Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/273

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of his conduct during his visit to England, giving the positive impression that he was a degenerate of the worst type. He would be in just the place we might expect to find him, if he belonged among the older Romanhofs or modern Bourbons, yet there is none of this blood in him, nor is there any other equally bad. Christian VII. was a grandson of George II., and whether he got his bad qualities from him it is impossible to say. If he did he was certainly a great deal worse than George and much feebler intellectually. It is interesting in connection with heredity to note that Christian VII. was a first cousin of George III. who was insane, and also the first cousin, once removed, of the two imbecile sons of Augusta Princess of Brunswick, sister of George III.

Another more convincing bit of evidence in this connection is to be found in the neighboring House of Hesse Cassel; here we find another first cousin, once removed, of Christian VII., who became insane and died in early manhood. The observation that this man Christian, son of Charles of Hesse Cassel, is doubly descended from the suspected strain (Palatine House) makes it almost certain that we are dealing with an inherited insanity in all cases. Both the mother and father of this Christian of Hesse were grandchildren of George II., and consequently from the Palatine House. I almost forgot to mention Frederick William I., of Prussia, about whom Macaulay said, 'His eccentricities were such as had never been seen out of a mad house.' Frederick William was a first cousin of George II. and stands as near the actual Palatine insanity as a nephew.

These six cases would, if occurring in families of ordinary social grades, be sent to asylums and never make their way into the records as showing a congenital tendency. Since they stand apart from the other regions of neurosis such as the Spanish, Russian and modern Bavarian groups, at first we might suspect nothing, but here where we have the family tree and can look up the ancestry, curiously enough we find all related, and through the same source (Palatine) and this the only one of their many lines of descent in which there was insanity.

It should be noticed that the percentages for heredity among the insane run from 20 to 90, according to the observer, and this should make us think that the higher rather than the lower figures are more likely to be correct.

Besides this evidence we may mention the following facts: that the uncle of Christian VII., the Duke of Cumberland, was extremely cruel, and his other uncle, Frederick, Prince of Wales, was a dissolute specimen and William IV. of England was eccentric to say the least. Whatever we may say for hereditary influence, at any rate the bringing up of Christian VII. was pretty bad. He was in the hands of his step-mother, Juliana Maria of Brunswick, who is said to have used