Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Galton's Life 369



HAMPSTEAD. January 9, 1909.


MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, Yes, I have got my leave and for six months I am to be a halftimer! In July and August I shall try to take an absolute holiday. I shall devote all my mornings to clearing off arrears and afternoons to the higher lectures and research folk. If I keep away from my students in the mornings I shall probably be able to work off arrears. The difficulty will be if my substitutes fail to get a grip on the students or break down with 'flu, which is always rampant this term.

There have been several friendly notices of the forthcoming Treasury. We have difficulty in settling whether to bind the plates into the parts, put them loose or make a pocket to hold them. What do you think? Some users will want to compare all the plates dealing with the same characteristic, and of course these may be Plates III, XX and LXI.

I am sorry to hear you feel less active, but does not the winter always teach us that our ancestors back in some grade or other hibernated? My first lecture at the Royal Institution is to preach the doctrine that the white man may be descended from a manlike dark-skinned ancestor-say a Pithecus satanas-but not the negro from a manlike white ancestor.


Affectionately, K. P.


I suppose you will be at the Cambridge Darwin Commemoration? In some respects I should like to have gone, but it is too much a glorification of what is not Darwinism to please me* !

MEADOW COTTAGE, BROCKHAM GREEN, BETCHWORTH. January 12, 1909.


MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, I am so glad that the half-time arrangement is settled. You ask suggestions about the plates for the Treasury. A number of loose pages is objectionable, but could you not have them all in a paper wrapper which should itself go into a pocket in the cover? Could you conveniently instruct the proper person to send me a copy here?

Good luck to your Pithecus satanas lecture ! I see that Taylor is about to give a course of lectures at Hampstead which, judging from his prospectus, may contain new and interesting points.

I have been bothered by letters in the Times about my share in Identification by FingerPrints and have sent a reply. This morning I bad a note "The Editor of The Times hopes to publish at an early date the communication kindly sent him," so I suppose that other letters have been received and that he will dispose of them all at once. I don't by any means acknowledge the justice of what my adversaries say.

This change of weather suits me well and I have got out a good deal both yesterday and to-day. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.

* Neither Francis Galton nor I attended the celebration, nor did we find ourselves able to contribute to the memorial volume.

The time, perhaps, has arrived when it is permitted to record an anecdote of what occurred at a meeting of the organising committee of which Adam Sedgwick and Bateson were members. It was suggested that I should be asked to contribute a paper to the memorial volume. Bateson said that, if I were asked he would have nothing more to do with the Committee or the volume. Sedgwick said : "Are you the Pope?" and the incident ended in laughter, with the compromise that I should be asked to write on a definite topic-which did not permit of my breaking a lance for the threatened stronghold of Darwinism. A few lines from a letter of Thiselton-Dyer to Galton dated March 29, 1909, may, perhaps, be quoted here

"You have done exactly the same thing that Darwin did. He gave a working hypothesis of the production of a species. You have succeeded [with the theory of Regression], where Herbert Spencer and everyone 'else have conspicuously failed, in showing how structures are got rid of when they become superfluous. But incidentally you have enormously enhanced the inevitableness and potency of Natural Selection. I have long

wanted to say all this, so pray forgive this long letter. There is a sorry reaction against Natural Selection at the

moment. The Darwin family seem to me to have practically thrown over their father's theory. But I verily believe that you have set it firmly on its feet again."

I do not think the " Darwin family " ever consciously threw over their father's theory, but they certainly did not perceive how the novelties they fostered tended to a "sorry reaction."


P G 111   47


Previous Index Next