260 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
considered that actuaries as a body hold that environment operates merely as a modifying factor after heredity has done its work; L. T. Hobhouse maintained that if the problem of stock is to be taken into consideration at all, then it ought to be by intelligently handling the question rather than submitting to the blind forces of nature, but until there is more knowledge and agreement as to criteria of conscious selection, " we cannot, as sociologists, expect to do much for society on these lines " ; William Bateson held that " the `actuarial method' will perhaps continue to possess a certain fascination in regions of inquiry where experimental methods are at present inapplicable," but urged that those who have such aims at heart (as Galton) would best further Eugenics by promoting " the attainment of that solid and irrefragable kno"-ledge of the physiology of heredity which experimental breeding can alone supply"; he did not state the touchstone-faith in the research and the actuarial treatment-by which we can alone know that the knowledge is "solid and irrefragable "*; C. S. Lock obviously thought the proposals premature ; W. Leslie Mackenzie thought that the effects .of inheritance were so masked by nurture that in no individual case could we determine what was due to the former, and cited as an illustration that the modern movement for extirpation of tubercular phthisis could not become world-wide until the belief in the " heredity of tuberculosis " had been sapped ; a view contradicted promptly by Archdall Reid who held that it was selection by consumption that made the Northern Races pre-eminently strong against consumption ; J. M. Robertson evidently laid more stress on environment than heredity, and considered ill-feeding, ill-housing, ill-clothing and early profligacy on the one hand, and ignorance in child-bearing and begetting on the other, as the great forces of " Kakogenics " ; Bernard Shaw agreed with the paper and went so far as to say " that there was now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact that nothing but a eugenic religion can save our civilisation from the fate which has overtaken all previous civilisations." He held that "what we must fight for is freedom to build the race without being hampered by the mass of irrelevant conditions implied in marriage," and asserted that " a mere reduction in the severity of the struggle for existence is no substitute for positive steps for the improvement of such a deplorable piece of work as man." Shaw cleared away a good deal of the"fog of previous contributors, but went further± than Galton certainly approved, and indicated methods of improving the race, for which, however biologically fitting, the time will not be ripe until the -less drastic proposals of Galton have bred " under the existing conditions of law and sentiment $ " a more highly socialised race. Galton's suggestions may seem very limited as compared with Bernard Shaw's attitude to race improvement, but he who would practically
* I can remember the day when certain so-called "Laws of Motion" were considered "solid and irrefragable " 1 Most of the progress in science consists in the passage from one "solid and irrefragable " law to a second.
t If a marriage is from the eugenic standpoint brilliantly successful "it seems a national loss to limit the husband's progenitive capacity to the breeding capacity of one woman," etc. etc. 1 See the title to Galton's Huxley Lecture on our p. 226.