Leigh Canney
1903 The Lancet  
910 vain hope of obtaining information until I read Dr. Charles Mercier's letter in THE LANCET of Sept. 19th. May I ask the disputants-or failing them yourselves-kindly to recommend a book on heredity with special reference to medical doctrines, which explains matters as clearly as does Dr. Mercier to his imaginary biology class ? 1 The busy student and practitioner need a book of moderate compass which avoids as much as possible the roundabout discussions which spoil these letters. Perhaps one
more » ... of the disputants will be good enough to write such a book-or some such papers in THE LANCET would help.-I am, Sirs, yours faithfully, Sept. 19th, 1903. - M.D. To the Editors of THE LANCET. SIRS,-Dr. Archdall Reid has not misunderstood me. Indeed, he has understood far more than could have been expected from my short letter, which was merely intended to show that these discussions are of use to more than those who actually take part in them. I do mean to imply, as he understood, that heredity lies at the root of every social and moral question, or rather that man is and can only be what heredity and his environment permit. In other words, he is the sum total of his innate and acquired immunities and susceptibilities. Hence the great importance of knowing what is transmissible from parent to offspring and what is not. I am glad to see that Dr. Reid has defined exactly what he means by an acquired character and an inborn trait. For the sake of those who have not read his books but who are following this discussion it would have been better had he done so earlier, since it is impossible to discuss a matter in which such widely differing definitions as those of Dr. Mercier and Dr. Reid are referred to indiscriminately. I entirely agree with Dr. Reid that it would be profoundly immoral to suppress the truth for fear of disturbing arguments which the clergy or others have founded upon inaccurate data. I merely wished to show that some of the clergy themselves are beginning to see how these matters affect their own work, which is a sign of a tendency that can be only for ultimate good. I am, Sirs, yours faithfully, ----Sept. 20th, 1903.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(01)51277-5 fatcat:nx3kbutrhjhrdbmlfx3ivpski4