Lehrjahre and Wanderjahre 173
as might be at the orthodox letter writing time, namely about 7 a.m. I find myself quite unable to do anything in reading for by really deep attention to Maths. I can bring on my usual dizziness etc. almost immediately though generally I feel much better than I used to do. Palpitations of the heart have lately come on when I read more than I ought to do which I am rather glad of than otherwise, as it saves my head. What annoys me most is that my powers of reading vary so much on consecutive days, at one time being able to read some hours, at another not half one, and the dizziness etc. when it does come on, comes on so rapidly that I have no fore-warning symptom to tell me when to stop, except occasionally the palpitations. I have been rather diffuse a la Leamington about my health so by way of change do thank Hiner particularly for the cake and tell her that if the quickness of its disappearance be any sign of excellence that it decidedly must rank among the very best that culinary science has produced. It was capital and at least 20 individuals concurred in that remark
The breakdown in Galton's health must have been so complete that he determined to give up reading for mathematical honours (not to degrade) and to enter for a poll degree only. He now spent much of his time in literary and social pursuits, and towards the end of his stay at Cambridge resumed there his medical studies. That he was a popular man at Cambridge appears from the societies he founded or assisted to found ; he was also active in various undergraduate movements as the following letters will indicate.
Sunday [17 Feb. 1843].
My DEAR FATHER,
Thank you very much for all three of your letters, which were certainly very amusing. All my time has lately been taken up by canvassing and afterwards by a most unfortunate collision between two of my friends with one of whom I was much interested and in some degree involved. P- and C- are the two men. The first you have heard me mention before. The last is a son I believe of Sir Thos C- and was a fellow commoner. P is a man whose whole object was to make a very extended acquaintance, in which he certainly succeeded, but at the same time was very unpopular from being a pushing sort of man and often mixed in quarrels, and a very noisy arguer at the Union. He was a great friend of Theodore's at one time, who afterwards was rather offended at him. To proceed, on Monday night the candidates for the Union Officers were proposed. P- proposed one and C- seconded'. In some private business
1 Galton, Mr Harold Wright informs me, was elected a member of the Library Committee by 152 votes. Mr Wright has most kindly extracted from the minute-books for me the references to Francis Galton; they show that he was a frequent speaker-thus on March 15, 1842, he opened a debate on the negative side of the question : "Would the method of voting by Ballot in returning members to Parliament be an improvement upon the present system?" The negative was carried by 26 to 4. He was less fortunate on April 12th when he opened a debate against Sir Robert Peel's financial proposals and the voting in favour of them was 32 to 9. When on Dec. 7 of the previous year he had spoken in favour of a repeal of the Corn Laws, however, only 7 voted for repeal with 23 against.