Hartley Coleridge inherited his father?s imperious desire for stimulants and with it his inability to resist their temptation.
(c) We derive our being from our human ancestry. The observed transmission not merely of physical but of mental and spiritual characteristics in families and races and, especially, the uniformly evil moral tendencies and dispositions, which all men possess from their birth, are proof of that in soul as well as in body.
Galton, in his Hereditary Genius and Inquiries into Human Faculty, furnishes abundant proof of the transmission of mental and spiritual characteristics from father to son. Illustrations, in the case of families, are the American Adams?s, the English George?s, the French Bourbons, the German Bach?s. Illustrations, in the case of races, are the Indians, the Negroes, the Chinese, the Jews. Hawthorne represented the introspection and the conscience of Puritan New England. Emerson had a minister among his ancestry either on the paternal or the maternal side back eight generations. Every man is ?a chip of the old block.? ?A man is an omnibus, in which all his ancestors are seated? (O. W. Holmes). Variation is one of the properties of living things and the other is transmission. ?On a dissecting table, in the membranes of a newborn infant?s body, can be seen ?the drunkard?s tinge.? The blotches on his grandchild?s cheeks furnish a mirror to the old debauchee. Heredity is God?s visiting of sin to the third and fourth generations.? On heredity and depravity, see Phelps; in Bibliotheca Sacra, Apr. 1884:254 ? ?When every molecule in the paternal brain bears the shape of a point of interrogation, it would border on the miraculous if we should find the exclamation sign of faith in the brain cells of the child.?
Robert G. Ingersoll said that most great men have great mothers and that most great women have great fathers. Most of the great are like mountains, with the valley of ancestors on one side and the depression of posterity on the other. Hawthorne?s House of the Seven Gables illustrates the principle of heredity. But in his Marble Faun and Transformation, Hawthorne unwisely intimates that sin is a necessity to virtue, a background or condition of good. Dryden, Absalom and Ahithophel. 1:156 ? ?Great wits are sure to madness near allied, And thin partitions do their bounds divide.? Lombroso, The Man of Genius, maintains that genius is a mental disease allied to epileptiform mania or the dementia of cranks. If this were so, we should infer that civilization is the result of insanity and that, so soon as Napoleons, Dantes and Newtons manifest themselves, they should be confined in Genius Asylums. Robert Browning, Hohenstiel-Schwangau, comes nearer the truth: ?A solitary
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