Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Human Progress: Past and Future (S445: 1892)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: This essay, in some respects an extension of the arguments presented in S427, was printed in the January 1892 number of The Arena (Boston). Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page, connect with:

    [[p. 145]] The word progress, as used above, has two distinct meanings, not always recognized, whence has arisen some confusion of ideas. It may mean either an advance in material civilization, or in the mental and moral nature of man, and these are far from being synonymous. Material civilization is essentially cumulative. Each generation benefits by the trials and failures of the preceding generation; and since the discovery of printing has facilitated the preservation and circulation of all new knowledge, progress of this kind has gone on at an ever accelerated pace. But this does not imply any general increase of mental power. Step by step the science of mathematics has advanced immensely since the time of Newton, but the advance does not prove that the mathematicians of to-day have a greater genius for mathematics--are really greater mathematicians--than Newton and his contemporaries, or even than the Greeks of the time of Euclid and Archimedes. Our modern steam engines and locomotives far surpass those of Watt and Robert Stephenson, but of the hundreds who have labored to improve them perhaps none have surpassed those great men in mechanical genius. And so it is with every item which goes to form that which we term our civilization. We have risen, step by step, on the ladders and scaffolds erected by our predecessors, and if we can now mount higher and see further than they could it does not in the least prove that we are, on the average, greater men, intellectually, than they were. The [[p. 146]] question I propose to discuss is one quite apart from that of civilization as usually understood. It is, whether mankind have advanced as intellectual and moral beings; and, if so, by what agencies and under what laws have they so advanced in the past, and what are the conditions under which that advance may be continued in the future.

    We have, first, to inquire whether there is any evidence of such an advance in human nature during historic times; and this is by no means so simple a problem and one so easily answered as is sometimes supposed. If there has been any cause constantly at work tending to elevate human nature, we should expect it to manifest itself by a perceptible rise in the culminating points reached by mankind, in the intellectual and moral spheres, at successive periods. But no such continuous rise of the high-water mark of humanity is perceptible. The earliest known architectural work, the great pyramid of Egypt, in the mathematical accuracy of its form and dimensions, in its precise orientation, and in the perfect workmanship shown by its internal structure, indicates an amount of astronomical, mathematical, and mechanical knowledge, and an amount of experience and practical skill, which could only have been attained at that early period of man's history by the exertion of mental ability no way inferior to that of our best modern engineers. In purely intellectual achievements the Vedas of ancient India, the Iliad of Homer, the book of Job, and the writings of Plato, will rank with the noblest works of modern authors. In sculpture and in architecture the ancient Greeks attained to a height of beauty, harmony, and dignity, that has never been equalled in modern times; and taking account also of the great statesmen, commanders, philosophers, and poets of the age of Pericles, Mr. Francis Galton is of opinion "that the average ability of the Athenian race was, on the lowest possible estimate, very nearly two grades higher than our own--that is, about as much as our race is above that of the African negro."1

    There is, therefore, some reason to think that the intellectual high-water level of humanity has sunk rather than risen during the last two thousand years; but this is not incompatible with the elevation of the mean level of the human ocean both intellectually and morally. We must, [[p. 147]] therefore, briefly consider the various agencies that have been at work, some tending to raise others to depress this level; and by balancing the one against the other, and taking account of certain modern developments of human nature in civilized societies, we may be able to arrive at some probable conclusion as to the final result.

    During the whole course of human history the struggle of tribe with tribe and race with race has inevitably caused the destruction of the weaker and lower, leaving the stronger and higher, whether physically or mentally stronger, to survive. Another and perhaps not less potent cause of the destruction of lower tribes is the greater vital energy and more rapid increase of the higher races, which crowds the lower out of existence even when no violent destruction of life takes place. To this latter cause quite as much as to actual warfare must we ascribe the total disappearance of the Tasmanians, and the continuous diminution of population among the Maoris of New Zealand and the inhabitants of the Eastern Pacific Islands, as well as of the red Indians of the North American continent. Here we see survival of the fittest among competing peoples necessarily leading to a continuous elevation of the human race as a whole, even though the higher portion of the higher races may remain stationary or may even deteriorate.

    But a similar and even more complex process is ever going on within each race, by the survival of the more fit and the elimination of the less fit under the actual conditions of society. On the whole we cannot doubt that the prudent, the sober, the healthy, and the virtuous, live longer lives than the reckless, the drunkards, the unhealthy, and the vicious; and also that the former, on the average, leave more descendants than the latter. It is true that the latter not unfrequently marry earlier and have larger families; but many of these die young, and as, on the whole, children resemble their parents, fewer of them will survive and leave offspring. Thus accidents, violence, and the effects of a reckless and vicious life, are natural checks to the increase of population among these classes, and this inevitably gives an advantage to the more intellectual, the more prudent, and the more moral portion of each race. The latter will, therefore, increase at the expense of the former, and thus again tend to raise the mean level of humanity.

    [[p. 148]] But society has always, in one way or another, interfered with these beneficent processes, and has thus retarded the general advance. The celibacy of the clergy and the refuge offered by monasteries and nunneries to many to whom the rude struggle of the world was distasteful, and whose gentle natures fitted them for deeds of charity or to excel in literature or art, prevented the increase of these nobler individuals, and thus, as Mr. Galton well remarks, "the Church, by a policy singularly unwise and suicidal, brutalized the breed of our forefathers." By a still more deplorable policy, independent thought, and that true nobility which refuses to purchase life by a lifelong lie, was almost exterminated in Europe by religious persecution. It is calculated that for the three centuries between 1471 and 1781, a thousand persons annually were either executed or imprisoned by the Inquisition in Spain alone. In Italy it was even worse; while in France during the seventeenth century three or four hundred thousand Protestants perished in prison, at the galleys, or on the scaffold.

    Another cause which has had a prejudicial effect at all times, and which continues in action in the civilized societies of to-day, is the system of inherited wealth, which gives to the weak and vicious an undue advantage both in the certainty of subsistence without labor, and in the greater opportunity for early marriage and leaving a numerous offspring. We also interfere with the course of nature by preserving the weak, the sickly, or the malformed infants; but in this, probably, humanity gains rather than loses, since many who are in infancy weak or distorted exhibit superior mental or moral qualities which are a gain to civilization, while the cultivation of humane and sympathetic feelings in their care and nurture is itself of the greatest value.

    Balancing, as well as we are able, these various opposing influences, it seems probable that there has been, on the whole, a decided gain. Health, perseverance, self-restraint, and intelligence have increased by slowly weeding out the unhealthy, the idle, the grossly vicious, the cruel, and the weak-minded, and it may be in part owing to the increased numbers of the higher and gentler natures thus brought about that we may impute the undoubted growth of humanity,--of sympathy with the sufferings of men and animals, which is perhaps the most marked and most cheering of the characteristics of our age.

    [[p. 149]] But although the natural process of elimination does actually raise the mean level of humanity by the destruction of the worst and most degraded individuals, it can have little or no tendency to develop higher types in each successive age; and this agrees with the undoubted fact that the great men who appeared at the dawn of history and at the culminating epochs of the various ancient civilizations, were not, on the whole, inferior to those of our own age. It remains, therefore, a mystery how and why mankind reached to such lofty pinnacles of greatness in early times, when there seems to be no agency at work, then or now, calculated to do more than weed out the lower types. Leaving this great problem as, for the present, an insoluble one, we may turn to that aspect of the question which is of the most vital present day interest,--whether any agencies are now at work or can be suggested as practicable, which will produce a steady advance, not only in the average of human nature, but in those higher developments which now, as in former ages, are the exceptions rather than the rule.

    Till quite recently the answer to this question would have been an unhesitating affirmative. Education, it would have been said, is such an agency; and although hitherto it has done comparatively little, owing to the very partial and extremely unscientific way in which it has been applied, we have now acquired such a sound knowledge of its philosophy and have so greatly improved its methods, that it has become a power by which human nature may be indefinitely modified and improved. When every child is really well educated, when its moral as well as its intellectual faculties are trained and developed, some portion of the improvement effected in each generation will be transmitted to the next, and thus a continual advance both in the intellectual and moral nature will be brought about.

    Almost all who have discussed the subject have held that this is the true and only method of improving human nature, because they believe that in the analogous case of the bodily structure the modification and improvement of all organisms has been effected by a similar process. Lamarck taught that the effects produced by use and exertion on the body of the individual animal was, wholly or in part, transmitted to the offspring; and although Darwin's theory of natural selection rendered this agency almost if not altogether unnecessary, yet [[p. 150]] it was so universally held to be a fact of nature that Darwin himself adopted it as playing a subsidiary but not unimportant part in the modification of species. So little doubt had he of this "transmission of acquired characters" that his celebrated theory of Pangenesis was framed so as to account for it. In order to explain, hypothetically, how it was that the increased size or strength given to a limb or an organ by constant exercise was transmitted to the progeny, he supposed that the male and female germ-cells were formed by the aggregation of inconceivably minute gemmules from every tissue and cell of every part of the body, that these gemmules were continually renewed and continually flowing towards the reproductive organs, and that they had the property of developing into cells and structures in the offspring which more or less closely resembled the corresponding cells and structures in the parents at that particular epoch of their lives. Thus was explained the transmission of disease, and the supposed transmission of the changes produced in the parents by use or disuse of organs or by other external conditions. For example, if two brothers, equally strong and healthy, became, one a city clerk the other a farmer, land-surveyor, or rural postman, living much in the open air and walking many miles every day of his life, and if they married two sisters equally alike in constitution, then the children of these two couples, especially those born when their parents approached middle age and the different conditions of their existence had had time to produce its full effect on their bodily structure, ought to show a decided difference, the one family being undergrown, pale, and rather weak in the lower limbs, the other the reverse, and this difference should be observable even if the children of the two families were brought up together under identical conditions. It may be here stated that no trustworthy observations have ever been made showing that such effects are really produced, but it has always been believed that they must be produced.

    As Darwin's theory of Pangenesis led to considerable discussion, Mr. Francis Galton, who had at first accepted it provisionally, endeavored to put it to the test of experiment. He obtained a number of specimens of two distinct varieties of domestic rabbits which breed true, and by an ingenious and painless arrangement caused a large quantity of the blood of one variety to be transfused into the blood-vessels [[p. 151]] of the other variety. This having been effected with a number of individuals without in any way injuring their health, they were separated and bred from. It was found that in every case the offspring resembled their parents and showed no trace of intermixture of the two varieties. It was also pointed out by another critic that if the theory of Pangenesis were true, the stock on which a fruit is grafted ought to change the character of the fruit produced by the graft, which, as a rule, it does not do.

    Doubt being thus thrown on the validity of the theory, Mr. Galton suggested another, in which the germs in the reproductive organs of each individual were supposed to be derived directly from the parental germs and not at all from the body itself during its growth and development. A very similar theory was proposed some years later by Professor Weismann under the now well-known term "the continuity of the germ plasm." Both these theories imply that, except among the lower single-celled animals and in certain exceptional cases among the higher animals, no change produced in the individual during life by exercise or other external conditions, can be transmitted to its offspring. What is transmitted is the capacity to develop into a form more or less closely resembling that of the parents or their direct ancestors, the characteristics of these appearing in the offspring in varying degrees and compounded in various ways, leading to that wonderful variety in details while preserving a certain unmistakable family resemblance. Thus are explained not only bodily but mental characteristics, even those peculiar tricks of motion or habits which are often adduced as proofs of the transmission of an acquired character, but which are really only the transmission of the minute peculiarities of physical structure and nervous or cerebral co-ordination, which led to the habit in question being acquired by the parent or ancestor, and, under similar conditions, by his descendant.

    Finding that his theory, if true, did not allow of the hereditary transmission of the majority of individually acquired characters, Weismann was led to examine the evidence for such transmission, and found that hardly any real evidence existed, and that in most cases which appeared to prove it, either the facts were not accurately stated, or another interpretation could be given to them. The transmission [[p. 152]] had been assumed because it appeared so natural and probable; but in science we require as the foundation of our reasoning not probability only, but proof; or if we cannot get direct proof, then the probability which arises from all the phenomena being such as would occur if the theory in question were true, and this so completely as to give us the power of predicting what will occur under new and hitherto untried conditions. Such is the probability in favor of the existence of an ethereal medium whose undulations produce light and heat, of atoms which combine to form the molecules of the various elements, and of the molecular theory of gases. The biologists of Europe, though usually slow to accept new theories in the place of old ones, have given to the theories of Weismann and Galton an amount of acceptance which was never accorded to Darwin's theory of Pangenesis, notwithstanding the weight of his great reputation; and they are now seeking earnestly for facts which shall serve as crucial tests of the rival theories, just as the phenomena of interference served as a test of the rival theories of light.

    We have here only to deal with the theory of the non-inheritance of acquired characters as it affects mental and moral qualities; and in this department it has to encounter great opposition, because it seems to bar the way against any improvement of the race by means of education. If the theory is a true one, it certainly proves that it is not by the direct road of education, as usually understood, that humanity has advanced and must advance, although education may, in an indirect manner, be an important factor of progress. Let us, however, look at the problem as presented by the rival theories, and see what light is thrown upon it by the history of those great men who have most contributed to the advance of civilization, and who serve well to illustrate the successive high-water marks attained by human genius.

    If progress is in any important degree dependent on the hereditary transmission of the effects of culture, as distinguished from the transmission of innate genius, or of the various talents and aptitudes with which men and women are born, then we should expect to see indications of such transmission in the continuous increase of mental power wherever any family or group of families have for several generations been subjected to culture or training of any [[p. 153]] particular kind. It has, in fact, been claimed that this is the case, for in his presidential address to the Biological Society of Washington, in January, 1891, Mr. Lester F. Ward argues that not only is Professor Weismann's great ability a result of the rigid methods of training in the German universities, but that "those rigid methods themselves have been the product of a series of generations of such training, transmitted in small increments and diffused in increasing effectiveness to the whole German people . . . And the fact, that out of the barbaric German hordes of the Middle Ages there has been developed the great modern race of German specialists is one of the most convincing proofs of the transmission of acquired characters, as well as of the far-reaching value to the future development of the race of such an educational system as that which Germany has had for the last two or three centuries."

    It will, I think, be admitted that, if this is "one of the most convincing proofs" of the transmission of the effects of culture, the theory of its transmissibility has but a weak foundation; for not only may the facts be explained in another way, but there is another body of facts which point with at least equal clearness in an exactly opposite direction. It may be said, for instance, that the eminence of German specialists in science is due primarily to special mental qualities which have always been characteristic of the German race, and to the facilities afforded for the culture of those faculties throughout life, by the very numerous professorships in their numerous universities, and by the comparative simplicity of German habits which renders the position of professor attractive to the highest intellects. And when we turn to other countries we find facts which tend in the opposite direction. In England, for example, during many centuries, Oxford and Cambridge Universities were closed to non-conformists, and their honors and rewards were reserved for members of the Established Church, and very largely for the families of the landed aristocracy. Yet in the short period that has elapsed since they were opened to dissenters, these latter have shown themselves fully equal to the hereditarily trained churchmen, and have carried off the highest honors in as great, and perhaps even in greater proportion than their comparative numbers in the universities.

    Again, it is a remarkable fact, that almost all our [[p. 154]] greatest inventors and scientific discoverers, the men whose originality and mental power have created landmarks in the history of human progress, have been self-taught, and have certainly derived nothing from the training of their ancestors in their several departments of knowledge. Brindley, one of the earliest of our modern engineers, was the son of a dissipated small freeholder; Telford, our greatest road and bridge builder, was the son of a shepherd, and apprenticed to a rough country mason; George Stephenson, the inventor of the locomotive engine, was a self-taught collier; Bramah, the inventor of the hydraulic press, of improved locks, and almost the originator of machine tools, was the son of a farmer, and at seventeen years of age was apprenticed to the village carpenter; Smeaton, who designed and built the Eddystone lighthouse, was the son of a lawyer, and a wholly self-taught engineer; Harrison, the inventor of the modern chronometer, was a joiner and the son of a joiner; the elder Brunel was the son of a French peasant farmer, and was educated for a priest, yet he became a great self-taught engineer, designed and executed the first Thames tunnel, and at the beginning of this century designed the block-making machinery in Portsmouth dock-yard which was so complete both in plan and execution that it is still in use.

    Coming now to higher departments of industry, science, and art, we find that Dollond, the inventor of the achromatic telescope, was a working silk weaver, and a wholly self-taught optician; Faraday was the son of a blacksmith, and apprenticed to a bookbinder at the age of thirteen; Sir Christopher Wren, the son of a clergyman and educated at Oxford, was a self-taught architect, yet he designed and executed St. Paul's Cathedral, which will certainly rank among the finest modern buildings in the world; Ray, the son of a blacksmith, became a good mathematician, and one of the greatest of our early naturalists; John Hunter, the great anatomist, was the son of a small Scotch land-owner; Sir William Herschel was the son of a German musician; Rembrandt was the son of a miller; the great linguists and oriental scholars, Alexander Murray and Dr. Leyden, were both sons of poor Scotch shepherds; while Shelley, whose poetic genius has rarely been surpassed, was the son of an altogether unpoetic and unsympathetic country squire.

    These few examples, which might be easily increased so [[p. 155]] as to fill a volume, serve to show, what is indeed seldom denied, that genius or superexcellence in any department of human faculty tends to be sporadic, that is, it appears suddenly without any proportionate development in the parents or immediate ancestors of the gifted individual. No doubt there is usually, or perhaps always, a considerable amount of the same mental qualities dispersed through the diverging ancestral line of all these men of genius, and their appearance seems to be well explained by a fortunate intermingling of the germ-plasms of several ancestors calculated to produce or to intensify the various mental peculiarities on which the exceptional faculties depend. This is rendered probable, also, by the fact that, although genius is often inherited it rarely or never intensifies after its first appearance, which it certainly should do if not only the genius itself, but the increased mental power due to its exercise were also inherited. Brunel, Stephenson, Dollond, and Herschel, all had sons who followed in the steps of their fathers, but it will be generally admitted that in no case did the sons exceed or even equal their parents in originality and mental power. So, if we look through the copious roll of names of great poets, and painters, sculptors, architects, engineers, or scientific discoverers, we shall hardly ever find even two of the same name and profession, and never three or four, rising progressively to loftier heights of genius and fame. Yet this is what we ought to find if not only the innate faculty, but the increased development given to that faculty by continuous exercise, tends to be inherited.2

    If it is thought that this non-inheritance of the results of education and training is prejudicial to human progress, we must remember that, on the other hand, it also prevents the continuous degradation of humanity by the inheritance of those vicious practices and degrading habits which the deplorable conditions of our modern social system undoubtedly foster in the bulk of mankind. Throughout all trade and commerce lying and deceit abound to such an extent that it has come to be considered essential to success. No [[p. 156]] dealer ever tells the exact truth about the goods he advertises or offers for sale, and the grossly absurd misrepresentations of material and quality we everywhere meet with have, from their very commonness, ceased to shock us. Now it is surely a great blessing if we can believe that this widespread system of fraud and falsehood does not produce any inherited deterioration in the next generation. And it is equally satisfactory to believe that the physical deterioration produced on the thousands who annually exchange country for town life will have no permanent effect on their offspring if they return at any time to more healthy conditions. And we have direct evidence that this is so in the fact that the street arabs of our great cities, when brought up under healthy and elevating conditions in the colonies, usually improve both physically, intellectually, and morally, so as to be fully equal to the average of their fellow-countrymen.

    It appears, then, that the non-inheritance of the effects of training, of habits, and of general surroundings, whether these be good or bad, is by no means a hindrance to human progress, if, as seems not improbable, the results on the individual of our present social arrangements are, on the whole, evil. It may be fairly argued that the rich suffer, morally and intellectually, from these conditions quite as much as do the poor; and that the lives of idleness, of pleasure, of excitement, or of debauchery, which so many of the wealthy lead, is as soul-deadening and degrading in its effects as the sordid struggle for existence to which the bulk of the workers are condemned. It is, therefore, a relief to feel that all this evil and degradation will leave no permanent effects whenever a more rational and more elevating system of social organization is brought about.

    If, then, education, training, and surrounding conditions can do nothing to affect permanently the march of human progress, how, it may be asked, is that progress to be brought about; or are we to be condemned to remain stationary in that average condition which, in some unknown way, the civilized nations of the world have now reached? We reply, that progress is still possible, nay, is certain, by the continuous and perhaps increasing action of two general principles, both forms of selection. The one is that process of elimination already referred to, by which vice, violence, and recklessness so often bring about the early destruction [[p. 157]] of those addicted to them. The other, and by far the more important for the future, is that mode of selection which will inevitably come into action through the ever-increasing freedom, joined with the higher education of women.

    There have already been ample indications in the pages of The Arena that the women of America, no less than those of other civilized countries, are determined to secure their personal, social, and political freedom, and are beginning to see the great part they have to play in the future of humanity. When such social changes have been effected that no woman will be compelled, either by hunger, isolation, or social compulsion, to sell herself whether in or out of wedlock, and when all women alike shall feel the refining influence of a true humanizing education, of beautiful and elevating surroundings, and of a public opinion which shall be founded on the highest aspirations of their age and country, the result will be a form of human selection which will bring about a continuous advance in the average status of the race. Under such conditions, all who are deformed either in body or mind, though they may be able to lead happy and contented lives, will, as a rule, leave no children to inherit their deformity. Even now we find many women who never marry because they have never found the man of their ideal. When no woman will be compelled to marry for a bare living or for a comfortable home, those who remain unmarried from their own free choice will certainly increase, while many others, having no inducement to an early marriage, will wait till they meet with a partner who is really congenial to them.

    In such a reformed society the vicious man, the man of degraded taste or of feeble intellect, will have little chance of finding a wife, and his bad qualities will die out with himself. The most perfect and beautiful in body and mind will, on the other hand, be most sought and therefore be most likely to marry early, the less highly endowed later, and the least gifted in anyway the latest of all, and this will be the case with both sexes. From this varying age of marriage, as Mr. Galton has shown, there will result a more rapid increase of the former than of the latter, and this cause continuing at work for successive generations will at length bring the average man to be the equal of those who are now among the more advanced of the race.

    [[p. 158]] When this average rise has been brought about there must result a corresponding rise in the high-water mark of humanity; in other words, the great men of that era will be as much above those of the last two thousand years at the average man will have risen above the average of that period. For, those fortunate combinations of germs which, on the theory we are discussing, have brought into existence the great men of our day will have a far higher average of material to work with, and we may reasonably expect the most distinguished among the poets and philosophers of the future will decidedly surpass the Homers and Shakespeares, the Newtons, the Goethes, and the Humboldts of our era.

    Mr. Lester F. Ward has indeed urged, in his article on "The Transmission of Culture" (Forum, May, 1891), that, if Weismann's theory is true, then "education has no value for the future of mankind, and its benefits are confined exclusively to the generation receiving it." Another eminent scientist, Professor Joseph Le Conte, in his article on "The Factors of Evolution" (The Monist, Vol. I. p. 334), is still more desponding. He says,--"If it be true that reason must direct the course of human evolution, and if it be also true that selection of the fittest is the only method available for that purpose; then, if we are to have any race-improvement at all, the dreadful law of destruction of the weak and helpless must with Spartan firmness be carried out voluntarily and deliberately. Against such a course all that is best in us revolts." These passages show that the supposed consequences of the theories of Weismann and Galton, have, very naturally, excited some antagonism, because they appear, if true, to limit or even to destroy all power of further evolution of mankind, except by methods which are revolting to our higher nature.

    But I have endeavored to show, in the present article, that we are not limited to the depressing alternatives above set forth,--that education has the greatest value for the improvement of mankind,--and that selection of the fittest may be ensured by power and more effective agencies than the destruction of the weak and helpless. From a consideration of historical facts bearing upon the origin and development of human faculty I have shown reason for believing that it is only by a true and perfect system of education and the public opinion which such a system will create, that the [[p. 159]] special mode of selection on which the future of humanity depends can be brought into general action. Education and environment, which have so often stunted and debased human nature instead of improving it, are powerless to transmit by heredity either their good or their evil effects; and for this limitation of their power we ought to be thankful. It follows, that when we are wise enough to reform our social economy and give to our youth a truer, a broader, and a more philosophical training, we shall find their minds free from any hereditary taint derived from the evil customs and mistaken teaching of the past, and ready to respond at once to that higher ideal of life and of the responsibilities of marriage which will, indirectly, become the greatest factor in human progress.

Notes Appearing in the Original Work

1"Hereditary Genius," p. 342. [[on p. 146]]

2The only prominent example that looks like a progressive increase of faculty for three generations is that of Dr. Erasmus Darwin and his grandson Charles Darwin. But in this case the special faculties displayed by the grandson were quite distinct from those of the grandfather and father; while if we consider the different state of knowledge at the time when Erasmus Darwin lived, his occupation in a laborious profession, and the absence of that stimulus to thought which the five years' voyage round the world gave to his grandson, it is not at all certain that in originality and mental powers, the former was not fully the equal of the latter. [[on p. 155]]

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