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Characterisation, especially by Letters


I was grieved beyond measure at reading of your brother's ill-luck in New Zealand with Venus.

As regards that ogive " of which we were talking, I was stupid and explained myself ill, and boggled. In the ordinary way x is the magnitude and y the frequency. In my plan y is the magnitude and x is the suns of the frequencies,


the frequencies being taken from the e~~` tables and the sum of the frequencies from the tables of the integration of it, viz. Tables I and II respectively of the usual publications (? II and III in the Encycl. Metropolitana).

What a pleasant man Dr Andrew Clark is! He examined me most thoroughly, pronounced it a concurrence of irregular gout and influenza and that my heart was weak. I mend, but not over-fast. Best Xmas greetings to you all. Ever yours, FRANCIS GALTON.

Extract from a Review by Francis Galton in
"The Academy," Jan. 30, 1875.

"Heredity; a Psychological Study of its Phenomena, Laws, Causes and Consequences." From the French of Th. Ribot, author of "Contemporary English Psychology." (Henry S. King Co., 1875.)

"It may be affirmed with much truth that if we wish to learn what pursuit ranks highest in public opinion, we shall find it in the career of those men to whom statues are erected by public subscriptions. It happened that the writer of these lines not long since revisited Cambridge, where, as he walked admiringly among the many new improvements, his eyes fell upon a recently erected bronze statue. It was the only out of door statue in the whole town; it occupied a commanding position in the market-place, hard by the University Church, and only a few steps from being in full sight of the Senate House. He walked reverently Lip to it, pondering as he went as to the manner of the man whose memory it so proudly perpetuated, and to 1 it was Mr Jonas Webb of Babraham, the famous breeder of Southdown sheep. The erection of this statue by the agriculturists of a county in whose capital a great university happens to be located, is worthy of note. It expresses their genuine appreciation of the practical application of the laws of heredity to all descriptions of farm produce, and it may be accepted as an omen that the time is near when the study of those laws and of their logical consequences shall permeate the philosophy of the university. It must do so, because there is no branch of science which refers to bodily structure or to mental aptitudes, neither is there any theological doctrine in which the theory of heredity, either directly or as one of the principal agents in evolution, can hereafter be left out of consideration.

"In the course of formation of every science there has always been an embryonic or prescientific period. Nothing then existed but detached pieces of evidence, of an unsatisfactory kind, laxly discussed and explained by wild hypotheses. But, at length, the methods of science succeeded in catching with a firm grip some of the loose materials, then more were seized, and so, with an ever-increasing rapidity of conquest, the whole of them became gathered together within the pale of law. Heredity has, at the present time, developed into a science; much is definitely established, and many questions seem to require for their solution little more than direct experiment or the simple but careful collection of statistical facts. There is consequently some need of a work that shall concisely and clearly set forth what is already known, and what are the undecided questions which most urgently call for solution and might at the same time be solved by any person who chose to devote a fair amount of intelligent and steady work to the purpose."

The remainder of the Review deals with Ribot's book, emphasising its inadequacy.

* Galton's °°ogive Curves," giving the deviations at the percentiles, etc. See our Vol. is, pp. 387-390.


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