298 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
I wrote and suggested the insanity data to him, as I felt the problem was one of some importance, and I knew I could probably get some good material. But I told him very distinctly that I made the suggestion with hesitation, and he must consult you.
My letter then pointed out that any problem which is of first class importance-such as that of the relative influence of heredity and environment in the case of insanity-requires a long time for the collection of data and as long a time for the reduction of them, and next I ventured to break my own views to Francis Galton.
Now there arises the difference between the biometric work here, and what it seems to me, if I interpret your views rightly, you want done in the Eugenics Record Office. We have many irons in the fire, there are about a dozen workers always engaged, and one inquiry often goes on for five or six years through two or three generations of students ; but it gets done and published at last. It seems to me that this "secular" progress is almost impossible without continuity. If your Fellow during his term of office is to collect and reduce data, and publish pretty frequently work of a striking kind-and this appears to be needful to make the subject popular and keep it in view-then he cannot take up a big statistical inquiry. It is not always easy to find a fairly rounded easy bit of work such as I set A. There is on the other hand always plenty of the heavy continuous work. B. is not a man of striking originality, but he is a very safe man ; find him a problem, give him help and advice and he will do sound work. His tendency has been, however, more and more to the biometric side. I feel that this is not, perhaps, what you want for Eugenics at present, and that you hold that there is room for more than the biometric treatment of sociological problems. I have had great hesitation in taking any initiative at all in the Eugenics Record Office work, because I did not want you to think that I was carrying all things into the biometric vortex ! When Schuster informed me that he was resigning the Fellowship, I at once asked him to reconsider his position, and talk it over with you first. He then said he had fully determined to undertake more purely biological work. I suggested to him that if he felt he must give up Eugenics, he might take up the problem for which Dr Mott has got material, namely the convolutions of the brain in the sane and the insane. But while an inquiry as to environmental and hereditary influence on insanity does seem to me eugenetic, I am not clear that the relation of brain complexity to mental grade is; and accordingly my suggestion was only to be definite if Schuster found himself on resignation wanting a problem. Personally I should like to see him going on with the fellowship, until you are able to consider what had best be done. If he wants eugenics work, I think I could provide him with the data for 300 tuberculosis cases, and show him how to get more. The brain convolutions form the more fascinating problem and well done might produce a good deal of stir; but this is all I can say about Schuster's resignation. You can appoint a man like A. to succeed him, but will he find his problems for himself, and then make something of them 7 I am uncertain, and a good popular problem might not be discoverable every year. He would probably come to me and all I could give him would be some of the "secular" work which was nearing completion ; that might be a rather dull and commonplace process for him.
Now my personal idea of the Eugenics Record Office is that it should continue steadily to collect data bearing on the effect of environment, of heredity and of intercaste marriage upon man; that the Fellow should go on with annual or biennial appointment, and should live in London and work daily at the office; that the results accumulated should be published, like A.'s paper, at irregular intervals, when a bit of work was completed, and be issued from the Eugenics Office. I think great results could be obtained ultimately in this way, but it would have to depend on my idea of "secular" accumulation. You will understand what I mean when I say that our investigations on school-children took five years to collect and two to reduce ; that our measurements of families took four years to collect and two to reduce ; that our present inquiry on the inheritance of disease has been more than two years in progress and it may be more than another two before reduction can be begun*; our inquiry as to
* This was written in 1906, the full reduction was only begun in 1927 and is still in progress ! K. P.