196 ENGLISH MEN OF SCIENCE. [CHAP.
care for science, ahd an extremely small proportion of that half succeed in it. Nay, further, it appears (though I cannot publish facts in evidence, without violating my rule of avoiding personal allusions) that of the men who have no natural taste for science and yet succeed in it, many belong to gifted families, and may therefore be accredited with sufficient general abilities to leave their mark on whatever subject it becomes their business to undertake. We may therefore rest assured that the possession of a strong special taste is a precious capital, and that it is a wicked waste of national power to thwart it ruthlessly by a false system of education. But I can give no test which shall distinguish in boyhood between a taste that is destined to endure and a passing fancy, further than by remarking that whenever the aptitudes seem hereditary, they deserve peculiar consideration.
Instinctive tastes for science are, generally speaking, not so strongly hereditary as the more elementary qualities of the body and mind. I have tabulated the replies, and find the propor-