252 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
itself, namely, the means by which any race can be improved, and these means were for him undoubtedly selective breeding. Accordingly he contributed an article to The'Daily Chronicle of July 29, 1903, with the aim of propounding his views in a popular form. The article was headed (probably in the editorial office) "Our National Physique-Prospects of the British Race-Are, We Degenerating?" As a matter of fact Galton in this article is more concerned with increasing our racial efficiency than with emphasising alarming reports of its deterioration, with regeneration rather than with degeneration. He states that he has no intention of confining his remarks to the wastrels and the slums
"The questions I keep before me are whether or no the British race as a whole is, or is not, equal to its Imperial responsibilities, and again how far is it feasible to make it more capable of the high destinies that are within its reach, if it possesses the will and power to
pursue them. I wish that each one of us should stand aloof from ourselves as a whole, and should watch the conditions and doings of our race, much as an authority of the Royal Agricultural Society might criticise the stock of his neighbour over the hedge. If we do so we may learn in what ways our own stock and its rearing are open to improvement and we may perhaps
Galton has no doubt that the pick of the British race are as capable human animals as the world at present produces. He holds that their chief defects are to be found in their want of grace and of sympathy,
" but they are strong in mind and body, truthful and purposive, excellent leaders of the people of lower races. I speak more particularly of those who are selected to go abroad in various high capacities, whether by Government or by firms to carry out large undertakings under circumstances where they have to depend much on themselves."
The term "lower races" is very unfashionable at the present time, but it is a pleasing and emotional sentiment rather than real anthropological acumen which asserts that all men are of equal value at birth, or that all races are, physically, mentally and socially, of one standard of fitness. The distinctions between man and man, and race and race, are in the main inborn and not " innurtured "-I would say "inbred," but for the double meaning of that word*.
Of the "lower middle classes" Galton's judgment was very unfavourable. He finds the average holiday-maker and cheap-excursion tourist unprepossessing as compared with the like section of other European races. We may superficially, perhaps, but nevertheless with some justification, sum them up as mentally and physically litter-scatterers.
"As regards the physique of Britons, I think we brag or have bragged more than is right. Moreover we are not as well formed as might be. It is difficult to get opportunities of studying the nude figures of our countrymen in mass, but I have often watched crowds bathe, as in the Serpentine, with a critical eye, and have always come to the conclusion that they were less
shapely than many of the dark-coloured people whom I have seen."
* Few teachers who have had to instruct young men of many races-and usually the best of the "lower races "-would deny that mentally at least they can be graded. Exceptional men may possibly arise in any race, but it is the averages we have to regard. It was greed that introduced the negro into North America; it was lack of insight which did not push him northwards in South Africa. In both cases the " lower race " now forms a grave and almost unsolvable problem for the future.