Studies in the psychology of sex, volume VI. Sex in Relation to Society by Havelock Ellis. - HTML preview

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Part of the Marriage

System--The Complex Causation of Prostitution--The

Motives Assigned by

Prostitutes--(1) Economic Factor of Prostitution--

Poverty Seldom the Chief

Motive for Prostitution--But Economic Pressure Exerts a Real

Influence--The Large Proportion of Prostitutes Recruited from Domestic

Service--Significance of This Fact--(2) The Biological Factor of

Prostitution--The So-called Born-Prostitute--Alleged

Identity with the

Born-Criminal--The Sexual Instinct in Prostitutes--The Physical and

Psychic Characters of Prostitutes--(3) Moral Necessity as a Factor in the

Existence of Prostitution--The Moral Advocates of

Prostitution--The Moral

Attitude of Christianity Towards Prostitution--The

Attitude of

Protestantism--Recent Advocates of the Moral Necessity of

Prostitution--(4) Civilizational Value as a Factor of


Influence of Urban Life--The Craving for Excitement--Why Servant-girls so

Often Turn to Prostitution--The Small Part Played by


Come Largely from the Country--The Appeal of

Civilization Attracts Women

to Prostitution--The Corresponding Attraction Felt by

Men--The Prostitute

as Artist and Leader of Fashion--The Charm of Vulgarity.

IV. _The Present Social Attitude Towards Prostitution:_-

-The Decay of the

Brothel--The Tendency to the Humanization of

Prostitution--The Monetary

Aspects of Prostitution--The Geisha--The Hetaira--The

Moral Revolt Against

Prostitution--Squalid Vice Based on Luxurious Virtue--

The Ordinary

Attitude Towards Prostitutes--Its Cruelty Absurd--The

Need of Reforming

Prostitution--The Need of Reforming Marriage--These Two Needs Closely

Correlated--The Dynamic Relationships Involved.



The Significance of the Venereal Diseases--The History of Syphilis--The

Problem of Its Origin--The Social Gravity of Syphilis--

The Social Dangers

of Gonorrhoea--The Modern Change in the Methods of

Combating Venereal

Diseases--Causes of the Decay of the System of Police


of Facing the Facts--The Innocent Victims of Venereal


Not Crimes--The Principle of Notification--The


System--Gratuitous Treatment--Punishment For


Venereal Diseases--Sexual Education in Relation to


Diseases--Lectures, Etc.--Discussion in Novels and on

the Stage--The

"Disgusting" Not the "Immoral".



Prostitution in Relation to Our Marriage System--

Marriage and

Morality--The Definition of the Term "Morality"--

Theoretical Morality--Its

Division Into Traditional Morality and Ideal Morality--


Morality--Practical Morality Based on Custom--The Only Subject of

Scientific Ethics--The Reaction Between Theoretical and Practical

Morality--Sexual Morality in the Past an Application of Economic

Morality--The Combined Rigidity and Laxity of This


Growth of a Specific Sexual Morality and the Evolution of Moral

Ideals--Manifestations of Sexual Morality--Disregard of the Forms of

Marriage--Trial Marriage--Marriage After Conception of Child--Phenomena in

Germany, Anglo-Saxon Countries, Russia, etc.--The Status of Woman--The

Historical Tendency Favoring Moral Equality of Women

with Men--The Theory

of the Matriarchate--Mother-Descent--Women in Babylonia-


Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries--The Historical


Favoring Moral Inequality of Woman--The Ambiguous

Influence of

Christianity--Influence of Teutonic Custom and


in England--The Sale of Wives--The Vanishing Subjection of

Woman--Inaptitude of the Modern Man to Domineer--The

Growth of Moral

Responsibility in Women--The Concomitant Development of Economic

Independence--The Increase of Women Who Work--Invasion of the Modern

Industrial Field by Women--In How Far This Is Socially Justifiable--The

Sexual Responsibility of Women and Its Consequences--The Alleged Moral

Inferiority of Women--The "Self-Sacrifice" of Women--

Society Not

Concerned with Sexual Relationships--Procreation the

Sole Sexual Concern

of the State--The Supreme Importance of Maternity.



The Definition of Marriage--Marriage Among Animals--The Predominance of

Monogamy--The Question of Group Marriage--Monogamy a

Natural Fact, Not

Based on Human Law--The Tendency to Place the Form of

Marriage Above the

Fact of Marriage--The History of Marriage--Marriage in Ancient

Rome--Germanic Influence on Marriage--Bride-Sale--The

Ring--The Influence

of Christianity on Marriage--The Great Extent of this


Sacrament of Matrimony--Origin and Growth of the


Conception--The Church Made Marriage a Public Act--Canon Law--Its Sound

Core--Its Development--Its Confusions and Absurdities--

Peculiarities of

English Marriage Law--Influence of the Reformation on


Protestant Conception of Marriage as a Secular Contract-

-The Puritan

Reform of Marriage--Milton as the Pioneer of Marriage

Reform--His Views on

Divorce--The Backward Position of England in Marriage

Reform--Criticism of

the English Divorce Law--Traditions of the Canon Law

Still Persistent--The

Question of Damages for Adultery--Collusion as a Bar to Divorce--Divorce in France, Germany, Austria, Russia,

etc.--The United

States--Impossibility of Deciding by Statute the Causes for

Divorce--Divorce by Mutual Consent--Its Origin and

Development--Impeded by

the Traditions of Canon Law--Wilhelm von Humboldt--

Modern Pioneer

Advocates of Divorce by Mutual Consent--The Arguments

Against Facility of

Divorce--The Interests of the Children--The Protection of Women--The

Present Tendency of the Divorce Movement--Marriage Not a Contract--The

Proposal of Marriage for a Term of Years--Legal

Disabilities and

Disadvantages in the Position of the Husband and the

Wife--Marriage Not a

Contract But a Fact--Only the Non-Essentials of

Marriage, Not the

Essentials, a Proper Matter for Contract--The Legal

Recognition of

Marriage as a Fact Without Any Ceremony--Contracts of

the Person Opposed

to Modern Tendencies--The Factor of Moral

Responsibility--Marriage as an

Ethical Sacrament--Personal Responsibility Involves

Freedom--Freedom the

Best Guarantee of Stability--False Ideas of

Individualism--Modern Tendency

of Marriage--With the Birth of a Child Marriage Ceases to be a Private

Concern--Every Child Must Have a Legal Father and

Mother--How This Can be

Effected--The Firm Basis of Monogamy--The Question of


Variations--Such Variations Not Inimical to Monogamy--

The Most Common

Variations--The Flexibility of Marriage Holds Variations in

Check--Marriage Variations _versus_ Prostitution--

Marriage on a Reasonable

and Humane Basis--Summary and Conclusion.



Marriage Not Only for Procreation--Theologians on the


Solationis_--Importance of the _Art of Love_--The Basis of Stability in

Marriage and the Condition for Right Procreation--The

Art of Love the

Bulwark Against Divorce--The Unity of Love and Marriage a Principle of

Modern Morality--Christianity and the Art of Love--Ovid-

-The Art of Love

Among Primitive Peoples--Sexual Initiation in Africa and Elsewhere--The

Tendency to Spontaneous Development of the Art of Love in Early

Life--Flirtation--Sexual Ignorance in Women--The

Husband's Place in Sexual

Initiation--Sexual Ignorance in Men--The Husband's

Education for

Marriage--The Injury Done by the Ignorance of Husbands--

The Physical and

Mental Results of Unskilful Coitus--Women Understand the Art of Love

Better Than Men--Ancient and Modern Opinions Concerning Frequency of

Coitus--Variation in Sexual Capacity--The Sexual

Appetite--The Art of Love

Based on the Biological Facts of Courtship--The Art of Pleasing Women--The

Lover Compared to the Musician--The Proposal as a Part of

Courtship--Divination in the Art of Love--The Importance of the

Preliminaries in Courtship--The Unskilful Husband

Frequently the Cause of

the Frigid Wife--The Difficulty of Courtship--

Simultaneous Orgasm--The

Evils of Incomplete Gratification in Women--Coitus


Reservatus--The Human Method of Coitus--Variations in

Coitus--Posture in

Coitus--The Best Time for Coitus--The Influence of

Coitus in Marriage--The

Advantages of Absence in Marriage--The Risks of Absence-


Primitive Function of Jealousy--Its Predominance Among Animals, Savages,

etc, and in Pathological States--An Anti-Social Emotion-


Incompatible With the Progress of Civilization--The

Possibility of Loving

More Than One Person at a Time--Platonic Friendship--The Conditions Which

Make It Possible--The Maternal Element in Woman's Love--

The Final

Development of Conjugal Love--The Problem of Love One of the Greatest Of

Social Questions.



The Relationship of the Science of Procreation to the

Art of Love--Sexual

Desire and Sexual Pleasure as the Conditions of


Formerly Left to Caprice and Lust--The Question of

Procreation as a

Religious Question--The Creed of Eugenics--Ellen Key and Sir Francis

Galton--Our Debt to Posterity--The Problem of Replacing Natural

Selection--The Origin and Development of Eugenics--The General Acceptance

of Eugenical Principles To-day--The Two Channels by

Which Eugenical

Principles are Becoming Embodied in Practice--The Sense of Sexual

Responsibility in Women--The Rejection of Compulsory


Privilege of Voluntary Motherhood--Causes of the

Degradation of

Motherhood--The Control of Conception--Now Practiced by the Majority of

the Population in Civilized Countries--The Fallacy of


Suicide"--Are Large Families a Stigma of Degeneration?--


Control the Outcome of Natural and Civilized Progress--

The Growth of

Neo-Malthusian Beliefs and Practices--Facultative

Sterility as Distinct

from Neo-Malthusianism--The Medical and Hygienic

Necessity of Control of

Conception--Preventive Methods--Abortion--The New

Doctrine of the Duty to

Practice Abortion--How Far is this Justifiable?--

Castration as a Method of

Controlling Procreation--Negative Eugenics and Positive Eugenics--The

Question of Certificates for Marriage--The Inadequacy of Eugenics by Act

of Parliament--The Quickening of the Social Conscience in Regard to

Heredity--Limitations to the Endowment of Motherhood--

The Conditions

Favorable to Procreation--Sterility--The Question of


Fecundation--The Best Age of Procreation--The Question of Early

Motherhood--The Best Time for Procreation--The

Completion of the Divine

Cycle of Life.



The Child's Right to Choose Its Ancestry--How This is

Effected--The Mother

the Child's Supreme Parent--Motherhood and the Woman

Movement--The Immense

Importance of Motherhood--Infant Mortality and Its

Causes--The Chief Cause

in the Mother--The Need of Rest During Pregnancy--

Frequency of Premature

Birth--The Function of the State--Recent Advance in


Question of Coitus During Pregnancy--The Need of Rest


Lactation--The Mother's Duty to Suckle Her Child--The


Question--The Duty of the State--Recent Progress in the Protection of the

Mother--The Fallacy of State Nurseries.

A man's sexual nature, like all else that is most

essential in him, is

rooted in a soil that was formed very long before his

birth. In this, as

in every other respect, he draws the elements of his

life from his

ancestors, however new the recombination may be and

however greatly it may

be modified by subsequent conditions. A man's destiny

stands not in the

future but in the past. That, rightly considered, is the most vital of all

vital facts. Every child thus has a right to choose his own ancestors.

Naturally he can only do this vicariously, through his parents. It is the

most serious and sacred duty of the future father to

choose one half of

the ancestral and hereditary character of his future

child; it is the most

serious and sacred duty of the future mother to make a similar choice.[1]

In choosing each other they have between them chosen the whole ancestry of

their child. They have determined the stars that will

rule his fate.

In the past that fateful determination has usually been made helplessly,

ignorantly, almost unconsciously. It has either been

guided by an

instinct which, on the whole, has worked out fairly

well, or controlled by

economic interests of the results of which so much

cannot be said, or left

to the risks of lower than bestial chances which can

produce nothing but

evil. In the future we cannot but have faith--for all

the hope of humanity

must rest on that faith--that a new guiding impulse,

reinforcing natural

instinct and becoming in time an inseparable

accompaniment of it, will

lead civilized man on his racial course. Just as in the past the race has,

on the whole, been moulded by a natural, and in part

sexual, selection,

that was unconscious of itself and ignorant of the ends it made towards,

so in the future the race will be moulded by deliberate selection, the

creative energy of Nature becoming self-conscious in the civilized brain

of man. This is not a faith which has its source in a

vague hope. The

problems of the individual life are linked on to the

fate of the racial

life, and again and again we shall find as we ponder the individual

questions we are here concerned with, that at all points they ultimately

converge towards this same racial end.

Since we have here, therefore, to follow out the sexual relationships of

the individual as they bear on society, it will be

convenient at this

point to put aside the questions of ancestry and to

accept the individual

as, with hereditary constitution already determined, he lies in his

mother's womb.

It is the mother who is the child's supreme parent. At various points in

zoölogical evolution it has seemed possible that the

functions that we now

know as those of maternity would be largely and even

equally shared by the

male parent. Nature has tried various experiments in

this direction, among

the fishes, for instance, and even among birds. But

reasonable and

excellent as these experiments were, and though they

were sufficiently

sound to secure their perpetuation unto this day, it

remains true that it

was not along these lines that Man was destined to

emerge. Among all the

mammal predecessors of Man, the male is an imposing and important figure

in the early days of courtship, but after conception has once been secured

the mother plays the chief part in the racial life. The male must be

content to forage abroad and stand on guard when at home in the

ante-chamber of the family. When she has once been

impregnated the female

animal angrily rejects the caresses she had welcomed so coquettishly

before, and even in Man the place of the father at the birth of his child

is not a notably dignified or comfortable one. Nature

accords the male but

a secondary and comparatively humble place in the home, the breeding-place

of the race; he may compensate himself if he will, by

seeking adventure

and renown in the world outside. The mother is the

child's supreme parent,

and during the period from conception to birth the

hygiene of the future

man can only be affected by influences which work

through her.

Fundamental and elementary as is the fact of the

predominant position of

the mother in relation to the life of the race,

incontestable as it must

seem to all those who have traversed the volumes of

these _Studies_ up to

the present point, it must be admitted that it has

sometimes been

forgotten or ignored. In the great ages of humanity it has indeed been

accepted as a central and sacred fact. In classic Rome at one period the

house of the pregnant woman was adorned with garlands, and in Athens it

was an inviolable sanctuary where even the criminal

might find shelter.

Even amid the mixed influences of the exuberantly vital times which

preceded the outburst of the Renaissance, the ideally

beautiful woman, as

pictures still show, was the pregnant woman. But it has not always been

so. At the present time, for instance, there can be no doubt that we are

but beginning to emerge from a period during which this fact was often

disputed and denied, both in theory and in practice,

even by women

themselves. This was notably the case both in England

and America, and it

is probably owing in large part to the unfortunate

infatuation which led

women in these lands to follow after masculine ideals

that at the present

moment the inspirations of progress in women's movements come mainly

to-day from the women of other lands. Motherhood and the future of the

race were systematically belittled. Paternity is but a mere incident, it

was argued, in man's life: why should maternity be more than a mere

incident in woman's life? In England, by a curiously

perverted form of

sexual attraction, women were so fascinated by the

glamour that surrounded

men that they desired to suppress or forget all the

facts of organic

constitution which made them unlike men, counting their glory as their

shame, and sought the same education as men, the same

occupations as men,

even the same sports. As we know, there was at the

origin an element of

rightness in this impulse.[2] It was absolutely right in so far as it was

a claim for freedom from artificial restriction, and a demand for economic

independence. But it became mischievous and absurd when it developed into

a passion for doing, in all respects, the same things as men do; how

mischievous and how absurd we may realize if we imagine men developing a

passion to imitate the ways and avocations of women.

Freedom is only good

when it is a freedom to follow the laws of one's own

nature; it ceases to

be freedom when it becomes a slavish attempt to imitate others, and would

be disastrous if it could be successful.[3]

At the present day this movement on the theoretical side has ceased to

possess any representatives who exert serious influence.

Yet its practical

results are still prominently exhibited in England and the other countries

in which it has been felt. Infantile mortality is

enormous, and in England

at all events is only beginning to show a tendency to

diminish; motherhood

is without dignity, and the vitality of mothers is

speedily crushed, so

that often they cannot so much as suckle their infants; ignorant

girl-mothers give their infants potatoes and gin; on

every hand we are

told of the evidence of degeneracy in the race, or if

not in the race, at

all events, in the young individuals of to-day.

It would be out of place, and would lead us too far,

to discuss

here these various practical outcomes of the foolish

attempt to

belittle the immense racial importance of

motherhood. It is

enough here to touch on the one point of the excess

of infantile


In England--which is not from the social point of

view in a very

much worse condition than most countries, for in

Austria and

Russia the infant mortality is higher still, though

in Australia

and New Zealand much lower, but still excessive--

more than

one-fourth of the total number of deaths every year

is of infants

under one year of age. In the opinion of medical

officers of

health who are in the best position to form an

opinion, about

one-half of this mortality, roughly speaking, is


preventable. Moreover, it is doubtful whether there

is any real

movement of decrease in this mortality; during the

past half

century it has sometimes slightly risen and

sometimes slightly

fallen, and though during the past few years the

general movement

of mortality for children under five in England and

Wales has

shown a tendency to decrease, in London (according

to J.F.J.

Sykes, although Sir Shirley Murphy has attempted to

minimize the

significance of these figures) the infantile

mortality rate for

the first three months of life actually rose from 69

per 1,000 in

the period 1888-1892 to 75 per 1,000 in the period


(This refers, it must be remembered, to the period

before the

introduction of the Notification of Births Act.) In

any case,

although the general mortality shows a marked

tendency to

improvement there is certainly no adequately


improvement in the infantile mortality. This is


surprising, when we realize that there has been no

change for the

better, but rather for the worse, in the conditions

under which

our infants are born and reared. Thus William Hall,

who has had

an intimate knowledge extending over fifty-six years

of the slums

of Leeds, and has weighed and measured many

thousands of slum

children, besides examining over 120,000 boys and

girls as to

their fitness for factory labor, states (_British


Journal_, October 14, 1905) that "fifty years ago the slum mother

was much more sober, cleanly, domestic, and motherly

than she is

to-day; she was herself better nourished and she

almost always

suckled her children, and after weaning they

received more

nutritious bone-making food, and she was able to

prepare more

wholesome food at home." The system of compulsory education has

had an unfortunate influence in exerting a strain on

the parents

and worsening the conditions of the home. For,

excellent as

education is in itself, it is not the primary need

of life, and

has been made compulsory before the more essential

things of life

have been made equally compulsory. How absolutely


this great mortality is may be shown, without

evoking the good

example of Australia and New Zealand, by merely

comparing small

English towns; thus while in Guildford the infantile

death rate

is 65 per thousand, in Burslem it is 205 per


It is sometimes said that infantile mortality is an


question, and that with improvement in wages it

would cease. This

is only true to a limited extent and under certain

conditions. In

Australia there is no grinding poverty, but the

deaths of infants

under one year of age are still between 80 and 90

per thousand,

and one-third of this mortality, according to Hooper


Medical Journal_, 1908, vol. ii, p. 289), being due

to the

ignorance of mothers and the dislike to suckling, is


preventable. The employment of married women greatly


the poverty of a family, but nothing can be worse

for the welfare

of the woman as mother, or for the welfare of her

child. Reid,

the medical officer of health for Staffordshire,

where there are

two large centres of artisan population with

identical health

conditions, has shown that in the northern centre,

where a very

large number of women are engaged in factories,

still-births are

three times as frequent as in the southern centre,

where there

are practically no trade employments for women; the

frequency of

abnormalities is also in the same ratio. The

superiority of

Jewish over Christian children, again, and their

lower infantile

mortality, seem to be entirely due to the fact that

Jewesses are

better mothers. "The Jewish children in the slums,"

says William

Hall (_British Medical Journal_, October 14, 1905),

speaking from

wide and accurate knowledge, "were superior in

weight, in teeth,

and in general bodily development, and they seemed


susceptible to infectious disease. Yet these Jews


overcrowded, they took little exercise, and their


environment was obvious. The fact was, their

children were much

better nourished. The pregnant Jewess was more cared

for, and no

doubt supplied better nutriment to the foetus. After

the children

were born 90 per cent. received breast-milk, and

during later

childhood they were abundantly fed on bone-making

material; eggs

and oil, fish, fresh vegetables, and fruit entered

largely into

their diet." G. Newman, in his important and

comprehensive book

on _Infant Mortality_, emphasizes the conclusion

that "first of

all we need a higher standard of physical

motherhood." The

problem of infantile mortality, he declares (page

259), is not

one of sanitation alone, or housing, or indeed of

poverty as

such, "_but is mainly a question of motherhood_."

The fundamental need of the pregnant woman is _rest_.

Without a large

degree of maternal rest there can be no puericulture.[4]

The task of

creating a man needs the whole of a woman's best

energies, more especially

during the three months before birth. It cannot be

subordinated to the tax

on strength involved by manual or mental labor, or even strenuous social

duties and amusements. The numerous experiments and

observations which

have been made during recent years in Maternity

Hospitals, more especially

in France, have shown conclusively that not only the

present and future

well-being of the mother and the ease of her

confinement, but the fate of

the child, are immensely influenced by rest during the last month of

pregnancy. "Every working woman is entitled to rest during the last three

months of her pregnancy." This formula was adopted by the International

Congress of Hygiene in 1900, but it cannot be

practically carried out

except by the coöperation of the whole community. For it is not enough to

say that a woman ought to rest during pregnancy; it is the business of the

community to ensure that that rest is duly secured. The woman herself, and

her employer, we may be certain, will do their best to cheat the

community, but it is the community which suffers, both economically and

morally, when a woman casts her inferior children into the world, and in

its own interests the community is forced to control

both employer and

employed. We can no longer allow it to be said, in

Bouchacourt's words,

that "to-day the dregs of the human species--the blind, the deaf-mute, the

degenerate, the nervous, the vicious, the idiotic, the imbecile, the

cretins and epileptics--are better protected than

pregnant women."[5]

Pinard, who must always be honored as one of the

founders of

eugenics, has, together with his pupils, done much

to prepare the

way for the acceptance of this simple but important

principle by

making clear the grounds on which it is based. From


observations on the pregnant women of all classes

Pinard has

shown conclusively that women who rest during

pregnancy have

finer children than women who do not rest. Apart

from the more

general evils of work during pregnancy, Pinard found

that during

the later months it had a tendency to press the

uterus down into

the pelvis, and so cause the premature birth of


children, while labor was rendered more difficult

and dangerous

(see, e.g., Pinard, _Gazette des Hôpitaux_, Nov. 28,

1895, Id.,

_Annales de Gynécologie_, Aug., 1898).

Letourneux has studied the question whether repose


pregnancy is necessary for women whose professional

work is only

slightly fatiguing. He investigated 732 successive


at the Clinique Baudelocque in Paris. He found that

137 women

engaged in fatiguing occupations (servants, cooks,

etc.) and not

resting during pregnancy, produced children with an


weight of 3,081 grammes; 115 women engaged in only


fatiguing occupations (dressmakers, milliners, etc.)

and also not

resting during pregnancy, had children with an

average weight of

3,130 grammes, a slight but significant difference,

in view of

the fact that the women of the first group were

large and robust,

while those of the second group were of slight and

elegant build.

Again, comparing groups of women who rested during

pregnancy, it

was found that the women accustomed to fatiguing

work had

children with an average weight of 3,319 grammes,

while those

accustomed to less fatiguing work had children with

an average

weight of 3,318 grammes. The difference between

repose and

non-repose is thus considerable, while it also

enables robust

women exercising a fatiguing occupation to catch up,

though not

to surpass, the frailer women exercising a less


occupation. We see, too, that even in the


unfatiguing occupations of milliners, etc., rest

during pregnancy

still remains important, and cannot safely be

dispensed with.

"Society," Letourneux concludes, "must guarantee rest to women

not well off during a part of pregnancy. It will be

repaid the

cost of doing so by the increased vigor of the

children thus

produced" (Letourneux, _De l'Influence de la

Profession de la

Mère sur le Poids de l'Enfant_, Thèse de Paris,


Dr. Dweira-Bernson (_Revue Pratique d'Obstétrique et


Pédiatrie_, 1903, p. 370), compared four groups of

pregnant women

(servants with light work, servants with heavy work,

farm girls,

dressmakers) who rested for three months before

confinement with

four groups similarly composed who took no rest


confinement. In every group he found that the

difference in the

average weight of the child was markedly in favor of

the women

who rested, and it was notable that the greatest

difference was

found in the case of the farm girls who were

probably the most

robust and also the hardest worked.

The usual time of gestation ranges between 274 and

280 days (or

280 to 290 days from the last menstrual period), and


a few days longer, though there is dispute as to the

length of

the extreme limit, which some authorities would

extend to 300

days, or even to 320 days (Pinard, in Richet's

_Dictionnaire de

Physiologie_, vol. vii, pp. 150-162; Taylor,


Jurisprudence_, fifth edition, pp. 44, 98 et seq.;

L.M. Allen,

"Prolonged Gestation," _American Journal

Obstetrics_, April,

1907). It is possible, as Müller suggested in 1898

in a Thèse de

Nancy, that civilization tends to shorten the period


gestation, and that in earlier ages it was longer

than it is now.

Such a tendency to premature birth under the

exciting nervous

influences of civilization would thus correspond, as


has pointed out (_La Grossesse_, p. 113), to the

similar effect

of domestication in animals. The robust countrywoman


transformed into the more graceful, but also more

fragile, town

woman who needs a degree of care and hygiene which


countrywoman with her more resistant nervous system

can to some

extent dispense with, although even she, as we see,

suffers in

the person of her child, and probably in her own

person, from the

effects of work during pregnancy. The serious nature

of this

civilized tendency to premature birth--of which lack

of rest in

pregnancy is, however, only one of several important


shown by the fact that Séropian (_Fréquence Comparée

des Causes

de l'Accouchement Prémature_, Thèse de Paris, 1907)

found that

about one-third of French births (32.28 per cent.)

are to a

greater or less extent premature. Pregnancy is not a


condition; on the contrary, a pregnant woman is at

the climax of

her most normal physiological life, but owing to the

tension thus

involved she is specially liable to suffer from any

slight shock

or strain.

It must be remarked that the increased tendency to


birth, while in part it may be due to general

tendencies of

civilization, is also in part due to very definite


preventable causes. Syphilis, alcoholism, and

attempts to produce

abortion are among the not uncommon causes of

premature birth

(see, e.g., G.F. McCleary, "The Influence of

Antenatal Conditions

on Infantile Mortality," _British Medical Journal_, Aug. 13,


Premature birth ought to be avoided, because the

child born too

early is insufficiently equipped for the task before


Astengo, dealing with nearly 19,000 cases at the


Hospital in Paris and the Maternité, found, that

reckoning from

the date of the last menstruation, there is a direct


between the weight of the infant at birth and the

length of the

pregnancy. The longer the pregnancy, the finer the


(Astengo, _Rapport du Poids des Enfants à la Durée

de la

Grossesse_, Thèse de Paris, 1905).

The frequency of premature birth is probably as

great in England

as in France. Ballantyne states (_Manual of

Antenatal Pathology;

The Foetus_, p. 456) that for practical purposes the


of premature labors in maternity hospitals may be

put at 20 per

cent., but that if all infants weighing less than

3,000 grammes

are to be regarded as premature, it rises to 41.5

per cent. That

premature birth is increasing in England seems to be

indicated by

the fact that during the past twenty-five years

there has been a

steady rise in the mortality rate from premature

birth. McCleary,

who discusses this point and considers the increase


concludes that "it would appear that there has been a diminution

in the quality as well as in the quantity of our

output of

babies" (see also a discussion, introduced by Dawson Williams, on

"Physical Deterioration," _British Medical Journal_, Oct. 14,


It need scarcely be pointed out that not only is

immaturity a

cause of deterioration in the infants that survive,

but that it

alone serves enormously to decrease the number of

infants that

are able to survive. Thus G. Newman states (loc.

cit.) that in

most large English urban districts immaturity is the

chief cause

of infant mortality, furnishing about 30 per cent.

of the infant

deaths; even in London (Islington) Alfred Harris


Medical Journal_, Dec. 14, 1907) finds that it is

responsible for

nearly 17 per cent. of the infantile deaths. It is

estimated by

Newman that about half of the mothers of infants

dying of

immaturity suffer from marked ill-health and poor

physique; they

are not, therefore, fitted to be mothers.

Rest during pregnancy is a very powerful agent in


premature birth. Thus Dr. Sarraute-Lourié has

compared 1,550

pregnant women at the Asile Michelet who rested


confinement with 1,550 women confined at the Hôpital


who had enjoyed no such period of rest. She found

that the

average duration of pregnancy was at least twenty

days shorter in

the latter group (Mme. Sarraute-Lourié, _De

l'Influence du Repos

sur la Durée de la Gestation_, Thèse de Paris,


Leyboff has insisted on the absolute necessity of

rest during

pregnancy, as well for the sake of the woman herself

as the

burden she carries, and shows the evil results which

follow when

rest is neglected. Railway traveling, horse-riding,


and sea-voyages are also, Leyboff believes, liable

to be

injurious to the course of pregnancy. Leyboff

recognizes the

difficulties which procreating women are placed

under by present

industrial conditions, and concludes that "it is


necessary to prevent women, by law, from working

during the last

three months of pregnancy; that in every district

there should be

a maternity fund; that during this enforced rest a

woman should

receive the same salary as during work." He adds

that the

children of unmarried mothers should be cared for by

the State,

that there should be an eight-hours' day for all

workers, and

that no children under sixteen should be allowed to

work (E.

Leyboff, _L'Hygiène de la Grossesse_, Thèse de

Paris, 1905).

Perruc states that at least two months' rest before


should be made compulsory, and that during this

period the woman

should receive an indemnity regulated by the State.

He is of

opinion that it should take the form of compulsory

assurance, to

which the worker, the employer, and the State alike


(Perruc, _Assistance aux Femmes Enceintes_, Thèse de



It is probable that during the earlier months of

pregnancy, work,

if not excessively heavy and exhausting, has little

or no bad

effect; thus Bacchimont (_Documents pour servir a

l'Histoire de

la Puériculture Intra-utérine_, Thèse de Paris,

1898) found that,

while there was a great gain in the weight of

children of mothers

who had rested for three months, there was no

corresponding gain

in the children of those mothers who had rested for


periods. It is during the last three months that