244 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
I fear that to ask for 100 thrushes or blackbirds nests in England would raise a scandal I got much reproved for my 200 house sparrow nests last year. I trust that your journey may be a pleasant one ands that you may escape the horrors of February and March, which my Wife tells me occasionally reach the South of France. You know Miss Shaen is at San Remo ?-May I still keep the eye colour MS. ? If you would prefer its return before you leave, just say so on a postcard. Always yours sincerely, KARL PEARSON.
7, WELL ROAD, HAMPSTEAD, N.W. April 18, 1901.
MY DEAR MR GALTON, I wonder if you are back from your winter journeyings. I want to tell you about the present state of Biometrika. We have about 60 promises of subscription, and we shall hardly get more now until the journal is definitely announced as coming out or until it has come. We have been talking over the matter with various publishers and printers, and so far the most reasonable terms seem to be those of the X- Press. Now it would be a great point to have the advertisement of this Press and the goodness of its get up, if we can. They are willing to take the journal on the same terms as they do the Annals of Y, which, with more expensive plates than we should think of, pays its way with some 270 subscribers. But they require a guarantee fund of £200. This they had in the case of the Annals and drew on pretty largely at first, but it is now refunded to the extent of £160. Whether we shall be equally successful is of course a very different matter, but I think there is no doubt that such a journal as Biometrika is wanted, and if we tide over the first few years, the journal will live. Weldon who was staying a few days with me this week wanted to take the whole risk on himself. This does not seem to me right. The natural thing would be for him and for me to share the risk, but with our very precarious condition at University College, this is out of the question. I can only guarantee a very modest sum. My view was that we should try and distribute the £200 about. Of course any one who subscribes may stand a very poor chance of seeing his money again, and to those to whom I have written I have said it must be looked upon as a loss until it reappears (if ever it does) as a stroke of fortune. I take it that the money would be banked and could be drawn only by joint order of Editors and Secretary of the X- Press.
Now I am writing to ask if you will aid to any extent in this proposal. I feel the less hesitation in frankly asking you because you are one of the men who I think can frankly say no, and the "no" would not affect our mutual relations.
Quite apart from this question, and I am sorry to refer to it in this letter, Weldon and I discussed two points: (1) The desirability, if you do not feel it involves you in worry and work, of getting you to join in any way the editorial committee. This consists at present of Weldon, myself and Davenport of Chicago, as American editor to collect material there. Of course we should be glad of any suggestion or aid you may care to give, but on the other hand we don't want to bother you with the hard work of the journal, and still less to make you in ally way responsible for matter or method you might not sympathise with. (2) We want very badly to have a paper by you however long or short for our first number, a "send off" of some kind. Will you promise us this? You hardly know perhaps how much of weight your sympathy expressed in some form will carry with it, especially in America; it will be an uphill battle for some time with the biologists. Anyhow please let me know first your views as to my last two questions (1) and (2) and then rather more at your leisure whether you care to aid in the guarantee fund? I trust you have had a pleasant sojourn in the South. We are now having beautiful weather in Surrey. Yours always sincerely, KARL PEARSON.
HOTEL BELLA VISTA, BORDIGHERA, N. ITALY. April 23, 1901.
MY DEAR PROF. KARL PEARSON, The straight-forwardness of your letter as to the probable total loss of the guarantee fund for Biometrika, is much more attractive to me than an enticing programme, for I like "forlorn hopes" in a good cause. I can just now spare the whole £200 and you shall have it, and I enclose the cheque, so you will be no longer bothered with that matter, and can give your spare energies wholly to starting the Journal.
As regards joining the Editorial Committee, if it could be done in a way that carried both in reality and in the eyes of the public no more responsibility and work than the position of "Consulting Physician" does in respect to a Hospital, I should be pleased to do so. Would