Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Galton's Life 243
restraint. But how are you going to get the better class workman to see that his checking the size of his family may make matters easier for him, but is at the expense of the nation's future? He is really unreachable by an assurance scheme, unless you could attach your health degree to the proposals for old age pensions*. That appears to me a. point worth thinking about. As I have said elsewhere it seems to me that only socialistic measures can touch this population question. Even if you can by moral suasion lead the better class artizans and the middle classes to see that limitation of the family may be anti-social (and I believe it might be possible) how are you going to check the unlimited production of the worse stocks ? The " Neomalthusians "-as I know from sad experience-abuse any one who like myself ventures to criticise their doctrine of limitation, unless it be accompanied by the words "of the poor stocks first"; but this abuse is nothing to what one will arouse, if one ventures to assert that the huge charities providing for the children of the incapable are a national curse and not a blessing; that the "widow with seven children all dependent upon her, husband a clerk who died of consumption aged 35," and who seeks your aid to get her children into Reedham, is really a moral criminal and not an object for pity.
How can a health degree affect this source of rottenness? I fear hardly at all. Your only hope is to impress upon the few who really lead the nation, that the matter is one for legislation, that although we have got rid of Gilbert's Act, the workhouse and charity systems can still be sapping our national vigour, when coupled with a wide-spread neomalthusianism-due in the main to Bradlaugh-among the better working classes.
What then it seems to me we mostly need at the present time, is some word in season, something that will bring home to thinking men the urgency of the fertility question in this country. There is no man who would be listened to in this matter in the same way as yourself. You are known as one who set the whole scientific treatment of heredity going; no one has ever suspected you of being in the least a "crank," or having "views" to air. You will be listened to and it will be recognised that you write out of a spirit of pure patriotism. There is no one else, .I believe, of whom this could be said, certainly no one who would be listened to in the same way. Let us have (a) known facts of heredity, (b) influence of relative fertility on national vigour, (c) actual statistics of birth rates of different stocks, and (d) proposed remedies (only, if they include the health degree, tack it on to old age pensions) brought home to those who think for the nation. Always sincerely yours, K. PEARSON.
If Biometrika be started Weldon and I want badly a paper however brief from you for No. 1.
7, WELL ROAD, HAMPSTEAD, N.W. February 1, 1901.
MY DEAR MR GALTON, I have several times planned to write and ask if I might come and see you, and now you are off before I have done so ! I have been "crawling" through my work since December somehow, feeling mentally too tired to do more than get through my routine teaching and making no attempt beyond the day's necessary doings. My helpers go forward but I can only look on. I suppose one must pay eventually for all overwork, only one longs for a few more years to "finish up." Yes, I have settled on the American Lectures on Heredity and Variation for October. If any ideas on diagram-illustration occur to you, I should be very glad of suggestions. I have found a Genometer based on a suggestion of yours very useful at more than one popular lecture. It contains a gigantic lifeguardsman, a diminutive sailor and a "mean" man and illustrates the effect of any number of ancestors or collaterals of these types by means of a string working up and down. It always amuses people.
You will share my pleasure in the acceptance of the Homotyposis paper for the Phil. Trans. I hope we may float Biometrika so that one could to some extent relieve the pressure on the R.S. space, which I think is to some extent grudged. We had however only about 12 English acceptances, and we cannot venture even a first number without something like 100. We are now circularising everybody in America, Germany and Italy, but I am not very hopeful.
I suppose the Riviera is hardly a place where birds' eggs abound? I want to measure another 100 clutches of some species but hardly know which to select or where to go for it.
* [Galton wanted a medical examination such as the better insurance offices insist on extended to all classes of the nation. My suggestion was that a grading of lives was essential to a really sound national provision for sickness and old age pensions, proposals for which were then creating some stir. K. P.]