Early Anthropological Researches 85
Galton was an ardent democrat, if such means to refuse birth any privilege if birth be not accompanied by mental superiority; he was a thoroughgoing aristocrat, if such be involved in a denial of the equality of all men ; he would have graded mankind by their natural aptitudes, and have done his best to check the reproduction of the lower grades. The last paragraphs of the paper deal in a very novel manner`` with the theological problem of the sense of original sin. We have already noted that Galton held that conscience and with it the religious sentiments were developed in man by natural selection, they were the highest form of the herd instinct, and the tribe in which they were developed had greater social stability than any group that did not possess them. But man was barbarous but yesterday, and many of his native qualities are not yet moulded into harmony with his recent advance. Even our Anglo-Saxon civilisation is but skin deep, and the majority of English were the merest boors at a much later date than the Norman conquest. We are still barbarians in a large part of our nature ; our no very distant ancestry grubbed with their hands for food, and dug out pitfalls for their game, and holes for their hut-poles and--palisades with their fingers as tools. We see it all in the pleasure which -the most delicately reared children take in dabbling and digging in the dirt, an inheritance from barbarian forefathers, akin to that of the pet dog who runs away from its mistress to sniff at any roadside refuse in the instinct to find the lost pack. The whole moral nature of man is tainted with `sin,' which prevents him following his conscience, his social sense. From the Darwinian view the development of our religious sentiment has advanced-at any rate in certain members of the community-more rapidly than the elimination of the savage instincts of past stages of culture. The more recent the barbarism the more conscious the race is of the inadequacy of its nature to its moral needs.
"The conscience of a negro is aghast at his own wild, impulsive nature, and is easily stirred by a preacher, but it is scarcely possible to ruffle the self-complacency of a steady-going Chinaman." (p. 327.)
The revivalist meets with the greater success, the more degraded and less cultured is the population he works on.
"The sense of original sin would show according to my theory, not that man was fallen from a high estate, but that he was rapidly rising from a low one. It would therefore confirm the conclusion that has been arrived at by every independent line of ethnological research-that our forefathers were utter savages from the beginning, and that after myriad years of barbarism, our race has but very recently grown to be civilised and religious." (p. 327.)
Thus on the basis of Darwin's law of natural selection, and on the theory that natural aptitudes are not at the same time harmoniously developed,- or eradicated, Galton accounts for the conflict in human nature summed up in the doctrine of `original sin.' It will not be cleared away by any atonement, but solely by breeding out the uneradicated and hereditary savagery of human nature still dominating civilised man. What an illustration of his views Galton might have drawn from the events of the decade which followed his death