Caleb Williams Saleeby.

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"! Progress of


Caleb Williams Sa

4 AT times, however, in a fleeting vision, the invisible
breath that bears the living is materialised before our eyes.
We have this sudden illumination before certain forms of
maternal love, so striking, and in most animals so touching,
observable even in the solicitude of the plant for its seed.
This love, in which some have seen the great mystery of
life, may possibly deliver to us life's secret. It shows us
each generation leaning over the generation that shall
follow. It allows us in a moment of insight to perceive
that the living being is above all a thoroughfare, and that
the essence of life is in the movement by which life is
transmitted." HENRI BERGSON, "Creative Evolution."

Casseil and Company, Ltd
ion, New > Melbourne


The* Progress of



Caleb Williams Saleeby

M.D., Ch.B., F.Z.S., F.R.siEdiH.

Fellow 01 the Obstetrical Society of Edinburgh ; late Resident Physician
to the Maternity Hospital and the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh; Vice-
President of the National Council of Public Morals ; Member of the
Council of the Sociological Society and of the National Association for
the Prevention of Infant Mortality; Member of the Royal Institution
ami of the American Genetic Association


"Produce great persons, the rest follows." WALT WHITMAN

Cassell and Company, Ltd

London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne







IN offering this little book to the reader I must
make acknowledgment for the invaluable help
I have received in eugenic propaganda, since
I left medical practice to follow Galton, ten years
ago, to the National Council of Public Morals,
which, for instance, granted me its platform in
the autumn of 1912, for a public course of eight
lectures in the Holborn Hall, London, much of
which is here included ; and to the Managers of
the Royal Institution, for the privilege of return-
ing to the subject here, yet again, in the course
of lectures on " The Progress of Eugenics/' this
day completed. Let it also be recorded, for
Great Britain, in this decennial volume of modern
eugenics, that, at last, thanks to the help of
Major Leonard Darwin, President of the Eugenics
Education Society, I have succeeded in getting
a reprint of Galton' s "Hereditary Genius "; and
that, though the Inebriates Act is yet to be,
yesterday the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, and
the Order of the Local Government Board making
ophthalmia neonatorum notifiable, came into

c. w. s.

Royal Institution, London, W.
April 2nd,













The Search for Knowledge



x Contents

The Progress of Primary Eugenics











FRANCIS GAI.TON : 1822-1911 . . 248

INDEX .255


Part L Principles


TEN years have passed since the newly formed
Sociological Society asked Mr. Galton, as Jke
as, to use it as a platform for the public

launching of what he has taught mankind to
call eugenics. He accepted our invitation, and
addressed a small audience on " Eugenics, Its
Definition, Scope and Aims/* on May 16, 1904.
Soon afterwards, thanks to a kind invitation
from him, and his appreciation of an article on
the subject, it was my privilege to serve that
great man in his earliest efforts to obtain a
hearing for eugenics, and a place for it among
academic studies. At one time I very nearly
persuaded him to write a book upon eugenics;
but a survey of the literature which would require
to be studied led him regretfully to abandon a
task too heavy even for his superb old age.

z Progress of Eugenics

Thus it came about that, five years after that
memorable meeting of the Sociological Society,
and following upon three lectures at the Royal
Institution, in 1907 and 1908, I essayed the
writing of an outline of eugenics, under the
title of " Parenthood and Race Culture." It
need hardly be said that every line of that
book was read before publication by the critical
eye of my master, to whom it was incalculably
indebted, and without whose help and approval
it could have had no authority whatever.

The last lustrum. Five more years have
passed, and the time seems ripe for an attempt
to record the progress of eugenics, less in the
past decade as a whole than in the latter half
of that period. We have learnt much, and
have had to unlearn scarcely less. Events,
scientific, academic, legislative, have crowded
upon one another, not merely in this country
but notably in the United States, where my
presentation of Mr. Galton's ideas, as I understood
them, was much more widely considered than in
his own country.

A few notes will suffice to show how much
needs to be added, or re-stated, thanks to the
remarkable lustrum which has passed. After
receiving the meagre honour of a knighthood,
some forty years overdue an honour entirely

Introductory 3

unsought, and one which gave him a real and
charming pleasure and after giving to the world
his " Memories of My Life/' as delightful and
modest an autobiography as literature can boast,
Sir Francis Galton passed away in January, 1911 ;
henceforth eugenics must develop as best it can
without his judgment, his prestige, his know-
ledge, his wise enthusiasm, and the beautiful
tolerance of a soul in which there was no bitter-
ness at all, even for those who unscrupulously
and persistently misrepresented his aims and
attributed to eugenics a character of stupidity,
immorality, and materialism which they alone
were capable of conceiving.

But Galton lived to see great developments in
the external appanage of eugenics, some of them
due directly to his own munificence, and more
have followed since his death. He began by
founding a scholarship in National Eugenics
at University College, London, and the days seem
indeed remote when those whom he asked to serve
on a kind of advisory committee used to meet
under his direction, or that of the late Professor
Weldon, whose premature death was a great
loss to eugenics. We had no room really to call
our own then. But now there is a great depart-
ment of eugenics at University College, and the
University of London can boast the first, and

4 Progress of Eugenics

at present the only Chair of Eugenics in the
world, handsomely endowed under Gait on' s will,
and occupied by Professor Karl Pearson, one of
the most distinguished of living mathematicians.
Furthermore, eugenic societies have sprung up
in many parts of the world the Eugenics
Education Society in London, with many similar
societies in the provinces, and one in Ireland,
the New Zealand Society of Eugenics, another in
New South Wales, and, founded only last year, the
French Society of Eugenics, with its excellent
journal Eugeniqtte.

But the United States has really done more
for the progress of eugenics than any other
country in the world. Eugenists everywhere
are indebted to the initiative of the American
Genetic Association in this respect. Its Eugenics
Record Office, established in 1910, under the
leadership of Dr. Davenport, has applied the
principles of a new department of knowledge to
the study of human heredity, and has added
more to our exact knowledge of that fundamental
subject, in the last four years, than all preceding
time could record.

Mendelism. That new department of know-
ledge is now known as genetics, a name applied
to it by Dr. William Bateson, formerly of Cam-
bridge, now Professor of Physiology at the Royal

Introductory 5

Institution, and President-elect of the British
Association, who is the chief student of heredity
to-day. Ten years ago the work of Mendel
had only very lately been re-discovered. Galton
was broad-minded enough to recognise that
Mendel had made a great discovery, but his
principal mathematical follower held other views.
Mendelism was strenuously fought, and for years
the chief object of the biometrical laboratory at
University College has seemed to be, and now
clearly is, to prove the inheritance of this or
that human character to be " not Mendelian."
Five years ago, in referring to Mendelism, I
warned the reader against the view that this
theory would be of no importance for the study
of man but nothing definite could then be said as
to Mendel's law in man, though, in dedicating the
book to Mr. Galton, I was compelled to repudiate
his "law of ancestral inherit ance," which would be
of such importance for eugenics if it were true,
but which could not stand in the light of our
new genetic knowledge.

The progress of genetics in the past five
years has surpassed all expectations. The Men-
delians have gone on from strength to strength.
They established their case for numerous characters
in plants and animals, but it was still possible
for their opponents to deny the application of

6 Progress of Eugenics

Mendelism to man. Major Hurst, however,

showed that, in point of fact, so simple, definite

and easily studied a character as the colour of

the eyes is inherited in man according to Mendel's

law. The facts could have been ascertained at

| any time by Aristotle as easily as by Major

! Hurst ; no modern instruments were required.

but merely the right way of recording pedigrees,

I which Mendel conceived and applied in the

1 monastery garden at Brunn fifty years ago.

A few other normal traits, such as the colour and

form of the hair, right- and left-handedness, have

similarly been shown to follow Mendel's law,

but neither eye-colour nor any of these is of

eugenic importance. On the other hand, the

American observers have shown that various

morbid traits of the utmost eugenic importance,

such as forms of epilepsy and mental deficiency,

follow Mendel's law. In this country the same

has been shown, by the late Mr. Nettleship

and others, for a large number of extremely rare

defects of the eye and the skin. And, last year,

Dr. Kerr Love, of Glasgow, guided by the

American methods to which it was my privilege

to direct him, published a series of lectures in

which he demonstrated the existence of a Men-

delian form of deaf-mutism.

These important discoveries must hereafter be

Introductory 7

discussed for their urgent practical importance.
Meanwhile they serve to show the most significant
of the changes which eugenics has undergone since
its foundation.

The fact is that any practical science which
depends, above all, upon heredity must reconsider
its statements and its intentions from first to
last in the light of our new knowledge. To the
breeder of wheat or roses or racehorses this state-
ment applies, but it applies no less to those who
seek to serve human parenthood and the future.
The laws of heredity are not as Galton understood
them, and they are not to be elucidated by the
methods which he employed, and which Professor
Karl Pearson has since elaborated and still
employs. It was a tragedy for biology at large,
and above all for eugenics, that Gregor Mendel
should have been appointed Abbot of Briinn,
and should have lost all interest in his own
researches, so that Darwin died without having
heard his name, and Galton studied heredity for
decades without the key which Mendel had
already forged, but of whose existence no one
outside Briinn was aware.

That cannot be helped, but what can be
helped is the tendency to continue along the old
lines, and shut our eyes to the significance of
the new methods which are in fact older than

8 Progress of Eugenics

Gallon's, though our acquaintance with them is
so recent.

Mendel and Galton were born in the same
year, as the Englishman reminds us in his generous
tribute to Mendel, and between them, had they
known of each other's work, they could and
would have carried our knowledge of heredity
to a point which it cannot now reach for another
decade or more. Our business is to go forward,
honouring Galton none the less in that we find
ourselves compelled to abandon his generalisations,
and to restate the postulates of eugenics in many

It is the importance of the individual that
emerges from the study of Mendelism. Two
children of the same parents can no longer be
looked upon, from the standpoint of heredity, as
being " as like as two peas." Or rather, we must
recall the fact that the peas in one pod may
be utterly different in genetic characters, as Mendel
showed. Statistical statements of averages and
probabilities will not do. When Galton gave
the Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford, he chose
as its title " Probability the Foundation of
Eugenics.' ' It will not do. The probabilities
of the statistical method are untrue as biological
facts, and they are useless for the service of
eugenics. It is the individual youth who wants

Introductory 9

to know whether he is justified in marrying and
becoming a parent, and eugenics must either be
able to state something definite about him as
an individual, or hold its peace. Thanks to the
application of Mendel's method to man, there are
hosts of instances where positive statements as
to the results of any given human mating can
be made, and our knowledge thus becomes a
guide of life for those who acknowledge any
responsibility to the unborn.

Further, Mendelism has taught us the im-
portance of the unit character. If three or four
Mendelian factors may be involved in the pro-
duction of the simplest anatomical characters in
plants, and if the inheritance of such characters
can be understood and controlled only when
each of these factors has been unravelled, we shall
be less ready than some of us have been to talk
confidently about breeding for genius, which
may be reasonably supposed, on any attempt
at psychological analysis, to be a few hundred
times more complex in constitution than, say,
the colour of a sweet pea.

Most hopeful for the future of eugenics in
Great Britain is the recent establishment of the
Arthur Balfour Chair of Genetics at Cambridge.
Professor Punnett's duties comprise the study \
of genetics in living forms at large, and no one

io Progress of Eugenics

will question that such a chair was needed, or
that Cambridge does well in possessing the first
/i chair of its kind in the world. But what we
( now urgently need in this country is a Chair of
Human Genetics. This is the subject which
lies at the very foundation of eugenics, and
nowhere in this country has it any adequate
recognition, or anything approaching the advant-
ages of the Eugenics Record Office in America.
It is to be hoped that, ere long, this urgent need
will be met, and that the study of human heredity
may be able to avail itself of as many material
advantages and resources as if its subject matter
were horses or pigs.

Biometry. The rise of genetics in the last
few years has had an inevitable corollary in the
simultaneous decadence of the method which,
elaborated from Galton by Professor Karl Pear-
son, is known as biometry. Ten years ago
biometry was in its heyday. No one was in a
position to challenge its conclusions, Mendelism
was regarded as a biological curiosity of hybridisa-
tion, and the publication of reports on alcohol-
ism, infant mortality and tuberculosis, which were
demonstrably nonsensical, had not begun. Failing
any other method of studying the facts of
heredity, biometry held the field. Its results were
accepted at their face value by students gener-

Introductory n

ally, including the present writer. Then came
the advance of Mendelism, the work of de Vries
and Johannsen, showing the difference between
" fluctuations/' due to the accidents of nutrition,
and true " mutations/' which have their seat in
the germ-cells, and are inherited. Biometry, we
saw, had failed to distinguish between these
fundamentally different things, as it still does.
Work done by the biometric method, as upon the
inheritance of coat colour in horses, was done
again by the Mendelian method, which observes
the constitution of each parental pair, and it
was shown that the obvious facts had been
missed by a method which ignored altogether the
details of the individual matings, as biometry
necessarily does. In the words of Professor
Bateson, as early as 1909, " To those who here-
after may study this episode in the history of
biological science it will appear inexplicable that
work so unsound in construction should have
been respectfully received by the scientific world.
With the discovery of segregation it became
obvious that methods dispensing with individual
analysis of the material are useless. The only
alternatives open to the inventors of those
methods were either to abandon their delusion
or to deny the truth of Mendelian facts/'

Those who once practised what Bateson

i2 Progress of Eugenics

describes as these " so-called investigations of
heredity" have come to "abandon their de-
lusion/' Dr. Davenport and Professor Raymond
Pearl, leading American eugenists, may be cited as
illustrations. Sir Francis Galton died before the
complete exposure of the first biometric memoir on
alcoholism, and his faith in the method was testi-
fied by the large endowment which he left for its
practice. But it has no home outside University
College, and whilst we must regret the lamentable
waste of energy and money which its continued
prosecution involves, we need pay no further atten-
tion to it here. In the following pages no reliance
will be placed on any conclusions which depend
for their authority upon the use of this method
alone, and I can only express my regret for having,
nine years ago, based biological and eugenic argu-
ments upon biometric evidence as, for instance,
regarding the influence of mating upon variation
which we now know to be worthless.

The " questionnaire " method. The biometri-
cians have largely employed a method which
is not, indeed, peculiar to them, and from which
they would be the first to obtain valuable results
if any students could. This we may call the
questionnaire method, which consists in preparing
lists of questions to be answered by interested
persons, and then submitted to statistical analysis.

Introductory 13

The recent American work has shown clearly
that to rely upon questionnaires alone is to court
disaster. Everything concluded from such in-
quiries needs re-investigation, and where such
re-investigation has been undertaken the results
based upon the questionnaires have had to be
discarded. " Individual analysis of the material/'
in Professor Bateson's phrase, is essential. If
that be true of peas, and their simple character-
istics, it is a thousandfold truer of human beings
and such traits as conscientiousness, which the
biometricians, incredible to relate, have actually
" studied " by means of questionnaires, and have
pronounced upon as if it were a simple inheritable
unit like blueness of the iris. I believe that the
French Society of Eugenics contemplates the
issue of questionnaires on a large scale to doctors
and other students in France, but it is to be
hoped that not too much time will be wasted in
this way, which, except for certain limited pur-
poses, has been tried and found wanting.

The reader will see that, whilst we know
much more than we did ten or even five years
ago, we know much less than we thought we
did. Eugenics is an applied art or practice j
like clinical medicine, depending on numerous
scientific bases, and as these develop, eugenic
practice, like medical practice, must be modified.

14 Progress of Eugenics

To write a treatise on practical eugenics to-day,
assuming the truth of all the conclusions reached
in the memoirs of the biometricians, would be
simple and might be convincing. The law could
be laid down on conscientiousness, insanity,
tuberculosis, alcoholism, and a host of other
subjects with clearness and confidence. Such a
task might have been essayed a few years ago,
but the case is different now. The cautious
eugenist must confine himself to stating conclu-
sions, and demanding public action accordingly,
only in so far as he has genetic, microscopic, or
experimental evidence. We have such scientific
evidence for certain cases of the highest eugenic
> importance. This evidence is practically all due
} to the work of the last five years, and its existence
constitutes a sufficient reason for the writing of
this book. But the reader must be forbearing
if I speak with the utmost hesitation on many
other subjects, on some of which many recent
converts to eugenics have inclined to speak and
demand as if we knew what will not be known
for many years to come.

Eugenics and natural selection. - - Just as
modern eugenics needs to be based upon a theory
of heredity which has only come into its own
during the last few years, so also we require to
recognise that a certain biological theory, com-

Introductory 15

monly quoted as the ultimate argument of eugenics,
stands no longer where it did. This is the theory
of " natural selection/' which was advanced in
a moderate form by Charles Darwin, and is
preached by the neo-Darwinians in a form which
Darwin himself repudiated in set terms. Upon
this theory of natural selection is based a eugenic
demand which practically consists in the con-
demnation of charity and altruism in all their
forms. Thus eugenics conies to be represented as
an alternative to social reform, an enemy of love,
and a new buttress for the selfish and materially
fortunate members of society ; and thus it makes
hosts of enemies, as any such thing should.
Galton hoped that eugenics would become part
of the religion of the future, and it will hereafter
be made clear that the shocking and disgusting
perversions of eugenics which have been in evidence
during the last few years, and which are contrary
to every religion but Mammonism, have no
sanction either in science or in morality.

Darwin always believed and asserted that some
influences affecting future parents will affect the
character of their offspring. This was the teaching
of his illustrious predecessor, Lamarck. The
modern followers of Darwin, however, have re-
jected this view, and proclaim natural selection
as the only means of changing the character of

16 Progress of Eugenics

a race, for they declare that environment may
modify individuals, but that it has no influence
upon the race. This is a cardinal assumption
of eugenics as it is taught and advocated
by nearly all eugenists to-day, and from it I
expressly dissociate myself in the light of the
experimental work which has been done in various
parts of the world, but unfortunately not at all
in this country, during the past few years. If the
neo-Darwinian view were true, we should be
completely discharged from the necessity, on
eugenic grounds, of taking care of future parents.
On that theory, such young people are the trustees
of a certain type of germ plasm which nothing
can alter. Thus, though circumstances may affect?
them, as individuals, for good or evil, they will
not affect the race as such individuals are capable
of reproducing it.

In this preposterous form the neo-Darwinian
theory was never held by Darwin nor by Galton,
and has been expressly repudiated by Weismann,
who is commonly quoted as its great authority.
But nothing is better established in biology,
thanks above all to the famous German student,
than the fact that very many changes effected
by the environment in the bodies of future parents
are totally without any influence upon the germ
plasm and the future. On the other hand, the

Introductory 17

new experimental work hereafter to be referred
to has shown that ome influences may and do j
act upon the germ plasm, through the parent, I
with most important consequences for eugenics.

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