Billeder på siden

to some. A stay at some of the various medical springs, with proper treatment, will cure many cases of sterility. In such cases as I have just mentioned, Dr. Sims advises sexual intercourse only on the second, fifth and ninth day after menstruation. The same author amputates the cervix uteri where it is too long and pointed, and the os is very small. He has also injected the seminal fluid into the uterine cavity with Lacerations of the cervix uteri and of the perineum might be placed in the list of probable causes of barrenness.

I do not intimate that I have enumerated all the conditions that might be discovered by a physical examination of a case of sterility; yet if I had done so there would be a few mysterious cases in which no physical defect could be discovered. I have seen such, and doubtless you have also. The parties are physically perfect and each organ performs its function normally. And perchance they have each demonstrated their power of procreation in a previous marriage. Yet when they are brought together their ability in this respect ceases. You have such cases in your mind. Can you account for them? They may be exceedingly anxious for children of their own to inherit their fame or fortune. If they have had such they have lived but a few years and died of the first severe disease that attacked them; or they died, as it were, of "old age" in their infancy or childhood. We say that they were deficient in vitality, but why? Their parents were strong, robust and healthy, yet the children all die in infancy. Can we tell why this is so?

The late Prof. Powell has given us some ideas on this subject. Those of you who have heard his lectures or read his works on incompatibility of the temperaments in marriage, will remember that he advanced the theory that persons of exactly the same temperaments could not have children, and those of similar temperaments would not have healthy offspring. That two very healthy people, with vitality enough to live the allotted time of man, might have children that could not live to the age of two years, or in some cases would not have the capacity of independent existence at all. He divided the temperaments into two classes-vital and non


The bilious and sanguine, or a combination of the two, made up the vital, while the encephalic and lymphatic were classed as non-vital, He says: "One of the parties must be exclusively vital, and the other party mnst as certainly be more or less non-vital. All marriages in contravention of this law are physiologically incestuous, and the consequences will be vicious in proportion to the delinquency."

Now, is there any truth in the statements of Prof. Powell? I have made many observations on this subject and am fully convinced that there is. I think he is right when he says that there must be a constitutional dissimilitude to assure healthy progeny; but can we tell this by the temperaments as given by him? This is the practical part, and I very much doubt his method. But I do not doubt that there is something--just what it is I know not-about one organisation that is better adapted to a certain analogous one than it is to another. it an opposite or similar constitution that attracts? We have all felt a mysterious influence drawing us toward certain persons, and perhaps the same thing reversed repelling us from others. May not this same power extend beyond our consciousness and affect the germ-products, causing them to unite or repel each other? Or if there is a union, it is such an imperfect or feeble one that it is doomed to early decay. Certain chemical agents unite perfectly, making a compound superior to either single agent, while others unite but feebly; and there are some that will not unite at all: they are incompatible. Or like electricity-the positive and negative attract while similars repel. The knowledge of these things is of recent discovery, and may we not hope to find out ere long the laws that affect the union of the germ-products?

Is the animal magnetism of each individual different in quality, or only in degree? Or is there a quality or quantity of electricity peculiar to each body? If so, can these conditions be estimated or ascertained by any possible methods? Is it probable that an apparatus on the order of an electrometer would indicate this magnetic or electric condition? If some discovery of this kind should be made-say, for instance, that we find two extreme opposite conditions, like positive

and negative electricity, to be the most compatible, we could easily, with accurate methods for determining their conditions, decide as to the adaptability of all connubial aspirWith these extreme conditions they would not only be physiologically compatible, but they would be genuine affinities-sure of offspring and healthy ones too.

Now, speculation aside, ought we not to give more attention to this subject? Can we not arrive at some conclusion and let every one know, especially candidates for matrimony, that they might have some regard for the result of their alliance? We are very thoughtful about our stock, to select the very best for breeding purposes, and we do not expect perfect plants from unsound seed, yet how little thought is given to our own propagation. It is often a mere matter of chance or of social position that brings couples together; they fall in love at first sight, and imagine that they were created expressly for each other; that the match was made in heaven. So they marry in haste and often repent at leisure. Would it not be better to stop these persons-even on the very threshhold of matrimony, than to allow them to rush blindly into a union that would result in nothing but discord and infelicity? What rational being would voluntarily enter into a union that would be mutually unpleasant, and that would result in bringing into existence offspring that would be in some way imperfect? Shall we not, then, do all we can to frustrate improper marriage-alliances, and encourage only those that are based upon the proper compatibility, and thus greatly diminish the number of domestic broils, divorce-suits, imbecile offspring, and perchance cases of sterility?


By WILLIAM S. LATTA, M. D., Lincoln, Nebraska.

Perhaps the abortion of offspring is at this time the greatest crime in the nation. Doubtless there is not a practitioner in our National Association who has passed a year without being

asked to administer drugs to destroy the existence of an unborn human being. The highest instincts of our nature are violated for this purpose. Human beings, claiming to be the crowning glory of creation, to have immortal souls, to possess the light of reason, and to be accountable to their Creator, are the notable perpetrators of such crime. They embrue their hands in the blood of their offspring, imperilling and sometimes losing their own lives. Nor are they the ones styled ignorant, degraded and vicious, that are thus guilty; and certainly not the woman who loves her home and reaps the dearest enjoyment in the bosom of her family, but the society-ladies," who pride themselves in being leaders, who are stylish, educated and refined, but who lack in that higher quality, moral rectitude. I have heard such women say that they were determined to be rid of their unborn offspring if it cost them their lives; they did it and many times paid that fearful price.


The oldest mention, perhaps, made in history of this practice is found in the Hippocratic Oath. In this the preceptor imposes upon his pupil the obligation: "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion." Thus we see that 2400 years ago, among that most enlightened people the Greeks, abortion was ranked with murder, and to give a woman the means for producing it was considered equal in turpitude to supplying an individual with poison for suicide or assassination.

Uneducated persons and even physicians are not convinced. in regard to the period in gestation at which it becomes criminal to produce an abortion. There has been much speculation and vague theory in regard to it. It was generally conceded in ancient times that after the union had taken place. between the corporeal and spiritual nature, it was criminal to destroy the unborn infant. Before that period the fetus was pars matris viscerum; after that it had become morally and physically a human being. Hippocrates believed this to occur some time from thirty to forty-two days after conception. The Stoics held that there was no proper complete vitality

till after birth and respiration. The earlier Academics maintained that the embryo was an ensouled being; the later ones that the soul was imparted at some period during conception; and in accordance with a similar notion, writers of the Church of Rome describe fetuses as animate and inanimate. Some describe animation as beginning in three days, others in seven, and others the fortieth or sixtieth day, when "pullulation" or the complete organisation is effected. The general belief at the present day fixes this union at the period of quickening, about the end of the fourth month of pregnancy; and it is remarkable that many physicians giving the matter little thought, fall in with this erroneous notion.

Physiological Science, however, shows that the ovule is perfected in the ovaries and travels a distance of three or four inches through a narrow tube to the uterus, where it is impregnated and becomes "animate;" having acquired from the male semen all the essentials of life which it will receive from either parent. To be sure it requires a nidus or nest for protection, and finds it in the womb of the mother, which also affords it a means of deriving its nourishment from the blood till it shall become sufficiently developed to maintain an independent existence. All this time, nevertheless, it is a distinct individual and no more a part of the mother's intestines. than it is a part of her bosom after birth when drawing thenceits nutriment.

The eggs of the butterfly deposited on the limb of the cherry-tree would never hatch, but for the sap in the living stock. If the limb should be cut off they would perish with it. This shows to a certainty that the sap of the tree is necessary to the development of the caterpillar, or butterfly in embryo. Yet nobody would think for a moment that the moth was any part of the tree. In an analogous manner, After the ovum is separated from the ovary and quickened by the sperm, this fetus now deposited in the womb sustains a similar relation to the mother, till the period of birth; it draws sap or nourishment from her while it is developing its own organic structure by its inherent energies.

It is a trite adage that "like begets like." The fact is uni

« ForrigeFortsæt »