472 Life and Letters of Francis Galtoit
majority of Puritans and theological writers assign a magical-(? right word) power to prayer, or (2) whose ideas are habitually confused as to what they believe, what they doubt about, and what they disbelieve. I fear that everyone belongs in some degree to the last category and that it is most important for reasonable beings to extricate themselves as far as may be out of it. If there is a lingering tendency to believe in the magical (?) objectivity of prayer, which would not be avowed if the question were put in a straightforward way, then I should say try and eradicate that tendency. Let your thoughts and the outward expression of them be conformable. I am sure that the average clerical mind is in hopeless disaccord with its outward expressions, and that was one reason why I wished to discuss a class of views that appear to me (and to most of those who consider them plainly) to be untenable-those which refer to what I call the objective efficacy of prayer.
Your "Einverstaxiduiss" view seems to be undoubtedly that which deserves investigation. Is it a reality or is it a fancy? I have endeavoured in the book to show that the solution is by no means so easy as religionists say, because very much of what are commonly taken as evidences of it, innate feelings, aspirations, etc., are demonstrably of very little weight indeed. I want to knock away all fictitious supports, and to get the evidence pro and con that we possess clearly before us and to look at it fearlessly. Men lead happy, useful and honest lives under so many forms of belief that I cannot suppose the precise form of belief to be of much importance. But it is of course cheering to the heart and ennobling to the mind if the belief he that of being a missionary, as it were, in a high cause affecting humanity. Beyond that I suspect there is little, and that each man puts a great deal of his own self into the ideal that he sets before him.
How infinitely little we know ! I like to look at a mongrel cur sitting on the doorstep of the house he belongs to, looking as if he were the master of the situation and as though creation presented no difficulties whatever. He is so like most men in this.
Thank you much for the letter, which I will keep and read again when, if ever, I write on the topic a second time. People are often so crude and unreasonable that I get quite savage and then it does me a world of good to read such letters as yours, which tend to lift the discussion to a higher level.
About the numerals and teaching: have you thought of writing the declensions, etc. not only in different coloured inks but in different shapes,
even differently shaped borders would be something? ~.wv If you could somehow associate the shape (or colour)
with the matter taught in a reasonable or even in ~ ~ a suggestive way, it would be a help. For my part,
I think I should recollect best by gesture and in
a kindergarten kind of way-thus if I learnt one thing with my right arm waving like a Salvationist's and another while beating a tattoo on the table, I should find the association easy. Some people associate with sound very readily. Thus one declension might be sung to one tune, another to another. Even a high-pitched or low-pitched tone would go some way. But the associations should not be haphazard, they should in some way be natural, whether by a reasonable, a long since acquired, or by a punning connection....
Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON. 42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. October 1, 1883.
MY DEAR PROFESSOR*, I am just back in London and ready at any time for a Council at the Meteorological, and have written to Scott to say so. We must proceed cautiously but firmly in this self-recording observatory matter. One plan would be to draw up a brief and coldblooded statement of the reasons pro and con as we understand them, and ask the memorialists whether in their opinion they cover the ground ; after receiving their replies, to reconsider and decide. However eminent the men may be, they cannot see the matter in the same light as if they had administered the affairs of the Office and knew details.
I left Southport on Saturday morning and never attended the Committee. Indeed, as I said, it did not seem to me quite the right way of proceeding on the part of the objectors. They might more properly have first sent in a memorial; then, if that produced no effect, they might use pressure if they liked ; but should not I think have begun with external pressure.
* Professor G. G. Stokes.