Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Galton's Life 399
Genius than he can grasp the principia of statistics. Why are there so many baneful journalists of the type which seems to delight in strangling all genuine scientific spirit? This may sound harsh, but I fear it is none the less true. I wish your books were in other hands. They, will survive any treatment our friend may deal out to them, but the men you want to interest will be repelled, not knowing how far the rhetoric and froth lies in the account or in the original. You see how strong I recognise our friendship to be, that I venture to write thus ! For myself I feel your advice is a wise view, and I shall endeavour to bear it in mind in making some reply to the criticisms which have been made.
We have been a good deal troubled with Wee Ling's sister. She has had a bad bronchial attack, and we have had a Vet. almost daily, but hope she is on the safe side now.
Yours always sincerely, KARL PEARSON. 7, WELL ROAD, HAMPSTEAD, N.W. November 24, 1909.
MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, Here are more of our friend X.'s productions ! Six years ago he wrote a letter to the Daily Chronicle stating that if tuberculous persons kept their bedroom windows open, they might intermarry without danger to their children. That was just when we had first reached the perfectly definite conclusion that the tuberculous diathesis or constitution is inherited. I wrote-this was before the days of Eugenics and I had never heard of the man before-that it seemed to me criminal to suggest that the tuberculous might freely marry without danger to their children. Since then I have not criticised him nor referred to his opinions. It may be that my words have rankled in his mind and produce effusions of the type I again send you. I don't want to worry you with these matters, but X. writes as the accredited representative of the Eugenics Education Society and his words and actions are damaging the whole movement in the minds of those who are worth convincing.
Yours always affectionately, KARL PEARSON. THE RECTORY, HASLEMERE. November 25, 1909.
MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, It so happened this morning that while I was writing to Miss Elderton, the post brought Press cuttings, including this of the Pall Mall (Nov. 23). I wrote to her about it, quoting a sentence from a recent speech of the Poet Laureate : " Do not resent criticism and never answer it," which seems to contain much of value.
X.'s article contains 3 detached pin-pricks or goads: (1) Mendel, (2) children of inebriates, (3) children of consumptives. I can't see that (1) has anything to do with the present question and might be put off by a sentence. (2) and (3) attack the appropriateness of the statistics used, and might perhaps be usefully answered, not as a reply to this particular attack but in a brief memoir dealing only with the point in question. Newspaper controversy will lead to rejoinders and re-rejoinders and will hardly convince in the end. Every pronouncement admits of anopposing argument. Think of dear old Euclid, whom we once thought infallible, and of Paley, whom generations of the ablest-men of their day considered proof against attack ! I sincerely hope you may see your way to do what I have ventured to suggest.
I was glad to see in the newspapers that you have given help to the " Child-Society" (of which I otherwise know nothing) in framing their "questionnaire."
All goes on smoothly here. E. B. has been to town for a few days' doctoring and has returned very well in spirits. Ever affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
I send my little volume of reprinted lectures. The little book by the Eldertons will surely do some good.
THE RECTORY, HASLEMERE. December 3, 1909.
MY DEAR KARL PEARSON, I was very glad to see in some Press cuttings received this morning, that you were about to test the effects of environment on Jewish children. This seems to me a far better response to what X. has written, more dignified, than a controversial argument.
Ever affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
The puppy progresses ; so do we all. The puppy grows very like a portrait I once had of Confucius.