Full text: Problems in eugenics

Exhibit C 36.13 
symptom of this may be interpreted the increasing number of suicides 
in civilised countries, demonstrated in Riidin’s Tables, C 35 and C 36, 
showing the number of suicides in every one million of inhabitants. 
More serious still than the frequency of mental and nervous 
diseases is another phenomenon which demonstrates how unsatis­ 
factory is the constitutional condition of large circle of our popula­ 
tion of to-day.* 
This phenomenon which as yet has received much too little atten­ 
tion is the large scale on which families die out, at first in the 
male line. Apparently (sufficient observations for control are not 
available) those families which hold an eminent economical or social 
position (aristocracy, old county families, etc., etc.) are mainly concerned. 
Because exceptional endowment in one or more respects (intelligence, 
talent, will power, etc.) is generally required to secure or to maintain a 
leading position, and because such endowment is given to only a 
small fraction of the population, but is inherited largely by the progeny, 
this dying out of the leading families means a serious loss to the race. 
The deficient fertility of the stock thus endowed results in a 
lower average of mental capacity in the population generally, and 
cannot in the long run be made up by the constant re-appearance 
of distinguished men appearing as variations, the smallest number 
of whom are “ mutations. ’’ 
The tendency among town families to die out appears to be 
wide-spread. Professor S. Schott in Tables C 37-C40 adds materially 
to our knowledge on this point, Professor Schott makes the following 
comment on his Tables 
“ S. Schott. Old Mannheim families, 4 tables.” 
“ Source: ‘Old Mannheim families. A contribution to the 
family statistics of the 19th Century by Professor Dr. Sigmund 
Schott, Mannheim and Leipzig, 1910. J. Rensheimer.’ Statistical 
demonstration of the development, decline, and extinction of about 
4,000 families which were in existence at Mannheim at the beginning 
of the 19th Century, based on permanently maintained family 
registers. This research, pursued on a basis of population statis­ 
tics, lends itself only to a limited degree to application for biological purposes.”

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