Onderstaande tekst is niet 100% betrouwbaar

factor to parental degeneracy does aid in the devolution of the stock, and it is upon families which are prone to degeneracy that it appears to put the finishing touches, and renders the physique and ability of the offspring more and more unsatisfactory with each successive generation. Nature does not permit any prolonged departure from its laws of health and the trend of evolution, as is shown by the tendences for neuroses and phychoses to spread and ultimately wear themselves out in the course of time and with successive generations. This law holds good so long as other complicating factors, such as alcohol, do not add to the burden, and by attacking the more or less attenuated neuroses or psychoses, keep them alight and thereby frustrate the efforts of Nature to render them abortive. Alcohol, as we all know, will readily set alight and determine the existence of a neurosis or psychosis which might otherwise be on the wane; and not only does it affect the individual and intensify the degeneracy, but it is also open to belief, that it renders the offspring more liable to suffer from the transmission of such degeneracy, not only in its parental intensity, but also to be manifested at an earlier age.

Hitherto much attention has been applied to the feeble-minded who have borne distinct evidences of defect or perversion either physical or mental. The various standards of physical or mental attainment have been made the basis for the acquirement of data for statistical methods of research, whilst the scientific or medicobiological methods of study have been concerned with such symptoms of degeneration as are evident to the ordinary observer.

Great mental or physical attainments of children are by no means indicative of nerve stability, and in the majority of such instances which have come under my observation, certain degrees of backwardness have been of more favourable import, in the life histories of the children, than have been various conditions of precocity or forwardness. The tendency of the age is to beget nervous children who exhibit their precocity in almost every type and degree of intellectual and aesthetical attainment. Their fond and admiring parents, in a spirit of pride and emulation, instead of recognising the precocity of their children as warnings of dangers to follow, congratulate themselves, and by every means available endeavour to force the development of symptoms, which are in reality but indications of instability. Such children not infrequently possess an abnormal physiological retentiveness of