Recognized HTML document


demand for it. But some real difficulty does lie in the question-Would such a classification be a trustworthy forecast of qualities in later life ? The scheme of descent of qualities may hold good between the parents and the offspring at similar ages, but that is not the information we really want. It is the descent of qualities from men to men, not from youths to youths. The accidents that make or mar a career do not enter into the scope of this difficulty. It resides entirely in the fact that the development does not cease at the time of youth, especially in the higher natures, but that faculties and capabilities which were then latent subsequently unfold and become prominent. Putting aside the effects of serious illness, I do not suppose there is any risk of retrogression in capacity before old age comes on. The mental powers that a youth possesses continue with him as a man ; but other faculties and new dispositions may arise and alter the balance of his character. He may cease to be efficient in the way of which he gave promise, and he may perhaps become efficient in unexpected directions.

The correlation between youthful promise and performance in mature life has never been properly investigated. Its measurement presents no greater difficulty, so far as I can foresee, than in other problems which have been successfully attacked. It is one of those alluded to in the beginning of this lecture as bearing on race-improvement, and