Full text: Problems in eugenics

ii8Section I.A. Marro. 
d’une substance amorphe, qui convertit ces canaux souples et élastiques en 
tubes rigides ; d’où vient un ralentissement général des fonctions organiques 
(circulation, oxydation, sécrétion); le sang n’arrivant plus au degré d’élabora­ 
tion, qu’il avait avant, acquiert une plus grande acidité, ne peut plus aussi 
vite se débarrasser, par la voie ordinaire des émonctoires, des produits de 
déchet dont il est chargé. En vertu de ces conditions, l’organisme des 
sénescents subit une espèce d’intoxication lente et graduelle qui, de même 
qu’elle se révèle en lui par l’alanguissement progressif de toutes ses fonc­ 
tions, influence d’une façon désastreuse les germes qui s’y développent et 
les prédispose à devenir des êtres voués à la dégénération. 
Par suite, cette cause de dégénération entre dans la catégorie commune 
des intoxications. 
By Antonio Marro. 
We note that in nature there prevails a law which governs inheritance 
throughout the generations of living beings, but its limits and the influences 
which it obeys are sometimes so obscured from us that they almost verge on 
mystery. The question of the transmission of characters by inheritance is of ancient 
date. As regards physical characters hardly any one denies it, so clear are 
the proofs given by races and families; the exceptional cases seem very 
rare. Inheritance which relates to moral and intellectual characters is more 
disputed. We may recall that the ancient Greeks believed in it as is shown 
by the jealous care which Lycurgus showed in his laws in order to secure 
the reproduction of the most select men from the point of view of virtue and 
worth, to whom he wished that every woman might be able to give herself. 
Plato also wished to banish from his Republic the sons and the nephews 
of criminals, and Aristotle, in support of his opinion, cites in his Ethics 
the example of a wretch who, in order to excuse himself for the bad usage 
to which he had made his father submit, exclaimed—“ My father beat 
my grandfather. This latter had also ill-used my great-grandfather, and 
note well, my son, this villain, as soon as he 9hall have attained the age 
and strength of an adult, he will spare me neither blows nor assault.”

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