Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry Into its Laws and Consequences
Galton, Francis
as a partial justification if I have occasionally been be¬ 
trayed into speaking somewhat more confidently than the 
evidence I have adduced would warrant. 
I trust the reader will pardon a small percentage of 
error and inaccuracy, if it be so small as not to affect the 
general value of my results. No one can hate inaccuracy 
more than myself, or can have a higher idea of what an 
author owes to his readers, in respect to precision ; but, in 
a subject like this, it is exceedingly difficult to correct 
every mistake, and still more so to avoid omissions. I have 
often had to run my eyes over many pages of large biogra¬ 
phical dictionaries and volumes of memoirs to arrive at 
data, destined to be packed into half a dozen lines, in an 
appendix to one of my many chapters. 
The theory of hereditary genius, though usually scouted, 
has been advocated by a few writers in past as well as in 
modern times. But I may claim to be the first to treat 
the subject in a statistical manner, to arrive at numerical 
results, and to introduce the “law of deviation from an 
average” into discussions on heredity. 
A great many subjects are discussed in the following 
pages, which go beyond the primary issue,—whether or 
no genius be hereditary. I could not refuse to consider 
them, because the bearings of the theory I advocate are 
too important to be passed over in silence.


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