Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Galton's Life 289
42, RUTLAND GATE, S. W. July 13, 1906.
MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, I return the papers. They greatly interest me. I have put trifling marks on pages 5, 6 of the proofs and on 61 of the MS. The only remarks I would make on the MS. are that (1) perhaps the University of London part might be clearer, briefer and more emphatic, and (2) that I think more might be made of the possibilities of an Evolution Cttee than is alluded to on p. 64. For my own part, I thought at first, and this was my main motive in joining it, that the numerous bodies engaged in horticulture and zoology might in one aspect of their work, be co-ordinated by the Cttee and that research of a scientific kind might be introduced into the proceedings of each of them. A Cttee would help to keep them up to the mark, and prevent overlappings. But the desire for this seemed too faint to produce any such result.
I cannot recall the meeting mentioned at the Savile Club, and doubt in consequence whether I was really present at it. I am almost sure that Michael Foster's asking me to take the chairmanship was the first thing that I ever heard about the proposed Cttee. Dear! dear! what a list of efforts are included in the life of an actively minded man like Weldon-successes and failures.
I return the Vice-Chancellor's letter, which is excellent so far as it goes.
Heron's admirable paper reached me after I last wrote. Is he the excellent man you spoke to me about, who was not then quite ripe for the Eugenic Research Fellowship. He seems just the man to hold such an appointment.
We have just returned from a brief country visit. It is delightful to hear that you are so pleasantly placed among old Quaker associations. They-the Quakers-were- grandly (and simply) stubborn. I think we shall go again to Ockham for August but to another housenegotiations are pending. Affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
WINSLEY HILL, DANBY, GROSMONT R.S.O., YORKS. July 14, 1906.
MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, Your letter and suggestions are very helpful. Your corrections to the proof shall be made. The other points I will refer to one by one.
University of London. It is awfully difficult for me to give the full account of this. I had got many men to join the Association, George Meredith, Hardy, Besant, etc., by a more or less personal appeal stating that we wanted to found a university absolutely homoeneous with a professor at the head of each department on the lines of a Scotch or German' university. Huxley was elected president after this scheme had been adopted and brought his enormous force to work on a small executive committee of which I was secretary to carry out a plan of his own in which we were to compromise with colleges, night schools and the existing university to get a federal body. He arranged meetings with each of these institutions. The first with the University of London was to come off in a few days. I protested that this was not the policy on which the Association had been built up and that the executive committee could not go beyond its instructions. Huxley with all the force of an old hand completely confused me-all I know is that I resigned the secretaryship and that the members of the committee asserted that I had promised not to take action against Huxley's scheme. Personally I don't think I made any definite promise, but I know that Huxley saw danger to his project and engineered me into a state of confusion. When I had time to think it over I saw that he had left me in an absolutely false position. I must either lie entirely untrue to the men of weight and name who had joined the association on the basis of a genuine professorial university or break through Huxley's entanglements*. This I did by an open letter to him, sent to the Times and to him at the same time. I put myself right with the members of the Association but entirely in the wrong with regard to Huxley. Ultimately the Association reversed the whole of Huxley's policy, but these doings (1) had killed its effectiveness, (2) hurt Weldon fearfully and (3) made people believe me impossible on committees. Huxley must be right and such a small person as myself must be wrong.
* In my opinion to-day Huxley by his action destroyed all the chance there then was of a real university for London, and left us with the miserable pretence of a university that still exists. The "Association for promoting a Professorial University in London" had practically united all the teachers of weight in London and many other men of mark as well. It was wholly impossible to carry through any pettifogging federal scheme without its sanction. Huxley had no real academic ideals, and a suspicion of all universities controlled by the professoriate. His error was to accept the presidency of an association whose programme was entirely opposed to his own views.
P G III