Recognized HTML document

110   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

become able to look after his own interests in an incomparably more far-sighted manner, than in the old prehistoric days of barbarism and flint knives; he is already able to act on the experiences of the past, to combine closely with distant allies, and to prepare for future wants, known only through the intelligence, long before their pressure has become felt. He has introduced a vast deal of civilisation and hygiene which influence, in an immense degree, his own well-being and that of his children; it remains for him to bring other policies into action that shall tell on the natural gifts of his race." (p. 352.)

"How consonant it is to all analogy and experience to expect that the control of the nature of future generations should be as much within the power of the living, as the health and well-being of the individual is in the power of the guardians of his youth." (p. 351.)

Galton puts on one side such social arrangements as existed in Sparta " as alien and repulsive to modern feelings "' and confines his discussion to

'°agencies that are actually at work, and upon which there can be no hesitation in speaking." (p. 352.)

He now takes in succession a series of factors which affect the natural ability of nations. He first stresses differential fertility and says that the wisest policy is that which retards marriage among the weak and hastens it among the vigorous classes. He was the first, I believe, to draw attention to the fact that many social agencies have been " strongly and banefully exerted in the precisely opposite direction." He points out how a very slight difference in fertility of two classes of the community will in one or two centuries enormously change the constituents of a population. He indicates that early marriage not only increases fertility, but by causing more overlapping of generations largely increases population apart from increased fertility. After referring to the rapidly waning influence of any subsection of a race which postpones marriage, Galton continues

"It is a maxim of Malthus that the period of marriage ought to be delayed in order that the earth may not be overcrowded by a population for whom there is no place at the great table of nature. If this decline influenced all classes alike, I should have nothing to say about it here, one way or another, for it would hardly affect the discussions in this book; but as it is put forward as a rule of conduct for the prudent part of mankind to follow, whilst the imprudent are necessarily left free to disregard it, I have no hesitation in saying that it is a most pernicious rule of conduct in its bearing upon race. Its effect would be such as to cause the race of the prudent to fall, after a few centuries, into an almost incredible inferiority of numbers to that of the imprudent, and it is therefore calculated to bring utter ruin on the breed of any country where the doctrine prevailed. I protest against the abler races being encouraged to withdraw in this way from the struggle for existence. It may seem monstrous that the weak should be crowded out by the strong, but it is still more monstrous that the races best fitted to play their part on the stage of life should be crowded out by the incompetent, the ailing, and the desponding.

The time may hereafter arrive, in far distant years, when the population of the earth shall be kept as strictly within the bounds of number and suitability of race, as the sheep on a wellordered moor or the plants in an orchard-house; in the meantime, let us do what we can to encourage the multiplication of the races best fitted to invent and conform to a high and generous civilisation, and not, out of a mistaken instinct of giving support to the weak, prevent the incoming of strong and hearty individuals." (pp. 356-7.)

' This point is very important, for superficial critics of eugenics have asserted that Galton advocated `Spartan' methods of mating. The creation of a superior intellectual caste, with a religious feeling against mating outside it, and a national encouragement of its early marriage and its fertility formed Galton's policy. The adequate endowment of superior motherhood so that wolten of marked intelligence shall have greater freedom in the choice of the father of their children is possibly the only considerable addition which has been made since by cautious eugenists to Galton's positive policy.