Correspondence with Alphonse de Candolle 155
The last chapter in Galton's book deals with education and endeavours from the replies of his correspondents to construct a scheme which would have favoured scientific development.
"As regards the precise subjects for rigorous instruction, the following seem to me in strict accordance with what would have best pleased those of the scientific men, who have sent me returns:-1. Mathematics pushed as far as the capacity of the learner admits, and its processes utilised as far as possible for interesting ends and practical application. 2. Logic (on the grounds already stated, but on those only). 3. Observation, theory and experiment, in at least one branch of science; some boys taking one branch and some another, to ensure variety of interests in the school. 4. Accurate drawing of objects connected with the branch of science pursued'. 5. Mechanical manipulation, for the reasons already given, and also because mechanical skill is occasionally of great use to nearly all scientific men in their investigations. These five subjects must be rigorously taught. They are anything but an excessive programme, and there would remain plenty of time for that variety of work which is so highly prized, asready access to books; much reading of interesting literature, history and poetry; languages learnt probably best during vacations, in the easiest and swiftest manner, with the sole object of enabling the learners to read ordinary books in them. This seems sufficient, because my returns show that men of science are not made by much teaching, but rather by awakening their interests, encouraging their pursuits when at home, and leaving them to teach themselves continuously throughout life. Much teaching fills a youth with knowledge, but tends prematurely to satiate his appetite for more. I am surprised at the mediocre degrees :which the leading scientific men who were at the universities have usually taken, always excepting the mathematicians. Being original they are naturally less receptive; they prefer to fix of their own accord on certain subjects, and seem averse to learn what is put before them as a task. Their independence of spirit and coldness of disposition are not conducive to success in competition; they doggedly go their own way and refuse to run races." (p 257.)
It is in reading such a statement that one realises how much Galton gained by standing outside science as a profession, and one feels that science as a pursuit must always stand higher than science as a profession.
"If we class energy, intellect and the like, under the general name of ability, it follows that, other circumstances being the sane, those able men who have vigour to spare for extra professional pursuits, will be mainly governed in the choice of them by the instinctive tastes of their manhood. The majority will address themselves to topics nearly connected with human interests; a few only will turn to science. This tendency to abandon the colder attractions of science for those of political and social life, must always be powerfully reinforced by the very general inclination of women to exert their influence in the latter direction. Again those who select some branch of science as a profession, must do so in spite of the fact that it is more unremunerative than any other pursuit. A great and salutary change has undoubtedly come over the feeling of the nation since the time when the leading men of science were boys, for education was at that time conducted in the interests of the clergy, and was strongly opposed to science. It crushed the inquiring spirit, the love of observation, the pursuit of inductive studies, the habit of independent thought, and it protected classics and mathematics by giving them the monopoly of all prizes for intellectual work This gigantic monopoly is yielding, but obstinately and slowly, and it is unlikely that the friends of science will be able, for many years to come, to relax their efforts in educational reform2. As regards the future provision
' There is a passage bearing on drawing on p. 142 worth citing: "There is an exact parallel between truthfulness of expression in speech and that of delineation in drawing. In the earliest sketch it is far better to be hard in outline than inaccurate. Subsequent touching up can smooth away the hardness; but there exists no proper material to work upon when there was carelessness in the first design."
s It is painful to read how little of their success many Victorian scientists attributed to their education. Darwin's education omitted mathematics, modern languages and all training in habits of observation and reasoning. He considered that all he had learnt of any value had