Hereditary Genius

Francis Galton





Sir William Sydney,        John Dudley, Earl of Warwick
      Soldier and knight         and Duke of Northumberland; Earl
       of renown                 Marshal. “The minion of his time.”
   _________|_________              ___________|___
  |                   |            |               |
Lucy, marr.   Sir Henry Sydney = Mary  Sir Robt. Dudley,  William Herbert
Sir James     three times Lord |       the great Earl of  1st E. Pembroke
Harrington   Deputy of Ireland.|       Leicester.         Statesman and
     __________________________|____________              soldier.
    |                 |                     |               |
Sir Philip Sydney,  Sir Robert,           Mary   = 2d Earl of Pembroke.
Scholar, soldier, 1st Earl Leicester,  Epitaph   |
  courtier.       Soldier & courtier.  by Ben    |
                      |                Johnson   |
                      |                          |
                   Sir Robert, 2d Earl.       3d Earl Pembroke,
                   “Learning, observation,    Patron of letters.
                   and veracity.”
         |            |                     |
  Philip Sydney,   Algernon Sydney,     Dorothy,
   3d Earl,          Patriot.            Waller's
one of Cromwell's  Beheaded, 1683.     “Saccharissa.”













First published in 1869.
Second Edition, with an additional preface, 1892.

Fourth corrected proof of the first electronic edition, 2017.
Based on the text of the second edition.

The page numbering and layout of the second edition have been preserved, as far as possible, to simplify cross-referencing.

This is a corrected proof.

This document forms part of the archive of Galton material available at

Original electronic conversion by Michal Kulczycki, based on a facsimile prepared by Gavan Tredoux.

This edition was edited, cross-checked and reformatted by Gavan Tredoux.






















The Right of Translation and Reproduction is Reserved


Prefatory Chapter To The Edition Of 1892. vii

Preface_ v

Contents_ vii

ERRATA_ viii

Introductory Chapter. 1

Classification Of Men According To Their Reputation. 6

Classification Of Men According To Their Natural Gifts. 14

Comparison Of The Two Classifications_ 37

Notation_ 50

The Judges Of England Between  1660 and 1865_ 55











POETS. 225



















Prefatory Chapter To The Edition Of 1892.

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 strictness 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 hook have since been pursued by myself, and the results 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 denned 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 a 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. 1 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 homogeneous 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 analysed, 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, however, 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 agreement, 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 transmission 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-Sequard'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 or 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 inexpensive 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 depended 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 and 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 interest, 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 restraining 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 bur 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 contribute 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 continuing 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 supplanted 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 veil 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 be 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-sub-

jects 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 dogmatise 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 intro-

duced 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 emphasise 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.


THE idea of investigating the subject of hereditary genius occurred to me during the course of a purely ethnological inquiry, into the mental peculiarities of different races; when the fact, that characteristics cling to families, was so frequently forced on my notice as to induce me to pay especial attention to that branch of the subject. I began by thinking over the dispositions and achievements of my contemporaries at school, at college, and in after life, and was surprised to find how frequently ability seemed to go by descent. Then I made a cursory examination into the kindred of about four hundred illustrious men of all periods of history, and the results were such, in my own opinion, as completely to establish the theory that genius was hereditary, under limitations that required to be investigated. Thereupon I set to work to gather a large amount of carefully selected biographical data, and in the meantime wrote two articles on the subject, which appeared in Macmillan's Magazine in June and in August, 1865. I also attacked the subject from many different sides and sometimes with very minute inquiries, because it was long before the methods I finally adopted were matured. I mention all this, to show that the foundation for my theories is broader than appears in the book, and

as a partial justification if I have occasionally been betrayed into speaking somewhat more confidently than the evidence I have adduced would warrant.

I trust the reader will pardon a small percentage of error and inaccuracy, if it be so small as not to affect the general value of my results. No one can hate inaccuracy more than myself, or can have a higher idea of what an author owes to his readers, in respect to precision; but, in a subject like this, it is exceedingly difficult to correct every mistake, and still more so to avoid omissions. I have often had to run my eyes over many pages of large biographical dictionaries and volumes of memoirs to arrive at data, destined to be packed into half a dozen lines, in an appendix to one of my many chapters.

The theory of hereditary genius, though usually scouted, has been advocated by a few writers in past as well as in modern times. But I may claim to be the first to treat the subject in a statistical manner, to arrive at numerical results, and to introduce the “law of deviation from an average” into discussions on heredity.

A great many subjects are discussed in the following pages, which go beyond the primary issue,—whether or no genius be hereditary. I could not refuse to consider them, because the bearings of the theory I advocate are too important to be passed over in silence.




Introductory Chapter


Classification Of Men According To Their Reputation


Classification Of Men According To Their Natural Gifts


Comparison Of The Two Classifications




The Judges Of England Between 1660 And 1863




English Peerages, Their Influence Upon Race




Literary Men


Men Of Science










Senior Classics Of Cambridge




Wrestlers Of The North Country


Comparison Of Results


The Comparative Worth Of Different Races


Influences That Affect The Natural Ability Of Nations


General Considerations







P. 2, line 10.—The title of the work should have been as in p. 363, line 8.

P. 13, line 5.—Read “a quarter of a million” instead of “half a million,” and modify the calculation in the next 5 lines accordingly.

P. 22, 5 lines from bottom.—Mr. Goulbum's kinships are wrongly stated; they are given correctly in p. 301.

P. 50, Chapter on Notation.—No reference has been made here to a folding sheet which will be found near the end of the book. Its insertion was an after-thought for the convenience of the reader, who may unfold and consult it without the trouble of turning over his page.



*,* I am glad of this opportunity to correct a mistake in an article I published this spring, in Macmillan's Magazine, on the “English Judges.” I gave in it, provisional results from unrevised data, corresponding to those in column E in the table p. 61; but by a clerical error in the computation, I made the entry under Sons more nearly equal to those under Fathers and Brothers, than it should have been.





The “Genealogical Table of Montagu and North” to be placed to face page 97; and the “Alphabetical List of the Letters and the Relationships to which they correspond,” to face page 376.


Introductory Chapter.

I PROPOSE to show in this book that a man's natural abilities are derived by inheritance, under exactly the same limitations as are the form and physical features of the whole organic world. Consequently, as it is easy, notwithstanding those limitations, to obtain by careful selection a permanent breed of dogs or horses gifted with peculiar powers of running, or of doing anything else, so it would be quite practicable to produce a highly-gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations. I shall show that social agencies of an ordinary character, whose influences are little suspected, are at this moment working towards the degradation of human nature, and that others are working towards its improvement. I conclude that each generation has enormous power over the natural gifts of those that follow, and maintain that it is a duty we owe to humanity to investigate the range of that power, and to exercise it in a way that, without being unwise towards ourselves, shall be most advantageous to future inhabitants of the earth.

I am aware that my views, which were first published four years ago in Macmillan's Magazine (in June and August 1865), are in contradiction to general opinion; but the arguments I then used have been since accepted, to my great gratification, by many of the highest authorities on heredity. In reproducing them, as I now do, in a much more elaborate form, and on a greatly enlarged basis of induction, I feel assured that, inasmuch as what I then wrote was sufficient to earn the acceptance of Mr. Darwin (“Domestication of Plants and Animals,” ii. 7), the increased amount of evidence submitted in the present volume is not likely to be gainsaid.

The general plan of my argument is to show that high reputation is a pretty accurate test of high ability; next to discuss the relationships of a large body of fairly eminent men—namely, the Judges of England from 1660 to 1868, the Statesmen of the time of George III., and the Premiers during the last 100 years—and to obtain from these a general survey of the laws of heredity in respect to genius. Then I shall examine, in order, the kindred of the most illustrious Commanders, men of Literature and of Science, Poets, Painters, and Musicians, of whom history speaks. I shall also discuss the kindred of a certain selection of Divines and of modern Scholars. Then will follow a short chapter, by way of comparison, on the hereditary transmission of physical gifts, as deduced from the relationships of certain classes of Oarsmen and Wrestlers. Lastly, I shall collate my results, and draw conclusions.

It will be observed that I deal with more than one grade of ability. Those upon whom the greater part of my volume is occupied, and on whose kinships my argument is most securely based, have been generally reputed as endowed by nature with extraordinary genius. There are so few of these men that, although they are scattered

throughout the whole historical period of human existence, their number does not amount to more than 400, and yet a considerable proportion of them will be found to be interrelated.

Another grade of ability with which I deal is that which includes numerous highly eminent, and all the illustrious names of modern English history, whose immediate descendants are living among us, whose histories are popularly known, and whose relationships may readily be traced by the help of biographical dictionaries, peerages, and similar books of reference. “

A third and lower grade is that of the English Judges, massed together as a whole, for the purpose of the prefatory statistical inquiry of which I have already spoken. No one doubts that many of the ablest intellects of our race are to be found among the Judges; nevertheless the average ability of a Judge cannot be rated as equal to that of the lower of the two grades I have described.

I trust the reader will make, allowance for a large and somewhat important class of omissions I have felt myself compelled to make when treating of the eminent men of modern days. I am prevented by a sense of decorum from quoting names of their relations in contemporary life who are not recognised as public characters, although their abilities may be highly appreciated in private life. Still less consistent with decorum would it have been, to introduce the names of female relatives that stand in the same category. My case is so overpoweringly strong, that I am perfectly able to prove my point without having recourse to this class of evidence. Nevertheless, the reader should bear in mind that it exists; and I beg he will do me the justice of allowing that I have not overlooked the whole of the evidence that does not appear in my pages. I am deeply conscious of the imperfection of my work, but my sins are those of omission, not of commission.

Such errors as I may and must have made, which give a fictitious support to my arguments, are, I am confident, out of all proportion fewer than such omissions of facts as would have helped to establish them.

I have taken little notice in this book of modern men of eminence who are not English, or at least well known. to Englishmen. I feared, if I included large classes of foreigners, that I should make glaring errors. It requires a very great deal of labour to hunt out relationships, even with the facilities afforded to a countryman having access to persons acquainted with the various families; much more would it have been difficult to hunt out the kindred of foreigners. I should have especially liked to investigate the biographies of Italians and Jews, both of whom appear to be rich in families of high intellectual breeds. Germany and America are also full of interest It is a little less so with respect to France, where the Revolution and the guillotine made sad havoc among the progeny of her abler races.

There is one advantage to a candid critic in my having left so large a field untouched; it enables me to propose a test that any well-informed reader may easily adopt who doubts the fairness of my examples. He may most reasonably suspect that I have been unconsciously influenced by my theories to select men whose kindred were most favourable to their support. If so, I beg he will test my impartiality as follows:—Let him take a dozen names of his own selection, as the most eminent in whatever profession and in whatever country he knows most about, and let him trace out for himself their relations. It is necessary, as I find by experience, to take some pains to be sure that none, even of the immediate relatives, on either the male or female side, have been overlooked. If he does what I propose, I am confident he will be astonished at the completeness with which the results will confirm my

theory.  I venture to speak with assurance, because it has often occurred to me to propose this very test to incredulous friends, and invariably, so far as my memory serves me, as large a proportion of the men who were named were discovered to have eminent relations, as the nature of my views on heredity would have led me to expect.

Classification Of Men
According To Their Reputation.

THE arguments by which I endeavour to prove that genius is hereditary, consist in showing how large is the number of instances in which men who are more or less illustrious have eminent kinsfolk. It is necessary to have clear ideas on the two following matters before my arguments can be rightly appreciated. The first is the degree of selection implied by the words “eminent and “illustrious.” Does eminent mean the foremost in a hundred, in a thousand, or in what other number of men? The second is the degree to which reputation may be accepted as a test of ability.

It is essential that I, who write, should have a minimum qualification distinctly before my eyes whenever I employ the phrases “eminent” and the like, and that the reader should understand as clearly as myself the value I attach to those qualifications. An explanation of these words will be the subject of the present chapter. A subsequent chapter will be given to the discussion of how far “eminence may be accepted as a criterion of natural gifts. It is almost needless for me to insist that the subjects of these two chapters' are entirely distinct

I look upon social and professional life as a continuous examination. All are candidates for the good opinions of others, and for success in their several professions, and they

achieve success in proportion as the general estimate is large of their aggregate merits. In ordinary scholastic examinations marks are allotted in stated proportions to various specified subjects—so many for Latin, so many for Greek, so many for English history, and the rest. The world, in the same way, but almost unconsciously, allots marks to men. It gives them for originality of conception, for enterprise, for activity and energy, for administrative skill, for various acquirements, for power of literary expression, for oratory, and much besides of general value, as well as for more specially professional merits. It does not allot these marks according to a proportion that can easily be stated in words, but there is a rough common-sense that governs its practice with a fair approximation to constancy. Those who have gained most of these tacit marks are ranked, by the common judgment of the leaders of opinion, as the foremost men of their day.

The metaphor of an examination may be stretched much further. As there are alternative groups in any one of which a candidate may obtain honours, so it is with reputations—they may be made in law, literature, science, art, and in a host of other pursuits. Again: as the mere attainment of a general fair level will. obtain no honours in an examination, no more will it do so in the struggle for eminence. A man must show conspicuous power in at least one subject in order to achieve a high reputation.

Let us see how the world classifies people, after examining each of them, in her patient, persistent manner, during the years of their manhood. How many men of “eminence are there, and what proportion do they bear to the whole community?

I will begin by analysing a very painstaking biographical handbook, lately published by Routledge and Co., called Men of the Time.” Its intention, which is very fairly and honestly carried out; is to include none but those

whom the world honours for their ability. The catalogue of names is 2,500, and a full half of it consists of American and Continental celebrities. It is well I should give in a foot-note[2] an analysis of its contents, in order to show the exhaustive character of its range. The numbers I have prefixed to each class are not strictly accurate, for I measured them off rather than counted them, but they are quite close enough. The same name often appears. under more than one head.

On looking over the book, I am surprised to find how large a proportion of the “Men of the Time” are past middle age. It appears that in the cases of high (but by no means in that of the highest) merit, a man must outlive the age of fifty to be sure of being widely appreciated. It takes time for an able man, born in the humbler ranks of life, to emerge from them and to take his natural position. It would not, therefore, be just to compare the numbers of Englishmen in the book with that of the whole adult male population of the British isles; but it is necessary to confine our examination to those of the celebrities. who are past fifty years of age, and to compare their number with that of the whole male population who are also above fifty years. I estimate, from examining a large part of the book, that there are about 850 of these men, and that

500 of them are decidedly well known to persons familiar with literary and scientific society. Now, there are about two millions of adult males in the British isles above fifty years of age; consequently, the total number of the “Men of the Time are as 425 to a million, and the more select part of them as 250 to a million.

The qualifications for belonging to what I call the more select part are, in my mind, that a man should have distinguished himself pretty frequently either by purely original work, or as a leader of opinion. I wholly exclude notoriety obtained by a single act This is a fairly well-defined line, because there is not room for many men to-be eminent Each interest or idea has its mouthpiece, and a man who has attained and can maintain his position as the representative of a party or an idea, naturally becomes much more conspicuous than his coadjutors who are nearly equal but inferior in ability. This is eminently the case in positions where eminence may be won by official acts. The balance maybe turned by a grain that decides whether A, B, or C shall be promoted to a vacant post. The man who obtains it has opportunities of distinction denied to' the others. I do not, however, take much note of official rank. People who have left very great names behind them have mostly done so through non-professional labours. I certainly should not include mere officials, except of the highest ranks, and in open professions, among my select list of eminent men.

Another estimate of the proportion of eminent men to the whole population was made on a different basis, and gave much the same result I took the obituary of the year 1868, published in the Times on January 1st, 1869, and found in it about fifty names of men of the more select class. This was in one sense a broader, and in another a more rigorous selection than that which I have just described. It was broader, because I included the

names of many whose abilities were high, but who died too young to have earned the wide reputation they deserved; and it was more rigorous, because I excluded old men who had earned distinction in years gone by, but had not shown themselves capable in later times to come again to the front. On the first ground, it was necessary to lower the limit of the age of the population with whom they should be compared. Forty-five years of age seemed to me a fair limit, including, as it was supposed to do, a year or two of broken health preceding decease. Now, 210,000 males die annually in the British isles above the age of forty-five; therefore, the ratio of the more select portion of the “Men of the Time” on these data is as 50 to 210, 000, or as 238 to a million.

Thirdly, I consulted obituaries of many years back, when the population of these islands was much smaller, and they appeared to me to lead to similar conclusions, viz. that 250 to a million is an ample estimate.

There would be no difficulty in making a further selection out of these, to any degree of rigour. We could select the 200, the 100, or the 50 best out of the 250, without much uncertainty. But I do not see my way to work downwards. If I were asked to choose the thousand per million best men, I should feel we had descended to a level where there existed no sure data for guidance, where accident and opportunity had undue influence, and where it was impossible to distinguish general eminence from local reputation, or from mere notoriety.

These considerations define the sense in which I propose to employ the word “eminent.” When I speak of an eminent man, I mean one who has achieved a position that is attained by only 250 persons in each million of men, or by one person in each 4,000. 4,000 is a very large number—difficult for persons to realise who are not accustomed to deal with great assemblages.  On the

most brilliant of starlight nights there are never so many as 4,000 stars visible to the naked eye at the same time; yet we feel it to be an extraordinary distinction to a star to be accounted as the brightest in the sky. This, be it remembered, is my narrowest area of selection. I propose to introduce no name whatever into my lists of kinsmen (unless it be marked off from the rest by brackets) that is less distinguished.

The mass of those with whom I deal are far more rigidly selected—many are as one in a million, and not a few as one of many millions. I use the term “illustrious “when speaking of these. They are men whom the whole intelligent part of the nation mourns when they die; who have, or deserve to have, a public funeral; and who rank in future ages as historical characters.

Permit me to add a word upon the meaning of a million, being a number so enormous as to be difficult to conceive. It is well to have a standard by which to realize it. Mine will be understood by many Londoners; it is as follows:— One summer day I passed the afternoon in Bushey Park to see the magnificent spectacle of its avenue of horse-chestnut trees, a mile long, in full flower. As the hours passed by, it occurred to me to try to count the number of spikes of flowers facing the drive on one side of the long avenue—I mean all the spikes that were visible in full sunshine on one side of the road. Accordingly, I fixed upon a tree of average bulk and flower, and drew imaginary lines—first halving the tree, then quartering, and so on, until I arrived at a subdivision that was not too large to allow of my counting the spikes of flowers it included. I did this with three different trees, and arrived at pretty much the same result: as well as I recollect, the three estimates were as nine, ten, and eleven. Then I counted the trees in the avenue, and, multiplying all together, I found the spikes to be just about 100,000 in

number.  Ever since then, whenever a million is mentioned, I recall the long perspective of the avenue of Bushey Park, with its stately chestnuts clothed from top to bottom with spikes of flowers, bright in the sunshine, and I imagine a similarly continuous floral band, of ten miles in length.

In illustration of the value of the extreme rigour implied by a selection of one in a million, I will take the following instance. The Oxford and Cambridge boat-race excites almost a national enthusiasm, and the men who represent their Universities as competing crews have good reason to be proud of being the selected champions of such large bodies. The crew of each boat consists of eight men, selected out of about 800 students; namely, the available undergraduates of about two successive years. In other words, the selection that is popularly felt to be so strict, is only as one in a hundred. Now, suppose there had been so vast a number of universities that it would have been possible to bring together 800 men, each of whom had pulled in a University crew, and that from this body the eight best were selected to form a special crew of comparatively rare merit: the selection of each of these would be as 1 to 10, 000 ordinary men. Let this process be repeated, and then, and not till then, do you arrive at a superlative crew, representing selections of one in a million. This is a perfectly fair deduction, because the youths at the Universities are a hap-hazard collection of men, so far as regards their thews and sinews. No one is sent to a University on account of his powerful muscle. Or, to put the same facts into another form:— it would require a period of no less than 200 years, before either University could furnish eight men, each of whom would have sufficient boating eminence to rank as one of the medium crew. Twenty thousand years must elapse before eight men could be furnished, each of whom would have the rank of the superlative crew.

It is, however, quite another matter with respect to brain power, for, as I shall have occasion to show, the Universities attract to themselves a large proportion of the eminent scholastic talent of all England. There are nearly a quarter of million males in Great Britain who arrive each year at the proper age for going to the University: therefore, if Cambridge, for example, received only one in every five of the ablest scholastic intellects, she would be able, in every period of ten years, to boast of the fresh arrival of an undergraduate, the rank of whose scholastic eminence was that of one in a million.

Classification Of Men
According To Their Natural Gifts.

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.

Everybody who has trained himself to physical exercises discovers the extent of his muscular powers to a nicety. When he begins to walk, to row, to use the dumb bells, or to run, he finds to his great delight that his thews strengthen, and his endurance of fatigue increases day after day. So long as he is a novice, he perhaps flatters himself there is hardly an assignable limit to the education of his muscles; but the daily gain is soon discovered to diminish, and at last it vanishes altogether. His maximum performance becomes a rigidly determinate quantity. He learns to an inch, how high or how far he can jump, when he has attained the highest state of training. He learns to half a pound, the force he can exert on the dynamometer, by compressing it. He can strike a blow against the machine used to measure impact, and drive its index to a certain graduation, but no further. So it is in running, in rowing, in walking, and in every other form of physical exertion. There is a definite limit to the muscular powers of every man, which he cannot by any education or exertion overpass.

This is precisely analogous to the experience that every student has had of the working of his mental powers. The eager boy, when he first goes to school and confronts intellectual difficulties, is astonished at his progress. He glories in his newly-developed mental grip and growing capacity for application, and, it may be, fondly believes it to be within his reach to become one of the heroes who have left their mark upon the history of the world. The years go by; he competes in the examinations of school and college, over and over again with his fellows, and soon finds his place among them. He knows he can beat such and such of his competitors; that there are some with whom he runs on equal terms, and others whose intellectual feats he cannot even approach. Probably his vanity still continues to tempt him, by whispering in a new strain. It

tells him that classics, mathematics, and other subjects taught in universities, are mere scholastic specialities, and no test of the more valuable intellectual powers. It reminds him of numerous instances of persons who had been unsuccessful in the. competitions of youth, but who had shown powers in after-life that made them the foremost men of their age. Accordingly, with newly furbished hopes, and with all the ambition of twenty-two years of age, he leaves his University and enters a larger field of competition. The same kind of experience awaits him here that he has already gone through. Opportunities occur—they occur to every man—and he finds himself incapable of grasping them. He tries, and is tried in many things. In a few years more, unless he is incurably blinded by self-conceit, he learns precisely of what performances he is capable, and what other enterprises lie beyond his compass. When he reaches mature life, he is confident only within certain limits, and knows, or ought to know, himself just as he is probably judged of by the world, with all his unmistakeable weakness and all his undeniable strength. He is no longer tormented into hopeless efforts by the fallacious promptings of overweening vanity, but he limits his undertakings to matters below the level of his reach, and finds true moral repose in an honest conviction that he is engaged in as much good work as his nature has rendered him capable of performing.

There can hardly be a surer evidence of the enormous difference between the intellectual capacity of men, than the prodigious differences in the numbers of marks obtained by those who gain mathematical honours at Cambridge. I therefore crave permission to speak at some length upon this subject, although the details are dry and of little general interest. There are between 400 and 450 students who take their degrees in each year, and of these, about 100 succeed in gaining honours in mathematics, and

are ranged by the examiners in strict order of merit. About the first forty of those who take mathematical honours are distinguished by the title of wranglers, and it is a decidedly creditable thing to be even a low wrangler; it will secure a fellowship in a small college. It must be carefully borne in mind that the distinction of being the first in this list of honours, or what is called the senior wrangler of the year, means a vast deal more than being the foremost mathematician of 400 or 450 men taken at hap-hazard. No doubt the large bulk of Cambridge men are taken almost at hap-hazard. A boy is intended by his parents for some profession; if that profession be either the Church or the Bar, it used to be almost requisite, and it is still important, that he should be sent to Cambridge or Oxford. These youths may justly be considered as having been taken at hap-hazard. But there are many others who have fairly won their way to the Universities, and are therefore selected from an enormous area. Fully one-half of the wranglers have been boys of note at their respective schools, and, conversely, almost all boys of note at schools find their way to the Universities. Hence it is that among their comparatively small number of students, the Universities include the highest youthful scholastic ability of all England. The senior wrangler, in each successive year, is the chief of these as regards mathematics, and this, the highest distinction, is, or was, continually won by youths who had no mathematical training of importance before they went to Cambridge. All their instruction had been received during the three years of their residence at the University. Now, I do not say anything here about the merits or demerits of Cambridge mathematical studies having been directed along a too narrow groove, or about the presumed disadvantages of ranging candidates in strict order of merit, instead of grouping them, as at Oxford, in classes, where their names

appear alphabetically arranged.  All I am concerned with here are the results; and these are most appropriate to my argument. The youths start on their three years' race as fairly as possible. They are then stimulated to run by the most powerful inducements, namely, those of competition, of honour, and of future wealth (for a good fellowship is wealth); and at the end of the three years they are examined most rigorously according to a system that they all understand and are equally well prepared for. The examination lasts five and a half hours a day for eight days. All the answers are carefully marked by the examiners, who add up the marks at the end and range the candidates in strict order of merit. The fairness and thoroughness of Cambridge examinations have never had a breath of suspicion cast upon them.

Unfortunately for my purposes, the marks are not published. They are not even assigned on a uniform system, since each examiner is permitted to employ his own scale of marks; but whatever scale he uses, the results as to proportional merit are the same. I am indebted to a Cambridge examiner for a copy of his marks in respect to two examinations, in which the scales of marks were so alike as to make it easy, by a slight proportional adjustment, to compare the two together. This was, to a certain degree, a confidential communication, so that it would be improper for me to publish anything that would identify the years to which these marks refer. I simply give them as groups of figures, sufficient to show the enormous differences of merit. The lowest man in the list of honours gains less than 300 marks; the lowest wrangler gains about 1,500 marks; and the senior wrangler, in one of the lists now before me, gained more than 7,500 marks. Consequently, the lowest wrangler has more than five times the merit of the lowest junior optime, and less than one-fifth the merit of the senior wrangler.

Scale of merit among the men who obtain mathematical honours at Cambridge.

The results of two years are thrown into a single table.

The total number of marks obtainable in each year was 17,000.


Number of marks obtained by candidates.

Number of candidates in the two years, taken together, who obtained those marks.

Under 500


500 to 1,000


1,000 to 1,500


1,500 to 2,000


2,000 to 2,500


2,500 to 3,000


3,000 to 3,500


3,500 to 4,000


4,000 to 4,500


4,500 to 5,000


5,000 to 5,500


5,500 to 6,000


6,000 to 6,500


6,500 to 7,000


7,000 to 7,500


7,500 to 8,000




The precise number of marks obtained by the senior wrangler in the more remarkable of these two years was 7,634; by the second wrangler in the same year, 4,123; and by the lowest man in the list of honours, only 237. Consequently, the senior wrangler obtained nearly twice as many marks as the second wrangler, and more than thirty-two times as many as the lowest man. I have received from another examiner the marks of a year in which the senior wrangler was conspicuously eminent.

He obtained 9,422 marks, whilst the second in the same year—whose merits were by no means inferior to those of second wranglers in general—obtained only 5,642. The man at the bottom of the same honour list had only 309 marks, or one-thirtieth the number of the senior wrangler. I have some particulars of a fourth very remarkable year, in which the senior wrangler obtained no less than ten times as many marks as the second wrangler, in the “problem paper.” Now, I have discussed with practised examiners the question of how far the numbers of marks may be considered as proportionate to the mathematical power of the candidate, and am assured they are strictly proportionate as regards the lower places, but do not afford full justice to the highest. In other words, the senior wranglers above mentioned had more than thirty, or thirty-two times the ability of the lowest men on the lists of honours. They would be able to grapple with problems more than thirty-two times as difficult; or when dealing with subjects of the same difficulty, but intelligible to all, would comprehend them more rapidly in perhaps the square root of that proportion. It is reasonable to expect that marks would do some injustice to the very best men, because a very large part of the time of the examination is taken up by the mechanical labour of writing. Whenever the thought of the candidate outruns his pen, he gains no advantage from his excess of promptitude in conception. I should, however, mention that some of the ablest men have shown their superiority by comparatively little writing. They find their way at once to the root of the difficulty in the problems that are set, and, with a few clean, apposite, powerful strokes, succeed in proving they can overthrow it, and then they go on to another question. Every word they write tells. Thus, the late Mr. H. Leslie Ellis, who was a brilliant senior wrangler in 1840, and whose name is familiar to many generations of Cambridge men as a

prodigy of universal genius, did not even remain during the full period in the examination room: his health was weak, and he had to husband his strength.

The mathematical powers of the last man on the list of honours, which are so low when compared with those of a senior wrangler, are mediocre, or even above mediocrity, when compared with the gifts of Englishmen generally. Though the examination places 100 honour men above him, it puts no less than 300 “poll men” below him. Even if we go so far as to allow that 200 out of the 300 refuse to work hard enough to get honours, there will remain 100 who, even if they worked hard, could not get them. Every tutor knows how difficult it Is to drive abstract conceptions, even of the simplest kind, into the brains of most people—how feeble and hesitating is their mental grasp—how easily their brains are mazed—how incapable they are of precision and soundness of knowledge. It often occurs to persons familiar with some scientific subject to hear men and women of mediocre gifts relate to one another what they have picked up about it from some lecture—say at the Royal Institution, where they have sat for an hour listening with delighted attention to an admirably lucid account, illustrated by experiments of the most perfect and beautiful character, in all of which they expressed themselves intensely gratified and highly instructed. It is positively painful to hear what they say. Their recollections seem to be a mere chaos of mist and misapprehension, to which some sort of shape and organization has been given by the action of their own pure fancy, altogether alien to what the lecturer intended to convey. The average mental grasp even of what is called a well-educated audience, will be found to be ludicrously small when rigorously tested.

In stating the differences between man and man, let it not be supposed for a moment that mathematicians are

necessarily one-sided in their natural gifts. There are numerous instances of the reverse, of whom the following will be found, as instances of hereditary genius, in the appendix to my chapter on “science.” I would especially name Leibnitz, as being universally gifted; but Ampere, Arago, Condorcet, and D'Alembert, were all of them very far more than mere mathematicians. Nay, since the range of examination at Cambridge is so extended as to include other subjects besides mathematics, the differences of ability between the highest and lowest of the successful candidates, is yet more. glaring than what I have already described. We still find, on the one hand, mediocre men, whose whole energies are absorbed in getting their 237 marks for mathematics; and, on the other hand, some few senior wranglers who are at the same time high classical scholars and much more besides. Cambridge has afforded such instances. Its lists of classical honours are comparatively of recent date, but other evidence is obtainable from earlier times of their occurrence. Thus, Dr. George Butler, the Head Master of Harrow for very many years, including the period when Byron was a schoolboy, (father of the present Head Master, and of other sons, two of whom are also head masters of great public schools,) must have obtained that classical office on account of his eminent classical ability; but Dr. Butler was also senior wrangler in 1794, the year when Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst was second. Both Dr. Kaye, the late Bishop of Lincoln, and Sir E. Alderson, the late judge, were the senior wranglers and the first classical prizemen of their respective years. Since 1824, when the classical tripos was first established, the late Mr. Goulburn (brother of Dr. Goulburn, Dean of Norwich, and son of the well-known Serjeant Goulburn) was second wrangler in 1835, and senior classic of the same year. But in more recent times, the necessary labour of preparation, in order to acquire the highest

mathematical places, has become so enormous that there has been a wider differentiation of studies. There is no longer time for a man to acquire the necessary knowledge to succeed to the first place in more than one subject. There are, therefore, no instances of a man being absolutely first in both examinations, but a few can be found of high eminence in both classics and mathematics, as a reference to the lists published in the “Cambridge Calendar” will show. The best of these more recent degrees appears to be that of Dr. Barry, late Principal of Cheltenham, and now Principal of King's College, London (the son of the eminent architect, Sir Charles Barry, and brother of Mr. Edward Barry, who succeeded his father as architect). He was fourth wrangler and seventh classic of his year.

In whatever way we may test ability, we arrive at equally enormous intellectual differences. Lord Macaulay (see under “literature” for his remarkable kinships) had one of the most tenacious of memories. He was able to recall many pages of hundreds of volumes by various authors, which he had acquired by simply reading them over. An average man could not certainly carry in his memory one thirty-second—ay, or one hundredth—part as much as Lord Macaulay. The father of Seneca had one of the greatest memories on record in ancient times (see under “literature” for his kinships). Porson, the Greek scholar, was remarkable for this gift, and, I may add, the “Porson memory” was hereditary in that family. In statesmanship, generalship, literature, science, poetry, art, just the same enormous differences are found between man and man; and numerous instances recorded in this book, will show in how small degree, eminence, either in these or any other class of intellectual powers, can be considered as due to purely special powers. They are rather to be considered in those instances as the result of concentrated efforts, made by men who are widely gifted.  People lay

too much stress on apparent specialities, thinking overrashly that, because a man is devoted to some particular pursuit, he could not possibly have succeeded in anything else. They might just as well say that, because a youth had fallen desperately in love with a brunette, he could not possibly have fallen in love with a blonde. He may or may not have more natural liking for the former type of beauty than the latter, but it is as probable as not that the affair was mainly or wholly due to a general amorousness of disposition. It is just the same “with special pursuits. A gifted man is often capricious and fickle before he selects his occupation, but when it has been chosen, he devotes himself to it with a truly passionate ardour. After a man of genius has selected his hobby, and so adapted himself to it as to seem unfitted for any other occupation in life, and to be possessed of but one special aptitude, I often notice, with admiration, how well he bears himself when circumstances suddenly thrust him into a strange position. He will display an insight into new conditions, and a power of dealing with them, with which even his most intimate friends were unprepared to accredit him. Many a presumptuous fool has mistaken indifference and neglect for incapacity; and in trying to throw a man of genius on ground where he was unprepared for attack, has himself received a most severe and unexpected fall. I am sure that no one who has had the privilege of mixing in the society of the abler men of any great capital, or who is acquainted with the biographies of the heroes of history, can doubt the existence of grand human animals, of natures pre-eminently noble, of individuals born to be kings of men. I have been conscious of no slight misgiving that I was committing a kind of sacrilege whenever, in the preparation of materials for this book, I had occasion to take the measurement of modern intellects vastly superior to my own, or to criticise the genius of the most magnificent

historical specimens of our race.  It was a process that constantly recalled to me a once familiar sentiment in bygone days of African travel, when I used to take altitudes of the huge cliffs that domineered above me as I travelled along their bases, or to map the mountainous landmarks of unvisited tribes, that loomed in faint grandeur beyond my actual horizon.

I have not cared to occupy myself much with people whose gifts are below the average, but they would be an interesting study. The number of idiots and imbeciles among the twenty million inhabitants of England and Wales is approximately estimated at 50, 000, or as I in 400. Dr. Seguin, a great French authority on these matters, states that more than thirty per cent of idiots and imbeciles, put under suitable instruction, have been taught to conform to social and moral law, and rendered capable of order, of good feeling, and of working like the third of an average man. He says that more than forty per cent. have become capable of the ordinary transactions of life, under friendly control; of understanding moral and social abstractions, and of working like two-thirds of a man. And, lastly, that from twenty-five to thirty per cent. come nearer and nearer to the standard of manhood, till some of them will defy the scrutiny of good judges, when compared with ordinary young men and women. In the order next above idiots and imbeciles are a large number of milder cases scattered among private families and kept out of sight, the existence of whom is, however, well known to relatives and friends; they are too silly to take a part in general society, but are easily amused with some trivial, harmless occupation. Then comes a class of whom the Lord Dundreary of the famous play may be considered a representative; and so, proceeding through successive grades, we gradually ascend to mediocrity. I know two good instances of hereditary silliness short of imbecility,

and have reason to believe I could easily obtain a large number of similar facts.

To conclude, the range of mental power between—I will not say the highest Caucasian and the lowest savage—but between the greatest and least of English intellects, is enormous. There is a continuity of natural ability reaching from one knows not what height, and descending to one can hardly say what depth. I propose in this chapter to range men according to their natural abilities, putting them into classes separated by equal degrees of merit, and to show the relative number of individuals included in the several classes. Perhaps some persons might be inclined to make an offhand guess that the number of men included in the several classes would be pretty equal. If he thinks so, I can assure him he is most egregiously mistaken.

The method I shall employ for discovering all this, is an application of the very curious theoretical law of “deviation from an average.” First, I will explain the law, and then I will show that the production of natural intellectual gifts comes justly within its scope.

The law is an exceedingly general one. M. Quetelet, the Astronomer-Royal of Belgium, and the greatest authority on vital and social statistics, has largely used it in his inquiries. He has also constructed numerical tables, by which the necessary calculations can be easily made, whenever it is desired to have recourse to the law. Those who wish to learn more than I have space to relate, should consult his work, which is a very readable octavo volume, and deserves to be far better known to statisticians than it appears to be. Its title is “Letters on Probabilities,” translated by Downes. Layton and Co. London: 1849.

So much has been published in recent years about statistical deductions, that I am sure the reader will be prepared to assent freely to the following hypothetical case:—Suppose a large island inhabited by a single race,

who intermarried freely, and who had lived for many generations under constant conditions; then the average height of the male adults of that population would undoubtedly be the same year after year. Also—still arguing from the experience of modern statistics, which are found to give constant results in far less carefully-guarded examples—we should undoubtedly find, year after year, the same proportion maintained between the number of men of different heights. I mean, if the average stature was found to be sixty-six inches, and if it was also found in any one year that 100 per million exceeded seventy-eight inches, the same proportion of 100 per million would be closely maintained in all other years. An equal constancy of proportion would be maintained between any other limits of height we pleased to specify, as between seventy-one and seventy-two inches; between seventy-two and seventy-three inches; and so on. Statistical experiences are so invariably confirmatory of what I have stated would probably be the case, as to make it unnecessary to describe analogous instances. Now, at this point, the law of deviation from an average steps in. It shows that the number per million whose heights range between seventy-one and seventy-two inches (or between any other limits we please to name) can be predicted from the previous datum of the average, and of any one other fact, such as that of 100 per million exceeding seventy-eight inches.

The diagram on p. 28 will make this more intelligible. Suppose a million of the men to stand in turns, with their backs against a vertical board of sufficient height, and their heights to be dotted off upon it. The board would then present the appearance shown in the diagram. The line of average height is that which divides the dots into two equal parts, and stands, in the case we have assumed, at the height of sixty-six inches. The dots will be found to be ranged so symmetrically on either side of the line of


average, that the lower half of the diagram will be almost a precise reflection of the upper. Next, let a hundred dots be counted from above downwards, and let a line be drawn below them. According to the conditions, this line will stand at the height of seventy-eight inches. Using the data afforded by these two lines, it is possible, by the help of the law of deviation from an average, to reproduce, with extraordinary closeness, the entire system of dots on the board.

M. Quetelet gives tables in which the uppermost line, instead of cutting off 100 in a million, cuts off only one in a million. He divides the intervals between that line and the line of average, into eighty equal divisions, and gives the number of dots that fall within each of those divisions. It is easy, by the help of his tables, to calculate what would occur under any other system of classification we pleased to adopt.

This law of deviation from an average is perfectly general in its application. Thus, if the marks had been made by bullets fired at a horizontal line stretched in front of the target, they would have been distributed according to the same law. Wherever there is a large number of similar events, each due to the resultant influences of the same variable conditions, two effects will follow. First, the average value of those events will be constant; and,

secondly, the deviations of the several events from the average, will be governed by this law (which is, in principle, the same as that which governs runs of luck at a gaming-table).

The nature of the conditions affecting the several events must, I say, be the same. It clearly would not be proper to combine the heights of men belonging to two dissimilar races, in the expectation that the compound results would be governed by the same constants. A union of two dissimilar systems of dots would produce the same kind of confusion as if half the bullets fired at a target had been directed to one mark, and the other half to another mark. Nay, an examination of the dots would show to a person, ignorant of what had occurred, that such had been the case, and it would be possible, by aid of the law, to disentangle two or any moderate number of superimposed series of marks. The law may, therefore, be used as a most trustworthy criterion, whether or no the events of which an average has been taken, are due to the same or to dissimilar classes of conditions.

I selected the hypothetical case of a race of men living on an island and freely intermarrying, to ensure the conditions under which they were all supposed to live, being uniform in character. It will now be my aim to show there is sufficient uniformity in the inhabitants of the British Isles to bring them fairly within the grasp of this law.

For this purpose, I first call attention to an example given in Quetelet's book. It is of the measurements of the circumferences of the chests of a large number of Scotch soldiers. The Scotch are by no means a strictly uniform race, nor are they exposed to identical conditions. They are a mixture of Celts, Danes, Anglo-Saxons, and others, in various proportions, the Highlanders being almost purely Celts. On the other hand, these races, though diverse in origin, are not very dissimilar in character.  Consequently,

it will be found that their deviations from the average, follow theoretical computations with remarkable accuracy. The instance is as follows. M. Quetelet obtained his facts from the thirteenth volume of the Edinburgh Medical Journal, where the measurements are given in respect to 5, 738 soldiers, the results being grouped in order of magnitude, proceeding by differences of one inch. Professor Quetelet compares these results with those that his tables give, and here is the result. The marvellous accordance between fact and theory must strike the most unpractised eye. I should say that, for the sake of convenience, both the measurements and calculations have been reduced to per thousandths:—


Measures of the chest in inches.

Number of men per 1,000, by experience.

Number of men per 1,000, by calculation.

Measures of the chest in inches.

Number of men per 1,000, by experience.

Number of men per 1,000, by calculation.

















































I will now take a case where there is a greater dissimilarity in the elements of which the average has been taken. It is the height of 100,000 French conscripts. There is fully as much variety in the French as in the English, for it is not very many generations since France was divided into completely independent kingdoms. Among its peculiar races are those of Normandy, Brittany, Alsatia, Provence, Bearne, Auvergne—each with their special characteristics; yet the following table shows a most striking agreement between the results of experience

compared with those derived by calculation, from a purely theoretical hypothesis:—


Height of Men

Number of men




Under 61.8



61.8 to 62.9



62.9 to 63.9



63.9 to 65.0



65.0 to 66.1



66.1 to 67.1



67.1 to 68.2



68.2 to 69.3



Above 69.3



The greatest differences are in the lowest ranks. They include the men who were rejected from being too short for the army. M. Quetelet boldly ascribes these differences to the effect of fraudulent returns. It certainly seems that men have been improperly taken out of the second rank and put into the first, in order to exempt them from service. Be this as it may, the coincidence of fact with theory is, in this instance also, quite close enough to serve my purpose.

I argue from the results obtained from Frenchmen and from Scotchmen, that, if we had measurements of the adult males in the British Isles, we should find those measurements to range in close accordance with the law of deviation from an average, although our population is as much mingled as I described that of Scotland to have been, and although Ireland is mainly peopled with Celts. Now, if this be the case with stature, then it will be true as regards every other physical feature —as circumference of head, size of brain, weight of grey matter, number

of brain fibres, &c.; and thence, by a step on which no physiologist will hesitate, as regards mental capacity. 

This is what I am driving at—that analogy clearly shows there must be a fairly constant average mental capacity in the inhabitants of the British Isles, and that the deviations from that average—upwards towards genius, and downwards towards stupidity—must follow the law that governs deviations from all true averages.

I have, however, done somewhat more than rely on analogy. I have tried the results of those examinations in which the candidates had been derived from the same classes. Most persons have noticed the lists of successful competitors for various public appointments that are published from time to time in the newspapers, with the marks gained by each candidate attached to his name. These lists contain far too few names to fall into such beautiful accordance with theory, as was the case with the Scotch soldiers. There are rarely more than 100 names in any one of these examinations, while the chests of no less than 5,700 Scotchmen were measured. I cannot justly combine the marks of several independent examinations into one fagot, for I understand that different examiners are apt to have different figures of merit; so I have analysed each examination separately. I give a calculation I made on the examination last before me; it will do as well as any other. It was for admission into the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, December 1868. The marks obtained were clustered most thickly about 3,000, so I take that number as representing the average ability of the candidates. From this datum, and from the fact that no candidate obtained more than 6,500 marks, I computed the column B in the following table, by the help of Quetetet's numbers. It will be seen that column B accords with column A quite as closely as the small number of persons examined could have led us to expect.


Number of marks obtained by the

Number of Candidates who obtained those marks.


A. According to fact.

B. According to theory.

6,500 and above





5,800 to 6,500





5,000 to 5,800





4,400 to 5,100





3,700 to 4,400





3,000 to 3,700





2,300 to 3,000





1,600 to 2,300





1,100 to 1,600

Either did not



400 to 1,100

venture to compete,



below 400

or were plucked.



The symmetry of the descending branch has been rudely spoilt by the conditions stated at the foot of column A. There is, therefore, little room for doubt, if everybody in 'England had to work up some subject and then to pass before examiners who employed similar figures of merit, that their marks would be found to range, according to the law of deviation from an average, just as rigorously as the heights of French conscripts, or the circumferences of the chests of Scotch soldiers.

The number of grades into which we may divide ability is purely a matter of option. We may consult our convenience by sorting Englishmen into a few large classes, or into many small ones. I will select a system of classification that shall be easily comparable with the numbers of eminent men, as determined in the previous chapter. We have seen that 250 men per million become eminent; accordingly, I have so contrived the classes in the following table that the two highest, F and G, together with X (which includes all cases beyond G, and which are unclassed),

shall amount to about that number—namely, to 248 per million:—


Classification Of Men According To Their Natural Gifts.


Grades of natural

Numbers of men comprised in the several grades of natural ability,

whether in respect to their general powers, or to special aptitudes.

ability, separated by equal intervals.


In each million


In total male population of the United Kingdom,







of the same age.

viz. 15 millions, of the undermentioned ages :—



viz. one in
























































































all grades below e

all grades above G







On other side of average








Total, both sides








The proportions of men living at different ages are calculated from the proportions that are true for England and Wales. (Census 1861, Appendix, p. 107.)

Example.—The class F contains 1 in every 4,300 men. In other words, there are 233 of that class in each million of men. The same is true of class f. In the whole United Kingdom there are 590 men of class F (and the same number of f) between the ages of 20 and 30; 450 between the ages of 30 and 40; and so on.

It will, I trust, be clearly understood that the numbers of men in the several classes in my table depend on no uncertain hypothesis. They are determined by the assured law of deviations from an average. It is an absolute fact that if we pick out of each million the one man who is naturally the ablest, and also the one man who is the most stupid, and divide the remaining 999,998 men into fourteen classes, the average ability in each being separated

from that of its neighbours by equal grades, then the numbers in each of those classes will, on the average of many millions, be as is stated in the table. The table may be applied to special, just as truly as to general ability. It would be true for every examination that brought out natural gifts, whether held in painting, in music, or in statesmanship. The proportions between the different classes would be identical in all these cases, although the classes would be made up of different individuals, according as the examination differed in its purport.

It will be seen that more than half of each million is contained in the two mediocre classes a and A; the four mediocre classes a, b, A, B, contain more than four-fifths, and the six mediocre classes more than nineteen-twentieths of the entire population. Thus, the rarity of commanding ability, and the vast abundance of mediocrity, is no accident, but follows of necessity, from the very nature of these things.

The meaning of the word “mediocrity” admits of little doubt. It defines the standard of intellectual power found in most provincial gatherings, because the attractions of a more stirring life in the metropolis and elsewhere, are apt to draw away the abler classes of men, and the silly and the imbecile do not take a part in the gatherings. Hence, the residuum that forms the bulk of the general society of small provincial places, is commonly very pure in its mediocrity.

The class C possesses abilities a trifle higher than those commonly possessed by the foreman of an ordinary jury. D includes the mass of men who obtain the ordinary prizes of life. E is a stage higher. Then we reach F, the lowest of those yet superior classes of intellect, with which this volume is chiefly concerned.

On descending the scale, we find by the time we have reached f, that we are already among the idiots and im-

beciles. We have seen in p. 25, that there are 400 idiots and imbeciles, to every million of persons living in this country; but that 30 per cent of their number, appear to-be light cases, to whom the name of idiot is inappropriate. There will remain 280 true idiots and imbeciles, to every million of our population. This ratio coincides very closely with the requirements of class f. No doubt a certain proportion of them are idiotic owing to some fortuitous cause, which may interfere with the working of a naturally good brain, much as a bit of dirt may cause a first-rate chronometer to keep worse time than an ordinary watch. But I presume, from the usual smallness of head and absence of disease among these persons, that' the proportion of accidental idiots cannot be very large.

Hence we arrive at the undeniable, but unexpected conclusion, that eminently gifted men are raised as much above mediocrity as idiots are depressed below it; a fact that is calculated to considerably enlarge our ideas of the enormous differences of intellectual gifts between man and man.

I presume the class F of dogs, and others of the more intelligent sort of animals, is nearly commensurate with the f of the human race, in respect to memory and powers of reason. Certainly the class G of such animals is far superior to the g of humankind.

Comparison Of The Two Classifications

Is reputation a fair test of natural ability? It is the only one I can employ—am I justified in using it? How much of a man's success is due to his opportunities, how much to his natural power of intellect?

This is a very old question, on which a great many commonplaces have been uttered that need not be repeated here. I will confine myself to a few considerations, such as seem to me amply adequate to prove, what is wanted for my argument

Let it clearly be borne in mind, what I mean by reputation and ability. By reputation, I mean the opinion of contemporaries, revised by posterity—the favourable result of a critical analysis of each man's character, by many biographers. I do not mean high social or official position, nor such as is implied by being the mere lion of a London season; but I speak of the reputation of a leader of opinion, of an originator, of a man. to whom the world deliberately acknowledges itself largely indebted.

By natural ability, I mean those qualities of intellect and disposition, which urge and qualify a man to perform acts that lead to reputation. I do not mean capacity without zeal, nor zeal without capacity, nor even a combination of both of them, without an adequate power of doing a great deal of very laborious work.  But I mean

a nature which, when left to itself, will, urged by an inherent stimulus, climb the path that leads to eminence, and has strength to reach the summit—one which, if hindered or thwarted, will fret and strive until the hindrance is overcome, and it is again free to follow its labour-loving instinct. It is almost a contradiction in terms, to doubt that such men will generally become eminent. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence in this volume, to show that few have won high reputations, without possessing these peculiar gifts. It follows that the men who achieve eminence, and those who are naturally capable, are; to a large extent, identical.

The particular meaning in which I employ the word ability, does not restrict my argument from a wider application; for, if I succeed in showing—as I undoubtedly shall do—that the concrete triple event, of ability combined with zeal and with capacity for hard labour, is inherited, much more will there be justification for believing that any one of its three elements, whether it be ability, or zeal, or capacity for labour, is similarly a gift of inheritance.

I believe, and shall do my best to show, that, if the “eminent” men of any period, had been changelings when babies, a very fair proportion of those who survived and retained their health up to fifty years of age, would, notwithstanding their altered circumstances, have equally risen to eminence. Thus—to take a strong case—it is incredible that any combination of circumstances, could have repressed Lord Brougham to the level of undistinguished mediocrity.

The arguments on which I rely, are as follow. I will limit their application for the present, to men of the pen and to artists. First, it is a fact, that numbers of men rise, before they are middle-aged, from the humbler ranks of life to that worldly position, in which it is of no importance to their future career, how their youth has been passed.

They have overcome their hindrances, and thus start fair with others more fortunately reared, in the subsequent race of life. A boy who is to be carefully educated is sent to a good school, where he confessedly acquires little useful information, but where he is taught the art of learning. The man of whom I have been speaking, has contrived to acquire the same art in a school of adversity. Both stand on equal terms, when they have reached mature life. They compete for the same prizes, measure their strength by efforts in the same direction, and their relative successes are thenceforward due to their relative natural gifts. There are many such men in the “eminent” class, as biographies abundantly show. Now, if the hindrances to success were very great, we should expect all who surmounted them, to be prodigies of genius. The hindrances would form a system of natural selection, by repressing all whose gifts were below a certain very high level. But what is the case? We find very many who have risen from the ranks, who are by no means prodigies of genius; many who have no claim to “eminence,” who have risen easily in spite of all obstacles. The hindrances undoubtedly form a system of natural selection that represses mediocre men, and even men of pretty fair powers—in short, the classes below D; but many of D succeed, a great many of E, and I believe a very large majority of those above.

If a man is gifted with vast intellectual ability, eagerness to work, and power of working, I cannot comprehend how such a man should be repressed. The world is always tormented with difficulties waiting to be solved—struggling with ideas and feelings, to which it can give no adequate expression. If, then, there exists a man capable of solving those difficulties, or of giving a voice to those pent-up feelings, he is sure to be welcomed with universal acclamation. We may almost say that he has only to put his pen to paper, and the thing is done.  I am here speaking

of the very first-class men—prodigies—one in a million, or one in ten millions, of whom numbers will be found described in this volume, as specimens of hereditary genius.

Another argument to prove, that the hindrances of English social life, are not effectual in repressing high ability is, that the number of eminent men in England, is as great as in other countries where fewer hindrances exist. Culture is far more widely spread in America, than with us, and the education of their middle and lower classes far more advanced; but, for all that, America most certainly does not beat us in first-class works of literature, philosophy, or art. The higher kind of books, even of the most modern date, read in America, are principally the work of Englishmen. The Americans have an immense amount of the newspaper-article-writer, or of the member-of-congress stamp of ability; but the number of their really eminent authors is more limited even than with us. I argue that, if the hindrances to the rise of genius, were removed from English society as completely as they have been removed from that of America, we should not become materially richer in highly eminent men.

People seem to have the idea that the way to eminence is one of great self-denial, from which there are hourly temptations to diverge: in which a man can be kept in his boyhood, only by a schoolmaster's severity or a parent's incessant watchfulness, and in after life by the attractions of fortunate friendships and other favourable circumstances. This is true enough of the great majority of men, but it is simply not true of the generality of those who have gained great reputations. Such men, biographies show to be haunted and driven by an incessant instinctive craving for intellectual work. If forcibly withdrawn from the path that leads towards eminence, they will find their way back to it, as surely as a lover to his mistress.  They do not

work for the sake of eminence, but to satisfy a natural craving for brain work, just as athletes cannot endure repose on account of their muscular irritability, which insists upon exercise. It is very unlikely that any conjunction of circumstances, should supply a stimulus to brain work, commensurate with what these men carry in their own constitutions. The action of external stimuli must be uncertain and intermittent, owing to their very nature; the disposition abides. It keeps a man ever employed—now wrestling with his difficulties, now brooding over his immature ideas—and renders him a quick and eager listener to innumerable, almost inaudible teachings, that others less keenly on the watch, are sure to miss.

These considerations lead to my third argument. I have shown that social hindrances cannot impede men of high ability, from becoming eminent. I shall now maintain that social advantages are incompetent to give that status, to a man of moderate ability. It would be easy to point out several men of fair capacity, who have been pushed forward by all kinds of help, who are ambitious, and exert themselves to the utmost, but who completely fail in attaining eminence. If great peers, they may be lord-lieutenants of counties; if they belong to great county families, they may become influential members of parliament and local notabilities. When they die, they leave a blank for awhile in a large circle, but there is no Westminster Abbey and no public mourning for them—perhaps barely a biographical notice in the columns of the daily papers.

It is difficult to specify two large classes of men, with equal social advantages, in one of which they have high hereditary gifts, while in the other they have not. I must not compare the sons of eminent men with those of non--eminent, because much which I should ascribe to breed, others might ascribe to parental encouragement and ex-.

ample.  Therefore, I will compare the sons of eminent men with the adopted sons of Popes and other dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church. The practice of nepotism among ecclesiastics is universal. It consists in their giving those social helps to a nephew, or other more distant relative, that ordinary people give to their children. Now, I shall show abundantly in the course of this book, that the nephew of an eminent man has far less chance of becoming eminent than a son, and that a more remote kinsman has far less chance than a nephew. We may therefore make a very fair comparison, for the purposes of my argument, between the success of the sons of eminent men and that of the nephews or more distant relatives, who stand in the place of sons to the high unmarried ecclesiastics of the Romish Church. If social help is really of the highest importance, the nephews of the Popes will attain eminence as frequently, or nearly so, as the sons of other eminent men; otherwise, they will not.

Are, then, the nephews, &c. of the Popes, on the whole, as highly distinguished as are the sons of other equally eminent men? I answer, decidedly not. There have been a few Popes who were offshoots of illustrious races, such as that of the Medici, but in the enormous majority of cases the Pope is the ablest member of his family. I do not profess to have worked up the kinships of the Italians with any especial care, but I have seen amply enough of them, to justify me in saying that the individuals whose advancement has been due to nepotism, are curiously undistinguished. The very common combination of an able son and an eminent parent, is not matched, in the case of high Romish ecclesiastics, by an eminent nephew and an eminent uncle. The social helps are the same, but hereditary gifts are wanting in the latter case.

To recapitulate: I have endeavoured to show in respect to literary and artistic eminence:—

1.    That men who are gifted with high abilities—even men of class E—easily rise through all the obstacles caused by inferiority of social rank.

2.    Countries where there are fewer hindrances than in England, to a poor man rising in life, produce a much larger proportion of persons of culture, but not of what I call eminent men.

3.    Men who are largely aided by social advantages, are unable to achieve eminence, unless they are endowed with high natural gifts.

It may be well to add a few supplementary remarks on the small effects of a good education on a mind of the highest order. A youth of abilities G, and X, is almost independent of ordinary school education. He does not want a master continually at his elbow to explain difficulties and select suitable lessons. On the contrary, he is receptive at every pore. He learns from passing hints, with a quickness and thoroughness that others cannot comprehend. He is omnivorous of intellectual work, devouring in a vast deal more than he can utilise, but extracting a small percentage of nutriment, that makes, in the aggregate, an enormous supply. The best care that a master can take of such a boy is to leave him alone, just directing a little here and there, and checking desultory tendencies.

It is a mere accident if a man is placed in his youth in the profession for which he has the most special vocation. It will consequently be remarked in my short biographical notices, that the most illustrious men have frequently broken loose from the life prescribed by their parents, and followed, careless of cost, the paramount dictation of their own natures: in short, they educate themselves. D'Alembert is a striking instance of this kind of self-reliance. He was a foundling (afterwards shown to be well bred as respects ability), and put out to nurse as a pauper baby,

to the wife of a poor glazier.  The child's indomitable tendency to the higher studies, could not be repressed by his foster-mother's ridicule and dissuasion, nor by the taunts of his schoolfellows, nor by the discouragements of his schoolmaster, who was incapable of appreciating him, nor even by the reiterated deep disappointment of finding that his ideas, which he knew to be original, were not novel, but long previously discovered by others. Of course, we should expect a boy of this kind, to undergo ten or more years of apparently hopeless strife, but we should equally expect him to succeed at last; and D'Alembert did succeed in attaining the first rank of celebrity, by the time he was twenty-four. The reader has only to turn over the pages of my book, to find abundant instances of this emergence from obscurity, in spite of the utmost discouragement in early youth.

A prodigal nature commonly so prolongs the period when a man's receptive faculties are at their keenest, that a faulty education in youth, is readily repaired in after life. The education of Watt, the great mechanician, was of a merely elementary character. During his youth and manhood he was engrossed with mechanical specialities. It was not till he became advanced in years, that he had leisure to educate himself, and yet by the time he was an old man, he had become singularly well-read and widely and accurately informed. The scholar who, in the eyes of his contemporaries and immediate successors, made one of the greatest reputations, as such, that any man has ever made, was Julius Caesar Scaliger. His youth was, I believe, entirely unlettered. He was in the army until he was twenty-nine, and then he led a vagrant professional life, trying everything and sticking to nothing. At length he fixed himself upon Greek. His first publications were at the age of forty-seven, and between that time and the period of a somewhat early death, he earned his remark

able reputation, only exceeded by that of his son.  Boyhood and youth—the period between fifteen and twenty-two years of age, which afford to the vast majority of men, the only period for the acquirement of intellectual facts and habits—are just seven years—neither more nor less important than other years—in the lives of men of the highest order. People are too apt to complain of their imperfect education, insinuating that they would have done great things if they had been more fortunately circumstanced in youth. But if their power of learning is materially diminished by the time they have discovered their want of knowledge, it is very probable that their abilities are not of a very high description, and that, however well they might have been educated, they would have succeeded but little better.

Even if a man be long unconscious of his powers, an opportunity is sure to occur—they occur over and over again to every man—that will discover them. He will then soon make up for past arrears, and outstrip competitors with very many years' start, in the race of life. There is an obvious analogy between the man of brains and the man of muscle, in the unmistakeable way in which they may discover and assert their claims to superiority over less gifted, but far better educated, competitors. An average sailor climbs rigging, and an average Alpine guide scrambles along cliffs, with a facility that seems like magic to a man who has been reared away from ships and mountains. But if he have extraordinary gifts, a very little trial will reveal them, and he will rapidly make up for his arrears of education. A born gymnast would soon, in his turn, astonish the sailors by his feats. Before the voyage was half over, he would outrun them like an escaped monkey. I have witnessed an instance of this myself. Every summer, it happens that some young English tourist who had never previously planted his foot

on crag or ice, succeeds in Alpine work to a marvellous degree.

Thus far, I have spoken only of literary men and artists, who, however, form the bulk of the 250 per million, that attain to eminence. The reasoning that is true for them, requires large qualifications when applied to statesmen and commanders. Unquestionably, the most illustrious statesmen and commanders belong, to say the least, to the classes F and G of ability; but it does not at all follow that an English cabinet minister, if he be a great territorial lord, should belong to those classes, or even to the two or three below them. Social advantages have enormous power in bringing a man into so prominent a position as a statesman, that it is impossible to refuse him the title of “eminent,” though it may be more than probable that if he had been changed in his cradle, and reared in obscurity, he would have lived and died without emerging from humble life. Again, we have seen that a union of three separate qualities—intellect, zeal, and power of work—are necessary to raise men from the ranks. Only two of these qualities, in a remarkable degree, namely intellect and power of work, are required by a man who is pushed into public life; because when he is once there, the interest is so absorbing, and the competition so keen, as to supply the necessary stimulus to an ordinary mind. Therefore, many men who have succeeded as statesmen, would have been nobodies had they been born in a lower rank of life: they would have needed zeal to rise. Talleyrand would have passed his life in the same way as other grand seigneurs, if he had not been ejected from his birthright, by a family council, on account of his deformity, and thrown into the vortex of the French Revolution. The furious excitement of the game overcame his inveterate indolence, and he developed into the foremost man of the period, after Napoleon and Mirabeau.  As for sovereigns, they belong

to a peculiar category. The qualities most suitable to the ruler of a great nation, are not such as lead to eminence in private life. Devotion to particular studies, obstinate perseverance, geniality and frankness in social relations, are important qualities to make a man rise in the world, but they are unsuitable to a sovereign. He has to view many interests and opinions with an equal eye; to know how to yield his favourite ideas to popular pressure, to be reserved in his friendships and able to stand alone. On the other hand, a sovereign does not greatly need the intellectual powers that are essential to the rise of a common man, because the best brains of the country are at his service. Consequently, I do not busy myself in this volume with the families of merely able sovereigns; only with those few whose military and administrative capacity is acknowledged to have been of the very highest order.

As regards commanders, the qualities that raise a man to a peerage, may be of a peculiar kind, such as would not have raised him to eminence in ordinary times. Strategy is as much a speciality as chess playing, and large practice is required to develop it. It is difficult to see how strategical gifts, combined with a hardy constitution, dashing courage, and a restless disposition, can achieve eminence in times of peace. These qualities are more likely to attract a man to the hunting-field, if he have enough money; or if not, to make him an unsuccessful speculator. It consequently happens that generals of high, but not the very highest order, such as Napoleon's marshals and Cromwell's generals, are rarely found to have eminent kinsfolk. Very different is the case, with the most illustrious commanders. They are far more than strategists and men of restless dispositions; they would have distinguished themselves under any circumstances. Their kinships are most remarkable, as will be seen in my chapter on commanders, which includes the names of Alexander, Scipio, Hannibal,

Caesar, Marlborough, Cromwell, the Princes of Nassau, Wellington, and Napoleon.  Precisely the same remarks are applicable to demagogues. Those who rise to the surface and play a prominent part in the transactions of a troubled period, must have courage and force of character, but they need not have high intellectual powers. Nay, it is more appropriate that the intellects of such men should be narrow and one-sided, and their dispositions moody and embittered. These are not qualities that lead to eminence in ordinary times. Consequently, the families of such men, are mostly unknown to fame. But the kinships of popular leaders of the highest order, as of the two Gracchi, of the two Arteveldes, and of Mirabeau, are illustrious.

I may mention a class of cases that strikes me forcibly as a proof, that a sufficient power of command to lead to eminence in troublous times, is much less unusual than is commonly supposed, and that it lies neglected in the course of ordinary life. In beleaguered towns, as for example during the great Indian mutiny, a certain type of character very frequently made its appearance. People rose into notice who had never previously distinguished themselves, and subsided into their former way of life, after the occasion for exertion was over; while during the continuance of danger and misery, they were the heroes of their situation. They were cool in danger, sensible in council, cheerful under prolonged suffering, humane to the wounded and sick, encouragers of the faint-hearted. Such people were formed to shine only under exceptional circumstances. They had the advantage of possessing too tough a fibre to be crushed by anxiety and physical misery, and perhaps in consequence of that very toughness, they required a stimulus of the sharpest kind, to goad them to all the exertions of which they were capable.  The result of what I have said, is to show that in

statesmen and commanders, mere “eminence” is by no means a satisfactory criterion of such natural gifts as would make a man distinguished under whatever circumstances he had been reared. On the other hand, statesmen of a high order, and commanders of the very highest, who overthrow all opponents, must be prodigiously gifted. The reader must judge the cases I quote, in proof of hereditary gifts, by their several merits. I have endeavoured to speak of none but the most illustrious names. It would have led to false conclusions, had I taken a larger number, and thus descended to a lower level of merit.

In conclusion, 1 see no reason to be dissatisfied with the conditions under which I am bound, of accepting high reputation as a very fair test of high ability. The nature of the test would not have been altered, if I had attempted to readjust each man's reputation according to his merits, because this is what every biographer does. If I had possessed the critical power of a St. Beuve, I should have merely thrown into literature another of those numerous expressions of opinion, by the aggregate of which, all reputations are built.

To conclude: I feel convinced that no man can achieve a very high reputation without being gifted with very high abilities; and I trust I have shown reason to believe, that few who possess these very high abilities can fail in achieving eminence.


I ENTREAT my readers not to be frightened at the first sight of the notation I employ, for it is really very simple to understand and easy to recollect. It was impossible for me to get on without the help of something of the sort, as I found our ordinary nomenclature far too ambiguous as well as cumbrous for employment in this book.

For example, the terms “uncle,” “nephew,” “grandfather,” and “grandson,” have each of them two distinct meanings. An uncle may be the brother of the father, or the brother of the mother; the nephew may be the son of a brother, or the son of a sister; and so on. There are four kinds of first cousins, namely, the sons of the two descriptions of uncles and those of the two corresponding aunts. There are sixteen kinds of first cousins “once removed,” for either A. may be the son of any one of the four descriptions of male or of the four female cousins of B., or B. may bear any one of those relationships to A. I need not quote more instances in illustration of what I have said, that unbounded confusion would have been introduced had I confined myself in this book, to our ordinary nomenclature.

The notation I employ gets rid of all this confused and cumbrous language. It disentangles relationships

in a marvellously complete and satisfactory manner, and enables us to methodise, compare, and analyse them in any way we like.

Speaking generally, and without regarding the type in which the letters are printed, F. stands for Father; G. for Grandfather; U. for Uncle; N. for Nephew; B. for Brother; S. for Son; and P. for Grandson (Petit-fils in French).

These letters are printed in capitals when the relationship to be expressed has passed through the male line, and in small type when through the female line. Therefore U. is the paternal uncle; G. the paternal grandfather; N. is a nephew that is son of a brother; P. a grandson that is the child of a son. So again, u. is the maternal uncle; g. the maternal grandfather; n. a nephew that is son of a sister; p. a grandson that is the child of a daughter.

Precisely the same letters, in the form of Italics, are employed for the female relations. For example, in correspondence with U. there is U. to express an aunt that is the sister of a father; and to u. there is u. to express an aunt that is the sister of a mother.

It is a consequence of this system of notation, that F. and B. and S. are always printed in capitals, and that their correlatives for mother, sister, and daughter are always expressed in small italicised type, as f., b., and s.

The reader must mentally put the word his before the letter denoting kinship, and was after it. Thus:—

Adams, John; second President of the United States. S. John Quincey Adams, sixth President. P. C. F. Adams, American Minister in England; author.

would be read—

His (i.e. John Adams') son was J. Q. Adams.

His „ „ grandson was C. F. Adams.

The following table comprises the whole of this notation:—


    G.             G.                    g.             g.
  Grandfather =  Grandmother        Grandfather.   = Grandmother.
    __________|_________________     ______________|______________
   |          |                 |   |              |              |
   U.         U.                F.  f.             u.             u.
   Uncle     Aunt         Father. = Mother     Uncle.       Aunt.
         |                        |                          |
         B.                  The Person                      b.
     Brother.                 Described                   Sister.
    _____|_______           ______|________             _____|____
   |             |         |               |           |          |
  N.            N.      S.                s.          n.         n.
  Nephew      Niece     Son.            Daughter     Nephew    Niece.
             ____|_____                ____|_____
            |          |              |          |
            P.         P.             p.         p.
          Gr.-son   Gr.-daughter   Gr.-son    Gr.-daughter


Two or more letters are employed to express relationships beyond the compass of this table. Thus the expression for a first cousin, speaking generally, is US., which admits of being specialized in four different forms, namely, US., US., uS., and uS. As a matter of fact, distant relationships will seldom be found to fall under our consideration.

The last explanation I have to make, is the meaning of brackets [] when they enclose a letter. It implies that the person to whose name the letter in brackets is annexed has not achieved sufficient public reputation to be ranked, in statistical deductions, on equal terms with the rest.

For facility of reference I give lists, in alphabetical order, of all the letters, within the limits of two letters, that I employ. Thus I always use GF. for great-grandfather, and not FG., which means the same thing.

Alphabetical List Of The Letters,
And The Male Relationships To Which They Correspond.[4]

B. Brother.

F. Father.

G. g. Grandfather.

GB. gB. GB. gB. Great-uncle.

GF. gF. GF. gF. Great-grandfather.

GG. gG. GG. gG. Gg. gg. Gg. gg. Great-great-grandfather.

GN. gN. GN. gN. Gn. gn. Gn. gn. First cousin, once removed, ascending.

GU. gU. GU. gU. Gu. gu. Gu. gu. Great-great-uncle.

N. n. Nephew.

NS. nS. NS. nS. Great-nephew.

P. p. Grandson.

PS. pS. PS. pS. Great-grandson.

PP. pP. PP. pP. Pp. pp. Pp. pp. Great-great-grandson.

S. Son.

U. u. Uncle.

UP. uP. Up. uP. up. Up. up. First cousin, once removed, descending.

US. uS. US. uS. First cousin.

[ Ed. This page intentionally left blank. ]

The Judges Of England Between
1660 and 1865

THE Judges of England, since the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, form a group peculiarly well adapted to afford a general outline of the extent and limitations of heredity in respect to genius. A judgeship is a guarantee of its possessor being gifted with exceptional ability; the Judges are sufficiently numerous and prolific to form an adequate basis for statistical inductions, and they are the subjects of several excellent biographical treatises. It is therefore well to begin our inquiries with a discussion of their relationships. We shall quickly arrive at definite results, which subsequent chapters, treating of more illustrious men, and in other careers, will check and amplify.

It is necessary that I should first say something in support of my assertion, that the office of a judge is really a sufficient guarantee that its possessor is exceptionally gifted. In other countries it may be different to what it is with us, but we all know that in England, the Bench is never spoken of without reverence for the intellectual power of its occupiers. A seat on the Bench is a great prize, to be won by the best men. No doubt there are hindrances, external to those of nature, against a man getting on at the Bar and rising to a judgeship. The attorneys may not give him briefs when he is a young barrister; and even if he becomes a successful barrister,

his political party may be out of office for a long period, at a time when he was otherwise ripe for advancement. I cannot, however, believe that either of these are serious obstacles in the long run. Sterling ability is sure to make itself felt, and to lead to practice; while as to politics, the changes of party are sufficiently frequent to give a fair chance to almost every generation. For every man who is a judge, there may possibly be two other lawyers of the same standing, equally fitted for the post, but it is hard to believe there can be a larger number.

If not always the foremost, the Judges are therefore among the foremost, of a vast body of legal men. The Census speaks of upwards of 3, 000 barristers, advocates, and special pleaders; and it must be recollected that these do not consist of 3, 000 men taken at hap-hazard, but a large part of them are already selected, and it is from these, by a second process of selection, that the judges are mainly derived. When I say that a large part of the barristers are selected men, I speak of those among them who are of humble parentage, but have brilliant natural gifts—who attracted notice as boys, or, it may be, even as children, and were therefore sent to a good school. There they won exhibitions and fitted themselves for college, where they supported themselves by obtaining scholarships. Then came fellowships, and so they ultimately found their way to the Bar. Many of these have risen to the Bench. The parentage of the Lord Chancellors Justifies my statement. There have been thirty of them within the period included in my inquiries. Of these, Lord Hardwicke was the son of a small attorney at Dover, in narrow circumstances; Lord Eldon (whose brother was the great Admiralty Judge, Lord Stowell) was son of a “coal fitter;” Lord Truro was son of a sheriff's officer; and Lord St. Leonards (like Lord Tenterden, the Chief Justice of Common Pleas) was son of a barber. Others

were sons of clergymen of scanty means. Others have begun life in alien professions, yet, notwithstanding their false start, have easily recovered lost ground in after life. Lord Erskine was first in the navy and then in the army, before he became a barrister. Lord Chelmsford was originally a midshipman. Now a large number of men with antecedents as unfavourable to success as these, and yet successful men, are always to be found at the Bar, and therefore I say the barristers are themselves a selected body; and the fact of every judge having been taken from the foremost rank of 3, 000 of them, is proof that his exceptional ability is of an enormously higher order than if the 3, 000 barristers had been conscripts, drawn by lot from the general mass of their countrymen. I therefore need not trouble myself with quoting passages from biographies, to prove that each of the Judges whose name I have occasion to mention, is a highly gifted man. It is precisely in order to avoid the necessity of this tedious work, that I have selected the Judges for my first chapter.

In speaking of the English Judges, I have adopted the well-known “Lives of the Judges,” by Foss, as my guide. It was published in 1865, so I have adopted that date as the limit of my inquiries. I have considered those only as falling under the definition of “judges” whom he includes as such. They are the Judges of the Courts of Chancery and Common Law, and the Master of the Rolls, but not the Judges of the Admiralty nor of the Court of Canterbury. By the latter limitation, I lose the advantage of counting Lord Stowell (brother of the Lord Chancellor Eldon), the remarkable family of the Lushingtons, that of Sir R. Phillimore, and some others. Through the limitation as regards time, I lose, by ending with the year 1863, the recently-created judges, such as Judge Selwyn, brother of the Bishop of Lichfield, and also of the Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. But I believe, from cursory

inquiries, that the relations of these latter judges, speaking generally, have not so large a share of eminence as we shall find among those of the judges in my list. This might have been expected, for it is notorious that the standard of ability in a modern judge is not so high as it used to be. The number of exceptionally gifted men being the same, it is impossible to supply the new demand for heads of great schools and for numerous other careers, now thrown open to able youths, without seriously limiting the field whence alone good judges may be selected. By beginning at the Restoration, which I took for my commencement, because there was frequent jobbery in earlier days, I lose a Lord Keeper (of the same rank as a Lord Chancellor), and his still greater son, also a Lord Chancellor, namely, the two Bacons. I state these facts to show that I have not picked out the period in question, because it seemed most favourable to my argument, but simply because it appeared the most suitable to bring out the truth as to hereditary genius, and was, at the same time, most convenient for me to discuss.

There are 286 judges within the limits of my inquiry; 109 of them have one or more eminent relations, and three others have relations whom I have noticed, but they are marked off with brackets, and are therefore not to be included in the following statistical deductions. As the readiest method of showing, at a glance, the way in which these relations are distributed, I give a table below in which they are all compactly registered. This table is a condensed summary of the Appendix to the present chapter, which should be consulted by the reader whenever he desires fuller information.


One relation (or two in family).











King, Lord









Best (Lord Wynford)






Bickersteth (Lord Langdale)



Mansfield, Lord















Brougham, Lord



Powis, Sir L. And brother



Campbell, Lord



Raymond, Lord, and father



Cooper (Earl Shaftesbury)



Reynolds, Sir J. And nephew



Copley (Lord Lyndhurst)



Romilly, Lord[5]



De Grey (Lord Walsingham)



Scott (Earl Eldon)









Eyre, Sir R. and father



Thesiger (Lord Chelmsford)






Thurlow, Lord









Harcourt, Lord



(Twisden, see Finch).









Henley (E. Of Northington)









Wood (Lord Hatherley) .


Two and three relations (or three and four in family).



F. Us.



P. u.


(Bathurst, Earl, see Buller).




pS. pP.



B. g.



S. B.



S. N.


Parker (E. Of Macclesfield) and

S. UP.


Buller and Bathurst, Earl

U. u. N.


Sir Thomas Pepys (E. of Cottenham)

G. g. B.



G. F.






UP. N.



2B. S.



B. u.


Rolfe (Lord Cranworth)

GN. gF.


Clive, Sir E. and uncle

U. UP.


Scarlett (Lord Abinger)



Cowper, Earl, & brother

B. NS.



F. GF.



F. B.


Sutton (Lord Manners)

B. N.



S. B. gB.


Talbot, Lord

F. N.


Erskine, Lord, and son

B. S.





Gould, Sir H. and grandson

P. p.


Wilde, Lord Truro, and nephew

B. N.


Hewitt (Lord Lifford)



Willes, Sir J. And son

B. S.


Jeffreys, Lord, and Trevor

G. US.



P. PS.



F. GN.


Windham, Sir W. And brother

B. P. GN.

Four or more relations (or five and more in family)


Atkyns, Sir R. and three others

G. F. B. p.



S. s. 3N. P. NS.






F. S. uS. uP.



Viz. Finch (Earl of Nottingham), Twisden, and Legge

F. 2S. US. GN. PS. (?gN.)


Herbert, Lord Keeper, and son

2S. 2US.


Hyde, Earl Clarendon, and cousin

2U. 3US. S.


Law (Lord Ellenborough)

F. 2S. 2B.


(Legge, see Finch.) Lyttleton[8]

B. F. u. g. PS.


Viz. 2 Montagu[9] and 1 North (Ld. Guilford) (North, see Montagu.)

G. B. 2S. 2N. 2P. NS. 5NS.


Pratt, Earl Camden, and Sir J.

F. S. n. NS.


Somers, Earl (but see Yorke)

2NS. 2NP.


Trevor, Lord(Trevor, Master of the Rolls, see Jeffreys.)

g. F. S. U. GB.



3B. 2N.p.


Yorke, Earl Hardwicke and son; also, in part, Earl Somers

2S. 2P. PS.

Several remarkable features in the contents of this table will catch the eye at once. I will begin by shortly alluding to them, and will enter more into details a little further on. First, it will be observed, that the Judges are so largely interrelated, that 109 of them are grouped into only 85 families. There are seventeen doublets, among the Judges, two triplets, and one quadruplet. In addition to these, might be counted six other sets, consisting of those whose ancestors sat on the Bench previously to the accession of Charles II., namely, Bedingfield, Forster, Hyde, Finch, Windham, and Lyttleton. Another fact to be observed, is the nearness of the relationships in my list. The single letters are far the most common. Also, though a man has twice as many grandfathers as fathers, and probably more than twice as many grandsons as sons, yet the Judges are found more frequently to have eminent fathers than grandfathers, and eminent sons than grandsons. In the third degree of relationship, the eminent kinsmen are yet more rare, although the number of individuals in those degrees is increased in a duplicate proportion. When a judge has no more than one eminent relation, that relation

is nearly always to be found in the first or second degree. Thus in the first section of the fable, which is devoted to single relationships, though it includes as many as thirty-nine entries, there are only two among them (viz. Browne and Lord Brougham) whose kinships extend beyond the second degree. It is in the last section of the table, which treats of whole families, largely gifted with ability, that the distant kinships are chiefly to be found. I annex a table (Table II.) extracted from the preceding one, which exhibits these facts with great clearness. Column A contains the facts just as they were observed, and column D shows the percentage of individuals, in each degree of kinship to every 100 judges, who have become eminent.

Table II

Degrees Of Kinship






Name of the degree

Corresponding letter







22 F.










30 B.










31 S.










7 G.

6 g.









9 U.

6 u.









14 N.

3 n.









11 P.

5 p.









1 GF.

1 gF.

0 GF.

0 gF.







1 GB.

2 gB.

0 GB.

0 gB.







5 US.

2 uS.

1 US.

1 uS.







7 NS.

1 nS.

7 NS.

0 nS.







2 PS.


1 PS.

0 pS.






All more remote










A.   Number of eminent men in each degree of kinship to the most eminent man of the family (85 families).

B.   The preceding column raised in proportion to 100 families.

C.   Number of individuals in each degree of kinship to loo men.

D.   Percentage of eminent men in each degree of kinship, to the most eminent member of distinguished families; it was obtained by dividing B by C and multiplying by 100.

E.   Percentages of the previous column reduced in the proportion of (286 — 24[10], or) 242 to 85, in order to apply to families generally.

Table II. also gives materials for judging of the comparative influence of the male and female lines, in conveying ability. Thanks to my method of notation, it is perfectly easy to separate the two lines in the way I am about to explain. I do not attempt to compare relations in the first degree of kinship—namely, fathers with mothers, sons with daughters, or brothers with sisters, because there exists no criterion for a just comparison of the natural ability of the different sexes. Nay, even if there were means for testing it, the result would be fallacious. A mother transmits masculine peculiarities to her male child, which she does not and cannot possess; and, similarly, a woman who is endowed with fewer gifts of a masculine type than her husband, may yet contribute in a larger degree to the masculine intellectual superiority of her son. I therefore shift my inquiry from the first, to the second and third degrees of kinship. As regards the second degree, I compare the paternal grandfather with the maternal, the uncle by the father's side with the uncle by the mother's, the nephew by the brother's side with the nephew by the sister's, and the grandson by the son with the grandson by the daughter. On the same principle I compare the kinships in the third degree: that is to say, the father of the father's father with the father of the mother's mother, and so on. The whole of the work is distinctly exposed to view in the following compact table:—

In the second degree:

7G. + 9U. + 14N. + 11P. = 41 kinships through males.

6g. + 6u. + 2n. + 5p. = 19 kinships through females.

In the third degree:

1GF. + 1GB. + 5US. + 7NS. + 2PS. = 19 kinships through males.

0gF. + 0gB.+ 1uS. + 0nS. + 0pS. = 1kinships through females.

Total, 60 through males, 20 through females,

The numbers are too small to warrant any very decided conclusion; but they go far to prove that the female influence is inferior to that of the male in conveying ability. It must, however, be observed, that the difference between the totals in the second degree is chiefly due to the nephews—a relationship difficult to trace on the female side, because, as a matter of fact, biographers do not speak so fully of the descendants of the sisters of their hero as of those of his brothers. As regards the third degree, the relationships on the female side are much more difficult to ferret out than those on the male, and I have no doubt I have omitted many of them. In my earlier attempts, the balance stood still more heavily against the female side, and it has been reduced exactly in proportion to the number of times I have revised my data. Consequently, though I first suspected a large residuum against the female line, I think there is reason to believe the influence of females but little inferior to that of males, in transmitting judicial ability.

It is, of course, a grief to me, in writing this book, that circumstances make it impossible to estimate the influence of the individual peculiarities of the mother—for good or for bad—upon her offspring. They appear to me, for the reasons stated, to be as important elements in the inquiry as those of the father, and yet I am obliged to completely ignore them in a large majority of instances, on account of the lack of reliable information. Nevertheless, I have numerous arguments left to prove that genius is hereditary.

Before going further, I must entreat my readers to abandon an objection which very likely may present itself to their minds, and which I can easily show to be untenable. People who do not realize the nature of my arguments have constantly spoken to me to this effect: “It is of no use your quoting successes unless you take failures into equal account. Eminent men may have eminent relations, but

they also have very many who are ordinary, or even stupid, and there are not a few who are either eccentric or downright mad.” I perfectly allow all this, but it does not in the least affect the cogency of my arguments. If a man breeds from strong, well-shaped dogs, but of mixed pedigree, the puppies will be sometimes, but rarely, the equals of their parents. They will commonly be of a mongrel, nondescript type, because ancestral peculiarities are apt to crop out in the offspring. Yet notwithstanding all this, it is easy to develop the desirable characteristics of individual dogs into the assured heirloom of a new breed. The breeder selects the puppies that most nearly approach the wished-for type, generation after generation, until they have no ancestor, within many degrees, that has objectionable peculiarities. So it is with men and women. Because one or both of a child's parents are able, it does not in the least follow as a matter of necessity, but only as one of moderately unfavourable odds, that the child will be able also. He inherits an extraordinary mixture of qualities displayed in his grandparents, great-grandparents, and more remote ancestors, as well as from those of his father and mother. The most illustrious and so-called “well-bred” families of the human race, are utter mongrels as regards their natural gifts of intellect and disposition.

What I profess to prove is this: that if two children are taken, of whom one has a parent exceptionally gifted in a high degree—say as one in 4, 000, or as one in a million— and the other has not, the former child has an enormously greater chance of turning out to be gifted in a high degree, than the other. Also, I argue that, as a new race can be obtained in animals and plants, and can be raised to so great a degree of purity that it will maintain itself, with moderate care in preventing the more faulty members of the flock from breeding, so a race of gifted men might be obtained, under exactly similar conditions.

I must apologize for anticipating, in this off-hand and very imperfect manner, the subject of a future chapter by these few remarks; but I am really obliged to do so, knowing from experience how pertinaciously strangers to the reasoning by which the laws of heredity are established, are inclined to prejudge my conclusions, by blindly insisting that the objection to which I have referred has overbearing weight.

I will now proceed with an examination of what may be learnt from the relationships of the Judges, First, I would ask, are the abler judges more rich in eminent relations than those who are less able? There are two ways of answering this question: the one is to examine into the relationships of the law lords as compared with that of the puisne judges, or of the chancellors compared with that of the judges generally; and the other is to determine whether or no the persons whose names are entered in the third column of Table I. are above the average of judges in respect to ability. Here are a few of the Lord Chancellors. There are only 30 of those high legal officers within the limits of my inquiry, yet 24 of these have eminent relations; whereas out of the (286 — 30 or) 256 other judges, only (114 — 24 or) 90 have eminent relations. There are therefore 80 per cent. of the chancellors, as compared to 36 per cent. of the rest of the judges, that have eminent relations. The proportion would have been greater if I had compared the chancellors, or the chancellors and the other law lords, with the puisne judges.

The other test I proposed, is equally satisfactory. There can be no doubt of the exceptionally eminent ability of the men whose names appear in the third column. To those who object to my conclusion because Lord Chancellors have more opportunities of thrusting relatives, by jobbery, into eminence than are possessed by the other judges, I can do no more than refer them to what I have

already said about reputation being a test of ability, and by giving a short list of the more remarkable cases of relations to the Lord Chancellors, which I think will adequately meet their objection. They are—

l. Earl Bathurst and his daughter's son, the famous judge, Sir F. Buller. 2. Earl Camden and his father, Chief Justice Pratt. 3. Earl Clarendon and the remarkable family of Hyde, in which were two uncles and one cousin, all English judges, besides one Welsh judge, and many other men of distinction. 4. Earl Cowper, his brother the judge, and his great-nephew the poet. 5. Earl Eldon and his brother Lord Stowell. 6. Lord Erskine, his eminent legal brother the Lord Advocate of Scotland, and his son the judge. 7. Earl Nottingham and the most remarkable family of Finch. 8, 9, 10. Earl Hardwicke and his son, also a Lord Chancellor, who died suddenly, and that son's great-uncle, Lord Somers, also a Lord Chancellor. 11. Lord Herbert, his son a judge, his cousins Lord Herbert of Cherbury and George the poet and divine. 12. Lord King and his uncle, John Locke the philosopher. 13. The infamous but most able Lord Jeffreys had a cousin just like him, namely, Sir J. Trevor, Master of the Rolls. 14. Lord Guilford is member of a family to which I simply despair of doing justice, for it is linked with connexions of such marvellous ability, judicial and statesmanlike, as to deserve a small volume to describe it. It contains thirty first-class men in near kinship, including Montagus, Sydneys, Herberts, Dudleys, and others. 15. Lord Truro had two able legal brothers, one of whom was Chief Justice at the Cape of Good Hope; and his nephew is an English judge, recently created Lord Penzance. I will here mention Lord Lyttleton, Lord Keeper of Charles I., although many members of his most remarkable family do not fall within my limits. His father, the Chief Justice of North Wales, married a lady, the daughter of Sir J. Walter, the Chief

Justice of South Wales, and also sister of an English judge. She bore him Lord Keeper Lyttleton, also Sir Timothy, a judge. Lord Lyttleton's daughter's son (she married a cousin) was Sir T. Lyttleton, the Speaker of the House of Commons.

There is, therefore, abundant reason to conclude that the kinsmen of Lord Chancellors are far richer in natural gifts than those of the other judges.

I will now take another test of the existence of hereditary ability. It is a comparison of the number of entries in the columns of Table I. Supposing that natural gifts were due to mere accident, unconnected with parentage, then the entries would be distributed in accordance with the law that governs the distribution of accidents. If it be a hundred to one against some member of any family, within given limits of kinship, drawing a lottery prize, it would be a million to one against three members of the same family doing so (nearly, but not exactly, because the size of the family is limited), and a million millions to one against six members doing so. Therefore, if natural gifts were due to mere accident, the first column of Table I. would have been enormously longer than the second column, and the second column enormously longer than the third; but they are not so. There are nearly as many cases of two or three eminent relations as of one eminent relation; and as a set off against the thirty-nine cases that appear in the first column, there are no less than fifteen cases in the third.

It is therefore clear that ability is not distributed at haphazard, but that it clings to certain families. We will proceed to a third test.

If genius be hereditary, as I assert it to be, the characteristics that mark a judge ought to be frequently transmitted to his descendants. The majority of judges belong to a strongly-marked type. They are not men who are

carried away by sentiment, who love seclusion and dreams, but they are prominent members of a very different class, one that Englishmen are especially prone to honour for at least the six lawful days of the week. I mean that they are vigorous, shrewd, practical, helpful men; glorying in the rough-and-tumble of public life, tough in constitution and strong in digestion, valuing what money brings, aiming at position and influence, and desiring to found families. The vigour of a judge is testified by the fact that the average age of their appointment in the last three reigns has been fifty-seven. The labour and responsibility of the office seem enormous to lookers-on, yet these elderly men continue working with ease for many more years; their average age of death is seventy-five, and they commonly die in harness. Now are these remarkable gifts and peculiarities inherited by their sons? Do the judges often have sons who succeed in the same career, where success would have been impossible if they had not been gifted with the special qualities of their fathers? The best answer is a list of names. They will be of much interest to legal readers; others can glance them over, and go on to the results.


I mark those cases with an asterisk (*) where both relations are English Judges.





Atkyns, Sir Edward, B.E. (Chas. II.)

Sir Robert, Chief Just C.P. Sir Edward, B.E. (Jas. II.)


Atkyns, Sir Richard, Chief Just. N. Wales.

Sir Edward, B.E. (Chas. II.)


Brainston, Sir Francis, Chief K.B. (Chas. I.)[11]

Sir Francis, B.E. (Chas. II.)


Coleridge, Sir John, Just. Q B. (Vict.)

Sir John Duke, Solic. Gen.


Dolben, Sir Wm., Just. K.B. (Will. III.)

Sir Gilbert, Just. C.P. Ireland; cr. Bart.


Erskine, T.; cr. Lord Erskine; Lord Chan.

Hon. Sir Thomas, Just. C.P. (Vict.)



Eyre, Sir Samuel, Just. K.B. (Will. III.)

Sir Robert, Chief Just C.P. (Geo. II.)


Finch, Heneage, L.Ch.; cr. E. of Nottingham.

Heneage, Solic. Gen.; cr. Earl Aylesford.


Finch, Sir Heneage, Recorder of London.

Heneage, Ld. Chan.; cr. E. of Nottingham.


Forster, Sir James, Just. C.P. (Chas. I.)

Sir Robert, Chief Just K.B. (Chas. II.)


Gurney, Sir John, B.E. (Vict.)

Rt. Hon. Russell Gurney, Recorder of London.


Herbert, Sir Edw., Lord Keeper. (Chas. II.)

Sir Edward, Chief Just K.B. (Jas. II.)


Hewitt, James; cr. Ld. Lifford.; Just K.B.

Joseph, Just K.B. Ireland.


Jervis, ——, Chief Just of Chester.

Sir John, Chief Just. C.P. (Vict.)


Law, Edw.; cr. Ld. Ellenborough; Ch. K.B.

Chas. Ewan, M. P., Recorder of London.


Pratt, Sir John, Chief Just. K.B. (Geo II.)

Earl Camden, Lord Chanc. (Geo. III.)


Raymond, Sir Thomas, Just C.B.

Robert; cr. Ld. Raymond; Ch. K.B. (Geo.II.)


Romilly, Sir Samuel, Solic. Gen.

Cr. Lord Romilly, Master of Rolls. (Vict.)


Willes, Sir John, Chief Just C.P. (Geo. III.)

Sir Edward, Just K.B. (Geo. III.)


Yorke, Philip, Ld. Chanc.; cr. E. Hardwicke.

Hon. Charles, Lord Chanc. (Geo. III.)



Atkyns, Sir Robert, Chief C.P. (Will. III.)

Sir Edward, B.E. (Jas. II.)


Cowper, Wm.; cr. Earl Cowper; Ld. Chanc.

Sir Spencer, Just C. P. (Geo. II.)


Erskine, T.; cr. Lord Erskine; Lord Chanc.

Henry, twice Lord Advocate, Scotland.


Hyde, Sir Robert, Chief K.B. (Chas. II.)

Sir Frederick, a Judge in S. Wales. Judge of Admiralty.


Lee, Sir William, Chief K.B. (Geo. II.)

George, Dean of Arches, &c.


Lyttleton, Lord, Lord Keeper. (Chas. I.)

Sir Timothy, B.E. (Chas. II.)


North, F.; cr. Earl of Guilford; Lord Chanc.

Roger, Attorney Gen. to Queen.


Pollock, Sir F. Chief B.E. (Vict.)

Sir David, Chief Just Bombay.


Powis, Sir Lyttleton, Just. K.B. (Geo. L)

Sir Thomas, Just K.B. (Geo. I.)


Scarlett, Sir J.; cr. Ld. Abinger; Ch. B.E.

Sir Wm. Ch. Just Jamaica.


Scott, John; cr. Earl of Eldon; Lord Chanc.

William; cr. Lord Stowell; Judge Adm.


Wilde, T.; cr. Lord Truro; Lord Chanc.

Sir ——, Ch. Just. Cape of Good Hope.


Wynham, Sir Hugh, B.E. (Chas. II.)

Sir Wadham, B.E. (Chas. II.)






Atkyns, Sir Robt Chief C.P. (Will. III.)

Sir J. Tracy (assumed name of Atkyns),



Cursitor B.E. (Geo. III.)


Burnet, ——, Scotch Judge; Lord Cramond.

Sir Thomas Burnet, Just CP.


Gould, Sir Henry, Just Q.B. (Anne.)

Sir Henry Gould, Just C.P. (Geo. III.)


Jeffreys, ——, Judge in N. Wales.

Jeffreys, Lord, Lord Chanc. (Jas. II.)


Finch, H. Solic.-Gen.: cr. E. Aylesford.

Hon. H. Legge, B.E. (Geo. II.)


Walter, Sir E. Chief Just S. Wales.

Lyttleton, Sir T.B.E. (Chas. II.)


Heath, Sir R. Chief K.B. (Chas. I.)

Verney, Hon. Sir J. Master of Rolls.

Out of the 286 Judges, more than one in every nine of them have been either father, son, or brother to another judge, and the other high legal relationships have been even more numerous. There cannot, then, remain a doubt but that the peculiar type of ability that is necessary to a judge is often transmitted by descent.

The reader must guard himself against the supposition, that because the Judges have so many legal relations, therefore they have few other relations of eminence in other walks of life. A long list might be made out of

those who had bishops and archbishops for kinsmen. No less than ten judges—of whom one, Sir Robert Hyde, appeared in the previous list—have a bishop or an archbishop for a brother. Of these, Sir William Dolben was brother to one Archbishop of York and son of the sister of another, namely of John Williams, who was also the Lord Keeper to James I. There are cases of Poet-relations, as Cowper, Coleridge, Milton, Sir Thomas Overbury, and Waller. There are numerous relatives who are novelists, physicians, admirals, and generals. My lists of kinsmen at the end of this chapter are very briefly treated, but they include the names of many great men, whose deeds have filled large volumes. It is one of my most serious drawbacks in writing this book, to feel that names, which never now present themselves to my eye without associations of respect and reverence, for the great qualities of those who bore them, are likely to be insignificant and meaningless to the eyes of most of my readers—indeed to all of those who have never had occasion to busy themselves with their history. I know how great was my own ignorance of the character of the great men of previous generations, before I occupied myself with biographies, and I therefore reasonably suspect that many of my readers will be no better informed about them than I was myself. A collection of men that I have learned to look upon as an august Valhalla, is likely to be regarded, by those who are strangers to the facts of biographical history, as an assemblage of mere respectabilities.

The names of North and Montagu, among the Judges, introduce us to a remarkable breed of eminent men, set forth at length in the genealogical tree of the Montagus, and again in that of the Sydneys (see the chapter on “literary men”), to whose natural history—if the expression be permitted—a few pages may be profitably assigned. There is hardly a name in those pedigrees

which is not more than ordinarily eminent: many are illustrious. They are closely tied together in their kinship, and they extend through ten generations. The main roots of this diffused ability lie in the families of Sydney and Montagu, and, in a lesser degree, in that of North.

The Sydney blood—I mean that of the descendants of Sir William Sydney and his wife—had extraordinary influence in two different combinations. First with the Dudleys, producing in the first generation, Sir Philip Sydney and his eminent brother and sister; in the second generation, at least one eminent man; and in the third generation, Algernon Sydney, with his able brother and much be-praised sister. The second combination of the Sydney blood was with the Harringtons, producing in the first generation a literary peer, and Elizabeth the mother of the large and most remarkable family that forms the chief feature in my genealogical table.

The Montagu blood, as represented by Sir Edward, who died in the Tower, 1644, is derived from three distinct sources. His great-grandfather (gF.) was Sir John Finnieux, Chief Justice of the King's Bench; his grandfather (g.) was John Roper, Attorney-General to Henry VIII.; and his father—by far the most eminent of the three— was Sir Edward Montagu, Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Sir Edward Montagu, son of the Chief Justice, married Elizabeth Harrington, of whom I have just spoken, and had a large family, who in themselves and in their descendants became most remarkable. To mention only the titles they won: in the first generation they obtained two peerages, the earldom of Manchester and the barony of Montagu; in the second they obtained two more, the earldom of Sandwich and the barony of Capel; in the third five more, the dukedom of Montagu, earldoms of Halifax and of Essex, the barony of Guilford,

and a new barony of Capel (second creation); in the fourth one more, the dukedom of Manchester (the Premier in 1701); in the fifth one more, the earldom of Guilford. The second Earl of Guilford, the Premier of George III. (best known as Lord North), was in the sixth generation.

It is wholly impossible for me to describe the characteristics of all the individuals who are jotted down in my genealogical tree. I could not do it without giving a vast deal more room than I can spare. But this much I can do, and ought to do; namely, to take those who are most closely linked with the Judges, and to show that they possessed sterling ability, and did not hold their high positions by mere jobbery, nor obtain their reputations through the accident of birth or circumstances. I will gladly undertake to show this, although it happens in the present instance to put my cause in a peculiarly disadvantageous light, because Francis North, the Lord Keeper, the first Baron Guilford, is the man of all others, in that high position (identical, or nearly so, with that of a Lord Chancellor), whom modern authorities vie in disparaging and condemning. Those who oppose my theories might say, the case of North being Lord Keeper shows it is impossible to trust official rank as a criterion of ability; he was promoted by jobbery, and jobbed when he was promoted,; he inherited family influence, not natural intellectual gifts: and the same may be said of all the members of this or of any other pedigree. As I implied before, there is enough truth in this objection to make it impossible to meet it by a flat contradiction, based on a plain and simple statement It is necessary to analyse characters, and to go a little into detail I will do this, and when it is concluded I believe many of my readers will better appreciate than they did before, how largely natural intellectual gifts are the birthright of some families.

Francis North, the Lord Keeper, was one of a family of five brothers and one sister. The lives of three of the brothers are familiarly known to us through the charming biographies written by another brother, Roger North. Their position in the Montagu family is easily discovered by means of the genealogical tree. They fall in the third of those generations I have just described—the one in which the family gained one dukedom, two earldoms, and two baronies. Their father was of a literary stock, continued backwards in one line during no less than five generations. The first Lord North was an eminent lawyer in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and his son—an able man and an ambassador—married the daughter of Lord Chancellor Rich. His son again—who did not live to enjoy the peerage—married the daughter of a Master of the Court of Requests, and his great-great-grandsons—the intermediate links' being more or less distinguished, but of whose marriages I know little—were the brothers North, of whom I am about to speak.

The father of these brothers was the fourth Baron North. He was a literary man, and, among other matters, wrote the life of the founder of his family. He was an “economical” man, and “exquisitely virtuous and sober in his person.” The style of his writings was not so bright as that of his father, the second baron, who was described as full of spirit and flame, and who was an author both in prose and verse; his poems were praised by Walpole. The mother of the brothers, namely, Anne Montagu, is described by her son as a compendium of charity and wisdom. I suspect it was from the fourth Baron North that the disagreeable qualities in three of the brothers North were derived—such as the priggishness of the Lord Keeper, and that curious saving, mercantile spirit that appeared under different forms in the Lord Keeper, the Financier, and the Master of Trinity College. I cannot avoid

 alluding to these qualities, for they are prominent features in their characters, and find a large place in their biographies.

In speaking of the Lord Keeper, I think I had better begin with the evil part of his character. When that has been admitted and done with, the rest of my task will be pleasant and interesting. In short, the Lord Keeper is mercilessly handled in respect to his public character. Lord Campbell calls him the most odious man that ever held the Great Seal, and says that throughout his whole life he sought and obtained advancement by the meanest arts. Bishop Burnet calls him crafty and designing. Lord Macaulay accuses him of selfishness, cowardice, and meanness. I have heard of no writer who commends his public character except his brother, who was tenderly attached to him. I should say, that even Lord Campbell acknowledges the Lord Keeper to have been extremely amiable in all his domestic relations, and that nothing can be more touching than. the account we have of the warm and steady affection between him and his brother, who survived to be his biographer. I am, however, no further concerned with the Lord Keeper's public character than to show that, notwithstanding his most unworthy acts to obtain advancement, and notwithstanding he had relatives in high offices to help him, his own ability and that of his brothers were truly remarkable.

Bishop Burnet says of him that he had not the virtues of his predecessor (Lord Nottingham), but he had parts far beyond him. However, Lord Campbell dissents from this, and remarks that “a Nottingham does not arise above once in a century.” (I will here beg the reader not to be unmindful of the marvellous hereditary gifts of the Nottingham or Finch family.) Macaulay says his intellect was clear, his industry great, his proficiency in letters and science respectable, and his legal learning more

than respectable. His brother Roger writes thus of the Lord Keeper's youth:—

“It was singular and remarkable in him that, together with the study of the law, which is thought ordinarily to devour the whole studious time of a young gentleman, he continued to pursue his inquiries into all ingenious arts, history, humanity, and languages; whereby he became not only a good lawyer, but a good historian, politician, mathematician, natural philosopher, and, I must add, musician in perfection.”

The Hon. Sir Dudley North, his younger brother, was a man of exceedingly high abilities and vigour. He went as a youth to Smyrna, where his good works are not yet forgotten, and where he made a large fortune; then, returning to England, he became at once a man of the highest note in Parliament as a financier. There was an unpleasant side to his character when young, but he overmastered and outgrew it. Namely, he first showed a strange bent to traffic when at school; afterwards he cheated sadly, and got into debts; then he cheated his parents to pay the debts. At last he made a vigorous effort, and wholly reformed himself, so that his brother concludes his biography in this way:—

“If I may be so free as to give my thoughts of his morals, I must allow that, as to all the mercantile arts and stratagems of trade which could be used to get money from those he dealt with, I believe he was no niggard; but as for falsities ... he was as clear as any man living.”

It seems, from the same authority, that he was a very forward, lively, and beautiful child. At school he did not get on so well with his books, as he had an excessive desire for action; still, his ability was such that a little application went a long way with him, and in the end he came out a moderate scholar. He was a great swimmer, and could live in the water for a whole afternoon, (I mention this,

because I shall hereafter have occasion to speak of physical gifts not unfrequently accompanying intellectual ones.) He sometimes left his clothes in charge of a porter below London Bridge, then ran naked upon the mud-shore of the Thames up almost as high as Chelsea, for the pleasure of swimming down to his clothes with the tide, and he loved to end by shooting the cascade beneath old London Bridge. I often marvel at his feat, when I happen to be on the river in a steamer.

I will now quote Macaulay's description of his first appearance, in his after life, on the stage of English politics. Speaking, in his “History of England,” of the period immediately following the accession of James II., Macaulay says—

“The person on whom devolved the task of devising ways and means was Sir Dudley North, younger brother of the Lord Keeper. Dudley North was one of the ablest men of his time. He had early in life been sent to the Levant, where he had long been engaged in mercantile pursuits. Most men would, in such a situation, have allowed their faculties to rust; for at Smyrna and Constantinople there were few books and few intelligent companions. But the young factor had one of those vigorous understandings which are independent of external aids. In his solitude he meditated deeply on the philosophy of trade, and thought out, by degrees, a complete and admirable theory—substantially the same with that which a hundred years later was expounded by Adam Smith.” North was brought into Parliament for Banbury; and, though a new member, was the person on whom the Lord Treasurer chiefly relied for the conduct of financial business in the Lower House. “North's ready wit and perfect knowledge of trade prevailed, both in the Treasury and the Parliament, against all opposition. The old members were amazed at seeing a man who had not been a fortnight

in the House, and whose life had been chiefly passed in foreign countries, assume with confidence, and discharge with ability, all the functions of a Chancellor of the Exchequer.” He was forty-four years old at the time.

Roger North describes the financial theories of his brother, thus: “One is, that trade is not distributed, as government, by nations and kingdoms, but is one throughout the whole world; as the main sea, which cannot be emptied or replenished in one part, but the whole more or less will be affected.” Another was “concerning money; that no nation could want money (specie), and they would not abound in it.... For if a people want money, they will give a price for it; and then merchants, for gain, bring it and lay it down before them.”

Roger North, speaking of Sir Dudley and of the Lord Keeper, says: “These brothers lived with extreme satisfaction in each other's society; for both had the skill and knowledge of the world, as to all affairs relating to their several professions, in perfection, and each was an Indies to the other, producing always the richest novelties, of which the best understandings are greedy.”

The Hon. Dr. John North, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, differed in some respects from his brothers, and resembled them in others:—

“When be was very young, and also as he grew up, he was of a nice and tender constitution—not so vigorous and athletic as most of his brothers were.” “His temper was always reserved and studious. ... If anything so early seemed amiss in him, it was a non-natural gravity, which in youths is seldom a good sign, for it argues imbecility of body and mind, or both; but his lay wholly in the former, for his mental capacity was vigorous, as none more.”

Thus he became devoted to study, and the whole of his expenditure went to books; in other respects he was penu-

rious and hoarding. Consequently, as his brother says, “he was over-much addicted to thinking, or else he performed it with more labour and intenseness than other men ordinarily do. ... He was, in a word, the most intense and passionate thinker that ever lived, and was in his right mind.” This ruined his health. “His flesh was strangely flaccid and soft; his going weak and shuffling, often crossing his legs as if he were tipsy; his sleep seldom or never easy, but interrupted with unquiet and painful dreams—the reposes he had were short and by snatches; his active spirit had rarely any settlement or rest.”

It is evident that he played foolish tricks with his brain, and the result was that he had a stroke, and utterly broke up, decaying more and more in mind and body until death relieved him, aet. 38.

There is no doubt that Dr. John North deserved more reputation than he has obtained, partly owing to his early death, and partly to his exceeding sensitiveness in respect to posthumous criticism. He left peremptory orders that all his MSS. should be burnt. He appears to have been especially skilled in Greek and Hebrew scholarship.

The Lord Keeper and the Master of Trinity resembled each other in their painfully shy dispositions and studious tastes. The curious money-saving propensities were common to all three brothers. The indolent habits of the Master of Trinity were shared by Sir Dudley after his return from England, who would take no exercise whatever, but sat all day either at home, or else steering a little sailing-vessel on the Thames. The Lord Keeper was always fanciful about his health.

The Hon. Mary North, afterwards Lady Spring, was the sister of these brothers, and no less gifted than they. Roger North says—

“Besides the advantage of her person, she had a superior wit, prodigious memory, and was most agreeable in conver-

sation.” She used to rehearse “by heart prolix romances, with the substance of speeches and letters, as well as passages; and this with little or no hesitation, but in a continual series of discourse—the very memory of which is to me at this day very wonderful.”

She died not long after the birth of her first child, and the child died not long after her.

Roger North, the biographer of his brothers, from whom I have quoted so much, was the author of other works, and among them is a memoir on Music, showing that he shared the musical faculty that was strongly developed in the Lord Keeper. Little is known of his private life. He was Attorney-General to the consort of James II. There can be no doubt as to his abilities. The “Lives of the Norths” is a work of no ordinary writer. It is full of touches of genius and shrewd perception of character. Roger North seems to have been a most loving and loveable man.

Charles, the fifth Lord North, was the eldest of the family, and succeeded to the title; but he did not, so far as I am aware, show signs of genius. However, he had a daughter whose literary tastes were curiously similar to those of her uncle, Dr. John. She was Dudleya North, who, in the words of Roger, “emaciated herself with study, whereby she had made familiar to her not only the Greek and Latin, but the Oriental languages.” She died early, having collected a choice library of Oriental works.

I will conclude this description of the family with a characteristically quaint piece of their biographer's preface:

“Really, the case is memorable for the happy circumstance of a flock so numerous and diffused as this of the last Dudley Lord North's was, and no one scabby sheep in it.”

The nearest collateral relation of the North family by the Montagu side is Charles Hatton, their first cousin. He is alluded to three times in Roger North's “Lives,” and each time with the same epithet—” the incomparable

Charles Hatton.” Why he was so distinguished there is no information, but it is reasonable to accept Roger North's estimate of his merits, so far as to classify him among the gifted members of the Montagu family.

I will mention only four more of the kinsmen of the Norths. The first is their great-uncle, Sir Henry Montagu, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and created Earl of Manchester, who was grandfather to James Montagu, Ch. B. E. (Geo. III.), and uncle of William, Ch.B. E. (Jas. II.), both of whom are included in my list. Lord Clarendon says of Sir Henry, that he was “a man of great industry and sagacity in business, which he delighted in exceedingly; and preserved so great a vigour of mind, even to his death, that some who had known him in his younger years did believe him to have much quicker parts in his age than before.”

The second Earl of Manchester, gN. to the Norths, was the Baron Kimbolton, of Marston Moor, and, as Lord Campbell says, “one of the most distinguished men who appeared in the most interesting period of our history; having, as Lord Kimbolton, vindicated the liberties of his country in the Senate, as Earl of Manchester in the field, and having afterwards mainly contributed to the suppression of anarchy by the restoration of the royal line.”

The first Earl of Sandwich, also gN. to the Norths, was the gallant High Admiral of England in the time of Charles II. He began life as a soldier, when only eighteen years of age, with a Parliamentary regiment that he himself had raised; and he ended it in a naval battle against the Dutch in Southwold Bay. He also translated a Spanish work on Metallurgy. I do not know that the book is of any value, but the fact is worthy of notice as showing that he was more than a mere soldier or sailor.

The last of the eminent relations of the Norths of whom I shall speak at length, was the great-grandson of the

eldest brother, who became the famous Premier—the Lord North—of the time of the American war. Lord Brougham says that all contemporaries agree in representing his talents as having shone with a great and steady lustre during that singularly trying period. He speaks of a wit that never failed him, and a suavity of temper that could never be ruffled, as peculiar qualities in which he, and indeed all his family (his immediate family), excelled most other men. The admirable description of Lord North by his daughter, Lady Charlotte Lindsay, that is appended to his biography by Lord Brougham, is sufficient proof of that lady's high ability.

There is yet another great legal family, related to the Norths, whose place in the pedigree I do not know: it is that of the Hydes, and includes the illustrious first Earl of Clarendon. It appears that the Lord Chief Justice Hyde used to take kindly notice of the Lord Keeper, Francis North, when a young rising barrister, and allude to his kinship, and call him “cousin.”

It is want of space, not want of material, that compels me to conclude the description of the able relatives of the Norths and Montagus. But I am sure I have said enough to prove the assertion with which I prefaced it, that natural gifts of an exceedingly high order were inherited by a very large number of the members of the family, and that these owed their reputations to their abilities, and not to family support.

Another test of the truth of the hereditary character of ability is to see whether the near relations of very eminent men are more frequently eminent than those who are more remote. Table II. (p. 61) answers this question with great distinctness in the way I have already explained. It shows that the near relations of the Judges are far richer in ability than the more remote—so much so, that the fact of being born in the fourth degree of relationship

is of no sensible benefit at all. The data from which I obtained column C of that table are as follow:—I find that 23 of the Judges are reported to have had “large families,” say consisting of four adult sons in each; 11 are simply described as having “issue,” say at the rate of 1.5 sons each; and that the number of the sons of others are specified as amounting between them to 186; forming thus far a total of 294. In addition to these, there are 9 reported marriages of judges in which no allusion is made to children, and there are 31 judges in respect to whom nothing is said about marriage at all. I think we are fairly justified, from these data, in concluding that each judge is father, on an average, to not less than one son who lives to an age at which he might have distinguished himself, if he had the ability to do so. I also find the (adult) families to consist on an average of not less than 2.5 sons and 2.5 daughters each, consequently each judge has an average of 1.5 brothers and 2.5 sisters.

From these data it is perfectly easy to reckon the number of kinsmen in each order. Thus the nephews consist of the brothers' sons and the sisters' sons: now 100 judges are supposed to have 150 brothers and 250 sisters, and each brother and each sister to have, on the average, only one son; consequently the 100 judges will have (150+ 250, or) 400 nephews.

I need not trouble the reader with more figures; suffice it to say, I have divided the total numbers of eminent kinsmen to loo judges by the number of kinsmen in each degree, and from that division I obtained the column D in Table II., which I now project into a genealogical tree in Table III.


Percentage Of Eminent Men In Each Degree Of Kinship To The Most Gifted Member Of Distinguished Families.                       

1/2 Great-grandfathers.
           |               |
7 1/2 Grandfathers.           1/2 Great-uncles
           |                                             |           
    26 Fathers.                                   4 1/2 Uncles.
           |_________________________                    |
           |                         |                   |
The 100 most eminent members of  23 BROTHERS.   1 1/2 First cousins.
    100 distinguished families.      |       
           |                         |
         36 SONS.               4 3/4 Nephews.
           |                         |
     9 1/2 Grandsons            2 Great-nephews.
    1 1/2 Great-grandsons.                  

It will be observed that Table III. refers only to distinguished families. If we modified it to correspond with column E of Table II., in which all the Judges, whether they have distinguished relations or no, are considered, the proportion between the eminent kinsmen in each different degree would be unchanged, though their absolute numbers would be reduced to about one-third of their value.

Table III. shows in the most unmistakeable manner the enormous odds that a near kinsman has over one that is remote, in the chance of inheriting ability. Speaking roughly, the percentages are quartered at each successive remove, whether by descent or collaterally. Thus in the first degree of kinship the percentage is about 28; in the second, about 7; and in the third, 1.5.

The table also testifies to another fact, in which people do not commonly believe. It shows that when we regard the averages of many instances, the frequent sports of nature in producing prodigies must be regarded as apparent, and not as real. Ability, in the long run, does not

suddenly start into existence and disappear with equal abruptness, but rather, it rises in a gradual and regular curve out of the ordinary level of family life. The statistics show that there is a regular average increase of ability in the generations that precede its culmination, and as regular a decrease in those that succeed it. In the first case the marriages have been consentient to its production, in the latter they have been incapable of preserving it.

After three successive dilutions of the blood, the descendants of the Judges appear incapable of rising to eminence. These results are not surprising even when compared with the far greater length of kinship through which features or diseases may be transmitted. Ability must be based on a triple footing, every leg of which has to be firmly planted. In order that a man should inherit ability in the concrete, he must inherit three qualities that are separate and independent of one another: he must inherit capacity, zeal, and vigour; for unless these three, or, at the very least, two of them, are combined, he cannot hope to make a figure in the world. The probability against inheriting a combination of three qualities not correlated together, is necessarily in a triplicate proportion greater than it is against inheriting any one of them.

There is a marked difference between the percentage of ability in the grandsons of the judge when his sons (the fathers of those grandsons) have been eminent than when they have not; Let us suppose that the son of a judge wishes to marry: what expectation has he that his own sons will become eminent men, supporters of his family, and not a burden to it, in their after life?

In the case where the son of the judge is himself eminent, I find, out of the 226 judges previous to the present reign, 22 whose sons have been distinguished men. I do not count instances in the present reign, because the

grandsons of these judges are for the most part too young to have achieved distinction. 22 out of 226 gives 10 in 100 as the percentage of the judges that have had distinguished sons. (The reader will remark how near this result is to the 9.5 as entered in my table, showing the general truth of both estimates.) Of these 22 I count the following triplets. The Atkyns family as two. It is true that the grandfather was only Chief Justice of North Wales, and not an English judge, but the vigour of the blood is proved by the line of not only his son and two grandsons being English judges, but also by the grandson of one of them, through the female line, being an English judge also. Another line is that of the Pratts, viz. the Chief Justice and his son, the Lord Chancellor, Earl Camden, and his grandson, the son of the Earl, created the Marquis Camden; the latter was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and a man of note in many ways. Another case is in the Yorke line, for the son of the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Hardwicke, was Charles Yorke, himself a Lord Chancellor. His sons were able men: one became First Lord of the Admiralty, another was Bishop of Ely, a third was a military officer of distinction and created Baron Dover, a fourth was an admiral of distinction. I will not count all these, but will reckon them as three favourable instances. The total, thus far, is six; to which might be added in fairness something from that most remarkable Montagu family and its connexions, of which several judges, both before and after the accession of Charles I., were members. However, I wish to be well within bounds, and therefore will claim only six successes out of the 22 cases (I allow one son to each judge, as before), or I in 4. Even under these limitations it is only 4 to I, on the average, against each child of an eminent son of a judge becoming a distinguished man.

Now for the second category, where the son is not eminent, but the grandson Is. There are only seven of these cases to the (226 — 22 or) 204 judges that remain, and one or two of them are not a very high order. They are the third Earl Shaftesbury, author of the “Characteristics;” Cowper, the poet; Lord Lechmere, the Attorney-General; Sir Wm, Mansfield, Commander-in-Chief in India; Sir Eardley Willmot, who filled various offices with credit and was created a baronet; and Lord Wyndham, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Fielding, the novelist, was grandson of Judge Gould, by the female line. Hence it is 204 to 7, or 30 to 1, against the non-eminent son of a judge having an eminent child.

The figures in these two categories are clearly too few to justify us in relying on them, except so far as to show that the probability of a judge having an eminent grandson is largely increased if his sons are also eminent. It follows that the sons or daughters of distinguished men who are themselves gifted with decidedly high ability, as tested at the University or elsewhere, cannot do better than marry early in life. If they have a large family, the odds are in their favour that one at least of their children will be eminently successful in life, and will be a subject of pride to them and a help to the rest.

Let us for a moment consider the bearing of the facts just obtained, on the theory of an aristocracy where able men earn titles, and transmit them by descent through the line of their eldest male representatives. The practice may be justified on two distinct grounds. On the one hand, the future peer is reared in a home full of family traditions, that form his disposition. On the other hand, he is presumed to inherit the ability of the founder of the family. The former is a real justification for the law of primogeniture, as applied to titles and possessions; the latter, as we see from the table, is not. A man who has

no able ancestor nearer in blood to him than a great-grandparent, is inappreciably better off in the chance of being himself gifted with ability, than if he bad been taken out of the general mass of men. An old peerage is a valueless title to natural gifts, except so far as it may have been furbished up by a succession of wise intermarriages. When, however, as is often the case, the direct line has become extinct and the title has passed to a distant relative, who had not been reared in the family traditions, the sentiment that is attached to its possession is utterly unreasonable. I cannot think of any claim to respect, put forward in modern days, that is so entirely an imposture, as that made by a peer on the ground of descent, who has neither been nobly educated, nor has any eminent kinsman, within three degrees.

I will conclude this chapter with a few facts I have derived from my various jottings, concerning the “natural history” of Judges. It appears that the parentage of the Judges in the last six reigns, viz. since the accession of George I., is as follows, reckoning in percentages: noble, honourable, or baronet (but not judges), 9; landed gentlemen, 35; judge, barrister, or attorney, 15; bishop or clergyman, 8; medical, 7; merchants and various, unclassed, 10; tradesmen, 7; unknown, 9. There is, therefore, no very marked class peculiarity in the origin of the Judges. They seem to be derived from much the same sources as the scholars of our Universities, with a decided but not excessive preponderance in favour of legal parents.

I also thought it worth while to note the order in which the Judges stood in their several families, to see whether ability affected the eldest more than the youngest, or if any important fact of the kind might appear. I find in my notes that I have recorded the order of the birth of 72 judges. The result of the percentages is, that the judge was an only son in II cases; eldest in 17; second in 38;

third in 22; fourth in 9; fifth in 1; and of a yet later birth in 2 instances. It is clear that the eldest sons do not succeed as judges half as well as the cadets. I suppose that social influences are, on the whole, against their entering, or against their succeeding at the law.


THERE have been 286 Judges, according to the “Lives of the Judges,” by Foss, between the accession of Charles II. and the year 1864. No less than 112 of them find a place in the following list. Among the Judges are included the Lord Chancellors, 30 in number, and of these eminent officers no less than 24, or 80 per cent of the whole, will be found to have eminent relations.

Contractions employed in the List.

The name of a Sovereign in parentheses, as (Charles II.), shows the latest reign in which each judge held office.


Ch. K. B. (or Q. B.)


Chief Justice of the King's (or Queen's) Bench.

Just. K. B. (or Q. B.)


Justice of the King's (or Queen's) Bench.

Ch. B. E.


Chief Baron of the Exchequer.



Baron of the Exchequer.

Curs. B. E.


Cursitor Baron of the Exchequer.

Ch. C. P.


Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.

Just. C. P.


Justice of the Common Pleas.



Master of the Rolls.


Abinger, Lord. See scarlett.

Abney, Sir Thomas, Just. C. P. (Geo. II.)

U. Sir Thomas Abney, a famous Lord Mayor of London; one of the promoters of the Bank of England, protector of Dr. Isaac Watts. See Watts' Elegy on him.

[F.] Sir Edward Abney, LL.D. and M.P., a man of importance in his day.

Alderson, Sir Edward Hall; B. E. (Vict.)

F. Recorder of Norwich, Ipswich, and Yarmouth.

Us. Mrs. Opie, the novelist.

Alibone, Sir Richard; Just. K. B. (James II.) G. Eminent Protestant divine. (F. turned Papist.)

Atkyns, Sir Edward; B. E. (Charles II.) [G.] Thomas, twice Reader in Lincoln's Inn.

F. Sir Richard, Ch. Just. N. Wales.

S. Sir Robert, Ch. Just. C. P. (Will. III.)

S. Sir Edward, B. E. (James II.)

PS. Sir John Tracy, who assumed his mother's name of Atkyns, Curs. B. E. (Geo. III.)

                            Thomas, Reader in Incoln's Inn
               Sir Richard, Ch. Just. N. Wales
               Sir Edward, B. E. (Chas. II.)
             |                                 |
   Robert, Ch. Just. C. P.  Sir Edward, B. E. (James II.)
 Sir J. Tracy (Atkyns), Curs. B. E.

Atkyns, Sir Robert; Ch. C. P. (Will. III.)

G. Sir Richard, Ch. Just. N. Wales.

F. Sir Edward, B. E. (Charles II.)

B. Sir Edward, B. E. (James II.)

p. Sir John Tracy, who assumed the name of Atkyns, Curs. B. E.

Atkyns, Sir Edward; B. E. (James II.)

G. Sir Richard, Ch. Just N. Wales.

F. Sir Edward, B. E. (Charles II.)

B. Sir Robert, Ch. C. P.

Bp. Sir J. Tracy, assumed name of Atkyns, Curs. B. E.

Atkyns, Sir John Tracy (his mother was named Atkyns, and he adopted her name); Curs. B. E. (Geo. III.)

g. Sir Robert Atkyns, Ch. C. P.

gB. Sir Edward Atkyns, B. E. (James II.)

gF. Sir Edward Atkyns, B. E. (Charles II.)

Bathurst, Henry; 2d Earl of Bathurst; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. III.)

F. The first Earl, an accomplished wit.

n. Sir Francis Buller, Just. K. B., the famous judge. (Geo. III.)

Bedingfield, Sir Henry; Ch. C. P. (James II.)

U. Sir Thomas Bedingfield, Just. C. P. (Charles I.)

Best, Wm. Draper; created Ld. Wynford; Ch. C. P. (Geo. IV.)

g. General Sir William Draper, the well-known antagonist of “Junius.”

Bickersteth, Henry; created Lord Langdale; M. R. (Vict.)

u. Dr. Batty, the famous physician.

Birch, Sir John; Curs. B. E. (Geo. II.)

[U.] Colonel Thomas Birch, well known under the Commonwealth.

Blackburn, Sir Colin ; Just. Q. B. (Vict.)

B. Professor of Mathematics at Glasgow.

g. Rev. John Gillies, I.LL.D., historian, and successor to Dr.

Robertson (the gr. uncle of Lord Brougham) as historiographer of Scotland.

Blackstone, Sir William; Just. C. P. (Geo. III.)

S. His second son held all his University preferments.

N. Henry, wrote “Reports” that were even more popular than his own.

Bramston, Sir Francis; B. E. (Charles II.)

F. Sir John Bramston, Ch. K. B. under Charles I.

Browne, Samuel; Just. C. P. (Charles II.)

uS. Oliver St. John, Ch. Just. C. P. under the Protectorate.

Brougham, Sir Henry; cr. Ld. Brougham; Ld. Chan. (Will. IV.)

gB. Robertson, the historian.

Buller, Sir Francis; Just. C. P. (Geo. III.)

U. William Buller, Bishop of Exeter.

u. Earl of Bathurst, Lord Chancellor. (Geo. III.)

N. Rt. Hon. Charles Buller, statesman.

Burnet, Sir Thomas ; Just. C. P. (Geo. II.)

G. Eminent Scotch lawyer, titled Lord Cramond.

F. The celebrated Whig bishop, Bishop Burnet.

Camden, Earl. See pratt.

Campbell, Lord; Lord Chancellor. (Vict.)

[G.] Eminently successful scholar at St. Andrew's.

[F.] Had distinguished literary attainments; was pious and eloquent.

N. George Campbell, member of Supreme Court of Calcutta; writer on Indian politics.

Chelmsford, Lord. See thesiger.

Churchill, Sir John; M. R. (James II.)

GN. John Churchill, the great Duke of Marlborough.

G.NS. Duke of Berwick, great general.

Clarendon, Earl. See hyde.

Clarke, Sir Charles ; Ch. B. E. (Geo. II.)

B. Dean of Chester.

u. Charles Trimnell, Bishop of Winchester.

Clive, Sir Edward; Just. C. P. (Geo. III.)

U. Sir George Clive, Curs. B. E. (Geo. II.)

UP. The great Lord Clive, Governor-General of India.

Clive, Sir George; Curs. B. E. (Geo. II.)

N. Sir Edward Clive, Just. C. P. (Geo. III.)

NS. The son of another nephew was the great Lord Clive.

Cockburn, Sir Alexander James; Ch. Q. B. (Vict.)

[F.] Envoy and Minister Plenipotentiary to Columbia.

Coleridge, Sir John Taylor; Just. Q. B. (Vict.)

U. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet and metaphysician. See under poets. (He was father of Hartley, Derwent, and Sara.

US. Hartley Coleridge, poet.

US. Edward, Master at Eton.

US. Derwent Coleridge, Principal of St. Mark's College, Chelsea. US. Sara Coleridge, authoress. (Married her cousin, Henry Nelson Coleridge.)

US. Henry Nelson Coleridge (son of Col. Coleridge, brother of Samuel Taylor C.), author.

S. Sir John Duke Coleridge, Solicitor-General.

Cooper, Sir Anthony Ashley; created Earl of Shaftesbury; Lord Chancellor. (Charles II.)

P. The 3d Earl, author of the “Characteristics.”

Copley, Sir John Singleton; cr. Ld. Lyndhurst; Ld. Chanc. (Vict.)

F. A painter, and an eminent one, judging from the prices that his pictures now fetch.

Cottenham, Lord. See pepys.

Cowper, Sir Wm.; created Earl Cowper ; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. I.)

B. Sir Spencer Cowper, Just. C. P. (Geo. II.)

NS. The grandson of Sir Spencer was Cowper the poet. See poets.

Cowper, Sir Spencer; Just. C. P. (Geo. II.)

B. 1st Earl Cowper, Lord Chancellor. (Geo. I.)

P. William Cowper, the poet.

Cranworth, Lord. See rolfe.

Dampier, Sir Henry; Just. K. B. (Geo. III.)

F. Dean of Durham.

B. Bishop of Ely.

De Grey, Sir Wm.; cr. Lord Walsingham ; Ch. C. P. (Geo. III.)

S. Thomas, 2d Baron; for twenty years Chairman of Committees in House of Lords.

Denison, Sir Thomas; Just. K. B. (Geo. III.)

4 NS. and [2 NS.] His brother was grandfather to a remarkable family of six brothers, namely, the present Speaker of the House of Commons, the Bishop of Salisbury, the Archdeacon of Taunton, the ex-Governor of South Australia, and two others, both of whom are scholars.

Denman, Sir Thomas; created Lord Denman; Ch. Q. B. (Vict.)

F. Physician, a celebrated accoucheur.

S. Hon. George Denman, Q.C., M.P., and the first classic of his year, 1842, at Cambridge.

uS. Sir Benjamin Brodie, 1st Bart., the late eminent surgeon.

uP. The present Sir Benjamin Brodie, 2d Bart., Professor of Chemistry at Oxford.

Dolben, Sir William; Just. K. B. (Will. III.) S. Sir Gilbert Dolben, Just C. P. in Ireland, created a Bart.

B. John Dolben, Archbishop of York.

gB. Archbishop John Williams, the Lord Keeper to James I.

Eldon, Lord. See scott.

Ellenborough, Lord. See law.

Erie, Sir William; Ch. C. P. (Vict.)

B. Peter Erie, Commissioner of Charities.

Erskine, Sir Thomas; cr. Ld. Erskine ; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. III.)

B. Henry Erskine, twice Lord Advocate of Scotland.

S. Hon. Sir Thomas Erskine, Just C. P. (Vict.)

Erskine, Hon. Sir Thomas; Just. C. P. (Vict.)

F. Lord Erskine, Lord Chancellor. (Geo. III.)

U. Henry Erskine, twice Lord Advocate of Scotland.

Eyre, Sir Robert; Ch. C. P. (Geo. II.)

F. Sir Samuel Eyre, Just. K. B. (Will. III.)

Eyre, Sir Samuel; Just. K. B. (Will. III.)

S. Sir Robert Eyre, Ch. C. B. (Geo. II.)

[Sir Giles Eyre, Just. K. B. (Will. III.), was only his 2d cousin.]

Finch, Sir Heneage; cr. E. of Nottingham; Ld. Chanc. (Chas. II.)

F. Sir Heneage Finch, Recorder of London, Speaker of the House of Commons.

S. Daniel, 2d. Earl, and Principal Sec. of State to Will. III.

S. Heneage Finch, Solicitor-General, and M.P. for University of Cambridge; created Earl Aylesford.

US. Thomas Twisden, Just. K. B. (Charles II.)

GN. Lord Finch, Ch. C. P. and Lord Keeper. (Charles I.)

Finch, Sir Heneage, continued -

gN.(?) Dr. William Harvey (see in “science “), discoverer of the circulation of the blood.

PS. Hon. Heneage Legge, B. E. See.

              Harvey.                  Family of Finch.
   ___________________         __________________
  |                   |       |                  |
  X                   X       X                  X
  |                   |     __|__________        |
  |                   |    |             |       |
Dr. William Harvey.   O =  Sir Heneage   O    Lord Finch,
Circulation of blood)   |  Speaker, H.C. |    Lord Keeper
                        |                |
                     Heneage,        T. Twisden,
      1st  E. Nottingham, Ld. Chan.   Just. K. B.
               |                    |
            Daniel               Heneage
  2d Earl; Prin. Sec. State.   Sol. Gen.; 1st E. Aylesford
                                    O =  William Legge,
                                    |  1st Earl Dartmouth
                                Heneage Legge,
                              B. E. (Geo. II.)                                                     

Forster, Sir Robert; Ch. K. B. (Charles II.)

F. Sir James Forster, Just. C. P. (Charles I.)

Gould, Sir Henry; Just. Q. B. (Anne.)

P. Sir Henry Gould, Just. C. P. (Geo. III.)

p. Henry Fielding, the novelist. (“Tom Jones”)

Gould, Sir Henry; Just. C. P. (Geo. III.)

G. Sir Henry Gould, Just. Q. B. (Anne.)

US. Henry Fielding, the novelist.

Guilford, Lord. See north.

Gurney, Sir John ; B. E. (Vict.)

S. Rt. Hon. Russell Gurney, M.P., Recorder of London.

Harcourt, Sir Simon; cr. Lord Harcourt; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. I.)

G. Waller, the first Parliamentary general (and himself a relative of Waller the poet).

Hardwicke, Earl of. See yorke.

Heath, Sir John; Just C. P. (Geo. III.)

S. Dr. Benjamin Heath, Head Master of Eton.

Henley, Sir Robert; cr. E. of Northington; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. III.)

F. One of the most accomplished men of his day. M.P. for Weymouth.

Herbert, Sir Edward; Lord Keeper. (Charles II.)

S. Arthur, an admiral, created Lord Torrington.

S. Sir Edward Herbert, Ch. K. B. and C. P. (James II.)

US. Lord Herbert of Cherbury, statesman and philosopher.

US. George Herbert, poet and divine.

Herbert, Sir Edward ; Ch. K. B. and Ch. C. P. (James II.)

F. Sir Edward, Lord Keeper. (Charles II.)

B. Arthur, an admiral, created Lord Torrington.

Hewitt, Sir James; created Lord Lifford; Just. K.B. (Geo. III.)

S. Joseph Hewitt, Just. K. B. in Ireland.

S. Dean of Cloyne.

Hotham, Sir Beaumont; B. E. (Geo. III.)

B. An admiral, created Lord Hotham for naval achievements.

Hyde, Sir Edward ; cr. Earl Clarendon ; Ld. Chanc. (Chas. II.)

The Hydes were a very able family both in law and state for many generations; but emerging, as they did, out of the regions of competition into that of favouritism, I cannot rightly appraise their merits. Moreover, the male line became extinct. The following are the near relations of the Lord Chancellor ;—

U. Sir Nicholas Hyde, Ch. K. B. (Charles I.)

U. Sir Lawrence Hyde, a great lawyer and Attorney-General to Consort of James I., who had eleven sons, most of whom distinguished themselves in their several vocations.

Of. these are :

US. Sir Robert Hyde, Ch. K. B. (Charles II.)

US. Sir Frederick Hyde, a judge in S. Wales.

US. Alexander, Bishop of Salisbury.

[US.] Fellow of New College, and Judge of the Admiralty.

[US.] Dean of Windsor.

[US.] James, Principal of Magdalen Hall.

S. Henry, 2d Earl, Lord Privy Seal.

S. Lawrence, cr. Earl of Rochester, Lord Lieut. of Ireland, a person of great natural parts and honesty.

[S.] Anne, married to the Duke of York, afterwards James II. A woman of strong character, who insisted, in spite of menace, that publicity should be given to the marriage, let the consequences be what they might.

                   Family of Hyde
        |                  |                  |
     Sir Lawrence,     Sir Nicholas,          X
   Attorney-Gen. to       Ch. K. B.           |
  consort of James I.                         |
    _____|___________________________         |
   |       |            |       | |  |        |
Robert. Frederick.   Alexander. 3 others   1st Earl of
Ch.K.B. Judge, Wales Bishop     all dist.  Clarendon.
                                        Ld.Chanc. & historian
                  |             |                |
               Henry,        Lawrence,         Anne,
              2d Earl.    Cr. E. Rochester   mar. Jas II.
            Duchess of Queensbury, patroness of Gray, the poet

Hyde, Sir Robert; Ch. K. B. (Charles II.)

F., 2 B., [3 B.], U., and US. See above.

Jeffreys, Geo.; cr. Ld. Jeffreys of Wem; Ch. K. B.,Ld.Chan. (Jas. II.)

G. A judge in N. Wales.

US. Sir John Trevor, M. R. (Geo. I.)

Jervis, Sir John; Ch. C. P. (Vict.)

F. Ch. Justice of Chester.

GN. J. Jervis, Admiral, 1st Earl St. Vincent. See parker.

                          |           |
                          X           X
                          |           |
                          X     Earl Macclesfield,
        Jervis.           |     Ld. Chanc. (Geo. I)
       ___________     ___|________
      |           |   |            |
      X           X = Sister.  Sir Thos. Parker, Ch. B.E. (Geo. III.)
      |             |          
      X         Admiral, 1st Earl Vincent.
Sir John Jervis, Ch. C.P.(Vict.)

Keating, Sir Henry Singer; Just. C. F. (Vict.)

F. Sir Henry Keating, K.C.B., distinguished in India, &c.

King, Sir Peter; created Lord King; Ld. Chancellor. (Geo. II.)

u. John Locke, the philosopher.

Langdale, Lord. See bickersteth.

Law, Sir Edward; cr. Ld. Ellenborough ; Ch. K.B. (Geo. III.)

F. E. Law, Bishop of Carlisle, author.

S. Edward, Governor-General of India, cr. Earl Ellenborough.

S. C. Ewan, Recorder of London and M.P. for Camb. University.

B. G. H., Bishop of Bath and Wells.

B. John, Bishop of Elphin, in Ireland.


There are many other men of ability in this family.

Lawrence, Sir Soulden; Just C. P. (Geo. III.)

F. President of the College of Physicians.

Lechmere, Sir Nicholas, B. E. (Will. III.)

P. Nicholas Lechmere, Attorney-Gen., created Baron Lechmere.

u. Sir Thomas Overbury, poet (poisoned).

Lee, Sir William, Ch. K. B. (Geo. II.)

B. George, Dean of the Arches and Judge of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. Thus the two brothers were simultaneously, the one at the head of the highest court of Common Law, and the other of the highest court of Civil Law; a similar case to that of Lords Eldon and Stowell.

Legge, Hon. Heneage; B. E. (Geo. II.)

F. William, 1st Earl of Dartmouth, Secretary of State, &c.

G. George, 1st Baron Dartmouth, Master of the Ordnance and Admiral of the Fleet.

g. 1st Lord Aylesford, Attorney-General and eminent lawyer.

gF. (Father of Lord Aylesford) was the 1st Earl of Nottingham, Lord Chancellor (see finch).

Lifford, Lord. See hewitt.

Lovell, Sir Salathiel; B. E. (Anne.)

pS. Was Richard Lovell Edgeworth, author. pP. Maria Edgeworth, novelist.

Lyndhurst, Lord. See copley.

Lyttleton, Sir Timothy (see next page)

 Sir Thos. Lyttleton, the eminent judge.
|          |            |
X        Richard,       X
     eminent lawyer     |
                        X              Sir Edmund Walter,
                        |              Ch. Just. S. Wales
              __________|____        _________|________
             |               |      |                  |
             X        Sir Edward, = O             Sir J. Walter,
             |    Judge, N. Wales |                 Ch. B. E.
             |    ________________|______________
             |   |                |              |
             X  Edward,        Timothy,         ---
             |  Lord Keeper     B. E.      Sergeant-at-law
             |   |          
             X   O
             |   /
             |  /
   Sir Thos. Lyttleton, Speaker H. Commons.

Lyttleton, Sir Timothy, B. E. (Charles II.)

GG. Sir Thomas Lyttleton, the eminent judge under Edward IV.

g. Sir E. Walter, Ch. Justice of S. Wales.

u. Sir John Walter, Ch. B. E. (Charles I.)

F. Sir Edward Lyttleton, Ch. Justice of N. Wales.

B. Edward, Lord Lyttleton, Lord Keeper. (Charles I.)

NS. Sir Thomas Lyttleton, Speaker of the House of Commons, 1698. (His mother was daughter of the Lord Keeper.)

Macclesfield, Lord. See parker.

Manners, Lord. See sutton.

Mansfield, Sir James; Ch. C. P. (Geo. III.)

P. General Sir William Mansfield, K.C.B., Commander-in-chief in India.

[There are other gifted brothers.]

Milton, Sir Christopher; Just. C. P. (James II.)

B. Milton the poet. See under poets.

[Milton's mother was a kinswoman (?what) of Lord President Bradshaw, the regicide.]

Montagu, Sir William; Ch. B. E. (James II.)

F. Created Baron Montagu.

FB. Sir Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester, Ch. K. B. (James I.)

N. Created Duke of Montagu; statesman.

g. Sir John Jeffreys, Ch. B. E.

GF. Sir Edward Montagu, Ch. K. B. (Henry VIII.)

See pedigree opposite

Montagu, Sir J.; Ch. B. E. (Geo. I.)

G. Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester, Ch. K. B.

U. Walter, Abbot of Pontoise; poet, courtier, councillor to Marie de Medicis.

U. Edward, 2d Earl of Manchester, the successful Parliamentary General, Baron Kimbolton of Marston Moor.

GB. 1st Baron Montagu.

UP. (Grandson of Baron Kimbolton.) The 4th Earl of Manchester, Principal Secretary of State, 1701, created 1st Duke of Manchester.

Nares, Sir George; Just. C. P. (Geo. III.) S. Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford.

B. Dr. James Nares, musician.


North, Francis; created Ld. Guilford ; Ld. Chanc. (James II.)

B. Dudley North, Levantine merchant, eminent English financier.

B. Rev. John North, D.D., scholar, Master of Trin. Coll. Camb.

B. Roger North, the biographer; Attorney-General to the Queen.

b. Mary, had a prodigious memory.

uS. Charles Hatton, “the incomparable.” (See “Lives of the Norths.”)

gB. Sir Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester. See montagu, Sir J. gN. Edward, 2d Earl of Manchester, the Baron Kimbolton of Marston Moor.

gN. George Montagu, Abbot of Pontoise, courtier and minister of Catherine de Medicis.

gN. Sir Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich. (His uncle [u.] was Pepys, “his Diary.”)

[N.] Dudleys North, Oriental scholar.

PS. Frederick, 2d Earl Guilford, Premier. (The “Lord North” of George III.'s reign.)

Northington, Lord. See henley.

Nottingham, Earl of. See finch.

Parker, Sir Thomas; cr. E. of Macclesfield; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. I.)

S. 2d Earl, President of the Royal Society, mathematician and astronomer.

UP. Sir Thomas Parker, Ch. B. E.

Parker, Sir Thomas ; Ch. B. E. (Geo. III.)

n. John Jervis, admiral, 1st Earl St. Vincent. See jervis.

GN. Sir T. Parker, 1st Earl of Macclesfield, Lord Chancellor.

Patteson, Sir John ; Just. K. B. (Vict.)

S. Missionary Bishop to Pacific Islands.

Pengelly, Sir Thomas; Ch. B. E. (Geo. II.)

[G.] (Reputed, but questionable.) Oliver Cromwell. (Foss's “Judges,”)

Pepys, Sir Chas. Christopher; cr. E. of Cottenham; Ld. Chan. (Vict.)

[F.] A Master in Chancery.

G. Sir L. Pepys, physician to George III.

g. Rt. Hon. W. Dowdeswell, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

B. Bishop of Worcester.

Pollock, Sir Frederick; Ch. B. E. (Vict.)

B. Sir David, Ch. Justice of Bombay.

B. Sir George, general in Affghanistan.

Pollock, Sir Frederick, continued -

S. Frederick, Master in Chancery; translator of Dante.

[P.] Frederick (also [p.] to the Right Hon. C. Herries, Chancellor of the Exchequer); second classic of his year, 1867, at Cambridge.

Powis, Sir Lyttleton; Just. K. B. (Geo. I.)

B. Sir Thomas Powis, Just. K. B. (Geo. I.)

Powis, Sir Thomas; Just K. B. (Geo. I.)

B. Sir Lyttleton Powis, Just K. B. (Geo. I.)

Pratt, Sir John; Ch. K. B. (Geo. I.)

S. Sir Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, Ld Chanc. (Geo. III.)

P. J. J. Pratt, 2d Earl and created 1st Marquis Camden, Lord Lieut. of Ireland, Chancellor of University of Cambridge.

p. George Hardinge. (See next paragraph.)

ps. Field Marshal 1st Visct. Hardinge, Governor-Gen. of India.

[ps.] (See next paragraph.)

Pratt, Sir Charles; cr. Earl Camden; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. III.) F. Sir John Pratt, Ch. K. B. (Geo. I.)

S. J. J. Pratt, 2d Earl and created Marquis of Camden, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.

n. George Hardinge, Attorney-General to the Queen, Chief Justice of the Brecon Circuit

nS. Field Marshal 1st Viscount Hardinge, Governor-General of India. (His father was a literary man.)

[nS.] A naval Captain, to whom a monument in St Paul's was voted by the nation.

Raymond, Sir Edward; cr. Ld. Raymond; Ch. K. B. (Geo. II.)

F. Sir Thomas Raymond, a Judge in each of the three Courts. (Charles II.)

Raymond, Sir Thomas; Just. K. B. &c. (Charles II.)

S. Robert, Lord Raymond, Ch. K. B. (Geo. II.)

Reynolds, Sir James (1); Ch. B. E. (Geo. II.)

N. Sir James Reynolds (2), B. E. (Geo. II.)

Reynolds, Sir James (a.) ; B. E. (Geo. II.)

U. Sir James Reynolds (1), Ch. B. E. (Geo. II.)

Rolfe, Sir Robt. Monsey; cr. Ld. Cranworth; Ld. Chan. (Vict)

GN. Admiral Lord Nelson.

gF. Dr. Monsey, the celebrated and eccentric physician to Chelsea Hospital.

Romilly, Sir John; created Lord Romilly; M. R. (Vict.)

F. Sir Samuel Romilly, Solicitor-General and eminent jurist.

Scarlett, Sir James ; created Lord Abinger; Ch. B. E. (Vict.)

[B.] Sir William Scarlett, Ch. Justice of Jamaica.

S. Gen. Sir James Scarlett, chief in command of the cavalry in the Crimea; then Adjutant-General.

S. Sir Peter Campbell Scarlett, diplomatist.

Scott, Sir John; created Earl of Eldon; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. IV.)

B. Sir William Scott, created Lord Stowell, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty. (See remarks under Ch. Just. Sir W. lee.)

Sewell, Sir Thomas; M. R. (Geo. III.)

p. Matthew G. Lewis, novelist, commonly called “Monk” Lewis.

Shaftesbury, Earl of. See cooper.

Somers, Sir J.; created Earl Somers; Lord Chanc. (Will. III.)

NS. Charles Yorke, Ld. Chan. (Geo. III.)

NS. and 2 np. See yorke.

gNP. Richard Gibbon, the historian.

Spelman, Sir Clement; Curs. B. E. (Charles II.)

GF. Just. K. B. (Henry VIII.)

F. Sir Henry, antiquarian author of celebrity.

[B.] Sir John Spelman, also an antiquary. “Alfred the Great.”

Sutton, Sir Thomas Manners; B. E.; subsequently Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and created Lord Manners. (Geo. III.)

B. Charles Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury.

N. (Son of the Archbishop.) Charles Manners-Sutton, Speaker of the House of Commons, created Viscount Canterbury.

Talbot, Hon. Chas.; cr. Lord Talbot; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. II.)

F. Bishop successively of three sees.

N. Rev. William Talbot, an early and eminent advocate of Evangelism. (See Venn's Life, Preface, p. xii.)

Thesiger, Sir Frederick, cr. Ld. Chelmsford; Ld. Chan. (Vict.) S. Adjutant-General of India.

[G., F., U.] All noteworthy, but hardly of sufficient eminence to be particularly described in this meagre outline of relationships.

Thurlow, Edward; cr. Lord Thurlow; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. III.)

B. Bishop of Durham.

[S.] (Illegitimate.) Died at Cambridge, where, as is said, he was expected to attain the highest honours.

Treby, Sir George ; Ch. C. P. (Will. III.)

S. Rt. Hon. Robert Treby, Secretary at War.

Trevor, Sir Thomas; created Lord Trevor; Ch. C. P. (Geo. I.)

g. J. Hampden, the patriot.

F. Sir John Trevor, Secretary of State.

S. Bishop of Durham.

U. Sir John Trevor, Ch. B. E. (Charles I.)

GB. Sir Thomas Trevor, B. E. (Charles I.)

Trevor, Sir John; M. R. (Geo. I.)

uS. Lord Jeffreys, Lord Chancellor. (James II.)

Truro, Lord. See wilde.

Turner, Sir George James; Lord Justice. (Vict.)

U. Dawson Turner, botanist and antiquary.

U. Dean of Norwich and Mast. of Pembroke Coll., Cambridge.

[S.] Bishop of Grafton and Armidale, in Australia.

(There are numerous other distinguished members of this family, including Dr. Hooker, the botanist, Gifford Palgrave, the Arabian traveller, and Francis Palgrave, author.)

Twisden, Sir Thomas; Just. K. B. (Charles II.)

uS. Earl of Nottingham (Finch), Lord Chancellor. (Chas. II.)

[B.] Roger, antiquary and historian.

Vaughan, Sir John; Just C. P. (Vict.)

B. Henry Vaughan, assumed name of Halford and became the celebrated physician, Sir Henry Halford, 1st Bart.

B. Rev. Edward (of Leicester), Calvinist theologian.

B. Sir Charles R., Envoy Extraordinary to the United States.

[B.] Peter, Dean of Chester.

N. Rev. Charles Vaughan, D.D., joint first classic of his year, 1838, at Cambridge; Head Master of Harrow; refused two bishoprics.

N. Professor Halford Vaughan, of Oxford.

p. Vaughan Hawkins, first classic of his year, 1854, at Cambridge.

Verney, Hon. Sir John; M. R. (Geo. II.)

g. Sir R. Heath, Ch. K. B. (Charles I.)

Walsingham, Lord. See de grey.

Wigram, Sir James; V. C. (Vict.)

B. Bishop of Rochester.

Wilde, Sir Thomas; created Lord Truro; Ld. Chanc. (Vict.)

B. Ch. Justice, Cape of Good Hope.

N. Sir James Wilde, B. E. (Vict.); now Lord Penzance.

Wilde, Sir James Plasted; B. E. (Vict.); since cr. Ld. Penzance.

U. Lord Truro, Lord Chancellor. (Vict.)

U. Ch. Justice, Cape of Good Hope.

Willes. Sir John ; Ch. C. P. (Geo. III.)

B. Bishop of Bath and Wells.

S. Sir Edward Willes, Just. K. B. (Geo. III.)

Willes, Sir Edward; Just K. B. (Geo. III.)

F. Sir John Willes, Ch. C. P. (Geo. III.)

U. Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Wilmot. Sir John Eardley; Ch. C. P. (Geo. III.)

P. F.R.S. and F.A.S., Governor of Van Diemen's Land, and 1st Baronet.

PS. Recorder of Warwickshire and Judge of the County Court of Bristol.

Wood, Sir William Page; V. C. (Vict.) (Since created Lord Hatherly, Lord Chancellor, 1868.)

F. Sir Matthew, M.P. for London for twenty-eight years and twice Lord Mayor.

[U.] Benjamin Wood, M.P. for Southwark.

[B.] Western Wood, M.P. for London.

Wyndham, Sir Hugh; B. E., C. P. (Charles II.)

B. Sir William Wyndham, Just. K. B.' (Charles II.)

GN. Sir Francis Wyndham, Just. C. P. (Eliz.)

NS. Thomas Wyndham, Lord Chancellor of Ireland (Geo. I.), created Baron Wyndham.

Wyndham, Sir Wadham; Just. K. B. (Charles II.)

B. Sir Hugh Wyndham, B. E., Just C. P. (Charles II.)

P. Thomas Wyndham, Lord Chancellor of Ireland (Geo. I.), created Baron Wyndham.

GN. Sir Francis Wyndham, Just C. P. (Eliz.)

                         Wyndham Family
                     |                    |
                     X                    X
                     |                    |
                     X         Francis, Just. C. P.
  |      |           |               |
  X      X    Hugh, Just. C. P.   Wadham, Just. K. B.
  .      |                           |
  .   -, Sergeant-                   X
  .    at law.                       |
  |                          Thomas, Ld. Chan.
  V                             created Baron Wyndham.
 Rt. Hon. Wm. Wyndham

Wynford, Lord. See best.

Yorke, Philip; cr. Earl of Hardwicke; Ld. Chanc. (Geo. II.)

S. Hon. Charles (by niece of Lord Chancellor Somers), Lord Chancellor. (Geo. III.)

S. Hon. James, Bishop of Ely.

P. Philip, 3d Earl, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

P. Rt. Hon. Charles Philip, F. R. S., First Lord of the Admiralty.

PS. Lord Goderich and Earl of Ripon, Premier.

    |                 |
    X                 X
    |                 |
    X                 O = X
    |           ________|________________
    |          |                         |
    X     John Somers,                   X
    |    1st Earl Somers, Ld. Chanc.     |
    |                                    |
 R. Gibbon,                              O = Philip Yorke, 1st E.
the historian.                             | Hardwicke, Ld. Chan.
                    |              |                       |
                    X           Charles,                  James,
                    |           Ld. Chan.               Bishop of Ely.
                    |     _________|___________________
                    |    |                             |
                    O   Philip, 3d Earl,          Chas. Philip,
                    |   Lord Lieut. Ireland.      1st Lord Adm.
             F. J. Robinson,
         1st Earl Ripon, Premier.

Yorke, Hon. Charles; Lord Chancellor. (Geo. III.)

F. 1st Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Chancellor. (Geo. II.)

S. Philip, 3d Earl, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.

S. Rt. Hon. Charles Philip, F.R.S., First Lord of the Admiralty.

B. Hon. James, Bishop of Ely.

gb. 1st Earl Somers, Lord Chancellor. (Will. III.)

NS. Lord Goderich and Earl of Ripon, Premier.


I PROPOSE in this chapter to discuss the relationships of modern English Statesmen. It is my earnest desire, throughout this book, to steer safely between two dangers: on the one hand, of accepting mere official position or notoriety, as identical with a more discriminative reputation, and on the other, of an unconscious bias towards facts most favourable to my argument. In order to guard against the latter danger, I employ groups of names selected by others; and, to guard against the former, I adopt selections that command general confidence. It is especially important in dealing with statesmen, whose eminence, as such, is largely affected by the accident of social position, to be cautious in both these respects. It would not be a judicious plan to take for our select list the names of privy councillors, or even of Cabinet ministers; for though some of them are illustriously gifted, and many are eminently so, yet others belong to a decidedly lower natural grade. For instance, it seemed in late years to have become a mere incident to the position of a great territorial duke to have a seat in the Cabinet, as a minister of the Crown. No doubt some few of the dukes are highly gifted, but it may be affirmed, with equal assurance, that the abilities of the large majority are very far indeed from justifying such an appointment.

Again, the exceptional position of a Cabinet minister cannot possibly be a just criterion of a correspondingly exceptional share of natural gifts, because statesmanship is not an open profession. It was much more so in the days of pocket boroughs, when young men of really high promise were eagerly looked for by territorial magnates, and brought into Parliament, and kept there to do gladiatorial battle for one or other of the great contending parties of the State. With those exceptions, parliamentary life was not, even then, an open career, for only favoured youths were admitted to compete. But, as is the case in every other profession, none, except those who are extraordinarily and peculiarly gifted, are likely to succeed in parliamentary life, unless engaged in it from their early manhood onwards. Dudley North, of whom I spoke in the chapter on Judges, was certainly a great success; so, in recent times, was Lord George Bentinck; so, in one way or another, was the Duke of Wellington; and other cases could easily be quoted of men beginning their active parliamentary life in advanced manhood and nevertheless achieving success; but, as a rule, to which there are very few exceptions, statesmen consist of men who had obtained—it little matters how—the privilege of entering Parliament in early life, and of being kept there. Every Cabinet is necessarily selected from a limited field. No doubt it always contains some few persons of very high natural gifts, who would have found their way to the front under any reasonably fair political regime, but it also invariably contains others who would have fallen far behind in the struggle for place and influence, if all England had been admitted on equal terms to the struggle.

Two selections of men occurred to me as being, on the whole, well worthy of confidence. One, that of the Premiers, begun, for convenience' sake, with the reign of George III.; their number is 25, and the proportion of them who cannot

claim to be much more than eminently” gifted, such as Addington,“Pitt is to Addington as London to Paddington,”— is very small. The other selection is Lord Brougham's “Statesmen of the Reign of George III.” It consists of no more than 53 men, selected as the foremost statesmen in that long reign. Now of these, 11 are judges and, I may add, 7 of those judges were described in the appendix to the last chapter, viz. Lords Camden, Eldon, Erskine, Ellenborough, King, Mansfield, and Thurlow. The remaining 4 are Chief Justices Burke and Gibbs, Sir William Grant, and Lord Loughborough. Lord Brougham's list also contains the name of Lord Nelson, which will be more properly included among the Commanders; and that of Earl St. Vincent, which may remain in this chapter, for he was a very able administrator, in peace as well as a naval commander. In addition to these, are the names of 9 Premiers, of whom one is the Duke of Wellington, whom I count here, and again among the Commanders, leaving a net balance, in the selection made by Lord Brougham, of 31 new names to discuss. The total of the two selections, omitting the judges, is 57.

The average natural ability of these men may very justly be stated as superior to class F. Canning, Fox, the two Pitts, Romilly, Sir Robert Walpole (whom Lord Brougham imports into his list), the Marquess of Wellesley, and the Duke of Wellington, probably exceed G. It will be seen how extraordinary are the relationships of these families. The kinship of the two Pitts, father and son, is often spoken of as a rare, if not a sole, instance of high genius being hereditary; but the remarkable kinships of William Pitt were yet more widely diffused. He was not only son of a premier, but nephew of another, George Grenville, and cousin of a third, Lord

Grenville. Besides this, he had the Temple blood. His pedigree, which is given in the appendix to this chapter, does scant justice to his breed. The Fox pedigree is also very remarkable in its connection with the Lords Holland and the Napier family. But one of the most conspicuous is that of the Marquess of Wellesley, a most illustrious statesman, both in India and at home, and his younger brother, the great Duke of Wellington. It is also curious, from the fact of the Marquess possessing very remarkable gifts as a scholar and critic. They distinguished him in early life and descended to his son, the late Principal of New Inn Hall, at Oxford, but they were not shared by his brother. Yet, although the great Duke had nothing of the scholar or art-critic in him, he had qualities akin to both. His writings are terse and nervous, and eminently effective. His furniture, equipages, and the like were characterised by unostentatious completeness and efficiency under a pleasing form.

I do not intend to go seriatim through the many names mentioned in my appendix. The reader must do that for himself, and he will find it well worth his while to do so; but I shall content myself here with throwing results into the same convenient statistical form that I have already employed for the Judges, and arguing on the same bases that the relationships of the Statesmen abundantly prove the hereditary character of their genius.

In addition to the English statesmen of whom I have been speaking, I thought it well to swell their scanty numbers by adding a small supplementary list, taken from various periods and other countries. I cannot precisely say how large was the area of selection from which this list was taken. I can only assure the reader that it contains a considerable proportion of the names, that seemed to me the most conspicuous among those that I found described at length, in ordinary small biographical dictionaries.



One relation (or two in the family).

Bolingbroke (Visct. St. John)






Romilly, Sir S.


Francis, Sir P.


Scott (Lord Stowell)










Two or three relations (or three or four in the family).

a. Bedford, Duke of, and gr.-gr.-grandson. Earl Russell

GF. Gf. PP.

Bentinck (Duke of Portland)

S. P.


US. S.

Jenkinson (Earl of Liverpool)

F. U. US.

Jervis (Earl St. Vincent)

u. UP. UPS.

Lamb (Viscount Melbourne)

2 B. b. p.

Petty (Marquess of Lansdowne)

GF. S.

Russell (see Bedford).


Stanley (Earl of Derby)

F. uS. S.

Stewart (Marquess of Londonderry)

F. uS. B.

four or more relations (or four or more in the family).

Dundas (Viscount Melville) .....

G. F. B. N. S. P.

2. Fox and Lord Holland ......

G. u. F. B. N. NS.. 2uS.

3. Grenville, Lord; his father, George Grenville; also his cousin, William Pitt.

B. F. g. uS. V.

Grey, Earl

F. B. 2S.

Holland, Lord (see Fox)



F. g. 2B. 3S.

2. Pitt, viz. Earl Chatham and his son, Wm. Pitt (also, see Grenville)

F. N. u. uS. n.

Robinson (Earl Ripon)

G. F. gB. gF. S.


F. f. g. G. S. P. PS.

Temple (Viscount Palmerston)


Stuart (Marquess of Bute)

GF. G. GU. GB. u. B. 2S.

Walpole (Earl of Oxford)

G. B. 2S. nG.

3. Wellesley, viz. the Marquess and his brother, the Duke of Wellington

B. N. S. gGF.




Arteveldt, James, and son John






More, Sir Thomas



De Witt, John, and brother Cornelius




S. P.


Cecil, Robt.; father, Lord Burleigh; and cousin,



Lord Bacon

F. uS.



U. B. 2S. 2N.


Guise, Due de

B. 2S. P. PS.



F, R BP. BPS. nS.


Degrees Of Kinship





Name of the degree.

Corresponding letters.






13 F.









15 b.









19 S.









6 G.

5 g.








3 U.

4 u.








6 N.

1 n.








4 P.

0 p.








1 GF.

1 gF.

1 GF.

0 gF.






1 GB.

1 gB.

0 GB.

0 gB.





First cousin

2 US.

3 uS.

0 US.

3 uS.






0 NS.

1 nS.

1 NS.

0 nS.






0 PS.

0 pS.

0 PS.

0 pS.





All more remote









First, have the ablest statesmen the largest number of able relatives? Table I. answers this in the affirmative. There can be no doubt, that its third section contains more illustrious names than the first; and the more the reader will take the pains of analysing and “weighing” the relationships, the more, I am sure, will he find this truth to become apparent. Again, the Statesmen, as a whole,

are far more eminently gifted than the Judges; accordingly it will be seen in Table II., by a comparison of its column B with the corresponding column in p. 61, that their relations are more rich in ability.

To proceed to the next test; we see, that the third section is actually longer than either the first or the second, showing that ability is not distributed at haphazard, but that it affects certain families.

Thirdly, the statesman's type of ability is largely transmitted or inherited. It would be tedious to count the instances in favour. Those to the contrary are Disraeli, Sir P. Francis (who was hardly a statesman, but rather a bitter controversialist), and Horner. In all the other 35 or 36 cases in my appendix, one or more statesmen will be found among their eminent relations. In other words, the combination of high intellectual gifts, tact in dealing with men, power of expression in debate, and ability to endure exceedingly hard work, is hereditary.

Table II. proves, just as distinctly as it did in the case of the Judges, that the nearer kinsmen of the eminent Statesmen are far more rich in ability than the more remote. It will be seen, that the law of distribution, as gathered from these instances, is very similar to what we had previously found it to be. I shall not stop here to compare that law, in respect to the Statesmen and the Judges, for I propose to treat all the groups of eminent men, who form the subjects of my several chapters, in a precisely similar manner, and to collate the results, once for all, at the end of the book.


Statesmen of the reign of George III.

As selected by lord brougham in his well-known work bearing that title.

THE list consists of the following 53 persons, of whom 33, whose names are printed in italics, find a place in my dictionary of kinships. It often happens in this list that the same person if noticed under his title, as well as surname; as, “Dundas (Viscount Melville);”—” Melville, Lord (Dundas).”

Allen. *Bedford, 4th Duke. Bolingbroke. Bushe, Ld. Ch. Just. Camden, Earl (Pratt). *Canning. Carroll. Castlereagh, Lord (Londonderry); see Stewart. *Chatham, Lord (Pitt). Curran. Dundas (Visct. Melville). Eldon, Lord (Scott). Erskine, Lord. Ellenborough, Lord (Law). Fox. Francis, Sir Philip. Gibbs, Ld. Ch. Just. Grant, Sir Wm. Grattan. *Grenville, George. *Grenville, Lord. Holland, Lord. Homer. Jefferson. *'Jenkinson (Earl Liverpool). Jervis (Earl St. Vincent). King, Lord. Law (Lord Ellenborough). Lawrence, Dr. *Liverpool, Earl (Jenkinson). Loughborough, Lord (Wedderburn). Londonderry, Lord (Castlereagh: see Stewart). Mansfield, Lord (Murray). Melville, Lord (Dundas). Murray (Lord Mansfield). Nelson, Lord. *North, Lord. *Perceval. *Pitt (Earl of Chatham), *Pitt, William. Pratt (Earl Camden). Ricardo. Romilly. St. Vincent, Earl (Jervis). Scott (Lord Eldon). Scott (Lord Stowell). Stowell, Lord (Scott). Stewart (Lord Castlereagh, Marquess of Londonderry). Thurlow, Lord. Tierney. Tooke, Horne. Walpole. Wedderbum (Lord Loughborough). Wellesley, Marquess. Wilberforce. Wilkes, John. Windham.


There have been 25 Premiers during this period, as shown in the following list, of whom 17, whose names are printed in italics, find a place in my dictionary of kinships.

Nine of these have already appeared under the title of “Statesmen of George III.” They are distinguished by a +.

It occasionally happens that the same individual is noticed under his surname as well as his title; as “Chatham, Earl (Pitt);”—” Pitt (Earl Chatham).”

Aberdeen, Earl. Addington (Sidmouth). +Bedford, 4th Duke. Bute, Marquess. +Canning. +Chatham, Earl (PHI). Derby, Earl. Disraeli. Gladstone. Goderich. Grafton, Duke. +Grenville, George, +Grenville, Lord-Grey, Earl. Lansdowne (Shelburnre). +Liverpool, Earl. Melbourne, Visct. Newcastle, Duke. +North, Lord. Palmerston, Lord. Peel, Sir Robert. + Perceval. Pitt (Earl Chatham) +Pitt, William. Rockingham, Marquess. Russell, Earl, Shelburne, Earl (Lansdowne). Sidmouth, Lord (Addington). Wellington.

* Premier. + Included also in Brougham's list of Statesmen of Geo. III.

Bedford, John, 4th Duke.

GF. William, Lord Russell; patriot; executed 1683.

GF. Lady Rachel W. Russell, her husband's secretary. “Letters.”

PP. 1st Earl Russell; Reform leader as Lord John Russell, and three times Premier.

Bentinck, William H. Cavendish; 3d Duke of Portland; Premier, 1783-4 and 1807-10.

S. Lord Wm. Henry Bentinck; Governor-General of India, who abolished Suttee, and established the liberty of the Indian press.

P. Lord George Bentinck, M.P.; became an eminent financier and a leading statesman in middle age, after a life previously devoted to racing interests.

Bolingbroke, Henry; created Viscount St. John; the celebrated Secretary of State to Queen Anne. (His name is appended to Brougham's list of Statesmen of Geo. III.)

g. Sir Oliver St. John, Ch. Just. C. P. under the Protectorate (and who himself was cousin to another judge, S. Brown (see), under Charles II.).

Bute, Earl. See stuart.

Camden, Earl; Lord Chancellor. See under judges. F. and S.

Canning, George; created Lord Canning; Premier, 1827. Not precocious as a child, but remarkable as a schoolboy. (“Microcosm,” aet. 15, and “Anti-Jacobin.”) Scholar, orator, and most able statesman. The Canning family had sensitive and irritable temperaments.

[F.] A man of considerable literary acquirements.

[f.] Had great beauty and accomplishments. She took to the stage after her husband's death without much success; they had both been separated from the rest of the Canning family.

US. Stratford Canning; created Lord Stratford de Redcliffe; ambassador at the Porte; the “great Elchi.”

[US.] George Canning, F.R.S., F.S.A., created Lord Garvagh.

S. Charles; created Earl Canning; was Governor-General of India during the continuance and suppression of the Indian Mutiny.

Castlereagh. See stewart.

Disraeli, Rt. Hon. Benjamin; Premier, 1868. Precocious;

         began life in an attorney's office; became, when quite young, a novel-writer of repute, and, after one noted failure, an eminent parliamentary debater and orator.

F. Isaac Disraeli; author of “Curiosities of Literature.”

Dundas, Henry; created Viscount Melville; friend and coadjutor of Wm. Pitt, and a leading member of his administration in various capacities.

F. Robert Dundas, of Arniston; Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland.

G. Robert Dundas; Lord Arniston, eminent lawyer; Judge of Court of Session.

[GF.] Sir James Dundas, M.P. for Edinburgh, Senator of the College of Justice.

B. (A half-brother.) Robert Dundas; Lord President of the Court of Session, as his father had been before him.

N. (A half-nephew.) Robert Dundas (son of above); Lord Chief Baron to the Court of Exchequer in Scotland.

S. Robert; 2d Viscount; Lord Privy Seal in Scotland.

P. Richard Saunders Dundas; twice Secretary to the Admiralty; succeeded Sir C. Napier in chief command of the Baltic fleet in the Russian War, 1855, and captured Sweaborg. (Mem. He was no relation to Sir James W. D. Dundas, who was in chief command of the Black Sea fleet during. the same war.)

Eldon, Earl of; Lord Chancellor. See in judges, under scott.

Ellenborough, Lord; Chief Justice King's Bench. See in judges.

Erskine, Lord; Lord Chancellor. See in judges.

Fox, Rt. Hon. Charles James; statesman and orator; the great rival of Pitt. At Eton he was left much to himself, and was studious, but at the same time a dissipated dandy. He was there considered of extraordinary promise. Aet. 25, he had become a man of mark in the House of Commons, and also a prodigious gambler.

G. Sir Stephen Fox; statesman; Paymaster of the Forces. Chelsea Hospital is mainly due to him; he projected it, and contributed £13,000 towards it.

u. Charles; 3d Duke of Richmond; principal Secretary of State in 1766. F. Henry; created Lord Holland; Secretary at War.

Fox, Rt. Hon. Charles James, continued -

B. Stephen; ad Lord Holland; statesman and social leader.

N. Henry R.; 3d Lord Holland ; F.R.S., F.S.A., Recorder of Nottingham. (See Lord Brougham's panegyric of these men in his “Statesmen of George III.”) His aunt, Lady Sarah, sister of the Duke of Richmond, married Colonel Napier, and was mother of the famous Napier family. Colonel Napier was himself cast in the true heroic mould. He had uncommon powers, mental and bodily; he had also scientific tastes. He was Superintendent of Woolwich Laboratory, and Comptroller of Army Accounts.

uS. General Sir Charles James Napier, G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief in India; Conqueror of Scinde.

uS. General Sir William Napier; historian of the Peninsular War.

[3 uS.] There were three other Napiers, brothers, who were considered remarkable men, namely. General Sir George, Governor of the Cape; Richard, Q.C.; and Henry, Captain, and author of “History of Florence.”

NS. H. Bunbury, senior classic of his year (1833) at Cambridge.

Francis, Sir Philip; reputed author of “Junius;” violent antagonist of Hastings in India.

F. Rev. Philip; poet and dramatic writer; translator of “Horace” and other classics. Had a school where Gibbon was a pupil. He was also a political controversialist.

Goderich, Viscount. See robinson.

Grattan, Henry; orator and statesman.

[GB.] Sir Richard Grattan, Lord Mayor of Dublin.

g. Thomas Marley, Chief Justice of Ireland.

[F.] James Grattan, Recorder of, and M.P. for, Dublin.

[S.] Right Honourable James Grattan.

Grenville, George, Premier, 1763.

The very remarkable relationships of the Grenville family, and the results of the mixture of the Temple race with that of the 1st Earl of Chatham on the one hand, and of the Wyndham on the other, is beat understood by the annexed table:--

Grenville, George, continued—

g. Sir Richard Temple; a leading member of the House of Commons.

u. General Sir Richard Temple; created Viscount Cobham, served under Marlborough.

B. Richard, succeeded his mother the Countess, as 1st Earl Temple; statesman; Lord Privy Seal.

S, William Wyndham Grenville; created Lord Grenville; Premier, 1806.

S. George, 2d Earl Temple; created Marquis Buckingham; twice Viceroy of Ireland.

S. Thomas, who bequeathed his library to the British Museum. Grenville, William Wyndham; created Lord Grenville; Premier, 1806; Chancellor of Oxford University.

B. Marquess Buckingham, twice Viceroy of Ireland.

F. George Grenville, Premier, 1763.

g. Sir William Wyndham, Bart, Secretary at War and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

uS. William Pitt, Premier.

U. Richard Grenville, created Earl Temple; statesman.

Grey, Charles, 2d Earl; Premier, 1830-1834.

F. General in America, and early part of French War; created Earl Grey for his services.

B. Edward, Bishop of Hertford.

S. Henry G., 3d Earl; statesman; writer on Colonial government, and on Reform.

S. Sir Charles Grey, Private Secretary to the Queen.

Holland, Lord. See Fox.

Horner, Francis; statesman, financier. One of the founders of the Edinburgh Review; afterwards he rapidly rose to great note in Parliament. His career was ended by early death, aet. 39.

B. Leonard Horner, geologist, for very many years a venerated member of the scientific world.

Jenkinson, Robert Banks; 2d Earl of Liverpool; Premier, 1812-27.

F. Right Hon. Charles Jenkinson, created Earl Liverpool; Sec. of State; a confidential friend and adviser of Geo. III.

[U.] John Jenkinson, colonel; Joint Secretary for Ireland.

[US.] John Banks Jenkinson, D.D., Bishop of St. David's.

Jervis, John, admiral; created Earl St. Vincent; 1st Lord of the Admiralty.

u. Right Hon. Sir Thomas Parker; Ch. B. E.

UP. Thomas Jervis, M.P., Ch. Justice of Chester.

UPS. Sir John Jervis, M.P., Attorney-General; Ch. C. P. (Vict)

King, Lord. See judges.

Lamb, William, 2d Visct. Melbourne; Premier, 1834 and 1835-41.

B. Frederick, diplomatist, ambassador to Vienna; created Lord Beauvale.

B. George, M.P., Under-Sec, of State for Home Department.

b. Lady Palmerston.

p. Rt. Hon. Wm. F. Cowper, President of the Board of Works, &c.

Lansdowne, Marquis. See petty.

Liverpool, Lord. See jenkinson.

Londonderry. See stewart.

Nelson, Admiral; created Earl Nelson. See commanders.

North, Lord; created Earl Guilford; Premier, 1770-82.

[G.F.] Francis, 1st Baron Guilford. Lord Keeper. (James II.) Whose three brothers and other eminent relations are described in judges. (See also Genealogical Table.)

Palmerston. See temple.

Peel, Sir Robert; Premier, 1834-5, 1841-5, 1845-6.

F. Sir Robert Peel, M.P.; created a Bart A very wealthy cotton manufacturer and of great mercantile ability, who founded the fortunes of the family. He was Vice-President of the Literary Society.

g. Sir John Floyd, General, created a Bart. for service in India.

B. Right Hon. General Peel, Secretary of State for War.

B. Right Hon. Lawrence Peel, Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Calcutta.

There were also other brothers of more than average ability.

S. Rt. Hon. Sir Robert, 2d Bart.; Chief Secretary for Ireland.

S. Right Hon. Frederick, Under Secretary of State for War.

S. Captain Sir William Peel, R.N., distinguished at Sebastopol and in India.

Perceval, Spencer; Premier, 1810-12.

n. 2d Lord Redesdale, Chairman of Committees of House of Lords. (He was son of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland.)

n. Right Hon. Spencer Walpole, Secretary of State for Home Department.

Petty, William Petty; 2d Earl Shelburne; created Marquis Lansdowne; Premier, 1782-3. An ardent supporter of the Earl of Chatham; in early life he distinguished himself in the army, at Minden.

GF. Sir William Petty, physician, politician, and author, Surveyor-General of Ireland; a man of singular versatility, and successful in everything, including money-making.

S. 3d. Marquis Lansdowne, statesman and man of letters. In youth, as Lord Henry Petty, he was one of the set who founded the Edinburgh Review. He then became prominent as a Whig, in Parliament, and was Secretary of State more than once. Was Chancellor of the Exchequer, aet. 26.

Pitt, William; created Earl of Chatham; Premier, 1766. Originally in the army, which he left aet. 28; then the vigorous opponent of Walpole in Parliament, “the terrible comet of Dragoons;” afterwards, aet. 49, he became one of the ablest of statesmen, most brilliant of orators, and the prime mover of the policy of England. Married a Grenville. (See grenville for genealogical tree.)

[G.] Thomas Pitt, Governor of Fort George, who somehow or other amassed a large fortune in India.

S. William Pitt, Premier.

p. Lady Hester Stanhope.

Pitt, William; 2d son of the 1st Earl of Chatham. Illustrious statesman; Premier, 1783-1801; and 1804-6. Precocious, and of eminent talent; frequent ill-health in boyhood; get 14 an excellent scholar. Never boyish in his ways; became a healthy youth aet. 18. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer aet. 24, and Prime Minister aet. 25; which latter office he held for seventeen years consecutively - His constitution was early broken by gout; died aet. 47.

F. Earl of Chatham, Premier.

N. Lady Hester Stanhope.

u. George Grenville, Premier.

uS. Lord Grenville, Premier.

n. Lady Hester Stanhope, who did the honours of his house, and occasionally acted as his secretary; she was highly accomplished, but most eccentric and more than half mad. After Pitt's death, she lived in Syria, dressed as a male native, and professed supernatural powers.

Portland, Duke of. See bentinck.

Ripon, Earl of. See robinson.

Robinson, Frederick John; 1st Viscount Goderich and Earl of Ripon; Premier, 1827-8.

G. Thomas Robinson, created Baron Grantham, diplomatist; afterwards Secretary of State.

F. Thomas Robinson, 2d Baron, also diplomatist, and afterwards Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

gB. Charles Yorke, Lord Chancellor. See judges.

gF. Philip Yorke, 1st Lord Hardwicke, Ld. Chan. See judges.

S. George F. (inherited) Earl de Grey and Ripon, Secretary of State for War.

Romilly, Sir Samuel; eminent lawyer and statesman. His parents were French refugees. He was of a serious disposition in youth, and almost educated and supported himself. Entered the bar, and attracted notice by a pamphlet He rose rapidly in his profession, and became Solicitor-General and M.P. Eminent reformer of criminal laws; committed suicide aet. 61.

S. Right Hon. Sir John Romilly, created Lord Romilly; Attorney-General and Master of the Rolls. See judges.

Russell, 1st Earl; Premier. See  bedford.

Scott, William; cr. Lord Stowell, Judge of the Admiralty Court.

B. Lord Eldon, Lord Chancellor. See judges. Lord Stowell and Eldon were each of them twins, each having been born with a sister.

Shelburne, Earl of. See petty.

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley; orator, extraordinary wit, and dramatist. Was stupid as a boy of 7. When aet. 11 was idle and careless, but engaging, and showed gleams of superior intellect, as testified by Dr. Parr. On leaving school he wrote what he afterwards developed into the “Critic.” Wrote the “Rivals” aet. 24. Died worn out in body and spirits aet. 65. He eloped in youth with Miss Linley, a popular singer of great personal charms and exquisite musical talents. Tom Sheridan was the son of that marriage. Miss Linley's father was a musical composer and manager of Drury Lane Theatre. The Linley family was “a nest of nightingales:” all had genius, beauty, and voice. Mrs. Tickel was one of

them. The name of Sheridan is peculiarly associated with a clearly marked order of brilliant and engaging but “ne'er-do-weel” qualities. Richard Brinsley's genius worked in flashes, and left results that were disproportionate to its remarkable power. His oratorical power and winning address made him a brilliant speaker and a star in society; but he was neither a sterling statesman nor a true friend. He was an excellent boon companion, but unhappy in his domestic relations. Reckless prodigality, gambling, and wild living, brought on debts and duns and a premature break of his constitution. These qualities are found in a greater or less degree among numerous members of the Sheridan family, as well as in those whose biographies have been published. It is exceedingly instructive to observe how strongly hereditary they have proved to be.

F. Thomas Sheridan, author of the Dictionary. Taught oratory, connected himself with theatres, became, aet. 25, manager of Drury Lane. He was a whimsical but not an opinionated man.

f. Frances Chamberlain, most accomplished and amiable. Her father would not allow her to learn writing; her brothers taught her secretly: aet. 15, her talent for literary composition showed itself. She wrote some comedies, one of which was as highly eulogized by Garrick, as her novel “Sydney Biddulph” was panegyrized by Fox and Lord North.

g. Rev. Dr. Philip Chamberlain, an admired preacher, but a humorist and full of crotchets. (I know nothing of the character of his wife, Miss Lydia Whyte.)

G. Rev. Dr. Thomas Sheridan, friend and correspondent of Dean Swift. A social, punning, fiddling man, careless and indolent; high animal spirits. “His pen and his fiddlestick were in continual motion.”

S. Tom Sheridan; a thorough scapegrace, and a Sheridan all over. (He had the Linley blood in him—see above); married and died young, leaving a large family, of whom one is—

P. Caroline, Mrs. Norton; poetess and novelist. PS. Lord Dufferin, late Secretary for Ireland, is the son of another daughter.

Stanley, Edward Geoffrey; 14th Earl of Derby; Premier, 1852, 1858-9, 1866-8; scholar; translator of “Homer” into English verse, as well as orator and statesman.

F. Naturalist; President of Linnaean and Zoological Societies; known by his endeavours to acclimatize animals.

uS. Rev. J. J. Hornby, Head Master of Eton; scholar and athlete.

S. Edward, Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Stewart, Robert; the famous Viscount Castlereagh, and 2d Marquess Londonderry. Great hopes were entertained of him when he entered Parliament, barely of age, but he disappointed them at first, for he was a very unequal speaker. However, he became leader of the House of Commons aet. 29. Committed suicide.

F. Was M.P. for county Down, and raised through successive peerages to the Marquisate.

uS. Sir George Hamilton, G.C.B.; diplomatist, especially in Russia and Austria.

B (Half brother, grandson of Lord Chancellor Camden.) Charles William; created Earl Vane; Adjutant-General under Wellington in Spain aet. 30.

[p.] (And P. to Duke of Grafton, Premier 1767.) Admiral Fitzroy; eminent navigator (“Voyage of the Beagle”). Superintendent of the Meteorological Department of the Board of Trade.

Stuart, John; 3d Earl of Bute; Premier, 1762-3.

u. 1d Duke of Argyll; created Duke of Greenwich; statesman and general. In command at Sheriffmuir:— “Argyll, the State's whole thunder born to wield, And shake alike the senate and the field.”—pope.

GF. Sir George Mackenzie, Lord Advocate; eminent lawyer.

G. Sir James Stuart, 1st Earl of Bute; Privy Councillor to Queen Anne.

GU. Robert Stuart, 1st Baronet; a Lord of Session, as Lord Tillicoultry.

GB. Dugald Stuart, also a Lord of Session.

B. Right Hon. James Stuart, who assumed the additional name of Mackenzie; Keeper of Privy Seal of Scotland.

S. General Sir Charles Stuart; reduced Minorca.

S. William, D.D.; Archbishop of Armagh.

Stuart, John, continued—

P. Charles; ambassador to France; created Baron Stuart de Rothesay. His great grandmother (Gf.) was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; charming letter-writer; introducer of inoculation from the East.

Temple, Henry J.; Lord Palmerston; octogenarian Premier, 1855-8, 1859-65. Was singularly slow in showing his great powers, though he was always considered an able man, and was generally successful in his undertakings. He had an excellent constitution, and high animal spirits, but was not ambitious in the ordinary sense of the word, and did not care to go out of his way to do work. He was fully 45 years old before his statesmanlike powers were clearly displayed.

His father is described as a model of conjugal affection; he wrote a most pathetic and natural epitaph on his wife. He was fond of literature and of pictures.

B. Sir William Temple; Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Naples; founder of the “Temple Collection” of Italian antiquities, and works of art in the British Museum.

GGB. Sir William Temple, Swift's patron.

GG. Sir John Temple, Attorney-General, and Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland.

GGF. Sir John Temple, Master of the Rolls in Ireland; even he was not the first of this family that showed ability.

Thurlow, Lord; Lord Chancellor. See under judges.

St. Vincent, Earl. See jervis.

Walpole, Sir Robert; created Earl of Oxford; Premier, 1721-42 (under Geo. I. and II., but included in Brougham's volumes of the Statesmen of Geo. III.). In private life hearty, good-natured, and social. Had a happy art of making friends. Great powers of persuasion. For business of all kinds he had an extraordinary capacity, and did his work with the greatest ease and tranquillity.

G. Sir Edward Walpole, M.P.; distinguished member of the Parliament that restored Charles II.

B. Horatio; diplomatist of a high order; created Baron Walpole.

S. Sir Edward; Chief Secretary for Ireland.

Walpole, Sir Robert, continued—

S. Horace; famous in literature and art. Strawberry Hill. Excellent letter-writer: Byron speaks of his letters as incomparable. Gouty. Died aet. 80.

np. Admiral Lord Nelson.

A grandson [G.] of Horatio was minister at Munich, and another was minister in Portugal. One of the sons of the former is Rt. Hon. Spencer Walpole, Secretary of State.

A: Mrs. Darner, sculptor, daughter of Field-Marshal Conway, cousin to Horace Walpole

Wellesley, Richard; created Marquess of Wellesley; Governor-General of India; most eminent statesman and scholar.

B. Arthur; the great Duke of Wellington.

[B.] 1st Baron Cowley, diplomatist.

[F.] 1st Earl of Mornington; eminent musical tastes. He inherited the estates and the name, but not the blood, of the Wesleys, whose descendants were the famous Dissenters, his father, Richard Colley, having obtained them from his aunt's husband, who was a Wesley.

gGF. The infamous judge. Sir John Trevor, M.R., the cousin and the rival of the abler, but hardly more infamous, Judge Jeffreys.

N. Henry Wellesley; created Earl Cowley; diplomatist; ambassador to France.

S. (Illegitimate.) Rev. Henry Wellesley, D.D.; Principal of New Inn Hall, Oxford; a scholar and man of extensive literary acquirements and remarkable taste in art.

Wellesley, Arthur; created Duke of Wellington; Premier. See commanders.

B. Marquess Wellesley

F. Earl Mornington

N. Earl Cowley

N. Rev. Henry Wellesley

{as above}

Wilberforce, William; philanthropist and statesman; of very weak constitution in infancy. Even aet. 7 showed a remarkable talent for elocution; had a singularly melodious voice, which has proved hereditary; sang well; was very quick; desultory at college. Entered Parliament aet. 21, and before aet. 25 had gained high reputation.

S. Samuel, Bishop of Oxford; prelate, orator, and administrator.

Wilberforce, William, continued—

[S.] Robert, Archdeacon; Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford; subsequently became Roman Catholic.

[S.] Henry William; scholar, Oxford, 1830. Subsequently became Roman Catholic.


Adams, John (1735-1826), the second President of the United States. Educated for the law, where he soon gained great reputation and practice; was an active politician aet. 30; took a prominent part in effecting the independence of his country.

S. John Quincey Adams, sixth President of the United States; previously minister in Berlin, Russia, and Vienna.

P. Charles Francis Adams, the recent and well-known American minister in London; author of “Life of John Adams.”

Arteveldt, James Van (1345?); brewer of Ghent; popular leader in the revolt of Flanders; exercised sovereign power for nine years.

S. Philip Van Arteveldt. See below.

Arteveldt, Philip Van (1382?); leader of the popular party, long subsequently to his father's death. He was well educated and wealthy, and had kept aloof from politics till aet. 42, when he was dragged into them by the popular party, and hailed their captain by acclamation. He led the Flemish bravely against the French, but was finally defeated and slain.

F. James Van Arteveldt. See above.

Burleigh, Earl. See cecil.

Cecil, William; created Lord Burleigh; statesman (Elizabeth); Lord Treasurer. “The ablest minister of an able reign.” Was Secretary, or chief Minister, during almost the whole of Queen Elizabeth's long reign of forty-five years. He was distinguished at Cambridge for his power of work and for his very regular habits. Married for his second wife the daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, director of the studies of Edward VI., and sister of Lady Bacon, the mother of the great Lord Bacon, and had by her—

Cecil, William, continued—

S. Robert Cecil, who was created Earl of Salisbury the same day that his elder brother was created Earl of Exeter. He was of weakly constitution and deformed. Succeeded his father as Prime Minister under Elizabeth, and afterwards under James I.; was unquestionably the ablest minister of his time, but cold-hearted and selfish. Lord Bacon was uS. to him.

[B.] 1st Earl of Exeter.

[F.] Master of the Robes to Henry VIII.

Colbert, Jean Baptiste; French statesman and financier (Louis XIV.); eminent for the encouragement he gave to public works and institutions, to commerce and manufactures. He was fully appreciated in his early life by Mazarin, who recommended him as his successor. He became minister aet. 49, and used to work for sixteen hours a day. His family gave many distinguished servants to France.

U. Odart; a merchant who became a considerable financier.

B. Charles; statesman and diplomatist.

S. Jean Baptiste; statesman; intelligent and firm of purpose; commanded, when still a mere youth, the expedition against Genoa in 1684.

S. Jacques Nicholas, archbishop; member of the Academy.

N. Jean Baptiste (son of Charles); diplomatist.

N. Charles Joachim; prelate.

The family continued to show ability in the succeeding generation.

Cromwell, Oliver; Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.

US. Hampden the patriot, whom Lord Clarendon speaks of as having “a head to contrive, a tongue to persuade, and a heart to execute any mischief;”—this word “mischief” meaning, of course, antagonism to the King.

Up. Edmund Waller, the poet, a man of very considerable abilities both in parliamentary eloquence and in poetry, but he was not over-stedfast in principle. He was n. to Hampden.

S. Henry; behaved with gallantry in the army, and acted with much distinction in Ireland as Lord Deputy. He had one other son and four daughters, who married able men, but their descendants were not remarkable. The Cromwell breed has been of much less importance

than might have been expected from his own genius and that of his collaterals, Hampden and Waller. Besides his son Henry, there is no important name in the numerous descendants of Oliver Cromwell. Henry's sons were insignificant people, so were those of Richard, and so also were those of Cromwell's daughters, notwithstanding their marriage with such eminent men as Ireton and Fleetwood. One of Oliver's sisters married Archbishop Tillotson, and had issue by him, but they proved nobodies.

Guise, Francis Balafre, Duke of. The most illustrious among the generals and great political leaders of this powerful French family. He had high military talent. He greatly distinguished himself as a general aet. 34, and was then elevated to the dignity of Lieutenant-General of the kingdom.

B. Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine.

S. Henry (Duke of Guise, also called Balafre). He was less magnanimous and more factious than his father; was the adviser of the massacre of St. Bartholomew; and he caused Coligny to be murdered; was himself murdered by order of Henri III., aet. 38.

S. Cardinal, arrested and murdered in prison, on the same day as his brother.

[S.] Duc de Mayenne.

P. Charles, who, together with his uncle, the Due de Mayenne, was leader of the league against Henri IV.

PS. Henry, conspired against Cardinal Richelieu. Thus there were four generations of notable men in the Guise family.

Mirabeau, H. G. Riquetti, Comte de; French statesman, “The Alcibiades of the French Revolution.” A man of violent passions, ardent imagination, and great abilities. He had prodigious mental activity, and hungered for every kind of knowledge.

F. Marquis de Mirabeau; author of “L'Ami des Hommes,” a leader of the school of the Economists; a philanthropist by profession, and a harsh despot in his own family.

[B and b.] There were remarkable characters among the brothers and sisters of Mirabeau, but I am unable

to state facts by which their merits may be distinctly appraised.

It is said that among many generations of the Mirabeaus—or more properly speaking, of the Riquettis, for Mirabeau was an assumed name—were to be found men of great mental vigour and character. Thus St. Beuve says—and I give the extract in full and without apology on account of the interest ever attaching itself to Mirabeau's characteristics—

“Les Correspondances du pere et de 1'oncle du grand tribun, la Notice sur son grand-pere, et en general toutes les pieces qui font le tissu de ces huit volumes, ont revele une race a part des caracteres d'une originalite grandiose et haute, d'ob notre Mirabeau n'a en qu'a descendre pour se repandre ensuite, pour se precipiter comme il 1'a fait et se distribuer a tous, tellement qu'on pent dire qu'il n'a ete que 1'enfant perdu, 1'enfant prodigue et sublime de sa race.”

He combined his paternal qualities with those of his mother:—

“Ce n'etait suivant la definition de son pere qu'un male monstreux au physique et au moral.

“II tenait de sa mere la largeur du visage, les instincts, les appetits prodigues et sensuels, mais probablement aussi ce certain fond gaillard et gaulois, cette faculte de se familiariser et de s'humaniser qui les Riquetti n'avaient pas, et qui deviendra un des moyens de sa puissance.

“Une nature riche, ample, copieuse, genereuse, souvent grossiere et vicee, souvent fine aussi, noble, meme elegante, et, en somme, pas du tout monstreuse, mais des plus humaines.”

More, Sir Thomas; Lord Chancellor (Henry VIII.); eminent statesman and writer; singularly amiable, unaffectedly pious, and resolute to death. When aet. 13, the Dean of St. Paul's used to say of him, “There was but one wit in England, and that was young More.”

F. Sir John More, Just. K. B.

[S. and 3 s.] Besides his three accomplished daughters, Margaret Roper, Elizabeth Dauncy, and Cecilia Heron, Sir Thomas More had one son called John. Too much has been said of the want of capacity of this son. His father com
mended the purity of his Latin more than that of his daughters, and Grynaeus (see under divines) dedicated to him an edition of Plato, while Erasmus inscribed to him the works of Aristotle. He had enough strength of character to deny the king's supremacy, and on that account he lay for some time in the Tower under sentence of death. (“ Life of More,” by Rev. Joseph Hunter, 1828, Preface, p. xxxvi.)

Richelieu, Armand J. du Plessis, Cardinal Due de. The great minister of France under Louis XIV. He was educated for arms, but devoted himself to study, and entered the Church at a very early age—earlier than was legal—and became Doctor. Aet. 39 he was chief minister, and thenceforward he absolutely reigned for eighteen years. He was not a loveable man. He pursued but one end—the establishment of a strong despotism. Died aet. 57.

F. Francois du Plessis, seigneur de Richelieu; signalized himself as a soldier and a diplomatist. Was promoted to be “grand prevot de France,” and was highly rewarded by Henri IV.

[B.] Henri; became “marechal de camp,” and was killed in a duel just when he was about to be promoted to the government of Angers.

B. Alphonse L.; Cardinal of Lyons. Became a monk of the Chartreuse, and practised great austerity. He behaved nobly in Lyons at the time of the plague.

BP. (Grandson of Henri.) Louis F. Armand, Due de Richelieu. He was Marshal of France, and personified the eighteenth century; being frivolous, fond of intrigue, immoral, without remorse, imperturbably good-humoured, and courageous. He was a seven months' child, and lived to aet. 92. His children were—

BPS. The “trop celebre” Due de Fronsac.

BPS. The witty and beautiful Countess of Egmont.

BPP. (Son of the Due de Fronsac.) Armand E., Due de Richelieu; Prime Minister of France under Louis XVIII. Died in 1822.

nS. Comte de Gramont, wit and courtier. See under literary men.

Witt, De, John. The younger brother of two of the ablest and more honourable of Dutch statesmen. They were inseparable in their careers, but different in character; each, however, being among the finest specimens of his peculiar type. John played the more prominent part, on account of his genial, versatile, and aspiring character. He rose through various offices, until, aet. 27, he became Grand Pensionary, virtually the chief magistrate, of Holland. He was savagely murdered, aet. 47.

B. Cornelius De Witt. See below.

[F.] A party leader of some importance. Witt, De, Cornelius; had more solid, though less showy parts, than his brother, but was in reality the most efficient supporter of that power which his brother John exercised. He, also, was savagely murdered, aet. 49.

B. John De Witt. See above.

[F.] See above,


IT is frequently, and justly, remarked, that the families of great men are apt to die out; and it is argued from that fact, that men of ability are unprolific. If this were the case, every attempt to produce a highly-gifted race of men would eventually be defeated. Gifted individuals might be reared, but they would be unable to maintain their breed. I propose in a future chapter, after I have discussed the several groups of eminent men, to examine the degree in which transcendent genius may be correlated with sterility, but it will be convenient that I should now say something about the causes of failure of issue of Judges and Statesmen, and come to some conclusion whether or no a breed of men gifted with the average ability of those eminent men, could or could not maintain itself during an indefinite number of consecutive generations. I will even go a little further a-field, and treat of the extinct peerages generally.

First, as to the Judges: there is a peculiarity in their domestic relations that interferes with a large average of legitimate families. Lord Campbell states in a foot-note to his life of Lord Chancellor Thurlow, in his “Lives of the Chancellors,” that when he (Lord Campbell) was first acquainted with the English Bar, one half of the judges had married their mistresses. He says it was then the
understanding that when a barrister was elevated to the Bench, he should either marry his mistress, or put her away.

According to this extraordinary statement, it would appear that much more than one half of the judges that sat on the Bench in the beginning of this century, had no legitimate offspring before the advanced period of their lives at which they were appointed judges. One half of them could not, because it was at that stage in their career that they married their mistresses; and there were others who, having then put away their mistresses, were, for the first time, able to marry. Nevertheless, I have shown that the number of the legitimate children of the Judges is considerable, and that even under that limitation, they are, on the whole, by no means an unfertile race. Bearing in mind what I have just stated, it must follow that they are extremely prolific. Nay, there are occasional instances of enormous families, in all periods of their history. But do not the families die out? I will examine into the descendants of those judges whose names are to be found in the appendix to the chapter upon them, who gained peerages, and who last sat on the Bench previous to the close of the reign of George IV. There are thirty-one of them; nineteen of the peerages remain and twelve are extinct. Under what conditions did these twelve become extinct? Were any of those conditions peculiar to the twelve, and not shared by the remaining nineteen?

In order to obtain an answer to these inquiries, I examined into the number of children and grandchildren of all the thirty-one peers, and into the particulars of their alliances, and tabulated them; when, to my astonishment, I found a very simple, adequate, and novel explanation, of the common cause of extinction of peerages, stare me in the face. It appeared, in the first instance, that a considerable proportion of the new peers and of their sons

married heiresses. Their motives for doing so are intelligible enough, and not to be condemned. They have a title, and perhaps a sufficient fortune, to transmit to their eldest son, but they want an increase of possessions for the endowment of their younger sons and their daughters. On the other hand, an heiress has a fortune, but wants a title. Thus the peer and heiress are urged to the same issue of marriage by different impulses. But my statistical lists showed, with unmistakeable emphasis, that these marriages are peculiarly unprolific. We might, indeed, have expected that an heiress, who is the sole issue of a marriage, would not be so fertile as a woman who has many brothers and sisters. Comparative infertility must be hereditary in the same way as other physical attributes, and I am assured it is so in the case of the domestic animals. Consequently, the issue of a peer's marriage with an heiress frequently fails, and his title is brought to an end. I will give the following list of every case in the first or second generation of the Law Lords, taken from the English Judges within the limits I have already specified, where there has been a marriage with an heiress or a co-heiress, and I will describe the result in each instance. Then I will summarize the facts.

Influence of Heiress-marriages on the Families of those English Judges who obtained Peerages, and who last sat on the Bench between the beginning of the reign of Charles II. and the end of the reign of George IV.

(The figures within parentheses give the date of their peerages.)

Colpepper, 1st Lord (1664). Married twice, and had issue by both marriages; in all, five sons and four daughters. The eldest son married an heiress, and died without issue. The second son married a co-heiress, and had only one daughter. The third married, but had no children, and the other two never married at all, so the title became extinct.

Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (1672). His mother was a sole

heiress. He married three times, and had only one son. However, the son was prolific, and the direct male line continues.

Cowper, 1st Earl (1718). First wife was an heiress; he had no surviving issue by her. His second wife had two sons and two daughters. His eldest son married a co-heiress for his first wife, and had only one son and one daughter. The direct male line continues.

Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham (1681). Had fourteen children. The eldest married a co-heiress for his first wife, and had only one daughter by her.

Harcourt, 1st Lord (1712). Had three sons and two daughters. Two of the sons died young. The eldest married an heiress, whose mother was an heiress also. He had by her two sons and one daughter. Both of the sons married, and both died issueless, so the title became extinct.

Henley, 1st Earl of Northington (1764). His mother was a coheiress. He married, and had one son and five daughters. The son died unmarried, and so the title became extinct.

Hyde, 1st Earl Clarendon (1661). Married a lady who was eventually sole heiress, and had four sons and two daughters by her. The third son died unmarried, and the fourth was drowned at sea, consequently there remained only two available sons to carry on the family. Of these, the eldest, who became the 2d Earl, married a lady who died, leaving an only son. He then married for his second wife, an heiress, who had no issue at all. This only son had but one male child, who died in youth, and was succeeded in the title by the descendants of the 1st Earl's second son. He (the son of an heiress) had only one son and four daughters, and this son, who was 4th Earl of Clarendon, had only one son and two daughters. The son died young, so the title became extinct.

Jeffreys, 1st Lord (of Wem—1685). Had one son and two daughters. The son married an heiress, and had only one daughter, so the title became extinct.

Kenyon, 1st Lord (1788). Had three sons. Although one of them married a co-heiress, there were numerous descendants in the next generation.

North, 1st Lord Guilford (1683). Married a co-heiress. He had only one grandson, who, however, lived and had children.

Parker, 1st Earl of Macclesfield (1721). This family has

narrowly escaped extinction, threatened continually by its numerous errors of alliance. The 1st Earl married a co-heiress, and had only one son and one daughter. The son married a co-heiress, and had two sons; of these, the second married a co-heiress, and had no issue at all. The eldest son (grandson of the 1st Earl) was therefore the only male that remained in the race. He had two sons and one daughter. Now of these two, the only male heirs in the third generation, one married a co-heiress, and had only one daughter. The remaining one fortunately married twice, for by the first marriage he had only daughters. A son by the second marriage is the present peer, and is the father, by two marriages—in neither case with an heiress—of eleven sons and four daughters.

Pratt, 1st Earl of Camden (1786). This family affords a similar instance to the last one, of impending destruction to the race. The 1st Earl married an heiress, and had only one son and four daughters. The son married an heiress, and had only one son and three daughters. This son married a co-heiress, but fortunately had three sons and eight daughters.

Raymond, 1st Lord (1731). He had one son, who married a co-heiress, and left no issue at all, so the title became extinct

Scott, Lord Stowell. See further on, under my list of statesmen.

Talbot, 1st Lord (1733). This family narrowly escaped extinction. The 1st Lord married an heiress, and had three sons. The eldest son married an heiress, and had only one daughter. The second son married a co-heiress, and had no issue by her. However, she died, and he married again, and left four sons. The third son of the first Earl had male issue.

Trevor, 1st Lord (1711). Married first a co-heiress, and had two sons and three daughters. Both of the sons married, but they had only one daughter each. Lord Trevor married again, and had three sons, of whom one died young, and the other two, though they married, left no issue at all.

Wedderburn, 1st Lord Loughborough and Earl of Rosslyn (1801). Married an heiress for his first wife, and had no issue at all. He married again, somewhat late in life, and had no issue. So the direct male line is extinct.

Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke (1754). Is numerously represented, though two of his lines of descent have failed, in one of which there was a marriage with a co-heiress.

The result of all these facts is exceedingly striking. It is:—

1st. That out of the thirty-one peerages, there were no less than seventeen in which the hereditary influence of an heiress or co-heiress affected the first or second generation. That this influence was sensibly an agent in producing sterility in sixteen out of these seventeen peerages, and the influence was sometimes shown in two, three, or more cases in one peerage.

2d. That the direct male line of no less than eight peerages, viz. Colpepper, Harcourt, Northington, Clarendon, Jeffreys, Raymond, Trevor, and Rosslyn, were actually extinguished through the influence of the heiresses, and that six others, viz. Shaftesbury, Cowper, Guilford, Parker, Camden, and Talbot, had very narrow escapes from extinction, owing to the same cause. I literally have only one case, that of Lord Kenyon, where the race-destroying influence of heiress-blood was not felt.

3d. Out of the twelve peerages that have failed in the direct male line, no less than eight failures are accounted for by heiress-marriages.

Now, what of the four that remain? Lords Somers and Thurlow both died unmarried. Lord Alvanley had only two sons, of whom one died unmarried. There is only his case and that of the Earl of Mansfield, out of the ten who married and whose titles have since become extinct, where the extinction may not be accounted for by heiress-marriages. No one can therefore maintain, with any show of reason, that there are grounds for imputing exceptional sterility to the race of judges. The facts, when carefully analysed, point very strongly in the opposite direction.

I will now treat the Statesmen of George III. and the Premiers since the accession of George III. down to recent times, in the same way as I have treated the Judges; including, however, only those whose pedigrees I can easily

find, namely, such as were peers or nearly related to peers. There are twenty-two of these names. I find that fourteen have left no male descendants, and that seven of those fourteen peers or their sons have married heiresses—namely, Canning, Castlereagh, Lord Grenville, George Grenville, Lord Holland, Lord Stowell, and Walpole (the first Earl of Oxford). On the other hand, I find only three cases of peers marrying heiresses without failure of issue,—namely, Addington (Lord Sidmouth), the Marquis of Bute, and the Duke of Grafton.

The seven whose male line became extinct from other causes are Bolingbroke, Earl Chatham, Lord Liverpool, Earl St. Vincent, Earl Nelson, William Pitt (unmarried), and the Marquess of Wellesley (who left illegitimate issue). The remaining five required to complete the twenty-two cases are the Duke of Bedford, Dundas (Viscount Melville), Perceval, Romilly, and Wilberforce. None of these were allied or descended from heiress-blood, and they have all left descendants.

I append to this summary the history of the heiress-marriages, to correspond with what has already been given in respect to the Judges.

Bute, Marquess of. Married a co-heiress, but had a large family.

Canning, George. Married an heiress, and had three sons and one daughter. The eldest died young; the second was drowned in youth; and the third, who was the late Earl Canning, married a co-heiress, and had no issue: so the line is extinct.

Castlereagh, Viscount. Married a co-heiress, and had neither son nor daughter; so the line became extinct.

Grafton, Duke of. Married an heiress, and had two sons and one daughter. By a second wife he had a larger family.

Grenville, Lord. Had three sons and four daughters. The eldest son married an heiress, and had no male grandchildren; the second was apparently unmarried; the third was George Grenville (Premier): he married, but was issueless; so the line is extinct.

Holland, Lord. Had one son and one daughter. The son married an heiress, and had only one son and one daughter. That son died issueless; so the male line is extinct.

Rockingham, 2d Marquis. Married an heiress, and had no issue; so the title became extinct.

Sidmouth, Viscount (Addington). Was son of an heiress, and he had only one son and four daughters. The son had numerous descendants.

Stowell, Lord. Married a co-heiress. He had only one son, who died unmarried, and one daughter; so the male line is extinct.

Walpole, 1st Earl of Oxford. Had three sons and two daughters. The eldest son married an heiress, and had only one son, who died unmarried. The second and third sons died unmarried; so the male line is extinct.

The important result disclosed by these facts, that intermarriage with heiresses is a notable agent in the extinction of families, is confirmed by more extended inquiries. I devoted some days to ransacking Burke's volumes on the extant and on the extinct peerages. I first tried the marriages made by the second peers of each extant title. It seemed reasonable to expect that the eldest son of the first peer, the founder of the title, would marry heiresses pretty frequently; and so they do, and with terrible destruction to their race. I examined one-seventh part of the peerage. Leaving out co-heiresses—for I shall weary the reader if I refine overmuch—the following were the results:

No. of cases.


Abingdon, 2d Earl; wife and mother both heiresses. No issue.


Aldborough, 2d Earl; married two heiresses. No issue.


Annesley, 2d Earl; wife and mother both heiresses. 3 sons and 2 daughters.


Arran, 2d Earl; wife and mother both heiresses. 4 sons and 3 daughters.


(His son, the 3d Earl, married an heiress, and had no issue.)


Ashburnham, 2d Baron; wife and mother both heiresses. No issue.


(His brother succeeded as 3d Earl, and married an heiress; by her no issue.)


Aylesford, 2d Earl; wife heiress, mother co-heiress. I son and 3 daughters.


Barrington, 2d Viscount; wife and mother both heiresses. No issue.


Beaufort, 2d Duke; marr. Two heiresses. By one no issue; by the other 2 sons.


Bedford, 2d Duke; married heiress. 2 sons and 2 daughters.


Camden, 2d Earl; wife and mother both heiresses, l son and 3 daughters.





Making a grand total of fourteen cases out of seventy peers, resulting in eight instances of absolute sterility, and in two instances of only one son.

I tried the question from another side, by taking the marriages of the last peers and comparing the numbers of the children when the mother was an heiress with those when she was not. I took precautions to exclude from the latter all cases where the mother was a co-heiress, or the father an only son. Also, since heiresses are not so very common, I sometimes went back two or three generations for an instance of an heiress-marriage. In this way I took fifty cases of each. I give them below, having first doubled the actual results, in order to turn them into percentages:—


Number of sons to each marriage.


Number of cases in which the mother was an heiress.

Number of cases in which the mother was not an heiress.































I find that among the wives of peers—

100 who are heiresses have        208 sons and 206 daughters,
100 who are not heiresses have  336 sons and 284 daughters.

The table shows how exceedingly precarious must be the line of a descent from an heiress, especially when younger sons are not apt to marry. One-fifth of the heiresses have no male children at all; a full third have not more than one child; three-fifths have not more than two. It has been the salvation of many families that the husband outlived the heiress whom he first married, and was able to leave issue by a second wife.

Every advancement in dignity is a fresh inducement to the introduction of another heiress into the family. Consequently, dukes have a greater impregnation of heiress-blood than earls, and dukedoms might be expected to be more frequently extinguished than earldoms, and earldoms to be more apt to go than baronies. Experience shows this to be most decidedly the case. Sir Bernard Burke, in his preface to the “Extinct Peerages,” states that all the English dukedoms created from the commencement of the order down to the commencement of the reign of Charles II. are gone, excepting three that are merged in royalty, and that only eleven earldoms remain out of the many created by the Normans, Plantagenets, and Tudors.

This concludes my statistics about the heiresses. I do not care to go farther, because one ought to know something more about their several histories before attempting to arrive at very precise results in respect to their fertility. An heiress is not always the sole child of a marriage contracted early in life and enduring for many years. She may be the surviving child of a larger family, or the child of a late marriage, or the parents may have early left her an orphan. We ought also to consider the family of the husband, whether he be a sole child, or one of a large family. These matters would afford a very instructive field of inquiry to those who cared to labour in it, but it falls outside my line of work. The reason I have gone so far is simply to show that, although many men of eminent

ability (I do not speak of illustrious or prodigious genius) have not left descendants behind them, it is not because they are sterile, but because they are apt to marry sterile women, in order to obtain wealth to support the peerages with which their merits have been rewarded. I look upon the peerage as a disastrous institution, owing to its destructive effects on our valuable races. The most highly-gifted men are ennobled; their elder sons are tempted to marry heiresses, and their younger ones not to marry at all, for these have not enough fortune to support both a family and an aristocratical position. So the side-shoots of the genealogical tree are hacked off, and the leading shoot is blighted, and the breed is lost for ever.

It is with much satisfaction that I have traced and, I hope, finally disposed of the cause why families are apt to become extinct in proportion to their dignity—chiefly so, on account of my desire to show that able races are not necessarily sterile, and secondarily because it may put an end to the wild and ludicrous hypotheses that are frequently started to account for their extinction.


IN times of prolonged war, when the reputation of a great commander can alone be obtained, the profession of arms affords a career that offers its full share of opportunities to men of military genius. Promotion is quick, the demand for able men is continuous, and very young officers have frequent opportunities of showing their powers. Hence it follows that the list of great commanders, notwithstanding it is short, contains several of the most gifted men recorded in history. They showed enormous superiority over their contemporaries by excelling in many particulars. They were foremost in their day, among statesmen and generals, and their energy was prodigious. Many, when they were mere striplings, were distinguished for political capacity. In their early manhood, they bore the whole weight and responsibility of government; they animated armies and nations with their spirit; they became the champions of great coalitions, and coerced millions of other men by the superior power of their own intellect and will.

I will run through a few of these names in the order in which they will appear in the appendix to this chapter, to show what giants in ability their acts prove them to have been, and how great and original was the position they occupied at ages when most youths are kept in the background of general society, and hardly suffered to express

opinions, much less to act, contrary to the prevailing sentiments of the day.

Alexander the Great began his career of conquest at the age of twenty, having previously spent four years at home in the exercise of more or less sovereign power, with a real statesmanlike capacity. His life's work was over aet. 32. Bonaparte, the Emperor Napoleon I., was general of the Italian army aet. 26, and thenceforward carried everything before him, whether in the field or in the State, in rapid succession. He was made emperor aet. 35, and had lost Waterloo aet. 46. Caesar, though he was prevented by political hindrances from obtaining high office and from commanding in the field till aet. 42, was a man of the greatest political promise as a youth; nay, even as a boy. Charlemagne began his wars aet. 30. Charles XII. of Sweden began his, aet. 18; and the ability showed by him at that early period of life was of the highest order. Prince Eugene commanded the imperial army in Austria aet. 25. Gustavus Adolphus was as precocious in war and statesmanship as his descendant Charles XII. Hannibal and his family were remarkable for their youthful superiority. Many of them had obtained the highest commands, and had become the terror of the Romans, before they were what we call “of age.” The Nassau family are equally noteworthy. When William the Silent was a mere boy, he was the trusted confidant, even adviser, of the Emperor Charles V. His son, the great general Maurice of Nassau, was only eighteen when in chief command of the Low Countries, then risen in arms against the Spaniards. His grandson, Turenne, the gifted French general, and his great-grandson, our William III., were both of them illustrious in early life. Marlborough was from 46 to 50 years of age during the period of his greatest success, but he was treated much earlier as a man of high mark. Scipio Africanus Major was only 24 when in chief command

in Spain against the Carthaginians. Wellington broke the Mahratta power aet. 35, and had won Waterloo aet. 46.

But though the profession of arms in time of prolonged war affords ample opportunities to men of high military genius, it is otherwise in peace, or in short wars. The army, in every country, is more directly under the influence of the sovereign than any other institution. Guided by the instinct of self-preservation, the patronage of the army is always the last privilege that sovereigns are disposed to yield to democratic demands. Hence it is, that armies invariably suffer from those evils that are inseparable from courtly patronage. Rank and political services are apt to be weighed against military ability, and incapable officers to occupy high places during periods of peace. They may even be able to continue to fill their posts during short wars without creating a public scandal; nay, sometimes to carry away honours that ought in justice to have been bestowed on their more Capable subordinates in rank.

It is therefore very necessary, in accepting the reputation of a commander as a test of his gifts, to confine ourselves, as I propose to do, to those commanders only whose reputation has been tested by prolonged wars, or whose ascendency over other men has been freely acknowledged.

There is a singular and curious condition of success in the army and navy, quite independent of ability, that deserves a few words. In order that a young man may fight his way to the top of his profession, he must survive many battles. But it so happens that men of equal ability are not equally likely to escape shot free. Before explaining why, let me remark that the danger of being shot in battle is considerable. No less than seven of the thirty-two commanders mentioned in my appendix, or between one-quarter and one-fifth of them, perished in that way; they are Charles XII., Gustavus Adolphus, Sir

Henry Lawrence, Sir John Moore, Nelson, Tromp, and Turenne. (I may add, while talking of these things, though it does not bear on my argument, that four others were murdered, viz. Caesar, Coligny, Philip II. of Macedon, and William the Silent; and that two committed suicide, viz. Lord Clive and Hannibal. In short, 40 per cent. of the whole number died by violent deaths.)

There is a principle of natural selection in an enemy's bullets which bears more heavily against large than against small men. Large men are more likely to be hit. I calculate that the chance of a man being accidentally shot is as the square root of the product of his height multiplied into his weight;[14] that where a man of 16 stone in weight, and 6 feet 2.5 inches high, will escape from chance shots for two years, a man of 8 stone in weight and 5 feet 6 inches high, would escape for three. But the total proportion of the risk run by the large man, is, I believe, considerably greater. He is conspicuous from his size, and is therefore more likely to be recognised and made the object of a special aim. It is also in human nature, that the shooter should pick out the largest man, just as he would pick out the largest bird in a covey, or antelope in a herd. Again, of two men who are aimed at, the bigger is the more likely to be hit, as affording a larger target. This chance is a trifle less than the ratio of his increased sectional area, for it is subject to the law discussed in p. 28, though we are unable to calculate the decrease, from our ignorance of

the average distance of the enemy and the closeness of his fire. At long distances, and when the shooting was wild, the decrease would be insensible; at comparatively close ranges it would be unimportant, for even the sums of A and B, p. 34, are only about one-fifth more than 2 A, (In the last column of the table 77 + 48 = 125 is only 21, or about one-fifth more than 2 x 48 = 96.) As a matter of fact, commanders are very frequently the objects of special aim. I remember, when Soult visited England, that a story appeared in the newspapers, of some English veteran having declared that the hero must have lived a charmed life, for he had “covered” him with his rifle (I think my memory does not deceive me) upwards of thirty times, and yet had never the fortune to hit him. Nelson was killed by one of many shots aimed directly at him, by a rifleman in the maintop of the French vessel with which his own was closely engaged.

The total relative chances against being shot in battle, of two men of the respective heights and weights I have described, are as 3 to 2 in favour of the smaller man in respect to accidental shots, and in a decidedly more favourable proportion in respect to direct aim; the latter chance being compounded of the two following,—first, a better hope of not being aimed at, and secondly, a hope very little less than 3 to 2, of not being hit when made the object of an aim.

This is really an important consideration. Had Nelson been a large man, instead of a mere feather-weight, the probability is that he would not have survived so long. Let us for a moment consider the extraordinary dangers he survived. Leaving out of consideration the early part of his active service, which was only occasionally hazardous, as also the long interval of peace that followed it, we find him, aet. 35, engaged in active warfare with the French, when, through his energy at Bastia and Calvi, his name

became dreaded throughout the Mediterranean. Aet. 37, he obtained great renown from his share in the battle of St. Vincent He was afterwards under severe fire at Cadiz, also at Teneriffe where he lost an arm by a cannon-shot. He then received a pension of £1, 000 a year. The memorial which he was required to present on this occasion, stated that he had been in action one hundred and twenty times, and speaks of other severe wounds besides the loss of his arm and eye. Aet. 40, he gained the victory of the Nile, where the contest was most bloody. He thereupon was created Baron Nelson with a pension of £3, 000 a year, and received the thanks of Parliament; he was also made Duke of Bronte by the King of Naples/and he became idolized in England. Aet. 43, he was engaged in the severe battle of Copenhagen, and aet. 47 was shot at Trafalgar. Thus his active career extended through twelve years, during the earlier part of which he was much more frequently under fire than afterwards. Had he only lived through two-thirds, or even three-fourths, of his battles, he could not have commanded at the Nile, Copenhagen, or Trafalgar. His reputation under those circumstances would have been limited to that of a dashing captain or a young and promising admiral Wellington was a small man; if he had been shot in the Peninsula, his reputation, though it would have undoubtedly been very great, would have lost the lustre of Waterloo. In short, to have survived is an essential condition to becoming a famed commander; yet persons equally endowed with military gifts—such as the requisite form of high intellectual and moral ability and of constitutional vigour—are by no means equally qualified to escape shot free. The enemy's bullets are least dangerous to the smallest men, and therefore small men are more likely to achieve high fame as commanders than their equally gifted contemporaries whose physical frames are larger.

I now give tables on precisely the same principle as those in previous chapters.


Summary Of Relationships Of 32 Commanders, Grouped Into 27 (Or ?24[15]) Families.

One relation (or two in family).

Berwick, Duke (see Marlborough).

Pyrrhus (see Alexander).



N. &c.



Hyder Ali




Lawrence, Sir H.




Two or three relations (or three or four in family).

2. Charlemagne & Chas. Martel

F. G. GF.


gB. gN.

Charles Martel (see Charlemagne)


2. Marlborough and Duke of Berwick

n. UP.



Moore, Sir John

F. B.

Coligny (but see Maurice)

F. u. PP.



S. uS. uP.

Runjeet Singh

G. F.



Saxe, Marshal

F. u. ps.




B. 2N.





Four or more relations (or five or more in family).


Alexander, Philip, and Pyrrhus

F. f. B. N. gBP.



f. B. b. S. 2N.



s. f. n. nS.


Charles XII. (see Gustavus Adolphus)



Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII

s. GF. Gb. NP.



F. 3 B.


Maurice of Nassau, William the Silent, Coligny, and Turenne

F. g. n. NS.



GGF. F. US. 2 B. n. US. &c.


Napoleon (see Bonaparte)



Philip and Pyrrhus (see Alexander)




3B. 2uS.



F. G. 2S. 2 P. GN.


Turenne (but see Maurice)

F. &c.


William I. (but see Maurice)

2S. P. PS.


degrees OF kinship.





Name of the degree.

Corresponding letters






12 F.









13 B.









8 S.









3 G.

1 g.








0 U.

2 u.








6 N.

3 n.








3 P.

0 p.








2 GF.

0 gF.

0 GF.

0 gF.






1 GB.

1 gB.

0 GB.

0 gB.






1 US.

2 uS.

1 US.

1 uS.






1 ns.

0 nS.

0 NS.

1 nS.






0 PS.

0 pS.

0 PS.

0 pS.





All more remote









Precisely similar conclusions are to be drawn from these tables, as from those I have already given; but they make my case much stronger than before.

I argue that the more able the man, the more numerous ought his able kinsmen to be. That, in short, the names in the third section of Table I. should, on the whole, be those of men of greater weight, than are included in the first section. There cannot be a shadow of doubt that this is the fact. But the table shows more. Its third section is proportionally longer than it was in the Statesmen, and it was longer in these than in the Judges. Now, the average natural gifts of the different groups are apportioned in precisely the same order. The Commanders are more able than the Statesmen, and the Statesmen more able than the Judges. Consequently, comparing the three groups together, we find the abler men to have, on the average, the larger number of able kinsmen. Similarly, the proportion borne by those Commanders, who have

any eminent relations at all, to those who have not, is much greater than it is in Statesmen; and in these, much greater than in the Judges.

Their peculiar type of ability is largely transmitted. My limited list of Commanders contains several notable families of generals. That of William the Silent is a most illustrious family, and I must say, that in at least two out of his four wives—namely, the daughter of the Elector of Saxony and that of the great Coligny—he could not have married more discreetly. To have had Maurice of Nassau for a son, Turenne for a grandson, and our William III. for a great-grandson, is a marvellous instance of hereditary gifts. Another most illustrious family is that of Charlemagne. First, Pepin de Heristhal, virtual sovereign of France; then his son, Charles Martel, who drove back the Saracenic invasion that had overspread the half of France; then his grandson, Pepin le Bref, the founder of the Carlovingian dynasty; and lastly, his great-grandson, Charlemagne, founder of the Germanic Empire. The three that come last, if not the whole of the four, were of the very highest rank as leaders of men.

Another yet more illustrious family is that of Alexander, including Philip of Macedon, the Ptolemys, and his second cousin, Pyrrhus. I acknowledge the latter to be a far-off relation, but Pyrrhus so nearly resembled Alexander in character, that I am entitled to claim his gifts as hereditary. Another family is that of Hannibal, his father and his brothers; again, there is that of the Scipios; also the interesting near relationship between Marlborough and the Duke of Berwick. Raleigh's kinships are exceedingly appropriate to my argument, as affording excellent instances of hereditary special aptitudes. I have spoken in the last chapter about Wellington and the Marquess of Wellesley, so I need not repeat myself here. Of Commanders of high but not equally illustrious stamp, I should

mention the family of Napier, of Lawrence, and the singular naval race of Hyde Parker. There were five brothers Grant, all highly distinguished in Wellington's campaigns. I may as well mention, that though I know too little about the great Asiatic warriors, Genghis Khan and Timurlane, to insert them in my appendix, yet they are doubly though very distantly interrelated.

The distribution of ability among the different degrees of kinship, will be seen to follow much the same order that it did in the Statesmen and in the Judges.


List Of Commanders That Have Been Examined.

Those printed in Italics are included in my Dictionary of Kinships, They are 32 in number; the remaining 27 are by no means wholly destitute of gifted relations.

Alexander. Baber. Belisarius. Berwick, Duke of. Blake. Blucher. Bonaparte. Caesar. Charlemagne. Charles Martel. Charles XII. Clive. Coligny. Conde. Cromwell. Cyrus the elder. Dandolo. Doria. Dundonald. Lord. Eugene, Prince. Frederick the Great. Genghis Khan. Gustavus Adolphus. Hannibal. Henri IV. Hyder Ali. Lawrence, Sir H. Mahomet Ali. Marias. Massena. Maurice of Nassau. Marlborough. Miltiades. Moore, Sir J. Moreau. Napier, Sir Charles. (Napoleon, see Bonaparte.) Nelson. Peter the Great. Pericles. Philip of Macedon. Pompey. Pyrrhus. Raleigh. Runjeet Singh. Saladin. Saxe, Marshal. Schomberg. Scipio Africanus. Soult. Themistocles. Timurlane. Titus. Trajan. Tromp Marten, Turenne. Wallenstein. Wellington. William I. of Orange, Wolfe.

Alexander the Great. Is commonly reputed to be the commander of the greatest genius that the world has produced. When only aet. 16 he showed extraordinary judgment in public affairs, having governed Macedonia during the absence of his father. He succeeded to the throne, and began his great career of conquest aet. 20, and died aet. 32. Living as he did in a time when the marriage tie was loose, there necessarily exists some doubt as to his re
lationships. However, his reputed relationships are of a very high order. He inherited much of the natural disposition of both of his parents; the cool forethought and practical wisdom of his father, and the ardent enthusiasm and ungovernable passions of his mother. He had four wives, but only one son, a posthumous child, who was murdered aet. 12.

F. Philip II. of Macedonia, an illustrious general and statesman, who created and organized an army that was held together by a system of discipline previously unknown, and kept the whole of Greece in check. Aet. 24 he had shown his cool forethought and practical skill in delivering himself from embarrassing political difficulties. He had a robust frame, a noble and commanding presence, a ready eloquence, and dexterity in the management of men and things. Cicero praises him for having been “always great.” He keenly enjoyed the animal pleasures of life. He was murdered aet. 47.

f. Olympias, ardent in her enthusiasms, ungovernable in her passions, ever scheming and intriguing. She suffered death like a heroine.

B. (Half-brother.) Ptolemy Soter I. He became the first king of Egypt after Alexander's death, and was the son of Philip II. by Arsinoe. Alexander rated him very highly. He was very brave, and had all the qualities of an able and judicious general. He was also given to literature, and he patronised learned men. He had twelve descendants, who became kings of Egypt, who were all called Ptolemy, and who nearly all resembled one another in features, in statesmanlike ability, in love of letters, and in their voluptuous dispositions. This race of Ptolemys is at first sight exceedingly interesting, on account of the extraordinary number of their close intermarriages. They were matched in and in like prize cattle; but these near marriages were unprolific—the inheritance mostly passed through other wives. Indicating the Ptolemys by numbers, according to the order of their succession, II. married his niece, and afterwards his sister, IV. his sister; VI. and VII. were brothers, and they both consecutively married the same sister—VII. also subsequently married his niece;
VIII. married two of his own sisters consecutively; XII. and XIII. were brothers, and both consecutively married their sister, the famous Cleopatra.

Thus there are no less than nine cases of close intermarriages distributed among the thirteen Ptolemys. However, when we put them, as below, into the form of a genealogical tree, we shall clearly see that the main line of descent was untouched by these intermarriages, except in the two cases of III. and of VIII. The personal beauty and vigour of Cleopatra, the last of the race, cannot therefore be justly quoted in disproof of the evil effects of close breeding. On the contrary, the result of Ptolemaic experience was distinctly to show that intermarriages are followed by sterility.


Genealogical Tree of the Ptolemys.

                     Niece. = II. = Sister.
                            |     |
                           III.   O
           VI. = Sister. = VII. = To his niece (doubly).
               |         |      |___________________
          Dau. Marr.    1 son   |                |  |
        To her uncle,          VIII. = Also to his 2 sisters
    and mother of VIII.         |
                       |        |          |
                      XII. = Cleopatra. = XIII. (a mere boy)
                           |            |
                           O            O

Surnames Of The Ptolemys.





Soter II.










Alexander II.















Murdered when a boy.


Euergetes II. (Physon.)





N. (Half-nephew.) Ptolemy Philadelphus, a man of feeble and sickly constitution, but of great ability and energy. He cleared Egypt of marauding bands. He was the first to                   

tame African elephants, the elephants previously used in Egypt having been invariably imported from India. He founded the city Ptolemais, on the borders of Ethiopia, expressly to receive the captured African elephants, for the purpose of training them. He recommenced the old Egyptian enterprise of the Isthmus of Suez canal, sent voyages of discovery down the Red Sea, founded the Alexandrian library and caused the Septuagint translation of the Bible to be made. With all this intelligence and energy, he had, as we have before said, a feeble and sickly constitution, and the life he led was that of a refined voluptuary.

[NS.] Ptolemy Euergetes. Was by no means his father's equal in virtue and ability; but he was scarcely less celebrated for his .patronage of literature and science.

gBP. Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, the famous general. (I am not sure of the second of these letters, whether B or b.) He was one of the greatest commanders that ever lived, and might have become the most powerful monarch of his day if he had had perseverance. The links that connected him in blood with Alexander appear to have mostly been of a remarkable character, but hardly deserving of special record here. The character of Pyrrhus resembled that of Alexander, whom he also took as his model from an early age, being fired with the ambition of imitating his exploits.

Berwick, James Fitzjames, Duke of. One of the most distinguished commanders of the reign of Louis XIV. He was the illegitimate son of James II. by Arabella Churchill, and became commander-in-chief of his father's Irish army. He accompanied James II. into exile, and entered the French service, where he obtained great distinction, especially in the war of the Spanish succession. He was then made lieutenant general of the French armies, and created a Spanish grandee.

u. John Churchill, the great Duke of Marlborough. See.

Bonaparte, Napoleon I. His extraordinary powers did not show themselves in boyhood. He was a taciturn lad. The annual report of the Inspector-General of Schools, made when Bonaparte was aet. 15, describes him as “Distinguished in mathematical studies, tolerably versed in history

and geography, much behind in his Latin and belles-lettres and other accomplishments, of regular habits, studious and well-behaved, and enjoying excellent health” (Bourienne). He first distinguished himself, aet. 24, at the siege of Toulon. Became general of the army of Italy, when it was in a disorganized condition, aet. 26; and thenceforward began his almost uninterrupted career of victory. He was emperor, aet. 35; was vanquished at Waterloo, aet. 46; and died at St. Helena six years after. Among the more remarkable qualities of this extraordinary man were a prodigious memory and intellectual restlessness. His vigour was enormous.

There are so many considerable persons in the Bonaparte family, while at the same time some of these have been so helped and others so restrained by political circumstances, that it is very difficult to indicate which should be and which should not be selected as instances of hereditary genius. I will give a genealogical tree of the family (p. 155), and shall assume the ratio of hereditary influence to be—

f., B., b., S., and 2 N.

Lucien, Eliza, and Louis were very gifted persons, and others of the brothers and sisters of Napoleon I. were certainly above the average. There are members of the family yet alive, including the Cardinal at Rome, who may have high political parts to play.

Caesar, Julius; Dictator of Rome. Was not only a general of the highest order and a statesman, but also an orator and man of letters. He gave the greatest promise, even when a boy, and was remarkable in his youth for his judgment, literary ability, and oratorical powers. Owing to the disturbed state of Roman politics, he did not become consul till aet. 41, nor begin his military career till aet. 42. Thenceforward he had unbroken success for fourteen years. He was assassinated aet. 56. He must be considered as a peculiarly profligate man, even when his character is measured by the low standard of the time in which he lived. He had no brothers, only two sisters. He was married four times, and had one illegitimate son, by Cleopatra, called Caesarion, whom Augustus caused to be executed

Genealogy Of The Bonaparte Family.


Carlo Bonaparte, a Corsican judge.


Letitia Namolini, known as “Madame la Mere.” Was a heroine by nature and one of the most beautiful young women of her day. She followed her husband in all his journeys through the then dangerously disturbed island. She was firm and undaunted. Afterwards she became “a pale but earnest woman, who, after speaking of anything that interested her deeply, sat with compressed lips and wide-open eyes, an image of firmness of purpose combined with depth of feeling” (Duchess ed'Abrantes). Napoleon esteemed her highly.


1. Joseph, King of Naples and then of Spain

m. Julia Clary.



2.     Napoleon I

m. twice.


1.     King of Rome, but now styled Napoleon II.; a consumptive youth, d. Aet. 20.

2.     Count Walewski (illegitimate); eminent diplomatist; French ambassador in England.


3. Lucien, Prince de Canino;

m. twice.


1. Charles Lucien.

2. Prince Louis; philologist.


4. Eliza, Princess Piombino and Lucca; “the Italian Semiramis;”

m. Baciocchi.



Napoleon Eliza.


5. Louis, King of Holland;

m. Hortense Beauharnais.


1. Napoleon Ch.

2. Charles Napoleon.

3. Louis, Napoleon III.


6. Marie Pauline;


1. Genl. Leclerc.

2. Prince Camillo Borghese.


No children.


7. Jerome, King of Westphalia; President of State Council under Napoleon;

m. Princess of Wurtemburg.


1. Princess Mathilde;

m. Prince Demidoff.

2. Prince Napoleon;

m. Clothilde, dau. of King of Italy.


8. Caroline;

m. Murat, King of Naples.


Lucien Napoleon Murat.


while still a boy, for political reasons; also one daughter, as follows—

s. Julia, married to Pompey, and greatly beloved by him (though the marriage was merely made up for political reasons) and by the whole nation. She was singularly endowed with ability, virtue, and beauty. Died prematurely, four years after her marriage, from the shock of a serious alarm, when she was advanced in pregnancy.

f. Aurelia: Seems to have been no ordinary woman; she carefully watched over the education of her children, and Caesar always treated her with the greatest affection and respect.

n. Alia, the mother of Augustus, who carefully tended his education, and who is classed along with Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, and Aurelia, the mother of Caesar.

nS. Augustus Caesar, 1st Emperor of Rome. The public opinion of his own time considered him to be an excellent prince and statesman. He was adopted by Caesar, who rated him very highly, and devoted much time out of his busy life to his education. He had great caution and moderation. Was very successful as a general in early life, after the death of Julius Caesar. Married three wives, but left only one daughter.

U. Sex. Julius Caesar; Consul, b.c. 91.

?. Mark Antony. His mother belonged to the family of Julius Caesar, but in what degree she was connected with it is unknown.

(Caius Marius, the general, married the aunt (u.) of Julius Caesar, but had no children by her: Marius the younger, who had much of the character and ability of Caius, being only an adopted son.)

Charlemagne, founder of the Germanic Empire and a great general. Began his wars aet. 30; died aet. 72. Was an eminent legislator and great patron of learning. Had very many children, including Louis le Debonnaire, both legitimate and illegitimate.

GF. Pepin le Gros (de Heristhal), general of distinction. He put an end to the Merovingian dynasty, and was virtual sovereign of France.

G. Charles Martel. See below.

F. Pepin le Bref, the first of the Carlovingian kings of France.

Charles Martel. Ancestor of the Carlovingian race of kings of France. Victor over the Saracens in the great and decisive battle between Tours and Poictiers.

F. Pepin le Gros. See paragraph above.

S. Pepin, the first of the Carlovingian kings of France.

P. Charlemagne. See above.

Charles XII. of Sweden. See under gustavus adolphus.

Clive, 1st Lord; Governor-General of India. “A heaven-born general, who, without experience, surpassed all the officers of his time” (Lord Chatham). Victorious at Plassy aet. 32. Committed suicide aet. 49.

GB. Sir G. Clive, Judge, Curs. B. Exch. (Geo. II.)

GN. Sir E. Clive, Judge, Just. C. P. (Geo. HI.)

Coligny, Gaspard de; French admiral, general, and statesman. Famous Huguenot leader. Perished at the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.

F. Gaspard de Coligny, Marshal of France; distinguished in the Italian wars of Charles VIII., Louis XI., and Francis I.

u. Due de Montmorency, Marshal and Constable of France. The most illustrious member of a great French family. He was illiterate, but, owing to his natural ability and large experience, became a most able counsellor and statesman.

pP. William III. of England. See pedigree under maurice.

Cromwell, Oliver; Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.

US. Hampden the patriot, whom Lord Clarendon speaks of as having “a head to contrive, a tongue to persuade, and a heart to execute any mischief,”—this word “mischief” meaning, of course, antagonism to the King.

Up. Edmund Waller, the poet, a man of very considerable abilities both in parliamentary eloquence and in poetry, but he was not over-steadfast in principle. He was n. to Hampden.

S. Henry; behaved with gallantry in the army, and acted with much distinction in Ireland as Lord Deputy. He had one other son, and four daughters, who married able men, but their descendants were not remarkable.

Doria, Andrea; naval commander and illustrious statesman. He drove the French from Genoa, and was entitled by the Genoese Senate “The father and saviour of their country.” Famous for his victories over the corsairs of

the Mediterranean. He was aet. 85 at his last battle. He was of a younger branch of the great Doria family, very many of whom are highly distinguished in Italian history. He had no children. Died aet. 94.

N. Fillipino Doria, who succeeded him as admiral, and obtained an important victory over the French.

Eugene, Prince; Austrian general and statesman. Colleague of Marlborough; victor over the Turks. He was intended for the Church, but showed a decided preference for arms. He had eminent bravery and ability, and great physical strength. His qualities and birth ensured him such rapid promotion that he commanded the Austrian imperial army in Piedmont aet. 25. Napoleon ranked him in generalship along with Turenne and Frederick the Great.

gB. Cardinal Mazarin, the great minister during the minority of Louis XIV.

gN. Hortense Mancini, the accomplished and beautiful Duchess of Mazarin, and married to the Duke de la Meilleraie. She was greatly admired in England, where she died 1699. Gustavus Adolphus. Not only a very eminent general and statesman, but also a patron of science and literature. He succeeded to the throne aet. 17, and immediately afterwards distinguished himself in war. He became the head of the German Protestant cause. He was shot in battle, at Lutzen, aet. 38.

Gustavus Adolphus. Not only a very eminent general and statesman, but also a patron of science and literature. He succeeded to the throne aet. 17, and immediately afterwards distinguished himself in war.  He became the head of the German Protestant cause.  He was shot in battle, aet Lutzen, aet. 38.


s. Christina, Queen of Sweden; his only child. She was a woman of high ability, but of masculine habits, and very eccentric. She was a great admirer of Alexander the Great. She attracted to her court many eminent European philosophers and scholars, including Grotius, Descartes,

and Vossius. She became Roman Catholic, and abdicated the crown in a fit of caprice, but endeavoured, unsuccessfully, after some years, to resume it.

There was much ability and eccentricity in the Swedish royal family, scattered over several generations. Thus

    Gustavus Vasa.
          |           |
          X         Cecilia.
          |                |
   Gustavus Adolphus.      X
          |                |
     Christina.            X
                     Charles XII.



Gustavus Vasa, his daughter Cecilia, and, in a much lower generation, Charles XII., were all of them very remarkable and, in many respects, very similar characters. The connexion between them is easily seen in the table above. I will now describe them in order.

GF. Gustavus Vasa, though proscribed and an outcast, yet, aet. 31, succeeded in uniting the Swedes to expel the Danes, and became the founder of the Swedish dynasty.

Gb. Cecilia his daughter, who was “a very prototype of the wayward and eccentric Christina; had an intense longing to travel, and imitate the far-famed example of the Queen of Sheba. “She went to England with her husband, where she got frightfully into debt She died aet. 87, after leading a rambling and dissolute life. (Introduction to “England as seen by Foreigners,” by W. B. Rye, 1865.)

NP. Charles XII. Showed great self-will and remarkable fondness for military exercises from his earliest youth. He had a great desire to emulate Alexander. Succeeded to the throne aet. 15; begun his wars, aet. 18, with Russia, Denmark, and Poland, defeating them all in turn. He had great courage and constitutional power; was obstinate, rash, and cruel (his father, Charles XI., was also obstinate, harsh, and despotic). He was killed in battle aet. 37.

Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general. He was entrusted with high command aet. 18, and had become illustrious aet. 26. He led his Carthaginian army, with its troops of elephants, from Spain across France and the Alps. Descending into Italy, he forced his way against the Roman power, and at that immense distance from his base of operations utterly defeated them at Cannae. He was afterwards defeated by them under Scipio in Africa. He poisoned himself to avoid Roman vengeance, aet. 64.

F. Hamilcar Barca, “the Great,” commanded in Spain while still a mere youth. Nothing is known of his ancestry.

B. Hasdrubal, a worthy rival of the fame of his father and brother. He crossed the Alps subsequently to Hannibal, and was at last defeated by the Romans and killed.

B. Mago, a good general, who co-operated with his brothers.

B. (Half-brother, son of Hannibal's mother.) Hasdrubal, general in Spain.

Hyder Ali. The ablest and most formidable enemy of the British power in India. He began life as a soldier of fortune, he rose to be prime minister, and then Sultan of Mysore, aet. 44.

S. Tippoo Saib. Less able than his father, but more ferocious, and an equally determined enemy of England; killed in battle at Seringapatam.

Lawrence, Sir Henry; Governor of Oude; a man of high military and administrative genius; the principal support of the British rule at the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny, he defended Lucknow, and was killed there. He was greatly beloved and eminently esteemed.

[F.] An officer of some distinction in India.

B. John, created Lord Lawrence, Governor-General of India; excellent administrator; was one of the principal saviours of the British rule at the time of the Indian Mutiny.

Maurice of Nassau. One of the greatest captains of his age; governed the Low Countries, aet. 18, after his father's death, with great courage and talent; defeated and drove away the Spaniards in 1597, aet. 30.

                     |                       |
              Montmorency, Duc de,           O  = Coligny, G. de,
               Marshall of France;              | Marshall of France.
               Great soldier and statesman.      |
          Maurice,                           Coligny, G. de,
         Elector of Saxony;                  admiral; great soldier
          great general.                     and Huguenot leader.
                  |                             |
  William I    = 2d wife = 3d wife.           = 4th wife.
  Of Nassau;   |         |                    |  
  Illustrious  |         |                    |
  statesman    |         |                    |
  and general. |         |                    |
               |         |                    |
          Maurice,    dau. = Duc de Bouilon  Fred. William,
     greatest captain       | able general   Stadtholder.
     of his age;            | and Hugenot     |
       Stadtholder.         | leader.         |
                            |                 |
                    Turenne, ablest           X
                of French pre-Napoleonic      |
                        generals.             |
                                     William III. Of England,
                                       ablest of our kings.


F. William the 1st of Nassau, “the Silent.” “The guiding-star of a great nation” (Motley). When aet. 15 he was the intimate and almost confidential friend of Charles V. He

became the fierce antagonist of Philip in defence of Protestantism, and finally, after vanquishing the Spaniards, created the Union of Utrecht, the basis of the Dutch Republic. He was assassinated aet. 51. He married four times; was father of Maurice of Nassau, grandfather of Turenne, and great-grandfather of our William III.

g. Maurice, Elector of Saxony; great military genius.

n. (half-brother's son.) Turenne, the great French general. See.

NS. William III., Stadtholder, and King of England. He was an able general in Holland aet. 22, and then, partly by virtue of his marriage, became King of England, and was the ablest monarch we ever possessed. He was cold and taciturn, but singularly clear-sighted, steadfast, and courageous. He was a seven months' child. Died aet. 52, from an accident when riding.

Marlborough, John Churchill, Duke of. The ablest general and most consummate statesman of his time. He invariably distinguished himself in his early campaigns. He attracted the notice of Turenne aet. 22, who prophesied that his “handsome Englishman” would one day prove himself a master of the art of war. He was singularly cool in danger, and had more head than heart, for he was selfish and calculating. He had one son, who died very young, and four daughters.

n. James Fitzjames, duke of Berwick. See berwick. “A commander of renown, only less illustrious than his maternal uncle.”

UP. Sir J. Churchill, Judge, M. R. (James II.)

Moore, Sir John. One of the most distinguished British officers of modern times; commanded the reserve of the British army in Egypt, aet. 40; was killed in battle at Corunna, aet. 48. He was a man of chivalrous courage.

F. Dr. John Moore, a well-known miscellaneous writer, “Zeiuco,” &c. A man of high morals, shrewd in his remarks, and of a caustic humour.

B. Admiral Sir Graham Moore, G.C.B., &c.

[S.] Captain John Moore, R.N.; distinguished himself in command of the Highflyer in the Crimean War, and was private secretary to the Duke of Somerset when First Lord of the Admiralty.

Napier, Sir Charles; general; conqueror of Scinde. The most eminent member of a very eminent military family.

GGF. Napier of Merchistoun, inventor of logarithms.

F. Colonel Napier; was himself cast in the true heroic mould. He had uncommon powers of mind and body; had scientific tastes and ability; was Superintendent of Woolwich Laboratory and Comptroller of Army Accounts.

uS. Right Hon. Charles James Fox, statesman and orator. See Fox for his numerous gifted relatives.

B. General Sir William Napier, historian of the Peninsular War.

B. General Sir George Napier, Governor of the Cape; was offered in 1849 the command of the Redmontese army, which he declined.

[2B.] There were two other brothers, Richard, Q.C., and Henry, Captain, R.N., who might fairly be also adduced, as examples of inherited genius.

US. Admiral Sir Charles Napier; distinguished for gallantry in his youth in the French War, afterwards in Portugal, then at the Siege of Acre. When broken in health, he was made Commander-in-Chief of the Baltic Fleet in the Russian War.

Lord Napier, the diplomatist, is another able relative.

Mem. Lord Napier of Magdala is not a relative of this family.

Napoleon I. See bonaparte.

Nelson, Lord; admiral. The greatest naval hero of England. He had neither a strong frame nor a hardy constitution when a boy. He had won all his victories, and was killed, aet. 47. His remarkable relationships are distant, but worthy of record; they are—

[g.] Maurice Suckling, D.D., Prebendary of Westminster.

uP. Lord Cranworth, Lord Chancellor.

gu. (Mother's mother's uncle.) Sir Robert Walpole. See.

Philip of Macedonia. See under alexander.

S. Alexander the Great.

S. Ptolemy I. of Egypt P. Ptolemy Philadelphus. J

See under alexander.


GBp. Alexander the Great was his second cousin through Alexander's mother, but I am not informed of the other links. See under alexander.

Raleigh, Sir Walter; adventurous explorer and colonizer, also statesman, courtier, and writer, as well as an eminent commander by land and by sea.

B. (half-brother.) Sir Humphrey Gilbert, renowned navigator; proposer of the North-west passage to China. It was he who took possession of Newfoundland. He was lost at sea.

2B. John and Adrian Gilbert. “Sir Humphrey's fame has eclipsed that of his brothers John and Adrian, but all three helped notably to make England what it is, and all were fellow-workers in the colonization of North America” (Edwards' “Life of Raleigh”).

uS. Henry Champemoun, leader of the band of English volunteers to the Huguenot camp.

uS. Gawen Champemoun, engaged with Raleigh in later service in the civil wars of France.

Runjeet Singh, founder of the Sikh empire. His father died when he was still a boy; and his mother, who was young and handsome, did all she could to corrupt him, that he might be unfit to rule when he grew to manhood: nevertheless he entered, aet. 17, on a career of ambition, and by aet. 29 he had acquired large dominion. This energetic man ruled for forty years in undisputed mastery over numerous turbulent provinces, although his health was so broken by excesses and low indulgence, aet. 50, that he could not stand without support. He retained authority till his death in 1839, aet. 59.

G. Churruth Singh, from a low condition and a vagrant life, became master of Sookur Chukea, in the Punjaub.

F. Maha Singh extended his father's rule, and though he died aet. 30, had carried on war with his neighbours for fourteen years, and, it is said, had commanded at one time 60, 000 horsemen.

Saxe, Marshal; famous general under Louis XV. He was of large size and extraordinary physical strength; was distinguished in bodily exercises from childhood. Aet. 12 he ran away to join the army. In character he was exceedingly Don Juanesque. He was a well-practised commander, who loved his profession, but his abilities were not of the very highest order.

F.    Augustus II., King of Poland (the Marshal being one of his

numerous progeny of illegitimate sons). Augustus was elected king out of many competitors, and though beaten by Charles XII. was, nevertheless, a man of mark. He was luxurious and licentious.

u. Count Koningsmarck was brother to Marshal Saxe's beautiful but frail mother. He intrigued with the wife of George I. of England, and was assassinated. Was a handsome dashing man, always in gay adventures.

ps. Madame Dudevant (Georges Sand), the French novelist. Her grandmother was a natural daughter of Marshal Saxe.

Scipio, P. Cornelius; Africanus Major; conqueror of Hannibal, and scholar. The greatest man of his age; perhaps the greatest of Rome, with the exception of Julius Caesar. He was only 24 years old when appointed to the supreme command of the Roman armies in Spain. The Scipio family produced many great men, and to that family Rome was largely indebted for obtaining the empire of the world.

F. P. Cornelius Scipio; a great general, but defeated by Hannibal, and finally defeated and killed by the Carthaginian forces under Hasdrubal and Mago. G. L. Cornelius Scipio; drove the Carthaginians out of Corsica and Sardinia.

S. P. Corn. Sc. Africanus; prevented by weak health from taking part in public affairs, but Cicero remarks that with the greatness of his father's mind he possessed a larger amount of learning.

His brother, L. Corn. S. Afr., is called “a degenerate son of his illustrious sire.”

S. Cornelia, who married Tiber. Sempr. Gracchus, was almost idolized by the people. She inherited from her father a love of literature, and united in her person the severe virtues of the old Roman matron with the superior knowledge, refinement, and civilization which then began to prevail in the higher classes of Rome. Her letters were 'extant in the time of Cicero, and were considered models of composition.

2P. Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, bold defenders of popular rights; famous for their eloquence and their virtues. Both were assassinated.

Scipio, P. Cornelius, continued—

GN. Scipio Nasica, the jurist.

Mem. P. Corn. Sc. Aemilianus, Africanus Minor, was not of Scipio blood, but was cousin by the mother's side of P. Corn. Sc. Africanus (see above), who adopted him as his son. He was a most accomplished scholar and distinguished orator.

Titus, Flav. Vesp.; Emperor of Rome. Able and virtuous; distinguished in war; exceedingly beloved. In his youth he was somewhat dissipated, but after he became emperor he showed himself eminently moderate and just.

F. Vespasian. Rose through successive ranks to be Emperor of Rome, entirely through his own great merits as a general and as a statesman.

Tromp, Marten; famous Dutch admiral, who rose through his own merits to the supreme command at a momentous epoch. Though he was captured in youth, and his professional advancement thereby checked for some years, he had become a noted admiral and a dreaded opponent of the English aet. 40. Killed in battle aet. 56.

S. Cornelius van Tromp, celebrated Dutch admiral, who obtained that rank, on active service, aet. 33. His professional eminence was beyond all question, though scarcely equal to that of his father.

Turenne, Henri, Viscount de; the greatest of French generals before the time of Napoleon. All his acts bear the impress of a truly great mind. He was clear and comprehensive in his views, energetic in action, and above the narrow feelings of a mere religious partisan. He was eminently pure in domestic life. He had weak health till aet. it. As a boy he was fond of books, and pored over the lives of eminent warriors. He learned slowly and with difficulty, rebelled against restraint, and showed dogged perseverance. He was very fond of athletic exercises, and improved his health by practising them. His first opportunity of distinction was aet. 23, on which occasion he was made “marechal du camp,” then the next step in rank to marechal de France. He was killed by a cannon-shot aet. 64.

F. Henri, Due de Bouillon, one of the ablest soldiers bred in the school of Henry IV. His high rank, love of letters,

attachment to the Calvinistic faith, and abilities as a statesman, raised him to the leadership of the Huguenot party after the death of that prince.

g. William I. of Orange, “the Silent.” See under maurice.

u. (mother's half-brother.) Maurice of Nassau. See.

uP. William III. of England.

Wellington, the Duke of; greatest of modern English generals, a firm statesman, and a terse writer. He broke the Mahratta power in India aet. 35; then became Secretary for Ireland. Aet. 39 was appointed to command the British army in Spain, and he had won Waterloo and completed his military career aet. 46.

B. Marquess of Wellesley (see under statesmen), Governor-General of India, statesman and scholar.

[B.] Baron Cowley, diplomatist.

[F.] Earl of Mornington, of musical ability.

N. Earl Cowley, diplomatist, English ambassador to France.

N. Rev. Henry Wellesley, D.D., scholar and man of remarkable taste, Principal of New Inn Hall, Oxford.

William I. of Orange, “the Silent” See under maurice.

S. Maurice of Nassau. See.

S. Frederick William, Stadtholder in the most flourishing days of the Republic.

p. Turenne (see), the great French general.

SP. William III. of England.


THOSE who are familiar with the appearance of great libraries, and have endeavoured to calculate the number of famed authors, whose works they include, cannot fail to be astonished at their multitude. The years go by: in every year, every nation produces literary works of sterling value, and stores of books have accumulated for centuries. Among the authors, who are the most eminent? This is a question I feel incompetent to answer. It would not be difficult to obtain lists of the most notable literary characters of particular periods, but I have found none that afford a compact and trustworthy selection of the great writers of all times. Mere popular fame in after ages is an exceedingly uncertain test of merit, because authors become obsolete. Their contributions to thought and language are copied and re-copied by others, and at length they become so incorporated into the current literature and expressions of the day, that nobody cares to trace them back to their original sources, any more than they interest themselves in tracing the gold converted into sovereigns, to the nuggets from which it was derived or to the gold-diggers who discovered the nuggets.

Again: a man of fair ability who employs himself in literature turns out a great deal of good work. There is always a chance that some of it may attain a reputation

very far superior to its real merits, because the author may have something to narrate which the world wants to hear; or he may have had particular experiences which qualify him to write works of fiction, or otherwise to throw out views, singularly apposite to the wants of the time but of no importance in after years. Here, also, fame misleads.

Under these circumstances, I thought it best not to occupy myself over-much with older times; otherwise, I should have been obliged to quote largely in justification of my lists of literary worthies: but rather to select authors of modern date, or those whose reputation has been freshly preserved in England. I have therefore simply gone through dictionaries, extracted the names of literary men whom I found the most prominent, and have described those who had decidedly eminent relations in my appendix. I have, therefore, left out several, whom others might with reason judge worthy to have appeared. My list is a very incongruous collection; for it includes novelists, historians, scholars, and philosophers. There are only two peculiarities common to all these men; the one is a desire of expressing themselves, and the other a love of ideas, rather than of material possessions. Mr. Disraeli, who is himself a good instance of hereditary literary power, in a speech at the anniversary of the Royal Literary Fund, May 6, 1868, described the nature of authors. His phrase epitomizes what has been graphically delineated in his own novels, and, I may add, in those of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, now Lord Lytton (who, with his brother Sir Henry Bulwer, and in his son “Owen Meredith,” is a still more remarkable example of hereditary literary gifts than Mr. Disraeli). He said: “The author is, as we must ever remember, a peculiar organization. He is a being with a predisposition which with him is irresistible—a bent which he cannot in any way avoid; whether it drags him to the abstruse researches of erudition, or induces him

to mount into the fervid and turbulent atmosphere of imagination.” The majority of the men described in the appendix to this chapter justify the description by Mr. Disraeli. Again, that the powers of many of them were of the highest order, no one can doubt. Several were prodigies in boyhood, as Grotius, Lessing, and Niebuhr; many others were distinguished in youth; Charlotte Bronte published “Jane Eyre” aet. 22; Chateaubriand was of note at an equally early age; Fenelon made an impression when only 15; Sir Philip Sydney was of high mark before he was 21, and had acquired his great fame, and won the heart of the nation in a few more years, for he was killed in battle when only 32. I may add, that there are occasional cases of great literary men having been the reverse of gifted in youth. Boileau is the only instance in my appendix. He was a dunce at school, and dull till he was 30. But, among other literary men of whom I have notes, Goldsmith was accounted a dull child, and he was anything but distinguished at Dublin University. He began to write well aet. 32. Rousseau was thought a dunce at school, whence he ran away aet. 16.

It is a striking confirmation of what I endeavoured to prove in an early chapter—that the highest order of reputation is independent of external aids—to note how irregularly many of the men and women have been educated whose names appear in my appendix—such as Boileau, the Bronte family, Chateaubriand, Fielding, the two Gramonts, Irving, Carsten Niebuhr, Person (in one sense), Roscoe, Le Sage, J. C. Scaliger, Sevigne, and Swift.

I now give my usual table, but I do not specify with confidence the numbers of eminent literary people contained in the thirty-three families it includes. They have many literary relations of considerable merit, but I feel myself unable, for the reasons stated at the beginning of this chapter, to sort out those that are “eminent”

from among them. The families of Taylor, both those of Norwich and those of Ongar, have been inserted as being of great hereditary interest, but only a few of their members (see austen) are not summed up in the following table.



One relation (or two in the family).









2. Arnold


2. Mill


2. Bossuet


2. Niebuhr










Two or three relations (or three or four in the family).


Austen, Mrs.

s. N.



2 B. N.



B. N.



2 S.



2 S.


Sage, Le

2 S.



B. 2 b.



F. B. N.



N. 2 NS.



S. 2 US.



gB. B. P.










Four or more relations (or five or more in the family).



B. F. u. g. gB. gF. gG.



g. uS. B. b.



G. F. U. B. S.



F. f. 2 S. s.



G. F. 2 U. US. n.



F f. B. b.



F. 2 U. B.



G. F. U. f. US. UP.



F B 2S.



F. g. f. B. Us. p.



F. g. u. uS. b. n. P. PS. &c.


[Taylors of Norwich.]



[Taylors of Ongar.]


TABLE II. [17]

degrees OF kinship





Name of the degree.

Corresponding letters.






16 F.









14 B.









17 S.









4 G.

4 g.








6 U.

2 U.








6 N.

2 n.








2 P.

1 p.