Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

292   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

intense and lasting in the case of the much older man*. He seemed to me from this date less able to take independent action, and to find reliance on others more needful.

(10) Eugenic Certificates. Among Galton's papers I have found a manuscript entitled Eugenic Certificates which belongs to this year ; I also found typewritten copies of this manuscript, some of which had clearly been circulated for criticism and advice. I expect, although dated June, it had been written in the early part of the year, as it is the natural sequel to the memoir on Eugenic Studies read before the Sociological Society'. I had not seen the manuscript before I found it among Galton's papers after his death. Our correspondence in May$ will I think explain why he did not show it to me, although for some time past he had shown me most of his writings. He may very probably have thought that I should hold the time for issuing Eugenic Certificates not yet ripe. But I do think it important for the future progress of Eugenics that the manner in which Galton visualised Eugenic Certificates should be recorded.

Galton's unpublished MS. on Eugenic Certificates.

Private or consideration.



The time seems to have arrived when the question should be seriously discussed, whether it be practicable and advisable to issue Eugenic Certificates that would and ought to be accepted as trustworthy and that would be inexpensive and yet self-supporting.

The subject is full of difficulties, but I think they can all be met if certain restrictions be permitted, of which the following are the chief

1. The purport of the certificate to be that in the opinion of the Judges, the achievements of the holder and those of his near kinsmen prove him to be distinctly superior in Eugenic Gifts to the majority of those in a similar position.

2. That certificates be granted at first only to men, and these between the ages of 23 to 30 inclusive and belonging to the educated classes. At an earlier age they would have hardly had sufficient opportunity of proving their powers, at a later age the memories of the youthful achievements of their kinsfolk in the previous generation are difficult to verify.

The practicability of giving certificates to women would require a special discussion. It will not be alluded to again in the following remarks.

3. That the qualifications for a certificate be limited to facts that are permanently recorded in some accessible form, so as to be verifiable. They must be described on a ruled schedule that will be supplied on application.

4. The achievements are to be drawn from the results of some of the numerous competitive trials, whether in sport or in earnest, in athletics, in literature or otherwise, to which' nearly every young man of the educated classes is now subjected ; also to such prizes, awards or appointments, etc. as may have been gained.

* It is noteworthy that Galton's general correspondence, which for most years was voluminous; is much reduced in 1906; apart from my letters to him, very few other letters appear to have survived.

t See p. 272 above.

I See pp. 282-284 above.

Previous Index Next