alcoholism or the child — somewhat futile. Sir Thomas Clouston gives his support to this contention in his statements that alcoholism in the parents may be merely one symptom of a hereditary weakness in them, and that their alcoholic excess may have followed, and not preceeded, the procreation of children. This I now take to be an obvious fact, and it is in my opinion, a somewhat fruitless subject for further discussion.
The occurence of conception at some festival season, when acute alcoholism is rife, has provided some investigators with data for consideration. The assertion that alcohol at festivals is the sole source of imbecility in offspring, is as yet, however, unproven. Undoubtedly there may be an increase in the number of conceptions on such occasions, but I am not aware of any statistics which take into account the relationship of the alcohol to degeneracy in the parent: and the possibility of any ill results to the offspring being due to direct heredity, has, so far as I am aware, not been adequately considered. In this connection it must be noted that we know but little of the influences, alcoholic or otherwise, which determine conception; and moreover, the parents are apt to shelve their responsibihties in such matters, and attribute defects in their offspring to some accidental or even fanciful cause. Certain it is that many of the poorer classes attribute the largeness of their families to the abuse of alcohol and the consequent loss of control and other considerations.
2) Parental Degeneracy.
In dealing with this controversy as to the röle of parental alcoholism, we shall find that much of our work in the future will be to prove that alcoholism in the comparatively healthy, as in the degenerate parent, is apt to lead to earlier alcoholism or degeneracy m the offspring. My own experience in this respect leads me unhesitatingly to the conclusion that parental alcoholism,whether it initiates it, ornot, does accentuate existing downward trend, and with each successive generation the period of exemption from alcoholism and degeneracy becomes shorter, so that the offspring, becomes either alcoholic or degenerate, at relatively earlier ages.' That parental alcoholism does intensify the evidences of detective germ-plasm m the stock is shown in the character or degree of the inherited degeneracy in the offspring.
As I have previously stated, alcohol asacomplementary