Recognized HTML document

24   Life and Letters of Francis Galton.

be a north and south line, the angle cAb is the bearing of C and this is given in the first vertical column of the table. There is no instrument needful and no calculation. Of course the method is rough, but if care be taken that no angle of the triangle be less than 30°, practically valuable results may be obtained.

Another paper with the same intention of aiding the geographer was that of 1858 on "The Exploration of Arid Countries'." Galton states his problem as follows

"I suppose an `exploring' party, as few in numbers as is consistent with efficiency, to be aided by a `supporting' party, who may be divided into two or more sections. The duty of this supporting party is to carry provisions, partly to be eaten on the way out, and partly to be `cdched,' or buried in the ground, in order to supply the wants of a homeward journey. After a certain distance from camp had been reached, and the loads of one `section' of the supporting

' Proc. R. Geographical Society, Vol. ii, pp. 60-77. Galton was much interested in the difficulties of exploring the arid centre of Australia. Among his papers I found a little neap of Australia indicating by different shading the settled and squatting districts, and with the desert routes of the Gregories, Stuart and of Burke's cross-continental fatal journey. It was marked in pencil "From my article in the --." This article, unsigned and not recorded in Galton's

list of published papers, was ultimately run to ground in the Cornhill for 1862, pp. 354-64. Its title is "Recent Discoveries in Australia" and it describes the work of the Gregories, Babbage, McDonal, Stuart, Burke and King. It might be read to-day by anyone desiring to get an interest in Australian discovery. One wonders whether Burke's life would have been saved if Galton's system of caches had been fully adopted. One passage may be cited: '`It appears hopeless to ascertain the habitable qualities of any district of Australia by seeing it only once. The arid plains after a month's soaking rains are wholly altered. An unexpected fact still remains, it is that wherever a sheep station is by any means established, the country becomes rapidly improved by its influence. It is a subject for Darwinian speculation. Grazing improves grasses, occupier dams up creeks and deepens water-hole. Perhaps the grasses and bushes flourish through the moisture. Their roots will then form a natural matting that checks evaporation while long fibres of the roots encourage more water to enter deeply into the soil."