The Ancestry of Francis Galton 61
been born ! Herein lies, we fear,_ all too certainly the key to that dearth of exceptional ability which marks our own age. Herein lies also the key to Francis Galton's demand that Eugenics should pass as rapidly as possible from the laboratory to the market-place.
In discussing his ancestry, we feel sure he would have allowed us to draw a moral ; for he recognised fully that the modern principle of small families applied to able stocks spelt disaster for the nation. One able leader, inspirer and controller of men, is worth thousands of everyday workers to the race.
"I have no patience," wrote Francis Galton in 1869, "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, and 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."
It is a hard doctrine for democracy, but the safety of the state lies in its acceptance.
Note to p. 46. The following characterisation of the Lunar Society from a letter of Erasmus Darwin to Boulton is so excellent that it may be reproduced here
April 5th, 1778.
I am sorry the infernal divinities who visit mankind with diseases, and are therefore at perpetual war with doctors, should have prevented my seeing all your great men at Soho to-day. Lord ! what inventions, what wit, what rhetoric, metaphysical, mechanical, and pyrotechnical, will be on the wing, bandied like a shuttlecock from one to another of your troup of philosophers, while poor I, I by myself, I, imprison'd in a post-chaise, am joggl'd, and bump'd, and braised along the king's highroad to make war upon a stomach-ache or a fever
Thus wrote the patriarch of the Society according to Dr Bolton, loc. cit. p. 49, ftn.