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genius, he holds that women have children too early, before their
psychic development is completed, while men have children too late, when
they have already "in the years of their highest psychic generative
fitness planted their most precious seed in the mud of the street."
The eldest child was found to have by far the best chance of turning
out distinguished, and in this fact Vaerting finds further proof of his
argument. The third son has the next best chance, and then the second,
the comparatively bad position of the second being attributed to the too
brief interval which often follows the birth of the first child. He also
notes that of all the professions the clergy come beyond comparison
first as the parents of distinguished sons (who are, however, rarely of
the highest degree of eminence), lawyers following, while officers in
the army and physicians scarcely figure at all. Vaerting is inclined to
see in this order, especially in the predominance of the clergy, the
favorable influence of an unexhausted reserve of energy and a habit of
chastity on intellectual procreativeness.
It should be remembered, however, that Vaerting's cases on his list were
all those of Germans, and, therefore, the influence of the
characteristic social customs and conditions of the German people must
be taken into account in the consideration.
Havelock Ellis in his well known work "Study of British Genius" dealt on
a still larger scale, and with a somewhat more precise method, with many
of the same questions as illustrated by British cases. After the
publication of Vaerting's work, Ellis re-examined his cases, and
rearranged his data. His results, like those of the German authority,
showed a special tendency for genius to appear in the eldest child,
though there was no indication of notably early marriage in the parents.
He also found a similar predominance of the clergy among the fathers,
and a similar deficiency of army officers and physicians.
Ellis found that the most frequent age of the father was thirty-two
years, but that the average age of the father at the distinguished
child's birth was 36.6 years; and that when the fathers were themselves
distinguished their age was not, as Vaerting found in Germany, notably
low at the birth of their distinguished sons, but higher than the
general average, being 37.5 years. He found fifteen distinguished sons
of distinguished British fathers, but instead of being nearly always
under thirty and usually under twenty-five, as Vaerting found it in
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