Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/241

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There is yet another existing form of princely benevolence which might be so extended as to exercise a large effect on race improvement. I mean the provision to exceptionally promising young couples of healthy and convenient houses at low rentals. A continually renewed settlement of this kind can be easily imagined, free from the taint of patronage, and analogous to colleges with their self-elected fellowships £nd rooms for residence, that should become an exceedingly desirable residence for a specified time. It would be so in the same way that a good club by its own social advantages attracts desirable candidates. The tone of the place would be higher than elsewhere, on account of the high quality of the inmates, and it would be distinguished by an air of energy, intelligence, health and self-respect and by mutual helpfulness.


It is pleasant to contrive Utopias, and I have indulged in many, of which a great society is one, publishing intelligence and memoirs, holding yearly elections, administering large funds, establishing personal relations like a missionary society with its missionaries, keeping elaborate registers and discussing them statistically with honest precision. But the first and pressing point is to thoroughly justify any crusade at all in favor of race improvement. More is wanted in the way of unbiased scientific inquiry along the many roads I have hurried over, to make every stepping-stone safe and secure, and to make it certain that the game is really worth the candle. All I dare hope to effect by this lecture is to prove that in seeking for the improvement of the race we aim at what is apparently possible to accomplish, and that we are justified in following every path in a resolute and hopeful spirit that seems to lead towards that end. The magnitude of the inquiry is enormous, but its object is one of the highest man can accomplish. The faculties of future generations will necessarily be distributed according to laws of heredity, whose statistical effects are no longer vague, for they are measured and expressed in formulæ. We cannot doubt the existence of a great power ready to hand and capable of being directed with vast benefit as soon as we shall have learnt to understand and to apply it. To no nation is a high human breed more necessary than to our own, for we plant our stock all over the world and lay the foundation of the dispositions and capacities of future millions of the human race.