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curtailment likely to be more irksome than in the sphere of marriage. The element of economic pressure cannot be allowed to invade the sphere of sexual relationship further than prevails at the present time without serious inconvenience. Mercenary marriages are already more than sufficiently common in some ranks of society, and nothing can be more contrary to sound Eugenic doctrine than the increase of such marriages.
Perhaps the most practical and feasible step towards the production of good stocks lies in such adjustments of economic doctrine and social theory as would tend to promote the earlier marriage, and hence the increased fertility, of the socially valuable units. Unhappily, the tendency at the present day is precisely in the opposite direction. The increasing cost of living, the growing tendency to throw the burdens of the inferior classes upon the thrifty, prosperous, and capable classes, the tendency of the professional and other well-to-do classes to postpone marriage to a later and later date, or to evade it altogether, the growth of luxury-all of these factors are working towards the lowering of social efficiency—they are anti-Eugenic. Here the politician and the tax-gatherer come in. It is to be feared that not many of our parliamentarians have had any training in biology. Probably they would smile if it were suggested to them that such training could help them in the solution of social problems, yet nothing is more certain than that biological law and economic practice are vitally related. Our legislation proceeds on the assumption that all that is necessary for social progress is improvement of the environmental conditions-better houses, cheaper food, lighter and shorter labour, better education
- care as to the quality of the stock being apparently relegated to Providence. It will be a great gain when all thoughtful people come to realise that this is a partial and one-sided view which leaves out of account essential elements of the problem. No one questions the enormous influence of environment, and no one denies that improvement of the environment can be rapidly effected, and its results made quickly manifest. But the fruit which ripens most rapidly is not always, or even usually, the best. Chi va piano va sano; chi va sano va lontanomas the Italians say. The Eugenist does not expect to see speedy results from his propaganda. He knows that in the nature of things that is impossible. He is content to plant, believing that others who come after him will garner the harvest. He may take to himself the well-known lines :
Others, I doubt not, if not we,
Probably the most formidable objection which can be made against any active policy of Eugenics is the contention that we are not yet ripe for action, and that we should await the accumulation of more precise data by experts; that the need of the day is research, not legislation. This view is held by many who are genuinely interested in the subject, and whose opinions are entitled to every respect. It is a good argument against extreme or precipitate action, but even those who hold such views will hardly deny that there is a certain limited field where action is possible. Few people of good will and average intelligence will deny that the effort to control the feeble-minded and prevent their propagation is worthy of approval and support. Every physician knows enough about the laws which concern the inheritance of disease to give advice—when that advice is honestly sought-which puts him in the category of practical Eugenists. The evil effects of premature marriage and excessive child-bearing are too manifest to require further research before we can suggest useful action. There is a certain pedantry in suggesting that we cannot move hand or foot until the experts have spoken the final word-a pedantry, one ventures to think, singularly alien to the temper of our nation. To those who advise that we should move slowly and circumspectly, as in a difficult, perhaps perilous, field, we should take heed, but if we are told not to move at all because of lack of precise knowledge, we may fairly reply that what is wanted is not so much more knowledge, however important and desirable that may be, as more courage.
It has been suggested in some quarters that the Eugenist movement is anti-democratic-is, in fact, essentially aristocratic in tone and tendency. It may be doubted if such a notion was ever present to the mind of any active worker in the field of Eugenics, either in this or in any other country, but fas est et ab hoste doceri. If it is anti-democratic to devote care and thought to the purity of the national stock, one can only say 'so much the worse for democracy.' Aristocracies have tried to keep their blood pure from alien and inferior admixture, but they have in many cases tended to fail and die out, and in so far as they have done so their failure must be attributed to some breach of sound Eugenist doctrine. Caste is a word of somewhat sinister significance, but no cautious observer will pronounce the caste system of the East wholly evil. Neither is it wholly good, and only biology, on which Eugenics rests, can draw the line accurately between the evil and the good. How far aristocracies have become effete through the evil effects of too close inter-breeding, how far through the influence of luxury, how far through the withdrawal of that 'struggle for existence' which is Nature's stern method of maintaining efficiency, are questions too large to
be discussed here, but upon some at least of these questions the researches of Eugenists may be expected to throw light. Eugenics does not favour a rigid caste or a close aristocratic exclusiveness. It knows and recognises that such systems, though not without their advantages, may tend, and, as a matter of history, have sometimes tended to degeneracy.
Let us revert to the question with which this article began. Why do men of light and leading, biologists, physicians, social reformers, statesmen, adopt such an ambiguous and equivocal attitude towards the subject of Eugenics, neither blessing nor banning, reluctant to ignore and still more reluctant to support,
damning with faint praise' or commending with hinted censure? The reply which most readily suggests itself is that the subject, like its name, is new; that relatively few people have yet taken the trouble to understand it; that it is one of admitted difficulty and complexity; and that it touches personal susceptibilities and family pride in a very tender point. But it cannot be ignored, it raises clamant issues, it challenges proof or disproof, support or opposition, acceptance or rejection. It cannot be put aside by such a shallow and frivolous scoff as that Eugenists are trying to introduce the principles of the stud-farm into human society. Such is not the aim, but no one need be ashamed to take a hint from Nature, either from plant or animal. Mendel watched the growth of a common garden plant and transformed our views upon heredity. Darwin made observations upon the pigeon which shook ancient biological theory. One of the strongest recommendations of Eugenics is that, as Major Darwin pointed out at the recent International Congress, its principles are a necessary corollary of the general doctrine of evolution. It is a necessary factor in that application of science to practice, which Ir. Balfour reminded us is only at its beginning, but which is certain to advance at an ever-accelerating speed. Mankind, so long crippled by ignorance or hampered by obsolete tradition, is more and more entering into its heritage, more and more grasping the helping hand which science holds out. Legislation is tardily, reluctantly, and grudgingly recognising some of the plain inferences of biology. We are ceasing to blame Providence for our own errors and failures of duty. We are becoming ready to admit that preventible evils ought to be prevented.
The Eugenist movement is one which is certain to advance and gather strength, however great may be the obstacles in its path. The recent International Congress, of the great success of which from the point of view of organisation, scientific value, and sustained interest there can be no second opinion, proved beyond cavil that the movement has taken firm root in all
civilised countries. Germany and France are already actively at work. Italy, Denmark, and Norway are moving. America is going ahead-perhaps a little too fast. But every new movement has to discover its limitations, to regulate its pace. The research and educational work carried on by Karl Pearson and his coadjutors at the Galton Laboratory with so much energy and thoroughness is gradually furnishing that solid basis of careful observation and solid inference upon which every successful movement must ultimately rest. The public mind, as shown by the widespread interest exhibited by the Press of many nations in the recent Congress, is aroused and prepared for some forward movement. It is becoming more and more clearly realised that no false modesty and no unworthy pride shall be permitted any longer to prevent thinking men and women from facing the problems raised by Eugenics.
A word in conclusion as to the methods of Eugenics. The movement is at present mainly one of research and education. Practical action is for the moment almost confined to an effort to secure more efficient control of the feeble-minded. Segregation of such persons is well within the limits of the possible. It is to be hoped that sterilisation of the unfit,' which is at present being practised, with dubious results, in several States of the American Union, will not be pressed. Even if it could be justified, which is doubtful, public opinion in this country is not ripe for so drastic a proceeding. The public conscience would be shocked by it, and a promising movement would probably receive a rude check. Many feel instinctively that we might purchase a biological benefit too dearly at the cost of a spiritual wound.
Eugenists will probably accomplish their greatest and most lasting work by promoting research, disseminating knowledge, and helping the evolution of a better social conscience and a higher standard of social duty.
J. A. LINDSAY. Belfast.
RAILWAY PROJECTS IN AFRICA AND
THE NEAR EAST
SEVERAL railway projects of importance have recently been placed before the public for consideration in England, France, Germany, and Russia, projects which are intended to attain two chief purposes : unbroken railway communication (1) between Calais and India, and (2) between Capetown and the Mediterranean. The construction of these great trunk lines for the last ten years has depended less on the amount of money they would cost than on the assuagement of international jealousies, rivalries, and fears. If these last could be allayed by some happy solvent of the ambitions of the four greatest Powers in the Old World-Britain, France, Austro-Germany, and Russia-not many years would elapse before we might be able to travel from London to Capetown, or London to the chief cities of India, with no more sea passage involved than the crossing from Dover to Calais, from Tarifa to Tangier, or Constantinople to Scutari. Indeed, even these brief sea passages might be overcome so far as change of carriage went by sea ferries or tunnels; but in any case they would be matters of comparatively trivial discomfort compared with the hateful experiences in eight months out of the twelve to be endured in a sea journey up or down the British Channel and across the Bay of Biscay; or, again, between any port in France, Italy, or Greece and any port on the African or Syrian shores of the Mediterranean. When there is a choice between a railway and a steamer journey, the mass of the travelling public decides in favour of the railway, which nearly always means a saving of time, sometimes actually a saving in money, and is attended by greater safety and far less monotony. Look at the rush which is made for seats in the train from Moscow to Pekin, or to a Pacific port from which Japan is reached in a few hours' water passage; despite the long journey from Flushing to Moscow, despite the vexatiousness of Russian passports, the bad ventilation of the carriages, or the cold, the dust, the heat, the smells, the fleas, and the other items of discomfort which attend this long single-line journey across the steppes of Russia and the vast wildernesses of Siberia.