Mr. Felix Peipers has taken much pains to gather all the published reports bearing on the question of consanguine marriages, and his collection, though additions could be made, is pretty complete. In handling statistical literature of this kind one generally meets some contributions which show a controversial bias; Mr. Peipers especially remarks that three authors have published figures which are so far out of line with those of other inquirers in the same field that they may be treated as palpably incorrect, and the question occurs, Are they not to be rejected as untrustworthy? As these papers all support the old notion that close marriages entail something prejudicial to the offspring, it is possible that if they were summarily rejected, the remaining advocates of this view would consider that the question had been prejudged. Probably the authors in question had begun with the assumption that such marriages were prejudicial, and had collected supposed facts with too little scrutiny. If one were content to take the statistics of the last thirty years only, it would appear that the great preponderance of evidence is in favour of those who consider that consanguine marriages, per se, have no unhealthy effects; and if statistical inquiry continues to realise the same result, the older array of figures on the opposite side will, in comparison, shrink more and more. The author has himself made some extensive inquiries in special institutions, especially amongst the epileptics in Bielefeld, and in various asylums and schools for deaf mutes and idiots, as well as from private sources. He has arrived at the conclusion that a degenerative tendency in the offspring of the union of consanguine relations has, as yet, not been proved.
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