Early Anthropological Researches 117
piety, the fact that the nobility are peculiarly subject to insanity notwithstanding that our Liturgy prays that they may be endued "with grace, wisdom and. understanding," the fact that insurance offices make no differences in the insurances of pious and profane persons, or of ships fitted out for pious or profane purp oses, although they are for ever measuring slight differences of risk, etc.
In his last paragraphs Galton turns 0 the subjective value of prayer:
"Nothing that I have said negatives the fact that the mind may be relieved by the utterance of prayer. The impulse to pour out the feelings in sound is not peculiar to man. Any mother that has lost her young, and wanders about moaning and looking piteously for sympathy, possesses much of that which prompts men to pray in articulate words. There is a yearning of the heart, a craving for help, it knows not where, certainly from no source it sees." (p. 135.)
The paper concludes with a fine statement which at least emphasises the religious comfort Galton found in his own pantheistic views and from which freethinkers without those views may still draw consolation:
"A confident sense of communion with God must necessarily rejoice and strengthen the heart, and divert it from petty cares; and it is equally certain that similar benefits are not excluded from those who on conscientious grounds are sceptical as to the reality of a power of communion. These can dwell on the undoubted fact, that there exists a solidarity between themselves and what surrounds them, through the endless reactions of physical laws,-among which the hereditary influences are to be included. They know that they are descended from an endless past, that they have a brotherhood with all that is, and have each his own share of responsibility in the parentage of an endless future. The effort to familiarise the imagination with this great idea has much in common with the effort of communing with a God, and its reaction on the mind of the thinker is in many respects the same. It may not equally rejoice the heart, but it is quite as powerful in ennobling the resolves, and it is found to give serenity during the trials of life and in the shadow of approaching death." (p. 135.)
I now turn to the last popular appeal which Galton made for conscious race-betterment for more than 30 years. As he himself has said, the time was not ripe for such a programme as he had in mind, and he did not recur to the topic until 1901. The paper appeared in Fraser's Magazine in January 1873', under the title: "Hereditary Improvement." It opens as follows:
"It is freely allowed by most authorities on heredity, that men are just as subject to its laws, both in body and mind, as are any other animals, but it is almost universally doubted, if not denied, that an establishment of this fact could ever be of large practical benefit to humanity. It is objected that, philosophise as you will, men and women will continue to marry, as they have hitherto done, according to their personal likings; that any prospect of improving the race of man is absurd and chimerical, and that though inquiries into the laws of human heredity may be pursued for the satisfaction of a curious disposition, they can be of no real importance. In opposition to these objections, I maintain, in the present essay, that it is feasible to improve the race of man by a system which shall be perfectly in accordance with the moral sense of the present time." (p. 116.)
Galton holds that conscious race-betterment must arise as soon as the
' Vol. vii, New Series, pp. 116-30. I may, perhaps, be permitted to interpolate here a remark, which is true if pessimistic. The impression which has remained tome from younger days of the relatively high intellectual standard of mid-Victorian magazines has been confirmed by my re-examination of them for the purposes of this biography. These old magazines-many of them now dead-are full of good work by the best minds of that age, both literary and scientific; the magazines of to-day-from big to small-are almost entirely written by professional journalists to amuse an uncultured public. The writers bear as a rule names which have made no permanent mark on literature, science or politics, and their readers leave these productions to litter the railway carriage or the sea-beach.