Full text: Problems in eugenics

130Section I.A. Marro. 
the biological and physical peculiarities of the children. Amongst the 
biological qualities I have taken longevity, and with this view I have ex­ 
amined the inmates of the Hospice de Charite of Turin. Leaving aside those 
who were pointed out to me as feeble, I examined 238 subjects. Never­ 
theless, 80 of these gave me such inexact replies that I did not U9e the in­ 
formation which they gave me. I put on one side 16, because they were 
not yet 70 years of age, and I added to the 142, 47 other persons of my 
village whom I examined because they had all attained or passed the age of 
70. Divided into respective categories, according to their own age and 
that of their parents, they gave the following proportions :— 
Table V.Children of 
fathers at the fathers at the 
very young age of complete age of 
fathers. development. decline. 
Octogenarians ... 4 = 10% 23 = 62% 10 = 27% 
Septuagenarians ... 21 = 13% 78 = 51% 53 = 34% 
Compared to other normal people, of which I have previously given the 
proportions, it would seem that amongst aged people the proportions 
are preserved almost as with the young, even with a slight superiority, as 
well with the young as with the old. It must, however, be recalled that the 
individuals of this age were born in the time of the Wars of Napoleon,* 
during which the procreation of children was almost confined either to 
young parents, still unfit for military service, or to those who had passed 
the age of service; so that the descendants of fathers of middle age either 
failed or were children of persons of bad constitution unfit for service, 
and, in consequence, incapable of begetting children of a high degree of 
vitality. The descendants of aged parents have, besides, a greater probability of 
survival, because the advanced age of the father exempts them in part from 
military service. Perhaps, also, their greater prudence and more developed 
egotism are conditions which favour their preservation. It is a striking 
fact, nevertheless, that amongst octogenarians one always meets a larger 
proportion of individuals the offspring of fathers in full vigour rather than 
of fathers too young or too old. 
The notes which I have taken, at the same time, upon the age at which 
the parents of the subjects of whom I have examined died, prove to me that 
among the parents of octogenarians four died before 40, sixteen in the age 
from 41 to 70, seventeen above 70, that is to say, in the proportions of 
* These studies were made in the year 1883-84.

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