Volltext: Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry Into its Laws and Consequences

I have been speaking ; thus the men that now rank under 
class G would be increased seventeenfold, by raising the 
average ability of the whole nation a single grade. We see 
by the table that all England contains (on the average, of 
course, of several years) only six men between the ages of 
thirty and eighty, whose natural gifts exceed class G ; but 
in a country of the same population as ours, whose average 
was one grade higher, there would be eighty-two of such 
men ; and in another whose average was two grades higher 
(such as I believe the Athenian to have been, in the interval 
530—430 B.C.) no less than 1,35s of them would be found. 
There is no improbability in so gifted a breed being able 
to maintain itself, as Athenian experience, rightly under¬ 
stood, has sufficiently proved ; and as has also been proved 
by what I have written about the Judges, whose fertility is 
undoubted, although their average natural ability is F, or 
degrees above the average of our own, and 3^ above 
that of the average Athenians. 
It seems to me most essential to the well-being of future 
generations, that the average standard of ability of the 
present time should be raised. Civilization is a new con¬ 
dition imposed upon man by the course of events, just as 
in the history of geological changes new conditions have 
continually been imposed on different races of animals. 
They have had the effect either of modifying the nature of 
the races through the process of natural selection, when¬ 
ever the changes were sufficiently slow and the race suffi¬ 
ciently pliant, or of destroying them altogether, when the 
changes were too abrupt or the race unyielding. The 
number of the races of mankind that have been entirely 
destroyed under the pressure of the requirements of an 
incoming civilization, reads us a terrible lesson. Probably 
in no former period of the world has the destruction of 
the races of any animal whatever, been effected over such 
wide areas and with such startling rapidity as in the


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