Full text: Problems in eugenics

420Section IV.F. W. Mott. 
quently in some other form indicative of the neuropathic taint. The card 
system of relatives which I shall refer to in detail, investigated for me by 
Dr. Edgar Schuster showed that epilepsy, recurrent insanity, and delu­ 
sional insanity are especially liable to be transmitted in the same form, but 
general paralysis, which is now recognised as an organic brain disease due 
to syphilis, is not due to heredity, and the cases consequently do not figure 
largely in these relative cases. 
In considering the question of marriage and propagation a study of 
these relatives and pedigrees convinces me of the importance of looking 
back into the stocks and ascertaining whether there are many lines of 
defective heredity, and whether with some lines of defective heredity there 
are lines of sterling worth, for often enough with insanity and epilepsy we 
find great talent, even genius and members of civic worth. The very fact 
that a person would come and consult the physician as to whether he should 
marry or not is a sign of civic worth and high moral character, and in giving 
advice we should be guided by a consideration of the stock into which he 
or she proposes to marry. If there is a neuropathic tendency in that stock, 
marriage into it should be discountenanced, for I shall show you that the 
chances of insane offspring arising are much greater. Let me illustrate my 
remarks by two pedigrees, one is that of a man of genius and remarkable 
mental stability with a bad collateral heredity (Fig. 6), the other is that in 
which pauperism, tuberculosis, and blindness in successive generations occur. 
(Fig. 10.) It would have been a national calamity had the former not been 
allowed to propagate ; to cut off the lines of propagation in the latter would 
have been a national benefit. The popular expression, “ He comes from a 
good stock or a bad stock,” then, is the result of experience and quite 
scientific according to the laws of ancestral inheritance, yet now and then 
even from an apparently unknown or even bad stock a great man arises. 
Are we to say that because a parent is insane that therefore the children 
must necessarily be insane or useless to the race? God forbid ! The 
parents of some of the most eminent men became insane and genius with 
insanity frequently occurs in the same stock indicative of a variation from 
the normal average. 
The great point in any scientific investigation is not to try and prove some­ 
thing, and to avoid any propagandist tendency; thus the question of alcohol 
and insanity is an illustration in point. The Council of Fifty in Massachu­ 
setts investigated the number of patients admitted to asylums in which there 
was an alcoholic history ; it was then suggested that they might investigate the 
number of total abstainers, it was found that they were as numerous. 
The scientific way to approach this question is to carefuly investigate the 
pedigrees of patients admitted, selected not because they show a large number 
of members of the ancestral stocks as being degenerate or insane, but selected 
because a complete family history can be obtained for three generations. 
This has been most successfully done by Dr. Hill Wilson White,

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