Hereditary Genius


Francis Galton

This volume is a reprint of a work published twenty- three years ago, which has long been unpurchasable, except at second-hand and at fancy prices. It was a question whether to revise the whole and to bring the information up to date, or simply to reprint it after remedying a few staring errata. The latter course has been adopted, because even a few additional data would have made it necessary to recast all the tabulations, while a thorough reconstruction would be a work of greater labour than I can. now undertake.

At the time when the book was written, the human mind was popularly thought to act independently of natural laws, and to be capable of almost any achievement, if compelled to exert itself by a will that had a power of initiation. Even those who had more philosophical habits of thought were far from looking upon the mental faculties of each individual as being limited with as much strict ness as those of his body, still less was the idea of the hereditary transmission of ability clearly apprehended. The earlier part of the book should be read in the light of the imperfect knowledge of the time when it was written, since what was true in the above respects for the year 1869 does not continue to be true for 1892.

Many of the lines of inquiry that are suggested or hinted at in this book have since been pursued by myself and the result, have been published in various memoirs. They are for the most part epitomised in three volumes--namely, English Men of Science (1874), Human Faculty (1883), Natural Inheritance (1889); also to some small extent in a fourth volume, now about to be published, on Finger Marks.

The fault in the volume that I chiefly regret is the choice of its title of Hereditary Genius, but it cannot be remedied now. There was not the slightest intention on my part to use the word genius in any technical sense, but merely as expressing an ability that was exceptionally high, and at. the same time inborn. It was intended to be used in the senses ascribed to the word in Johnson's Dictionary, viz. "Mental power or faculties. Disposition of nature by which any one is qualified to some peculiar employment. Nature; disposition." A person who is a genius is defined as--A man endowed with superior faculties. This exhausts all that Johnson has to say on the matter, except as regards the imaginary creature of classical authors called a Genius, which does not concern us, and which he describes as the protecting or ruling power of men, places, or things. There is nothing in the quotations from standard authors with which Johnson illustrates his definitions, that justifies a strained and technical sense being given to the word, nor is there anything of the kind in the Latin word ingenium.

Hereditary Genius therefore seemed to be a more expressive and just title than Hereditary Ability, for ability does not exclude the effects of education, which genius does. The reader will find a studious abstinence throughout the work from speaking of genius as special quality. It is freely used as an equivalent for natural ability, in the opening of the chapter on "Comparison of the Two Classifications." In the only place, so far as I have noticed on reading the book again, where any distinction is made between them, the uncertainty that still clings to the meaning of the word genius in its technical sense is emphatically dwelt upon (p. 320). There is no confusion of ideas in this respect in the book, but its title seems apt to mislead, and if it could be altered now, it should appear as Hereditary Ability.

The relation between genius in its technical sense (whatever its precise definition may be) and insanity, has been much insisted upon by Lombroso and others, whose views of the closeness of the connection between the two are so pronounced, that it would hardly be surprising if one of their more enthusiastic followers were to remark that So-and-So cannot be a genius, because he has never been mad nor is there a single lunatic in his family. I cannot go nearly so far as they, nor accept a moiety of their data, on which the connection between ability of a very high order and insanity is supposed to be established. Still, there is a large residuum of evidence which points to a painfully close relation between the two, and I must add that my own later observations have tended in the same direction, for I have been surprised at finding how often insanity or idiocy has appeared among the near relatives of exceptionally able men. Those who are over eager and extremely active in mind must often possess brains that are more excitable and peculiar than is consistent with soundness. They are likely to become crazy at times, and perhaps to break down altogether. Their inborn excitability and peculiarity may be expected to appear in some of their relatives also, but unaccompanied with an equal dose of preservative qualities, whatever they may be. Those relatives would be "crank," if not insane.

There is much that is indefinite in the application of the word genius. It is applied to many a youth by his contemporaries, but more rarely by biographers, who do not always agree among themselves. If genius means a sense of inspiration, or of rushes of ideas from apparently supernatural sources, or of an inordinate and burning desire to accomplish any particular end, it is perilously near to the voices heard by the insane, to their delirious tendencies, or to their monomanias. It cannot in such cases be a healthy faculty, nor can it be desirable to perpetuate it by inheritance. The natural ability of which this book mainly treats, is such as a modern European possesses in a much greater average share than men of the lower races. There is nothing either in the history of domestic animals or in that of evolution to make us doubt that a race of sane men may be formed, who shall be as much superior mentally and morally to the modern European, as the modern European is to the lowest of the Negro races. Individual departures from this high average level in an upward direction would afford an adequate supply of a degree of ability that is exceedingly rare now, and is much wanted.

It may prove helpful to the reader of the volume to insert in this introductory chapter a brief summary of its data and course of arguments. The primary object was to investigate whether and in what degree natural ability was hereditarily transmitted. This could not be easily accomplished without a preliminary classification of ability according to a standard scale, so the first part of the book is taken up with an attempt to provide one. The method employed is based on the law commonly known to mathematicians as that of " frequency of error," because it was devised by them to discover the frequency with which various proportionate amounts of error might be expected to occur in astronomical and geodetical operations, and thereby to estimate the value that was probably nearest the truth, from a mass of slightly discordant measures of the same fact.

Its application had been extended by Quetelet to the proportions of the human body, on the grounds that the differences say in stature, between men of the same race might theoretically be treated as if they were Errors made by Nature in her attempt to mould individual men of the same race according to the same ideal pattern. Fantastic as such a notion may appear to be when it is expressed in these bare terms, without the accompaniment of a full explanation, it can be shown to rest on a perfectly just basis. Moreover, the theoretical predictions were found by him to be correct, and their correctness in analogous cases under reasonable reservations has been confirmed by multitudes of subsequent observations, of which perhaps the most noteworthy are those of Professor Weldon, on that humble creature the common shrimp (Proc. Royal Society, p. 2, vol. 51, 1892).

One effect of the law may be expressed under this form, though it is not that which was used by Quetelet. Suppose 100 adult Englishmen to be selected at random, and ranged in the order of their statures in a row; the statures of the 50th and the 51st men would be almost identical, and would represent the average of all the statures. Then the difference, according to the law of frequency, between them and the 63rd man would be the same as that between the 63rd and the 75th, the '75th and the 84th, the 84th and the 90th. The intervening men between these divisions, whose numbers are 13, 12, 9, and 6, form a succession of classes, diminishing as we see in numbers, but each separated from its neighbours by equal grades of stature. The diminution of the successive classes is thus far small, but it would be found to proceed at an enormously accelerated rate if a much longer row than that of 100 men were taken, and if the classification were pushed much further, as is fully shown in this book.

After some provisional verification, I applied this same law to mental faculties, working it backwards in order to obtain a scale of ability, and to be enabled thereby to give precision to the epithets employed. Thus the rank of first in 4,000 or thereabouts is expressed by the word "eminent." The application of the law of frequency of error to mental faculties has now become accepted by many persons, for it is found to accord well with observation. I know of examiners who habitually use it to verify the general accuracy of the marks given to many candidates in the same examination. Also I am informed by one mathematician that before dividing his examinees into classes, some regard is paid to this law. There is nothing said in this book about the law of frequency that subsequent experience has not confirmed and even extended, except that more emphatic warning is needed against its unchecked application.

The next step was to gain a general idea as to the transmission of ability, founded upon a large basis of homogeneous facts by which to test the results that might be afterwards obtained from more striking but less homo generous data. It was necessary, in seeking for these, to sedulously guard against any bias of my own; it was also essential that the group to be dealt with should be sufficiently numerous for statistical treatment, and again, that the family histories of the persons it contained should be accessible, and, if possible, already published.

The list at length adopted for this prefatory purpose was that of the English Judges since the Reformation. Their kinships were analyzed, and the percentage of their "eminent" relations in the various near degrees were tabulated and the results discussed These were very striking, and seemed amply sufficient of themselves to prove the main question. Various objections to the validity of the inferences drawn from them may, how ever, arise; they are considered, and, it is believed, disposed of, in the book.

After doing this, a series of lists were taken in succession, of the most illustrious statesmen, commanders, literary men, men of science, poets, musicians, and painters, of whom history makes mention To each of these lists were added many English eminent men of recent times, whose biographies are familiar, or, if not, are easily accessible. The lists were drawn up without any bias of my own, for I always relied mainly upon the judgment of others, exercised without any knowledge of the object of the present inquiry, such as the selections made by historians or critics. After the lists of the illustrious men had been disposed of, a large group of eminent Protestant divines were taken in hand--namely, those who were included in Middleton's once well known and highly esteemed biographical dictionary of such persons. Afterwards the Senior Classics of Cambridge were discussed, then the north country oarsmen and wrestlers. In the principal lists all the selected names were inserted, in which those who were known to have eminent kinsmen were printed in italics, so the proportion of failures can easily be compared with that of the successes. Each list was followed, as the list of the judges had been, with a brief dictionary of kinships, all being afterwards tabulated and discussed in the same way. Finally the various results were brought together and compared, showing a remarkable general a with a few interesting exceptions. One of these exceptions lay in the preponderating influence of the maternal side in the case of the divines; this was discussed and apparently accounted for.

The remainder of the volume is taken up with topics that are suggested by the results of the former portion, such as the comparative worth of different races, the influences that affect the natural ability of nations, and finally a chapter of general considerations.

If the work were rewritten, the part of the last chapter which refers to Darwin's provisional theory of pangenesis would require revision, and ought to be largely extended, in order to deal with the evidence for and against the hereditary transmission of habits that were not inborn, but had been acquired through practice. Marvellous as is the power of the theory of pangenesis in bringing large classes of apparently different phenomena under a single law, serious objections have since arisen to its validity, and prevented its general acceptance. It would, for example, almost compel us to believe that the hereditary trans mission of accidental mutilations and of acquired aptitudes would be the rule and not the exception. But leaving. out of the question all theoretical reasons against this belief, such as those which I put forward myself many years ago, as well as the more cogent ones adduced by Weissman in late years -- putting these wholly aside, and appealing to experimental evidence, it is now certain that the tendency of acquired habits to be hereditarily transmitted is at the most extremely small. There may be some few cases, like those of Brown-Séquard's guinea- pigs, in which injury to the nervous substance of the parents affects their offspring; but as a general rule, with scarcely any exception that cannot be ascribed to other influences, such as bad nutrition or transmitted microbes, the injuries or habits of the parents are found to have no effect on the natural form or faculties of the child. Whether very small hereditary influences of the supposed kind, accumulating in the same direction for many generations, may not ultimately affect the qualities of the species, seems to be the only point now seriously in question.

Many illustrations have been offered, by those few persons of high authority who still maintain that acquired habits, such as the use or disuse of particular organs in the parents, admit of being hereditarily transmitted in a sufficient degree to notably affect the whole breed after many generations. Among these illustrations much stress has been laid on the diminishing size of the human jaw, in highly civilized peoples. It is urged that their food is better cooked and more toothsome than that of their ancestors, consequently the masticating apparatus of the race has dwindled through disuse. The truth of the evidence on which this argument rests is questionable, because it is not at all certain that non-European races who have more powerful jaws than ourselves use them more than we do. A Chinaman lives, and has lived for centuries, on rice and spoon-meat, or such over-boiled diet as his chopsticks can deal with. Equatorial Africans live to a great extent on bananas, or else on cassava, which, being usually of the poisonous kind, must be well boiled before it is eaten, in order to destroy the poison. Many of the Eastern Archipelago islanders live on sago. Pastoral tribes eat meat occasionally, but their usual diet is milk or curds. It is only the hunting tribes who habitually live upon tough meat. It follows that the diminishing size of the human jaw in highly civilized people must be ascribed to other causes, such as those, whatever they may be, that reduce the weight of the whole skeleton in delicately nurtured animals.

It seems feasible to subject the question to experiment, whether certain acquired habits, acting during at least ten, twenty, or more generations, have any sensible effects on the race. I will repeat some remarks on this subject which I made two years ago, first in a paper read at a Congress in Paris, and afterwards at the British Association at Newcastle. The position taken was that the experiments ought to be made on a large scale, and upon creatures that were artificially hatched, and therefore wholly isolated from maternal teachings. Fowls, moths, and fish were the particular creatures suggested. Fowls are reared. in incubators at very many places on a large scale, especially in France. It seemed not difficult to devise practices associated with peculiar calls to food, with colours connected with food, or with food that was found to be really good though deterrent in appearance, and in certain of the breeding-places to regularly subject the chicks to these practices. Then, after many generations had passed by, to examine whether or no the chicks of the then generation had acquired any instinct for performing them, by comparing their behaviour with that of chicks reared in other places As regards moths, the silkworm industry is so extensive and well understood that there would be abundant opportunity for analogous experiments with moths, both in France and Italy. The establishments for pisciculture afford another field. It would not be worth while to initiate courses of such experiments unless the crucial value of what they could teach us when completed had first been fully assented to. To my own mind they would rank as crucial experiments so far as they went, and be worth undertaking, but they did not appear to strike others so strongly in the same light. Of course before any such experiments were set on foot, they would have to be considered in detail by many competent minds, and be closely criticised.

Another topic would have been treated at more length if this book were rewritten--namely, the distinction between variations and sports. It would even require a remodelling of much of the existing matter. The views I have been brought to entertain, since it was written, are amplifications of those which are already put forward in pp. 354-5, but insufficiently pushed there to their logical conclusion. They are, that the word variation is used indiscriminately to express two fundamentally distinct conceptions: sports, and variations properly so called. It has been shown in Natural Inheritance that the distribution of faculties in a population cannot possibly remain constant, if, on the average the children resemble their parents. If they did so, the giants (in any mental or physical particular) would become more gigantic, and the dwarfs more dwarfish, in each successive generation. The counteracting tendency is what I called "regression." The filial centre is not the same as the parental centre, but it is nearer to mediocrity; it regresses towards the racial centre. In other words, the filial centre (or the fraternal centre, if we change the point of view) is always nearer, on the average, to the racial centre than the parental centre was. There must be an average "regression" in passing from the parental to the filial centre.

It is impossible briefly to give a full idea, in this place, either of the necessity of of the proof of regression; they have been thoroughly discussed in the work in question. Suffice it to say, that the result gives precision to the idea of a typical centre from which individual variations occur in accordance with the law of frequency, often to a small amount, more rarely to a larger one, very rarely indeed to one that is much larger, and practically never to one that is larger still. The filial centre falls back further towards mediocrity in a constant proportion to the distance to which the parental centre has deviated from it, whether the direction of the deviation be in excess or in deficiency. All true variations are (as I maintain) of this kind, and it is in consequence impossible that the natural qualities of a race may be permanently changed through the action of selection upon mere variations. The selection of the most serviceable variations cannot even produce any great degree of artificial and temporary improvement, because an equilibrium between deviation and regression will soon be reached, whereby the best of the offspring will cease to be better than their own sires and dams.

The case is quite different in respect to what are technically known as "sports." In these, a new character suddenly makes its appearance in a particular individual, causing him to differ distinctly from his parents and from others of his race. Such new characters are also found to be transmitted to descendants. Here there has been a change of typical centre, a new point of departure has somehow come into existence, towards which regression has henceforth to be measured, and consequently a real step forward has been made in the course of evolution. When natural selection favours a particular sport, it works effectively towards the formation of a new species, but the favour that it simultaneously shows to mere variations seems to be thrown away, so far as that end is concerned.

There may be entanglement between a sport and a variation which leads to a hybrid and unstable result, well exemplified in the imperfect character of the fusion of different human races. Here numerous pure specimens of their several ancestral types are apt to crop out, notwithstanding the intermixture by marriage that had been going on for many previous generations.

It has occurred to others as well as myself, as to Mr. Wallace and to Professor Romanes, that the time may have arrived when an institute for experiments on heredity might be established with advantage. A farm and garden of a very few acres, with varied exposure, and well supplied with water, placed under the charge of intelligent caretakers, supervised by a biologist, would afford the necessary basis for a great variety of research upon in expensive animals and plants. The difficulty lies in the smallness of the number of competent persons who are actively engaged in hereditary inquiry, who could be de pended upon to use it properly.

The direct result of this inquiry is to make manifest the great and measurable differences between the mental and bodily faculties of individuals, and to prove that the laws of heredity are as applicable to the former as to the latter. Its indirect result is to show that a vast but unused power is vested in. each generation over the very natures of their successors--that is, over their inborn faculties arid dispositions. The brute power of doing this by means of appropriate marriages or abstention from marriage undoubtedly exists, however much the circumstances of social life may hamper its employment.[1] The great problem of the future betterment of the human race is confessedly, at the present time, hardly advanced beyond the stage of academic inter est, but thought and action move swiftly nowadays, and it is by no means impossible that a generation which has witnessed the exclusion of the Chinese race from the customary privileges of settlers in two continents, and the deportation of a Hebrew population from a large portion of a third, may live to see other analogous acts performed under sudden socialistic pressure. The striking results of an evil inheritance, have already forced themselves so far on the popular mind, that indignation is freely expressed, without any marks of disapproval from others, at the yearly output by unfit parents of weakly children who are constitutionally incapable of growing up into serviceable citizens, and who are a serious encumbrance to the nation. The questions about to be considered may unexpectedly acquire importance as falling within the sphere of practical politics, and if so, many demographic data that require forethought and time to collect,, and a dispassionate and leisurely judgment to discuss, will be hurriedly and sorely needed.

The topics to which I refer are the relative fertility of different classes and races, and their tendency to supplant one another under various circumstances. The whole question of fertility under the various conditions of civilized life requires more detailed research than it has yet received. We require further investigations into the truth of the hypothesis of Malthus, that there is really no limit to over-population beside that which is afforded by misery or prudential restraint. Is it true that misery, in any justifiable sense of that word, provides the only check which acts automatically, or are other causes in existence, active, though as yet obscure, that assist in re straining the overgrowth of population? It is certain that the productiveness of different marriages differs greatly in consequence of unexplained conditions. The variation in fertility of different kinds of animals that have been captured when wild and afterwards kept in menageries is, as Darwin long since pointed out, most notable and apparently capricious. The majority of those which thrive in confinement, and apparently enjoy excellent health, are nevertheless absolutely infertile; others, often of closely allied species, have their productivity increased. One of the many evidences of our great ignorance of the laws that govern fertility, is seen in the behaviour of bees, who have somehow discovered that by merely modifying the diet and the size of the nursery of any female grub, they can at will cause it to develop, either into a naturally sterile worker, or into the potential mother of a huge hive.

Demographers have, undoubtedly, collected and collated a vast amount of information bearing on the fertility of different nations, but they have mainly attacked the problem in the gross and not in detail so that we possess little more than mean values that are applicable to general populations, and are very valuable in their way, but we remain ignorant of much else, that a moderate amount of judiciously directed research might, perhaps, be able to tell.

As an example of what could be sought with advantage, let us suppose that we take a number, sufficient for statistical purposes, of persons occupying different social classes, those who are the least efficient in physical, intellectual, and moral grounds, forming our lowest class and those who are the most efficient forming our highest class. The question to be solved relates to the hereditary permanence of the several classes What proportion of each. class is descended from parents who belong to the same class, and what proportion is descended from parents who belong to each of the other classes? Do those persons who have honourably succeeded in life, and who are presumably, on the whole, the most valuable portion of our human stock, contribute on the aggregate their fair share of posterity to the next generation? If not, do they con tribute more or less than their fair share, and in what degree? In other words, is the evolution of man in each particular country, favourably or injuriously affected by its special form of civilization?

Enough is already known to make it certain that the productiveness of both the extreme classes, the best and the worst, falls short of the average of the nation as a whole. Therefore, the most prolific class necessarily lies between the two extremes, but at what intermediate point does it lie? Taken altogether, on any reasonable principle, are the natural gifts of the most prolific class, bodily, intellectual, and moral, above or below the line of national mediocrity? If above that line, then the existing conditions are favourable to the improvement of the race. If they are below that line, they must work towards its degradation.

These very brief remarks serve to shadow out the problem; it would require much more space than is now available, before it could be phrased in a way free from ambiguity, so that its solution would clearly instruct us whether the conditions of life at any period in any given race were tending to raise or to depress its natural qualities.

Whatever other countries may or may not have lost, ours has certainly gained on more than one occasion by the infusion of the breed of selected sub-races, especially of that of the Protestant refugees from religious persecution on the Continent. It seems reasonable to look upon. the Huguenots as men who, on the whole, had inborn qualities of a distinctive kind from the majority of their countrymen, and who may, therefore, be spoken of as a sub-type--that is to say, capable, when isolated, of con tinning their race without its showing any strong tendency to revert to the form of the earlier type from which it was a well-defined departure. It proved, also, that the cross breed between them and our ancestors was a singularly successful mixture. Consequently, England has been largely indebted to the natural refinement and to the solid worth of the Huguenot breed, as well as to the culture and technical knowledge that the Huguenots brought with them.

The frequency in history with which one race has sup planted another over wide geographical areas is one of the most striking facts in the evolution of mankind. The denizens of the world at the present day form a very different human stock to that which inhabited it a dozen generations ago, and to all appearance a no less difference will be found in our successors a dozen of generations hence. Partly it may be that new human varieties have come into permanent or only into temporary existence, like that most remarkable mixed race of the Normans many centuries ago, in whom, to use well-known words of the late Professor Freeman, the indomitable vigour of the Scandinavians, joined to the buoyant vivacity of the Gaul, produced the conquering and ruling race of Europe. But principally the change of which I spoke is due to great alterations in the proportions of those who belong to the old and well established types. The Negro now born in the United States has much the same natural faculties as his distant cousin who is born in Africa; the effect of his transplantation being ineffective in changing his nature, but very effective in increasing his numbers, in enlarging the range of his distribution, and in destroying native American races. There are now some 8,000,000 of Negroes in lands where not one of them existed twelve generations ago, and probably not one representative of the race which they displaced remains there; on the other hand, there has been no corresponding diminution of numbers in the parent home of the Negro. Precisely the same may be said of the European races who have during the same period swarmed over the temperate regions of the globe, forming the nuclei of many future nations.

It is impossible, even in the, vaguest, way, in a brief space, to give a just idea of the magnitude and variety of changes produced in the human stock by the political events of the last few generations, and it would he difficult to do so in such a way as not to seriously wound the patriotic susceptibilities of many readers. The natural temperaments and moral ideals of different races are various, and praise or blame cannot be applied at the discretion of one person without exciting remonstrance from others who take different views with perhaps equal justice. The birds and beasts assembled in conclave may try to pass a unanimous resolution in favour of the natural duty of the mother to nurture and protect her offspring, but the cuckoo would musically protest. The Irish Celt may desire the extension of his race and the increase of its influence in the representative governments of England and America, but the wishes of his Anglo-Saxon or Teuton fellow-subjects may lie in the opposite direction; and so on indefinitely. My object now is merely to urge inquiries into the historical fact whether legislation, which has led to the substitution on a large scale of one race for another, has not often been the outcome of conflicting views into which- the question of race hardly entered at all, and which were so nearly balanced that if the question of race had been properly introduced into the discussion the result might have been different. The possibility of such being the case cannot be doubted, and affords strong reason for justly appraising the influence of race, and of hereafter including it at neither more nor less than its real value, among the considerations by which political action will be determined.

The importance to be attached to race is a question that deserves a far larger measure of exact investigation than it receives. We are exceedingly ignorant of the respective ranges of the natural and acquired faculties in different races, and there is too great a tendency among writers to dogmatize wildly about them, some grossly magnifying, others as greatly minimising their several provinces. It seems however possible to answer this question unambiguously, difficult as it is.

The recent attempts by many European nations to utilize Africa for their own purposes gives immediate and practical interest to inquiries that bear on the transplantation of races. They compel us to face the question as to what races should be politically aided to become hereafter the chief occupiers of that continent. The varieties of Negroes, Bantus, Arab half-breeds, and others who now inhabit Africa are very numerous, and they differ much from one another in their natural qualities. Some of them must be more suitable than others to thrive under that form of moderate civilization which is likely to be introduced into Africa by Europeans, who will enforce justice and order, excite a desire among the natives for comforts and luxuries, and make steady industry, almost a condition of living at all. Such races would spread and displace the others by degrees. Or it may prove that the Negroes, one and all, will fail as completely under the new conditions as they have failed under the old ones, to submit to the needs of a superior civilization to their own; in this case their races, numerous and prolific as they are, will in course of time be supplanted and replaced by their betters.

It seems scarcely possible as yet to assure ourselves as to the possibility of any variety of white men to work, to thrive, and, to continue their race in the broad regions of the tropics. We could not do so without better knowledge than we now possess of the different capacities of individuals to withstand their malarious and climatic influences. Much more care is taken to select appropriate varieties of plants and animals for plantation in foreign settlements, than to select appropriate types of men. Discrimination and foresight are shown in the one case, an indifference born of ignorance is shown in the other. The importance is not yet sufficiently recognized of a more exact examination and careful record than is now made of the physical qualities and hereditary antecedents of candidates for employment in tropical countries. We require these records to enable us to learn hereafter what are the conditions in youth that are prevalent among those whose health subsequently endured the change of climatic influence satisfactorily, and conversely as regards those who failed. It is scarcely possible to properly conduct such an investigation retrospectively.

In conclusion I wish again to emphasize the fact that the improvement of the natural gifts of future generations of the human race is largely, though indirectly, under our control. We may not be able to originate, but we can guide. The processes of evolution are in constant and spontaneous activity, some pushing towards the bad, some towards the good. Our part is to watch for opportunities to intervene by checking the former and giving free play to the latter. We must distinguish clearly between our power in this fundamental respect and that which we also possess of ameliorating education and hygiene. It is earnestly to be hoped that inquiries will be increasingly directed into historical facts, with the view of estimating the possible effects of reasonable political action in the future, in gradually raising the present miserably low standard of the human race to one in which the Utopias in the dreamland of philanthropists may become practical possibilities.

[1] These remarks were submitted in my Presidential Address to the International Congress of Demography, held in London in 1892.