Theodore Francis Wright.

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inheritance which is a factor in his individuality ?

The answer Yes must be given at once. There
is not a shadow of doubt about the fact of human
heredity, nor about all other forms of it. Parent-
age means transmission of characteristics of race,
family, and individual. They are not always


conspicuous in the descendant, but they are suf-
ficiently evident to place the theory among the
laws of nature. The accumulation of examples
is enormous and need not be gone into. In his
book on the subject Ribot^ has traced the trans-
mission of instincts, sensorial qualities, memory,
imagination, intellect, passion, will, national
character, and disease. Under all these heads,
drawing upon the facts collected by Galton,
Lucas, Darwin, Montaigne, Morel, Despine, and
others, he has shown that the reception of life
through a parent brings with it for good or evil
an inheritance which may seem overwhelming
in its influence upon the will.

There should be no disposition to ignore or
undervalue heredity. It is an indispensable pro-
vision for preserving the symmetry of the human
race and of all life. Without it the races would
lose their distinctive qualities and mankind would
be but a chaos, not a harmony of varieties, not a
unit. Without the operation of this law, there
could be no improvement of domestic animals
by careful breeding. Without it the farmer
would not know what seed to plant. Without

* Heredity: Englisli edition, by D. Appleton & Co., 1875.


it the order of the universe, in every form in
which science observes it, would be at an end.
It is, therefore, not only impossible to deny the
fact of heredity, it would also be irrational to do
it. Does it then take away from man his free
agency, and so make the liberty of self a sham
and nofa reality ?

As, in the consideration of freedom in the
preceding chapter, it was found that the nega-
tive side had been taken by two widely different
parties, the religious enthusiasts and the material-
ists, so here we have two kinds of negative reply
to the question. Does heredity leave a man free ?

The answer of that theology commonly called
Calvinistie (but it is older than Calvin) has been
that man received from the earliest pair a ten-
dency to evil which he could not counteract.
This was to deny freedom in the name of
heredity under cover of religion. To this Cal-
vin added the dogma, derived through his legal
training from Tertullian and the Roman Law,
that some were " elected," or involuntarily freed
from the controlling influence of heredity which
otherwise made them of the reprobated class.
But this was only to make men more fully slaves,
since it took away from the elect the power to


fall and from the reprobates tlie power to rise.
A general doom to evil still left room for de-
scent, but this took away from the elect even
tbat liberty. Here Calvin was not tbe first,
rive hundred years before him the Angelical
Doctor had said, " Many who now are living
well are reprobates, and many who now are
evil-doers are elect." ^ Du Moulin, Professor of
History at Oxford, published in 1680 a little
book^ in which he reached the conclusion:
" That there is a million of reprobates to one that
shall be chosen so as to be saved;" by which he
seems to mean that the vast majority had no
freedom in matters of eternal interest, and that
the little minority, " chosen so as to be saved,"
of course had not.

Calvin, however, was the chief assailant of
human freedom in the name of original sin:
" Grace snatches a few from the curse and
wrath of God and from eternal death, who
would otherwise perish; but leaves the world
to the ruin to which it has been ordained."*

1 Commentary on 2 Peter i. 10.

2 Moral Eeflections, etc., London, 1680.
* Commentary on John xvii. 9.


" I ask, how has it come to pass that the fall of
Adam has involved so many nations with their
infant children in eternal death, and this without
remedy, but because such was the will of God ?
It is a dreadful decree, I confess."^ Many ex-
pressions of a like nature in creeds and dis-
courses^may be found gathered with the in-
dustry of theological controversy in the " Doom
of the Majority," ^ by Eev. S. J. Barrows.

This view of the effect of heredity resulted
from a confusion of evil with sin, an inexplica-
ble mistake unless the writers of that day are
supposed to have been so hard-hearted that they
cared to look for no escape from their grim doc-
trine. It was seen that evil was transmitted,
that lawlessness and passion showed their traces
in the third and fourth generation, and this
transmission was mistaken for a transmission of
sin and guilt. "In Adam's fall we sinned all,"
was the word constantly spoken, but never ques-
tioned. The least examination would have anni-
hilated the doctrine of hereditary guilt.

Understanding by hereditary evil the trans-

1 Institutes, Book III. 23, 7.

2 American Unitarian Association, Boston, 1883.


mitted tendency to repeat the sins of tlie parent,
the disarrangement of the nature, an ill con-
dition, there is no room to doubt the fact of
such inheritance. The facts with regard to
transmitted criminal tendencies are overwhelm-
ing ; and, if no such facts had been collected, it
would be easy to conclude a priori that all ten-
dencies, good or evil, are transmitted. But, just
as surely, sin and guilt cannot be transmitted.
The infant is innocent, and cannot be otherwise,
except he be regarded as a specimen of metemp-
sychosis. Guilt cannot be transmitted. The in-
clusion of children in the punishment of parents
under Greek, Roman, and later law has been
seen since Calvin's day to be utterly unjustifiable,
and the Constitution of the United States there-
fore prohibits it. The very Scriptures on which
the Genevan commented would have taught
him : " What mean ye, that ye use this proverb,
. . . The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the
children's teeth are set on edge? As I live,
saith the Lord God, ... all souls are mine ; as
the soul of the father, so also the soul of the
son is mine ; the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
. . . The son shall not bear the iniquity of the
father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity


of the son. . . . Wherefore turn yourselves, and
live ye." ^

When this distinction has been made, the fact
remains that a righteous parent transmits helpfal
tendencies to the child, and an unrighteous
parent unhelpful tendencies. What is the power
of those^ tendencies to control the life ? is the
question ; and this may be considered in connec-
tion with materialistic fatalism held in the name
of heredity.

There are three views which make heredity
fatal to the freedom of the will. The first is
that God dooms many and elects a few in spite
of themselves, thereby leaving men no more
free than Spinoza leaves them. Of untheologi-
cal views one holds that the inherited mental
qualities control the life, and the other lays stress
on the physical transmitted peculiarities as con-
trolling the mind and so the life.

The first view has been considered. The
second view is nearly the same except as it may
be held by an atheist. If so held, it must be
met by an cl prion appeal to man's essential need
of free agency if he be man, and by an a posteriori

1 Ezekiel xviii. 2, 3, 4, 20, 32.


appeal to experience and observation. Both
have been already dwelt upon. It is sufficient
to say that a man's sense of freedom, which is
not the easy self-deception which Hume de-
scribed, has the same ability to disregard in-
herited tendencies that it has to disregard cir-

Suppose one of a passionate race. He looks
with envy on others who have inherited no such
temper. Does he perceive himself to be borne
along irresistibly by his nature, so that it is abso-
lutely impossible for him to pause before he
strikes? If he has given way already to this
tendency till a habit of passionate utterance and
action has been formed, does he find it impossi-
ble to change his course ? Perhaps as good an
answer as any is the increasing conviction in the
world that bad men can be reformed, that prisons
are not to be conducted in a hopeless, fatalistic
spirit, and that the Howards and Elizabeth Frys
and Whitefields were justified in their under-
takings. As one reads the statistics of crime in
certain families, and sees the fearfal effects of
heredity, let him ask himself. Were these neces-
sary effects ? and he will find himself answering,
No, if he has had experience with criminals and


has seen the successful efforts of some to reform.
Alcoholism is a terrible source of hereditary de-
pravity, but instances are many of its worst
effects being overcome.

Physiological fatalism is the most difficult of
all forms of determinism to meet, because its
claims ^re so arrogant. Here the aid of Ribot
is valuable : " Suppose it to be proved," he says,
" that all modes of psychical activity are trans-
missible; is the aggregate of these modes the
v^hole sentient and conscious being ? We often
hear of hereditary talents, vices, and virtues;
but v^hoever will critically examine the evidence
will find that we have no proof of their exist-
ence. The way in which they are commonly
proved is in the highest degree illogical; the
usual way being for writers to collect instances
of some mental peculiarity found in a parent
and in his child, and then to infer that the pecu-
liarity was bequeathed. By this mode of reason-
ing we might demonstrate any proposition." ^

This is a severe arraignment of the inductive
method and goes near to being unjust. It may
be granted that much evidence for fatalistic

1 Heredity, pp. 140, 141.


heredity lias been gatliered in tlie way of
statistics, but it can justly be urged that statistics
of reformation of the character have been left
out of the account. Again, Ribot says, with
greater force, "By free-will we are ourselves;
by heredity [viewed as controlling] we are
others." But it must be confessed that he closes
with the admission : " This supreme antithesis
between free-will and mechanism is insolvable
to us." ^ He has only a hope that the solution
will sacrifice neither the one nor the other.

Neither will be sacrificed. Man will come to
say to himself, " I perceive my tendencies, and
I learn that they are hereditary; what shall I
do ? Shall I go down the inclined plane of self-
surrender, choosing always to do that which
requires the least exercise of will ? Or shall I
resist my tendencies, set myself another goal,
and, taking command of myself and my powers,
say with the centurion to this one, Go; to
another. Come ; and to a third. Do this ?" ^ Ten-
dencies so ruled will become servants, and he in
his noble purpose will be king, ruling his own
spirit. As Goethe said, "I will be lord over

1 Page 392. 2 Lu^e vii. 8.


myself. Ko one who cannot master himself is
worthy to rule, and only he can rule."^ But
long before him Seneca had declared that no
man is free who is a slave to the flesh. And
long before him Solomon had said, " He that is
slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he
that ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh a
city." 2

It may be well to refer again to the fact that,
while the physiologist observes from without the
movement of the system in reflex action, the
man within looks upon the sensations only as
suggestions, and is not controlled by them.

It may also be pointed out that governments
must recognize as factors the hereditary traits of
the people to be governed, but must not regard
these traits as absolutely controlling the people,
for there can be no reward of righteousness and
punishment of guilt unless the individual be
regarded as free, and so as responsible for his
acts; nor can laws be made with any hope of
their beneficial influence unless the people re-
gard the law-makers, and the law-makers the
people, as free agents.

1 Lewes 's Life, Book Y. 2 Prov. xvi. 32.

I 14*


In parental government the child's inherited
tendencies must be viewed with full recognition
of their strength, but the child's ability to resist
temptations from within and from without must
not only be recognized but pointed out, so that
he may gradually learn to rule his own spirit.

The heritage is not the man, and the influence
of inherited quality is not the man's master, if
he determine to call no man master upon earth.
!N'either by motive nor by heredity is the man
ruled unless he voluntarily accepts by repeated
surrenders such a ruler. " Man is his own star,"
wrote Fletcher again and again in his " Honest
Man's Fortune," and Milton repeated it in his
lines, —

" The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." ^

And Tennyson put into the mouth of Enid
the words, —

" Turn, Fortune, turn thy wheel with smile or frown;
With that wild wheel we go not up or down ;
Our hoard is little, hut our hearts are great ;
For man is man, and master of his fate." ^

* Paradise Lost, i. 253.

2 Idylls of the King,— Enid.




The self is a unit, but it has various powers.
As it beholds the operations which are modifica-
tions of itself, it distinguishes them into classes
and notes their interrelations. " Man's spirit has
a self-cognizant existence," says Hegel.^ That
consciousness constantly reveals the self, has
been remarked upon. As to the proper classifi-
cation of the activities which it has and takes
note of, there is a difierence of opinion.

Sir W. Hamilton remarks, " The distinction
taken in the Peripatetic School, by which the
mental modifications were divided into Gnostic
or Cognitive, and Orectic or Appetent, and the
consequent reduction of all the faculties to the
facultas cognoscendi and the facultas appetendi, was
the distinction which was long most universally
prevalent, though under various but usually less

* Philosophy of History, iii. 2.


appropriate denominations. For example, tlie
modern distribution of the mental powers into
those of the understanding and those of the
will, or into powers speculative and powers
active, — ^these are only very inadequate, and very
incorrect, versions of the Peripatetic analysis.
But this Aristotelic division of the internal
states into the two categories of Cognitions and
of Appetences is exclusive of the Feelings. . . .
Kant was the philosopher to whom we owe this
trilogical classification. But Kant only placed
the key-stone of the arch which had been raised
by previous philosophers among his countrymen.
The phenomena of Feeling had attracted the
attention of German psychologists, and had by
them been considered as a separate class of men-
tal states." ^ Hamilton then mentions Sulzer as
having done this in 1751, and others later. " It
remained, however, for Kant to establish by his
authority the trichotomy of the mental powers."^
He then gives some account of efforts to restore
the dual classification.

Krug^ declares against thus dignifying the

1 Metaphysics, Lecture XLI.

2 Grundlage zu einer neuen Theorie der Gefiihle, 1823.


feelings, because they seem to him to look
neither inward nor outward, with no " deter-
minate direction" — " in fact directed upon noth-
ing" — " nothing better than a powerless power"
— " a wholly inoperative force." To this Hamil-
ton finds no difficulty in replying that it under-
estimates the feelings, and he calls attention to
them as they come into exercise : " In reading
the story of Leonidas and his three hundred
at Thermopylae, what do we experience? Is
there nothing in the state of mind, which the
narrative occasions, other than such as can be
referred either to the cognition or to will and
desire ? Our faculties of knowledge are called
certainly into exercise, for this is indeed a condi-
tion of every other state ; but is the exultation
which we feel at this spectacle of human virtue
to be reduced to a state either of cognition or of
conation in either form ?" Hamilton grows still
more ardent, and cites the ballad of " Chevy
Chase," as if it were unmanly to give the feel-
ings less than the highest rank.

Dr. McCosh goes still further back, to the
Eleatic School, but he does not modify essen-
tially the account which Hamilton gives of the
ancient classification. He adds, " Of a later


date some have felt it necessary to draw distinc-
tions of an important kind between the various
powers embraced in the Will, and this led to a
threefold division, the Cognitive, the Feelings,
and the Will, a classification adopted by Kant
and Hamilton. In this division the senses must
be included under either the Cognitive or the
Feelings, or divided between them. To avoid
this awkwardness there is a fourfold distribution,
the Senses, the Intellect, the Feelings, and the
Will. It should be observed that in this dis-
tribution the Conscience or Moral Faculty has
no place." ^ This spreading of the classification
leads him to propose a new arrangement of the
faculties under the two great heads of the Cog-
nitive and the Motive, the former including
Sense-Perception, Consciousness, Memory, Judg-
ment, and Imagination, and the second including
Conscience as a motive-power, the Emotions,
and the Will.

Thus McCosh returns to what Hamilton calls,
when blaming Reid for accepting it, the " vulgar
division of the faculties." Without going more
thoroughly into the history of the controversy,

^ The Cognitive Powers, Introduction, VIII.


and admitting that tlie threefold division now
prevails, let me examine for a moment the appar-
ently firm position of the Hamiltonians. They
regard the threefold distinction as self-evident.
" I see a picture, I recognize what the object is.
This is Cognition or Knowledge. I may experi-
ence certain affections in the contemplation, —
gratification or dissatisfaction. This is Feeling,
of Pleasure and Pain. I may desire to see the
picture long, to see it often, to make it my own,
and perhaps I may will, resolve, or determine so
to do. This is Will and Desire." ^ This inter-
mediate state is the one which is not to be " re-
duced" to the others, as Hamilton puts it.

The only question is. Does the mind proceed
from knowledge immediately to desire, or does
it pause — a longer or shorter time, as the case
may be — between knowledge and desire ? I see
the picture in the first place, and I end with a
strong desire to possess it ; do I pass from sight
directly to longing, or do I abide meanwhile in
pleasure? Undoubtedly there is a middle
ground; which is neither all cognitive, as when
I am first looking at the picture and concluding

^ Hamilton, p. 127.


as to what it represents, nor all appetent, as when
I am borne along by a craving to possess it. Yet
in this middle state neither the cognitive nor the
appetent is wholly wanting. I continue carefully
to scan it. I begin to desire it. What else do I
do ? What other states have I than of contem-
plating its excellence and closing my affections
upon it ? " The feeling of pleasure," answers the
Hamiltonian. Certainly, the pleasure of the con-
templation and the pleasure of the longing which
anticipates possession. In passing from the cog-
nitive end of the line, so to speak, to the appetent
end I pass through a combination of knowledge
and will which is certainly not neutral, — that is,*
without knowledge of perfection or imperfection
and without craving or aversion, but which seems
to be a state in which both enter so evenly that
neither predominates in a marked degree.

But Sir William appeals to the exploits of
Leonidas and Widdrington, — that is, to past
events, — as if to cut off all possibility of will in
the matter, and as if to leave one in passive
patriotic feeling alone ; but here again the feel-
ing only describes the transition from knowl-
edge to will, their interpenetration in the middle
of the affair. For no one repeats the story or


the ballad merely to produce pleasure or pain;
and, if this were the object alone, the mind
would not be content with that, but would feel
the movement to do likewise, the desire to praise
and proclaim the act, and the will to act bravely
in the immediate circumstances of life.

A b^ter defence of the feelings as a third
grand division of the powers might be made by
appealing to the sentiments of pleasure and pain,
which are felt but are not readily accounted for,
as a pleasure in tormenting animals or an un-
easiness in the company of certain persons.
Here knowledge seems to be wanting, and de-
sire does not move one so much as in other
cases. But is not this pleasure the result of
knowing or of desire to know what animals do
when tortured, and of wish to obtain the pleas-
ure of contemplating the victim's writhings?
And the uneasiness in certain company, — what
is it but a perception of some unsympathetic
condition and a desire to escape from it?

Another way of looking at the case is from

the ground of bodily analogy. If the mind has

three divisions, it must be acknowledged at once

that nothing in the body corresponds with it ; if

it has two, everything corresponds. The two
H 15


lobes of the cerebrum, the halves of the cere-
bellum, the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, the bones,
the double lungs and heart, the members, all
divide into two, into a right and a left. The
doubleness of the body is no more evident,
however, than its arrangement into internal and
external parts. Every portion has its inner and
its outer. Let us see if this universal distinction
of right and left, inner and outer, is illustrative
of the mental arrangement.

" The soul," says Schopenhauer, " is the union
of will and intellect." ^ He places the will first.
Indeed, Weber, in making up a motto for his
" History of Philosophy," says, " The vdll is at the
heart of everything," and places as authorities
the names of Schelling, Schopenhauer, Secretan,
and Eavaisson. He also quotes the saying of
Maine de Biran : " 'No perception without voli-
tion;" and in his conclusion he quotes Wundt
as declaring, "It is from the will that the per-
ception proceeds, and not the reverse." He
would make the will " being in its fiilness, and
all the rest phenomena." It is the " essence of
the human soul" (Duns Scotus), " the principle

1 Will in Nature, I.


on which heaven and all nature depend" (Aris-
totle), " the individual's life itself" (Brandis).

The least reflection shoves that the v^ill is the
spring of action, as the heart is of the bodily
life. Without the w^ill to do something, knov^l-
edge is as powerless to effect action as the winter
sun to^roduce vegetation. With will, knowl-
edge is operative. With desire aroused, the in-
tellect co-operates. With this precedence of the
will in potency it is not necessary that it should
precede in time. The senses are always reporting
to the intellect events and conditions. The will
is always instructed and guided by the intellect.
If it were not so guided, it would be blind, as
when passion controls reason and leads the will
to disregard the intellect, making its voice heard
through conscience or memory or foresight.
But, when the will is aroused, what does the
intellect do?

It ministers to the wish, as the lungs minister
to the heart. It finds the way, it provides the
means, it puts at the disposal of the will its
whole accumulation of information. The intel-
lect is a helpmeet for the will. The thought
embodies the desire. It is the existere of which
the will is the esse. It is the left of which the


will is tlie right. It is the outer of which the
will is the inner. In their mutual dependence,
their co-operative activity, the will and under-
standing are in correspondence with the sexes,
for in the man the intellectual predominates, and
in the woman the voluntary. It is with will and
intellect as Longfellow truly says of man and
woman, —

** As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman ;
Though she bends him she obeys him,
Though she draws him, yet she follows ;
Useless each without the other."

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