Many a child is born tainted with disease. The fountains of life are corrupted in the mother's womb, and the young being is ushered into the world with the seeds of disease and future suffering planted deeply within its system. Disease thus communicated from parent to child, is called hereditary. Let us glance at some few of those difficulties, which may as a general thing be classed under this head. We will first notice, that wide-wasting disease found in all classes of society, and which is at the root of a vast amount of chronic difficulties, viz. the class of affections popularly known as scrofula, but which Hahnemann might call psora, Hufeland dyscrasy, but by modern science is more correctly termed tuberculosis. We shall use the latter term in the few remarks we have to make of this class of affections.

Tuberculosis revels in the human family to an extent but little dreamed of by many. Obscuring its origin and masking its real character in a hundred forms, thousands, even when its seeds are rapidly ripening within them, have not the least idea of the real character and cause of their sufferings. It manifests its terrible effects in the early months of foetal existence, and causes those spontaneous abortions, which destroy one quarter of those affected, before they see the light. After birth it frequently arrests their physical and moral development, and becoming complicated with various diseases, renders the period of infancy and youth full of dangers.

Sometimes it affects particularly the mucous membrane, and frequently extends its effects to the mucous system generally. Hence arise ophthalmia, catarrh, affections of the ears, leucorrhoea, intestinal worms, mucous fevers, etc. Sometimes it attacks the skin and produces chilblains in the hands, feet, and face; chronic eruptions of the lips, eyelids, and ears; pustules of various forms scattered over the face, forehead, and chest, and ulcers more or less numerous and extensive.

Sometimes it acts particularly on the cellular tissue, and produces numerous abscesses and profuse suppuration. If it fixes itself on the osseous system, caries, and softening of the bones are among the effects produced. Many of the bones may be affected at the same time, and, as is sometimes the case, the whole skeleton shows the presence of the disease. All these varieties of affections, so apparently dissimilar in their character, are notwithstanding traceable to the same origin and the same cause. It may, as we have before stated, be developed in one patient in the mucous system, in another in the cellular, and in a third, in the bony skeleton, presenting of course a different appearance in each.

Tuberculosis, developing itself in the lungs, the brain, the stomach, the bowels, and in fact in every part of the system, for there is no tissue or organ into which it may not infuse its poison, is the most fearful destroyer of human life, which has ever cursed the world. Lifting its head in almost every clime, infusing its poison in every class of society, not the plague with its unnumbered victims, or the pestilence with its heaps of dead, can compare with it in destruction of human life.

Wherever we find this disease, in its various modifications and developments, whether we see it in loathsome sores, or in the slow or rapid wasting away of consumption, in blindness, deafness, or caries of the bones, we can as a general thing, though not in every case, trace it back to hereditary taint.

Notwithstanding the parents themselves may have been apparently healthy, showing no traces of tuberculosis or a consumptive tendency, yet if we go back two or three generations, we find traces of it, or some affec-ftion, which will produce it, in some branch of the family. It is very common for it to have overleaped apparently, one, two, or even three generations, and develop itself in all its virulence in the unhappy victims, whose parents may, as they think, have escaped.

Among the causes of hereditary tuberculosis we may place syphilitic taint. Several tuberculous diseases greatly resemble syphilitic maladies. The parent who has contracted syphilis, and believes himself entirely cured, may through error of treatment still retain in his system, apparently dormant, some portion of the poison, which may be transmitted to his offspring in the form of hereditary tuberculosis. Thus, the parent, in his thoughtless folly, while running his giddy round of youthful dissipation, digs the grave of his child, poisons its happiness, and in following it to an early grave, or gazing on its weak, puny and diseased form, reaps a bitter harvest for his early sin. Oh, how fearfully do children suffer for a parent's sins.

Abuse of venereal pleasures is another cause of tuberculous children. Instances are by no means rare, particularly among the higher classes of society, where from the manner of living, an artificial excitement usurps the place of the natural, and, as a matter of course, the offspring are weak and puny.

The too early marriages, so common both among the rich and poor, is a fruitful cause of hereditary tuberculosis. For a man to beget healthy children, he must have passed somewhat beyond the age of puberty, and acquired fully his strength and development. These early marriages, where the bride is taken from the parental home at a time when she most needs a mother's care, or the bridegroom perhaps is a mere boy, are perfectly suicidal, and can only result in the broken constitution and feeble health of the mother, or at least, in weak and puny children. The inevitable consequences of these premature marriages are more to be dreaded when men, who have married too young, have previously led dissipated lives, passing, as it were through a period of fifty years in sixteen.

If too early a marriage has a tendency to produce diseased children, so also has a marriage contracted too late in life, when also the reproductive power is deficient in vigor.

Unfortunately, men frequently live, until they are forty-five or fifty, before marriage, and are then connected with those much younger than themselves. The consequence, as a general thing, is feeble children, who often die prematurely.

A considerable disproportion between the ages of parents is another fruitful cause not only of tuberculous offspring, but of ill health on the part of one of the parents. In a judicious marriage, there should be but a very few years difference between the ages of the parties. Old age cannot wed with youth with the expectation of vigorous and healthy offspring, any more than winter can mingle with summer. Flowers look sickly and are chilled by winter, and so is youth, when united to age. The young should not sleep with the old, though the difference in age may not be more than fifteen or twenty years, for the vital power in the young is rapidly exhausted by the old. For the same reason the cold and phlegmatic temperament should not sleep with one of warm and nervous temperament, for a similar result is produced. The manifest difference in age, temperament, and constitution, where the parties are placed in so close a relation, is pregnant with disastrous results to the weak and young, and also, if the parties are married, to their offspring.

Marriage should never take place between relations, unless the connection is very remote, for by such a union tuberculous taint existing in one, would be likely to be found in both, and the result would be a frightful harvest of disease in their children. Not for this reason only, but the marriage of relatives, will of itself often be sufficient to develop in their children tuberculous disease, weakness of mind, and even idiocy. Hence the repeated intermarriages of some of the royal families in Europe has produced among them a variety of tuberculous affections, together, sometimes with insanity, weakness of mind, and almost idiocy.

This disease is, as we have already stated, generally hereditary, although it is sometimes the result of moisture, bad air and food, changes of temperature, and also sometimes follows measles, small-pox and hooping-cough. Cases are by no means rare in this changeable climate, when it is developed in those whose ancestral blood has been untaited with the disease, as far back as they can trace. Persons of robust and strong constitutions, showing no predisposition to consumption, have fallen victims to it from undue exposure to changes of temperature or too violent exertion of the chest.

Notwithstanding tuberculosis, as a general thing, is hereditary, we should be very sorry to believe, that the descendants of a family, in whose systems are lurking the seeds of this poison, must necessarily be tainted, generation after generation, that there is no escape, no dispersing the dark cloud, which hangs like a pall over their future. If this were the case, it would indeed be a curse so dark and fearful, that the poor victims might well pray for death.

But this is not the case. By a proper marriage, a marriage in which enlightened reason shall be called into action and not blind passion, a passing fancy, or pecuniary interest, and where in the physical and mental education and training of the children from the time of their birth, there is brought to bear a clear enlightened mind, and a proper understanding of the laws of health, I see no reason why such children may not be healthy and in the course of one or two generations all predisposition to the disease be removed.

A person of consumptive habit, marrying one of tuberculous diathesis, will be pretty sure to give birth to tuberculous children.

In selecting a partner for life, fitness of mind and disposition are not the only things to be taken into consideration. There is another question quite as important, and that is healthy, predisposition to disease, and the prospect of having healthy children, for all on entering the marriage state expect, sooner or later, to become parents.

These are questions of vast importance, and should not be lightly answered. Many a young mother after having given birth in rapid succession to several children, is called on to follow her husband to the grave, and weep in widowhood over blighted hopes, and feel that for years her existence must be a prolonged struggle to obtain the necessaries of life for her helpless children. Many a father looks upon children weak and puny, and follows his wife to the grave at a time, when they most need a mother's care, and he the comfort and solace of a wife.

And yet in the selection of a wife or husband, how little attention is paid to health, physical development and the probability, that in two or three years they will not be separated by death.

We have seen in the investigation of this subject, that tuberculosis is developed not alone, as is sometimes supposed, in the chest in the form of pulmonary consumption, but in every part of the system, and in an hundred forms.

Among the other forms of disease, to which there may be an hereditary predisposition, we have only space to mention gouty and rheumatic difficulties.