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their minds and habits formed.  Such a routine would destroy individuality if anything could.  Yet individuals come out from it as different as Pitt from Fox, as Lord Russell from Lord Gurzon, as Mr Winston Churchill from Lord Robert Cecil.  This acceptance of the congenital character of the individual as the determining factor in his destiny had been reinforced by the Lamarckian view of Evolution.  If the giraffe can develop his neck by wanting and trying, a man can develop his character in the same way.  The old saying, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way,’ condenses Lamarck’s theory of functional adaptation into a proverb.  This felt bracingly moral to strong minds, and reassuringly pious to feeble ones.  There was no more effective retort to the Socialist than to tell him to reform himself before he pretends to reform society.  If you were rich, how pleasant it was to feel that you owed your riches to the superiority of your own character!  The industrial revolution had turned numbers of greedy dullards into monstrously rich men.  Nothing could be more humiliating and threatening to them than the view that the falling of a shower of gold into their pockets was as pure an accident as the falling of a shower of hail on their umbrellas, and happened alike to the just and unjust.  Nothing could be more flattering and fortifying to them than the assumption that they were rich because they were virtuous.

Now Darwinism made a clean sweep of all such self-righteousness.  It more than justified Robert Owen by discovering in the environment of an organism an influence on it more potent than Owen had ever claimed.  It implied that street arabs are produced by slums and not by original sin:  that prostitutes are produced by starvation wages and not by feminine concupiscence.  It threw the authority of science on the side of the Socialist who said that he who would reform himself must first reform society.  It suggested that if we want healthy and wealthy citizens we must have healthy and wealthy towns; and that these can exist only in healthy and wealthy countries.  It could be led to the conclusion that the type of character which remains indifferent to the welfare of its neighbors as long as its own personal appetite is satisfied is the disastrous type, and the type which is deeply concerned about its environment the only possible type for a permanently prosperous community.  It shewed that the surprising changes which Robert Owen had produced in factory children by a change in their circumstances which does not seem any too generous to us nowadays were as nothing to the changes—­changes not only of habits but of species, not only of species but of orders—­which might conceivably be the work of environment acting on individuals without any character or intellectual consciousness whatever.  No wonder the Socialists received Darwin with open arms.


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