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Hereditary Genius
I PROPOSE to supplement what I have written about brain by two
short chapters on muscle. No one doubts that muscle is hereditary in
horses and dogs, but humankind are so blind to facts and so governed
by preconceptions, that I have heard it frequently asserted that
muscle is not hereditary in men. Oarsmen and wrestlers have
maintained that their heroes spring up capriciously, so I have thought
it advisable to make inquiries into the matter. The results I have
obtained will beat down another place of refuge for those who insist
that each man is an independent creation, and not a mere function,
physically, morally, and intellectually, of ancestral qualities and
external influences.
In respect to Oarsmen, let me assure the reader that they are no
insignificant fraction of the community,—no mere waifs and strays
from those who follow more civilized pursuits. A perfect passion for
rowing pervades large classes. At Newcastle, when a great race
takes place, all business is at a standstill, factories are closed, shops
are shut, and offices deserted. The number of men who fall within
the attraction of the career is very great; and there can be no doubt
that a large proportion of those among them who are qualified to
succeed brilliantly, obey the attraction and pursue it.
For the information in this and the following chapters, I am entirely
indebted to the kind inquiries made for me Previous page Top Next page