Full text: Problems in eugenics

220Section III.M. L. March. 
We have not here considered the problems presented to the eugenist by 
the growing care which is taken to preserve individual lives. It does not 
appear that danger of a reversed selection is at present introduced thereby. 
But if measures are taken to compensate for the burden of children, it 
would be imprudent not to take this danger into account. Further, a 
distinction must be made between direct and indirect compensations, and 
it must be borne in mind how uncertain the effects of the latter may be owing 
to the complexity of the influences at work. For example, increase in the 
income of one class of citizens may have the effect of diminishing and not in­ 
creasing the number of their children. 
Direct compensations, proportionate to the burden which it is intended to 
alleviate, and applied in circumstances in which they can act with the best 
effect on the future of the race, are, no doubt, what the eugenist will recom- 
mend(i). Such proposals, in the face of problems as complex as those 
which confront the engineer or the doctor, should be examined with as 
much method and prudence as are exercised by members of these professions 
in discharging the duties of their occupations. 
By Vernon Lyman Kellogg, 
Prafessor of, Stanford University, California. 
The chief peril in infant life—and one but rarely listed in books of 
hygiene and medicine—is the peril of parentage. Fifteen out of one hun­ 
dred children born in England die before reaching one year of age. These 
deaths, says one of the surgeons in a Liverpool infirmary for children, 
“ can scarcely be regarded as due to perils of infant life, as they are due to 
pre-natal influences.” It is exactly because we are coming to recognize 
that pre-natal influences are the greatest infant life peril of them all that 
this Congress is being held. 
In the decade 1841-1850 the deaths of infants under twelve months in 
England averaged 153 a year per 1000 births; in the decade 1881-1890 
they averaged 142, a gain of but 71/5 per cent in a half century otherwise 
characterized by enormous progress in sanitation, preventive hygiene and 
general medicine. A comparison of the infant mortality rates of England 
(1) In this connection attention must be called to a proposal actually placed before 
the French Parliament by MM. Henry Charon and Le Cherpy, namely, to allocate 
a sum of 10 francs a month for every child less than 13 years of age after the 
third to heads of families having more than three children less than 13 years of age 
and belonging to societies for mutual assurance against illness.

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