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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/461

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introduced in the pedigree. In this respect these countries should be compared with Bussia, Spain, France and Italy.

Frederick the Great and his brother Henry left no descendants. In the next generation the great qualities died out in the house, because only two of the males had heirs and these were not the gifted members of the family. One, William Augustus, was weak and fond of pleasure, and was the son who resembled his grandfather, Frederick I. He married Louisa, a daughter of Ferdinand Albert, of Brunswick, an insipid woman of no gifts, with an ancestry virtuous and literary, but not talented politically.[1] They had a son, Frederick William II., and a daughter; the son, who had the best of education and example, was a virtuous man of average capacity, but timid and irresolute. As Frederick William II., who was not brilliant, married a woman below the average capacity and of a mediocre family, by the next generation ail brilliancy was removed to one great-great-grandparent, out of the sixteen the children had, and to eight of the thirty-two great-great-great-grandparents; which according to Galton would be a factor of extremely small value; so it is not surprising that it never caine out again in this line, unless Wilhelm der Grosse and the present Kaiser be equal to them and represent extreme reversion. Their abilities are probably derived from fresh combinations.

Among the collaterals similar dilution, or lack of any issue at all, can be shown. Thus one of the greatest strains of intellect the world has ever seen finally disappeared. Quite unconsciously on their part it was formed. Its formation appears to be due to a remarkable combination of ingredients of blood, three sources of the best from the great House of Orange were united with the Great Elector of Brandenburg, who probably himself received his genius from the house of Orange. Its disappearance might well have been due to dilution in some branches, to accident or sterility in others. Probably the only strain in modern times, in royalty or out, that can show such a quantity of eminent relationship, and of such a high degree, is the same region about William the Silent that we have shown we consider the origin of this. The relation of this blood to the course of Prussian, German and even to the world's history should not be overlooked.

If it is accepted that these characters were what they were owing largely to heredity, then it follows that Prussia's rise under the Great Elector, her growth under Frederick William I.'s vigorous policy, and subsequent greater growth under Frederick II., together with the seven years' war, must, since historians all ascribe great influence to these sovereigns, find their ultimate explanation in these charts of descent. The theories of heredity appear to be very nearly satisfied. If we con-

  1. See Brunswick.