Early Anthropological Researches 75
of natural selection as man in the age of tribes ; and that a nation was not stable when it produced too many self-reliant 'fore-oxen,' or, worse still, when each ruminant and stolid ox no longer considered the common determination of the herd as binding on his conscience. He might even cite as illustration the Ireland of the twentieth century !
The world has seen numerous travellers, many men of mechanical genius, and not a few students of nature who grasped the evolution of human societies. But Galton the Cambridge mathematician, Galton the ox-rider, Galton of the wave-machine, and Galton the eugenist, seem at first sight so widely incongruous, andd yet rightly estimated are necessary features of that all-round individuality-observant, constructive, calculating, and enthusiastic-of Galton the anthropologist, using that term in its widest sense, who by originality of method, wide experience of men and ripe judgment of affairs influenced the development of many younger. men in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
The paper just discussed was taken somewhat out of its proper order because it springs so directly from Galton's travel-experience, and because it indicates so clearly the growing tendencies of Galton's mind. But the reader must remember that Galton did not suddenly rush to the conviction, that from this time onward dominated his view of life, namely that the psychical characters in man, and also in the lower animals, are hereditary. He had been working on this subject for at least six or seven years. The best evidence of this is the paper written in 1864 on " Hereditary Talent and Character " (see our p. 70). It is singular how this foundation stone of Galton's anthropological work-the equal inheritance of the psychical and physical characters -has been disregarded even by some of his professed followers. As for the psychologists by calling they at first left this fundamental problem to others, and later, instead of observing and experimenting themselves, wasted energy in futile criticisms. Few men are willing to admit that their folly on the one hand is inbred, or that their talent which has led to success is not a product of their own free industry. Even men of quite reasonable intelligence daily confuse the possession of knowledge with mental endowment, and, as a result of their confusion, assert that psychical characters are chiefly the result of training. Another very common argument is of the following kind : A dictionary of biography is appealed to and it is found that far more distinguished men are sons of mediocre parents than of distinguished parents. It is then asserted that talent cannot be inherited. The fallacy is fairly flagrant, if examined, but is sufficiently plausible to be often repeated. Let us suppose that one parent in a thousand is distinguished, and, the rate of reproduction being the same, one offspring in ten to distinguished parents is distinguished, but only one offspring to the hundred in the case of nondistinguished parents. Then in a community of 10 distinguished and 140,000 non-distinguished parents we shall have one distinguished individual born of distinguished parents and 100 distinguished individuals born of mediocrity.
The fallacy consists in emphasising the 100 against the unit, and overlooking the fact that the distinguished parent produces distinction at ten .