168 NATURAL INHERITANCE. [CRAP.
If consumption, cancer, drink and suicide, appear among the recorded cases of death less frequently than they do in ordinary tables of mortality, then a bias towards suppression could be proved and measured, and would have to be reckoned with ; otherwise the returns might be accepted as being on the whole honest and outspoken. I find the latter to be the case. Sixteen per cent. of the causes of death (or 1 in 61) are ascribed to consumption, 5 per cent. tocancer, and nearly 2 per cent. to drink and to suicide respectively. Insanity was not specially asked about, as I did not think it wise to put too many disagreeable questions, however it is often mentioned. I dare say that it, or at least eccentricity, is not unfrequently passed over. Careful accuracy in framing the replies appears to have been the rule rather than the exception. In the preface to the blank forms of the Records of Family Faculties and elsewhere, I had explained my objects so fully and they were so reasonable in themselves, that my correspondents have evidently entered with interest into what was asked for, and shown themselves willing to trust me freely with their family histories. They seem generally to have given all that was known to them, after making much search and many inquiries, and after due references to registers of deaths. The insufficiency of their returns proceeds I feel sure, much less from a desire to suppress unpleasant truths than from pure ignorance, and the latter is in no small part due to the scientific ineptitude of the mass of the members, of the medical profession two and more generations ago, when even the stetho-