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conclusions arrived at in this work, there can be no doubt that the cases recorded in it, and which are a faithful transcript of the facts, are eminently suggestive, and that the subject is one which very nearly concerns the happiness and well-being of mankind.
MANCHESTER, August, 1851.
DOCTRINE OF HEREDITARY TRANSMISSION.
In matters relating to the natural history of mankind, and to that of the animal creation at large, there are few points upon which writers appear to be more generally agreed than that which has reference to the perpetuation of constitutional peculiarities from generation to generation. This law obtains as regards both the physical and the moral attributes. The former, however, is undoubtedly the more characteristically consistent as regards the congenital impress, but is variously modified in its afterdevelopment by the operations of the mental processes, being variously qualified by education, occupation, change of climate, and other controlling influences.
The peculiar traits appertaining to a family of children are, for the most part, adequately prominent to distinguish all the members of it from those of another, even though deriving from the same stock; and further, how widely soever these allied groups may appear to differ the one from the other, there is generally existing, among the collateral branches of a widely-spread progeny, a degree of similarity sufficient to indicate their origin from a common parentage, although of antique remoteness.
In countries and districts where common interest, feelings of prejudice, or other circumstances have operated in binding men together through a succession of
ages in isolated communities, this disposition is especially observable: the clans of Scotland for instance, until a very recent period, were not more distinguishable by the badges which they bore, than by their peculiar physiognomy in limb and feature. And notwithstanding the free intermingling of families and the unlimited commercial intercourse which has taken place between the Scotch and English during the past two centuries, there still exists a broad national distinction, both as regards their physical and their psychical attributes. The same remark will apply to the native Irish; and yet the three kingdoms, taken as a people, are as dissimilar from those of continental nations as they are found to be severally one from another.
The points of difference distinguishing tribes or races of men inhabiting contiguous countries, as those of England and Scotland, however great the contrast may appear to be in districts remotely situated, cut off by distance, geographical obstacles, or political restrictions, from frequent social intercommunication, become softened down and assimilated in the bordering states, where the distinction is often with difficulty recognized. The observation is applicable even to the larger and more prominently marked divisions of the human family. Thus the characteristics of the European and the Asia are not less striking from their similarity in those inhabiting the confines of these two great terrestrial divisions, than from the high contrast of those more distantly located, as the Frank of Central Europe and the broad-faced Tartar; yet is the gradation from one to the other so gentle as to be scarcely perceived. The same gradual change is observable throughout, -varying
See Scott, Hume, Robertson, passim.