Billeder på siden

From another source I find that a child was born to a morphine-using mother, which child was nervous and fretful from its birth, and after various means had been resorted to to quiet it was given morphine. From that moment the child was never at rest except when under the influence of the drug.

Another mother who whilst pregnant craved alcohol, and used liquor freely during the whole nine months, gave birth to two boys. Growing to manhood, nervous and irritable, both died confirmed sots.

It might, however, be argued that in some of the cases cited above the vice developed, not from heredity, but as a result of being brought habitually in contact with drunken fathers or morphine-eating mothers, or vice versa; but case after case can be cited where children born to sots or opium habitues had been removed to entirely new environments, where they knew nothing of their parents or their habits, and yet the same sad story has been repeated in their cases. I do not wish to be understood as contending that this rule holds good in all cases in these two vices, but, as in tubercular subjects, a whole generation may


Again, in my own work I have recently seen a father, a slave to alcohol, die of pneumonia, and within less than two months of his death a son, who had suffered six months before from an attack of apoplectic congestion, died of softening of the brain. The son had never used alcohol in any form, but had never been mentally bright, though a steady worker. The probabilities are that the son was begotten during a drunken debauch, and the sins of the father were thus transmitted to the son.

Mental peculiarities, virtues, as well as vices, can be traced through several generations. In some families the trend is toward the ministry, in another to the law, in another to medicine, and in another to politics.

From the Herald of Health I gather the following: Demmé studied ten families of drinkers and the same number of families of temperate persons. The ten families of drinkers produced fifty-seven children. Of these, twenty-five died within the first few months of their life, six were idiots, five showed abnormali. ties of growth, five were affected with epilepsy, five with inborn diseases, and one with chorea. Thus, then, of the fifty-seven

children ten, or 17.5 per cent., born to drinkers were normal in all respects. The other group of sober families had sixty-one children. Five died in the first week, four had curable diseases of the nervous system, and only two presented inborn defects. The remaining fifty, or 81.9 per cent., were normal in their physical and mental development.

Thus, it is shown that the prevailing mortality among the children of drunkards is fearful, and that the survivors represent a progeny afflicted with unsoundness of mind, idiocy, epilepsy, and various other nervous diseases, whilst only a small per cent. of them grow up to be useful members of society.

Statistics show that in the last ten years in France there were 42,000 still-born children, with an annual death-rate of 240,000 children under five years of age. Alcoholism is given by general consent as one cause of this high death-rate.

In these same statistics drunkenness is given as a fertile cause of unhealthy progeny, the simple condition of drunkenness at the time of procreation sufficing to produce physical and mental infirmity in the offspring.

Legrain, of Paris, head physician to an asylum, gives interesting statistics as a result of tracing the offspring of inebriates. There were 14 per cent. of premature deaths, generally from convulsions; 4 per cent. from physical debility; 7 per cent. from tuberculosis, and about 18 per cent. from mental derangements. In the remaining 57 per cent. there was a large number of epileptics, idiots and hysterical subjects.

Corre, of the French military service, estimates that fully 40 per cent. of crime and bad conduct is traceable to inebriate parental degenerates.

Virgilis, of Italy, claims heredity in 32 per cent. Thoraine supports the position taken by Lancereaux that tubercular tendencies result from chronic alcoholic intoxication by debilitating the offspring.

Germany is fast becoming a nation of beer-drinkers and tobacco users. The vice and habit descends from parent to child. In India and China opium smoking is the nations' curse.

The large cities of America are producing among the monied classes a race of degenerates that will in a few generations fill our insane asylums with inmates presenting almost every variety

of mania, except that of the criminal type. The mental worry arising from the struggle to get money and to grow rich produces a generation of nervous, hysterical women and men with strong tendencies to drink, and these in turn beget epileptics and idiots, and these in turn maniacs.

It is rare that one of the criminal classes ever begets anything but a criminal. Generations of thieves can be traced back from son to father, and then to grandfather, and so on indefinitely, with here and there just enough of exceptions to prove

the rule.

T. D. Crothers, M. D., an authority in this country on inebriety, computes that there are 600,000 excessive drinkers in the United States, all centers of physical and psychical degeneration, and that there are also one million unrecognized inebriates who are defective, and hence dangerous.

The idea of personal freedom allows this great army of inebriates to go on increasing the burden of their families, begetting children who will show physical and mental degeneration. I might continue to cite authority after authority showing that these vices produce by heredity a condition of degeneration, resulting not always in the same vice, but a degeneration nevertheless of some kind. The dyscrasia is handed down, and this condition of the system, acted upon by some exciting cause, produces as a resultant some vice; it may be the same or it may be some other form of degeneration.

The Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, in its report to the Legislature on the relation of the liquor traffic to pauperism, crime and insanity, says that seven out of every ten insane persons had intemperate parents; that of all the paupers in the State institutions three out of every four were addicted to the use of liquor, and nearly one-half bad intemperate parents.

The paper thus far has treated of the more important feature of heredity—namely, the transmission of vices--but the converse of the proposition is also true. Virtues also descend from parent to child, not always as the same virtue, but the sound body and the sound mind furnish fruitful soil for the germination of the good seed sown by the sower. In every community ⚫ families can be traced through generations without revealing vices in the children, and when in the course of time in some

branch of the family we find a departure from the virtues of the other branches, this can easily be showed to be due to heredity from the other side of the family tree.



An infant boy was born of a healthy mother December 10, 1896. The stub was tardy about dropping off. On the 19th it was partially detached, and bled some, but ceased voluntarily. The cord was entirely detached on the 21st, and bled a considerable quantity, but again ceased without medical interference. On the 22nd hemorrhage again commenced. I was called, and found the baby's clothes and napkin thoroughly saturated with blood. I ordered a cork and compress applied to the navel, and hemorrhage stopped at once.

On the 24th I was called again, and found it bleeding very copiously. I applied tannic acid, iodine and Monsel's solution, all with no result. I then applied pure carbolic acid, and the bleeding ceased. I had the parts well dried, starched and coated with collodion. Over this I placed three ply of adhesive plaster. The child, although weak, nursed eagerly, and seemed to be on the road to recovery. In two hours after I had left hemorrhage set in and the child soon bled to death.




Professor of Surgery in the Medical Department of the University of





GENTLEMEN: The first patient this morning is C. A., white, æt. 17, an inmate of the Industrial School of this city. He has heen brought to me for treatment by Dr. W. J. McMurray, the physician of that institution. The patient is a strong, well-developed boy, but is somewhat pale and evidently anæmic from long-standing disease. He walks with the aid of a stick and bears but little weight upon his left lower extremity. He has suffered for some months with an affection of the left thigh in its lower third just above the knee-joint. When the limbs are exposed you will observe that the diseased thigh and the leg are smaller than the sound side due to atrophy from disease.

The history furnished by the patient is that after an attack of fever the lower part of the left thigh became inflamed, an abscess formed and was evacuated. It has continued to discharge ever since, and soreness in the part and disability as to function has persisted. The knee of the affected side is somewhat stiff, and full extension cannot be obtained. Evidently the starting point of the disease was a limited periostitis following typhoid fever, a not infrequent sequel of that disease. In the various processes that accompany and follow that disease, their circulation


« ForrigeFortsæt »