Recognized HTML document

264   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

diminished fertility of highly-bred animals, unless he supposed, as in the case of the race-horse, a selection by one character, say, speed, only. There is, I think, no evidence that a selection of man by both physique and mentality would lead to an infertile race.

With Galton's statement that a low race, subjected to conditions of life that demand a high level of efficiency, must be submitted to a very rigorous selection involving great pain and misery, we can certainly agree. And we can also do so in the suggestion that the terrible suffering would disappear did we replace it by a higher race.

"The most merciful form," writes Galton, "of what I ventured to call 'eugenics' would consist in watching for the indications of superior strains or races, and in so favouring them that their progeny shall outnumber and gradually replace that of the old one." (p. 307.)

The following section of the Inquiries is concerned with the Influence of Man upon Race (pp. 308-17). Galton gives in a very few pages an able ethnographical survey of the world; he shows that in almost every known country there are three or four races or sub-races of man competing consciously or unconsciously for dominance. The process of evolution is still going on around us, and we disregard it instead of studying it and facilitating it. He raises a strong protest against that misleading word "aborigines," and points out that it dates from a time when a false cosmogony thought the world young and life to be of very recent appearance. There are to-day practically no original inhabitants of any district ; all hold their lands only by the robber-rights of their ancestors. It would be difficult indeed to find a country which being unoccupied was colonised by its present inhabitants, and thence to assert their right of occupation'. Such reasoning carried to its logical conclusion might demand the complete surrender of Australia to the marsupials or even the monotremes.

"There exists," writes Galton, "a sentiment for the most part quite unreasonable, against the gradual extinction of an inferior race. It rests on some confusion between the race and the individual, as if the destruction of a race was equivalent to the destruction of a large number of men. It is nothing of the kind where the process of extinction works silently and slowly through the earlier marriage of members of the superior race, through their greater vitality under equal stress, through their better chances of getting a livelihood, or through their prepotency in mixed marriages. That the members of an inferior class should dislike being elbowed out of the way is another matter; but it may be somewhat brutally argued that whenever two individuals struggle for a single place, one must yield, and that there will be no more unhappiness on-the whole, if the inferior yield to the superior than conversely, whereas the world will be permanently enriched by the success of the superior 2.11 (p. 309.)

' The preliminary discussion of the recent peace terms at Versailles was accompanied by much futile talk about the 'rights' of small nations and of racial units. No small people, because it at present occupies a certain area, can be said to have a 'right' to mineral resources vastly exceeding its own consumption and essential to the needs of a larger adjacent population. Any allotment of lands based solely on 'aboriginal' or even present occupational 'rights' is certain to be called in question by the pressure of race against race. The peace-makers of Versailles lacked the knowledge that springs from a study of evolution.

2 A great deal of the missionary argument in favour of the retention of the negro in tropical Africa, as against the Indian, or, as Galton proposed, the Chinese immigrant (see our p. 33), arises from the fact that the negro's emotional nature makes him a more ready convert than the more highly civilised Asiatics. Africa, like Europe of the folk-wandering days, has always been the