Full text: papers communicated to the first International Eugenics Congress held at the University of London, July 24th to 30th, 1912

6Presidential Address. 
long as evolution is merely regarded as a principle by which to interpret 
the past. We must have a bridge to unite the domain of science with 
the domain of human action, and such a bridge forms an essential part 
of the structure of Eugenics. Both national societies and international 
co-operation are needed for the purpose of spreading the light, and the 
efforts already made in these directions will, it is hoped, be furthered by 
the holding of this Congress. 
We may thus conclude that though for the moment the most crying 
need as regards heredity is for more knowledge, yet we must look forward 
to a time when the difficulties to be encountered will be moral rather than 
intellectual; and against moral reform the demons of ignorance, prejudice 
and fear are certain to raise their heads. But the end we have in view, 
an improvement in the racial qualities of future generations, is noble 
enough to give us courage for the fight. Our first effort must be to 
establish such a moral code as will ensure that the welfare of the unborn 
shall be held in view in connection with all questions concerning both the 
marriage of the individual and the organisation of the state. As an agency 
making for progress, conscious selection must replace the blind forces of 
natural selection; and men must utilize all the knowledge acquired by 
studying the process of evolution in the past in order to promote moral 
and physical progress in the future. The nation which first ta^es this 
great work thoroughly in hand will surely not only win in all matters of 
international competition, but will be given a place of honour in the 
history of the world. And the more nations there are who set out on 
this path, the more chance there is that some one of them will run this 
course lo the end. The struggle may be long and the disappointments 
may be many. But we have seen how the long fight against ignorance 
ended with the triumphant acceptance of the principle of evolution in the 
nineteenth century. Eugenics is but the practical application of that 
principle, and may we not hope that the twentieth century will, in like 
manner, be known in future as the century when the Eugenic ideal was 
accepted as part of the creed of civilisation? It is with the object of 
ensuring the realisation of this hope that this Congress is assembled here to-day.
        

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