The Ancestry of Francis Galton 59
Galton's attitude in science he delighted in inroads into unexplored territory, or even into what his neighbours considered as their special preserves.
The incursions of a pioneer mind, unfettered by the orthodox opinions of a specialised group of workers, however irritating to the established hierarchy, are undoubtedly of the highest service to science, if that mind has exceptional insight and marked novelty of method. Both these Galton possessed in the highest degree.
Steadfastness of purpose-may we not credit something of this to Robert Button and Jaspar Batt with their many years of gaol experience ? power of control and of inspiring others may be sought legitimately also in that more distant ancestry of great names to which I have but briefly referred (see Pedigree Plate B).
From Barclay, from Sedley and possibly from Collier came the desire for terse expression, the demand for simple language. But I doubt whether the wit of Sedley was akin to the humour of Francis Galton. Speaking of his father, Samuel Tertius, Galton writes
"He was devoted to Shakespeare, and revelled in Hudibras ; he read Tom Jones through every year, and was gifted with abundance of humour'.
The humour of Samuel Tertius was certainly manifest again in his song. Many will remember the numerous personal anecdotes told by Francis Galton with keen appreciation of subtle humour, and never with touch of malevolence. But those who were not thus favoured will recall the famous incident of his desire to impress a Hottentot captain, who might prove dangerous, and how, with this end in view, he rode in a red hunting coat on an ox up to the captain's hut, thrusting the ox's nose into the very doorway of his abode. Or again, having sufficiently impressed a negro chief with his visitor's weight and importance, he then led him outside, and to emphasise the negro's own worth he proceeded to decorate his sable majesty with a paper crown of gold tinsel. The picture of the resulting figure published in the first edition of his Tropical South Africa, p. 220, and reproduced here (see Plate
' Memories, p. 8.
2 It is of importance to emphasise this because the late Dr John Beddoe declared in a short notice of Francis Galton (Man, 1911, p. 34) that "Humour was • the only quality we could conceive as lacking in him ; and we know it is apt to be so in the
Quakers." Humour is incapable, perhaps, of definition, and the above statement is of marked interest as indicating how big personal equation can be in its appreciation.