But in the potential germ of primordial protoplasm lies the pattern, woof and texture of human character. Darwin's theory of pangenesis, by which each individual germ-cell in the body gives off lesser ones, each capable of reproducing its kind; and Weissmanna, that the reproducing substance does not arise from all the germ-cells of the lxxly, but proceeds from a single original cell; and Haxjkel's, which makes it consist in the spontaneous subdivision of the unicellular germ, are confined, it will be observed, to simple mechanical elucidation; and, along with being largely conjectural (and this is the precise point aimed at in quoting them), they do not in any appreciable degree bring us nearer to a solution of the great mystery of psychological transmission.
Nevertheless, talent, criminality, genius, we do know to be transmitted, with even more marvellous accuracy, and far-reaching results, than are the physical characters themselves. Great intellectual powers of reason, memory, imagination, volition, are handed down from generation to generation, with the same certainty, and persistency, as are the criminal instincts.
Particularly are those forms of vice, sexual and mora), which stand most closely related with the nervous organism, apt to impress themselves, through this law of biogenesis, upon the offspring. Dipsomania, for instance, is a pretty certain inheritance of alcoholic parentage; and while Marro estimates over 40 per cent, of general criminals as the offspring of drunken parents, and while, in the body of this work, I have tried to lay especial emphasis upon the close relation of alcoholism with neurotic insanity, as well as the so-called "moral insanity,'1 and various types of sexual disorders, it must not be forgotten, also, that all these neuroses are susceptible of being transformed from one phase of their manifestation into another. Only in this way can we account for imbecility, mania, sexual erotism, or inversion, appearing in the child as a direct result of drunkenness, epilepsy, etc., in the parent.1 It is shown, very conclusively, that from "one-half to three-fourths of dipsomaniacs are such by reason of hereditary entailment; a defect which, on the best medical authority, is irremediable, since it implies moral and physical degeneracy, alteration of nerve tissue, and decided nerve disorder."'
1 This subtle species of transformation will, to some extent, substitute heredity in the matter of sexual vice. fSee d. 295.*
No one, in this age of the world, would think of questioning the law of heredity in its broadest application. Therefore I do not deem it necessary to quote authorities, nor to give further space to its discussion. Indeed, the only research needed, I think, would be in finding one who does not believe it, within reasonable limits. Thus the sexual instinct, in any form of its abnormality, may be transmitted to the offspring. A case is cited of a man, of otherwise excellent character, but who, "all his life," had been a victim of excessive lust, and who "entailed the same curse upon his sons and daughters, with the added propensity to rape;"1 and medical literature is full of instances where physical and mental defects have been transmitted to the offspring