Mankind in the Making by H. G. Wells

This eBook was produced by Michelle Shephard, Tiffany Vergon, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreaders MANKIND IN THE MAKING BY H. G. WELLS PREFACE 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
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  • 1903
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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 mind.

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 battle.

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 mediævalism 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 entirely.

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 b.

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, 1902.)]

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 upon.

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 him.

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