Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry Into its Laws and Consequences
Galton, Francis
alluding to these qualities, for they are prominent features 
in their characters, and find a large place in their bio¬ 
In speaking of the Lord Keeper, I think I had better 
begin with the evil part of his character. When that has 
been admitted and done with, the rest of my task will be 
pleasant and interesting. In short, the Lord Keeper is 
mercilessly handled in respect to his public character. 
Lord Campbell calls him the most odious man that ever 
held the Great Seal, and says that throughout his whole life 
he sought and obtained advancement by the meanest arts. 
Bishop Burnet calls him crafty and designing. Lord 
Macaulay accuses him of selfishness, cowardice, and mean¬ 
ness. I have heard of no writer who commends his public 
character except his brother, who was tenderly attached to 
him. I should say, that even Lord Campbell acknowledges 
the Lord Keeper to have been extremely amiable in all his 
domestic relations, and that nothing can be more touching 
than, the account we have of the warm and steady affec¬ 
tion between him and his brother, who survived to be his 
biographer. I am, however, no further concerned with 
the Lord Keeper’s public character than to show that, 
notwithstanding his most unworthy acts to obtain advance¬ 
ment, and notwithstanding he had relatives in high offices 
to help him, his own ability and that of his brothers were 
truly remarkable. 
Bishop Burnet says of him that he had not the virtues 
of his predecessor (Lord Nottingham), but he had parts 
far beyond him. However, Lord Campbell dissents from 
this, and remarks that “ a Nottingham does not arise above 
once in a century.” (I will here beg the reader not to 
be unmindful of the marvellous hereditary gifts of the 
Nottingham or Finch family.) Macaulay says his in¬ 
tellect was clear, his industry great, his proficiency in 
letters and science respectable, and his legal learning more


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