Early Anthropological Researches 93
the son or brother is supposed to reach an age of 50 before he can be tested for eminence. Now it is rather difficult to accept the statement that the -average offspring of a judge is two and of his father five'; notwithstanding the discredit Galton casts elsewhere on the moral conduct of lawyers2. I believe that owing to the difficulty of getting accurate information, although Galton did not go beyond the ordinary sources-for example to herald's visitations, etc:-it would have beenn best to take average values from pedigrees of the period. For example Galton gives 36'/ of eminent'sons to the judges on the basis of one son apiece, but 14.4 '/o on the basis of 2.5 sons would have been equally effective for his purpose, which was to show that a judge being one barrister in a hundred, or, since as he remarks barristers are highly selected, one man possibly in 4000, the chances are enormously against judges having 14.4 °/o of legally eminent sons on the assumption of a pure chance occurrence.
Galton's chapter on the judges-his most complete and detailed sectionis a very fine piece of work, and might be used as the starting-point for still more complete pedigree work on the heredity of legal ability'.
The next chapter deals with `Statesmen,' and Galton admits--the difficulty of steering between first the acceptance of mere official position or notoriety as equivalent to a more discriminative reputation, and secondly a selection with an unconscious bias towards facts favourable to inheritance. Thus he writes
"It would not be a judicious plan to take for our select list the names of privy counsellors, or even of Cabinet ministers; for though some of them are illustriously gifted, and many are eminently so, yet others belong to a decidedly lower natural grade. For instance, it seemed in late years to have become a mere incident to the position of a great territorial duke to have a seat in the Cabinet as a minister of the Crown. No doubt some few of the dukes are highly gifted, but it may be affirmed, with equal assurance, that the abilities of the large majority are
very far indeed from justifying such an appointment." (p. 104.)
Galton is indeed a democrat in his views on the nobility
" A man who has no able ancestor nearer in blood to him than a great-grandparent, is unappreciably better off in the chance of being himself gifted with ability, than if he had been taken out of the general mass of men. An old peerage is a valueless title to natural gifts, except so far as it may have been furbished up by a succession of wise intermarriages. When, however, as is often the case, the direct line has become extinct and the title has passed to a distant relative, who had not been reared in the family traditions, the sentiment that is attached to its possession is utterly unreasonable. I cannot think of any claim to respect, put forward in modern days, that is so entirely an imposture, as that made by a peer on the ground
of descent, who has neither been nobly educated, nor has any eminent kinsman, within three degrees." (p. 87.)
What would Galton have said had he written fifty years later when peerages appear to be given away, not for noble education, eminent kinsmen, or- distinguished public service, but apparently on the ground of men being
1 Of course the judge may have no offspring and his father must have had one at.least.
2 "Hereditary Talent and Character" (p. 164). "Great lawyers are especially to be blamed in this [illicit intercourse followed by a corresponding amount of illegitimate issue], even more than poets, artists or great commanders."
' There is a considerable correspondence with E. B. Denison in the Galtoniana letters for 1869 about the ability and fertility of judges and peers.