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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

and of Life and Habit          51

In confirmation of the views concerning mechanism which
we have been advocating above, it must be remembered
that men are not merely the children of their parents, but
they are begotten of the institutions of the state of the
mechanical sciences under which they are born and bred.
These things have made us what we are. We are children of
the plough, the spade, and the ship; we are children of the
extended liberty and knowledge which the printing press
has diffused. Our ancestors added these things to their
previously existing members; the new limbs were preserved
by natural selection, and incorporated into human society ;
they descended with modifications, and hence proceeds the
difference between our ancestors and ourselves. By the
institutions and state of science under which a man is born
it is determined whether he shall have the limbs of an
Australian savage or those of a nineteenth century English-
man. The former is supplemented with little save a rug
and a javelin ; the latter varies his physique with the changes
of the season, with age, and with advancing or decreasing
wealth. If it is wet he is furnished with an organ which is
called an umbrella and which seems designed for the purpose
of protecting either his clothes or his lungs from the injurious
effects of rain. His watch is of more importance to him
than a good deal of his hair, at any rate than of his whiskers ;
besides this he carries a knife, and generally a pencil case.
His memory goes in a pocket book. He grows more complex
as he becomes older and he will then be seen with a pair of
spectacles, perhaps also with false teeth and a wig ; but, if he
be a really well-developed specimen of the race, he will be
furnished with a large box upon wheels, two horses, and a
coachman.

Let the reader ponder over these last remarks, and he will
see that the principal varieties and sub-varieties of the
human race are not now to be looked for among the negroes,
the Circassians, the Malays, or the American aborigines, but
among the rich and the poor. The difference in physical
organisation between these two species of man is far greater
than that between the so-called types of humanity. The
rich man can go from here to England whenever he feels
so inclined. The legs of the other are by an invisible fatality
prevented from carrying him beyond certain narrow limits.