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fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers in the pedigrees of
eminent men was found to be over forty years. Great men rise from
ordinary stock only when several generations in succession acquire
mental efforts in excess amounts before reproducing."
It is the opinion of the present writer that the theories of Mr.
Redfield are in the main true, and that in the future much valuable
information will be obtained along the same lines, which will tend to
corroborate his general conclusions. One's attention needs but to be
plainly directed to the matter, and then he will see that it is absurd
to think of a creature transmitting to his offspring qualities which
neither he or his mate had inherited or acquired. If there were no
transmission of acquired qualities there would be no improvement--and in
fact, we know that the bulk of inherited qualities were at some time in
the history of the race "acquired." And, reasoning along the same line,
we may see that the young parents who have not had as yet an opportunity
to acquire mental power cannot expect to transmit it to their
offspring--all that they can do is to transmit the inherited stock
qualities plus the small acquired power which they have gained in their
limited experience. And, finally, it is seen that offspring produced at
a riper age of parenthood, continued over several generations, tend
toward unusual ability and powers. Consequently, the people or nation
with a higher average age of parenthood may logically expect to attain
greater mental powers than the peoples lacking that quality. And what is
true of a people or nation is of course true of a particular family.
The subject touched upon in this part of our book is one of the greatest
interest to careful students of Eugenics; and is one which calls for
careful and unprejudiced consideration from all persons having the
interest of the race at heart.
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