Full text: Problems in eugenics

408Section IV.F. W. Mott. 
also have a high rate of births, of infant mortality, and of tuberculosis. 
While yielding to no one in the desire to see temperate measures adopted 
for the control and regulation of the liquor traffic and the segregation of the 
chronic inebriate, who, in my judgment, is more dangerous to society than 
the lunatic; nevertheless, I am of opinion that there is no proof that 
certifiable insanity would diminish to anything like the extent that is fondly 
cherished by total abstainers if alcohol were abolished. I feel certain, 
however, there would be less disease and far less crime and pauperism 
than now exists in the general population of this country. Dr. Bevan 
Lewis and Dr. Sullivan, by careful analysis and tables, have shown that in 
the regional distribution of insanity it is difficult to trace any evidence of 
alcoholic influence such as might be expected if alcoholism really accounted 
for a sixth of the total cases of registered insanity. They have shown 
that inland and agricultural communities were the least inebriate, but 
had the highest ratios of pauperism and insanity; inland and maritime 
mining and manufacturing communities above all others were the most in­ 
temperate, yet revealed the lowest ratios of pauperism and insanity. Dr. 
Sullivan concludes that alcohol, as the essential cause of certified insanity, 
falls a good deal short of the 16 per cent, at which it is rated in the 
official statistics. This entirely conforms with my observations on post­ 
mortem examinations in hospital and asylum practice. There is a correla­ 
tion, however, between the wage-earning capacity of a population, 
pauperism, insanity, and tuberculosis. As the mentally and physically 
more fit migrate from the agricultural districts to the industrial centres, or 
emigrate, a progressively, mentally, and physically enfeebled rural popula­ 
tion must result. Like tends to beget like, and so Eugenists should urge 
back to the land as one of the most pressing calls for legislation if we do 
not want a complete mental and physical deterioration of our rural popula­ 
tion. It is a well-known fact that the feeble-minded are especially prone 
to tuberculosis, which is one of Nature’s methods of eliminating the unfit. 
Imbeciles and idiots are often sterile, which is one mode by which a 
completely degenerate stock may die out, but degenerate stocks generally 
contain feeble-minded of all grades, the majority of which will not die out, 
but propagate freely, and no class of the community is responsible for 
registered insanity, and (at present) unregistered feeble-mindedness to such 
an extent as the mentally feeble. The progeny begotten of a feeble-minded 
mother by a drunken father, according to my experience, is much more 
likely to be born mentally defective or become insane in later life than 
when both parents are intemperate, but neither of inherent mental defi­ 
ciency. I have many pedigrees which seem to indicate that a perfectly 
sound stock may degenerate from a combination of pathogenic factors, viz., 
stress of town life, alcoholism, syphilis, and tuberculosis occurring in the 
progenitors in successive generations. Wage-earning capacity of the masses 
depends upon two factors, energy and sagacity, and the feeble-minded are

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