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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/188

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from this movement, from this striving. It is a protracted drama, where the good genius of liberty contests the throne with the evil genius of brute force, and where, under the eye of God, and with his assistance, is won, slowly and laboriously, the victory of mind, which searches, discovers, invents, creates, loves, adores!


In the first part of this essay we established the facts of heredity, and showed the part it plays in reproducing physiological and psychological characteristics. In the second we pointed out and examined the causes which run counter to the more or less tyrannical impulsions of Nature, and to mechanical necessities. We have now to state some practical conclusions as to the use that may be made of this knowledge in perfecting the race.

The heroic combatants of Homer's epic invoked the names of their fathers and ancestors, and were proud of their noble blood. It was a high instinct, and they who can justly boast of their forefathers will always be in a position to earn for themselves the respect of their children. In short, the phenomena of heredity authorize the belief that parents of well-constituted body and mind are most likely to transmit to their posterity their own likeness.

What measures are to be taken, then, to bring about happy alliances, such as will produce offspring of high excellence in a physical and moral point of view? This is a very delicate question, and we can give only a summary reply to it, based chiefly on an unpublished work by the eminent surgeon, M. Sédillot, who devotes the leisure time of his honorable retirement to studying the means of perfecting the race. First of all, M. Sédillot thinks that we may obtain valuable information as to an individual's real value by consulting his genealogy: the history of his ascendants for four or five generations, with special reference to intellect, morality, vigor, health, longevity, social status, virtually contains a portion of his own history. Long before Gall the fact was established (nor was it overturned by Gall's exaggerations) that the form of the head is, in some measure, an index of a man's mental calibre. From the remotest antiquity, the popular mind has observed the relation which subsists between great size of head and superior abilities; and language is full of expressions which witness to the correctness of this relation. Pericles excited the astonishment of the Athenians by the extraordinary volume of his head. Cromwell, Descartes, Leibnitz, Voltaire, Byron, Goethe, Talleyrand, Napoleon, Cuvier, etc., had very large heads. Cuvier's brain weighed 1,829 grammes, the average weight of Europeans' brains being, according to Broca, from 1,350 to 1,400 grammes. M. Sédillot regrets that we do not possess measurements of the various cranial dimensions of men distinguished for certain capacities, so that we might ascertain the important relations which subsist between these dimensions and