Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

478   Life e and Letters of Francis Galton


till November. He is the author of a most thoughtful book called the Logic of Chance which young statisticians ought to read, for it explains what statistics cannot as well as can do, in a very masterly way. The third edition is just out. If you happened to think of any logically disposed reviewer it would be worth while suggesting this book to him as well deserving notice.

I was very pleased to read how much Charles Darwin valued and profited by your labours and views-What an immensity of work in science has been performed in the last 50 years! It must be an endless pleasure to yourself to look back upon your own large contribution to it. It will be very curious to watch the results obtained from your questions circulated by the Societe de I'sychologie physiologique, and the way in which the veracity of the answers may be tested. I have myself lately had a batch of rather disappointing replies to questions circulated among teachers in schools of all grades, concerning the signs and warnings of mental fatigue. There was great absence of skilful self-analysis and of suggestion, and not a few transparent indications of exaggeration here and of suppression there. I was hearing the other day from a particularly trustworthy source, a list of unveracities of one of our own men of science, formerly one of the leaders of science, but whom I must not indicate further. The general facts and many particulars I had long known, but was surprised to learn how much more there was that I had not known. It is strange that a man who had so little care for truth could succeed in science at all. It is a most painful case of psychological interest and made me think how painfully it would have interested you when writing that paragraph on the general veracity of men of science in your XIXme Siecle. -

I had a pleasant summer last year in Eastern Switzerland, etc., but in the autumn fell suddenly ill with a most severe gastric attack at Lugano and was got home somehow in a wagon-lit. Then I fell ill again in another way with violent catarrh, then again in a third way with inflammation of the czncum, and lastly in a fourth way with severe bronchitis. In short I had four separate severe illnesses within five months. I suspect there was some microbic poison at the bottom of it. However I am clear of all illness just now.

I was grieved to see the black-edged paper of your letter, and beg of you to accept my sympathy. I shall deem myself very fortunate if the next time that I pass through Geneva I shall have the great pleasure of finding you at home and inclined for a half hour's conversation.

Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.

GENEVE. 28 rai, 1888.

MON CITES MONSIEUR, Je regrette d'apprendre par votre lettre du 8 mai que vous avez ate si longtenips malade, mais hcureuseruent vous ajoutez que maintenant votre sante est retablie. Quant a moi les fatigues et le chagrin causes par la maladie et la mort de ma femme out singulierernent affaibli mes facultes morales pendant que 1'onie, la vue et la memoire dirninuaient par un effet naturel de l'Age. J'ai perdu mon ancienne activite et ma confiance dans le resultat possible des reclrerehes. Il faut prendre mori parti de la retraite et me souvenir qu'ayant connnence a publier en 1824, ma carriers scientifique n'a pas dure rnoins do 64 ans. Mon ancien gout pour la statistique persists encore, au moins lorsqu'il s'agit de suivre de bons travaux faits par d'au tres.

C'est done avec plaisir que j'ai lu votre analyse des recherches du Dr Venn sur la tote des etudiants de Cambridge. TI y a bien des comparaisons probantes a faire sur des jeunes gees de memos conditions, hares, etc., qui so conduisent diversement a l'universite. Par exemple, comparez les frnneurs intrepides, fumeurs mediocres et non fumeurs, au double point de vue des succes intelleetuels et des succes clans les exercises du corps. L'antagonisme entre les aptitudes intellectuelles et corporelles, si hien connu des Anciens, ressortirait sans doute d'une comparaison statistique dans les ecoles.

A propos d'exercices, je vous recommande un volume qui vient de paraitre daps la collection internationale d'Alcan (autrefois Alglave) a Paris. C'est Dr r. Lagrange: Physiologie des exercises du corps. 1 vol. in 8', Paris, 1888. Prix 6 ft. L'auteur traite la physiologic des muscles, nerfs etc., d'une maniere tres savante et vraie, a cc qu'il me parait, et j'ai remarque une definition dont on no parle pas encore, c'est que certains exercices fatiguent it la fois la tete et le corps tandis que d'autres reposent le cerveau tout en employant les muscles. Par consequent les premiers (escrime par exemple) contribuent an surmenage dont on se plaint dans les ecoles, tandis que les autres (la marche par exempla) n'ont aucun inconvenient et offrent beaucoup d'avantages physiques. 11 faut reconnuander les exercises qui exigent une tension d'esprit aux


Previous Index Next