1.] ANTECEDENTS. 35
treated more as companions by their parents, and have earlier responsibility, both of which would develop independence of character ; probably, also, the first-born child of families not well-to-do in the world would generally have more attention in his infancy, more breathing space, and better nourishment, than his younger brothers and sisters in their several turns.
The opposing disadvantage of primogeniture, in producing less healthy children and half as many idiots again as the average of the rest of the family, has not been sensibly felt, partly because the latter risk is very small, and partly because the mothers of the scientific men are somewhat less youthful than those from whom the above statistical results were calculated. (See Duncan " On Fertility," &c., second edition, pp. 293, 4, for tabulations of Dr.. A. Mitchell's results.) An unusual number of the mothers of the scientific men were between 30-34 at the time of their birth ; this is a very suitable age, according to the views of Aristotle, but undoubtedly older than what Dr. Duncan's statistics (pp. 387, 390) recommend. According to these, the most favour-