Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Galton's Life 381
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. April 26, 1909.
MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, Yes, do come on Saturday. Tell me beforehand at what hour I may expect you? The doctor has forbidden my going into the country again just now, at which I feel much relieved, not feeling up to moving again so soon. All you say of what you have published and are about to publish of course interests me greatly.
Affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
I return the "cuttings" with many thanks.
7, WELL ROAD, HAMPSTEAD, N.W. May 2, 1909.
MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, I owe you a word of apology and Miss Biggs also. It was not till I got to the Station that I realised how late it was. You, I fear, must have found our talk very trying, but the time went so quickly that I was quite unconscious of how stupidly I was tiring you. You must put it down to your own power of not wearying others and forgive me; but if I come again I will keep my watch out! My heart was very full at seeing you so fixed to your chair, but ten minutes' talk showed me that you were really as active as ever and that consoled me. The wonderful part of life is that the problems are so manifold and as long as we retain our mental curiosity, there is no cessation to our activity or to the pleasure of life. I have felt this even in moments of physical disablement.
I have been thinking over the difficulty I saw was in your mind about the future, I hope the very distant future, of the Eugenics Laboratory. You must remember that at present the training in statistics does not lead to paid positions. It is beginning to, but the posts available are few and the best men who want to get on in life won't enter this field. But if your Foundation ever becomes a reality, there will be something for a strong man to look forward to, and this will act itself as an inducement. Also the time is coming when governmental and municipal work will demand men of the kind we are training. We are only a little bit (not very much) ahead of public needs. My strong view is that in a very few years there will be plenty of good men in this field. Now might it not be well to give the University a few years' grace, if the authorities thought fit to use it, before appointing a professor, after the endowment becomes actual? This would suffice to bring men into the field and save the University from the need of making an immediate appointment, if the right man were not forthcoming at once. Lecturers could be appointed for a year or two, and the Library extended and developed. For example, a period of five years fixed, in which the University would have time to look round, and until a professor was appointed 50'/. of the endowment might be used for continuing the Eugenics work by lectureships, etc., and 50°/o go towards a permanent endowment for publication and library funds. I believe that this period might never be used at all, or only some of it, but it would save the University from a compulsory appointment if the right man were not ripe for the work at the first opportunity. I feel so strongly that you have in this matter just met a great future need, that one would deprecate any first appointment which would not be an all-round success, or of appointing someone who would not be willing to make use of all the material and the connections which the Laboratory has now established. Given a few years' grace and the man will be forthcoming. In the last four or five years I have had at least two or three really strong men pass through my hands, but I could not frankly say : "Stick to statistics and throw up medicine or biology because there is some day a prize to be bad." I feel sure, however, with a future, such men will naturally turn to Eugenics work. Only this last winter one of my American students said : " I wish I could go in for Eugenics, but my bread and butter lies in doing botanical work. I know that definite posts are there available." And that was precisely the case with Raymond Pearl, who has now got the control of an Agricultural State Breeding Station-he was far keener on man than on pigs and poultry, but the public yet has not realised that it needs breeding also ! Well, if you will only make up your mind to stay with us a few more years this will right itself ! There must be sooner rather than later a government statistical bureau, and this will demand trained statisticians. Once we have a flow of such men who mean to make statistics their profession in life, there will be ample material to select from. At present the biometrician is the man who by calling is medical, botanical or zoological, and he dare not devote all his enthusiasm and energy to our work. The powers that be are against him in this country.