268 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
D. LATER PSYCHOMETRIC RESEARCHES
After the publication of the Inquiries into Human Faculty, Galton's psychical researches ceased to flow with the amplitude of the years 1876-1884, but, as in the case of Geography, he never lost his interest in these matters, and this is shown in a number of minor papers which he continued to issue till at least 1896. These papers may be referred to here, but they mark the transition of his mind to the more definite statistical standpoint of his later years. His anthropometry was largely psychometric, but the statistical basis was growing more developed and more satisfactory.
The first paper of this series which we must consider is entitled "Measurement of Character." It was published in the Fortnightly for August, 1884', and the material appears to have been largely that of Galton's Rede Lecture in the Senate House at Cambridge'. The opening paragraph explains Galton's purpose
"I do not plead guilty to taking a shallow view of human nature, when I propose to apply, as it were, a footrule to its heights and depths. The powers of man are finite, and if finite they are not too large for measurement. Those persons may justly be accused of shallowness of view, who do not discriminate a wide range of difference, but quickly lose all sense of proportion, and rave about infinite heights and unfathomable depths, and use such like expressions, which are not true and betray their incapacity. Examiners are not I believe much stricken with the sense of awe and infinitude when they apply their footrules to the intellectual performances of the candidates they examine; neither do I see any reason why we should be awed at the thought of examining our fellow creatures as best we may, in respect to other faculties than intellect. On the contrary, I think it anomalous that the art of measuring intellectual faculties should have become highly developed, while that of dealing with other qualities should have been little practised or even considered." (p. 179.)
Galton then emphasises the importance of measuring the emotional characters in man, for only by so doing can the individual know where he stands among his fellow-men, and whether he is getting on or falling back.
"The art of measuring various human faculties now occupies the attention of many inquirers in this and other countries New processes of inquiry are yearly invented, and it seems as though there was a general lightening up of the sky in front of the path of the anthropometric experimenter, which betokens the approaching dawn of a new and interesting science. Can we discover landmarks in character to serve as bases of a survey or is it altogether too-' indefinite and fluctuating to admit of measurement? Is it liable to spontaneous changes, or to be in any way affected by a caprice that renders the future necessarily uncertain? Is man, with his power of choice and freedom of will, so different from a conscious machine, that any proposal to measure his moral qualities is based upon a fallacy? If so it would be ridiculous to waste thought on the matter, but if our temperament and character are durable realities, and persistent factors of our conduct, we have no Proteus to deal with in either case, and our attempts to grasp and measure them are reasonable." (pp. 179-80.)
1 Vol. xxxvi, N.S. pp. 179-85.
2 I cannot find that this Rede Lecture was ever independently issued. "He [Frank] was Rede Lecturer at Cambridge on May 27th, and we went to the Vice-Chancellor's and after to Mrs Darwin's, and greatly enjoyed the four days; fortunately I was well at the time." L. G.'s Record under 1884.