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December 20, 1890


JAMA. 1890;XV(25):901-902. doi:10.1001/jama.1890.02410510021003

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An old man, who had been an eminent physician and teacher, remarked that no act of his life gave him more regret, than his counsel to a wealthy, dissolute inebriate to marry. The result of that marriage was nine children. One was an epileptic, one was insane, two more feeble minded, hysterical, and very irregular persons. Two drank to excess, one of whom was a petty criminal. Three other children of this family died in infancy. Of the three grandchildren not one seemed to have average vigor or mental capacity. He remarked that the misery and suffering which came from this error of counsel, would at last end in the final extinction of the family.

In another instance an equally able physician, after years of unsuccessful treatment of a feeble minded, unstable, hysterical young woman, advised marriage. Insanity, inebriety and epilepsy were pronounced family diseases in her ancestors. Her marriage

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