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lunacy, after the lunatic's restoration to reason, or if the parties have since lived as husband and wife, these instances are yet cited to show that the State has already assumed the duty of regulation in a very general manner.
Therefore is it not now time to consider that the sane party to such a marriage, if a woman, should not be held in continuance of certain assumed obligations? As long as a marriage exists, the rights and duties of both parties, sanely assumed, may still continue in theory; while, in practice, no woman should be compelled, because a wife, to bear children unto a man if he or she is growing defective, mentally. Unfortunately for the race, the law does not take cognizance of this; and the Church does not negative it. For instance, no one denies that epileptics ought not to marry; but, long before they are so seriously affected as to become inmates of one or another institution, they do marry, and have children.
The marriage of deaf-mutes is another "physiological sin,” as such crimes have been well termed. Again, while certain laws do not permit a raving maniac or an idiot to marry, an insane man may and does marry in a lucid interval. If the bar sinister of feeble-mindedness or insanity had been concealed, and only appears after marriage, perhaps after the birth of the first child, why should not such a moral wrong become a legal one? for let it be plainly said most married women are helpless in such circumstances. The man who is dishonorable or unfrank or careless enough to marry, when his mental escutcheon is not clear, will not be unselfish enough to live, when married, without the risk of becoming a father. Therefore must the remedy for this moral wrong be sought by the wife and future mother, through law.
The miseries, the horrors, and the physiological heredity of forms of neurosis, insanity, epilepsy, and feeble-mindedness, known to you all as experts, have already become matter of current information. Is the State, then, to shrink from taking the initiative? Is it to take its defectives under its charge, endeavor to rank them as improvables, and finally return them to their homes? Has not the time already come when the State can say this much,—that it shall keep in perpetual, kind custody the lowest class of defectives? Practically, this is done. What next, then?
Shall the State permit the higher grade of defectives, when improved, to return to their homes? NEVER, if the watchword of
this Conference, or this section of it, is "Prevention" or Regulation."
Just here is the personal bearing of the whole matter upon which the State hesitates to infringe,- the perpetual right of perpetual procreation. Tacitly grant this right, and idiocy, feeble-mindedness, and their train of evils continue. Check it,--by seclusion from the world of the victims of such forms of mental disorder,— and the vista of a millennium of health and happiness for the world opens before the eyes of the scientist, physician, and moralist.
It is a truism to say that the State exists for the protection of others; yet, if it allows its improvables to return to society to propagate their kind, it nullifies its duty of protection and beneficence. If the State declares that no feeble-minded person — using that term to include all phases of defectiveness — shall ever marry, the looseness of such a declaration defeats its own ends. If it make such legislation more specific, that no inmate of such an institution shall ever marry, the per cent. of enrolment in such homes would rapidly decrease, and the law would again have been impotent. Further, if the State says that all feeble-minded persons shall go to such institutions, there is interference with private rights and family affections.
Nevertheless, the State must protect itself, if only on economic grounds; for it is cheaper to support numerous institutions for men and women to live in separately than to allow them to live at large in the world, bear children, and then ultimately for the State to support their progeny,- direct and remote,-in prisons, almshouses, and hospitals. Should not, therefore, public opinion, intelligently exercised, now urge the necessity of fuller State regulation of marriage?
To such end should there not be a national marriage law, forbidding the marriage of all idiotic, insane, and feeble-minded persons, which should be enforced by local authorities? Opposition to such a law would be aroused by the still existing conflict between the rights of the individual and of society. But, unless we enlarge the rights of the State, she will have an increasing population of defectives for which to care; while alienists and government officials abroad will continue to rejoice that the United States is a dumping-ground for so many of their degenerates.
Specific difficulties must also arise in the enactment of such a national law; and the question of heredity is involved with it, about
which we still know too little to define its exact limits,--- e.g., how far should marriage be regulated, when the insanity might be termed sporadic or might have been caused by special accidents. Public opinion moves slowly, when the right of procreation is limited or denied.
Nevertheless there are many encouraging signs to show that in addition to the returns concerning the age, birth, etc., of the parties about to contract marriage, which the State already demands for the issuing of a marriage license, the time is near at hand when such a license will not be granted unless accompanied by a medical certificate of the fitness of the contracting parties' to become parents. Such certificates will include a large variance of opinion; but, however loosely they might be drawn, they would decisively indicate the State's right to protect its children, and would aid in moulding public opinion to cheerfully recognize its rights.
In this direction there is much that can be done by propaganda, though not through public schools; for the temperance and physiological instruction already given in them sufficiently set forth the evils of heredity and of bad habits. The effective guidance of public opinion must come through the alienists and the superintendents of all institutions for the feeble-minded. On them rests consideration of two important questions:
First. Ought custodial cases to be kept forever by law in institutions? Practically, this is already done; but the retention of such cases should be a right guaranteed by the State to each institution.
Second. Ought improvable cases to be returned to their families? This should be done less than it is at present, and the burden of expense should fall first upon the State in the retention of all feeble-minded women. Their lives should be made as happy and useful as is possible under the circumstances of never being allowed full freedom, which, though it might not mean marriage, would mean motherhood. If the lives of the feeble-minded were thus regulated, the per cent. of births would materially decrease.
In conclusion, the various points of this paper-which is confined to the relations of the State concerning the marriage of the feeble-minded can be summarized as follows:
1. The rights of the State and the individual are in imaginary conflict.
2. The Church has been on the side of the individual.
3. The State is now beginning to assume the better protection of its people by closer regulation of marriage.
4. Such regulation is the logical outcome of already existing restrictions.
5. The advocacy of a national marriage law is urged, by which marriage should be forbidden to certain classes of persons.
6. Medical certificates certifying parental fitness should be granted with the issuing of each marriage license.
7. The retention of all custodial cases in institutions.
8. The non-return of all feeble-minded women to their homes, even when their mental condition has improved.
Insistence upon this final point would press hard upon both men and women, but in one respect harder upon the women; for, if a man be feeble-minded, he is certain not to be sought, while the feeble-minded woman, if pretty, succumbs easily and unwittingly, and, if not pretty, is still frequently a victim.
In the name of the potential divine motherhood which every sane woman recognizes as the crowning glory of womanhood, should the mothers of healthy children plead that the State restrict the area for the birth of the feeble-minded.
CHILD STUDY AS APPLIED TO DEFECTIVE CHILDREN.
ABSTRACT OF PAPER BY PROFESSOR W. O. KROHN.
From observations upon the care and treatment of defective children we are led to believe that the most potent remedial agencies lie within the domain of education rather than of therapeutics. Into the discussion of every educational problem enter at least three factors, the object or aim of instruction, the best methods to be employed, and the nature of the raw material with which we have to deal. What is the child upon whom these methods must be brought to bear, in order to attain the end sought in the educative process? It is to the underestimated value of the third of these factors that I desire to attract your attention.
What would be thought of a manufacturer who should know perfectly the nature of the product of his great mill, and know also every pulley, valve, and piece of shafting of his intricate machinery, but know nothing whatever of the raw material that entered into the manufactured product?
What is the child — physically, mentally, morally—as he knocks at our school-room door, at six years of age? What changes take place in him at eight years of age, at ten, at fourteen? What mental changes attend the changes in bodily functions? What moral evolution follows in the wake of these marked physical changes and mental disturbances?
Modern child study seeks to answer these and many other questions. It is an application of modern physiological psychology, through which the child's mind is made an open page, in order that all concerned in his growth and development may read and thoroughly know his nature, and, knowing this, may work most intelligently in the utilization of educational facts and forces.
What are some of the facts thus achieved as the result of recent investigations, that should guide us in the education of the child? These results will apply equally well to backward, mentally deficient or defective children as well as to the normal child; for in either case, to be successful, we must know the child, the processes of growth, the periods of development, and the most potent influences that stimulate the unfolding of his latent powers. We shall, then, first endeavor to present some of the general results of modern scientific child study; and, in the second place, we will make application, in so far as the limits of time will allow, to the education and care of defective children. In addition, certain suggestions will be made with reference to the prevention of so great an annual increment to this rapidly growing class.
In the first place, with reference to the physical growth of the child, growth focuses for a time upon one set of organs or functions, then upon another, until the whole body is developed; but all parts of the body do not grow at one and the same time. The body grows
first in length, and then in girth, in breadth and depth of chest, in breadth and height of forehead, in breadth and length of face. Furthermore, all children unfold their physical powers in exactly the same order, the difference between children of any age consisting in the fact that they do not grow at the same rate.
To make a special application of this well-known fact of perio