370 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
THE GALTON EUGENICS LABORATORY, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE. January 23, 1909.
MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, I have been approached by the Provost to know whether you would not take the chair at the first Eugenics Lecture on February 23. I need hardly say that it would give me very great pleasure if it were possible for you to do so. But I would on no account urge this on you, if it would in any way involve a risk in the travelling up to Town and the possibility of damp or cold here. You must give this its due weight, and I shall fully understand your decision.
Of other points there is little to record. I hope shortly to send you the remaining proofs of Miss Barrington's memoir and Part I of the Treasury, but the Press moves but slowly. I gave my first lecture at the Royal Institution on Albinism in Man last Tuesday, my chief point being that the manlike ancestor of man bad a darkly pigmented skin. The evidence shows that no blacks are ever thrown from a white, but copper and white with yellow or red hair come as variants from jet black negroes. I think I have got a real point, but the audience while ready to accept a pithecoid ancestry were not prepared for a negroid ! My second lecture is on Tuesday.
Yesterday I heard Wallace on Darwinism. The Royal Institution was packed to the roof. Wallace was quite audible, but not very original and lacking in the vivacity needful to keep his audience alive. But it really was worth hearing him. He gave examples of 20 individuals to show variation and to prove that two organs of the same individual were not correlated!! But he made a strong attack on progress by mutation, and used one very good argument, namely that from mimicry, which I had not heard before. He said that a beetle exactly like a wasp could have reached the wasp condition by gradual approximation to open wings and colouration, but it could by no conceivable jump suddenly become a wasp in all external appearance. I think the argument was valid and a strong one.
A white man married an albino negress, the offspring were two mulattoes. What can we make of that as far as Mendelism is concerned? It seems to me a very curious state of affairs, and it means that the black colour was latent in the albino negress and blended in her offspring.
Ever yours affectionately, KARL PEARSON.
I thought the enclosed might show you that correlation is going to be a real tool in Astronomy.
MEADOW COTTAGE, BROCKHAM GREEN, BETCHWORTH. January 25, 1909.
MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, You know well how willingly I would have done what the Provost suggests, but my infirmities put it wholly out of the question. It would be dangerous for me to attempt the task. Moreover, as a much less important matter, my deafness shuts me out from presiding. Please convey all this to the Provost and beg him to excuse me.
I was eager to hear more about your Royal Institution lecture, of which the only printed account I had seen, viz. in the Graphic, was worthless. But Mrs Gotto, who has just been here on a week-end visit, assured me that she had heard it was excellent.
The mimicry argument, on which Wallace laid stress, is in the air. Butler I think started it, and a man, of whose wife I know something, Professor Walker, a cytologist of Liverpool, sent me the MS. of a forthcoming book of his; he lays great stress on it.
The white man marrying an albino and producing two mulattoes, is paralleled by Sir Trevor Lawrence's experience with albino orchids : they rarely if ever produce albino offspring. They have colour latent in them.
Thank you for the astronomical paper. I have as yet only glanced through it, but am delighted to find that two different samples of stars give the same result.
I have very recently lost a dear brother-in-law, Arthur Butler; also the widow of my cousin Sir Douglas Galton. The elder of her two daughters lives near here and I heard of her mother's gradual sinking, from senile gangrene of a foot, which I suppose poisons the system with septic matter.
Thank-what? or whom?-the days are lengthening, and hope is in the air! I trust your comparative rest is acting as favourably as you could wish. In a little more than a month I shall be moving on, possibly to the New Forest for another month before venturing to London.
Ever affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
I wonder if you happened to see a column of mine based on Schuster's work, about Sequestrated Church Property ? The Daily Mail ordered a Reporter to interview me, who