Cornhill Magazine,  7 (1863), 781–83.

On the Future Extinction of Blue Eyes

[George H Lewes]




Extinction, Physiology, Heredity, Natural Law, Genius, Gender

    Reports that on the question of the colour of eyes, 'Nature, in spite of a seeming impartiality in her acts, has a decided preference for black; and, if we are to trust a physiologist, has decreed their ultimate empire, if not the final extinction of the blue'. As such, we should 'pity our remote descendants', who, 'in spite of their rich inheritance of civilization which will make them regard us as beggarly pioneers [...] will have the drawback of living under the dynasty of universal black: monarchia monochromatica!'. Cautions that before 'any proposition respecting the future fate of fair complexions can wear a scientific aspect, it must base itself on the proved facts of physiological inheritance. That we do inherit from our parents and ancestors every physical peculiarity we exhibit, is a fact now beyond dispute'. In fact, in 'all thinking minds it is now firmly fixed, that nothing occurs in this world by "accident"; everything issues from inexorable law' (781), and even the most 'strange and seemingly capricious' feature or disposition 'owes its origin to the law of inheritance' (781–82). Forecasts that the 'discovery of the laws of inheritance is the problem for future science' (782). Casts doubt upon the 'Popular prejudice' that 'attributes to mothers the predominating influence in the production of genius', and insists that 'both parents influence the offspring' equally (783).

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