Statistical Investigations 421
minds to a new departure in science. The very names mentioned by Galton are those of men who had become famous for research in their own lines before they became "professors" at the Royal Institution, of men, whose means of support did not depend on that institution. Looking round the possible field of candidates in 1891 what man was there who would have fulfilled the same conditions in statistical science as these men in their respective branches? There was only one man-Galton himself-and it is quite.certain that he had not that man in view. And also that, if the endowment had been made, and others had suggested him, he would have refused the post. It could have contributed nothing to his influence or research activity, and would have curtailed his freedom in a way wholly distasteful to him. There is small doubt that Florence Nightingale's plan of a professorship round which a school of young enthusiasts might be developed was the wiser, if less showy policy'. Between Galton's letters of February 10 and March 15, a brief note written by him on February 19
"it would give me pleasure to call and talk over the scheme when you feel disposed. The more I think of it the more important it strikes me to be"
indicates that the discussion had been continued by interview. During this or a later meeting Florence Nightingale must have emphasised the importance of a "school of youngish men." But Galton did not surrender his Royal Institution lectureship, or his advisory committee, or his essayists. Writing on March 15, 1891, he says
With reference to your scheme, I have not been idle but have made some few inquiries; of
course withholding your name. I think the net result is this:
(a) Lectureship or Professorship at the Royal Institution with the duty of giving at least
six lectures a year and writing a paper.
(b) A studentship, prize or scholarship at Oxford or Cambridge.
(c) A regular Professorship somewhere. Query in London.
(d) Endowment of a Course of Annual Lectures-like the Hibbert Lectures-at some great
centre. Query in London.
The selection between these would depend much on the funds disposable eventually.
There is no doubt that a small body of youngish men inspired with a common enthusiasm would do incomparably more than any endowment can ensure. One is often in despair at the thought of how little money can secure in the way of original work. The enthusiasm I mean is not that which is fed by public notice or high patronage, but by the intelligent kindly interest and prompt appreciation of a very few capable and honoured people like yourself of whatever really good work may be done. In short one wants a school of inquirers, having a nucleus of a few able and single-minded persons, not distracted by too many other interests, to originate and maintain the enthusiasm of their fellows and co-adjutors.
Then again some journal suitable for receiving such memoirs, long or short as the case may be, is a desideratum, as well as means of discussing them. This raises the question whether the Statistical Society might not appropriately be the body, in whose hands the endowment might be placed, in order to forward your object under the best attainable safeguards. Most statisticians belong to it, and a suitable committee of them might be trusted.
I will take the chance of finding you at home about 5 to-morrow (Monday) unless I receive a card to the contrary, Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
' An energetic professor would very soon have compelled even Oxford or Cambridge to grant degrees on the basis of "schools" or triposes in statistics, and I do not despair of such a future after the full admission of women to Oxford, and the extreme difficulty, even for a Cambridge don, to detect any feminist push in a proposal to graduate in statistics!