Hereditary Tendency to ifental Disease.—As the mental constitution in general is .eminently propagable, the hereditary tendency in mental disease is more familiar and better demonstrated than in other forms of morbid action, One observer attributes six sevenths of the cases of insanity to this cause. In France, and among the affluent classes, one case in every three; among the peasants, one in every ten, is found to occur in families predisposed to alienation. In Italy, the proportion is nearly the same. When stating that derangement is traced to transmitted taint, expression is given to the complex. proposition, that individuals who have inherited an cerebral organ ization, or bodily qualities, such as anaemia, incompatible with sound mental action, fall victims more frequently and inevitably to insanity than those physically and men tally robust would do. Experience shows that as particular forms of physical degenera tiou, such as rickets, consumption, in like manner particular species of alienation, are propagated in families; that the suicidal impulse appears in one, while the uncontroll able and insatiable desire for stimulants, is the heritage of a third. There are certain lases by which this proclivity seems to operate. Not merely are there more females
titan males actually insane, but there are more hereditarily disposed to be insane. In connection with this it must be obserted that women are more exposed by constitution to the exciting causes of insanity than males, and that as infants they more readily acquire the mental tone of the mother. But, moreover, the madness of the mother is more frequently transmitted than that of the father. French authorities record that of 467 cases of mental affections, 279 were traceable to the mother: an English physician similarly records 76 out of 133. Where the taint' exists on the side of the mother, a greater number of children, and a greater number of daughters, are born of unsound mind. But this disposition to disease of the nervous matter is manifested in the same family by different members, in various forms—as epilepsy, mania, eccentricity, or delusions. Even the last are exhibited in successive generations. Oxford, who fired at the queen, his father, and grandfather, all believed themselves to be St. Paul—Holland, Medical .Yotes, etc, ; Lucas, L'Heredite NatureIle; and Galton's Hereditary Genius.