Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Calton's Life 287
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. July 6, 1906.
MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, The first thing that I heard of the Evolution Cttee was from Michael Foster who said that the C. of the R. Soc. had been asked to form one, and that they would on the condition that I would act as Chairman, to which I assented.
The offer of a big sum to help in founding a Darwinian establishment for plants and animals was made by me tentatively on many occasions, on the condition that the large balance needed for such an institution could be raised elsewhere. I repeated it more or less formally during the existence of the Cttee, but the response was quite inadequate. The offer of Charles Darwin's house in Down at a moderate (?nominal) rent was made by the Darwin family to the Cttee, but the double event of cost of maintenance and the practical impossibility of visiting it from London on Sundays owing to the awkward hours of the trains, made it impossible to accept the offer. No one benefited by my offer ; " no jackals came down for the spoils*."
The work of the Cttee was a great disappointment to me. For one thing, I had hoped that it would be sufficiently authoritative, or rather that its weight would suffice to weld numerous bodies that have gardens or menageries into common action, to allow some plots or cages, &c. for research. The Clifton Zool. were prepared to do this, but Thiselton-Dyer said that even he could not depend on the gardeners at Kew to carry out any experiment accurately, so that plan fell through. I knew that the Zool. were untrustworthy helpers-I mean the keepers.
The Cttee talked more than worked, and Z. was very boring, writing very long letters to me and always averse to compromise. V., whom he brought in as an Associate, was to my mind, distinctly objectionable in using the name of the Cttee when lie had received no sanction to do so. On the whole, the Cttee seemed to be doing so little and working with so much friction that I did not care to be longer connected with it, so I resigned. Weldon did so too, guided by much the same motives.
This is all I have to say. It necessarily relates chiefly to myself but indirectly perhaps to Weldon, whom I then found very helpful, as he always was.
Miss Biggs and I have spent a long day in Henley-Peppard-Stoke Row, etc. We saw Mrs Grey at the Manor House t and the boat races were going on at , Henley. It was a glorious day for us-We passed Blount's Court Farm.-I trust you are now well placed at Winsley Hill.
Ever yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
WINSLEY HILL, DANBY, YORKSHIRE. July 11, 1906.
MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, I enclose two things. First, a sympathetic card (which please return) from the Vice-Chancellor, Oxford, as to the Weldon Prize. Secondly, the proofs of the part of the memoir which I think you have already seen, and also the MS. of the London period. I hope to get the Oxford period done this week. I want you to let me have the MS. back, if you can by return, it must go to Press as soon as possible. I have found it very difficult indeed to write the London part, because the Evolution Committee formed such a very large part of Weldon's life in those years, and I cannot think it was good for him. You were most kind and sympathetic, but he felt that he had to do something of moment and to do it quickly. Further it had to be done under constant fire of unfair criticism. I have found piles of papers about this, that I knew nothing about before, and it is heartrending to think that I was worrying him about his mathematics at the same time. Reading the papers through now it seems to me that a definite plan was formed about 1896 to eject the biometricians and take possession of the Evolution Committee. But all that Weldon wrote, and he wrote and spoke strongly about the R.S. publishing the Mendelian Reports in a semi-official way, may be applied equally to his own work in the early stages. Z.'s attacks did not start until Weldon had reviewed Z.'s book in 1894 or 5, and then they became incessant and ceased only with the death of Weldon. The book was, I think, faulty, but I looked up Weldon's review (in Nature) the other day, and it in no way
~* See, however, our p. 134 above.
t The house occupied by Galton in 1903 during our Peppard stay. We were at Blount's Court Farm. K. P.