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62   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

of which lasted through many years of a long life. But Galton, while- he maintained a keen interest in these topics, at least till 1900, grew less and less actively productive. A new and wider aspect of the cosmos was opening up for him, and evidence of an entirely different intellectual influence becomes apparent even in the 'sixties. His thoughts had begun to turn from the study of physical environment to the study of the organic contents of that environment, or in a narrower sense from cosmography to biologyfrom geography and meteorology to anthropology and psychology. There can be little doubt that the incentive in these directions came from his growing friendship with Charles Darwin, and the appearance of Herbert Spencer and Huxley in the circle of his acquaintances.


I have attempted in this chapter to give a more or less complete account of those labours of Galton which deal with the physical and the mechanical rather than the human side of his studies. In case some of my readers may have found this account tedious, for not everyone can have understanding and. sympathy for the catholicism of Galton's pursuit of knowledge, I will conclude this chapter with brief accounts of two other matters of more general interest, which occupied a good deal of Galton's time in the period under discussion. The man of science, who with the history of the world before him finds it impossible to accept a primitive folk's account of man's creation and its purpose, is -tempted to consider whether the methods in which he puts his trust for solving problems of the phenomenal universe may not be adequate as instruments of research in the unknown vast of the hyper-phenomenal'. Such a man of science, possibly owing to a lack of epistemological study, forgets that his senses have been developed to grasp physical phenomena, that his concepts are deductions from his sensuous perceptions, and that neither his sensuous nor mental outfits are adapted for sensating, perceiving and conceptualising the hyper-phenomenal. Some men grasp this truth by the logic of reasoning, others by the logic of experience, others by a healthy instinctive appreciation, and some never grasp it at all. To the first group we may, perhaps, say Huxley belonged, to the second Galton, to the third Darwin, and to the fourth Crookes and Alfred Russel Wallace.

Galton at any rate thought in 1872 that that branch of the `supernatural' which we term spiritualism was at least worthy of inquiry. He endeavoured in a series of letters to interest Charles Darwin in his inquiries, 'and the latter appears to have been willing to give the matter a trial, but I have not been able to trace his letters ; one at any rate went to Crookes, and another to Home, but in a letter of Darwin's son George to Galton there is a report of his father's incredulity as to the doings of Miss F.2 It seems clear from the letters that Home had no great inclination to exhibit his powers to

' The good word 'supernatural' has become vulgarised until it signifies little more than something of which the user has inadequate previous experience occurring as a phenomenon, i.e. in the `natural' world.   2 See above, p. 53.