94 Life and Letters of Fra-ncis Galton
successful tradesmen ! And yet Galton is above all an aristocrat. When we read` his `Judges' and his `Statesmen' we see him almost swept off his feet when he discovers for the first time from his own reading the characteristic ability of the Montagus and Norths, or of the Temples and Wyndhams. There was almost a simplicity about his adoration of ability and he positively gloated over it, if it took an unusual and individual turn. Many very able men scarcely appreciate high ability in others, because, as in the matter of wealth, a man is apt tb judge relatively to his own holding. Not so Galton; had he used himself as a standard measure, I fear his modesty would have led him to revise more than one of his estimates.
"A collection of living magnates in various branches of intellectual achievement is always a feast to my eyes; being as they generally are such massive, vigorous, capable-looking animals"'. (p. 332.)
Galton had an. immense veneration for genius as he defines it; not only like Carlyle. would he have made his heroes rulers of the mediocre, but unlike Carlyle he would have had his heroes steadily and surely replace the latter. That men of genius are unhealthy puny beings-all brain and no muscle-weaksighted, and generally of poor constitutions, Galton will not accept for a moment.
" I think most of my readers would be surprised at the statures and physical frames of the heroes of, history, who fill my pages, if they could be assembled together in a. ball. I would undertake to pick out of any group of them, even out of that'of the Divines, an 'eleven' who
should compete in any physical feats whatever, against similar s-ti©ns from groups of twice or thrice their numbers, taken at haphazard from equally well-fed classes." (p. 331.)
Perhaps Galton laid too great stress on the high wranglers and classics of his own day who had been "varsity blues'; or again on the big-headed men on the front benches at the Royal Society meetings in the early
One characteristic, but an all-important one, Galton admits both his `Judges' and `Statesmen' did not possess; the power of being prolific. It will be obvious that if men of ability are unprolific, as they are often supposed to be, then the families of great men will be apt to die out, and Galton's project for creating a race of `supermen' must be defeated. This point-whether or no a breed of men gifted above the average could maintain itself during an indefinite number of generations-is so important that Galton devotes a special chapter to the subject. Turning to the `Judges he first cites Lord Campbell's statement that when he first became acquainted with the. English Bar, one-half of the Judges had married their mistresses,
1 "One comfort is that Great Men taken up in any way are profitable company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a Great Man, without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near." Lectures on
Heroes, p. 2.
s He was very unhappy about the low correlations I found between intelligence and size of head, and would cite against me those 'front benches'; it was one of the few instances I noticed when impressions seemed to have more weight with him than measurements. It is possible, however, that between his day and mine science changed its recruiting fields, and 'eminence' became less common.