398 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
BIOMETRIC LABORATORY, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE. November 8, 1909.
MY DEAR FRAN?is GALTON, Thank you very much for the photograph of Wee Ling; he is clearly progressing. Thank you also very much for your letter. I enclose a sample of X.'s type of attack. The article is worth reading to show the hopeless character of this man's work. There is not a single appeal to demonstrable facts, to statistical data, in the whole paper. It is simply rhetorical, wholly indefinite in result and meaning. But any reader of the obscure paragraph on p. 9 must, whatever else he makes out of it, come to the conclusion that we have wasted the resources of the laboratory in a "sterile logomachy" and that we have made no attempt to trace the origin of alcoholism or measure its influence on the offspring and the individual. The essential fact is that we are the only people who have really endeavoured to measure the relation of alcoholism in parents to the mental and physical condition of the children, and that only in this Laboratory is the relation of alcoholism to crime and insanity actually known and its statistical correlations to environment and class have here alone been worked out. I believe that we only have seen what relation alcoholism has to feeblemindedness. The rest is " impression," 11 opinion," rhetoric and fustian like that exhibited by X. I think if you carefully read the paragraph-and it is only one among many which have emanated from the same quarter-you will see that we cannot continue to leave such charges unreplied to. I hate this sort of controversial work, but sometimes it must be undertaken, if only to prevent the truth from being swamped. I feel very strongly about this, and must write to you exactly what I feel. But if this criticism of an active member of the Eugenics Society seems to you undesirable, I will do it from outside the Laboratory altogether. Yours affectionately, KARL PEARSON.
THE RECTORY, HASLEMERE. November 9, 1909.
MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, I have read and re-read the marked passages pp. 9-10 in the British Journal of Inebriety. They seem to me more suited for &bantering reply, than for the fire of heavy guns. I mean, for a paragraph in the sense of "What does X. really want? He seems to object to statistical inquiry showing the extent to which feeblemindedness is transmissible. But that is &fact that statesmen must take into account and of which it is of primary importance that the information should be trustworthy. He thinks it a serious matter that Eugenists are not acquainted with physiology and pathology, but that is certainly not true of many contributors to the Eugenics Laboratory and other Biometric Publications. He wants inquiry into the origin of defects; by all means let it be attempted by those who are capable and see their way to fruitful inquiry. But that is a special line of research with which the Eugenics Laboratory is not occupied. Lastly, what is meant by the sonorous phrase `sterile logomachy'?"
I have scribbled the above just as I should do in a first draft, to ease my mind and get my thoughts in presentable order. Don't think more of it than that. The great point is not needlessly to embitter any controversy, but to show that the opponent is ignorant and presumptuous. I feel sure you can do this.
I have writing now near my elbow a very good lady assistant, Miss Augusta Jones, who tells me that her sister is now working at your laboratory.
My niece left her bed yesterday, much better for her month's rest-cure, but will require I fear somewhat prolonged care. She goes to Rutland Gate for the week-end, to be doctored and set up with winter clothing. Ever affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
I may be amusingly -embarrassed in relation to X., because he has undertaken to boil down for Harmsworth's forthcoming big serial publication four of my books, and I have assented, the publisher assenting also. I have not seen any advertisement of this - to 2 million issue but -a favourable allusion to it in Public Opinion.
7, WELL ROAD, HAMPSTEAD, N.W. November 11, 1909.
MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, I ought to have written to you to thank you for your letter and now for your extract from the Cambridge Review, but I have been very busy and just about fit for the sofa when I get home at night. You, seeing things from a reposeful distance, can judge more wisely than I, but I feel very strongly the general harm that all exaggeration and rhetoric does to a good cause and I am sorry that your books are to be taken in hand by this prophet of the age. He can no more understand the Natural Inheritance or the Hereditary