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Hereditary Genius
I HAVE no patience with the hypothesis occasionally expressed, and
often implied, especially in tales written to teach children to be good, that
babies are born pretty much alike, arid that the sole agencies in creating
differences between boy and boy, and man and man, are steady application
and moral effort. It is in the most unqualified manner that I object to
pretensions of natural equality. The experiences of the nursery, the school,
the University, and of professional careers, are a chain of proofs to the
contrary. I acknowledge freely the great power of education and social
influences in developing the active powers of the mind, just as I
acknowledge the effect of use in developing the muscles of a blacksmith's
arm, and no further. Let the blacksmith labour as he will, he will find there
are certain feats beyond his power that are well within the strength of a
man of herculean make, even although the latter may have led a sedentary
life. Some years ago, the Highlanders held a grand gathering in Holland
Park, where they challenged all England to compete with them in their
games of strength. The challenge was accepted, and the well-trained men
of the hills were beaten in the foot-race by a youth who was stated to be a
pure Cockney, the clerk of a London banker. Previous page Top Next page