Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/322

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.






Evidence from the House of Nassau.

A. Elder Branch of Orange.

THIS branch of Nassau for five generations from William the Elder (1487-1559) to William, Prince of Orange, who became king of England (1650-1702), includes in the direct line 30 names. Completing the pedigree on the maternal side for each fraternity brings in 83 additional persons, and raises the entire group to 113.

The thirty in the direct line show remarkable characteristics and probably average, among the direct lines already discussed, more genius than all the rest of the countries put together, excepting that little region about Frederick the Great which we believe to have been formed from this. These illustrious names are William the Silent (10), Maurice (9), Frederick Henry (8), William II., Prince of Orange (18), William III., of England (9). These are father, two sons, grandson and great-grandson. If due to heredity, why was it perpetuated through four generations without reverting to the mean? This was largely due, as far as the second generation was concerned, to the fact that the stock was remarkably well maintained on the maternal side. Maurice had, for his mother's father, Maurice, the celebrated Elector of Saxony (9) and for a great-grandfather Philip Landgrave Hesse (7).

Frederick Henry was a grandson of Gaspard de Coligny, the great admiral of France (9), himself of distinguished stock, and the most remarkable member of the Montmorency-Coligny combination. Frederick Henry married Amelia of Sohns, a woman of fine character and high mental endowments; so it is not surprising that his son, William II., who died young, should have been a prince of exceedingly high promise.

In the next generation William II. married Mary, a daughter of Charles I. of England, so that the relatively poor blood of the Stuarts was introduced. He had but one child, William III., one of the greatest of England's kings. That the last of the line took from the paternal rather than the maternal side must be considered good luck, to say the least. Thus besides the remarkable unions we see also a selection inasmuch as the most highly gifted were sons, many