GAIN after a long interval the third and final volume of this Life appears.
The delay is traceable to the same difficulties as arose in the case of the second volume, namely the high cost of producing nowadays a work of this character. As it was the generous help of Mr Lewis Haslam which enabled the second volume to be printed, so I have to record my gratitude to two friends who have assisted me to obtain the funds requisite on the present occasion. In the first place Professor Henry A. Ruger of Columbia University, New York, a former postgraduate worker in the Galton Laboratory, interested Miss Dorothy Chase Rowell in Galton's writings, and in the second place Dr F. A. Freeth reported my need to Mr Henry Mond. I wish to place on record here my deep gratitude to Miss Rowell and Mr Mond, whose gifts so far supplemented the proceeds of the sales of the first two volumes that I ventured to send the third to press.
It may be said that a shorter and less elaborate work would have supplied all that was needful. I do not think so, and there are two aspects of the matter to which I should like to refer. The writer of biographies usually belongs to the literary world, and is too often a minor light of that world. I have no claim to literary distinction of any order. I have written my account because I loved my friend and had sufficient knowledge to understand his aims and the meaning of his life for the science of the future. I have had to give up much of my time during the past twenty years to labour which lay outside my proper field, and that very fact induced me from the start to say, that if I spend my heritage in writing a biography it shall be done to satisfy myself and without regard to traditional standards, to the needs of publishers or to the tastes of the reading public. I will paint my portrait of a size and colouring to please myself, and disregard at each stage circulation, sale or profit. Biography is thankless work, but at least one can get delight in writing it, if one writes exactly as one chooses and without regard to the outside world ! In the process one will learn to know-as intimately as any human being can know another--a personality not one's own; that is the joy of spending years over a biography where there is a wealth of material touching the mental output, the character and even the physical appearance of the subject.
If a work is to be printed, even twenty years after a man is dead some things, some strong opinions and some names, must still be omitted. Our lives are too closely entwined with those of others not to call for some reticence even after two decades have elapsed. Still I think the reader will find in these volumes a portrait of Galton which represents without undue repression, and without uncritical adulation, the man as I knew him, and as I have learnt from his writings and letters to interpret him.