Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/429

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Evidence from Lehr's Genealogy.

IF there is any one still unconvinced that heredity is by far the most important of all causes leading to high mental activity resulting in what we call eminence or distinction, he need only carefully study the great book of pedigrees compiled by Paul Ernst Lehr. If he will follow these charts of relationship and, at the same time, use any general biographical dictionary, he will find how seldom has distinction, as judged by achievements, fallen to those not close blood relations of others of the same stamp. And this consanguinity of distinction is in spite of the varying degrees of education and opportunity that must have been presented to these different princes even when living in the same age or the same family. If we find, as we do on certain pages of the book, great barren regions containing dozens of titles of the highest social rank, the bearers of which lived in different countries and eras, there is no reason to suppose that these undistinguished princes did not average just as much opportunity as the average of dozens on some other page where clustered together are the names of those whose achievements have been the themes of biographers and historians.

For instance, there does not seem to be any reason why the kings and princes of Denmark should not have averaged just about the same opportunity as the princes of Prussia; education of varying degrees of perfection, stirring times and chances to display ability in war and government fell to the lot of a certain number in each country, certainly to no more in Prussia than in Denmark, yet Denmark is barren of genius, and Prussia at the same time is full of it. At that time not only do we find great men and women in Prussia, but also their relations in Brunswick and Sweden, engaged in vigorous activity, while the princes of nine tenths of the other countries of Europe are doing nothing really worthy of any mention at all, although education and events must certainly be favorable to a great many of them.

It is not that education is of no moment, for it must be, as we all know, of conspicuous influence in mental development. Even those 'self-made' men who have had no education worth mentioning in the ordinary sense of the word, have nevertheless educated themselves by observation and experience. It is not that education is of no moment, but it must be that the determining factor in the production of the