Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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First Cousins Should Not Marry.
   Dear Madam--I should like a candid, brief opinion from
you as to what you think of a marriage between first cousins.
Is it ever, under any circumstances, advisable? Are there
not some such happy marriages?  Is not a marriage for love
between first cousins more advisable than other marriages
for other considerations?  In your opinion, does Nature op-
pose such a marriage, and are not the children resulting there-
from as good as any other?                                                H.
Marriage with a first cousin is always a risk.
One might say that of any marriage, but
where cousins become parents, imperfect children
are liable to result from the union.
   Cousins who resemble each other so closely that
they were often mistaken for brother and sister,
brought three children into the world; one was
simple-minded, another died young with nervous
disorders, the third was a blind idiot.
   I knew another couple who produced two albino
children, and still another who brought three
bright children and a foolish one into existence.
We have only to look at royal families to gain an
idea of the results of intermarriage.  When has
genius, or even talent, or brilliancy, ever mani-
fested itself in any of the royal families?  The
examples are few and far between, and where they
are found it will be found also that good virile
blood from a different class has been introduced,
either legally or illegally.
   We are, each and all, composed of chemical prop-
erties.  It requires a certain combination of these
chemical properties to produce a normal human
being.  When cousins who resemble each other in
feature and temperament undertake to give form
and life to a child, they fail to provide the necessary
variety of chemicals.
   If the cousins are children of sisters, and one
resembles her father's family, there is less danger
of disaster in parentage.  I have seen bright and
robust offspring result from the union of cousins
who were wholly unlike in appearance and temper-
   Yet there is always a chance of disaster.  It is an
excellent idea to fall in love with somebody who is
not your cousin, and if you find you are in love
with your cousin in spite of yourself, to try separa-
tion for a year or two before marriage.  Then, if
the love still asserts itself and demands recognition,
put fear out of both minds, assert perfection for
your offspring, and hope for divine interposition to
avert the penalty of breaking one of Nature's laws.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.

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