68 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
of our scientific men have been recorded in the weekly press, and the want of a weekly organ which would afford scientific men a means of communication between themselves and with the public, have been long felt."
The aim of The Reader, without neglecting Literature, Art, Music and the Drama, was to supply this need. The prospectus then goes on to say that "the scientific arrangements of The Reader have the support and approval of"-and then follow 75 names, which cover practically all the men who created mid-Victorian science : Darwin, Galton, Grove, Hooker, Huxley, Lubbock, Lyell, Murchison, Sabine, Spottiswoode, Tyndall and Wallace; Adams, Balfour Stewart, Cayley, Crookes, De la Rue, Frankland, Glaisher, Hind, Hirst, Hofmann, Maskelyne, Odling, Roscoe, Stokes, Tait, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) and Williamson ; Babington, G. Bentham, G. Busk, John Evans, W. H. Flower, Andrew Ramsay, Sclater, Sharpey and Woodward, with many other names familiar enough to the scientific world of the third quarter of the nineteenth century. It was a tremendous force to bring together, and, all because there was no one man who would devote his whole life and whole energy to the projected task, The Reader came to nought.
The original shareholders in the company were G. Burges, J. E. Cairns, Rev. Ll. Davies, Galton, Gassiot, Huth, T. Hughes, Huxley, Lubbock, Lock yer, Robins, Roget, Spottiswoode, Spencer and Tyndall !
The first meeting was held in the rooms of Tom Hughes' in Lincoln's Inn Fields on Nov. 15, 1864, and the rough notes of the proceedings are in Galton's handwriting. £2250 were to be paid for the paper, plant and lease. Cairns was to take charge of the Political Economy, Galton of Travel and Ethnology, Huxley of Biology, Lewes of Fiction and Poetry, Spencer and Bowen of Philosophy, Psychology and Theology, while Seeley was to be asked _to take charge of Classics and Philology. There were to be ten pages of Literature, three of Miscellanea, eight of Science, two of Art, and two of Music and the Drama. Four thousand copies were to be printed at a weekly cost of £110 including printing, paper, publication and office expenses. The returns were modestly estimated at sales 2000 copies £25 and advertisements £65, so that an initial loss weekly of £20 was anticipated. It made a brave show on paper-Tom Hughes' familiar legal blue `opinion paper-but the outcome was a little different. Herbert Spencer wasted the time of the committee in discussing `first principles' ; the powerful scientific support failed when it was pressed for reviews and articles, the paid sub-editor, the only man with `real journalistic experience,' rather got on the nerves of the managing committee through his methods of procuring advertisements. Learned but illegible contributors sternly remonstrated with the editors about the inadequate and imaginative efforts of the proof-readers. The reviewers knew in some cases more of the subject than the authors of the books reviewed, and as a consequence the latter wrote long and angry letters to The Reader. Notably Burton, within a few months of Speke's death, replying to a review of his own Nile Basin, presumably by Galton, sent a truculent letter carrying on post-mortem hostilities. The critic, Burton tells us, ought to have known that his theory was one of the
I The author of Tom Brown's Schooldays.