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until it reached in 1842, 104,565. During the next two years, 1843-4, the number again fell, but from the latter date to 1854 it rapidly increased until it reached the enormous figure of 427,833. In the following year, 1855, it fell nearly half, and in 1858, it was but 144,652. It is estimated that the aggregate emigration to this country from 1784 to 1859 amounts to 5,000,000 persons. There are always two circumstances influencing, if not controlling emigration. The first is the condition of the country from which emigration takes places, and the second that of the country toward which it tends; the very act of emigration indeed presupposes that the former is unfavorable and the latter favorable to the prosperity or happiness of the emigrating classes. Human history is but a panoramic view of these shifting scenes, each illustrating but different phases of the same truth. In general, the causes which lead to the removal of any considerable class from their paternal homes, spring either from the oppressions of government or the hope and promise of gain. Proscribed classes have often been forced to seek permanent abodes on foreign and sometimes inhospitable shores. But more frequently emigration is a voluntary act, determined by both of these causes, viz. oppresion at home and the hope of gain by adventure. This is eminently true of the emigration to America from European and other countries, and the fact that this tide has set steadily to our
shores, from all parts of the world, for eighty years, with but an occasional ebb, proves conclusively the adaptation of our soil, climate, and above all, our free institutions, to promote the happiness and prosperity of mankind. The sources of this emigration, and its amount from different countries, do not determine positively the degree of oppression under which an individual people labor, and the restraints to which their physical well-being is subjected by either soil, climate, or government, though they must approximately. In this view, it is interesting to notice the countries which have constituted the aggregate of our alien population during this period. Of the 5,000,000 immigrants who have arrived since the establishment of our government, Great Britain and Ireland contributed 2,600,000; Germany, 1,600,000; France, 200,000; British America, 100,000; Sweden and Norway, 50,000; China, 50,000; Switzerland, 40,000 ; West Indies, 36,000; Holland, 18,000; Mexico, 16,000; Italy, 8,000; Belgium, 7,000; South America, 5,500; Portugal, 2,000; Azores, 1,300; Russia, 1,000. The fluctuations in emigration which we have noticed have been due to temporary causes, which have merely interrupted the enlarging current, or suddenly swollen it to an unprecedented degree. Among the first of these we notice the disturbance of the friendly relations existing between our government and those from which emigration takes place, commercial crises,
etc.; and of the latter, the chief are acts of proscription by foreign governments, the occurrence of famine, etc. The emigration to America, since the establishment of our government, considered in any respect, whether political, social, or religious, must be regarded as the most remarkable in the history of mankind. For nearly a century, from every civilized, and from many semi-civilized nations, the drift of emigration has been to our shores. The emigrant is generally the poor, the disaffected, or the vicious, who seeks either to improve his condition, or gain a wider field for the exercise of his hitherto restrained passions. Yet from this singular admixture of races, religions, and diverse political education, there has as yet resulted only harmony, peace, prosperity, civil and religious freedom, and universal domestic happiness. The problems which these now historical facts present to the speculative are numerous, and of remarkable interest. The theoretical statesman has no precedent to determine the future complexion of our political institutions; the speculative theologian can by no process of reasoning or generalization establish a national church; and the ethnologist is at a loss as to the final type of an American.
WHAT SHALL WE READ?
FACETIOUS Professor in one of our medical schools is accustomed to give the following as his parting counsel to the graduating class: "If you find leisure to read during your first years of practice, select novels in preference to medical journals." This admonition is generally received by the students as one of those broad jokes for which its author is so greatly distinguished, and is no further heeded. But that the advice is seriously given, is proved by the fact that the professor himself strictly adheres to it. His library is entirely free from this dangerous class of publications, but abounds in light literature of every description. During the past year the professor's theory was put to a practical test, and the sequel furnishes a lesson which we wish to impress upon the recent graduates, upon the general practitioner, and finally, upon the teachers in our medical schools. A question arose in the profession, as to the propriety and possibility of a given operation in the department of practice which this professor has taught in a manner peculiarly his own for a score of years. Now, as often happens, this operation had been
discussed almost entirely in the medical journals, and many of the well-recognized authorities had therein declared the operation practicable and proper. The inquiry was made of this devotee of novels, whether the operation was approved by any responsible author; to which he returned an emphatic No! The correspondence was subsequently published, and the profound ignorance exhibited of the well-known improvements in the branch which he was teaching, has rendered the position of the professor truly unenviable. It will doubtless seem quite superfluous to those who habitually read our best medical periodicals, to urge the importance of this class of publications, and their claim upon the profession. But whoever will institute a careful inquiry as to the number of medical men who, even if they subscribe to, and pay for a medical periodical, read it with care and attention, will be astonished at the result. He will find that few, comparatively, really profit by the journals which they may happen to take, and the proof of the fact will be seen in the practice of the individual. For those who read with interest our best medical journals are invariably found to be the most successful practitioners, and vice versâ. But this indifference to medical journals is not confined to the general practitioners; the person alluded to in the opening paragraph of this article, is the type of a class of public teachers, who move in an atmosphere never tainted by such publications. They