Another breed is more remarkable: its first plumage is black, with rusty-red wing-bars and a crescent-shaped mark on the breast; these marks then become white, and remain so during three or four moults; but after this period the white spreads over the body, and the bird loses its beauty. (14/32. 'Das Ganze der Taubenzucht' 1837 s. 24 tab. 4 figure 2 s. 21 tab. 1 figure 4.) Prize canary- birds have their wings and tail black: "this colour, however, is only retained until the first moult, so that they must be exhibited ere the change takes place. Once moulted, the peculiarity has ceased. Of course all the birds emanating from this stock have black wings and tails the first year." (14/33. Kidd 'Treatise on the Canary' page 18.) A curious and somewhat analogous account has been given (14/34. Charlesworth 'Mag. of Nat. Hist.' volume 1 1837 page 167.) of a family of wild pied rooks which were first observed in 1798, near Chalfont, and which every year from that date up to the period of the published notice, viz., 1837 "have several of their brood particoloured, black and white. This variegation of the plumage, however, disappears with the first moult; but among the next young families there are always a few pied ones." These changes of plumage, which are inherited at various corresponding periods of life in the pigeon, canary-bird, and rook, are remarkable, because the parent-species passes through no such change.

Inherited diseases afford evidence in some respects of less value than the foregoing cases, because diseases are not necessarily connected with any change in structure; but in other respects of more value, because the periods have been more carefully observed. Certain diseases are communicated to the child apparently by a process like inoculation, and the child is from the first affected; such cases may be here passed over. Large classes of diseases usually appear at certain ages, such as St. Vitus's dance in youth, consumption in early mid-life, gout later, and apoplexy still later; and these are naturally inherited at the same period. But even in diseases of this class, instances have been recorded, as with St. Vitus's dance, showing that an unusually early or late tendency to the disease is inheritable. (14/35. Dr. Prosper Lucas 'Hered. Nat.' tome 2 page 713.) In most cases the appearance of any inherited disease is largely determined by certain critical periods in each person's life, as well as by unfavourable conditions. There are many other diseases, which are not attached to any particular period, but which certainly tend to appear in the child at about the same age at which the parent was first attacked. An array of high authorities, ancient and modern, could be given in support of this proposition. The illustrious Hunter believed in it; and Piorry (14/36. 'L'Hered. dans les Maladies' 1840 page 135. For Hunter see Harlan 'Med. Researches' page 530.) cautions the physician to look closely to the child at the period when any grave inheritable disease attacked the parent. Dr. Prosper Lucas (14/37. 'L'Hered. Nat.' tome 2 page 850.), after collecting facts from every source, asserts that affections of all kinds, though not related to any particular period of life, tend to reappear in the offspring at whatever period of life they first appeared in the progenitor.

As the subject is important, it may be well to give a few instances, simply as illustrations, not as proof; for proof, recourse must be had to the authorities above quoted. Some of the following cases have been selected for the sake of showing that, when a slight departure from the rule occurs, the child is affected somewhat earlier in life than the parent. In the family of Le Compte blindness was inherited through three generations, and no less than twenty-seven children and grandchildren were all affected at about the same age; their blindness in general began to advance about the fifteenth or sixteenth year, and ended in total deprivation of sight at the age of about twenty-two. (14/38. Sedgwick 'Brit.

The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication V2 Page 38

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Charles Darwin

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Charles Darwin

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