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are too early for those persons whose development is uncommonly slow.
But there are other cogent reasons for discountenancing early marriages,
also drawn from the physiology of reproduction, to say nothing of the
many reasons which might be urged on other grounds.
1. During the development of the body, all its energies are required
in perfecting the various tissues and organs. There is no material to
be spared for any foreign purpose.
2. The reproductive act is the most exhaustive of all vital acts. Its
effect upon an undeveloped person is to retard growth, weaken the
constitution, and dwarf the intellect.
3. The effects upon the female are even worse than those upon the male;
for, in addition to the exhaustion of nervous energy, she is compelled
to endure the burdens and pains of child-bearing when utterly
unprepared for such a task, to say nothing of her unfitness for the
other duties of a mother. With so many girl-mothers in the land, is
it any wonder that there are so many thousands of unfortunate
individuals who never seem to get beyond childhood in their
development? Many a man at forty years is as childish in mind, and as
immature in judgment, as a well-developed lad of eighteen would be.
They are like withered fruit plucked before it was ripe; they can never
become like the mellow and luscious fruit allowed to mature properly.
They are unalterably molded; and the saddest fact of all is that they
will give to their children the same imperfections; and the children
will transmit them to another generation, and so the evil will go on
increasing, unless checked by extinction.
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