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SCIENTIFIC PHILANTHROPY.

infirm in the hospitals hardly ever contract marriage; so that we need not fear much from their posterity. Furthermore, we might, if it should become necessary, impose conditions and even legal restraints upon their marriage. The same is the case with the infirm who are assisted at home; if they have any important physical infirmity, they seldom think of marrying, and are hardly ever able to marry. The Darwinian theorem, moreover, proves too much, for it is applicable not only to the weak in body, whom philanthropy takes under its protection; to be logically carried out, it should be taken home to each family, and insist that no deformed or weakly child deserves to live. We should say no more, "Woe to the conquered!" but "Woe to the weak!" In effect, when a father and mother preserve the life of their child only by the exercise of the greatest care, when a doctor employs all his skill upon it, that fatherly and motherly care, that medical skill, will only have succeeded in preparing "artificially for society a member without vigor"; and the latter, in his turn, by marrying, will put into the world children still less vigorous. The Spartan method of disposing of feeble children will then become that of the perfected sociology. We shall test men as we now test our guns, throwing away those which can not support a certain pressure. The struggle of art against the natural elimination of the least vigorous is carried on in the bosom of the family rather than in the hospitals. Public philanthropy does not, therefore, appear to be responsible for the principal inconveniences it brings; it is parental love that we have to deal with, and, since that love is infinitely more advantageous than inconvenient to society, it is our duty to brighten, not to obscure it.

It is rather before marriage than after the birth of children that the real problem presents itself, and philanthropy should be exercised in the interest of humanity itself. There is a moral question here, and it is for the moralist to instruct the weak, delicate, or sickly person, concerning the grave responsibility he assumes in contracting marriage and running the danger of entailing upon his children the evils from which he is suffering. Man, says Darwin, scans with scrupulous care the character and pedigree of his horses, his cattle, and his dogs before matching them, but never takes such a precaution when the question is one of his own marriage. It is certain that the person who calls another being into life is not the only one concerned in the matter, and that, if he has a good supply of physical evils in himself, he ought to hesitate before condemning his posterity to them. But must we go further, and make a social and judicial question of the moral one? Ought the state, the natural protector of the rights of third parties, to intervene here in the physical interest of the children and of the nation, as it interferes for their moral interests and even in questions of mere future? Darwin and his partisans, M. Ribot, for instance, are inclined to have the state intervene now, or as soon as custom shall have prepared the way for its intervention. When, says