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could not allow the opportunity to pass without inviting the attention of our readers to their consideration.


We had fully expected to furnish our readers with this interesting document, but a letter from its author states that he has not been able to prepare it for publication in this number of the Reporter, though we have his assurances that it shall be ready for the next.

CHAIR OF CHEMISTRY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF PENN’A. We are gratified to learn that James B. Rogers, M. D. of Philadelphia, has been elected to the chair of Chemistry in the University of Pennsylvania, made vacant by the resignation of Professor Hare. Dr. Rogers has been for many years one of the most popular and able lecturers on Chemistry in the United States, and has been connected with several Medical Colleges. His appointment can not but enhance the reputation of the University.


We have not been able to procure as complete a report of the proceedings of the State Medical Society for the present number of the Reporter, as we shall furnish in future. We anticipate that the existence of this Journal, and its identity with the profession of New Jersey, will ensure for future numbers a more detailed history of the transactions of the Society than has ever been recorded. An idea of the true character of its deliberations cannot be formed from a mere abstract of the minutes of the Secretary, however faithful they may be. Our pages are also open to such of the proceedings of the District Societies as may be of interest to the profession at large.



The Committee appointed by the National Medical Convention,

held in May, 1846, to consider the expediency, and (if expedient,) the mode of recommending and urging upon the several State governments the adoption of measures for a Registration of the Births, Marriages, and Deaths of their several populations, respectfully

REPORT. That in their deliberations upon this vitally important subject, the expediency of such a recommendation has not for a moment admitted of a doubt. They believe the medical profession of the United States would unhesitatingly and unanimously approve the recommendation, and that such a step, by their representatives assembled in this Convention, would receive a universal sanction.

A uniform and systematic Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths, appears to be a measure somewhat difficult of accomplishment in populations like ours, and must, necessarily, rely upon the energy and intelligence of comparatively few to carry its provisions into effect, yet it is of such primary importance to the best interests of the people, as to justify our urging its adoption upon the several State governments, with the confident belief that when its merits are once fully understood, all will unite in its support.

With regard to the second branch of the subject submitted to us, the mode of recommending the adoption by the several States, of measures for this purpose, there would seem but one course for the Convention to pursue, and that is, to address the State governments upon the subject. To this end, your Committee have prepared a document in the form of an address, which they propose, if accepted, should be signed by the officers of the Convention, printed and properly transmitted.

As this whole subject is one which can, in its primary aspect, be fully appreciated by but few others than the members of the medical profession, it must depend, in a great measure, upon their efforts for its successful accomplishment, and where such exceedingly desirable and valuable results are attainable, your committee will not suffer themselves to entertain the thought

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that it will be permitted to fail, through negligence on the part of their professional brethren in the different sections of the country.

Your Committee respectfully submit the following resolutions for adoption by the Convention :

Resolved, 1st. That it is expedient for this Convention to recommend to, and urge upon, the various State governments, the adoption of measures for procuring a Registration of the Births, Marriages and Deaths occurring in their several populations.

Resolved, 2d. That a Standing Committee be appointed by the Convention to take a general charge of the subject, and report annually to the Convention.

Resolved, 3d, That the State Medical Societies be requested to assume the duty of carrying out the objects embraced in the first resolution; and that in those States where no organized Societies exist, the delegates there from in the present Convention, be charged with the duty for their respective States, and report to the Standing Committee.

Resolved, 4th. That in procuring the Registration, the forms and nomenclature adopted should be, as nearly as possible, similar to those prepared for, and reported to, the Convention.

Resolved, 5th. That the paper hereto annexed, be adopted as the voice of the Convention, be printed, and signed by its officers, and transmitted under their direction to all the State governments of the Union. All which is respectfully submitted.


Philadelphia, May 5th, 1847.

The United States National Medical Convention, assembled in the city of Philadelphia in May, 1847, desirous of the promotion of the true and vital interests of the people of their common country, in all their varied locations, circumstances and conditions, do respectfully recommend to the governments of the several States of the Union, the adoption of measures for a General Registration of the Births, Marriages, and Deaths, which may occur within their respective borders.

No effort need here be expended in elucidation of the more ordinary purposes for which such a Registration should be universally adopted, such as proofs of lineage, rights of dower, and

bequests of property. The importance of these cannot but be perceived on the least reflection.

But there are reasons more profound and far reaching, results more important to the welfare and glory of man, obtainable by this measure, which not only justify, but demand its early adoption, and thorough consummation.

There are two facts to be noticed in this connection, which may not be denied :

First. Upon the circumstances connected with the three important eras of existence, birth, marriage, and death, are dependant, to a very great extent, the physical, moral and civil condition of the human family.

Second. A knowledge of these circumstances is necessary for a full comprehension of important means for the certain advancement of the population of States, in prosperity and civilization.

To the political economist and vital statist, the laws which re gulate and control the lives and destinies of the people of the present, cannot be a subject of indifference,—to the legislator and statesman, ignorance of them is a bar to the full appreciation of their responsibility to the people of the future. The philosophy of increase of population is intimately connected with, and dependent upon, the proposed measure, and can be properly learned only from its facts and deductions. In countries longer settled than ours, this science has come to be one of profound importance to those who are called to legislate for the future as well as for the present. For example: The population of Eng: . land has increased, as the census prove—and the excess of births over deaths leaves beyond a doubt-in a geometrical progression for forty years, and at a rate by which, if continued, it will double every forty-nine years. Whether the means of subsistence keep pace with that increase, or whether the density of population will, ere long, be too great for its area, are important questions to be decided by their own statesmen.

An increase of population has, however, nothing in it irresistible or inexorable; it consists in nothing but an increase of the births over the deaths and will be suspended if the births cease to maintain the same ratio to the population ; and the births may always be reduced rapidly, by retarding the period and number of the marriages, without taking into consideration the increase by immigration. Circumstanced as this country is now, with its millions of unreclaimed acres, its exhaustless resources of subsistence and wealth, in its mountains and valleys, in its mines, rivers and forests, it would be judicious to invite, even with the vast immigration to be expected, rather than dis


courage, an increase of a native population, by encouraging early marriages, provided that thereby immorality or misery in any form, will not advance with them.

But before we can make any recommendations on ihis subject, or before we can even intelligently discuss it, we must have a knowledge of the facts as they are. By commencing a Registration now, our successors will be furnished with the necessary material in time for any exigency that may arise.

Conclusive evidence is furnished to us of the value of a welldigested system of Registration for the improvement of the people in their moral and physical condition, and in the length of their lives. From the facts obtained thereby, are deducible the rules and inferences of health, and the sources of disease and and premature mortality-many of which need but be known to be avoided. Concident with improvements in the health and condition of individuals, are increase of years, and advancement irf private and public morals, and in the strength and virtue of the State.

Among the first communities to establish a system of Registration of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, was Geneva, where it was begun as early as 1549, and has since been continued with great care. The registers are there viewed as pre-appointed evidences of civil rights, and it appears that human life has wonderfully improved since they were kept. The mean duration of life increased more than five times from 1550 to 1833; with the increase of population, and more prolonged duration of life, happiness also increased; though with advanced posterity marriages became fewer and later, and thus the number of births was reduced, a greater number of infants born were preserved, and the number of adults—with whom lies the true greatness of the state-became larger. Towards the close of the 17th

. century, the probable duration of life was not 20 years-at the close of the 18th century it attained to 32 years—and now it has arrived to 45 years, while the real productive power of the population has increased in a much greater proportion than the increase in its actual number, and, Geneva has arrived at a high state of civilization.

These results, so glorious for individuals, for the community, and for humanity, are derived from the better knowledge and understanding of the science of life and health, the data for which are furnished by the statistics of the Registers.

The information obtained by the Natural History surveys which have been made of many of the States of the Union, is directly interesting only to a very small number ;-while the

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