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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/375

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MENTAL AND MORAL HEREDITY IN ROYALTY.

MENTAL AND MORAL HEREDITY IN ROYALTY.
BY FREDERICK ADAMS WOODS, M.D.,

HARVARD UNIVERSITY.

THIS inquiry into the characteristics of royalty, of which the following pages are a summary, is an attempt to solve several interesting and important questions. First, by including all modern royal families, it tries to give a fair estimate of the mental and moral status of these privileged personages as compared to the world in general. Second, it seeks to find the influences on the individual and on the breed of that environment of rank and power in which these specially elect have lived and moved. Third, by taking a great group of interrelated human beings with known pedigrees and characteristics, it seeks to throw a little light, in the nature of facts, on the old enigma—Which is the more important, environment or heredity, or do both together somewhat fail to explain all the phenomena, and must we postulate a third ultra-natural cause, working aside from biological laws, in order to account for all the varying facts of personal history and character?

It is evident that each human being has certain definite mental, moral and physical characteristics and that these are due to not more than three causes, heredity, environment and free-will. The first two are generally considered to play an important part, and the third is far from being ignored by some. It is also very evident that there is but a hundred per cent, of cause for human character, and whatever in our natures is due to one of these causes takes that much from the others. It is the chief aim of these pages, by the use of a scientific method, to get an insight, rough though it may be, into the proportionate influence played by these three factors in the make-up of mental and moral life.

The other questions touched upon are the effects of inbreeding, the relation of genius to insanity and sterility, and also the relationship between the rise of a country and the character of the blood of its kings. This last has been strikingly evident in several instances, notably Spain, Portugal and Prussia, where the prosperity of the lands have been a reflection of the ability of the rulers. Here one can trace a hidden but important cause for the condition of the country in the different combinations of ingredients of blood which have led to the individual peculiarities in the men and women who ruled over these realms and stamped their impress upon them.