422 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
It is strange that Galton did not grasp that of his four alternatives (c), Florence Nightingale's own suggestion, was the sole one that could lead to a school of "enthusiastic youngish men," and that even such young men could not do their work in the spare moments of other employments ; it was not only that they would need a leader, but they would need a livelihood. How strangely different the development of modern statistics might have been, had Galton confined himself solely to Florence Nightingale's proposal of a professorship and the creation of a school of social statistics or as she later headed some of her letters "Applied Statistics" ! Boldly to have said we need £50,000 or £60,000 to carry out a real scheme would have been the wisest policy. Can we between us and with the aid of others who realise our standpoint induce the public to see the importance of the whole matter, and aid in such an endowment? Instead of appealing to the enthusiasm that a big scheme might have raised, Galton drew up a memorandum to be sent round to a number of prominent statisticians asking their advice as to the disposal of a sum of £4000 available to further the scientific study of social problems from a statistical point of view. He stated that a plan had provisionally commended itself for the distribution of three hundred pounds in honoraria of £50 each to a few selected writers, who should severally draw up a list of what seemed to them to be the most feasible problems in the branch of inquiry with which they were familiar.
"It would be their part to think out and to draw up reasonable plans of campaign, specifying the available data now in existence, and such other data as would be required, and which at the same time might be procured without serious difficulty."
The simultaneous direction of these six highly competent persons to different branches of the same scheme would, Galton thought, greatly assist in its inauguration and drawing public attention to its importance.
The fundamental suggestion then made for the remainder of the endowment was that of the Royal Institution lectureship. There is no evidence that this memorandum was ever issued, or received Florence Nightingale's approval. Indeed some of the sentences in later letters seem to suggest that it did not. She writes in a letter of April 19 (18 91) with regard to the subjects of the essays:
"I would only suggest that the statistics on business which the Statistical Society so often and so wisely publishes are not quite the sort of thing, nor are Hygiene and Sanitation proper, for which also there is already much large machinery, official and unofficial. And I would ask:- Would 'the matters that affect a large part of the community' include such subjects
as so press on my mind, and to which you have so generously given a homel"
and then she reiterates the headings of the suggested topics of her first communication. Again, in a letter of a few days earlier evidently referring to the leaders of the Statistical Society whom Galton proposed to consult
"Mr Giffen, I suppose, is a bright particular star, but not in my line of business-that of moral sanitation. Nor Sir J. Farrer. Also they are not your 'youngish men' whom you so wisely and so well propose to collect and educate."
It is not of importance for us now to know how far Galton's proposals failed to satisfy Florence Nightingale, or how far further examination of economic possibilities on her own side cooled her ardour.