Full text: Problems in eugenics

368Section IV.Magnan and 
obtained in the course of his observations, and the information furnished 
by the parents or friends of the patient. 
All this results in a considerable collection of precious documents. It 
has seemed to us worth while to make an abstract of these, on the occasion 
of the first “ International Eugenics Congress,” and to try to gather from 
them the lessons which they contain, directing our attention more specially 
to the effects of alcohol on the individual and his offspring. 
A first question suggests itself : among the unfortunates brought by 
insanity to the asylum, how many are driven there by alcohol ? The part 
here played by alcohol is considerable, and since 1867, has been constantly 
on the increase. Nay, more : since its appearance, alcohol has modified 
the very appearance of our asylums. 
According to the reports of M. Husson, Director of the Public Assistance 
from 1801 to 1840, the entries, male and female, taken over periods of 
six years, show more women than men; from 1841 to 1863 the result is the 
same, except for the three years 1843, 1845, and 1859, where the men are 
ahead by a few units. 
1843 ... 2045 entries 1046 men 999 women 
1843 ... 2083 618 609 
1859 ... 1923 977 946 
This predominance of insanity among women was attributed to her 
more nervous temperament, to her higher sensitiveness and emotionalism. 
But after 1863, the figures of male entries, which had been gradually 
rising, exceeds at first by a few dozen the number of females and after that 
the excess of males rapidly rises to hundreds. 
A new factor, alcohol, has entered the scene, more perilous for man 
than for woman; it poisons him, makes him mad, and brings him to the 
insane asylum. 1863 ... 2045 entries 1046 men 999 women 
1864 ... 2083 1057 1026 
1865 ... 2248 1203 1045 
1866 ... 2445 I297 XI48 (1) 
From May 1st, 1867, to January 1st, 1887, the entries of men and 
women and the proportion of alcoholics in the two sexes are as follows :— 
(see page 369). 
Until 1887 the only return that had been made was that of simple 
alcoholics, that is, those whose insanity was entirely due to excess of drink. 
After this period, there were scheduled in like manner all the psychopaths, 
who are chiefly descendants of alcoholics, and in whose case alcohol had 
ornly been the determining element which had put in operation their 
temperamental insanity. We have set forth both classes in the following 
table :—(see page 370).

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