If the present work were one of speculative theory, rather than well established fact, it might be interesting to inquire to what end civilized society is tending in the matter of marriage. Will the number of celibates continue to increase as it has done in the past, or will some counter-movement ensue to check what is, unquestionably, a growing social evil? It is regrettable that no definite answer to such questions is possible, from the fact that the entire matter hinges, apparently, on certain ethical and economic considerations, the results of which, at the present time, it is wholly impossible to forecast; but, as the previous history of the race has taught us that nature adapts itself readily to new needs and conditions, it is hardly probable that, in so important a matter as race propagation, it will fail of its customary fertility of resource.

Having glanced briefly at marriage, then, as a world-wide custom, the origin and peculiarities of which among different peoples I do not deem it expedient to enter into more minutely, it remains for us to consider some of the motives which underlie it, and at least a few of the obstacles which stand in the way of safe, rational and healthful marriage.