416 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
Galton s foundation was influenced by his correspondence with Florence Nightingale concerning this chair of applied statistics. When I sought a name in 1911 for the new department which should combine the Biometric and Galton Eugenics Laboratories, no fitter and more historically worthy name occurred to me than that of "Applied Statistics." Were I a man of wealth I would see that Florence Nightingale was commemorated, not only by the activities symbolised by the "Lady of the Lamp," but by the activities of the. "Passionate Statistician." I would found a Nightingale Chair of Applied Statistics to carry out the ideal expressed in the letters below.
The first reference of Florence Nightingale to Francis Galton occurs in a very characteristic letter of hers to Captain (later Sir) Douglas Galton. It is dated August 7, 1867. In this letter she refers to a Standing Committee which was being appointed to consider contrivances for dealing with the wounded after a battle. The keynote to her letter is that appliances kill Do away with all huts and marquees, give the wounded plenty of air and tend them on the battlefield. For every man that dies of his wound five or six die of the doctors and the removing; as to medicines, make the doctors swallow them all, all that is wanted is a little brandy and a great deal of water. But if the wounded are to be tended in extemporised shelters on the battlefield somebody must be on the committee who understands rough shelters.
"The only person who has written anything worth having on travelling apparatus is Mr Francis Galton, a cousin of yours I believe; I should put him on the Standing Committee, if possible."
It is not till twenty-four years later that Florence Nightingale again seeks the advice of Francis Galton; he was then 69 and she over 70. She was reviving one of the great dreams of her younger days and he, with no sign yet of age, wass then actively contributing not a little towards its realisation.
10 SOUTH STREET, PARK LANE, W. Feb. 7, '91.
Scheme of Social Physics Teaching.
DEAR SIR, Sir Douglas Galton has given me your most kind message; saying that if I will explain in writing to you what I think needs doing, you will be so good as to give it the .experienced attention without which it would be worthless. By your kind leave, it is this
A scheme from someone of high authority as to what should be the work and subjects in teaching Social Physics and their practical application in the event of our being able to obtain a Statistical Professorship or Readership at the University of Oxford.
I am not thinking so much of Hygiene and Sanitary work, because these and their statistics have been more closely studied in England than probably any other branch of statistics, though much remains to be desired: as e.g. the result of the food and cooking of the poor as seen in the children of the Infant Schools and those of somewhat higher ages. But I would-subject always to your criticism and only for the sake of illustration-mention a few of the other branches in which we appear hardly to know anything, e.g.
A. The results of Forster's Act, now 20 years old. We sweep annually into our Elementary Schools hundreds of thousands of children, spending millions of money. Do we know:
(i) What proportion of children forget their whole education after leaving school; whether all they have been taught is waste? The almost accidental statistics' of Guards' recruits would point to a large proportion.