Statistical Investigations 423
In 1891 a Demographic Congress was to meet in London and Galton suggested that a memoir should be read before the Congress, if possible under Miss Nightingale's name, urging the more systematic collection and utilisation of demographic statistics, with a view to applying them to the solution of social problems. It is not clear from the remaining letters whether Florence Nightingale, while approving of this scheme, was unwilling that her name should be associated with it ; still she was very desirous that her three or four problems should be especially mentioned, and remained willing to subscribe towards honoraria for the proposed essays. On April 21 Galton sent another letter, enclosing a memorandum, which was to be circulated to "half a dozen or so eminent authorities" asking about precise subjects and persons. This memorandum runs
It is desired to promote Statistical Inquiry into the efficiency of legislative acts, intended to promote the well-being of large classes.
With this object in view it is proposed during the present year to offer £50 to £75 in remuneration for each of two or three essays, severally referring to selected branches of any of the following subjects: (i) Board School Education, (ii) Treatment of the Criminal Classes, especially of boy-offenders, (iii) Effect of Poor-Law and Workhouses, whether de-pauperising or not.
A statement or discussion is desired in each essay of the nature and value of the statistical information now accessible, and of such other information as exists in an unpublished form, and again of- such as has not yet been collected but which might apparently be procured without serious difficulty. It is then expected that the writer would discuss the ways in which these data should be treated so as to lead to sound and practically important conclusions with the minimum of difficulty.
Should the results of this first attempt be encouraging, it is proposed to follow it up by further action in future years, perhaps of a wider character.
Galton's letter appears to have remained a month unanswered. The original proposal' had shrunk to comparative insignificance, and it is little wonder that there was no enthusiasm for it in its final form. On May 23, 1891, Florence Nightingale wrote apologising for her delay-"I can only sum up my apologies in : how good you have been and how bad I." She returned Galton's memorandum initialed and asked him to send it to the eminent authorities he might select. Five days later Galton replied that to his sorrow he must say that the season was too far advanced for him to attempt to carry through the preliminaries with hope of success
"You would necessarily and naturally have to be consulted at each important stage, financial arrangements would have to be made and there is not now time for doing all this before the vacation begins and people, especially those of the Universities, scatter. I therefore am obliged to desist for the present at least .... The more I think of it the more convinced I am that the assurance in some form of a continuation of these awards or other form of endowment would be an important element of success."
1 As drawn up by Francis Galton and corrected by Florence Nightingale evidently at their first interview this ran:
- is desirous of founding a professorship of statistics, to be called by the name of the Professorship of Statistics, for promoting by means of lectures or otherwise the cultivation and improvement of statistical science, and especially its practical application to social problems.