rate? 

That there should be any doubt as to the 
reply to that question shows the extent to 
which human judgment can be warped by 
theological dogma. The control of the birth- 
rate, whether effected by the postponement of 
marriage or by the avoidance of conception, 
relieves women of the needless suffering of 
bringing into the world unwanted children; 
relieves the human race of the cost of rearing 
new beings who will never reach maturity. 


More than this the control of the birth-rate 
elevates the human race by rendering possible 
the attainment of a higher standard of comfort 
for the families concerned. No doubt there 
are some parents in this and most coimtries 
with incomes sufficient to give a thoroughly 
good upbringing to all their children, even if 
the families range to ten or a dozen. But that 
is exceptional, and no social redistribution 
would appreciably alter the situation. An 
equal division of the total wealth of the nation 
among our whole population, though it would 
reduce enormously the well-being of the 
wealthy minority, would add but a small 
fraction to the available means of the great 
majority, even if the process of division did not 
sweep away the larger part of the wealth to be 
divided. There is not enough wealth produced 
to enable any large number of parents to give 
to ten or a dozen children the life of leisure 
and fresh air, of vigorous play and moderate 
learning, which has developed the splendid 
type of manhood embodied in Englishmen of 
the well-to-do classes. 


Parents belonging to those classes have for 
more than a generation recognized this fact, 
and instead of straining their pecuniary re- 
soiirces, as well as the health of their woman- 
hood, have had families of but moderate 
numbers, to whom they have been able to give 
a thoroughly good upbringing. Hitherto the 
masses of the population have not followed 
this personally wise and racially desirable 
example. They have till quite recently been 
content to go on multiplying in houses too 
crowded for comfort or decency; in narrow 
streets too narrow for the free entry of sun- 
light and fresh air; in towns too large for a 
really healthy life. The results are plainly 
visble in the contrast of feature and physique 
between the well-to-do classes and the urban 
masses. It is only necessary to watch a mili- 
tary procession passing through the streets, 
and to note the striking difference between the 
appearance of the rank and file and that of 
the majority of the officers, to be convinced 
of the effect of upbringing upon racial develop- 
ment. For we are all — apart from the few 


aliens who have flooded in — of the same Eng- 
Hsh stock, and men whose parents started at 
the bottom of the ladder are often indistin- 
guishable physically or mentally from the 
descendants of aristocrats. There is no mys- 
tery about the matter. Throughout animal 
life we find that the highest types are the 
lowest breeders. 

It may be argued, and often is argued, that 
if we reduce our population, there is a danger 
of our being overwhelmed by more prolific 
races. The argimient is superficially plausible 
but effectively valueless as a plea for an in- 
creased birth-rate. Take the case of England 
and Germany. Before the war the annual rate 
of increase of the German population was far 
greater than our own, in spite of the enormous 
infantile mortality prevalent in Germany. 
During the war the German population has 
been reduced while the English population has 
grown, but in roimd figures the population of 
the German Empire still remains at about 
66,000,000 as compared with about 46,000,000 
for the United Kingdom. These figures alone 


show the futility of attempting to engage in a 
procreation contest with the people of Ger- 
many. Even if we went back to the maximum 
recorded birth-rate for England and Wales, 
34.6 per one thousand in 1876, and extended 
that rate to the whole of the United Kingdom, 
we should gain nothing, for Germany could, 
with the same birth-rate, produce nearly 
seven hundred thousand more babies per 
annum than we could. Is it indeed seriously 
proposed by anyone that the women of Eng- 
land should enter into a competition with the 
women of Germany to produce children whose 
final destination is to be the destruction of 
one another on the battlefield? 

Take again the Eastern Asiatic races. If 
the birth-rate were the test of racial strength 
the peoples of India and China would long 
since have overrun the world. In both these 
great hives of humanity the masses of the 
population — ^partly as the result of social de- 
gradation, partly from a childlike obedience 
to religious dogma — ^pour children into the 
world without the slightest regard for their 


prospects of maintenance. As a necessary 
consequence the children die like flies. Many 
of them, in China at any rate, are deliberately 
killed by their parents. A large proportion 
of those who survive childhood are perman- 
ently weakened in constitution because they 
have never been sufficiently nourished, and the 
mortality at all ages in Eastern Asia is far 
higher than among the less prolific races of 
Western Europe. From the point of view of 
racial efficiency the contrast is even greater. 
India was conquered by England at a time 
when our population was less than a fifth of 
what it now is, and was almost stationary. 
The higher type of manhood that is de- 
veloped by control of the birth-rate will 
always be able to take care of itself against 
the lower types produced by imlimited pro- 

Thus the patriotic argument against birth- 
control falls to the groimd. On the other hand, 
the domestic and personal advantages of birth- 
control are obvious. If a woman is called upon 
to have children as often as is physically 


possible, her life is one long illness, and her 
children are denied that individual motherly- 
care which is one of the most valuable elements 
in the rearing of fine types of manhood and 
womanhood. In addition, where families are 
large there must, in the case of a population 
like our own which is predominantly urban, be 
overcrowding both in houses and in streets. 
This difficulty cannot be overcome by any 
schemes of State housing, however many 
millions may be added to the national debt in 
order to provide compact workmen^s dwellings 
at less than cost price. The proposed dwellings 
will not give to a large family the elbow-room 
and quiet which a small family could enjoy; 
nor will the schemes proposed appreciably 
diminish the congestion of our large towns with 
their never-ending noise and the incessant 
friction of restless crowds. Yet it is certain 
that if men in the mass are to attain to the 
higher ideals of humanity, they must not only 
have a sufficiency of food and clothing, they 
must also have space in which to move freely, 
quiet in which to think seriously. The mass 


of our people — the democracy of England — 
today live in overcrowded houses, they travel 
to their work in overcrowded trams, and their 
leisure is spent on the packed benches of a 
picture palace after perhaps an hour of wait- 
ing in a queue outside the door. When illness 
overtakes them, the only change is from an 
overcrowded home to an overcrowded hospital. 
The children are given a smattering of educa- 
tion in classes too large for personal attention 
on the part of the teacher; their only play- 
ground is a walled-in courtyard or a narrow 
back street. In such conditions it is imposs- 
ible to produce the best types of hiimanity. 

But no fundamental change in the condi- 
tions can be effected as long as the poorer 
classes produce children without any regard 
to the available means for their support and 
upbringing. If the general level of humanity 
is to be raised, the poorer classes and the lower 
races must reduce their birth-rate as the well- 
to-do classes in the higher races have already 
done. Birth-control is in fact essential to 
human progress, for it is a necessary condition 


for the improvement of the racial type. It is 
also, for purely arithmetical but none the less 
inevitable reasons, the only possible alterna- 
tive to a high death-rate with all the human 
misery thereby entailed. Yet we still find 
qtiite a nimiber of people opposed to the 
Malthusian doctrine. 

Among the opponents of Malthusianism are 
to be found a few medical men, but their con- 
demnation of birth-control carries little weight 
in the face of the statistical fact that the birth- 
rate among medical men is lower than that in 
any other class in the commtmity. 

The real weight of the opposition to birth- 
control comes from a section of the clergy of 
the established Church of England, and from 
practically all the clergy of the Church of 
Rome. Both these ecclesiastical groups preach 
the duty of unlimited procreation. Yet the 
clergy of the Church of England have ceased 
to have the large families for which they were 
once famous, and now rival the doctors in their 
low birth-rate; the clergy of the Church of 
Rome are celibate. 


Ecclesiastical teachings with regard to birth- 
control is avowedly based upon theological 
dogma. The argiiments on the subject will 
be found set forth very clearly in the Report 
on the Declining Birth-Ratey published by the 
National Birth-Rate Commission in 19 16. 
From the evidence there published, it appears 
that some clergymen take the view that sexual 
intercoiurse between husband and wife is 
entirely reprehensible except for the purpose 
of procreation. This extreme view, put for- 
ward by the Bishop of Southwark, was not 
cotmtenanced by other spokesmen of the 
Protestant churches or of the Church of 
Rome. Their general view was that the desire 
for sexual intercotirse was a divinely implanted 
instinct, and might therefore legitimately be 
gratified, provided no " tinnaturar' means were 
taken to interfere with the Will of God by 
preventing conception. 

Here, as in many other controversies, the 
word '^tmnatural'* is used as a term of con- 
demnation without any attempt being made to 
show in what way the course condemned is 


contrary to nature. In the evidence referred 
to, the Christian churches, as represented by 
a committee of some of the Bishops of the 
Church of England and by Monsignor Brown, 
Vicar-General of the Roman Catholic diocese 
of Southwark, expressed their approval of 
sexual intercourse, after the wife has already 
become pregnant. Yet it might fairly be 
argued that such action is '^imnatural," for it 
contributes nothing towards Nature^s purpose, 
the maintenance of the race. On this point 
at any rate the ecclesiastical attitude is frankly 

The same ecclesiastical authorities go further 
and positively recommend that, where hus- 
band and wife for any cause desire to limit 
their family, they should confine their inter- 
course to the period of the month when 
conception is improbable. This method of 
birth-control is declared to be *' natural.*' 
(See pp. 358 and 403.) But is it natural that 
an act arising out of the promptings of a 
powerful animal instinct should be regulated 
by close scrutiny of the calendar? The real 


reason why this particiilar method of birth- 
control should receive ecclesiastical approba- 
tion is given on pp. 386 and 401. It is there 
plainly stated that this method is legitimate 
because its success is uncertain. In other 
words no sin is committed in trying to dodge 
the Divine ordinance which connects sexual 
intercourse with procreation, provided only 
an off-chance is left for the Will of God to 

The more effective methods of birth-control 
are condemned as sins and characterized as 
"unnatural.'' Yet one of these methods is 
both simple and obvious, and has probably 
been practised by the different races of man- 
kind from time immemorial. Man is part of 
nature, and it is part of man's nature to use 
his brain for the betterment of his life. Surely- 
it is more "natural " to take simple precautions 
against the procreation of unwanted children 
than it is to wear clothes or to cook food. 

But the real reason for the ecclesiastical con- 
demnation of this and other effective methods 
of prevention is purely theological. It is defi- 


nitely set forth by Monsignor Brown on p. 41 1 
of the Commission Report. The whole matter 
turns on the story of Onan, as related in the 
thirty-eighth chapter of the Book of Genesis. 
On account of that somewhat squalid story 
a large number of theologians in this country 
— ^who themselves admit the sexual instinct to 
be divinely implanted — condemn as immoral 
the gratification of that instinct except when 
accompanied by the risk of bringing into the 
world unwanted children. 



By Dr. Mary Scharlieb, C.B.E., M.S. 

The importance of the subject of artificial 
limitation of the birth-rate cannot be exag- 
gerated for not only the welfare of many in- 
dividuals but the existence of the Empire itself 
may be at stake. The subject is much dis- 
cussed at present, and with evident sincerity 
on both sides; but the more it is discussed the 
less, it appears, is the probability of agreement 
on the desirability or the danger of artificial 

It is necessary in the beginning to recognize 
clearly the essential difference between the 
limitation of families by the use of contra- 
ceptive methods, and the limitation of the 

family by means of criminal abortion. All 



decent people feel that criminal abortion is an 
offence not only against the laws of God and of 
man, but that it is also an outrage on common 
humanity and decency. Unfortimately the 
concensus of opinion goes no further, and there 
are many members of the medical profession, 
and many people who are sincerely anxious to 
promote public morality and well-being, who 
fail to see anything objectionable in the use of 
contraceptives, and who indeed, in some in- 
stances, consider that such practices are desir- 
able in the interests of overburdened married 

In considering the subject it is necessary 
to bear in mind that both parties to the con- 
troversy intend to act solely for the benefit of 
their fellow-citizens, and that, whether mis- 
taken or justified in their views, they are 
entitled to a respectful hearing and to generous 

Among the causes of birth limitation have 
been mentioned such economic difficulties as 
arise from bad housing, the absence of a living 
wage, the desire to secure a good education and 


a fair start in life for the children, fear on the 
part of the father that he may not be able to 
provide for more than two or three children, 
and on the part of the mother that the bearing 
and rearing of a natural family might be too 
much for her. Finally, in some cases, there is 
the absolutely selfish reason that the possession 
of a large family would necessarily interfere 
with the parents' comfort and enjoyment. 
With the exception of this last class of objec- 
tion to a natural family, there is at any rate 
some plausible reason for the practice of limi- 
tation. Among the most cogent of these is the 
housing difficulty. It cannot be right that 
father, mother, adolescent boys and girls, 
yotmg children and infants, should live and 
sleep, should eat and wash, in a one or two- 
roomed tenement. This difficulty, however, is 
now generally recognized, and the new Min- 
istry of Health has placed the housing question 
in the forefront of the reforms that it hopes to 
accomplish. Up to the present time there has 
been the dilemma that either the family had to 
be adapted to the nimiber of rooms for which 


the father could afford to pay, or that every- 
thing else had to be sacrificed to the acquisi- 
tion of the necessary house room. A different 
aspect of the same problem chiefly concerns 
the wife and mother. Her life is made almost 
impossibly difficult and hard when she has to 
bring up a family in one or two rooms without 
any supply of water except from a tap in the 
yard, which may be five or six storeys below, 
and when the water procured and carried up 
the many flights of steps has still to be boiled 
before it can be used for household or personal 

All the influences of the people's environ- 
ment seem to be against the natural impulse of 
parents to increase their family. Landlords, 
employers, neighbours, and self-interest, for- 
bid the natural increase, and it is not surprising 
that under such circumstances methods of 
limitation should be practised if they are 
known, and that, failing this, too many poor 
women practise criminal abortion in the hope 
of lessening their burden. The sympathy felt 
with people confronted by so serious and diffi- 


ctdt a problem cannot fail to be great when 
once their difficulties are understood, but 
unfortunately, from the time that the rise of 
industrialism caused an ever-increasing flow 
of people into our towns and cities, there has 
appeared to be very little effort to instruct 
employers and their representatives in the 
consequences that inevitably follow such ur- 
banization. Probably in this, as in many 
other directions, the greatly increased know- 
ledge and influence of women will assist in the 
solution of the problem. Of late years women 
have learnt more of the facts of life and of the 
difficulties of social and industrial problems 
than they ever knew before, and it is fair to 
hope that with an increase of knowledge and a 
deeper sense of responsibility, they will do 
much to help towards the provision of good 
housing and of adequate wages. 

With regard to the limitation of the family 
among those who have better means than the 
wage-earning class, but who are far from being 
affluent, the difficulties connected with the 
natural increase of the family are less con- 


cemed with absolute want of house room and 
with employment difficulties, but they are in- 
timately connected with the education of the 
children and the maintenance of what they 
consider to be their proper social status. As 
a matter of fact, we ought all of us to have 
learnt during the war that many things we 
formerly thought essential are of no import- 
ance, and that we can all respect each other 
even although we keep fewer servants, wear 
less fashionable clothes, and keep a simpler 
table. The question of education is in process 
of solution. The new Education Bill will do 
much to secure not only primary and second- 
ary education but a more or less comfortably 
graduated slope up to university status. 
The fears of middle-class parents that their 
children will not receive a good education may 
now be considered to be on a level with their 
fears that if they have a natural family they 
may fall below their proper social dignity, and 
will diminish as the hope of better things grow 

The mere absolutely selfish reluctance to 


have a family is totally unworthy of a people 
who understand so well how to bear the heavy 
burdens — ^financial, social, and family — that 
we have borne since 19 14. 

Reasons Against Limitations of Families 

Limitation of families is wrong and danger- 
ous because it does not control nor discipline 
sexual passion, but by removing the fear of 
consequences it does away with the chief con- 
trolling and steadying influence of sexual life. 

Secondly, the limitation of the family is not 
really in the interest of over-burdened mothers. 
It may relieve them of too frequently reciuring 
child-bearing, and from the biurden of too large 
a household ; but on the other hand, by remov- 
ing the chief check on the husband's desires 
and demands, it destroys the wife's protection 
from his too great insistence and persistence. 

Thirdly, the possibility of satiating desire 
without incurring the risk of procreation tends 
to the over-development of the sexual side of 
the characters of both man and woman. It is 


as if the loathsome practices of Heliogabalus 
made perpetual eating and drinking possible. 
As Foerster says: ''The situations which will 
necessarily arise from the man*s sexuality 
being exclusively directed towards sensuous 
gratification, and being unaccustomed to 
control, will far surpass, in tragedy, sordidness, 
and poisonous consequences, anything which 
could possibly arise from the most imlimited 
child-bearing. The increase of man's subjec- 
tion to passion and artificial sensuousness will 
be disastrous." 

The picture of a society under a regime of 
uncontrolled licence, of unbridled passion, and 
absolute self-indulgence, is far from attractive. 
It would be in all respects worse than anything 
imagined by the Epicureans. The countries 
which practised such self-abuse would rapidly 
degenerate, and would show a lack of physical 
vigotu* and of moral greatness. If the inten- 
tional restriction of offspring was practised 
chiefly by the educated classes, the balance of 
power and of government would necessarily 
incline to those who were less well educated 


but more prolific, and who, unforttinately, 
would not have behind them the steadying 
traditions of unselfishness, of self-control, and 
of capacity for command. The condition of 
such a State would be one of sheer materialism, 
the conduct of life depending entirely on bodily 
desires, not on true bodily welfare, while the 
capacity for mental and moral greatness would 
steadily diminish. Those who approve and 
inculcate the voluntary limitation of families, 
and who would divorce the sexual act from the 
intention of procreation, tell us that life is 
imperfect without the exercise of all the func- 
tions of the body; that health both of body 
and mind must suffer unless sexual desires 
receive ample gratification; and that the denial 
of gratification to sexual impulse is injurious 
to the physical and moral well-being of both 
men and women. They would have us believe 
that men who live continent lives become 
impotent, and that their nervous systems 
suffer from their self-restraint. That these 
statements are not generally correct is proved 
by the experience of thousands of men and 


women, who for various reasons live celibate 
lives in absolute chastity, and who maintain 
physical vigour and nervous integrity. This is 
not only true of clergy and the religious orders, 
but also of many men and women who for 
various reasons connected with work or with 
family circumstances have neither married nor 
have sought physical indulgence. Doctors 
are practically unanimous in the opinion that 
yotmg men and young women, even during 
the years when passion is strongest and self- 
control most difficult, can safely practise 
continence; that it does not diminish their 
subsequent fertility, nor does it injure their 
health. If these young people can be con- 
tinent without suffering injury, still more can 
those who are older and whose passions are 
less eager. In the case of the married couple, 
their mutual love and the tender intimacy of 
abstinence may be more difficult on account of 
their lives, but even in such cases abstinence 
can be practised without injury, although it 
may be that it entails more regret and more 
difficulty. There can be few cases in which 


absolute abstinence is necessary for married 
couples apart from those who, owing to im- 
healthiness of mind or body, ought not to 
have entered into the contract of marriage. 

During himdreds of years chivalry and fine 
feeling have tended to spiritualize man's rela- 
tion to woman. The finer and the more manly 
the man, the greater has been the delicacy and 
consideration which marked his conduct to his 
wife, and to all women; and one of the saddest 
implications of the present proposal to pro- 
mote a purely animal relation between man 
and woman is the fact that it tends to lower 
the man to the level of the brutes. Of course 
this is not the object of those who advocate the 
volimtary limitation of the family, but it is 
the practical outcome of such a procedure. 

A consideration of the relations between the 
sexes in the lower orders of creation shows that 
at any rate in the higher order of mammals, 
intercotirse between the male and female 
occurs only at certain intervals, and that it is 
normally followed by pregnancy. It is rare 
for the female to be willing to receive the ad- 


vances of the male except at regular intervals, 
special to each variety of animal. Probably 
the much more frequent desire of human 
beings is partly due to the fact that they are 
brought up to expect and to claim unlimited 
sexual intercourse as a right, partly to the 
tinfortunate dual standard of legal morality, 
and partly to the inferior legal and social 
position of woman, which has led to the 
opinion that whereas any lapse from morality 
on her part must bring with it social ostracism 
and censure, it has very generally been con- 
sidered neither wrong nor discreditable for 
men to consort with women who were not 
their wives, even after marriage. 

We are told that it is useless to bring religion 
and ecclesiastical law into what ought to be 
considered a purely natural question. But 
after all, the great majority of the human race 
do believe in the existence of a God, and the 
existence of the Churches is a concrete fact 
acknowledged by all States whether civilized 
or imcivilized. 

The attitude of the Roman Catholic Church 


on the questions we are considering is that 
there ought to be no restriction of the family ; 
that unmarried individuals should live in ab- 
stinence and purity ; and that married couples 
should come together only with the intention 
of procreation. The discipline of the Roman 
Catholic Church is very strenuous in theory, 
the penalty for breaking her rule going to the 
length of withholding the Sacrament from 
offenders against her law. It is impossible to 
pretend that all Roman Catholics obey the 
law of their Church in this matter, but that 
something is achieved by her directions is 
proved by the fact that the average number 
of children in Roman Catholic families is 6.6 
as against an average of 3.13 in the general 

The attitude of the Church of England in 
this matter is embodied in the resolution of the 
Lambeth Conference of Bishops. This resolu- 
tion pronounces that "deliberate tampering 
with nascent life is repugnant to Christian 
morality." It advocates a "natural and tem- 
perate use of a state appointed by God/' 


The Bishops recognize that under certain 
conditions of health and of finance the natural 
increase of the family may be undesirable, and 
that some married couples may have to live in 
abstinence. Further, they are of opinion that 
** Christian chastity in married people means 
the power to bear all this without injury to the 
wife or sinful indulgence with others. Such 
chastity will by some be found exceedingly 
hard, but it is entirely consistent with health." 
They believe that in some cases restriction of 
intercourse to the mid-menstrual period may 
Stiffice, and they hold that recourse to drugs 
and to appliances is dangerous, demoralizing 
and sinful. In their opinion restriction "errs 
against purity by isolating the physical side of 
sexual union, and making it an object in itself 
apart from its proper purposes.'* 

With regard to the Jewish Chtirch, we learnt 
in 1 91 6 from the Chief Rabbi that ''among the 
Jews the use of preventives is strongly con- 
demned as unclean and demoralizing. The 
only exceptions that could ever be allowed are 
where there is danger to life ; this consideration 


overrides almost all moral rules. Every male 
Jew is bidden to marry and have children. A 
widower with less than two children must 
marry again. Childlessness is regarded as a 
misfortime or a disgrace. Marriages of per- 
sons physically or mentally unfit for healthy 
parenthood are severely forbidden. The wel- 
fare of the next generation is the object chiefly 
kept in view." 

The attitude of the Free Churches was less 
definite, but the great majority of Noncon- 
formists as represented by several leaders of 
the Free Churches have recently stated that 
"if confronted with the problem they would 
imhesitatingly condemn the use of all mechani- 
cal or chemical means of prevention and would 
strongly insist on the volimtary moral control 
of all natiu-al fimctions." 

This is a very remarkable consensus of 
opinion, and it is only of late years that the 
duty of maintaining the natural function and 
of accepting the consequences of marriage has 
been doubted. There have always been people 
who failed to live up to their convictions, and 


of course immorality and an improper use of 
the married state have always existed, but it 
has been reserved for our generation not only 
to insist on doing wrong but to justify the 
wrong-doing, to seek to spread the knowledge 
and means of wrong-doing; not only to justify 
it but to present it to the world as a good and a 
right procedure, as something to be aimed at 
by those who desire their own welfare and the 
welfare of their children. 

Among those whose opinions are on novel 
lines and held seriously, even religiously, is Mrs. 
Marie Stopes, D.Sc. As revealed by her writ- 
ings, she is frankly and emphatically in favour 
of the limitation of families. She discusses 
the question in her books and especially in 
Chapter IX of Married Love. She is of the 
opinion that although some men may find 
abstinence easy, the majority do not — that 
to nearly all men complete abstinence is irk- 
some and difficult, while to some men such 
restraint amounts to physical and mental 

In Married Love Dr. Stopes defines her 


position and argues that much harm is done 
to married couples partly by painful efforts at 
abstinence, partly by the interruption of their 
relations, and partly by the means taken to 
prevent the natural consequences of matri- 
mony. In a second book, Wise Parenthood, 
Dr. Stopes reviews the contraceptive methods 
usually practised, and finds that some of them 
are ineffectual and others are, in her opinion, 
harmful to husband or wife or to both of them. 
She then proceeds to describe a method which 
she considers safe, effectual, and easy of ap- 

In both these books, and also in a pamphlet 
entitled "A Letter to Working Mothers,'* Dr. 
Stopes maintains the view that artificial restric- 
tion of conception, would result in the birth 
of finer, healthier, and more beautiful children. 
According to Dr. Stopes, this result would be 
secured by the intervals between child-bearing 
being longer. The mother's health in general, 
and her capacity for child-bearing in particular 
would thus be maintained at a higher level; 
and the children who are generated when. both 


father and mother desire an increase in the 
family are bound to be better specimens than 
those produced by careless or unwilling par- 
ents. Dr. Stopes emphasizes very strongly 
the right of every woman to dispose of her own 
body, and is therefore of opinion that she 
should be free to receive her husband's ad- 
vances only when she is fully desirous of doing 
so. In passing, one may well admit the justice 
of the view that a woman should not be coerced 
into motherhood, nor indeed into sexual union, 
but surely the true freedom and safety of 
woman should be secured by the chivalry 
and reverent love of her husband ; and it is to 
be remembered that contraceptive methods, 
far from aiming at giving the mother full con- 
trol over her own body, aim only at preventing 
conception, and, by relieving the husband of 
all responsibility and fear of consequences, 
the use of them inevitably tends to make his 
demands greater. 

It is also, as has been already pointed out, 
extremely unfair to the woman, for while de- 
fending her against too frequent conception, 



it tends to make her still more liable to \mdue 
sexual demands. 

The injury that a general reception of con- 
traceptive teaching would inflict upon the 
immarried is even greater. A knowledge of 
the methods of preventing conception cannot 
but tend to break down the safeguards that 
are so badly needed by many unmarried men 
and women. The mere discussion of contra- 
ceptive methods is lowering to the moral 
sense and to the innate reserve and purity of 
decently brought-up young people. That such 
a subject should be made the matter of public 
discussion is a deep injury to the conscience 
of the nation, and if the methods detailed by 
Dr. Stopes should become generalized, there 
is reason to fear that many thousands of 
young people who might otherwise have re- 
tained their virtue, and who might have looked 
forward to honourable matrimony, will be in- 
jured both in body and soul. It is also prob- 
able that a very considerable proportion of 
unmarried people who indulge in promiscuous 
relations will be in danger of contracting 


venereal diseases. In short, it would appear 
that, should the nation at large listen to such 
teaching and adopt it, those who have put it 
forward must be numbered amongst the 
greatest enemies that our race has known. 

Among the serious and thoughtful advocates 
of birth restriction must be nimibered Dr. 
Killick Millard, Medical Officer of Health of 
Leicester, who published his views in the 
Nineteenth Century for November, 191 8. As 
the result of inquiries that he made among his 
professional brethren, he found that a consider- 
able majority of them did not consider that 
the use of contraceptive methods led to es- 
trangement between husbands and wives, or 
to any physical injury. 

Dr. Millard was anxious, as he said in his 
article, that this very important subject should 
be further investigated. In his view the de- \ 

sideratimi was a non-injurious, reliable, and 
practicable method for preventing conception, 
and he thought that if it could be established 
that scientific methods properly applied were 
not injurious to either husband or wife, there 


would be good reason for asking the Bishops 
to reconsider their attitude. He pleaded that 
from the eugenic point of view the present 
position was most imsatisfactory, because 
birth-control is practised by the Ai classes and 
is neglected by the C3 classes; and further 
that if birth-control were selective, so as to 
operate in cases where an hereditary taint 
existed, it would be a valuable eugenic in- 

It has also been urged that of necessity the 
rate of the natural increase of the population 
must decline as its volume increases, and that 
this reduction must be brought about by vol- 
untary reduction of the birth-rate or by an 
increase in the rate of infantile mortality. 
Now it is clear that ordinary himianity and 
national righteousness alike forbid any careless 
increase in the mortality rate, and a little re- 
flection shows that voltintary restriction of 
the birth-rate is, to say the least, not necessary. 
There are wide spaces of the earth awaiting a 
tide of population to exploit their riches, and 
even our own national estate is badly imder- 


manned. We are told that some time in the 
future the total surface of the earth will not 
carry sufficient harvests to feed its population, 
but it is evident that that time is not near at 
hand, and also that the resources of science 
have yet to be devoted to the extraction of the 
many undeveloped gifts of nature. Intensive 
cultivation, chemical and electrical, is in its 
infancy, and any talk of insufficient production 
is premature. At present we are suffering 
from insufficient population. 

Put very briefly, the advocates of birth-con- 
trol appear to desire it because in their opinion 
men and women are not strong enough nor 
wise enough to practise self-control. They are 
honestly convinced that marriage is not for 
the procreation of children, for mutual love 
and support, nor for avoidance of sin, but 
that it is to afford free and legitimate outlet 
for sexual desires — that under the segis and 
sanction of matrimony there shall be afforded 
lifelong opportunities for unlimited sexual 
gratification. To sustain this argument certain 
subsidiary reasons are adduced — such as the 


diffictilty of providing housing accommodation, 
the impossibiUty of the man providing for 
more than two or three children, the injury 
inflicted on wives by frequently repeated 
child-bearing, the difficulty of rearing a large 
family, and the fear that the world itself will 
be tmable to sustain the children that may be 

A consideration of these aguments leads to 
the conclusion that the majority of those who 
advance them are thinking, not of the right 
and wrong involved by limitation of families, 
nor of the spiritual, moral, and nervous injury 
that might be inflicted by so doing, but that 
they are chiefly considering the question from 
the physical, the hedonistic, and material 
points of view. The argimients in favour of 
contraceptive methods appear to be chiefly 
that a natural family must in many cases 
prove a heavy financial burden on both parents, 
and also make an excessive demand on the 
strength and energy of the mother. Secondly 
that abstinence even for a time, or limited to 
certain periods of the month, is impracticable 


for most people, and that it is making too 
great a demand on the self-control, the hus- 
bandly affection, and the chivalry of men. 

With regard to the economic aspect of the 
question, one would like to suggest that hous- 
ing, wages, and education, together with all 
other necessities of life, ought to be adapted to 
the population, and not the population to the 
economic considerations. If ever there were a 
time in the history of the world when the work- 
ing-class population had the right and the 
power to insist upon a great amelioration of 
their lot, that time is the present. The Gov- 
ernment, the capitalists, and the philanthrop- 
ists are all at one in agreeing with the working 
classes that we can never return to the old 
condition of things. Everyone feels that 
better housing, better wages, better education, 
shorter hours of work, and a larger share of 
amenities and amusements are the right of 
those who have done so much to save the 
Empire. The problem is an extraordinarily 
difficult one and needs time, knowledge, and 
goodwill for its solution; but an answer can 


assuredly be found, and the right answer is not 
the restriction of the population, but a more 
equitable division of wealth, and of all those 
things that wealth can buy. We must also 
remember that by removng the natural result 
of sexual intercourse, those who advocate the 
use of contraceptives are removing one of 
the most potent safeguards which protect the 
welfare of married women, and that while they 
are making her more than ever subject to her 
husband's desires, they are to a great extent 
robbing her of her power to be mistress of 
herself. Further, they do not seem to realize 
the probable result on immarried people of 
diffusing the knowledge of the use of contra- 
ceptives. Those immarried people who are 
not protected by a high ideal of morality 
are at the present time frequently deterred 
from wrong-doing by their knowledge of the 
probable consequences. It has always been 
held that women are the superiors of men in 
the matter of sexual morality; we have no 
truth of this belief. In regard to other 
shortcomings, such as untruthfulness, dis- 


honesty, and selfishness, the two sexes appear 
to be fairly on an equality, and there is some 
reason to think that the woman's higher stand- 
ard of sexual morality is very largely the 
product of her age-long fear of the conse- 
quences of immorality. It is all too probable 
that if the fear of bearing illegitimate children 
were removed women as a whole might gradu- 
ally sink to the level of men in the matter of 
sexual purity. Up to the present time the dual 
standard has prevailed, and sexual dereliction 
on the part of the man has always been con- 
sidered to be so natural and so common as to 
need little excuse or apology. On the other 
hand, the woman who has had an illegitimate 
'child has been considered to be so degraded 
that even the attempt to rescue her has been a 
forbidden subject in polite society. Parents 
have not hesitated to give their daughters in 
marriage to men who were notorious evil 
livers, but men have very rightly objected to 
marrying a girl who was known to have made 
so fatal a mistake. It is quite easy to under- 
stand how this state of things came about. 


The maid, or wife, who had an illegitimate 
child introduced bastardy and visible shame 
into her family, and although in these latter 
days we are lovingly and justly endeavouring 
to save the unmarried mother from the worst 
consequences of her sin, and while we are 
endeavouring to secure nurture and education 
for the much sinned against offspring of ir- 
regular unions, we should surely also endeav- 
our to level up the moral standard of the men, 
and to teach society that there can be but one 
standard for both sexes, and that both man 
and woman should bring to their espousals 
healthy bodies and pure minds. 

Very great efforts are being made to effect 
this object. It is recognized that a marriage 
between a healthy and a diseased individual 
must not be tolerated. It looks as if the time 
was near when bride and bridegroom will be 
required to exchange certificates of health, 
and this will probably hasten the day when 
prospective brides and their parents will be 
more careful than they are at present that both 
parties to the union shall bear an unblemished 


reputation. Girls and women are no longer so 
ignorant and so helpless as they were, and the 
teaching, not only of Christianity but of eu- 
genics, patriotism, and enlightened self-in- 
terest, will lead to the demand from both 
bridegroom and bride that the prospective 
partner shall be sound and untainted in mind 
and body. 

All these legitimate hopes and aspirations 
will receive a very serious setback if the new 
views on the use of contraceptives become gen- 
eralized. The philosophy involved in the limi- 
tation of the birth-rate is purely materialistic; 
its real aim and object is to secure gratification 
without incurring responsibility: it tends to do 
away with the protecting and chivalrous love 
that has hitherto distinguished the more 
thoughtful and considerate of husbands, it 
tends to reduce all to the purely animal level, 
and to rob the imion of man and wife of its 
spiritual significance. 

In the present position of medical knowledge 
it is not possible for anyone to say that un- 
restricted sexual intercourse is necessary for 


the health of any individual. God in His 
mercy has attached feelings of pleasiire and 
gratification to those acts whereby individual 
and racial life are secured. All healthy people 
enjoy the taking of the food that is essential 
to their well-being and to the continuance of 
their usefulness ; and the person who does not 
enjoy food and has not a healthy appetite is 
abnormal and should consult a doctor. In the 
same way, in the great majority of instances, 
the act which is necessary for the continued 
life of the race is pleasurable, and is as right 
and as natiu-al as is a good appetite for food. 
Society imites in condemning excessive delight 
in the pleastires of the table; those who are 
over-indulgent to themselves in the matter of 
food or drink are considered to be outside the 
pale of good society, while the law of the land 
deals with those who steal or pilfer in order to 
satisfy the desires of their stomachs. Appetite 
for food is the deepest instinct of human 
nature, and next to it in power and in depth is 
the instinctive desire between the sexes. But 
here again gratification of instinct must be 


ruled by reason and by opportunity. The 
excessive use of what is lawful is degrading 
and a wrong to the offender's own nature, and, 
as in the case of dishonestly acquired food, the 
sexual gratification that is secured at the cost 
of another is a matter that brings the offender 
under the power of the criminal law. No 
harm, but great good, is done by the careful 
regulation of human appetites, and the doctors 
of today agree in the fact that self-control 
and continence injure no one. 

Evidence on this point is clear and uncon- 
flicting. The medical witnesses called before 
the Birth-Rate Commissions were unanimous 
in their statements that continence before 
marriage, and chastity and moderation after 
marriage, are not only consistent with perfect 
health but are hygienic and desirable. 

It is also necessary to consider whether the 
use of contraceptives has any injurious effect 
on those who use them, and whether from this 
point of view there is not some reply to those 
who advocate their use. 

A long professional life devoted to the ser- 


vice of women leads me to the conclusion that 
contraceptive practices are injurious in their 
effects on many who use them. These injuries 
occur almost entirely through their influence 
on the nervous system. Women approaching, 
or passing through, the menopause often suffer 
from a noticeable amoimt of nervous worries. 
They are irritable, depressed, and difficult; in 
many instances they sleep badly and suffer 
from headache. Women at this critical period 
frequently complain of vague nervous sensa- 
tions — such as numbness, pins and needles, 
*' neuritis'* (so called), and other unnatural 
sensations which lead them to fear the onset of 

All these symptoms are not essential to the 
menopause — ^they are exaggerations or distor- 
tions of what is natural to the change of life. 
The young girl should go through her period of 
evolution comfortably and healthily. So the 
middle-aged woman should go through her 
involution without imdue creaking and jarring. 

The yoimg girl who has been over-indulged, 
and whose nervous system is in a condition of 


irritable weakness, will suffer unduly during 
the rapid evolution of puberty. Just so the 
elderly woman whose nerves have been injured 
by excess in alcohol, in sexuality, or in other 
ways, will fare hardly at the menopause. 

The injury inflicted by any unnatural habit 
is deep and lasting — ^more formidable than any 
local lesion. From the nature of the case, no 
absolute demonstration can be made, but the 
cumulative evidence derived from forty years' 
experience cannot be set aside. After all, such 
injury is paralleled by that inflicted on the 
appetite by disregard of the accustomed hours 
of meals. The individual who does not eat 
at the usual time will find that when he lays 
aside his work or pleasure and sits down to 
table he has lost not only desire, but also the 
power of digestion. Other examples of this 
law of nature can be furnished. Irregularity 
in responding to the calls of nature leads to 
perversion of the nervous impulses, and so for 
instance to sleeplessness and to constipation. 
If people wish to have the greatest good; if 
they wish to reap the best harvest of which 


their natures are capable, they must be the 
wiUing, intelhgent, and obedient servants of 
nature. There is nothing natural about the 
use of contraceptives: they are all intentional 
methods of contravening nature. Probably 
the correct rhythm of reproduction in the 
human being is an interval of about two years. 
If we had not become over-sexed by imdue 
indulgence, there would have been little con- 
ception except immediately after a period, 
and none during lactation. The remedy lies in 
the direction of athleticism and self-control. 

Among the means to further the cause of 
temperance and chastity among men and 
women, we must give the first place to the 
sanctification and disciplining of human natiire. 
Each individual is a trinity in unity, and the 
things that benefit or that harm any one part 
tend to benefit or to harm the whole . Chastity 
and self-control of the body connotes purity 
and refinement of mind and the elevation and 
sanctification of the soul. It is not for nothing 
that we find the words which express health 
and holiness belonging to the same root, nor is 


it a subject for astonishment that those who 
are insane of mind are frequently degraded in 
soul and imperfect or diseased in body. Those 
who know anything of national statistics are 
aware that the insane, the criminal, and the 
sexual pervert are frequently defective both 
in mind and body. Conversely, it is a matter 
of general experience that the environment 
and education which tend to promote healthi- 
ness and soundness of mind also promote 
physical well-being. Therefore, if men and 
women wish to be the "masters of their fate" 
and ''captains of their souls," they must en- 
deavour to secure their physical well-being 
by moderation in all things. Among the con- 
quests to be won over the lower nature is the 
disciplining of the desires; and among the 
natural desires, the two that give the most 
trouble, and also which react most upon each 
other, are the love of strong drink and sexual 

The evidence given before the Royal Com- 
mission on Venereal Diseases showed that the 
act to which infection with these diseases is 


generally due was committed in some 90 per 
cent, of the cases while the individual was 
imder the influence of alcohol. Not that he or 
she was necessarily drunk, but that alcohol 
enough had been taken to silence conscience 
and to cloud the judgment. In like manner, 
much of the excessive sexuality and gross 
materialism that conspire to cause over-fre- 
quent demands upon a partner's generosity 
have their origin in the same deterioration of 
moral control. There is reason to hope that 
our. coimtry will not again descend to the level 
of excessive alcoholism which disgraced it 
before the war. During the war the Central 
Control Board (Liquor Traffic), imder the 
guidance of Lord D' Abemon and his colleagues, 
secured a very marked improvement in the 
incidence of alcoholism. Convictions for 
dnmkenness both among men and women 
diminished wonderfully; so, too, did certain 
other consequences of alcoholism, such as 
deaths from deliriimi tremens, deaths from 
cirrhosis of the liver, and cases of the suffoca- 
tion of infants. These benefits were secured 


partly by closing a considerable number of 
superfluous public-houses, but also by the 
measures which prevented drinking in the 
early morning and late at night, and which 
practically limited the hours of sale to the 
times of the two principal meals. Thus was 
prevented the terrible consequences of con- 
tinuous ** soaking,'* and also of the early 
morning dram on an empty stomach. If the 
legislation which is now proposed is capable of 
continuing this national benefit, we may look 
for a steady increase, not only in efficiency and 
bodily health, but also pari passu of economic 
ease and of self-control. One of the conse- 
quences of this increased sobriety would be a 
diminution in the birth of illegitimate children, 
and also a more rational and considerate 
exercise of the rights of married men and 
women. Up to the outbreak of war, it is to be 
feared that the lives of millions of our fellow- 
citizens consisted in long hours of badly paid 
work, of insufficient and badly cooked food, 
and of the deep sleep of utter exhaustion. In 
such lives there was scarcely any hope of de- 


veloping self-control, and in too many in- 
stances, the unfortunate couple came perilously 
near to the absence of rational pleasures and 
of being driven into so degraded a position 
that their appetites and desires were scarcely 
distinguishable from those of the lower orders 
of creation. 

All people who have studied adolescents and 
young adults agree that the years of maximum 
temptation to sexual excess are those when the 
body is strongest, the passions are most vivid, 
and the power of self-control is weakest. Pro- 
bably few men and few women become alcohol- 
ics or begin a career of unbridled sexuality after 
the age of thirty. Something, then, ought to 
be done to help the young members of the 
commtinity to withstand their great tempta- 
tions. Much has been done and still more 
remains to do. As was pointed out above, the 
problem of temperance so far as alcohol is 
concerned was never before presented in so 
hopeful a manner as it is now, and it seems 
likely that this temptation at any rate will be 
lessened and made more bearable in the im- 


mediate future. There is also an awakened 
conscience and a clearer insight in those who 
control the destinies of the nation, and in those 
who love their fellow-men. There is definite 
hope that the important and difficult question 
of the better housing of the people is already 
imdergoing solution, that fair wages and rea- 
sonable hours of work will be not only claimed, 
but conceded and secured, and that in conse- 
quence the young men of the working classes, 
the young husbands and potential fathers of 
the immediate future, will be helped to attain 
to a higher level of manhood and of chastity 
by a diversion of their desires to other objects 
than drink and women. When our lads play 
cricket and football heartily themselves, in- 
stead of merely looking on, a great step 
towards the attainment of public morality 
will have been made. Athletic exercises of all 
sorts, the provision of public swimming-baths 
and washhouses, the provision of drill halls, 
institutes for Swedish exercises, and (perhaps 
as important as any of these means) tea gar- 
dens, good and elevating cinemas and dramatic 


representations, will tend to the purification of 
the mind and to the satisfactory development 
of the body, the lack of which development 
constantly leads to moral disaster. 

If these and other similar methods of edu- 
cation and amusement were provided, sexuality 
would naturally take its proper place, and 
its proper place only, in the life of each in- 
dividual. The instinct is too deeply rooted 
for there to be any fear that it would diminish 
unduly, but improved social status, improved 
bodily health, and the competition of other 
forms of pleasure and enjoyment would reduce 
it to its proper influence, and its proper in- 
fluence only. 

A woman living imder physiological condi- 
tions would probably have a child about once 
in two years — nine months' lactation, six 
months' holiday, and nine months' pregnancy 
would prevent a woman from the very undue 
strain of bearing a child once a year. If 
married life began about the age of twenty, the 
young woman's fertility would be at its height, 
and it would generally have begun to diminish 


by the time she had borne five or six children. 
A family of this size would be none too big for 
the necessities of the Empire. Two children 
might be taken as representing the father and 
mother in the home population, while three or 
four would not be too large a contribution 
towards the adequate population of the 
Britains Overseas. It may be true that Eng- 
land is already sufficiently populated, but the 
same cannot be said of the outlying parts of 
the Empire, some of the fairest parts of which 
are so sparsely populated that they offer 
almost overwhelming temptations to their 

We must also remember that for many years 
to come, every potential husband and father, 
every living and healthy child, is a valuable 
national asset. We have lost most of the 
yoimg men who ought to have been the fathers 
of the next ten or fifteen years. Mercifully, the 
reproductive period of men is not so limited 
as is that of women; if it were, the position of 
our population would be hopeless. But even 
as it is, every effort should be made to assist 


the working population, and perhaps even 
more those members of the community who 
are well educated and have a real stake in the 
coimtry, but whose small fixed incomes make 
their real economic position worse than is that 
of the labouring classes. 

Graduated remissions of income-tax, the en- 
dowment of mothers and of children up to the 
age of fourteen, the provision of a real living 
wage, and the steady encouragement of all 
classes to work hard and to increase our ex- 
ports, are amongst the means that may be 
taken to solve the problem of the birth-rate. 

While doing all in our power to render the 
lives of our people holy, happy, and healthy; 
while endeavouring to afford a better answer 
to the question than is given by those who pro- 
pose the use of contraceptives and the limita- 
tion of families, we must not forget the twin 
problem of infant mortality. It is useless for 
women to imdergo the inconveniences and 
trials of pregnancy and the pains and perils of 
child-birth if the infant population is to die 
at an average rate of one in eight during the 


first year of life. From the experience of some 
parts of the British Isles, and from the ex- 
perience of New Zealand where the rate of 
infant mortality scarcely exceeds thirty in the 
thousand, it is evident that the present average 
of infant mortality is tmnecessarily high, and 
that if all were done that could and should be 
done to secure that children are bom healthy, 
and that they are properly fed, warmed, and 
clothed during infancy, a greater part of our 
harvest of babies wovild be saved. 


By Rev. F. B. Meyer, D.D. 

To determine the relations of Man and Woman 
in the most intimate privacies of life is by no 
means easy — the more so as the ideal and the 
conventional are more sharply divided here 
than on almost every other subject, and 
because no one has the right to entail on his 
fellows burdens which neither he nor they are 
able to bear. 

The relation of the sexes is the most im- 
portant consideration imder the sim, affecting 
as it does, not homes and families alone, but 
nations, races, and civilization. It is integral 
to hviman well-being. Probably it is related 
to mysterious unities and affinities, of which 
we are but dimly conscious, but which govern 
earthly attractions and repulsions, as mag- 
netic disturbances the ebb and flow of ocean* 
tides. ^ 



The interactions of sex begin in the abandon 
of the nursery. Before the piire veiled eyes 
of brothers and sisters the first letters in the 
great alphabet of life are taught. Hence on 
the one hand the immense loss and deprivation 
of the only child, and on the other the immense 
gain of the large family, especially where the 
elder sister mothers the tiny brother, and 
Mother Nature in her inimitable manner im- 
veils mysteries before prurient curiosity has 
awakened to set itself on its secret quest. It is 
a happy lot when a large family, of different 
ages, grow naturally and simply under the 
careful and wise tendance of parental nurture. 

In after years the relation of brother and 
sister has often tended to become idyllic, and 
many a man has found in his sister the comple- 
ment of his own moral and intellectual existence, 
and has felt no need of other womanhood 
than her pure and gifted nature supplied. 

It is not to our present purpose here to dwell 
on the elective affinity that should draw to- 
gether this man and this woman into the 
marriage union, which in immortal words is 


compared to the setting of perfect music to 
noble words. Suffice it only to say that what 
begins merely in the physical is like enough to 
end in disappointment and rupture, and that 
the true relationship is the mating of spirit 
with spirit, of mind with mind, of heart with 
heart, in such idealizing each of other that the 
body of either is reverenced as a holy thing, 
not to be desecrated, as Pompey desecrated 
the white marble of the Temple when he 
sacrificed a sow within its precincts. Where 
there is true love, which is the coalescing of 
souls, an idealizing halo, which is akin to wor- 
ship, is flung around the object of affection, 
and arrests the intrusion of animal passion or 
lust on the threshold of the soul. 

Since this is not a manual on the stages 
which precede and lead up to the marital act, 
it is beyond our province to urge that on either 
side in the marriage-contract there should be 
assured good health, that each should be ac- 
quainted with the nature of the marriage-act, 
and that some interval shotdd be allowed to 
elapse between the exhausting experiences of 


the preparations and festivities and the con- 
summation of the marriage itself. Attention 
to these three partictilars will have not a little 
effect in the many questions which will arise 
from the new and vital relationship of the 
newly married pair. 

We proceed, therefore, to enunciate — ^with 
all reverence and purity of intention — the 
following propositions: — 

I . That the wife must be a consenting party. 
She is not a slave or a chattel. Her body is her 
own, and she has the right to refuse as well as 
to grant. In an authoritative Jewish memo- 
randum on this subject, the following state- 
ment is made: ''Though conjugal rights are a 
husband's duty (Exodus xxi. 10), the wife's 
consent is at all times an indispensable pre- 
requisite. The exercise of such rights is dis- 
cotmtenanced in a state of alcoholism, and in 
times of individual or social psychic depression. 
But tmreasonable and prolonged denial on the 
part of either husband or wife entitles the 
other to divorce." A similar memorandum 
from an influential member of the Roman 


Catholic Church discusses the several occa- 
sions in which a wife is freed from the obliga- 
tions to render the rights of marriage. For 
instance, the tise of marriage is forfeited by 
either party committing adultery. In this 
case the innocent party may refuse intercourse, 
but may ultimately pardon and condone the 
offence. "Under the above heads/* the 
memorandum continues, ''may be included 
dnmkenness, especially on the part of the 
husband, when demanding the rights of mar- 
riage, also the risk of contracting contagious 
and infectious disease, and when very grave 
injury is likely, in the opinion of medical 
advisers, to result from child-birth." In a 
memorandtim prepared by a Committee of 
Bishops of the Anglican Church, the same 
rights are implied, though not so explicitly 
expressed, in the following: "We think it 
sufficient to say that women should do all in 
their power to make and keep marriage whole- 
some, natural, and chaste, and to reinforce, by 
their own ever-stronger and finer instinct, the 
resistance to the misuse of marriage; nor 


should they shrink from the heavy burdens 
which marriage may entail upon them." A 
distinguished Free Churchman states the 
matter thus : ' ' The performance of the marital 
act at any time should be at the will of the 
woman as well as of the man." 

It is probable that man's failure to observe 
the rights of woman in this respect has, to a 
large extent, led to that revolt against mar- 
riage which has characterized the intellectual 
women of our age. They argue that it is im- 
reasonable to secure the unmarried against 
rape, but to expose a woman, apart from her 
consent, to the licence of her husband's passion. 
The gravity and wisdom of Jeremy Taylor's 
dictimi cannot be challenged when he says: 
**In their permissions and licence the husband 
and wife must be sure to observe the order of 
nature and the ends of God. He is an ill 
husband that uses his wife as a man treats an 
harlot, having no other end but pleasure." 
At the same time, we cannot go to the length 
of a vigorous defender of woman's rights, when 
she says: ''If a husband cannot properly 


control his amorous propensities, he and his 
wife had better by all means occupy separate 
beds and different apartments, with a lock on 
the communicating door, the key in the wife's 
possession." In practice such action would 
go far to destroy the mutual confidence and 
love which are the foundation of a happy 
married life. Directly man and wife have to 
turn the key on one another, the married-altar 
has cnmibled into decay and they are bound 
by the iron mandates of the law instead of the 
tender ties of a uniting affection. Respect for 
each other's rights is the foundation of married 
love. Where this is present, the husband will 
not demand what the wife cannot concede, and 
the wife will go to the furthest lengths of con- 
cession for the sake of the man whom she 
respects and loves. 

Throughout the entire animal creation, the 
condition of the female always determines 
the approaches of her mate. Though he is the 
more aggressive, yet he is debarred from forc- 
ing himself on the female without her acquies- 
cence. It is only when she is in a condition to 


conceive that she will welcome the advances 
of her partner. And though the analogy may 
not be pressed to its full extent, because with 
the human there is the substitution of intelli- 
gence and moral choice for the working of 
blind instinct, yet this fact may at least be 
adduced to support our contention, that the 
wife is mistress of her own body, and that a 
husband will reverence his wife sufficiently to 
refrain from forcing upon her exactions which 
offend her modesty, and lessen their mutual 
confidence and respect. 

2. Though the procreation of children is the 
normal result of the marriage-act, it must not 
be considered to be its sole and exclusive pur- 
pose. Nature is careful to preserve the con- 
tinuity of life. The myriads of seeds that are 
never fructified in vegetable and animal life, 
bear witness to the care with which the decline 
or extinction of any species is resisted in the 
heaving matrix of existence. And in the 
higher races of mammals, and especially of 
man, extraordinary precautions are exerted to 
propagate the race . "Be fruitful and multiply 


and replenish the earth" is an injunction that 
Nature never for a moment forgets. And as a 
chief means to the attainment of this restilt, 
the sense of keen pleasure is associated with 
the act of generation. This is the invariable 
inducement held out to the production and 
maintenance of life. The attractiveness of 
succulent fruit which appeals to the appetite; 
the luxury of sleep stealing over the wearied 
limbs; the ecstasy of the touch of love; the 
pleasure of exercise — these are samples of the 
method by which we are cajoled into doing what 
we must do, to maintain vitality and health. 
The witchery of sensation is constantly alluring 
us to actions which we might forget through in- 
attention or evade through lethargy . The keen 
gratification of the sex appetite is thus a per- 
petual incentive to the fecundity of the race. 

In the memorandimis already alluded to pro- 
creation is always placed as the first purpose. 

The Roman Catholic programme is: 

I. The procreation and bringing up of 


2. Mutual assistance in life. 

3. The restraint of co ncupiscenc e. 

The Anglican Church is: 

1 . The procreation of children. 

2. The avoidance of sin. 

3. The mutual help and comfort which 

husband and wife may render the 
one to the other. 

The Jewish is: 

1. Procreation. 

2. Life-companionship. 

3. The education of children. ' 

This preponderance of affirmation that the first 
aim and purpose of marriage is the procrea- 
tion of children is so overwhelming that one's 
individual expression of opinion seems impertin- 
ent, and yet one's opinion is wholly recusant. 
The desire for children has, without doubt, its 
large place, especially in a woman's heart as 
she contemplates matrimony; but in an im- 
mense proportion of cases the marriage imion 
is the consummation in the physical sphere of 


an affinity, a knitting together, of souls, which 
has been realized for months or years before. 
It is the outward and visible sign, symbol, or 
sacrament of an inward psychical attraction. 
Conception may ensue, a new life may be 
generated, ultimately a child may be bom, but 
all this is incidental to the elective affinity of 
two souls. 

It may be argued that this is the ideal of 
true wedlock. But even so, it is only as we 
study the marriage-relation in its transcen- 
dental form that we are able to discover its 
fundamental law. And to the argimient that 
the principal incentive towards marriage arises 
from the craving of passion, at least in the 
case of men, and that this, rather than an elec- 
tive affinity, is the inciting purpose, it may be 
replied that this at least supports the present 
contention that the procreation of children 
cannot be considered as the sole and exclusive 
purpose of the marriage-relationship. 

In a remarkable passage, the words of the 
Apostle confirm this contention. ''Let the 
husband render imto the wife due benevolence: 


and likewise also the wife unto the husband." 
There can be but one interpretation of these 
words. Surely their obvious significance is the 
true one, that the marriage-act may be inter- 
mitted for a special purpose and for a given 
time, but it shall be resumed, not specially for 
the purposes of procreation, but for the ex- 
pression of mutual love, and for the joint 
enabling of each other more successfully to 
combat the temptations to impurity, which 
were specially rife in the semi-oriental at- 
mosphere of Corinth, as in modern cities. 

Obviously it must be inferred that the posi- 
tion which we are maintaining warrants an 
tindue licence in the marriage-relationship. 
So far from that, the mutual love of husband 
and wife will be on the outlook for any sign 
that the undue excitement of the sex-organs is 
inducing fretfulness, exhaustion, or nervous 
depression in either. If this were induced, it 
would alienate rather than induce conjugal 
love, which is highly sensitive to whatever 
woiild disturb the mental or physical tone. 

What may seem moderation to the husband 


may be most immoderate and hurtful to the 
wife, or the reverse may be the case. The law 
for each is to consider the other, and to temper 
indulgence so as to attain the best possible 
results of health and happiness for both. We 
are all familiar with the necessity of governing 
our senses in other directions, and we should 
hold the appetite of sex imder the same control 
as that of hunger or thirst or sleep. Some 
physicians are inclined to limit the relation to 
once a month. It is generally admitted by 
those who have studied the subject from a 
physiological standpoint that no man of aver- 
age physical, nervous, and intellectual vigour 
can exceed the limits of once a week without a 
danger of imperilling personal well-being and 
conjugal felicity. 

Before we pass from this particular, it may 
be well to notice that the fact that there is one 
common act, which is sacred between husband 
and wife, and in which no man other than the 
husband, and no woman other than the wife, 
has any right to participate, is a perpetual re- 
minder of the unique relationship between 


them. A man may have many acquaintances 

among women, but none may dare to enter the 
sacred enclosure in which the one woman 
stands, whom he calls Wife, A woman may 
be the friend of many men, who are attracted 
by her intellect and accomplishments, but 
when they have all departed, there is the one 
man of all, who has the right of an intimacy 
which is forbidden to all else. And this is the 
characteristic function of the act of marriage, 
quite apart from the raising of a family of 
boys and girls. 

Therefore we cannot hold the view of those 
who insist that the only thing which ultimately 
justifies the intercourse between man and 
woman is the purpose and desire to have 
children, and that the whole conception of the 
marriage-relationship is lowered, unless it is 
intended to promote the production of children. 
We honour the personal character and high 
ideals of such persons, but their view seems 
inconsistent with the line of argument ad- 
vanced above, and presents to all but a few 
an impossible ideal, as it would limit the 


marriage-act to five or six times in the entire 
course of married life. 

3. Whatever is unnatural in the marriage- 
act is to be condemned on moral and physical 
groimds. That these methods are widely- 
practised may be confidently inferred from the 
continued fall of the birth-rate. In 1881 for 
England and Wales it was 33.9 per thousand; 
in 191 1 it had dropped to 24.4. ''Whilst the 
number of marriages is steadily increasing, 
the average f ruitf ulness of marriages is greatly 
decreasing, and that this decrease is very 
largely due to the deliberate restriction of the 
procreation of children in married life is at- 
tested by its concurrence with the sale of drugs 
and instruments for this purpose.** (Quoted 
from a memorandimi drawn up by a Com- 
mittee of Bishops of the Anglican Church.) 

These practices are strongly condemned 
by some members of the Medical Faculty. 

Nature herself condemns these practices; 
and the people who have practised them are 
compelled to admit, with the findings of the 
Bishops' Committee, that such married life 


as has been subjected to these methods has 
always proved to be desolate and disappoint- 
ing. To those who obey her, Nature distri- 
butes her rarest gifts with prodigal generosity, 
but she chastises with a whip of scorpions all 
who ruthlessly offend against her conventions. 
The falling of the womb, nervous depression, 
loss of memory, even the asylum, are among 
her penalties. But the sacrifice of modesty; of 
self-respect, of mutual respect, to say nothing of 
the clear upward gaze of the pure soul, are still 
a heavier infliction to all right-minded people. 

It is here that the question of the growth of 
the family demands attention. The health 
and strength of the wife may be tmequal to 
the bearing of more children, or of any. It 
may be impossible to obtain the necessary 
house-accommodation for the decent up- 
bringing of a large number of children. The 
question of the means of education may also 
arise. These and similar circumstances may 
make it necessary for parents to consider very 
seriously if they may not legitimately restrict 
the growth of the family. 


It is highly probable, however, that this 
question would arise less frequently if the atten- 
tion of young married people was drawn to the 
prescriptions of that ancient sanitary code laid 
down by Moses for the observance of the 
Hebrew race. In Leviticus xv. , 19, it is enacted 
that the woman should be entirely separated 
during her periodic sickness, and when this 
had passed, she must number to herself seven 
additional days, after which, on the eighth 
day, she appeared before the priest with her 
offerings, and was declared to be clean. The 
evident object of this provision was that the 
number of children should be limited, and 
the very best type of human life transmitted. 
It is also a rare phenomenon for a woman to 
become pregnant during lactation. In one 
quarter it has been suggested that two years 
is the proper interval between the births of 
children — consisting of nine months of gesta- 
tion, nine months of lactation, and six to nine 
months' rest; but even if the latter of these 
were dropped, the suckling of the babe would 
not only greatly tend to the child's health and 


the influence of the mother's nature over that 
of her offspring, but would secure lor the 
mother a further opportimity of recovering 
her strength. 

But if still the necessity of restricting a 
woman from further child-bearing were cla- 
mant, there is one natiu'al method which may 
be adopted, and which is held to be permissible 
by the leaders of religious thought — ^namely, 
the limitation of intercourse to the middle 
period between the close and the commence- 
ment of the periodic sickness. This is tech- 
nically known as the inter-menstrual period. 
''There is no doubt, ** says Dr. Schofield before 
the Commission previously referred to, ''that 
the majority of women conceive either just 
before or just after the monthly period." The 
memorandtim prepared by the Committee of 
Bishops contains this extremely important 
statement: /'It seems to most of us only a 
legitimate application of Christian self-re- 
straint, that in certain cases (which only the 
parties* own judgment and conscience can 
settle) intercourse should be restricted by 


consent to certain times at which it is not 
likely to lead to conception. This is only under 
certain conditions; it is approved by good 
medical authority; it means self-denial and 
not self-indulgence. And we believe it to be 
quite legitimate, or at least not to be con- 

The Roman Catholic memorandimi agrees 
so far as to say: *' Where all other deterrents 
fail, married couples may be allowed to limit 
intercourse to the inter-menstrual period, some- 
times called Tempus ageneseas. But this 
limited use of marriage is not to be put for- 
ward as a perfectly safe means of avoiding 

4. Cohabitation during pregnancy is per- 
missible, though considered by many to be 
inadvisable; but the periods when the monthly 
sickness would fall due should in any case be 
avoided. In the evidence before the Com- 
mission, Dr. Fremantle said: ''There is no 
necessity whatever to abstain during gesta- 
tion and lactation — ^no reason whatever.*' 

It must be confessed, however, that there 


is considerable difference of opinion on the 
effect of the marital act, during pregnancy, on 
the mother, whose sexual sense has become 
quiescent, and on the unborn child. It is 
stated for instance that the effect of sexual 
indulgence at that time is likely to develop 
abnormally the sexual instinct in the child, 
and that herein is to be f oimd the key to much 
of the sexual precocity and depravity which 
ctirse humanity. Clearly this is a matter 
which must be left to each man's judgment 
and conscience; and, in the absence of any 
determining reason, the position defined above 
may be generally accepted. But where direc- 
tion and advice on this and other matters may 
be needed, recourse should be had to some medi- 
cal men of high standing and character. 

It should be generally imderstood that a 
woman is not to be held responsible for the 
tmdesirable methods that may be adopted by 
the husband to prevent child-birth, if she has 
remonstrated with him; nor does such conduct 
on his part warrant her in withholding the 
rights of marriage. 


By Rev. Alfred E. Gar vie, M.A., D.D., 

Principal of New College, London 

( I ) This essay is written from the standpoint 
of Christian ethical monotheism, and is an 
attempt to apply its idea of God and its ideal 
of man to the solution of the problem of the 
functions, obligations, and privileges of parent- 
hood. Amid many other voices this voice has 
a claim to be heard. The fundamental prin- 
ciples of the discussion are the following: God 
is mighty, wise, holy, and loving, the Creator, 
Preserver, and Ruler of all. Man is made for 
God's likeness and fellowship. In Christ, God 
is revealed as Father, and men are redeemed 
from sin to be the sons of God. Evolution is 
the method of the creation, which is consimi- 
mated in man, and of the re-creation by the 
Spirit of God, of man, whose nature has been 
marred by sin. While there is a continuity of 



purpose the process is not, as far as we now 
know it, continuous; but there are distinct 
stages in a progress of which the lower stages 
do not explain the higher. 

The transitions from the non-living to the 
living, from the unconscious to the conscious is 
unthinkable. While matter is not the efficient 
cause of mind, mind is the final cause of matter. 
So far as this movement discloses its goal, it 
is rational, moral and spiritual personality, 
developing into fuller likeness to God, and 
closer fellowship with Him. Not merely 
quality of vitality, but quality of personality 
is God's aim so far as His work shows His 
mind. The biological standpoint is not ade- 
quate to the treatment of the subject before 
us; it must be supplemented and, if need be, 
even corrected by the psychological, sociologi- 
cal, ethical, and theological. 

(2) The two characteristics of life, whether 
in plant or animal, are assimilation and repro- 
duction. The living organism can transform 
matter into protoplasm, or living substance ; it 
is ever remaking itself. It can also reproduce 


itself in another organism; it thus makes 
another as well as remakes itself. These two 
distinctive marks of living things justify our 
speaking of them as possessing delegated crea- 
tive power. There is a continuous creation. 
The elan vital is unexhausted. What most 
impresses us in nature is the abimdance, nay, 
almost the prodigality of life, suggesting an 
immeasured and almost imcontrolled creative 
power. Earth, air, river, sea swarm with 
living beings. To the rock, almost bare of 
earth, the rock-plant clings. Through the flags 
in the roadway the blades of grass will push. 
Given the least chance life will maintain and 
reproduce itself. Not only how abimdant, but 
also how varied are the forms of life ! And yet 
on closer scrutiny we discover that God is, as 
it were, economical in the ultimate elements 
and constant methods, and only prodigal in 
the combinations and permutations of these. 
Accordingly in plant and animal, however far 
apart they may appear in the order of evolu- 
tion, the same means are used for the same 
ends; thus sex runs through living forms from 


plant to animal and animal to man as the most 
common method of reproduction. 

(3) There is asexual reproduction, but 
sexual has an advantage over asexual, (i) It 
is held by Darwin and other biologists that a 
self -fertilized plant has less vitality than a 
plant fertilized from another; and there are 
means used in the structure of a plant to pre- 
vent self-fertilization. By the wind, and by 
insects the pollen is carried from one plant to 
another. A wider range of vitality is reached 
by such fertilization; defects can be corrected 
and excellences augmented. The self -fertil- 
ized plant is limited in its possibilities by its 
immediate environment; cross-fertilization at 
once enlarges the environment, on the whole 
neutralizing unfavourable and enhancing fav- 
ourable conditions. In animals we can study 
the disadvantages of inbreeding. Into a flock 
or herd new elements have to be introduced to 
preserve health and improve quality. Among 
men also are seen the ill-effects of intermar- 
riage in small isolated communities, where 
mostly all the members are not only relatives, 


but are living irnder the same conditions. 
From the physiological standpoint there would 
seem to be no objection against, but rather an 
argtiment for, the intermixture of nations and 
even races, although as regards races so imlike 
as the black and the white this has been 

(ii) When we come to the higher animals, 
including men, an additional reason for sexual 
reproduction emerges. It secures for the off- 
spring the care of two and not of one parent 
only, and thus a greater assurance of the 
necessary provision for need and protection 
against dangers. While the greater responsi- 
bility falls upon the mother generally, the 
father co-operates more or less, in the dis- 
charge of the obligations imposed by parent- 
hood. The longer the immaturity of the 
offspring, and its inability to provide for or 
protect itself, the more enduring must be the 
relations between the parents. The male fish 
fertilizes the spawn which the female fish has 
scattered on the sand or the water; but as 
there is no necessary contact of the one with 


the other, so there is no common care of off- 
spring. As we rise higher in the scale of vital 
evolution, the process of reproduction depends 
on such contact of the reproductive organs as 
involves a very close association of the parents, 
and thus there is formed a bond of common 
interest which is strengthened by the accom- 
panying pleasure. Among some animals there 
is even a more or less permanent relation of the 
parents to one another. Marriage as a social 
institution, recognized and maintained by 
law, gives the necessary permanence to the 
relation of human parents in the interests of 
their children. 

(iii) While in many species there is a breed- 
ing season, in which the sexual attraction 
is felt and reproduction takes place, so as to 
secure the most favourable conditions for 
the rearing of the offspring, in man the de- 
sire for sexual association is more constant. 
This we may affirm on physiological grounds, 
and not for psychological reasons only. Prob- 
ably desire is more frequent in the male than 
in the female. The animal appetite is trans- 


formed in man as conscious, volimtary person- 
ality. He remembers the satisfaction he had, 
he anticipates the satisfaction he will have, 
and thus memory and hope stimulate desire to 
so great an extent that self-control here is an 
imperative necessity. Man has lost the almost 
sure guidance of animal instinct, and has to 
follow the less certain lead of reason, which can 
so easily be perverted. This frequency of 
desire, perilous as it may become, is the physi- 
cal factor in the more constant relation of men 
and women in marriage ; it serves an essential 
purpose in the vital evolution. Animal off- 
spring, with certain exceptions, is not quite so 
helpless, and does not need care so long as does 
the hirnian child ; and hence the association of 
the human parents must be continued for a 
very much longer time and makes greater 
demands on both. Not only provision for 
physical needs, and protection against physical 
dangers are needed, but there must also be 
the teaching and training necessary for the 
development of a rational, moral, social, and 
spiritual person. 


(4) Another reason for the sexual associa- 
tion besides reproduction thus emerges. 

As men and women are self-conscious per- 
sonalities, they cannot in their relation to one 
another be merely means towards the end of 
maintaining the race; they must fulfil their 
purpose as persons in their relations. It may 
be said that they do realize themselves in their 
common parenthood ; and the writer would be 
the last to deny that the man is completed in 
fatherhood, as the woman is in motherhood. 
But both do realize themselves in their rela- 
tion as husband and wife before and apart 
from that fuller self-realization; for men and 
women have need of, and find a good in, one 
another. It is not merely as distinguished by 
sex physically that they are complementary 
to one another. The common life to which 
each contributes is a more complete human 
life in all respects than that which the one 
could attain without the other. The love of 
man and woman, while the starting-point of 
its course is the physical difference with all its 
mental, moral, and spiritual companionship, 


counsel, help, and encouragement which they 
can give to one another. The man or 
woman dreams a false dream who thinks 
of gaining fuller self-realization apart from 

These two reasons for sex must, however, 
be put in their proper order. Poetry, novel, 
and drama conspire in giving the impression 
that the love of husband and wife is the prim- 
ary fact, and possesses the supreme, if not even 
exclusive, importance. The courtship is sup- 
posed to have much greater interest than the 
married life, pursuit being more thrilling an 
adventure than possession. In the evolution 
of the world, in the process of life, from the 
standpoint of the race, however, it is reproduc- 
tion, the relation of parenthood, which must 
be put in the forefront of consideration. It is 
not an accident to be deplored or avoided, of 
the sexual association. It is the primary and 
normal, if not exclusive purpose, and there is 
likely to be physical injury and social wrong if 
this dictate of nature is disregarded, and men 
seek in their social development to arrest or 


divert the organic evolution from its piirpose. 
Benjamin Kidd has insisted that the condition 
of progress is the subordination of the present 
and the individual to the future and the uni- 
versal; and the most obvious application of 
this principle is that marriage be subordinated 
to parenthood, and not parenthood to mar- 
riage; that the delight of man and woman in 
one another be moralized in a grateful accep- 
tance of the obligations of a common parent- 

This does not mean, however, that repro- 
duction is the sole justification for sexual 
association, and is illegitimate when that 
result is improbable, as the love of husband 
and wife, having emerged in the vital evolution 
as a necessary, beneficent factor of progress, 
becomes a secondary purpose of marriage ; and 
of this love many, who have experienced its 
value, dare to call the sexual association a 
necessary sacrament. It is not to raise but to 
lower the relation to maintain that reproduc- 
tion is its only reason, for as has already been 
indicated men and women must not be re- 


garded as merely means for racial ends. It 
does mean, however, that to set aside without 
adequate reason the primary purpose for the 
sexual association in the vital evolution while 
fulfilling the secondary is an imwarranted 
departure from nature. When a husband 
begins to speak of, and address his wife as 
mother, he is not simply setting an example to 
his children, he is recognizing the full racial 
significance of his relation to her and hers to 
him, not merely as living organisms, but as 
self-conscious personalities. In reproduction 
God delegates to His creatures the exercise of 
creative power; in himian parenthood he con- 
fers a still higher glory, in that the creative 
power is exercised voluntarily, and so He 
imposes a deeper obligation, that it be exer- 
cised worthily for Him. 

(5) As this function is to be exercised not 
instinctively, but rationally and conscien- 
tiously, man must seek to discover the divine 
intention, so that he may be a fellow-worker 
with God. At the beginning, in stating fim- 
damental principles, the writer has expressed 


the judgment that not merely fiillness of life, 
but worth of personality is God's aim. The 
apparent prodigality of life in the world is not 
a justification for the reckless multiplication of 
htmian life. Regard must be given to quality 
as well as to quantity. It is healthy, happy 
and holy human life, and not life merely which 
is to be increased. To beget or to have child- 
ren imder conditions which are not only im- 
favourable to, but destructive of, himian 
personality is no meritorious act. To have 
them in such numbers as hinder their develop- 
ment and education to worthy manhood or 
womanhood is not a virtue deserving applause. 
In applying this consideration, however, we 
must take a democratic and not an aristocratic 
view. Not a very small ntmiber of very su- 
perior persons is desirable, but as large a num- 
ber as possible of men and women, who live 
worthily and find life worth living, should be 
the aim. The quantity of life to be encouraged 
must be always relative to the quality of life to 
be desired. 

(6) There are physical, economic, social and 


moral conditions which are adverse to good life 
for great numbers of the population. The 
question is, Shall the population be reduced 
so as to make imsatisfactory conditions less in- 
tolerable, or shall the conditions be so im- 
proved that the population may be maintained 
or even increased without loss or hurt? The 
answer of the social reformer (and in the 
writer's judgment his is God's authentic voice) 
is that the conditions must be improved; 
higher wages, better houses, cleaner cities, 
fresher air, piirer water, cheaper food, and 
other changes are all possible within the exist- 
ing social order and with the resources which 
it can even now command. Hence there is no 
necessity for the desperate remedy of a reduc- 
tion of the population to make life more toler- 
able. Some of the advocates of the restriction 
of the family are animated, it is no lack of 
charity to say, by the desire to maintain con- 
ditions which are highly favourable to the few, 
and actually if not necessarily deeply hurtful 
to the many. If personality be the consum- 
mation of evolution, then the subordination 


of things to persons, and not of persons to 
things, is the fulfilment of the creative purpose. 
We should have as many persons as possible, 
even if some of them may have to put up with 
fewer things that there may be enough for all. 
Into the economic aspects of the subject it is 
not the writer's intention to enter, but he may 
express his judgment, based on what he 
believes to be adequate knowledge, that in 
the mother country and the Empire there 
is need of and room for a larger population, 
capable of enjoying a good human life, if the 
adverse conditions are changed, as they can 
and must be changed. 

For the Malthusian assimiption that popula- 
tion tends to increase in geometrical, and 
means of subsistence in arithmetical, pro- 
gression there is in present conditions and 
future possibilities in the world no justifica- 
tion. The altogether artificial situation in 
some lands, which is the calamitous result of 
the war, is not a general or permanent factor 
which we must take into accoimt. For the 
neo-Malthusian contention that a high birth- 


rate is always accompanied by a high death- 
rate only a plausible argument can be offered. 
On the one hand, no necessary physical correla- 
tion can be or has been proved; on the other 
hand, the adverse conditions, imder which 
both are often met with, can be so altered 
that a rising birth-rate may yet be made to 
coincide with a falling death-rate. That is the 
object which the social reformer sets before 
himself. Until the belief that inspires him 
has been proved an illusion, we need not resign 
ourselves to the assimiption that death is a 
divinely appointed penalty for the increase of 
life by the human exercise of the delegated 
creative power of God. 

While imder certain conditions, the limita- 
tion of the quantity of life may be necessary to 
secure the improvement of the quality, yet if 
conditions can be so changed, that quantity 
may be increased as well as quality improved, 
the latter seems to afford a justification for 
the former. If life can be made good in all 
respects and in the measure in which it can be 
made good, it is surely desirable that it should 


also abound. If the children of men can be- 
come the family of God; if they can grow in 
likeness to God, and gain fellowship with Him, 
as the Christian believes is possible, then it is 
to be desired that to as many himian beings as 
can be the opportimity of realizing such a 
destiny should be given. Parents in exercising 
their delegated creative power with the desire 
and the purpose to teach and train their 
children for this life in God, and for God, are 
fulfilling their calling as truly and fully as in 
the worship or the service of the Church. If 
this life in God means as it does life for others, 
then they are also rendering a social service 
and discharging a moral obligation. If we 
properly appreciate the value of a human 
personality, when the conditions for its proper 
development are present, refusal of the privi- 
lege of parenthood, unless for reasons con- 
science can approve, is a wrong done to God 
and man, and acceptance is a racial service 
on which a blessing will rest. 

(7) Apart from the obligation of parenthood 
on this broad groimd of the divine intention for 


the race, other reasons may be given why the 
function should not be refused. As parenthood 
is the primary purpose of marriage, the love of 
husband and wife is ennobled and enriched in 
their common life for their children. Children 
educate their parents as well as one another. 
An only child is very often a spoiled child. It 
is good and not evil for children if the number 
in the home calls for mutual care, tmselfishness, 
and sacrifice. The home empty of children is 
not usually the happiest home; the full home 
has often the greatest measure of happiness. 

It is bad, not good, for husband and wife, 
and worse for the wife, to repress the desire and 
refuse the responsibility of parenthood for any 
reason which is not itself so good as to afford 
an adequate moral compensation. Considera- 
tion for the health of the wife, solicitude for the 
present welfare and the future good of the 
children, desire not to incur responsibilities 
which cannot be properly met — these are 
reasons which may make the restriction of the 
family not an evasion of duty, but the accept- 
ance of it. But any of these reasons must be 


scrutinized closely by conscience, lest worldli- 
ness, selfishness, distrust, or cowardice should 
assume them as a disguise. There is here, as 
in all htmian affairs, also a call for confidence 
in God, courage for the future, sacrifice if need 
be in the present. Out of poor homes which 
contained a large family most valuable himian 
material has frequently come. Hard work, 
poor fare, thrift, unselfishness have not proved 
bad conditions for raising a hardy and worthy 
stock, where there were moral principles and 
religious faith. The apparently most favour- 
able conditions will not really produce the 
best results, unless these higher elements of 
human personality are present. The Diction- 
ary of National Biography shows that many 
distinguished men have sprung from large 
families in poor homes. This is not an argu- 
ment for any unjust perpetuation of poverty, 
or against any relief which can rightly be given 
of the burdens of parenthood ; but it is a reason 
which may be argued against a parental cau- 
tion which may easily degenerate into a faith- 
less cowardice. By the restriction of the 


family the world may be deprived of a very 
valuable hiiman personality. It is a great re- 
sponsibility to restrain, as it is also to exercise, 
the delegated creative power in parenthood; 
and restraint or exercise must be according to 
an enlightened conscience. It is probably bet- 
ter for the world that the worldly, selfish, 
imbelieving, and cowardly should not become 
parents ; but such moral inferiority is itself a 
wrong to self, others, and God. 

(8) If there be adequate reasons for restric- 
tion of the family, the method must be worthy 
of moral personality, that is by self-control 
either in partial or in total abstinence from the 
sexual association. In the limitation of the 
association to the periods when conception is 
less likely to take place, there is an exercise of 
self-control; there is no interference with the 
natural process; there is a readiness to accept 
the burden of parenthood, if it should come. 
By asserting, as is sometimes done, that to 
demand self-control is to impose a burden too 
grievous to be borne, we should offer an excuse 
for imchastity in the immarried, even if we 


recognized that marriage involves conditions f 
which increase the strain. It may be true that \ 
imless there be a high moral ptirpose, abstin- ' 
ence for long periods is not good physically, or 
even morally, for normal, healthy yoting 
couples, and is likely to cause mutual irritation 
and imhappiness ; but the difficulty of a moral I 
obligation is not a reason for disregard of it; 
and the writer is confident that, if high moral 
purpose dominated, the difficulty would be / 
removed, as even animal appetites can bC/ 
transformed by proper moral direction. 

To be compassionate to human weakness, 
and not to condemn those who do not rise to 
the height of this moral requirement is one 
thing; quite another is to approve, or even to 
advocate, the restriction of the family by arti- 
ficial methods, chemical or mechanical. It 
may be that just as for the hardness of men's 
hearts divorce must be tolerated, although 
indissoluble marriage is the ideal, so these 
methods must be, as not immoral in the degree 
in which fornication is immoral, but they 
cannot be approved as moral in the degree in 


which self-control is. The writer himself is 
not convinced that these methods can be 
justified even physiologically, still less ethic- 
ally. But even if they could, his main con- 
tention would not be at all affected, that, as 
God desires fullness of life in this world, an 
abimdance of healthy, happy, and holy life in 
mankind, the creative power He has delegated 
in human parenthood should be used wisely, 
righteously, and lovingly, so as to secure both 
the abimdance of life, and the conditions, 
physical, economic, social, moral, and religious, 
which will make that life a good to be desired, 
and not an evil to be shunned, the Creation 
thus sharing the blessedness of the Creator. 



By Sir Rider Haggard, K.B.E. 

In all the talk that surges through the columns 
of the Press and elsewhere, as to what is or is 
not an adequate population for the British 
Empire, also other coimtries, and concerning 
the problems that surroimd the subject, I think 
that one elementary fact is too often over- 
looked, namely, that at the bottom population 
is a matter of, and dependent on, food supply. 
Our forefathers knew this of course, as it was 
known long before their day; for example, in 
ancient Egypt when that extremely able 
Semitic vizier, Joseph, took practical measures 
to avert a famine which otherwise would have 
swept off three-fourths of the inhabitants of 
the Nile valley. Indeed, no one could fail to 
M 179 


know it when the people of any given land 
must live on last year's harvest and the exist- 
ing stock of cattle, without hope of more 
coming in when these were exhausted. 

That is why, to take our own case, although 
as I believe for reasons I have given in my 
work. Rural England, that once, probably in 
pre-Roman days, Britain was by comparison 
densely peopled, for many generations during 
the Middle Ages it could not number more 
than three or four millions souls. We are told 
much of the effect of pestilence and notably 
of that fearsome scourge, the Black Death, 
but in the long rim I do not believe that these 
were the fundamental cause of the paucity of 
the numbers of our forefathers. 

In those times folk for the most part dwelt 
upon the land where the water was pure, the 
air healthy, and there were no drains to poison 
them. Also, as checks upon the birth-rate 
were tmknown, or at any rate scarcely known 
— which may be said as well of certain terrible 
diseases that now kill or sterilize tens of thou- 
sands — every healthy married woman must 


have produced something like her natural 
quota of offspring. Of these civil wars and 
tumults no doubt killed out some, but, after 
all, such calamities were occasional events. 
Therefore, in my view, the real cause of their 
non-multiplication must be sought elsewhere, 
and I find it in the lack of food. 

It should be remembered that agriculture, 
say, in the days of the Norman kings and long 
afterwards, was a very elementary affair. 
Manuring we may be sure was seldom prac- 
tised, except where seaweed lay to hand upon 
the coast, its place being taken by wasteful 
fallowing; vast areas were under forests or 
imdrained swamps; there were no roads, and 
therefore produce could not be got to market; 
as "roots*' and "cake'* were unknown, beasts 
could not be stall-fed in winter and therefore 
were few ; the science of cultivation was little 
understood and the instruments used were 
rude, with the result that the return per acre 
must have been miserable. So it came about 
that from one cause and another little food 
was grown, and without food the children, 



who lacked milk, died first, and after them all 
who were weak or sickly. Thus the popula- 
tion remained stationary, as from like causes 
it does in many a part of the world to this day. 

Later came changes, and it rose in response 
to our added prosperity and the advance of 
knowledge, till from the beginning of the last 
century it swelled to a mighty himian flood, 
especially after the com, cheaply robbed from 
the virgin areas of the earth, began to flow into 
our ports. In short, the ancient saying was 
reversed, and we reaped where we did not sow, 
so that for a generation and more, to a great 
extent, we have been living upon imported 

This, indeed, became so much the rule that 
it was accepted as a new and additional law of 
nature, and those, of whom I may perhaps 
claim to be one, who tried to point out the 
dangers of the situation were mocked at. 
What did the land of England matter, cried 
their town-bred critics in effect, when there 
were Russia and Canada and a dozen other 
sources of cheap supply? Now all these wise- 


acres are upon another tack, and it fills me 
with something like shame to hear the very- 
men who were among the busiest of the 
mockers declaiming earnestly upon the vital 
necessity of cultivating our own acres, and 
offering every kind of bribe to those who will 
consent to do so. However, such is and always 
has been the habit of those who owe their place 
and power to the popular vote, and there is 
nothing more to be said. 

What is the stim of the argument? This, 
I think — That the United Kingdom is in 
reality only entitled to just so many men and 
women as its fields would support, if through 
the action of enemies, or other causes, nothing 
that can fill the htrnian stomach could reach 
our shores. As to what this number should be 
opinions differ, but perhaps it might be put at 
about half the present population, or a little 
more, provided that sufficient feeding-stuffs for 
cattle and artificial manures could be imported 
to enable us to grow our full average of beasts 
and com. But with only half our present 
population, what would be our fate? Many 


wise people tell us that it ought to be ideal, 
though I think they would like to see much less 
than half. Then, they say, there would be 
plenty for every man. Each could live imder 
his own fig tree, doing little or no work, and so 
forth. The League of Nations would see that 
it was so. 

Whether these conditions would really be 
fulfilled is a matter for argtmient. Personally, 
I doubt it. Personally, I believe that each of 
those Utopian lotus-eaters would want his 
neighbotir^s lotus-tree as well as his own and 
try to take it by fraud or force, with the result 
that things would go on much as before. At 
bottom nearly every man thinks that there is 
no room for the man next door ; like Alexander, 
or a Boer farmer of the old sort, he would rule 

However this may be, it is certain that with 
half or less of their existing population these 
islands would not hold their present place in 
the world for very long, because some enemy 
would conquer and probably annex them, after 
which the select band of lotus-eaters would 


have to work harder than did any Roman or 
other slaves, not for their own benefit but for 
that of some one else, or perish beneath the 
lash. Where, for instance, should we have 
been, and where would the Allies have been, 
if during the late war Great Britain had only- 
possessed half her present population? Yet, I 
repeat, there be many who say, halve or 
quarter our inhabitants that those who remain 
may have less to do and more to enjoy, as 
doubtless would be the case in a world where 
everyone had secure and equal rights, and all 
fear of aggression from outside, or of Bolshev- 
ism from within, was insured against by a legion 
of guardian angels. 

So the argtiment, if correct, comes to this, 
that the United Kingdom, if so it may still be 
called, must either maintain its population, or 
perish as a great Power, as other countries, 
which it is needless to particularize, have done 
before from much the same causes that 
threaten us. Indeed, the historian covild 
compile quite a long list of them. In our in- 
stance, moreover, the problem is accentuated 


by the fact that we happen to own, or at any 
rate to be more or less responsible for, about 
one quarter of the surface of the earth, all of 
which we govern or inhabit by means of a 
handful of some fifteen million people of our 
own blood — about the same number of souls 
as are packed away in a single Indian province 
and never heard of by the rest of the world. 
These few occupy Canada, Australasia, much 
of Africa, all India, and other parts of the 
earth too nimierous to mention, and their 
nimibers are kept up and in the tropics en- 
tirely recruited from the people of these little 
islands in the Northern Sea. 

If that recruitment became impossible 
because there were no more recruits to send, 
what would happen to those dependencies? 
The tropical ones naturally would go at once 
back into the hands of their aboriginals, or 
into those of some other conquering Power. 
The others, which are known as White Man's 
coimtries, would either have to turn over a new 
leaf as regards the home production of man- 
kind, or to import such foreigners as they 


could get, until finally the original blood was 
watered away and they were overtaken by 
whatever destiny might be appointed to them. 

Now I think I have said enough to show that 
in a world of many enemies, existent or poten- 
tial, the British Empire, if it is to continue, 
must at the very least maintain its existent 
numbers. The rest of these brief pages will be 
directed to an inquiry into our prospect of 
success in this matter. 

I chance to serve on the National Birth-Rate 
Commission, and as any member of that body 
will know, its inquiries tell an interesting and, 
in some ways, a rather ominous story. The 
population of this country, although it still 
increases by comparison with its former rates 
of advance, on the whole is going back; indeed, 
recently for a while the death-rate exceeded 
the birth-rate in England and Wales, though 
since then the latter has risen a little. 

Looking at the matter broadly, there is 
every reason to fear that in the future, here 
and in some other countries, this decrease in 
the himian output will be continuous and even 


progressive. To begin with, in the British 
Isles there is an enormous surplus of women 
who can never marry because there are no 
men to marry them; I believe that now, after 
the war, in all it is put at something under 
two millions. Except for a small proportion 
of illegitimate births these women do not 
reproduce their species, and therefore must 
be ruled out of the account. Next, although 
the subject is not one upon which I propose 
to enter upon in detail, as the evidence given 
before the Birth-Rate Commission and statis- 
tics prove, what is known as birth-control 
or race-suicide is spreading fast throughout 
our people, and among the upper and middle 
classes is becoming almost universal. The 
large families which those of us who are 
elderly can remember in our youth are no 
longer to be foimd even among the clergy, who 
used to produce so many of our finest men and 
women. ''Only sons" are becoming the rule, 
as we learned from the obituary notices during 
the war. Indeed, many young couples have 
no children at all, and this from choice, having 


deliberately turned their backs upon the 
ancient injunction of the Bible and the Mar- 
riage Service, with the result that one of the 
most splendid existent strains of human beings 
is in the way of dying out. 

The causes of this state of affairs are various: 
the growth of knowledge which makes preven- 
tion easy; the shrinking from inconvenience 
and pain ; the love of pleasure ; the desire to be 
free from hampering ties, and to preserve an 
attractive appearance; the difficulty of repro- 
duction which, scientists tell us, follows on the 
prolonged habit of non-production; and so 
forth. The chief of them, however, so far as 
the middle classes are concerned, is undoubt- 
edly economic. None who must rely upon a 
fixed income, or upon moderate means saved 
or inherited, can possibly afford a large 

Within the last few years the costs of living 
have more than doubled, and there is every 
reason to suppose that these will continue to 
grow under the careful husbandry of the 
profiteer. Food and clothing have reached an 


impossible figure; schools increase their fees 
that already were large enough ; houses become 
more and more tmobtainable at a moderate 
price; servants, if they are to be foimd at all, 
demand enormous wages in return for which 
they do little or no work, and constantly leave 
their employers in the lurch; and so on, with 
the result that in the end only the rich can 
stand the strain and preserve a decent appear- 
ance, while even their means practically are 
halved by taxation. Under these circtmi- 
stances it is idle to suppose that even if parents 
desire children, which is by no means always 
the case, many will be produced. Few wish 
to see their offspring in the gutter or to be 
dragged thither to keep them company. 

It may be argued that these considerations 
do not apply to what are known as the labour- 
ing classes. Their children are educated for 
nothing; often they receive free meals; free 
doctoring and milk at a special price. Their 
teeth, which cost the "black-coated" families 
pounds on poimds yearly, are treated gratis; 
their operations are performed in hospitals 


for nothing; they are the recipients of a thou- 
sand charities; and if they show the slightest 
ability, all sorts of assistance is thrust upon 
them through secondary schools and other- 
wise. Moreover, their future is assured, except 
in the case of the most useless. Highly re- 
munerative work awaits them as soon as they 
become adult. Trade unions protect them; 
politicians eager for their votes endow them 
with every possible benefit in the present, and 
promise them much more for the future at the 
cost of the State and the ratepayer. To take 
but one example: frequently the miner earns 
more than the learned clergyman whose educa- 
tion has cost at least £1000. 

Yet in face of all this, the system of birth- 
control is strikingly downwards, and the most 
of such increase as there is of the population 
in Britain is to be found today among those 
strata of society which Mr. Lloyd George, 
I think, has classed as C3. Another thing. 
Certain diseases are allowed to rage practically 
unchecked, with the result that tens of thou- 
sands either die or lead blighted lives, leaving 



behind them offspring accursed from birth. 
Further, the war has taken from us a vast tithe 
of the finest of our manhood, and thus rendered 
a corresponding nimiber of women tmproduc- 
tive and, in many cases, left them without 
support. Lastly, an enormous amount of 
potential life is destroyed by the practice of 
abortion, upon which Mr. Justice Darling 
commented the other day that, it is believed, 
is increasing largely both here and elsewhere. 
To confine myself for the moment to the 
case of the British Empire, which naturally 
is the most important for us, we have to recog- 
nize the fact that those evils on which I have 
touched appear to be prevalent also in the 
various Dominions of the Crown. There all 
the phenomena repeat themselves, and there 
also people crowd from the land into the great 
cities, with the accustomed results. Life in the 
country is dull and lonesome; society in the 
back country or on the prairies is limited, and 
the delights of cinema and other shows are 
lacking. So it comes about that the cities 
absorb the life of the community as leeches 


suck blood, and with similar effects upon the 
body politic. 

There appears therefore to be small hope 
that the white population of the Empire will 
increase largely in the immediate future. 
Indeed it may become stationary, and there is 
even a possibility that it will dwindle, as the 
population of France shows a tendency to do. 

It must be admitted that there exists an 
important school of thought — ^to which I have 
alluded above — among whose advocates are 
many able men, which annotmces that all this 
is just as it should be; that the fewer people 
there are bom in the world, the better will be 
the lot of those who do survive, since these will 
find to their hands more food, more pleasure, 
and the less necessity to work. Doubtless 
this is quite true, or would be, if the inhabit- 
ants of the whole earth made an axiom of this 
new doctrine. If, for example, the people of 
Germany had determined in the past that they 
would have no more inhabitants per square 
mile than those of France, where would have 
been the danger to France? But this is just 


what they did not do, with the result that we 
all know the position in which France found 
herself in the autumn of 1914, when, if we had 
not gone to her assistance, she would have 
been destroyed, beggared, and enslaved. And 
if our small-population advocates had suc- 
ceeded in translating their hopes into facts 
thirty or forty years ago, we should not have 
been able to go to the assistance of France for 
lack of men, with the result that after her 
annihilation we must have been driven down 
the same road of irredeemable disaster. 

But, say some, this matter will soon right 
itself, since the same motives, call them selfish 
or prudential, as you will, will get to work 
among the aggressive peoples, and especially 
the Germanic races, with the same fruit — 
namely, that they will become as weak and as 
incapable of offence as the rest of us. 

It may be so, or it may not, since a great 
nation with great ambitions to fulfil and a 
great revenge to work may decline to allow 
its men and women to follow this easy path. 
Sweeping aside the prejudices, as it might then 


call them, of an earlier time, and adopting 
methods that decent and old-fashioned folk 
would think tmpleasant and indeed imhal- 
lowed, it might by one means or another insist 
upon an adequate and healthy reproduction 
of its species. Cattle can be bred to any 
desired quantity to be the food of man, and 
why not human beings to be the food of guns, 
and to ensure the domination of their race 
over great stretches of the earth? 

Personally, however, I incline to the view 
that in the long rim all such cold-blooded 
schemes will break down, and that the motives 
and conditions which issue in birth restriction 
will, in the end, prevail among the Teutons as 
elsewhere. Then, their advocates will answer, 
you give away your case, since everywhere 
nimibers will lessen in the most satisfactory 
fashion and all will be peace and plenty. 

Those who talk in this way, however, forget 

that the white races are, in the slang phrase, 

not the only pebbles on the beach. There 

remains the East. On the fringe of the East, 

also, there remains Russia, herself half Oriental, 


into the darkness of whose countless hordes 
this new Hght has not yet penetrated. Russia, 
I believe, has a population of about 180,000,- 
000, although this total may have been some- 
what lessened of late by the miseries that 
Bolshevism has brought upon her, and it will 
be some time before the race-suicide idea, or 
rather practice, diminishes these numbers to 
any marked extent. Until they are diminished, 
if directed and organized by German skill and 
courage, aided by other sinister influences 
what devastation might they not work upon 
the rest of Europe, should its man-power be 

But behind Russia lies the East, which is, 
and probably for a great period of time will 
continue to be, animated by morals, rules, and 
standards utterly different from our own. The 
East is polygamous and there are, I believe, 
few immarried women. The East worships 
its ancestors and therefore desires to have 
descendants that these in turn may worship. 
The ambition of the average Eastern woman 
is not to restrict, but to produce life, of which 


the quantity is only limited by that of the food 
supply. Indeed, even in the face of the risk 
or even the certainty of famine, the life is still 
produced: yes, if afterwards it must be sacri- 

I remember when I was a yotmg man in 
Africa that a gentleman who had just arrived 
from China came to stay with me. He told me 
that there, in one of the great cities, he had 
seen the carts going round collecting female 
infants, living or dead, who had been exposed 
during the previous night. Those infants had 
been allowed to come to birth in the hope that 
they might be boys; if they were girls they 
were destroyed, because there was nothing on 
which they could be fed, or rather because the 
existent food was required for the support of 
males who in due course would earn their 
living and support their aged parents. 

Now, while all these dim Eastern myriads 
were imarmed and helpless, they did not 
greatly matter to the arrogant white races. 
But as Japan has taught us within our own 
generation, they are no longer imarmed or 


helpless, and what Japan has become today 
the peoples of China and of other places may, 
and probably will, become tomorrow. Why 
not? For the most part they are brave men, 
and fatalistic as regards suffering and death. 
Also they are willing to work and live much 
harder than we do, and are very clever. If we 
can build aircraft and make poison-gases, so 
can they who have coal and iron and chemists 
at command, and send their ablest citizens to 
spy out our secrets in every city. Why, then, 
having first earned the necessary wealth by 
trade, should they not supply themselves with 
fleets and armies and all the hellish panoply 
of modem war? 

Because by nature they are too peaceful: 
that is the general answer. I suggest that men 
and women, who are also by nature affectionate, 
do not take any real pleasure in murdering 
their children because they have nothing with 
which to stay their stomachs. They only do 
this because they prefer that there should come 
to them a quick death rather than one that is 
slow, or that if they do manage to live, it 


should be but to suffer every degradation and 
misery known to mankind. If they came to 
learn that there were other great spaces of the 
world which would support millions of them, 
lying to their hands and but scantily garri- 
soned, is it not probable that soon or late they 
might build the ships necessary to take them 
there, or rather in the first place to exterminate 
or subdue the handful that at present own 
these places? Well do I remember that wise 
and prescient man, my late friend, ex-Presi- 
dent Roosevelt, discussing this matter with 
me and, having indicated one of them, saying 

''That will be the first place to go!'* 
Having touched upon this subject, I turn to 
that of the population of the British Empire, 
and to the question of how it can be increased. 
The larger matter of the population of the 
world I leave aside, because I believe that its 
numbers will never vary to any appreciable 
extent, even if they have ever really done so 
in the past, considering the globe as a whole. 
Where there are coimtries that can grow food. 


they will be occupied to their full food-produc- 
ing capacity so soon as they are discovered and 
means are provided to reach them, or at any 
rate within a measurable count of years. By 
what races they will be occupied is another 
matter, and one with which in the long run 
Nature does not concern herself. 

It comes to this, then — the Western races 
and their progeny in various parts of the earth 
must either keep up their nimibers or nm the 
risk of being submerged by the Eastern races, 
and this within a short period of time, say a 
couple of centuries. Especially is this the case 
with the vast collection of States known as the 
British Empire, whose enormous territories are 
occupied by but a few of oiu* own blood. Nor 
in every instance is it necessary to look to the 
East for the immediate peril. Thus Africa 
has aborigines of its own who, with a Httle 
more instruction in the white man's arts of 
war, of which they have received a first lesson 
at German hands during the last five years, 
would be quite capable of producing the 
dreaded catastrophe. 


Also it may be helped forward by other 
means. When I was in South Africa in 1914, 
and again during the war, I was greatly struck 
by the ntimber of persons of mixed origin 
whom I saw walking about the streets of the 
cities. This miscegenation, as I believe it is 
called, is, I was told by prominent observers 
in the country, much on the increase. If so, 
it is imnecessary to dwell upon its ultimate 
results in a land of which the Europeans 
amount to only about twenty-one per cent, 
of the total population. 

To stmi up, it will, I think, be admitted that 
under all these circumstances it is absolutely 
necessary that the white citizens of the Empire 
should be increased in ntmiber. Sixty million 
persons of our blood are not too many to rule 
over some three hundred and seventy millions 
of native peoples, which, according to Whit- 
taker, seems to be the correct proportions. In 
the past it has been done, but the question is, 
in the absence of a considerable increase of the 
white stock, whether it can continue to be 
done in the future voider the changing condi- 


tions of the world. At any rate it will be ad- 
mitted that such an increase is most desirable, 
and indeed most vital. Will it be forthcoming? 

Of those sixty millions, it must be remem- 
bered, about forty-five millions live in these 
little islands; it is the balance that holds the 
vast overseas national estates upon which so 
many envious eyes are turned. Nor is this 
wonderful seeing that Australasia, with a 
population of, I think, imder seven millions 
all told, could, it is admitted, support from 
fifty to a himdred millions of white folk, or of 
others who can thrive in semi-tropical climates, 
such as that of the northern territory, a nimi- 
ber which it is impossible to calculate. Yet 
during all the generations that it has been 
occupied, this vast Dominion has only suc- 
ceeded in importing or in begetting a total of 
imder seven million souls — ^namely, about the 
population of London — and of these a half, 
or thereabouts, dwell in a few big cities. 

If the Empire population could be redis- 
tributed the outlook might be better, but in 
practice this is impossible. Nowadays people 


cannot be moved in blocks on the pattern of 
the customs of the Incas of Peru. Therefore, 
for the refreshment of the Dominions with 
British blood we must rely upon the ordinary 
processes of migration, of which any ordered 
arrangement has hitherto been entirely neg- 
lected by the Imperial power. Indeed, a huge 
proportion of our emigrants have gone to the 
United States, though of late this stream has 
lessened somewhat, and will doubtless receive 
a further check from the American ''Pussy- 
foot** legislation, for the reason that the aver- 
age inhabitant of the United Kingdom does 
not care to choose a new home in any cotmtry 
where he will be subject to coercion, of what- 
ever sort it may be. Those cotmtries which 
desire to attract immigrants would do well to 
leave "Pussyfoot** alone. 

Our surplus then, it may be hoped, will 
henceforward in the main be turned to those 
lands where our own flag flies, but what that 
surplus may nimiber is another matter. 
Earlier in this article I have set out some of the 
causes that tend to render our population 


stationary. Whether these will persist it is 
impossible to say, and on the credit side of the 
account it should be remarked that within the 
last few months there has been a slight rise in 
the birth-rate, at any rate in certain cities and 
districts. This may be a mere temporary 
manifestation that has to do with the cessa- 
tion of the war, or, as we all hope, it may 
continue. If it does continue it will help to 
some extent to palliate our anxieties ; if it does 
not the position is menacing. 

Nations do not remain stationary for long. 
Either they increase or they decline: it is 
written large in history. Should the British 
Empire begin to decline, it will be a very ter- 
rible event, since its ultimate fall would mean 
the greatest loss that the known history of the 
world records — a truth that even our rivals, 
yes, and our enemies will, I believe, admit. 

Omitting the decrees of Providence, the 
ultimate issue of this matter imder our social 
arrangements lies in the hands of o\ir women. 
As I said in giving evidence before the Na- 
tional Birth-Rate Commission, in my opinion, 


the best thing that we can do is to appeal to 
the women of the Empire to save the Empire, 
and to impress upon them the fact that great 
nations are not destroyed : they commit suicide. 
I am by no means certain that such an appeal 
will have any effect. Still it should be made, 
that the final responsibility may rest upon the 
right shoulders. 

Or perhaps the age we live in and the con- 
ditions of modem life are really to blame, and 
not either one sex or the other. My own con- 
viction is that the root of all this trouble, as I 
have preached for thirty years, is the deser- 
tion of the land for the cities. On the land men 
are created; in the cities they perish. 

But all these arguments take the real respon- 
sibility back a long way — namely, to the gates 
of Fate itself. If Fate, to give the Power that 
rules the destinies of the Universe and men its 
pre-Christian name, decrees that the white 
races and their form of civilization are to 
perish or be transmuted and absorbed, so it 
will befall, and I do not suppose that a few 
thousand years hence the world will trouble 


itself overmuch about the matter; for after all 
it has seen a good many civilizations of which 
we know, and possibly others of which we 
know nothing. 

Still, that the danger of which I have tried 
to speak is real and not imagined, I believe that 
any who, should these words survive, may 
chance to read them and others I have written, 
even two generations hence, will find too much 
cause to admit. The odd thing is that its exist- 
ence never seems to occur to that select band 
of our super-folk who are known as statesmen, 
for which reason, I suppose, they give no 
thought to these very manifest perils and sug- 
gest no measiires to confront them. In their 
defence it must be remembered that events 
which may or may not happen a generation or 
two hence are not in the category of what are 
known as practical politics. 

On the whole, the British Empire has done 
good in a disappointing world, and it will be 
sad if it is broken up or left desolate because of 
a lack of children to carry on its responsibili- 
ties and its glory. 


By Marie Carmichael Stopes, D.Sc, Ph.D., 
RL.S., F.R.S.Lit. 

The vision of what the human race may one 
day become has hovered for many centuries 
over the minds of the greater thinkers and 
teachers. Utopias have been written picturing 
our wonderful development in the distant 
future, when humanity shall be dwelling in 
perfect harmony with ideal surroundings. An 
extension of the powers of human beings, an 
increase in their beauty or in the intricate 
workings of their minds are postulated de- 
liberately or are implied by all the writers of 
Utopias; but the dreams of the Utopians of 
every type hovered and still hover unattached 
to the solid earth on which we walk; the con- 
necting link between the present and these 

airy futures is never forged and placed at the 



disposal of humanity by the creators of visions 

The race needs to be led into the promised 
land, and the path clearly marked which will 
lead directly from the grey present to the 
future glorious state. Today the multitudes 
are too great to be led literally and physically 
into some new and narrow region of the earth. 
It is within the lands in which they now dwell 
that the people must be transformed and led 
into greater perfection of physical, mental 
and spiritual beauty. 

If, then, we are to find the way into Utopia 
while still remaining on the soil we now tread, 
it is in ourselves that we must work the trans- 
formation. Is that possible? Not as indivi- 
duals but as a race it appears to me to be not 
only possible but within our reach. Those who 
are grown up in the present active generations, 
the matured and hardened, with all their weak- 
nesses and flaws, cannot do very much, though 
they may do something with themselves. 
They can, however, study the conditions tmder 
which they came into being, discover where lie 


the chief sources of defect, and eliminate those 
sources of defect from the coming generation so 
as to remove from those who are still to be bom 
the needless burdens the race has carried. 

The first step into the new Utopia is the 
reverent and honest realization of the mi- 
raculous power of understanding love coupled 
with a htmible recognition of the great essen- 
tial fact that human individuals are biological 
units in their bodily sense, just as are individ- 
ual animals, plants, or trees. Throughout the 
animal world, and throughout even the plant 
world, there has been a continuous trend of 
reduction in the number of offspring, and an 
increase in the security and endowment of the 
offspring produced. Yet even today the uni- 
versal law of all reproductive life is to produce 
inntmierably more offspring than can possibly 
survive: each young struggling life once en- 
dowed with an embryonic body has an amaz- 
ing vitality and zest for living, and the result 
of this is that each will cling to life wherever 
it is possible to retain a foothold. Yet where 
they are crowded, each individual is robbing 


its neighbour of necessary light, space, and 
food, dwarfing and stunting each and all. A 
very simple illustration of this law can be 
demonstrated by planting on two plots of the 
some ground each six feet square, in one, one 
dozen and in the other one himdred plants of 
the same sort (for instance Shirley poppies), 
and allowing them to grow to maturity. In 
the first plot those that have room spread their 
leaves to the sim and air and grow to handsome 
individuals. In the second, the spindly, small, 
imdeveloped stems support leaves which are 
fighting for the light and air, and if the plants 
flower at all they do so with tmdersized flowers. 
In the former, the blossoms are three or four 
inches in diameter; in the latter the shabby 
flowers may be half an inch or less across, 
yet even the starved and stunted flowers will 
go on producing their like, crowding each 
other to death, imtil probably, in the course of 
nature that plot of grotmd is captured by a 
few isolated seedlings of some totally different 
type which, coming in small nimibers, each 
develop sturdily, taking all the space. 


Humanity is now beginning to awaken to 
the puny and degenerate condition of innumer- 
able thousands, particularly in the cities, where 
an observant eye may often search long for a 
fine healthy-looking individual. 

The sad features of racial degeneration 
which assail us on every side today are nearly 
all the result of two great wrongs. One is 
crowding, and the other the devastating infec- 
tion known as Venereal Disease. 

The elimination of sex disease, because of 
its more rapidly contagious nature, is in some 
respects the most urgent problem immediately 
facing humanity, and were we brave enough to 
take this appalling scourge in the open and 
fight it with every sort of knowledge that is 
available, its evils might be rapidly curbed. 
So terrible are the results, particularly of 
syphilis, upon the next generation, that all who 
think agree that no diseased person should 
risk the transmission of such curses to his off- 
spring. This, in whatever form the diseased 
person may protect the next generation, 

whether by refraining from marriage, or by 


separation from his wife within marriage, is 
in principle a form of control of conception, 
a form which all the Churches and all 
thinking people must insist is a barest racial 

So acute have recent events made these 
problems of the sex and other heritable dis- 
eases, that there is little doubt that humanity 
will be driven to deal frankly with the problem 
and to eliminate such contagions, as they have 
well-nigh eliminated small-pox and leprosy 
from this country. 

In a sense, disease may be looked upon as 
an abnormality, an imnatural and repulsive 
condition which a normal healthy mind revolts 
from and conquers, and it is therefore less 
dangerous to the race in some ways than a 
deleterious condition considered *' natural.'* 

The former of the two great sources of the 
weakening of the human stock, namely crowd- 
ing, is the more fimdamental, because an ever- 
present source of weakness, even in healthy 
stocks of normal, happy, imtainted people. 
Hence crowding is, in my opinion even more 


serious a menace to himianity than an open 
enemy like disease. 

Crowding before birth, crowding in the 
womb of the overburdened mother, is at pre- 
sent the greatest of all natural sources of the 
dwarfing and stunting of humanity, sapping 
the resources of the race in every direction. 
And this will for ever remain until humanity 
takes complete control over its conceptions. 
Sex disease may — should — be speedily elimi- 
nated, but the impulse to overpopulate is an 
inherent characteristic in untutored humanity. 
Little is realized by the general public of the 
immensity of the effects of this crowding in the 
womb of the ignorant and helpless woman, of 
the torment she endures, of the weakening of 
the himian stock which results. Too little has 
it been realized that it is this antenatal as well 
as postnatal crowding that has been warping 
the race, so that I must make this more 

Early and late Nature provides a possibility 
for the establishment of the himian embryo in 
the soil of its mother's body. Crowding 


through her into the world comes a perpetual 
stream of potential lives. If each is to develop 
to anything like its potential perfection, they 
must be given space and time to grow, just as 
the poppy seed must have space to grow in the 
soil. When one embryo has established itself, 
it can hold at bay the others for the nine 
months, taking all for itself, and developing 
by using the strength of its mother. But, 
directly it is separated from her, the onrush 
of the other potential individuals begins again, 
and if then another and another repeatedly 
takes root, each does so in a physical substra- 
tum successfully weakened by what it has 
given to its immediate predecessor. Yet still 
the resources of vitality are great, and in 
repeated and immediate succession two, three, 
four, or perhaps more fresh lives may, without 
too great disaster, grow closely adjacent in 
time, if the original mother-stock is strong. 
But, as in the plot overplanted with the poppy 
seedlings, crowding, once it has reached the 
point of intensity, will begin to show in the 
ptinier size and weakening of the human indivi- 


duals. We are accustomed to think of crowds 
as being coincident in space and time, but I 
should like the thought to penetrate our social 
consciousness that in the womb the time factor 
which makes the crowd may be extended. 

These are physical facts. There are other 
and subtler results from crowding. The race 
pictured in the Utopias — the human race as it 
may be — must have not only well-developed 
and sufficiently beautiful and adaptable bodies, 
it must have a mind increasingly attuned to 
the ideal. The effect of its environment on the 
mind has been partly veiled by the marvellous 
mastery which at times the mind may show 
over its physical environment. But a deep 
imderlying truth is the fact that the expression 
of the potentialities of a mind depend on the 
bodily form through which they act, as does 
the electric current depend on the wires of the 
lamp for its transmutation into light. 

What of the minds that are formed in the 
crowded spaces of an overburdened mother? 
Can they be well formed in the poison of 
bitterness provoked by the anguish and horror 


of iindesired maternity? Sometimes, by rare 
chance, it may appear that this is so, although 
imless the whole life in its most secret and 
inmost recesses is made bare, who is to say how 
much any individual may today suffer secretly 
and in bravely hidden mental depression as 
result of the secret misery of his mother while 
she carried him? 

The credulous reliance which humanity is 
encouraged to place on any pronoimcement 
supposedly of " science, "when uttered authori- 
tatively, has often led himianity astray, or at 
least by a very zigzag and convoluted path in 
the direction of the real truth. Not the least 
of the injuries done to the human race by the 
partial misapprehension of greater truths has 
been the scientific derision of the view that the 
mother's mental state affects the child during 
the nine months she carries it before birth. A 
few of the prophets of science, wiser than the 
majority, have recognized the possibility of 
antenatal influence, as did Alfred Russell 
Wallace; but modem science is only just 
beginning to discover the necessary analogous 


facts which will some day make clear and 
demonstrate this truth. In my opinion the 
truth of antenatal influence through the 
mother is certain, so that not only the bodily 
condition, but the mental and spiritual out- 
look, of the mother affects the child she is 
bearing. For the purpose of this essay I take 
the above view as axiomatic, for there is not 
space here to discuss the evidence. 

What can be the effect of the working of 
this law on the race? Do we not see it all 
round us in the bitterness, the hatred, the in- 
human virulence of one hirnian being towards 
another? Such dispositions are the very 
counterpart of the feelings of outraged horror 
and revolt which overwhelm the already over- 
burdened mother, when she feels the drag 
within her of yet another child she did not 

It is sometimes carelessly argued that all 
through the centuries of the past women have 
always been involuntary mothers, and that the 
human race in times past had a greater physi- 
cal perfection than it has today. Our know- 


ledge of the past is partial, a few mountain 
peaks lit by sunlight stand out of the crowded 
and hazy glimpses of the forgotten, and we see 
figures of the stalwart Viking, the beautiful 
Greek, the proud Egyptian. The misty tin- 
certainty of our knowledge of times past covers 
the myriads who have crowded into life merely 
to be extinguished or suppressed by early 
death. Look at the tombs of the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries in our churches, where the 
rows of sons and daughters carved upon the 
sides of the tombs are so frequently infants 
and young children who have died within a 
year or two of birth ! It is true that in those 
days, in all the days imtil quite recent times, 
women in the majority have borne meekly 
and imresistingly the burden of crowded lives, 
borne perhaps without any voiced — perhaps 
without any conscious — feeling of revolt. 
The revolt, the bitterness, which is now find- 
ing expression in violence and uprising in 
every quarter of the world, is the result not 
only of simple crowding, but is also the echo 
of the revolt and bitterness and horror of 


women who bore that burden of age-long 
tradition, no longer passively, but bearing 
it with the consciousness that it should not 
have been if they had been allowed ftdl 

For nearly one hundred years there has been 
in the world knowledge which might long ago 
have been universal property, which could 
have prevented every dreaded conception, 
which could have saved anguish and burden 
and deformity colossal in its harrowing amotint. 
This knowledge has been withheld from 
womanhood nearly all over the world, but it 
has not been annihilated. Echoes of its exist- 
ence, of its beneficent potentialities have 
travelled from one to the other. The most 
overburdened, the most ignorant, has faintly 
and vaguely realized that things need not be 
so cruel for her as they are. The human 
mind, tormented in any way, bows itself and 
can almost forget the torment if it is a ftmda- 
mental necessity (as humanity, tormented by 
the shortness of life and the imminence of 
death, forgets these things and laughs and 


dances), yet it will not so patiently endure 
torment, biirdens, wrongs which it consciously 
realizes are not fundamental necessities, which 
are indeed imposed upon it by others, collec- 
tively or individually. 

For more than a generation women through- 
out the world, sometimes clearly, sometimes 
with but a glimmering, have realized that the 
eternal burden and outrage of the overcrowded 
womb is not a fimdamental necessity. Those 
then who have borne more and ever more 
children than they desired, imder conditions 
that outraged them, have bred into the plastic 
minds that were forming within them that 
sense of bitterness and revolt which is now so 
poisoning human relations. 

How different the racial value of desired 
and beloved children! Minds surroimded by 
every form of healthy and beautiful mental 
and bodily activity are able to grow in help- 
ful harmony. If the joyous picture of a 
radiantly beautiful himianity in a true Utopia 
is ever to be achieved, it must be achieved 
by creating only minds and bodies desired 


and beloved from the first moment of their 

Translated into terms of everyday practice, 
I maintain that the only hope for the race is the 
conscious elimination of all diseased and over- 
crowded lives before their conception, by 
planning only to conceive those for whom 
adequate provision of material necessities and 
a loving welcome are reasonably to be 

When once the women of all classes have 
the fear and dread of undesired maternity 
removed from them, they will be free to 
put all their delicate strength into creating 
desired and beautiful children. And it is 
on the feet of those children that the race 
will go forward into the promised land of 

This, the first foundation of Utopia, could 
be reached in my lifetime, had I the power to 
issue inviolable edicts. Alas! that the age of a 
beneficent autocracy has never been and is not 
here today! Instead of achieving in two 
generations the great result on the himian race 



that could be achieved, it will be necessary to 
take the slower means of creating in every 
individual that intense consciousness of the 
race which will make it impossible for indivi- 
duals ever to tolerate the coercion of enforced 
and miserable motherhood, with its consequent 
poison of the racial stream. 

Ji Selection from the 
Catalogue of 


Complete Catftlo{(u«s eent 
exi application 

M Book for Parents and Teachers 

The Century of the Child 

By Ellen Key 

Author of f*The Education of the Child," "Love and 
Marriage," etc. 

Cr, 8vo^ with Frontispiece, iV*?/, $1.50. By mat i, $1.65 

The Century of the Child has gone through 
more than twenty German editions and has been 
published in several European countries. Since 
Ellen Key severed her connection with the 
champions of women's emancipation twelve 
years ago, by asserting that the salvation of 
women depended upon a nobler conception of 
her natural mission as wife and mother rather 
than upon an enlargement of her sphere, she has 
devoted herself largely to educational questions, 
and her seriousness and sincerity of ethical pur- 
poses have won for her a large and enthusiastic 
following. Some of her ideas are strongly 
revolutionary, but in educational questions she 
shows originality, and her writings have a wide 
appeal among progressive people. In the mat- 
ter of the education of children she is the foe of 
mechanical methods and recommends a large 
liberty in the bringing-up of young people. 

G. P. Pxitnaxn's Sons 

New York London 

The Renaissance of 

By Ellen Key 

Author of " Love and Marriage/' "The Century of 
the Child," etc. 

In this volume, the author of " Love 
and Marriage " considers certain prob- 
lems connected with woman's most im- 
portant mission. She calls the attention 
of an age that is the victim of divergent 
interests to the ancient claim of the child 
upon the mother, a claim that represents 
the most elemental of altruistic bonds. 
Ellen Key points out that motherhood 
and the care of children is woman's pre- 
rogative, and that the division of labor 
between the sexes is a natural one. An 
interesting suggestion toward the solu- 
tion of certain social problems is made 
in the form of a proposed subsidizing of 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York London 

Radiant Motherhood 

Marie Carmichael Slopes 

ScD., Ph.D. 

A book for those who are creating 
the future, novel and profound. 
The glory, power, and sacrifices 
of motherhood are made clear by 
dealing frankly with the physical 
and psychological states of the 
mother-to-be, nor is the father-to- 
be forgotten. All mothers and 
fathers should know this book. 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York London 





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