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April 18, 1903


JAMA. 1903;XL(16):1085. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490160037008

A writer in a popular review,2 studying the occurrence of insanity in a limited locality in the north of Ireland, reaches some rather remarkable conclusions. The chief causes of insanity are, he claims: 1, Intermarriageof predisposed persons; 2, the postponement of marriage to the age at which the sexual function is enfeebled; 3, marriages where children are produced as fast and as long as the natural process allows. This last is, he thinks, the greatest and most common cause of insanity, idiocy and neurasthenia. Reasoning from these assumptions, he declares that modern morality and marriage laws are directly opposed to the welfare of the race; that the normal physiologic condition is one in which apparently any kind of temporary contract would be permissible, and that all the social regulations which the experience of mankind has deduced are faulty from a biologic point of view. There is no doubt, of

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