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characters of the children. My researches have extended to numerous
criminals and insane persons, as well as to scholars of the public
schools and other normal persons affected or not with special diseases.

Of my studies on criminals, the result is: that the children of
young parents are found in large numbers guilty of offences against
property; and this is natural. The first impulse to that is not due to
wickedness, which impels them to inflict harm on others, but to love of
pleasure, of revel, of idleness - all features of youth, during which
period the passions are very active, and no restraint present with
which to repress and subjugate them.

Swindlers alone are exceptions to this rule, but swindling is a crime
of riper years, according to the dictum of Quetelet.

Among crimes of personal violence, I have found a numerical superiority
in the children of aged parents. Assassins, homicides, those who show
the completest absence of sentiments of affection and often delusions
of persecution more or less pronounced, gave a proportion of children
of aged parents far greater than that furnished by all the other
categories of delinquents; the proportion is as high for fathers as for
mothers of advanced age.

Here, too, we note a certain correlation between the state of
discontent, of suspicion, of frigid egoism, which the decline of
physical energy tends to arouse in the old, and the absence of
affectionate sentiment and a tendency to delusions of persecution which
are usual in murderers. Among the insane, moral idiocy in particular,
and the degenerative forms in general, appeared more frequently in
children of aged parents.

As to schoolboys, I have noticed that the minimum of good conduct
and the maximum of better developed intelligence coincides with the
possession of youth by both parents.

The age of complete development corresponds to a maximum of good
conduct and a minimum of bad conduct, and retains a large proportion of
intelligent children.

In the period of decline of both parents, good conduct of children is
observed in a smaller proportion than in the preceding period, and high
intelligence in a very small proportion.

Among biological qualities I have made observations on longevity; among
persons of 70 and 80 whom I have examined there is a large proportion
of parents who themselves enjoyed remarkably long lives, which proves
the transmissibility from father to son of powers of resistance against
the stresses of life.

Among physical qualities I have made note of the fact that from
alcoholic or aged parents were descended children in whom degenerative
physical characteristics were most frequently apparent, recalling some
features of an inferior human type, such as exaggeration of the frontal
sinuses, the torus occipitalis, ears with the Darwinian tubercles
prominent, the forehead receding, etc. At the same time the ascendants
of those who presented typical and anomalous characters, due to morbid
influences of various kinds and following on faulty development of
the foetus, such as cretinism, congenital goître, nasal deflections,
strabismus, plagio-cephaly, hydrocephaly, dental malformation, etc.,
showed a large number of alcoholics and epileptics.

The explanation of the pernicious consequences to the psycho-physical
characters of the children of parents too young or too advanced in age
does not present much difficulty.

At the younger period the organism is still in process of formation;
the incomplete development of the skeleton, as of all the other organs,
continually absorbs a mass of plastic materials necessary to the
formation of offspring. So we may consider that the faults of children
born of too young parents are due to an incomplete development because
of the insufficiency of plastic material.

We must, on the other hand, seek in the conditions which accompany old
age for the reason why it has a disastrous influence on the vitality of
the germinal elements of the parents and predisposes the descendants to
various forms of physical and moral degeneracy.

During this period we have in the tissues, instead of a development
and renewal of protoplasm, the tendency to an accumulation of fat;
and in the whole organism, chiefly in the tissues of the arterial
system, we find the tendency to a deposit in their structure of an
amorphous substance which converts the supple elastic canals into rigid
tubes; and from this a general slowing up of the organic functions
(circulation, oxidation, secretion) results; the blood, not reaching
the degree of elaboration which it possessed before, acquires a greater
acidity, and cannot by the ordinary excretory channels so quickly get
rid of the catabolic products with which it is charged.

By reason of these conditions the organism of older people undergoes
a sort of slow and gradual intoxication, which, at the same time as
it shows itself in the individual by the gradual languishing of all
his functions, influences in a disastrous manner the germs which
develop within him, and predisposes them to become beings condemned to

Consequently this cause of degeneracy enters the general category of



By R. C. Punnett,

_Professor of Biology, Cambridge_.

To the student of genetics, man, like any other animal, is material for
working out the manner in which characters, whether physical or mental,
are transmitted from one generation to the next. Viewed in this way he
must be regarded as unpromising, not only from the small size of his
families, the time consumed in their production, and the long period of
immaturity, but also because full experimental control is here out of
the question. For these reasons man is of interest to the student of
genetics, chiefly in so far as he presents problems in heredity which
are rarely to be found in other species, and can only be studied at
present in man himself. The aim of the Eugenist, on the other hand, is
to control human mating in order to obtain the largest proportion of
individuals he considers best fitted to the form of society which he
affects. It is evident that to do this effectually he must have precise
knowledge of the manner in which transmission of characters occurs,
and more especially of those with which he particularly wishes to
deal. Precise knowledge is at present available in man for relatively
few characters; and those characters, such as eye-colour, and certain
somewhat rare deformities, are not the kind on which the Eugenist lays
great stress. The one instance of eugenic importance that could be
brought under immediate control is that of feeble-mindedness. Speaking
generally, the available evidence suggests that it is a case of simple
Mendelian inheritance. Occasional exceptions occur, but there is every
reason to expect that a policy of strict segregation would rapidly
bring about the elimination of this character.

There is reason to suppose that many human qualities are more
complicated in their transmission, and it is probable that certain
phenomena now being studied in plants and animals will throw definite
light upon man. Though characters are frequently transmitted on the
Mendelian scheme quite independently of one another, there are cases
known in which they are linked up more or less completely in the germ
cells with the determinant of a particular sex. Sex-limited inheritance
of this nature has been carefully worked out in particular cases in
Lepidoptera and poultry. As yet there is much to be learnt in this
direction, and further progress may be expected to lead eventually to
a precise knowledge of the mode of transmission of many human defects,
such as colour-blindness and hæmophilia. It is not unlikely that a
similar mode of transmission will be found to hold good for many human
characters usually classed as normal.

Another set of phenomena which will probably be found of importance in
the heredity of man are those included under the terms "coupling" and
"repulsion." Characters, each exhibiting simple Mendelian segregation,
may become linked together more or less completely in the process of
heredity, or the reverse may occur. Our knowledge of these phenomena
is at present almost completely confined to cases in plants, but
evidence is beginning to be obtained for their occurrence in animals.
It is not unlikely that they will be found to play a considerable part
in human heredity. For one of the most noticeable things about man
is the frequency with which children resemble one or other parent to
the seemingly almost complete exclusion of the other. In view of the
mongrelisation of the human race, the frequency of these cases is very
remarkable, and can hardly fail to suggest that some sort of coupling
between characters plays a large part in human heredity.

Except in very few cases, our knowledge of heredity in man is at
present far too slight and too uncertain to base legislation upon.
On the other hand, experience derived from plants and animals has
shewn that problems of considerable complexity can be unravelled by
the experimental method, and the characters concerned brought under
control. Though the direct method is hardly feasible in man, much
may yet be learnt by collecting accurate pedigrees and comparing
them with standard cases worked out in other animals. But it must be
clearly recognised that the collection of such pedigrees is an arduous
undertaking demanding high critical ability, and only to be carried out
satisfactorily by those who have been trained in and are alive to the
trend of genetic research.

Section II.

Practical Eugenics.



By Adolphe Pinard,

_Professor at the Faculty; Member of the Academy of Medicine of Paris._

Sir Francis Galton has entitled Eugenics the new science having for
its object the study of the causes subject to social control which can
improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations, whether
physical or mental.

Eugenics, thus defined, is nothing else but "Education before
Procreation," which has been studied in France for a number of years,
and which constitutes the first part of child-culture, "a science
having for its object the search for information relative to the
reproduction, preservation, and improvement of the human species"([1]).

[Footnote 1: v. De la Puériculture in Revue Scientifique, 1897.]

The Congress ought then to have for its object to work for the
investigation of the conditions necessary to secure a favourable
procreation. Now, it appears that the word "Eugenics," from the
etymological point of view, does not characterise either explicitly
or sufficiently the proposed object, while the word "Eugénique," of
[Greek: gennaô], at once recalls to the mind the idea of a favourable

[Footnote 2: Besides, the word "Eugenics" recalls in France a chemical
term: eugenic-acid.]

It is part of the duty of our first principal sitting to lay down a
rule upon this point.

Certainly, biological, sociological, and historical researches, laws
and social customs regarded in their relations with the science of
Eugenics, are necessary and will undoubtedly result in extremely
interesting data, but from now it is above all things urgent to
establish and proclaim eugenic principles.

Researches relating to physiological heredity and pathological heredity
ought to be pursued without interruption, but it is necessary to make
known as soon as possible to the masses of the people the individual
conditions, fully understood, which alone permit a favourable and
healthy procreation. In a word, it is necessary, by every means and
as soon as possible, to organise a great movement in order to show
to the greatest number of human beings the absolute necessity for a
conscientious, _i.e._, an enlightened procreation. We must bravely
approach the civilising of _the reproductive instinct_, which alone
has remained in a barbarous state amongst all the so-called civilised
nations from the earliest times.

Then only, when societies have fulfilled this duty, will they have the
right to investigate what they ought and can effect against those for
whom future offspring would be recognised as fatally disastrous.

Finally, it is fully understood that researches relating to selection
in the human species must be pursued in a parallel manner, as is now
done with such fruitful results for animals and vegetables in Genetics,
and in throwing light upon the constantly increasing conquests of this
other science.



By Dr. Louis Querton,

_Professor at the University of Brussels._

Now that many studies on the physiology and hygiene of reproduction of
man have been made, and many investigations on degeneration have been
conducted, we may face the problem of the betterment of the race, from
a practical standpoint.

If the eugenic action cannot yet strive directly against hereditary
transmission of anomalies, it can fight successfully against the causes
of degeneration which act during the development of the individual.

Physical and social environment influences these causes, which, on
account of their growing complexity, create more and more obstacles to
the normal evolution of the individual, while at the same time they
force him to acquire greater and more varied aptitudes.

To thwart the prejudicial action of the environment on the development
of the individual, the systematic organization of this development
seems to be of first importance.

The control of the development of the children, at the different phases
of their evolution, is strictly necessary to assure the education of
the individual and to check the degeneration of the race.

The control is already established for certain classes of children,
and during limited periods of their development. Nurslings, school
children, and labourers can already, sometimes compulsorily, be
submitted to control.

But the insufficiency of the actual organization is very evident, and
the results are, from the eugenic standpoint, unsatisfactory.

In order to be really effective and to contribute to the improvement of
the individual and to the betterment of the race, the control of the
development should, as far as possible, be exerted over all children,
and it should last during the whole period of their evolution. This
control should be compulsory, as well as education; it should be
exercised by an institution, the frequentation of which, as well as
that of school, might be forced upon all children whose development
is not submitted to an effective control in their homes. Private
initiative should create such institutions everywhere, and thus prepare
legislative interference.

These methodically organized eugenic institutions should, in the
future, be the development of the administrative institutions, which
actually establish the civil state of individuals. They would tend to
facilitate the education of individuals and public bodies; at the same
time they would assure the strict application of the laws concerning
the protection and education of childhood.

They would collect the documents necessary to the scientific knowledge
of the facts of heredity, and would supply precise information
concerning the effective work of different social institutions on
transformation of the race.



By C. B. Davenport,

_Director, Eugenics Record Office, U.S.A._

Of the various laws limiting freedom of marriage three are of
biological import. First, the limitation of relationship between the
mates; second, the limitations in mental capacity of the mates; and
third, limitations of race.

For the first there is a biological justification in so far as cousin
marriages are apt to bring in from both sides of the house the same
defect. For the second the justification is partial; but there is equal
reason for forbidding the marriage of normal persons both of whom
have mentally defective parents or other close relatives. The denial
of marriage between races has this justification, that most other
races have not, through selection, attained the social status of the
Caucasian. In such cases the socially inadequate should be sterilized
or segregated in other races as well as in the Caucasian.



By Frédéric Houssay,

_Professor of Science, University of Paris._

Eugenics, which is a social application of biological science, cannot
yet be judged by its results; it must be judged by its tendencies. To
determine these, we must adjust them to principles generally admitted.

And inasmuch as it advocates practical rules and seeks to check the
propagation of the unfit, by isolation or sterilization (voluntary or
enforced), it is an artificial selection.

Its justification lies in the fact that, without intervention, the
descendants of defectives or degenerates would, in a few generations,
eliminate themselves by early death of children or by natural
sterility. This would produce a natural selection which Eugenics simply
proposes to anticipate by social economy.

It seems that, by applying Darwinian principles, the group of
defectives, considered at a given moment, could be rapidly
extinguished. But this group is continually reinforced by fresh
degeneration of healthy stocks which become tainted.

Hence the need to keep our eye on the re-formation of the group as well
as its elimination, and to keep in touch with Lamarckian principles.
The study of the origin and hereditary conservation of defects points
already as essential factors, to alcoholism, syphilis, and more
generally every chronic ailment and diathesis, among which gout must be
put in a leading position. Everything which will tend to restrain the
action of these factors is of capital importance from our present point
of view, whether it occurs in the ranks of rich or poor.

The questions, thus, which Eugenics seeks to answer would be on this
view reduced to questions of hygiene and morals.

So that the different biological principles, which sometimes seem in
mutual opposition, would become convergent, and would find in Eugenics
a ready reconciliation and a field of useful co-operation.


Of the Committee of the Eugenics Section of the American Breeders'
Association to Study and Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting
Off the Defective Germ Plasm in the Human Population.


By Bleecker Van Wagenen, _Chairman_.

1. Brief history of the American Breeders' Association, the Eugenics
Section and the Committee on Elimination of Defective Germ Plasm.

2. Concise statement of the problem before the Committee and reasons
for the investigation.

3. History of legislation in the United States authorising or requiring
the sterilization of certain classes of criminals, defectives and
degenerates who are under the control of the State in institutions.
Digest of the laws now in force. (This may be given as a lantern slide
with greater effect.)

Legal views concerning the constitutionality of these laws.

4. Investigations of vasectomy in Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts and
elsewhere, with detailed reports of some typical cases. (With lantern

5. Reports of sterilization of females, both of normal and abnormal
mentality, with a number of typical cases showing after-effects. (With
lantern slides.)

6. Some observations in thremmatology suggesting important questions
concerning the practical effectiveness of sterilization as a eugenic

7. Technical description of several kinds of sterilizing operations
as now performed. Vasectomy, ovariotomy and salpingectomy (with and
without complete excision), castration.

8. Reports of several cases of persons, male and female, who having
been completely sterilized for a time, recovered the power of
procreation and actually did procreate thereafter.

9. State of public opinion regarding sterilization in the United States
at the present time. Letters from Governors of States, views of Social
Workers and Institution people. Conflicting views of Roman Catholics
(as such). Digest of arguments set forth in a long controversy carried
on in the American Ecclesiastical Review, chiefly in Latin.

10. Brief report of other data collected by the Committee and programme
for future work, with a call for co-operation in securing further data
pertinent to this inquiry.



By Samuel George Smith.

The new social consciousness is indicated; first, by the larger
powers and duties assumed by the State: second, by the new sense of
social solidarity affecting persons and groups of persons within the
State. The exclusion from parenthood of such wards of the State as
the feeble-minded, the insane, and the pauper has gone beyond debate;
and for all that are legally excluded from parenthood, custodial care
is required. There is need to develop a new ethical sense of the
individual in regard to his own relations to the social group. We have
not yet sufficient facts to establish a definite relation between
physical fitness and social efficiency. This is the place for caution.

Questions of maternity among the poor: (_a_) Hard labour must be
forbidden to the expectant mother; (_b_) she must have nourishing food;
(_c_) surroundings must be wholesome. The economic problem is solved
in the increased vitality and consequent earning power of the coming

Problem of the parenthood of the better classes: just as important and
more difficult. The question is not only vital and economic; it is also

The ignorance of parents and the defects of children. The State has
invaded the home, and has set standards, both physical and moral, for
the family. It is the duty of the State to secure the proper physical
environment for the home. It is a municipal problem. It is a problem
of public health. The whole movement looks to the triumph of a vital
democracy, which is more important than either political or industrial

Relations of alcoholism to neurasthenia, of tuberculosis to
feeble-mindedness, of bad social and labour conditions to both,
indicate cross sections in the problem. Vices of the rich in most
countries are greater than the vices of the poor. A vital democracy
cannot be based upon physical tests and material comfort. Its deepest
foundations are psychical and ethical.



By Dr. F. C. S. Schiller.

The danger to mankind arising from the preservation of the unfit under
social conditions. The self-destructiveness of civilization. Its
superiority dependent on the transmission of accumulated knowledge
by education. The danger of failure in educational systems. Is the
education of the rich necessarily a failure? The middle classes as
providers of ability to man the professions; but the price they have to
pay at present is too often racial extinction. The draining of ability
from the lower classes.

The existing educational system and its potential value for eugenics.
Its unintellectual character. The liberal endowment of a "liberal
education." Commercialism and the scholarship system. The athletic
system, the play instincts and moral training. Both systems are
Darwinian and appeal to British character.

Suggested improvements: (1) in the athletic system; "fitness," not
a merely physical ideal; (2) in the scholarship system; "liberal
education" to be conceived as intrinsically useful, and not merely a
game with intrinsically useless subjects.

Should scholarships be restricted to the needy? The educational dangers
of this policy. The eugenical value of the existing system.

The possibility of infusing eugenical spirit into athletics. The appeal
of eugenics to the upper classes. A real versus a sham nobility. The
eugenical ideal essentially a matter of sentiment and not necessarily

Section III.

Sociology and Eugenics.



By Professor Achille Loria,

_University of Turin._

Artificial selection could be perfectly applied to the human species,
in which case marriages would be arranged between persons better
endowed, physically and mentally, and the worse endowed would be
excluded from marriage. But this selection encounters the gravest

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Online LibraryVariousAbstracts of Papers Read at the First International Eugenics Congress → online text (page 2 of 15)