30 THE POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENT
of view, the existence should be borne in mind of immense voluntary activities that have nobler aims. The annual voluntary contributions in the British Isles to public charities alone amount, on the lowest computation, to fourteen million pounds, a sum which Sir H. Burdett asserts on good grounds is by no means the maximum obtainable.*
(" Hospitals and Charities," 1898, p. 85.)
There are other activities long since existing which might well be extended. I will not dwell, as I am tempted to do, on the endowments of scholarships and the like, which aim at finding and educating the fittest youths for the work of the nation ; but I will refer to that wholesome practice during all ages of wealthy persons interesting themselves in and befriending poor but promising lads. The number of men who have owed their start in a successful life to help of this kind must have struck every reader of biographies. This relationship of befriender and befriended
*The 8o charitable bequests of and exceeding £gooo, made in i8o8 alone, amounted to more than 311 millions of pounds. (Whitaker's Almanack to 1909, p. 433).
" It being far more humane to prevent suffering than to alleviate it after it has occurred, why will not charitably disposed persons leave substantial sums of money to the furtherance of Eugenic Study and practice, and of popularising the result ? The money would be well bestowed." Francis Galton, 1909.
I learn on high legal authority that the form of bequest which would be most appropriate in present circumstances, and be free from the pit-falls that lie in the way of charitable bequests, is " I bequeath to my trusted friend A.B., of absolutely,
the sum of £ in the hope and confidence that he will apply the same in furtherance of Eugenic Study and practice, but without imposing on him any trust or legal obligation so to do." F.G.