16 OCTOBER 1880, Page 13


FORCIBLE EVOLUTION. [To res mama OF TWA " SPEOTAT011.1 SIR,—You appear to think it remarkable that a physician who, on theoretical grouuds, would maintain the wisdom of

" eliminating " a deformed child would, now-a-days, sit up all night with it. Does it not seem that the theory, if it exist at all, is an incomplete one, and can never be strong enough to act as a practical motive on that account F Three considerations are apparent :-1. That a deformed child may be physically unfit to cope with the exigencies of life, 2. As in the case of Pope, its mental organisation may be such as to make it one of those fitted to survive in an intellectual age ; therefore, on the chance of conserving one genius, ninety-nine deformed non- geniuses must be saved. 3. Not only deformed children, but even idiots, are objects of sympathy,—I mean in this ex- tended sense of the term, that every possible motive to the extinction of ferocity and brutality should be cultivated ; if for no higher purpose than because the spirit of human slaughter, never mind what its objects are, has always been found to exercise an inhibitory influence on the intellectual evolution of a tribe. I think that, simply on practical grounds, the two latter considerations ought to outweigh the former. We speak of " helping on evolution " by getting rid of useless members, when really we should be hindering it.—I am, Sir,