Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Mankind in the Making by H. G. Wells

Part 1 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

This eBook was produced by Michelle Shephard, Tiffany Vergon,
Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreaders





It may save misunderstanding if a word or so be said here of the aim
and scope of this book. It is written in relation to a previous work,
_Anticipations_, [Footnote: Published by Harper Bros.] and
together with that and a small pamphlet, "The Discovery of the Future,"
[Footnote: Nature, vol. lxv. (1901-2), p. 326, and reprinted in the
Smithsonian Report for 1902] presents a general theory of social
development and of social and political conduct. It is an attempt to
deal with social and political questions in a new way and from a new
starting-point, viewing the whole social and political world as aspects
of one universal evolving scheme, and placing all social and political
activities in a defined relation to that; and to this general method
and trend it is that the attention of the reader is especially
directed. The two books and the pamphlet together are to be regarded as
an essay in presentation. It is a work that the writer admits he has
undertaken primarily for his own mental comfort. He is remarkably not
qualified to assume an authoritative tone in these matters, and he is
acutely aware of the many defects in detailed knowledge, in temper, and
in training these papers collectively display. He is aware that at such
points, for example, as the reference to authorities in the chapter on
the biological problem, and to books in the educational chapter, the
lacunar quality of his reading and knowledge is only too evident; to
fill in and complete his design--notably in the fourth paper--he has
had quite frankly to jerry-build here and there. Nevertheless, he
ventures to publish this book. There are phases in the development of
every science when an incautious outsider may think himself almost
necessary, when sketchiness ceases to be a sin, when the mere facts of
irresponsibility and an untrained interest may permit a freshness, a
freedom of mental gesture that would be inconvenient and compromising
for the specialist; and such a phase, it is submitted, has been reached
in this field of speculation. Moreover, the work attempted is not so
much special and technical as a work of reconciliation, the suggestion
of broad generalizations upon which divergent specialists may meet, a
business for non-technical expression, and in which a man who knows a
little of biology, a little of physical science, and a little in a
practical way of social stratification, who has concerned himself with
education and aspired to creative art, may claim in his very
amateurishness a special qualification. And in addition, it is
particularly a business for some irresponsible writer, outside the
complications of practical politics, some man who, politically,
"doesn't matter," to provide the first tentatives of a political
doctrine that shall be equally available for application in the British
Empire and in the United States. To that we must come, unless our talk
of co-operation, of reunion, is no more than sentimental dreaming. We
have to get into line, and that we cannot do while over here and over
there men hold themselves bound by old party formulae, by loyalties and
institutions, that are becoming, that have become, provincial in
proportion to our new and wider needs. My instances are commonly
British, but all the broad project of this book--the discussion of the
quality of the average birth and of the average home, the educational
scheme, the suggestions for the organization of literature and a common
language, the criticism of polling and the jury system, and the ideal
of a Republic with an apparatus of honour--is, I submit, addressed to,
and could be adopted by, any English-reading and English-speaking man.
No doubt the spirit of the inquiry is more British than American, that
the abandonment of Rousseau and anarchic democracy is more complete
than American thought is yet prepared for, but that is a difference not
of quality but of degree. And even the appendix, which at a hasty
glance may seem to be no more than the discussion of British parochial
boundaries, does indeed develop principles of primary importance in the
fundamental schism of American politics between the local State
government and the central power. So much of apology and explanation I
owe to the reader, to the contemporary specialist, and to myself.

These papers were first published in the British _Fortnightly
Review_ and in the American _Cosmopolitan_. In the latter
periodical they were, for the most part, printed from uncorrected
proofs set up from an early version. This periodical publication
produced a considerable correspondence, which has been of very great
service in the final revision. These papers have indeed been honoured
by letters from men and women of almost every profession, and by a
really very considerable amount of genuine criticism in the British
press. Nothing, I think, could witness more effectually to the demand
for such discussions of general principle, to the need felt for some
nuclear matter to crystallize upon at the present time, however poor
its quality, than this fact. Here I can only thank the writers
collectively, and call their attention to the more practical gratitude
of my frequently modified text.

I would, however, like to express my especial indebtedness to my
friend, Mr. Graham Wallas, who generously toiled through the whole of
my typewritten copy, and gave me much valuable advice, and to Mr. C. G.
Stuart Menteath for some valuable references.

SANDGATE, _July_, 1903.










Toleration to-day is becoming a different thing from the toleration of
former times. The toleration of the past consisted very largely in
saying, "You are utterly wrong and totally accurst, there is no truth
but my truth and that you deny, but it is not my place to destroy you
and so I let you go." Nowadays there is a real disposition to accept
the qualified nature of one's private certainties. One may have arrived
at very definite views, one may have come to beliefs quite binding upon
one's self, without supposing them to be imperative upon other people.
To write "I believe" is not only less presumptuous and aggressive in
such matters than to write "it is true," but it is also nearer the
reality of the case. One knows what seems true to one's self, but we
are coming to realize that the world is great and complex, beyond the
utmost power of such minds as ours. Every day of life drives that
conviction further home. And it is possible to maintain that in perhaps
quite a great number of ethical, social, and political questions there
is no absolute "truth" at all--at least for finite beings. To one
intellectual temperament things may have a moral tint and aspect,
differing widely from that they present to another; and yet each may be
in its own way right. The wide differences in character and quality
between one human being and another may quite conceivably involve not
only differences in moral obligation, but differences in fundamental
moral aspect--we may act and react upon each other towards a universal
end, but without any universally applicable rule of conduct whatever.
In some greater vision than mine, my right and wrong may be no more
than hammer and anvil in the accomplishment of a design larger than I
can understand. So that these papers are not written primarily for all,
nor with the same intention towards all who read them. They are
designed first for those who are predisposed for their reception. Then
they are intended to display in an orderly manner a point of view, and
how things look from that point of view, to those who are not so
predisposed. These latter will either develop into adherents as they
read, or, what is more likely, they will exchange a vague disorderly
objection for a clearly defined and understood difference. To arrive at
such an understanding is often for practical purposes as good as
unanimity; for in narrowing down the issue to some central point or
principle, we develop just how far those who are divergent may go
together before separation or conflict become inevitable, and save
something of our time and of our lives from those misunderstandings,
and those secondary differences of no practical importance whatever,
which make such disastrous waste of human energy.

Now the point of view which will be displayed in relation to a number
of wide questions in these pages is primarily that of the writer's. But
he hopes and believes that among those who read what he has to say,
there will be found not only many to understand, but some to agree with
him. In many ways he is inclined to believe the development of his
views may be typical of the sort of development that has gone on to a
greater or lesser extent in the minds of many of the younger men during
the last twenty years, and it is in that belief that he is now
presenting them.

And the questions that will be dealt with in relation to this point of
view are all those questions outside a man's purely private self--if he
have a purely private self--in which he interacts with his fellow-man.
Our attempt will be to put in order, to reduce to principle, what is at
present in countless instances a mass of inconsistent proceedings, to
frame a general theory in accordance with modern conditions of social
and political activity.

This is one man's proposal, his attempt to supply a need that has
oppressed him for many years, a need that he has not only found in his
own schemes of conduct, but that he has observed in the thought of
numberless people about him, rendering their action fragmentary,
wasteful in the gross, and ineffective in the net result, the need for
some general principle, some leading idea, some standard, sufficiently
comprehensive to be of real guiding value in social and political
matters, in many doubtful issues of private conduct, and throughout the
business of dealing with one's fellow-men. No doubt there are many who
do not feel such a need at all, and with these we may part company
forthwith; there are, for example, those who profess the artistic
temperament and follow the impulse of the moment, and those who consult
an inner light in some entirely mystical manner. But neither of these I
believe is the most abundant type in the English-speaking communities.
My impression is that with most of the minds I have been able to
examine with any thoroughness, the attempt to systematize one's private
and public conduct alike, and to reduce it to spacious general rules,
to attempt, if not to succeed, in making it coherent, consistent, and
uniformly directed, is an almost instinctive proceeding.

There is an objection I may anticipate at this point. If I am to leave
this statement unqualified, it would certainly be objected that such a
need is no more nor less than the need of religion, that a properly
formulated religion does supply a trustworthy guide at every fork and
labyrinth in life. By my allusion to the failure of old formulae and
methods to satisfy now, I am afraid many people will choose to
understand that I refer to what is often spoken of as the conflict of
religion and science, and that I intend to propound some contribution
to the conflict. I will at any rate anticipate that objection here, in
order to mark out my boundaries with greater precision.

Taken in its completeness, I submit that it is a greater claim than
almost any religion can justifiably make, to satisfy the need I have
stated. No religion prescribes rules that can be immediately applied to
every eventuality. Between the general rules laid down and the
particular instance there is always a wide gap, into which doubts and
alternatives enter and the private judgment has play. No doubt upon
certain defined issues of every-day life some religions are absolutely
explicit; the Mahomedan religion, for example, is very uncompromising
upon the use of wine, and the law of the Ten Commandments completely
prohibits the making of graven images, and almost all the great variety
of creeds professed among us English-speaking peoples prescribe certain
general definitions of what is righteous and what constitutes sin. But
upon a thousand questions of great public importance, on the question
of forms of government, of social and educational necessities, of one's
course and attitude towards such great facts as the press, trusts,
housing, and the like, religion, as it is generally understood, gives
by itself no conclusive light. It may, no doubt, give a directing light
in some cases, but not a conclusive light. It leaves us inconsistent
and uncertain amidst these unavoidable problems. Yet upon these
questions most people feel that something more is needed than the mood
of the moment or the spin of a coin. Religious conviction may help us,
it may stimulate us to press for clearer light upon these matters, but
it certainly does not give us any decisions.

It is possible to be either intensely religious or utterly indifferent
to religious matters and yet care nothing for these things. One may be
a Pietist to whom the world is a fleeting show of no importance
whatever, or one may say, "Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for to-
morrow we die": the net result in regard to my need is the same. These
questions appear to be on a different plane from religion and religious
discussion; they look outward, while essentially religion looks inward
to the soul, and, given the necessary temperament, it is possible to
approach them in an unbiassed manner from almost any starting-point of
religious profession. One man may believe in the immortality of the
soul and another may not; one man may be a Swedenborgian, another a
Roman Catholic, another a Calvinistic Methodist, another an English
High Churchman, another a Positivist, or a Parsee, or a Jew; the fact
remains that they must go about doing all sorts of things in common
every day. They may derive their ultimate motives and sanctions from
the most various sources, they may worship in the most contrasted
temples and yet meet unanimously in the market-place with a desire to
shape their general activities to the form of a "public spirited" life,
and when at last the life of every day is summed up, "to leave the
world better than they found it." And it is from that most excellent
expression I would start, or rather from a sort of amplified
restatement of that expression--outside the province of religious
discussion altogether.

A man who will build on that expression _as his foundation_ in
political and social matters, has at least the possibility of agreement
in the scheme of action these papers will unfold. For though we
theorize it is at action that our speculations will aim. They will take
the shape of an organized political and social doctrine. It will be
convenient to give this doctrine a name, and for reasons that will be
clear enough to those who have read my book _Anticipations_ this
doctrine will be spoken of throughout as "New Republicanism," the
doctrine of the New Republic.

The central conception of this New Republicanism as it has shaped
itself in my mind, lies in attaching pre-eminent importance to certain
aspects of human life, and in subordinating systematically and always,
all other considerations to these cardinal aspects. It begins with a
way of looking at life. It insists upon that way, it will regard no
human concern at all except in that way. And the way, putting the thing
as compactly as possible, is to reject and set aside all abstract,
refined, and intellectualized ideas as starting propositions, such
ideas as Right, Liberty, Happiness, Duty or Beauty, and to hold fast to
the assertion of the fundamental nature of life as a tissue and
succession of births. These other things may be important, they may be
profoundly important, but they are not primary. We cannot build upon
any one of them and get a structure that will comprehend all the
aspects of life.

For the great majority of mankind at least it can be held that life
resolves itself quite simply and obviously into three cardinal phases.
There is a period of youth and preparation, a great insurgence of
emotion and enterprise centering about the passion of Love, and a third
period in which, arising amidst the warmth and stir of the second,
interweaving indeed with the second, the care and love of offspring
becomes the central interest in life. In the babble of the
grandchildren, with all the sons and daughters grown and secure, the
typical life of humanity ebbs and ends. Looked at thus with a primary
regard to its broadest aspect, life is seen as essentially a matter of
reproduction; first a growth and training to that end, then commonly
mating and actual physical reproduction, and finally the consummation
of these things in parental nurture and education. Love, Home and
Children, these are the heart-words of life. Not only is the general
outline of the normal healthy human life reproductive, but a vast
proportion of the infinitely complex and interwoven interests that fill
that outline with incessant interest can be shown by a careful analysis
to be more or less directly reproductive also. The toil of a man's
daily work is rarely for himself alone, it goes to feed, to clothe, to
educate those cardinal consequences of his being, his children; he
builds for them, he plants for them, he plans for them, his social
intercourse, his political interests, whatever his immediate motives,
tend finally to secure their welfare. Even more obviously is this the
case with his wife. Even in rest and recreation life still manifests
its quality; the books the ordinary man reads turn enormously on love-
making, his theatre has scarcely ever a play that has not primarily a
strong love interest, his art rises to its most consummate triumphs in
Venus and Madonna, and his music is saturated in love suggestions. Not
only is this so with the right and proper life, but the greater portion
of those acts we call vice draw their stimulus and pleasure from the
impulses that subserve this sustaining fact of our being, and they are
vicious only because they evade or spoil their proper end. This is
really no new discovery at all, only the stripping bare of it is new.
In nearly every religious and moral system in the world indeed, the
predominant mass of the exposition of sin and saving virtue positively
or negatively centres upon birth. Positively in the enormous stresses,
the sacramental values which are concentrated upon marriage and the
initial circumstances of being, and negatively in a thousand
significant repudiations. Even when the devotee most strenuously
renounces this world and all its works, when St. Anthony flees into the
desert or the pious Durtal wrestles in his cell, when the pale nun
prays in vigil and the hermit mounts his pillar, it is Celibacy, that
great denial of life, that sings through all their struggle, it is this
business of births as the central fact of life they still have most in

This is not human life merely, it is all life. This living world, as
the New Republican will see it, is no more than a great birth-place, an
incessant renewal, an undying fresh beginning and unfolding of life.
Take away this fact of birth and what is there remaining? A world
without flowers, without the singing of birds, without the freshness of
youth, with a spring that brings no seedlings and a year that bears no
harvest, without beginnings and without defeats, a vast stagnation, a
universe of inconsequent matter--Death. Not only does the substance of
life vanish if we eliminate births and all that is related to births,
but whatever remains, if anything remains, of aesthetic and
intellectual and spiritual experience, collapses utterly and falls
apart, when this essential substratum of all experience is withdrawn.
So at any rate the world presents itself in the view the New Republican
takes. And if it should chance that the reader finds this ring untrue
to him, then he may take it that he stands outside us, that the New
Republic is not for him.

It may be submitted that this statement that Life is a texture of
births may be accepted by minds of the most divergent religious and
philosophical profession. No fundamental or recondite admissions are
proposed here, but only that the every-day life for every-day purposes
has this shape and nature. The utter materialist may say that life to
him is a fortuitous concurrence of atoms, a chance kinking in the
universal fabric of matter. It is not our present business to confute
him. The fact remains this is the form the kinking has taken. The
believer, sedulous for his soul's welfare, may say that Life is to him
an arena of spiritual conflict, but this is the character of the
conflict, this is the business from which all the tests and exercises
of his soul are drawn. It matters not in this present discussion if
Life is no more than a dream; the dream is this.

And now one comes to another step. The reader may give his assent to
this statement as obvious or he may guard his assent with a
qualification or so, but I doubt if he will deny it. No one, I expect,
will categorically deny it. But although no one will do that, a great
number of people who have not clearly seen things in this light, do in
thought and in many details of their practice follow a line that is, in
effect, a flat denial of what is here proposed. Life no doubt is a
fabric woven of births and the struggle to maintain and develop and
multiply lives. It does not follow that life is _consciously_ a
fabric woven of births and the struggle to maintain and develop and
multiply lives. I do not suppose a cat or a savage sees it in that
light. A cat's standpoint is probably strictly individualistic. She
sees the whole universe as a scheme of more or less useful, pleasurable
and interesting things concentrated upon her sensitive and interesting
personality. With a sinuous determination she evades disagreeables and
pursues delights; life is to her quite clearly and simply a succession
of pleasures, sensations and interests, among which interests there
happen to be--kittens!

And this way of regarding life is by no means confined to animals and
savages. I would even go so far as to suggest that it is only within
the last hundred years that any considerable number of thoughtful
people have come to look at life steadily and consistently as being
shaped to this form, to the form of a series of births, growths and
births. The most general truths are those last apprehended. The
universal fact of gravitation, for example, which pervades all being,
received its complete recognition scarcely two hundred years ago. And
again children and savages live in air, breathe air, are saturated with
air, die for five minutes' need of it, and never definitely realize
there is such a thing as air at all. The vast mass of human expression
in act and art and literature takes a narrower view than we have here
formulated; it presents each man not only as isolated from and
antagonized with the world about him, but as cut off sharply and
definitely from the past before he lived and the future after he is
dead; it puts what is, in relation to the view we have taken, a
disproportionate amount of stress upon his egotism, upon the pursuit of
his self-interest and his personal virtue and his personal fancies, and
it ignores the fact, the familiar rediscovery which the nineteenth
century has achieved, that he is after all only the transitory
custodian of an undying gift of life, an inheritor under conditions,
the momentary voice and interpreter of a being that springs from the
dawn of time and lives in offspring and thought and material
consequence, for ever.

This over-accentuation in the past of man's egoistic individuality, or,
if one puts it in another way, this unsuspicious ignorance of the real
nature of life, becomes glaringly conspicuous in such weighed and
deliberate utterances as _The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius_.
Throughout these frank and fundamental discourses one traces a
predominant desire for a perfected inconsequent egotism. Body is
repudiated as a garment, position is an accident, the past that made us
exists not since it is past, the future exists not for we shall never
see it; at last nothing but the abstracted ego remains,--a sort of
complimentary Nirvana. One citation will serve to show the colour of
all his thought. "A man," he remarks, "is very devout to prevent the
loss of his son. But I would have you pray rather against the fear of
losing him. Let this be the rule for your devotions." [Footnote: _The
Meditations of M. A. Antoninus_, ix. 40.] That indeed is the rule
for all the devotions of that departing generation of wisdom. Rather
serenity and dignity than good ensuing. Rather a virtuous man than any
resultant whatever from his lifetime, for the future of the world. It
points this disregard of the sequence of life and birth in favour of an
abstract and fruitless virtue, it points it indeed with a barbed point
that the son of Marcus Aurelius was the unspeakable Commodus, and that
the Roman Empire fell from the temporizing detachment of his rule into
a century of disorder and misery.

To the thoughtful reader to whom these papers appeal, to the reader
whose mind is of the modern cast, who has surveyed the vistas of the
geological record and grasped the secular unfolding of the scheme of
life, who has found with microscope and scalpel that the same rhythm of
birth and re-birth is woven into the minutest texture of things that
has covered the earth with verdure and shaped the massifs of the Alps,
to such a man the whole literature the world produced until the
nineteenth century had well progressed, must needs be lacking in any
definite and pervading sense of the cardinal importance in the world of
this central reproductive aspect, of births and of the training and
preparation for future births. All that literature, great and imposing
as we are bound to admit it is, has an outlook less ample than quite
common men may have to-day. It is a literature, as we see it in the
newer view, of abstracted personalities and of disconnected passions
and impressions.

To one extraordinary and powerful mind in the earlier half of the
nineteenth century this realization of the true form of life came with
quite overwhelming force, and that was to Schopenhauer, surely at once
the most acute and the most biassed of mortal men. It came to him as a
most detestable fact, because it happened he was an intensely
egotistical man. But his intellect was of that noble and exceptional
sort that aversion may tint indeed but cannot blind, and we owe to him
a series of philosophical writings, written with an instinctive skill
and a clearness and a vigour uncommon in philosophers, in which a very
complete statement of the new view is presented to the reader in terms
of passionate protest. [Footnote: _Die Welt als Wille und
Vorstellung._] "Why," he asked, "must we be for ever tortured by
this passion and desire to reproduce our kind, why are all our pursuits
tainted with this application, all our needs deferred to the needs of
the new generation that tramples on our heels?" and he found the answer
in the presence of an overwhelming Will to Live manifesting itself
throughout the universe of Matter, thrusting us ruthlessly before it,
as a strong swimmer thrusts a wave before him as he swims. That the
personal egotism should be subordinated to and overwhelmed by a
pervading Will to Live filled his soul with passionate rebellion and
coloured his exposition with the hues of despair. But to minds
temperamentally different from his, minds whose egotism is qualified by
a more unselfish humour, it is possible to avail one's self of
Schopenhauer's vision, without submitting one's self to his
conclusions, to see our wills only as temporary manifestations of an
ampler will, our lives as passing phases of a greater Life, and to
accept these facts even joyfully, to take our places in that larger
scheme with a sense of relief and discovery, to go with that larger
being, to serve that larger being, as a soldier marches, a mere unit in
the larger being of his army, and serving his army, joyfully into

However, it is not to Schopenhauer and his writings, at least among the
English-speaking peoples, that this increasing realization of life as
essentially a succession of births, is chiefly ascribed. It is mainly,
as I have already suggested, the result of that great expansion of our
sense of time and causation that has ensued from the idea of organic
Evolution. In the course of one brief century, the human outlook upon
the order of the world has been profoundly changed. It is not simply
that it has become much more spacious, it is not only that it has
opened out from the little history of a few thousand years to a
stupendous vista of ages, but, in addition to its expanded dimensions,
it has experienced a change in character. That wonderful and
continually more elaborate and penetrating analysis of the evolutionary
process by Darwin and his followers and successors and antagonists, the
entire subordination of the individual lot to the specific destiny that
these criticisms and researches have emphasized, has warped and altered
the aspect of a thousand human affairs. It has made reasonable and in
order what Schopenhauer found so suggestively perplexing, it has
dispelled problems that have seemed insoluble mysteries to many
generations of men. I do not say it has solved them, but it has
dispelled them and made them irrelevant and uninteresting. So long as
one believed that life span unprogressively from generation to
generation, that generation followed generation unchangingly for ever,
the enormous preponderance of sexual needs and emotions in life was a
distressing and inexplicable fact--it was a mystery, it was sin, it was
the work of the devil. One asked, why does man build houses that others
may live therein; plant trees whose fruit he will never see? And all
the toil and ambition, the stress and hope of existence, seemed, so far
as this life went, and before these new lights came, a mere sacrifice
to this pointless reiteration of lives, this cosmic _crambe
repetita_. To perceive this aspect, and to profess an entire
detachment from the whole vacuous business was considered by a large
proportion of the more thoughtful people of the world the supreme
achievement of philosophy. The acme of old-world wisdom, the ultimate
mystery of Oriental philosophy is to contemn women and offspring, to
abandon costume, cleanliness, and all the decencies and dignities of
life, and to crawl, as scornfully as possible, but at any rate to crawl
out of all these earthly shows and snares (which so obviously lead to
nothing), into the nearest tub.

And the amazing revelation of our days is that they do not lead to
nothing! Directly the discovery is made clear--and it is, I firmly
believe, the crowning glory of the nineteenth century to have
established this discovery for all time--that one generation does not
follow another in _fac simile_, directly we come within sight of
the reasonable persuasion that each generation is a step, a definite
measurable step, and each birth an unprecedented experiment, directly
it grows clear that instead of being in an eddy merely, we are for all
our eddying moving forward upon a wide voluminous current, then all
these things are changed.

That change alters the perspective of every human affair. Things that
seemed permanent and final, become unsettled and provisional. Social
and political effort are seen from a new view-point. Everywhere the old
direction posts, the old guiding marks, have got out of line and askew.
And it is out of the conflict of the new view with the old institutions
and formulae, that there arises the discontent and the need, and the
attempt at a wider answer, which this phrase and suggestion of the "New
Republic" is intended to express.

Every part contributes to the nature of the whole, and if the whole of
life is an evolving succession of births, then not only must a man in
his individual capacity (_physically_ as parent, doctor, food
dealer, food carrier, home builder, protector, or _mentally_ as
teacher, news dealer, author, preacher) contribute to births and
growths and the future of mankind, but the collective aspects of man,
his social and political organizations must also be, in the essence,
organizations that more or less profitably and more or less
intentionally, set themselves towards this end. They are finally
concerned with the birth and with the sound development towards still
better births, of human lives, just as every implement in the toolshed
of a seedsman's nursery, even the hoe and the roller, is concerned
finally with the seeding and with the sound development towards still
better seeding of plants. The private and personal motive of the
seedsman in procuring and using these tools may be avarice, ambition, a
religious belief in the saving efficacy of nursery keeping or a simple
passion for bettering flowers, that does not affect the definite final
purpose of his outfit of tools.

And just as we might judge completely and criticise and improve that
outfit from an attentive study of the welfare of plants and with an
entire disregard of his remoter motives, so we may judge all collective
human enterprises from the standpoint of an attentive study of human
births and development. _Any collective human enterprise,
institution, movement, party or state, is to be judged as a whole and
completely, as it conduces more or less to wholesome and hopeful
births, and according to the qualitative and quantitative advance due
to its influence made by each generation of citizens born under its
influence towards a higher and ampler standard of life_.

Or putting the thing in a slightly different phrasing, the New
Republican idea amounts to this: the serious aspect of our private
lives, the general aspect of all our social and co-operative
undertakings, is to prepare as well as we possibly can a succeeding
generation, which shall prepare still more capably for still better
generations to follow. We are passing as a race out of a state of
affairs when the unconscious building of the future was attained by
individualistic self-seeking (altogether unenlightened or enlightened
only by the indirect moralizing influence of the patriotic instinct and
religion) into a clear consciousness of our co-operative share in that
process. That is the essential idea my New Republic would personify and
embody. In the past man was made, generation after generation, by
forces beyond his knowledge and control. Now a certain number of men
are coming to a provisional understanding of some at least of these
forces that go to the Making of Man. To some of us there is being given
the privilege and responsibility of knowledge. We may plead lack of
will or lack of moral impetus, but we can no longer plead ignorance.
Just as far as our light upon the general purpose goes, just so far
goes our responsibility (whether we respect it or not) to shape and
subdue our wills to the Making of Mankind.

Directly the man, who has found akin to himself and who has accepted
and assimilated this new view, turns to the affairs of the political
world, to the general professions of our great social and business
undertakings, and to the broad conventions of human conduct, he will
find, I think, a very wide discrepancy from the implications of this
view. He will find--the New Republican finds--that the declared aims
and principles of the larger amount of our social and political effort
are astonishingly limited and unsatisfactory, astonishingly irrelevant
to the broad reality of Life. He will find great masses of men embarked
collectively upon enterprises that will seem to his eyes to have no
definable relation to this real business of the world, or only the most
accidental relationship, he will find others in partial lop-sided co-
operation or unintelligently half helpful and half obstructive, and he
will find still other movements and developments which set quite in the
opposite direction, which make neither for sound births nor sound
growth, but through the thinnest shams of excuse and purpose, through
the most hypnotic and unreal of suggestions and motives, directly and
even plainly towards waste, towards sterility, towards futility and
death and extinction.

But not deliberately towards Death. It is only in the theoretical
aspirations of Schopenhauer that he will find an expression of
conscious and resolved opposition to the pervading will and purpose in
things. In the common affairs of the world he will find neither
deliberate opposition nor deliberate co-operation, chance opposition
indeed and chance co-operation, but for the most part only a complete
unconsciousness, a blind irrelevance or a purely accidental accordance
to the essential aspect of Life.

Take, for example, the great enthusiasm that set all England waving
bunting in June, 1902. It was made clear to the most unwilling observer
that the great mass of English people consider themselves aggregated
together in one nation mainly to support, honour, and obey a King, and
that they rejoice in this conception of their national purpose. Great
sums of money were spent to emphasize this purpose, public work of all
sorts was dislocated, and the channels of public discussion clogged and
choked. A discussion of the education of the next generation, a matter
of supreme interest from the New Republican point of view, passed from
public sight amidst the happy tumults and splendours of the time. The
land was filled with poetry in the Monarch's praise, bad beyond any
suspicion of insincerity. All that was certainly great in the land, all
that has any hold upon the motives and confidence of the English,
gathered itself into a respectful proximity, assumed attitudes of
reverent subordination to the Monarch. All that was eminent in science
and literature and art, the galaxy of the episcopate, the crowning
intellectualities of the army, came to these rites, clad in robes and
raiment that no sane person would ever voluntarily assume in public
except under circumstances of extreme necessity. The whole business was
conducted with a zest and gravity that absolutely forbids the theory
that it was a mere formality, a curious survival of mediĉvalism
cherished by a country that makes no breaks with its past. The spirit
and idea of the whole thing was intensely real and contemporary; one
could believe only that those who took part in it regarded it as a
matter of primary importance, as one of the cardinal things for which
they existed. The alternative is to imagine that they believe nothing
to be of primary importance in this world; a quite incredible levity of
soul to ascribe to all those great and distinguished people.

But it reflects not at all upon the high intelligence, the unobtrusive
but sterling moral qualities, the tact, dignity, and personal charm of
the central figure in their pageantries, a charm the pathetic
circumstances of his unseasonable illness very greatly enhanced, if the
New Republican fails to consider these ceremonials of primary
importance, if he declines to see them as of any necessary importance
at all, until it has been conclusively shown that they do minister to
the bettering of births and of the lives intervening between birth and
birth. On the surface they do not do that. Unless they can be shown to
do that they are dissipations of energy, they are irrelevant and wrong,
from the New Republican point of view. The New Republican can take no
part in these things, or only a very grudging and qualified part, on
his way to real service. He may or he may not, after deliberate
examination, leave these things on one side, unchallenged but ignored.

It may be urged that all the subserviences that distinguish our kingdom
and that become so amazingly conspicuous about a coronation, the
kissing of hands, the shambling upon knees, the crawling of body and
mind, the systematic encouragement of that undignified noisiness that
nowadays distinguishes the popular rejoicings of our imperial people,
are simply a proof of the earnest preoccupation of our judges, bishops,
and leaders and great officers of all sorts with remoter and nobler
aims. The kingdom happens to exist, and it would be complex and
troublesome to get rid of it. They stand these things, they get done
with these things, and so are able to get to their work. The
paraphernalia of a Court, the sham scale of honours, the submissions,
the ceremonial subjection, are, it is argued, entirely irrelevant to
the purpose and honour of our race, but then so would rebellion against
these things be also irrelevant and secondary. To submit or to rebel is
a diversion of our energies from the real purpose in things, and of the
two it is infinitely less bother to submit. In private conversation, I
find, this is the line nine out of ten of the King's servants will
take. They will tell you the public understands; the thing is a mere
excuse for festivity and colour; their loyalty is of a piece with their
Fifth of November anti-popery. They will tell you the peers understand,
the bishops understand, the coronating archbishop has his tongue in his
cheek. They all understand--men of the world together. The King
understands, a most admirable gentleman, who submits to these
traditional things, but who admits his preference is for the simple,
pure delight of the incognito, for being "plain Mr. Jones."

It may be so. Though the psychologist will tell you that a man who
behaves consistently as though he believed in a thing, will end in
believing it. Assuredly whatever these others do, the New Republican
must understand. In his inmost soul there must be no loyalty or
submission to any king or colour, save only if it conduces to the
service of the future of the race. In the New Republic all kings are
provisional, if, indeed--and this I shall discuss in a later paper--
they can be regarded as serviceable at all.

And just as kingship is a secondary and debatable thing to the New
Republican, to every man, that is, whom the spirit of the new knowledge
has taken for its work, so also are the loyalties of nationality, and
all our local and party adhesions.

Much that passes for patriotism is no more than a generalized jealousy
rather gorgeously clad. Amidst the collapse of the old Individualistic
Humanitarianism, the Rights of Man, Human Equality, and the rest of
those broad generalizations that served to keep together so many men of
good intention in the age that has come to its end, there has been much
hasty running to obvious shelters, and many men have been forced to
take refuge under this echoing patriotism--for want of a better
gathering place. It is like an incident during an earthquake, when men
who have abandoned a cleft fortress will shelter in a drinking bothy.
But the very upheavals that have shattered the old fastnesses of
altruistic men, will be found presently to be taking the shape of a new
gathering place--and of this the New Republic presents an early guess
and anticipation. I do not see how men, save in the most unexpected
emergency, can be content to accept such an artificial convention as
modern patriotism for one moment. On the one hand there are the
patriots of nationality who would have us believe that the miscellany
of European squatters in the Transvaal are one nation and those in Cape
Colony another, and on the other the patriots of Empire who would have
me, for example, hail as my fellow-subjects and collaborators in man-
making a host of Tamil-speaking, Tamil-thinking Dravadians, while
separating me from every English-speaking, English-thinking person who
lives south of the Great Lakes. So long as men are content to work in
the grooves set for them by dead men, to derive all their significances
from the past, to accept whatever is as right and to drive along before
the compulsions of these acquiescences, they may do so. But directly
they take to themselves the New Republican idea, directly they realize
that life is something more than passing the time, that it is
constructive with its direction in the future, then these things slip
from them as Christian's burthen fell from him at the very outset of
his journey. Until grave cause has been shown to the contrary, there is
every reason why all men who speak the same language, think the same
literature, and are akin in blood and spirit, and who have arrived at
the great constructive conception that so many minds nowadays are
reaching, should entirely disregard these old separations. If the old
traditions do no harm there is no reason to touch them, any more than
there is to abolish the boundary between this ancient and invincible
kingdom of Kent in which I write and that extremely inferior country,
England, which was conquered by the Normans and brought under the
feudal system. But so soon as these old traditions obstruct sound
action, so soon as it is necessary to be rid of them, we must be
prepared to sacrifice our archaeological emotions ruthlessly and

And these repudiations extend also to the political parties that
struggle to realize themselves within the forms of our established
state. There is not in Great Britain, and I understand there is not in
America, any party, any section, any group, any single politician even,
based upon the manifest trend and purpose of life as it appears in the
modern view. The necessities of continuity in public activity and of a
glaring consistency in public profession, have so far prevented any
such fundamental reconstruction as the new generation requires. One
hears of Liberty, of Compromise, of Imperial Destinies and Imperial
Unity, one hears of undying loyalty to the Memory of Mr. Gladstone and
the inalienable right of Ireland to a separate national existence. One
hears, too, of the sacred principle of Free Trade, of Empires and
Zollvereins, and the Rights of the Parent to blockade the education of
his children, but one hears nothing of the greater end. At the best all
the objects of our political activity can be but means to that end,
their only claim to our recognition can be their adequacy to that end,
and none of these vociferated "cries," these party labels, these
programme items, are ever propounded to us in that way. I cannot see
how, in England at any rate, a serious and perfectly honest man,
holding as true that ampler view of life I have suggested, can attach
himself loyally to any existing party or faction. At the utmost he may
find their faction-fighting may be turned for a time towards his
remoter ends. These parties derive from that past when the new view of
life had yet to establish itself, they carry faded and obliterated
banners that the glare and dust of conflict, the vote-storms of great
campaigns, have robbed long since of any colour of reality they once
possessed. They express no creative purpose now, whatever they did in
their inception, they point towards no constructive ideals. Essentially
they are things for the museum or the bonfire, whatever momentary
expediency may hold back the New Republican from an unqualified
advocacy of such a destination. The old party fabrics are no more than
dead rotting things, upon which a great tangle of personal jealousies,
old grudges, thorny nicknames, prickly memories, family curses, Judas
betrayals and sacred pledges, a horrible rubbish thicket, maintains a
saprophytic vitality.

It is quite possible I misjudge the thing altogether. Sir Henry
Campbell-Bannerman, for example, may hide the profoundest and most
wide-reaching aims beneath his superficial effect of utter
superficiality. His impersonation of an amiable, spirited, self-
conscious, land-owning gentleman with a passion for justice in remote
places and a whimsical dislike of motor cars in his immediate
neighbourhood, may veil the operations of a stupendous intelligence
bent upon the regeneration of the world. It may do, but if it does, it
is a very amazing and purposeless impersonation. I at any rate do not
believe that it does. I do not believe that he or any other Liberal
leader or any Conservative minister has any comprehensive aim at all--
as we of the new generation measure comprehensiveness. These parties,
and the phrases of party exposition--in America just as in England--
date from the days of the limited outlook. They display no
consciousness of the new dissent. They are absorbed in the long
standing game, the getting in, the turning out, the contests and
governments, that has just about the same relation to the new
perception of affairs, to the real drift of life, as the game of
cricket with the wheel as a wicket would have to the destinies of a
ship. They find their game highly interesting and no doubt they play it
with remarkable wit, skill and spirit, but they entirely disregard the
increasing number of passengers who are concerning themselves with the
course and destination of the ship.

Those particular passengers in the figure, present the New Republic. It
is a dissension, an inquiry, it is the vague unconsolidated matter for
a new direction. "We who are young," says the spirit of the New
Republic, "we who are in earnest can no more compass our lives under
these old kingships and loyalties, under these old leaders and these
old traditions, constitutions and pledges, with their party
liabilities, their national superstitions, their rotting banners and
their accumulating legacy of feuds and lies, than we can pretend we are
indeed impassioned and wholly devoted subjects of King Edward, spending
our lives in the service of his will. It is not that we have revolted
from these things, it is not that we have grown askew to them and that
patching and amendment will serve our need; it is that we have
travelled outside them altogether--almost inadvertently, but quite
beyond any chance of return to a simple acceptance again. We are no
more disposed to call ourselves Liberals or Conservatives and to be
stirred to party passion at the clash of these names, than we are to
fight again the battles of the Factio Albata or the Factio Prasina.
These current dramas, these current conflicts seem scarcely less
factitious. Men without faith may be content to spend their lives for
things only half believed in, and for causes that are contrived. But
that is not our quality. We want reality because we have faith, we seek
the beginning of realism in social and political life, we seek it and
we are resolved to find it."

So we attempt to give a general expression to the forces that are new
at this time, to render something at least of the spirit of the New
Republic in a premature and experimental utterance. It is, at any rate,
a spirit that finds itself out of intimacy and co-ordination with all
the older movements of the world, that sees all pre-existing formulae
and political constitutions and political parties and organizations
rather as instruments or obstacles than as guiding lines and precedents
for its new developing will, its will which will carry it at last
irresistibly to the conscious and deliberate making of the future of
man. "We are here to get better births and a better result from the
births we get; each one of us is going to set himself immediately to
that, using whatever power he finds to his hand," such is the form its
will must take. And such being its will and spirit these papers will
address themselves comprehensively to the problem, What will the New
Republic do? All the rest of this series will be a discussion of the
forces that go to the making of man, and how far and how such a New
Republic might seek to lay its hands upon them.

It is for the adversary to explain how presumptuous such an enterprise
must be. But presumption is ineradically interwoven with every
beginning that the world has ever seen. I venture to think that even to
a reader who does not accept or sympathize with the conception of this
New Republic, a general review of current movements and current
interpretations of morality from this new standpoint may be suggestive
and interesting. Assuredly it is only by some such general revision, if
not on these lines then on others, that a practicable way of escape is
to be found for any one, from that base and shifty opportunism in
public and social matters, that predominance of fluctuating aims and
spiritless conformities, in which so many of us, without any great
positive happiness at all to reward us for the sacrifice we are making,
bury the solitary talents of our lives.



Within the last minute seven new citizens were born into that great
English-speaking community which is scattered under various flags and
governments throughout the world. And according to the line of thought
developed in the previous paper we perceive that the real and ultimate
business, so far as this world goes, of every statesman, every social
organizer, every philanthropist, every business manager, every man who
lifts his head for a moment from the mean pursuit of his immediate
personal interests, from the gratification of his private desires, is,
as the first and immediate thing, to do his best for these new-comers,
to get the very best result, so far as his powers and activities can
contribute to it, from their undeveloped possibilities. And in the next
place, as a remoter, but perhaps finally more fundamental duty, he has
to inquire what may be done individually or collectively to raise the
standard and quality of the average birth. All the great concerns of
life work out with a very little analysis to that, even our wars, our
orgies of destruction, have, at the back of them, a claim, an
intention, however futile in its conception and disastrous in its
consequences, to establish a wider security, to destroy a standing
menace, to open new paths and possibilities, in the interest of the
generations still to come. One may present the whole matter in a
simplified picture by imagining all our statesmen, our philanthropists
and public men, our parties and institutions gathered into one great
hall, and into this hall a huge spout, that no man can stop, discharges
a baby every eight seconds. That is, I hold, a permissible picture of
human life, and whatever is not represented at all in that picture is a
divergent and secondary concern. Our success or failure with that
unending stream of babies is the measure of our civilization; every
institution stands or falls by its contribution to that result, by the
improvement of the children born, or by the improvement in the quality
of births attained under its influence.

To begin these speculations in logical order we must begin at the birth
point, we must begin by asking how much may we hope, now or at a later
time, to improve the supply of that raw material which is perpetually
dumped upon our hands? Can we raise, and if so, what can we do to raise
the quality of the average birth?

This speculation is as old at least as Plato, and as living as the
seven or eight babies born into the English-speaking world since the
reader began this Paper. The conclusion that if we could prevent or
discourage the inferior sorts of people from having children, and if we
could stimulate and encourage the superior sorts to increase and
multiply, we should raise the general standard of the race, is so
simple, so obvious, that in every age I suppose there have been voices
asking in amazement, why the thing is not done? It is so usual to
answer that it is not done on account of popular ignorance, public
stupidity, religious prejudice or superstition, that I shall not
apologize for giving some little space here to the suggestion that in
reality it is not done for quite a different reason.

We blame the popular mind overmuch. Earnest but imperfect men, with
honest and reasonable but imperfect proposals for bettering the world,
are all too apt to raise this bitter cry of popular stupidity, of the
sheep-like quality of common men. An unjustifiable persuasion of moral
and intellectual superiority is one of the last infirmities of
innovating minds. We may be right, but we must be provably,
demonstrably and overpoweringly right before we are justified in
calling the dissentient a fool. I am one of those who believe firmly in
the invincible nature of truth, but a truth that is badly put is not a
truth, but an infertile hybrid lie. Before we men of the study blame
the general body of people for remaining unaffected by reforming
proposals of an almost obvious advantage, it would be well if we were
to change our standpoint and examine our machinery at the point of
application. A rock-drilling machine may be excellently invented and in
the most perfect order except for a want of hardness in the drill, and
yet there will remain an unpierced rock as obdurate as the general
public to so many of our innovations.

I believe that if a canvass of the entire civilized world were put to
the vote in this matter, the proposition that it is desirable that the
better sort of people should intermarry and have plentiful children,
and that the inferior sort of people should abstain from
multiplication, would be carried by an overwhelming majority. They
might disagree with Plato's methods, [Footnote: _The Republic_,
Bk. V.] but they would certainly agree to his principle. And that this
is not a popular error Mr. Francis Galton has shown. He has devoted a
very large amount of energy and capacity to the vivid and convincing
presentation of this idea, and to its courageous propagation. His
Huxley Lecture to the Anthropological Institute in 1901 [Footnote:
_Nature_, vol. lxiv. p. 659.] puts the whole matter as vividly as
it ever can be put. He classifies humanity about their average in
classes which he indicates by the letters R S T U V rising above the
average and r s t u v falling below, and he saturates the whole
business in quantitative colour. Indeed, Mr. Galton has drawn up
certain definite proposals. He has suggested that "noble families"
should collect "fine specimens of humanity" around them, employing
these fine specimens in menial occupations of a light and comfortable
sort, that will leave a sufficient portion of their energies free for
the multiplication of their superior type. "Promising young couples"
might be given "healthy and convenient houses at low rentals," he
suggests, and no doubt it could be contrived that they should pay their
rent partly or entirely per stone of family annually produced. And he
has also proposed that "diplomas" should be granted to young men and
women of high class--big S and upward--and that they should be
encouraged to intermarry young. A scheme of "dowries" for diploma
holders would obviously be the simplest thing in the world. And only
the rules for identifying your great S T U and V in adolescence, are
wanting from the symmetrical completeness of his really very noble-
spirited and high-class scheme.

At a more popular level Mrs. Victoria Woodhull Martin has battled
bravely in the cause of the same foregone conclusion. The work of
telling the world what it knows to be true will never want self-
sacrificing workers. The _Humanitarian_ was her monthly organ of
propaganda. Within its cover, which presented a luminiferous stark
ideal of exemplary muscularity, popular preachers, popular bishops, and
popular anthropologists vied with titled ladies of liberal outlook in
the service of this conception. There was much therein about the Rapid
Multiplication of the Unfit, a phrase never properly explained, and I
must confess that the transitory presence of this instructive little
magazine in my house, month after month (it is now, unhappily, dead),
did much to direct my attention to the gaps and difficulties that
intervene between the general proposition and its practical application
by sober and honest men. One took it up and asked time after time, "Why
should there be this queer flavour of absurdity and pretentiousness
about the thing?" Before the _Humanitarian_ period I was entirely
in agreement with the _Humanitarian's_ cause. It seemed to me then
that to prevent the multiplication of people below a certain standard,
and to encourage the multiplication of exceptionally superior people,
was the only real and permanent way of mending the ills of the world. I
think that still. In that way man has risen from the beasts, and in
that way men will rise to be over-men. In those days I asked in
amazement why this thing was not done, and talked the usual nonsense
about the obduracy and stupidity of the world. It is only after a
considerable amount of thought and inquiry that I am beginning to
understand why for many generations, perhaps, nothing of the sort can
possibly be done except in the most marginal and tentative manner.

If to-morrow the whole world were to sign an unanimous round-robin to
Mr. Francis Galton and Mrs. Victoria Woodhull Martin, admitting
absolutely their leading argument that it _is_ absurd to breed our
horses and sheep and improve the stock of our pigs and fowls, while we
leave humanity to mate in the most heedless manner, and if, further,
the whole world, promising obedience, were to ask these two to gather
together a consultative committee, draw up a scheme of rules, and start
forthwith upon the great work of improving the human stock as fast as
it can be done, if it undertook that marriages should no longer be made
in heaven or earth, but only under licence from that committee, I
venture to think that, after a very brief epoch of fluctuating
legislation, this committee, except for an extremely short list of
absolute prohibitions, would decide to leave matters almost exactly as
they are now; it would restore love and private preference to their
ancient authority and freedom, at the utmost it would offer some
greatly qualified advice, and so released, it would turn its attention
to those flaws and gaps in our knowledge that at present render these
regulations no more than a theory and a dream.

The first difficulty these theorists ignore is this: we are, as a
matter of fact, not a bit clear what points to breed for and what
points to breed out.

The analogy with the breeder of cattle is a very misleading one. He has
a very simple ideal, to which he directs the entire pairing of his
stock. He breeds for beef, he breeds for calves and milk, he breeds for
a homogeneous docile herd. Towards that ideal he goes simply and
directly, slaughtering and sparing, regardless entirely of any
divergent variation that may arise beneath his control. A young calf
with an incipient sense of humour, with a bright and inquiring
disposition, with a gift for athleticism or a quaintly-marked hide, has
no sort of chance with him at all on that account. He can throw these
proffered gifts of nature aside without hesitation. Which is just what
our theoretical breeders of humanity cannot venture to do. They do not
want a homogeneous race in the future at all. They want a rich
interplay of free, strong, and varied personalities, and that alters
the nature of the problem absolutely.

This the reader may dispute. He may admit the need of variety, but he
may argue that this variety must arise from a basis of common
endowment. He may say that in spite of the complication introduced by
the consideration that a divergent variation from one ideal may be a
divergence towards another ideal, there remain certain definable
points, that could be bred for universally, for all that.

What are they?

There will be little doubt he will answer "Health." After that probably
he may say "Beauty." In addition the reader of Mr. Galton's
_Hereditary Genius_ will probably say, "ability," "capacity,"
"genius," and "energy." The reader of Doctor Nordau will add "sanity."
And the reader of Mr. Archdall Reid will round up the list with
"immunity" from dipsomania and all contagious diseases. "Let us mark
our human beings," the reader of that way of thinking will suggest,
"let us give marks for 'health,' for 'ability,' for various sorts of
specific immunity and so forth, and let us weed out those who are low
in the scale and multiply those who stand high. This will give us a
straight way to practical amelioration, and the difficulty you are
trying to raise," he urges, "vanishes forthwith."

It would, if these points were really points, if "beauty," "capacity,"
"health," and "sanity" were simple and uniform things. Unfortunately
they are not simple, and with that fact a host of difficulties arise.
Let me take first the most simple and obvious case of "beauty." If
beauty were a simple thing, it would be possible to arrange human
beings in a simple scale, according to whether they had more or less of
this simple quality--just as one can do in the case of what are perhaps
really simple and breedable qualities--height or weight. This person,
one might say, is at eight in the scale of beauty, and this at ten, and
this at twenty-seven. But it complicates the case beyond the
possibilities of such a scale altogether when one begins to consider
that there are varieties and types of beauty having very wide
divergences and made up of a varying number of elements in dissimilar
proportions. There is, for example, the flaxen, kindly beauty of the
Dutch type, the dusky Jewess, the tall, fair Scandinavian, the dark and
brilliant south Italian, the noble Roman, the dainty Japanese--to name
no others. Each of these types has its peculiar and incommensurable
points, and within the limits of each type you will find a hundred
divergent, almost unanalyzable, styles, a beauty of expression, a
beauty of carriage, a beauty of reflection, a beauty of repose, arising
each from a quite peculiar proportion of parts and qualities, and
having no definable relation at all to any of the others. If we were to
imagine a human appearance as made up of certain elements, a, b, c, d,
e, f, etc., then we might suppose that beauty in one case was attained
by a certain high development of a and f, in another by a certain
fineness of c and d, in another by a delightfully subtle ratio of f and

A, b, c, d, e, F, etc.
a, b, _c_, _d_, e, f, etc.
a, _b_, c, d, e, _F_, etc.,

might all, for example, represent different types of beauty. Beauty is
neither a simple nor a constant thing; it is attainable through a
variety of combinations, just as the number 500 can be got by adding or
multiplying together a great variety of numerical arrangements. Two
long numerical formulae might both simplify out to 500, but half the
length of one truncated and put end on to the truncated end of the
other, might give a very different result. It is quite conceivable that
you might select and wed together all the most beautiful people in the
world and find that in nine cases out of ten you had simply produced
mediocre offspring or offspring below mediocrity. Out of the remaining
tenth a great majority would be beautiful simply by "taking after" one
or other parent, simply through the predominance, the _prepotency,_
of one parent over the other, a thing that might have happened equally
well if the other parent was plain. The first sort of beauty (in my
three formulae) wedding the third sort of beauty, might simply result
in a rather ugly excess of F, and again the first sort might result
from a combination of

a, b, c, d, e, _F_, etc.,
_A_, b, c, d, e, f, etc.,

neither of which arrangements, very conceivably, may be beautiful at
all when it is taken alone. In this respect, at any rate, personal
value and reproductive value may be two entirely different things.

Now what the elements of personal aspect really are, what these
elements a, b, c, d, e, f, etc., may be, we do not know with any sort
of exactness. Possibly height, weight, presence of dark pigment in the
hair, whiteness of skin, presence of hair upon the body, are simple
elements in inheritance that will follow Galton's arithmetical
treatment of heredity with some exactness. But we are not even sure of
that. The height of one particular person may be due to an exceptional
length of leg and neck, of another to an abnormal length of the
vertebral bodies of the backbone; the former may have a rather less
than ordinary backbone, the latter a stunted type of limb, and an
intermarriage may just as conceivably (so far as our present knowledge
goes) give the backbone of the first and the legs of the second as it
may a very tall person.

The fact is that in this matter of beauty and breeding for beauty we
are groping in a corner where science has not been established. No
doubt the corner is marked out as a part of the "sphere of influence"
of anthropology, but there is not the slightest indication of an
effective occupation among these raiding considerations and uncertain
facts. Until anthropology produces her Daltons and Davys we must fumble
in this corner, just as the old alchemists fumbled for centuries before
the dawn of chemistry. Our utmost practice here must be empirical. We
do not know the elements of what we have, the human characteristics we
are working upon to get that end. The sentimentalized affinities of
young persons in their spring are just as likely to result in the
improvement of the race in this respect as the whole science of
anthropology in its present state of evolution.

I have suggested that "beauty" is a term applied to a miscellany of
synthetic results compounded of diverse elements in diverse
proportions; and I have suggested that one can no more generalize about
it in relation to inheritance with any hope of effective application
than one can generalize about, say, "lumpy substances" in relation to
chemical combination. By reasoning upon quite parallel lines nearly
every characteristic with which Mr. Galton deals in his interesting and
suggestive but quite inconclusive works, can be demonstrated to consist
in a similar miscellany. He speaks of "eminence," of "success," of
"ability," of "zeal," and "energy," for example, and except for the
last two items I would submit that these qualities, though of enormous
personal value, are of no practical value in inheritance whatever; that
to wed "ability" to "ability" may breed something less than mediocrity,
and that "ability" is just as likely or just as unlikely to be
prepotent and to assert itself in descent with the most casually
selected partner as it is with one picked with all the knowledge, or
rather pseudo-knowledge, anthropology in its present state can give us.

When, however, we turn to "zeal" or "energy" or "go," we do seem to be
dealing with a simpler and more transmissible thing. Let us assume that
in this matter there is a wide range of difference that may be arranged
in a direct and simple scale in quantitative relation to the gross
output of action of different human beings. One passes from the
incessant employment of such a being as Gladstone at the one extreme, a
loquacious torrent of interests and achievements, to the extreme of
phlegmatic lethargy on the other. Call the former a high energetic and
the latter low. Quite possibly it might be found that we could breed
"high energetics." But before we did so we should have to consider very
gravely that the "go" and "energy" of a man have no ascertainable
relation to many other extremely important considerations. Your
energetic person may be moral or immoral, an unqualified egotist or as
public spirited as an ant, sane, or a raving lunatic. Your phlegmatic
person may ripen resolves and bring out truths, with the incomparable
clearness of a long-exposed, slowly developed, slowly printed
photograph. A man who would exchange the slow gigantic toil of that
sluggish and deliberate person, Charles Darwin, for the tumultuous
inconsequence and (as some people think it) the net mischief of a
Gladstone, would no doubt be prepared to substitute a Catherine-wheel
in active eruption for the watch of less adventurous men. But before we
could induce the community as a whole to make a similar exchange, he
would have to carry on a prolonged and vigorous propaganda.

For my own part--and I write as an ignorant man in a realm where
ignorance prevails--I am inclined to doubt the simplicity and
homogeneity even of this quality of "energy" or "go." A person without
restraint, without intellectual conscience, without critical faculty,
may write and jabber and go to and fro and be here and there, simply
because every impulse is obeyed so soon as it arises. Another person
may be built upon an altogether larger scale of energy, but may be
deliberate, concentrated, and fastidious, bent rather upon truth and
permanence than upon any immediate quantitative result, and may appear
to any one but an extremely penetrating critic, as inferior in energy
to the former. So far as our knowledge goes at present, what is
popularly known as "energy" or "go" is just as likely to be a certain
net preponderance of a varied miscellany of impulsive qualities over a
varied miscellany of restraints and inhibitions, as it is to prove a
simple indivisible quality transmissible intact. We are so profoundly
ignorant in these matters, so far from anything worthy of the name of
science, that one view is just as permissible and just as untrustworthy
as the other.

Even the qualification of "health" is not sufficient. A thoughtless
person may say with the most invincible air, "Parents should, at any
rate, be healthy," but that alone is only a misleading vague formula
for good intentions. In the first place, there is every reason to
believe that transitory ill-health in the parent is of no consequence
at all to the offspring. Neither does acquired constitutional ill-
health necessarily transmit to a child; it may or it may not react upon
the child's nutrition and training, but that is a question to consider
later. It is quite conceivable, it is highly probable, that there are
hereditary forms of ill-health, and that they may be eliminated from
the human lot by discreet and restrained pairing, but what they are and
what are the specific conditions of their control we do not know. And
furthermore, we are scarcely more certain that the condition of
"perfect health" in one human being is the same as the similarly named
condition in another, than we are that the beauty of one type is made
up of the same essential elements as the beauty of another. Health is a
balance, a balance of blood against nerve, of digestion against
secretion, of heart against brain. A heart of perfect health and vigour
put into the body of a perfectly healthy man who is built upon a
slighter scale than that heart, will swiftly disorganize the entire
fabric, and burst its way to a haemorrhage in lung perhaps, or brain,
or wherever the slightest relative weakening permits. The "perfect"
health of a negro may be a quite dissimilar system of reactions to the
"perfect health" of a vigorous white; you may blend them only to create
an ailing mass of physiological discords. "Health," just as much as
these other things, is, for this purpose of marriage diplomas and the
like, a vague, unserviceable synthetic quality. It serves each one of
us for our private and conversational needs, but in this question it is
not hard enough and sharp--enough for the thing we want it to do.
Brought to the service of this fine and complicated issue it breaks
down altogether. We do not know enough. We have not analyzed enough nor
penetrated enough. There is no science yet, worthy of the name, in any
of these things. [Footnote: This idea of attempting to define the
elements in inheritance, although it is absent from much contemporary
discussion, was pretty evidently in mind in the very striking
researches of the Abbé Mendel to which Mr. Bateson--with a certain
intemperance of manner--has recently called attention. (Bateson,
_Mendel's Principles of Heredity_, Cambridge University Press,

These considerations should at least suffice to demonstrate the entire
impracticability of Mr. Galton's two suggestions. Moreover, this idea
of picking out high-scale individuals in any particular quality or
group of qualities and breeding them, is not the way of nature at all.
Nature is not a breeder; she is a reckless coupler and--she slays. It
was a popular misconception of the theory of the Survival of the
Fittest, a misconception Lord Salisbury was at great pains to display
to the British Association in 1894, that the average of a species in
any respect is raised by the selective inter-breeding of the
individuals above the average. Lord Salisbury was no doubt misled, as
most people who share his mistake have been misled, by the grammatical
error of employing the Survival of the Fittest for the Survival of the
Fitter, in order to escape a scarcely ambiguous ambiguity. But the use
of the word "Survival" should have sufficed to indicate that the real
point of application of the force by which Nature modifies species and
raises the average in any quality, lies not in selective breeding, but
in the disproportionately numerous deaths of the individuals below the
average. And even the methods of the breeder of cattle, if they are to
produce a permanent alteration in the species of cattle, must consist
not only in breeding the desirable but in either killing the
undesirable, or at least--what is the quintessence, the inner reality
of death--in preventing them from breeding.

The general trend of thought in Mrs. Martin's _Humanitarian_ was
certainly more in accordance with this reading of biological science
than were Mr. Galton's proposals. There was a much greater insistence
upon the need of "elimination," upon the evil of the "Rapid
Multiplication of the Unfit," a word that, however, was never defined
and, I believe, really did not mean anything in particular in this
connection. And directly one does attempt to define it, directly one
sits down in a businesslike way to apply the method of elimination
instead of the method of selection, one is immediately confronted by
almost as complex an entanglement of difficulties in defining points to
breed out as one is by defining points to breed for. Almost, I say, but
not quite. For here there does seem to be, if not certainties, at least
a few plausible probabilities that a vigorous and systematic criticism
may perhaps hammer into generalizations of sufficient certainty to go

I believe that long before humanity has hammered out the question of
what is pre-eminently desirable in inheritance, a certain number of
things will have been isolated and defined as pre-eminently
undesirable. But before these are considered, let us sweep out of our
present regard a number of cruel and mischievous ideas that are
altogether too ascendant at the present time.

Anthropology has been compared to a great region, marked out indeed as
within the sphere of influence of science, but unsettled and for the
most part unsubdued. Like all such hinterland sciences, it is a happy
hunting-ground for adventurers. Just as in the early days of British
Somaliland, rascals would descend from nowhere in particular upon
unfortunate villages, levy taxes and administer atrocity in the name of
the Empire, and even, I am told, outface for a time the modest heralds
of the government, so in this department of anthropology the public
mind suffers from the imposition of theories and assertions claiming to
be "scientific," which have no more relation to that organized system
of criticism which is science, than a brigand at large on a mountain
has to the machinery of law and police, by which finally he will be
hanged. Among such raiding theorists none at present are in quite such
urgent need of polemical suppression as those who would persuade the
heedless general reader that every social failure is necessarily a
"degenerate," and who claim boldly that they can trace a distinctly
evil and mischievous strain in that unfortunate miscellany which
constitutes "the criminal class." They invoke the name of "science"
with just as much confidence and just as much claim as the early
Victorian phrenologists. They speak and write with ineffable profundity
about the "criminal" ear, the "criminal" thumb, the "criminal" glance.
They gain access to gaols and pester unfortunate prisoners with
callipers and cameras, and quite unforgivable prying into personal and
private matters, and they hold out great hopes that by these expedients
they will evolve at last a "scientific" revival of the Kaffir's witch-
smelling. We shall catch our criminals by anthropometry ere ever a
criminal thought has entered their brains. "Prevention is better than
cure." These mattoid scientists make a direct and disastrous attack
upon the latent self-respect of criminals. And not only upon that
tender plant, but also upon the springs of human charity towards the
criminal class. For the complex and varied chapter of accidents that
carries men into that net of precautions, expedients, prohibitions, and
vindictive reprisals, the net of the law, they would have us believe
there is a fatal necessity inherent in their being. Criminals are born,
not made, they allege. No longer are we to say, "There, but for the
grace of God, go I"--when the convict tramps past us--but, "There goes
another sort of animal that is differentiating from my species and
which I would gladly see exterminated."

Now every man who has searched his heart knows that this formulation of
"criminality" as a specific quality is a stupidity, he knows himself to
be a criminal, just as most men know themselves to be sexually rogues.
No man is born with an instinctive respect for the rights of any
property but his own, and few with a passion for monogamy. No man who
is not an outrageously vain and foolish creature but will confess to
himself that but for advantages and accidents, but for a chance
hesitation or a lucky timidity, he, too, had been there, under the
ridiculous callipers of witless anthropology. A criminal is no doubt of
less personal value to the community than a law-abiding citizen of the
same general calibre, but _it does not follow for one moment that he
is of less value as a parent._ His personal disaster may be due to
the possession of a bold and enterprising character, of a degree of
pride and energy above the needs of the position his social
surroundings have forced upon him. Another citizen may have all this
man's desires and impulses, checked and sterilized by a lack of nervous
energy, by an abject fear of the policeman and of the consequences of
the disapproval of his more prosperous fellow-citizens. I will frankly
confess that for my own part I prefer the wicked to the mean, and that
I would rather trust the future to the former strain than to the
latter. Whatever preference the reader may entertain, there remains
this unmistakable objection to its application to breeding, that
"criminality" is not a specific simple quality, but a complex that may
interfuse with other complexes to give quite incalculable results in
the offspring it produces. So that here again, on the negative side, we
find a general expression unserviceable for our use. [Footnote: No
doubt the home of the criminal and social failure is generally
disastrous to the children born into it. That is a question that will
be fully dealt; with in a subsequent paper, and I note it here only to
point out that it is outside our present discussion, which is concerned
not with the fate of children born into the world, but with the prior
question whether we may hope to improve the quality of the average
birth by encouraging some sorts of people to have children and
discouraging or forbidding others. It is of vital importance to keep
these two questions distinct, if we are to get at last to a basis for
effective action.]

But it will be alleged that although criminality as a whole means
nothing definite enough for our purpose, there can be picked out and
defined certain criminal (or at any rate disastrous) tendencies that
are simple, specific and transmissible. Those who have read Mr.
Archdall Reid's _Alcoholism_, for example, will know that he deals
constantly with what is called the "drink craving" as if it were such a
specific simple inheritance. He makes a very strong case for this
belief, but strong as it is, I do not think it is going to stand the
pressure of a rigorously critical examination. He points out that races
which have been in possession of alcoholic drinks the longest are the
least drunken, and this he ascribes to the "elimination" of all those
whose "drink craving" is too strong for them. Nations unused to
alcoholic drink are most terribly ravaged at its first coming to them,
may even be destroyed by it, in precisely the same way that new
diseases coming to peoples unused to them are far more malignant than
among peoples who have suffered from them generation after generation.
Such instances as the terrible ravages of measles in Polynesia and the
ruin worked by fire-water among the Red Indians, he gives in great
abundance. He infers from this that interference with the sale of drink
to a people may in the long run do more harm than good, by preserving
those who would otherwise be eliminated, permitting them to multiply
and so, generation by generation, lowering the resisting power of the
race. And he proposes to divert temperance legislation from the
persecution of drink makers and sellers, to such remedies as the
punishment of declared and indisputable drunkards if they incur
parentage, and the extension of the grounds of divorce to include this
ugly and disastrous habit.

I am not averse to Mr. Reid's remedies because I think of the wife and
the home, but I would not go so far with him as to consider this "drink
craving" specific and simple, and I retain an open mind about the sale
of drink. He has not convinced me that there is an inherited "drink
craving" any more than there is an inherited tea craving or an
inherited morphia craving.

In the first place I would propound a certain view of the general
question of habits. My own private observations in psychology incline
me to believe that people vary very much in their power of acquiring
habits and in the strength and fixity of the habits they acquire. My
most immediate subject of psychological study, for example, is a man of
untrustworthy memory who is nearly incapable of a really deep-rooted
habit. Nothing is automatic with him. He crams and forgets languages
with an equal ease, gives up smoking after fifteen years of constant
practice; shaves with a conscious effort every morning and is capable
of forgetting to do so if intent upon anything else. He is generally
self-indulgent, capable of keen enjoyment and quite capable of
intemperance, but he has no invariable delights and no besetting sin.
Such a man will not become an habitual drunkard; he will not become
anything "habitual." But with another type of man habit is indeed
second nature. Instead of the permanent fluidity of my particular case,
such people are continually tending to solidify and harden. Their
memories set, their opinions set, their methods of expression set,
their delights recur and recur, they convert initiative into mechanical
habit day by day. Let them taste any pleasure and each time they taste
it they deepen a need. At last their habits become imperative needs.
With such a disposition, external circumstances and suggestions, I
venture to believe, may make a man either into an habitual church-goer
or an habitual drunkard, an habitual toiler or an habitual rake. A
self-indulgent rather unsocial habit-forming man may very easily become
what is called a dipsomaniac, no doubt, but that is not the same thing
as an inherited specific craving. With drink inaccessible and other
vices offering his lapse may take another line. An aggressive, proud
and greatly mortified man may fall upon the same courses. An unwary
youth of the plastic type may be taken unawares and pass from free
indulgence to excess before he perceives that a habit is taking hold of

I believe that many causes and many temperaments go to the making of
drunkards. I have read a story by the late Sir Walter Besant, in which
he presents the specific craving as if it were a specific magic curse.
The story was supposed to be morally edifying, but I can imagine this
ugly superstition of the "hereditary craving"--it is really nothing
more--acting with absolutely paralyzing effect upon some credulous
youngster struggling in the grip of a developing habit. "It's no good
trying,"--that quite infernal phrase!

It may be urged that this attempt to whittle down the "inherited
craving" to a habit does not meet Mr. Reid's argument from the gradual
increase of resisting power in races subjected to alcoholic temptation,
an increase due to the elimination of all the more susceptible
individuals. There can be no denying that those nations that have had
fermented drinks longest are the soberest, but that, after all, may be
only one aspect of much more extensive operations. The nations that
have had fermented drinks the longest are also those that have been
civilized the longest. The passage of a people from a condition of
agricultural dispersal to a more organized civilization means a very
extreme change in the conditions of survival, of which the increasing
intensity of temptation to alcoholic excess is only one aspect.
Gluttony, for example, becomes a much more possible habit, and many
other vices tender death for the first time to the men who are
gathering in and about towns. The city demands more persistent, more
intellectualized and less intense physical desires than the
countryside. Moral qualities that were a disadvantage in the dispersed
stage become advantageous in the city, and conversely. Rugged
independence ceases to be helpful, and an intelligent turn for give and
take, for collaboration and bargaining, makes increasingly for
survival. Moreover, there grows very slowly an indefinable fabric of
traditional home training in restraint that is very hard to separate in
analysis from mental heredity. People who have dwelt for many
generations in towns are not only more temperate and less explosive in
the grosser indulgences, but more _urbane_ altogether. The drunken
people are also the "uncivil" peoples and the individualistic peoples.
The great prevalence of drunkenness among the upper classes two
centuries ago can hardly have been bred out in the intervening six or
seven generations, and it is also a difficult fact for Mr. Reid that
drunkenness has increased in France. In most of the cases cited by Mr.
Reid a complex of operating forces could be stated in which the
appearance of fermented liquors is only one factor, and a tangle of
consequent changes in which a gradually increasing insensibility to the
charms of intoxication was only one thread. Drunkenness has no doubt
played a large part in eliminating certain types of people from the
world, but that it specifically eliminates one specific definable type
is an altogether different matter.

Even if we admit Mr. Reid's conception, this by no means solves the
problem. It is quite conceivable that the world could purchase certain
sorts of immunity too dearly. If it was a common thing to adorn the
parapets of houses in towns with piles of loose bricks, it is certain
that a large number of persons not immune to fracture of the skull by
falling bricks would be eliminated. A time would no doubt come when
those with a specific liability to skull fracture would all be
eliminated, and the human cranium would have developed a practical
immunity to damage from all sorts of falling substances. But there
would have been far more extensive suppressions than would appear in
the letter of the agreement.

This no doubt is a caricature of the case, but it will serve to
illustrate my contention that until we possess a far more subtle and
thorough analysis of the drunkard's physique and mind--if it really is
a distinctive type of mind and physique--than we have at present, we
have no justification whatever in artificial intervention to increase
whatever eliminatory process may at present be going on in this
respect. Even if there is such a specific weakness, it is possible it
has a period of maximum intensity, and if that should be only a brief
phase in development--let us say at adolescence--it might turn out to
be much more to the advantage of humanity to contrive protective
legislation over the dangerous years. I argue to establish no view in
these matters beyond a view that at present we know very little.

Not only do ignorance and doubt bar our way to anything more than a
pious wish to eliminate criminality and drunkenness in a systematic
manner, but even the popular belief in ruthless suppression whenever
there is "madness in the family" will not stand an intelligent
scrutiny. The man in the street thinks madness is a fixed and definite
thing, as distinct from sanity as black is from white. He is always
exasperated at the hesitation of doctors when in a judicial capacity he
demands: "Is this man mad or isn't he?" But a very little reading of
alienists will dissolve this clear assurance. Here again it seems
possible that we have a number of states that we are led to believe are
simple because they are gathered together under the generic word
"madness," but which may represent a considerable variety of induced
and curable and non-inheritable states on the one hand and of innate
and incurable and heritable mental disproportions on the other.

The less gifted portion of the educated public was greatly delighted
some years ago by a work by Dr. Nordau called _Degeneration_, in
which a great number of abnormal people were studied in a pseudo-
scientific manner and shown to be abnormal beyond any possibility of
dispute. Mostly the samples selected were men of exceptional artistic
and literary power. The book was pretentious and inconsistent--the late
Lord Tennyson was quoted, I remember, as a typically "sane" poet in
spite of the scope afforded by his melodramatic personal appearance and
his morbid passion for seclusion--but it did at least serve to show
that if we cannot call a man stupid we may almost invariably call him
mad with some show of reason. The public read the book for the sake of
its abuse, applied the intended conclusion to every success that
awakened its envy, and failed altogether to see how absolutely the
definition of madness was destroyed. But if madness is indeed simply
genius out of hand and genius only madness under adequate control; if
imagination is a snare only to the unreasonable and a disordered mind
only an excess of intellectual enterprise--and really none of these
things can be positively disproved--then just as reasonable as the idea
of suppressing the reproduction of madness, is the idea of breeding it!
Let us take all these dull, stagnant, respectable people, one might
say, who do nothing but conform to whatever rule is established about
them and obstruct whatever change is proposed to them, whose chief
quality is a sheer incapacity to imagine anything beyond their petty
experiences, and let us tell them plainly, "It is time a lunatic
married into your family." Let no one run away from this with the
statement that I propose such a thing should be done, but it is, at any
rate in the present state of our knowledge, as reasonable a proposal,
to make as its quite frequently reiterated converse.

If in any case we are in a position to intervene and definitely forbid
increase, it is in the case of certain specific diseases, which I am
told are painful and disastrous and inevitably transmitted to the
offspring of the person suffering from these diseases. If there are
such diseases--and that is a question the medical profession should be
able to decide--it is evident that to incur parentage while one suffers
from one of them or to transmit them in any avoidable way, is a cruel,
disastrous and abominable act. If such a thing is possible it seems to
me that in view of the guiding principle laid down in these papers it
might well be put at the nadir of crime, and I doubt if any step the
State might take to deter and punish the offender, short of torture,
would meet with opposition from sane and reasonable men. For my own
part I am inclined at times almost to doubt if there are such diseases.
If there are, the remedy is so simple and obvious, that I cannot but
blame the medical profession for very discreditable silences. I am no
believer in the final wisdom of the mass of mankind, but I do believe
enough in the sanity of the English-speaking peoples to be certain that
any clear statement and instruction they received from the medical
profession, as a whole, in these matters, would be faithfully observed.
In the face of the collective silence of this great body of
specialists, there is nothing for it but to doubt such diseases exist.

Such a systematic suppression of a specific disease or so is really the
utmost that could be done with any confidence at present, so far as the
State and collective action go. [Footnote: Since the above was written,
a correspondent in Honolulu has called my attention to a short but most
suggestive essay by Doctor Harry Campbell in the _Lancet_, 1898,
ii., p. 678. He uses, of course, the common medical euphemism of
"should not marry" for "should not procreate," and he gives the
following as a list of "bars to marriage": pulmonary consumption,
organic heart disease, epilepsy, insanity, diabetes, chronic Bright's
disease, and rheumatic fever. I wish I had sufficient medical knowledge
to analyze that proposal. He mentions inherited defective eyesight and
hearing also, and the "neurotic" quality, with which I have dealt in my
text. He adds two other suggestions that appeal to me very strongly. He
proposes to bar all "cases of non-accidental disease in which life is
saved by the surgeon's knife," and he instances particularly,
strangulated hernia and ovarian cyst. And he also calls attention to
apoplectic breakdown and premature senility. All these are suggestions
of great value for individual conduct, but none of them have that
quality of certainty that justifies collective action.] Until great
advances are made in anthropology--and at present there are neither men
nor endowments to justify the hope that any such advances will soon be
made--that is as much as can be done hopefully for many years in the
selective breeding of individuals by the community as a whole.
[Footnote: If at any time certainties should replace speculations in
the field of inheritance, then I fancy the common-sense of humanity
will be found to be in favour of the immediate application of that
knowledge to life.] At present almost every citizen in the civilized
State respects the rules of the laws of consanguinity, so far as they
affect brothers and sisters, with an absolute respect--an enormous
triumph of training over instinct, as Dr. Beattie Crozier has pointed
out--and if in the future it should be found possible to divide up
humanity into groups, some of which could pair with one another only to
the disadvantage of the offspring, and some of which had better have no
offspring, I believe there would be remarkably little difficulty in
enforcing a system of taboos in accordance with such knowledge. Only it
would have to be absolutely certain knowledge proved and proved again
up to the hilt. If a truth is worth application it is worth hammering
home, and we have no right to expect common men to obey conclusions
upon which specialists are as yet not lucidly agreed. [Footnote: It has
been pointed out to me by my friend, Mr. Graham Wallas, that although
the State may not undertake any positive schemes for selective breeding
in the present state of our knowledge, it can no more evade a certain
reaction upon these things than the individual can evade a practical
solution. Although we cannot say of any specific individual that he or
she is, or is not, of exceptional reproductive value to the State, we
may still be able, he thinks, to point out classes which are very
probably, as a whole, _good_ reproductive classes, and we may be
able to promote, or at least to avoid hindering, their increase. He
instances the female elementary teacher as being probably, as a type, a
more intelligent and more energetic and capable girl than the average
of the stratum from which she arises, and he concludes she has a higher
reproductive value--a view contrary to my argument in the text that
reproductive and personal value are perhaps independent. He tells me
that it is the practice of many large school boards in this country to
dismiss women teachers on marriage, or to refuse promotion to these
when they become mothers, which is, of course, bad for the race if
personal and reproductive value are identical. He would have them
retain their positions regardless of the check to their efficiency
maternity entails. This is a curiously indirect way towards what one
might call Galtonism. Practically he proposes to endow mothers in the
name of education. For my own part I do not agree with him that this
class, any more than any other class, can be shown to have a high
reproductive value--which is the matter under analysis in this paper--
though I will admit that an ex-teacher will probably do infinitely more
for her children than if she were an illiterate or untrained woman. I
can only reiterate my conviction that nothing really effective can be
organized in these matters until we are much clearer than we are at
present in our ideas about them, and that a public body devoted to
education has no business either to impose celibacy, or subsidize
families, or experiment at all in these affairs. Not only in the case
of elementary teachers, but in the case of soldiers, sailors, and so
on, the State may do much to promote or discourage marriage and
offspring, and no doubt it is also true, as Mr. Wallas insists, that
the problems of the foreign immigrant and of racial intermarriage, loom
upon us. But since we have no applicable science whatever here, since
there is no certainty in any direction that any collective course may
not be collectively evil rather than good, there is nothing for it, I
hold, but to leave these things to individual experiment, and to
concentrate our efforts where there is a clearer hope of effective
consequence. Leave things to individual initiative and some of us will,
by luck or inspiration, go right; take public action on an insufficient
basis of knowledge and there is a clear prospect of collective error.
The imminence of these questions argues for nothing except prompt and
vigorous research.]

That, however, is only one aspect of this question. There are others
from which the New Republican may also approach this problem of the
quality of the birth supply.

In relation to personal conduct all these things assume another colour
altogether. Let us be clear upon that point. The state, the community,
may only act upon certainties, but the essential fact in individual
life is experiment. Individuality is experiment. While in matters of
public regulation and control it is wiser not to act at all than to act
upon theories and uncertainties; while the State may very well wait for
a generation or half a dozen generations until knowledge comes up to
these--at present--insoluble problems, the private life _must_ go
on now, and go upon probabilities where certainties fail. When we do
not know what is indisputably right, then we have to use our judgments
to the utmost to do each what seems to him probably right. The New
Republican in his private life and in the exercise of his private
influence, must do what seems to him best for the race; [Footnote: He
would certainly try to discourage this sort of thing. The paragraph is
from the _Morning Post_ (Sept., 1902):--

"_Wedded in Silence_.--A deaf and dumb wedding was celebrated at
Saffron Walden yesterday, when Frederick James Baish and Emily Lettige
King, both deaf and dumb, were married. The bride was attended by deaf
and dumb bridesmaids, and upwards of thirty deaf and dumb friends were
present. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. A. Payne, of the Deaf
and Dumb Church, London."] he must not beget children heedlessly and
unwittingly because of his incomplete assurance. It is pretty obviously
his duty to examine himself patiently and thoroughly, and if he feels
that he is, on the whole, an average or rather more than an average
man, then upon the cardinal principle laid down in our first paper, it
is his most immediate duty to have children and to equip them fully for
the affairs of life. Moreover he will, I think, lose no opportunity of
speaking and acting in such a manner as to restore to marriage
something of the solemnity and gravity the Victorian era--that age of
nasty sentiment, sham delicacy and giggles--has to so large an extent
refused to give it.]

And though the New Republicans, in the existing lack of real guiding
knowledge, will not dare to intervene in specific cases, there is
another method of influencing parentage that men of good intent may
well bear in mind. To attack a specific type is one thing, to attack a
specific quality is another. It may be impossible to set aside selected
persons from the population and say to them, "You are cowardly, weak,
silly, mischievous people, and if we tolerate you in this world it is
on condition that you do not found families." But it may be quite
possible to bear in mind that the law and social arrangements may
foster and protect the cowardly and the mean, may guard stupidity
against the competition of enterprise, and may secure honour, power and
authority in the hands of the silly and the base; and, by the guiding
principle we have set before ourselves, to seek every conceivable
alteration of such laws and such social arrangements is no more than
the New Republican's duty. It may be impossible to select and
intermarry the selected best of our race, but at any rate we can do a
thousand things to equalize the chances and make good and desirable
qualities lead swiftly and clearly to ease and honourable increase.

At present it is a shameful and embittering fact that a gifted man from
the poorer strata of society must too often buy his personal
development at the cost of his posterity; he must either die childless
and successful for the children of the stupid to reap what he has sown,
or sacrifice his gift--a wretched choice and an evil thing for the
world at large. [Footnote: This aspect of New Republican possibilities
comes in again at another stage, and at that stage its treatment will
be resumed. The method and possibility of binding up discredit and
failure with mean and undesirable qualities, and of setting a premium
upon the nobler attributes, is a matter that touches not only upon the
quality of births, but upon the general educational quality of the
State in which a young citizen develops. It is convenient to hold over
any detailed expansions of this, therefore, until we come to the
general question, how the laws, institutions and customs of to-day go
to make or unmake the men of to-morrow.]

So far at least we may go, towards improving the quality of the average
birth now, but it is manifestly only a very slow and fractional advance
that we shall get by these expedients. The obstacle to any ampler
enterprise is ignorance and ignorance alone--not the ignorance of a
majority in relation to a minority, but an absolute want of knowledge.
If we knew more we could do more.

Our main attack in this enterprise of improving the birth supply must
lie, therefore, through research. If we cannot act ourselves, we may
yet hold a light for our children to see. At present, if there is a man
specially gifted and specially disposed for such intricate and
laborious inquiry, such criticism and experiment as this question
demands, the world offers him neither food nor shelter, neither
attention nor help; he cannot hope for a tithe of such honours as are
thrust in profusion upon pork-butchers and brewers, he will be heartily
despised by ninety-nine per cent. of the people he encounters, and
unless he has some irrelevant income, he will die childless and his
line will perish with him, for all the service he may give to the
future of mankind. And as great mental endowments do not, unhappily,
necessarily involve a passion for obscurity, contempt and extinction,
it is probable that under existing conditions such a man will give his
mind to some pursuit less bitterly unremunerative and shameful. It is a
stupid superstition that "genius will out" in spite of all
discouragement. The fact that great men have risen against crushing
disadvantages in the past proves nothing of the sort; this roll-call of
survivors does no more than give the measure of the enormous waste of
human possibility human stupidity has achieved. Men of exceptional
gifts have the same broad needs as common men, food, clothing, honour,
attention, and the help of their fellows in self-respect; they may not
need them as ends, but they need them by the way, and at present the
earnest study of heredity produces none of these bye-products. It lies
before the New Republican to tilt the balance in this direction.

There are, no doubt, already a number of unselfish and fortunately
placed men who are able to do a certain amount of work in this
direction; Professor Cossar Ewart, for example, one of those fine,
subtle, unhonoured workers who are the glory of British science and the
condemnation of our social order, has done much to clarify the
discussion of telegony and prepotency, and there are many such medical
men as Mr. Reid who broaden their daily practice by attention to these
great issues. One thinks of certain other names. Professors Karl
Pearson, Weldon, Lloyd Morgan, J. A. Thomson and Meldola, Dr. Benthall
and Messrs. Bateson, Cunningham, Pocock, Havelock Ellis, E. A. Fay and
Stuart Menteath occur to me, only to remind me how divided their
attention has had to be. As many others, perhaps, have slipped my
memory now. Not half a hundred altogether in all this wide world of
English-speaking men! For one such worker we need fifty if this science
of heredity is to grow to practicable proportions. We need a
literature, we need a special public and an atmosphere of attention and
discussion. Every man who grasps the New Republican idea brings these
needs nearer satisfaction, but if only some day the New Republic could
catch the ear of a prince, a little weary of being the costumed doll of
grown-up children, the decoy dummy of fashionable tradesmen, or if it
could invade and capture the mind of a multi-millionaire, these things
might come almost at a stride. This missing science of heredity, this
unworked mine of knowledge on the borderland of biology and
anthropology, which for all practical purposes is as unworked now as it
was in the days of Plato, is, in simple truth, ten times more important
to humanity than all the chemistry and physics, all the technical and
industrial science that ever has been or ever will be discovered.

So much for the existing possibilities of making the race better by
breeding. For the rest of these papers we shall take the births into
the world, for the most part, as we find them.

[Mr. Stuart Menteath remarks _apropos_ of this question of the
reproduction of exceptional people that it is undesirable to suggest
voluntary extinction in any case. If a man, thinking that his family is
"tainted," displays so much foresighted patriotism, humility, and
lifelong self-denial as to have no children, the presumption is that
the loss to humanity by the discontinuance of such a type is greater
than the gain. "Conceit in smallest bodies strongest works," and it
does not follow that a sense of one's own excellence justifies one's
utmost fecundity or the reverse. Mr. Vrooman, who, with Mrs. Vrooman,
founded Ruskin Hall at Oxford, writes to much the same effect. He
argues that people intelligent enough and moral enough to form such
resolutions are just the sort of people who ought not to form them. Mr.
Stuart Menteath also makes a most admirable suggestion with regard to
male and female geniuses who are absorbed in their careers. Although
the genius may not have or rear a large family, something might be done
to preserve the stock by assisting his or her brothers and sisters to
support and educate their children.]



§ 1

With a skin of infinite delicacy that life will harden very speedily,
with a discomforted writhing little body, with a weak and wailing
outcry that stirs the heart, the creature comes protesting into the
world, and unless death win a victory, we and chance and the forces of
life in it, make out of that soft helplessness a man. Certain things
there are inevitable in that man and unalterable, stamped upon his
being long before the moment of his birth, the inherited things, the
inherent things, his final and fundamental self. This is his
"heredity," his incurable reality, the thing that out of all his being,
stands the test of survival and passes on to his children. Certain
things he must be, certain things he may be, and certain things are for
ever beyond his scope. That much his parentage defines for him, that is
the natural man.

But, in addition, there is much else to make up the whole adult man as
we know him. There is all that he has learnt since his birth, all that
he has been taught to do and trained to do, his language, the circle of
ideas he has taken to himself, the disproportions that come from
unequal exercise and the bias due to circumambient suggestion. There
are a thousand habits and a thousand prejudices, powers undeveloped and
skill laboriously acquired. There are scars upon his body, and scars
upon his mind. All these are secondary things, things capable of
modification and avoidance; they constitute the manufactured man, the
artificial man. And it is chiefly with all this superposed and adherent
and artificial portion of a man that this and the following paper will
deal. The question of improving the breed, of raising the average human
heredity we have discussed and set aside. We are going to draw together
now as many things as possible that bear upon the artificial
constituent, the made and controllable constituent in the mature and
fully-developed man. We are going to consider how it is built up and
how it may be built up, we are going to attempt a rough analysis of the
whole complex process by which the civilized citizen is evolved from
that raw and wailing little creature.

Before his birth, at the very moment when his being becomes possible,
the inherent qualities and limitations of a man are settled for good
and all, whether he will be a negro or a white man, whether he will be
free or not of inherited disease, whether he will be passionate or
phlegmatic or imaginative or six-fingered or with a snub or aquiline
nose. And not only that, but even before his birth the qualities that
are not strictly and inevitably inherited are also beginning to be
made. The artificial, the avoidable handicap also, may have commenced
in the worrying, the overworking or the starving of his mother. In the
first few months of his life very slight differences in treatment may
have life-long consequences. No doubt there is an extraordinary
recuperative power in very young children; if they do not die under
neglect or ill-treatment they recover to an extent incomparably greater
than any adult could do, but there remains still a wide marginal
difference between what they become and what they might have been. With
every year of life the recuperative quality diminishes, the initial
handicap becomes more irrevocable, the effects of ill-feeding, of
unwholesome surroundings, of mental and moral infections, become more
inextricably a part of the growing individuality. And so we may well
begin our study by considering the circumstances under which the
opening phase, the first five years of life, are most safely and
securely passed.

Food, warmth, cleanliness and abundant fresh air there must be from the
first, and unremitting attention, such attention as only love can
sustain. And in addition there must be knowledge. It is a pleasant
superstition that Nature (who in such connections becomes feminine and
assumes a capital N) is to be trusted in these matters. It is a
pleasant superstition to which, some of us, under the agreeable
counsels of sentimental novelists, of thoughtless mercenary preachers,
and ignorant and indolent doctors, have offered up a child or so. We
are persuaded to believe that a mother has an instinctive knowledge of
whatever is necessary for a child's welfare, and the child, until it
reaches the knuckle-rapping age at least, an instinctive knowledge of
its own requirements. Whatever proceedings are most suggestive of an
ideal naked savage leading a "natural" life, are supposed to be not
only more advantageous to the child but in some mystical way more
moral. The spectacle of an undersized porter-fed mother, for example,
nursing a spotted and distressful baby, is exalted at the expense of
the clean and simple artificial feeding that is often advisable to-day.
Yet the mortality of first-born children should indicate that a modern
woman carries no instinctive system of baby management about with her
in her brain, even if her savage ancestress had anything of the sort,
and both the birth rate and the infantile death rate of such noble
savages as our civilization has any chance of observing, suggest a
certain generous carelessness, a certain spacious indifference to
individual misery, rather than a trustworthy precision of individual
guidance about Nature's way.

This cant of Nature's trustworthiness is partly a survival of the day
of Rousseau and Sturm (of the Reflections), when untravelled men,
orthodox and unorthodox alike, in artificial wigs, spouted in unison in
this regard; partly it is the half instinctive tactics of the lax and
lazy-minded to evade trouble and austerities. The incompetent medical
practitioner, incapable of regimen, repeats this cant even to-day,
though he knows full well that, left to Nature, men over-eat themselves
almost as readily as dogs, contract a thousand diseases and exhaust
their last vitality at fifty, and that half the white women in the
world would die with their first children still unborn. He knows, too,
that to the details of such precautionary measures as vaccination, for
example, instinct is strongly opposed, and that drainage and filterage
and the use of soap in washing are manifestly unnatural things. That
large, naked, virtuous, pink, Natural Man, drinking pure spring water,
eating the fruits of the earth, and living to ninety in the open air is
a fantasy; he never was nor will be. The real savage is a nest of
parasites within and without, he smells, he rots, he starves. Forty is
a great age for him. He is as full of artifice as his civilized
brother, only not so wise. As for his moral integrity, let the curious
inquirer seek an account of the Tasmanian, or the Australian, or the
Polynesian before "sophistication" came.

The very existence and nature of man is an interference with Nature and
Nature's ways, using Nature in this sense of the repudiation of
expedients. Man is the tool-using animal, the word-using animal, the
animal of artifice and reason, and the only possible "return to Nature"
for him--if we scrutinize the phrase--would be a return to the
scratching, promiscuous, arboreal simian. To rebel against instinct, to
rebel against limitation, to evade, to trip up, and at last to close
with and grapple and conquer the forces that dominate him, is the
fundamental being of man. And from the very outset of his existence,
from the instant of his birth, if the best possible thing is to be made
of him, wise contrivance must surround him. The soft, new, living thing
must be watched for every sign of discomfort, it must be weighed and
measured, it must be thought about, it must be talked to and sung to,
skilfully and properly, and presently it must be given things to see
and handle that the stirring germ of its mind may not go unsatisfied.
From the very beginning, if we are to do our best for a child, there
must be forethought and knowledge quite beyond the limit of instinct's
poor equipment.

Now, for a child to have all these needs supplied implies certain other
conditions. The constant loving attention is to be got only from a
mother or from some well-affected girl or woman. It is not a thing to
be hired for money, nor contrivable on any wholesale plan. Possibly
there may be ways of cherishing and nursing infants by wholesale that
will keep them alive, but at best these are second best ways, and we
are seeking the best possible. A very noble, exceptionally loving and
quite indefatigable woman might conceivably direct the development of
three or four little children from their birth onward, or, with very
good assistance, even of six or seven at a time, as well as a good
mother could do for one, but it would be a very rare and wonderful
thing. We must put that aside as an exceptional thing, quite impossible
to provide when it is most needed, and we must fall back upon the fact
that the child must have a mother or nurse--and it must have that
attendant exclusively to itself for the first year or so of life. The
mother or nurse must be in health, physically and morally, well fed and
contented, and able to give her attention mainly, if not entirely, to
the little child. The child must lie warmly in a well-ventilated room,
with some one availably in hearing day and night, there must be
plentiful warm water to wash it, plenty of wrappings and towellings and
so forth for it; it is best to take it often into the open air, and for
this, under urban or suburban conditions at any rate, a perambulator is
almost necessary. The room must be clean and brightly lit, and prettily
and interestingly coloured if we are to get the best results. These
things imply a certain standard of prosperity in the circumstances of
the child's birth. Either the child must be fed in the best way from a
mother in health and abundance, or if it is to be bottle fed, there
must be the most elaborate provision for sterilizing and warming the
milk, and adjusting its composition to the changing powers of the
child's assimilation. These conditions imply a house of a certain

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest