Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/452
442 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
occurs tends to take place rather late ; there is an excess of sterile mar- liages, though the fertility of the fertile marriages, while below that of the parents of the eminent persons, does not appear to be small when compared with the general population. We have seen that the longevity of our intellectual persons is great; we have also seen that they show a special liability to suffer from nervous affections like angina pectoris and asthma, while gout is peculiarly frequent; insanity is also un- usually frequent. Minor mental anomalies, like stammering, are re- markably prevalent. There is also a tendency to melancholy. These are the chief conclusions we have reached concerning British persons of intellectual ability.
It may be reasonable to ask how far these are the characteristics of British persons of genius, and to what degree an investigation of per- sons of eminent intellectual aptitude belonging to other countries would bring out different results. It is not possible to answer this ques- tion quite decisively. The fact, however, that at many points our in- vestigation simply gives precision to characteristics which have been noted as marking genius in various countries seems to indicate that in all probability the characters that constitute genius are fundamentally alike in all countries, though it may well be that minor modifications are associated with national differences. The point is one that can only be decisively settled when similar investigations are carried out concerning similar groups of persons of superior intellectual ability belonging to various countries.
A further question may be asked. How far has confusion been in- troduced by lumping together persons whose intellectual aptitudes have been shown in very different fields? May not the average biological characteristics of the man of science be the reverse of those of the actor, and those of the divine at the other extreme from those of the lawyer? I believe that Galton is inclined to assume that the investigation of groups of men with different intellectual aptitudes would yield different results. As;, however, we have seen, the investigation of eminent British persons, when carried out without reference to the particular fields in which their activity has been exercised, yields results which, when comparable with those of Galton, do not usually show any strik- ing discrepancies. Nor, so far as I have at present looked into the matter, does it appear that on the whole, when we consider separately the various groups of British eminent persons we are here concerned with, such groups show any widely varying biological characters. Cer- tain variations there certainly are; we have seen that the geographical distribution of the various departments of intellectual activity to some extent varies, and also that in pigmentation there are in some cases marked variations. On the whole, however, it would appear that, whatever the field in which it displays itself, the elements that con-