Characterisation, especially by Letters 485
however one matter which it is just possible you might care for, that does not fall quite into this category, and which if you cared to undertake it for publication as a joint work with myself, would I think repay the trouble well, both from a scientific and a popular point of view. It is to undertake the analysis of a large and growing collection of finger-prints from the racial and the hereditary point of view. Thus, I have the impression of the three first fingers of the right hand of rather more than 1000 Jewish children, and those of more than 1000 ordinary English ones. My assistant is at this moment engaged with purely Welsh children. Orders are sent by Sir 0. Goldie, with the needful materials, to the Niger regions, to procure me the prints of at least five distinct races of Africans, in abundance. Professor Haddon has taken steps to procure me those of natives of N. Australia and on to the Solomon Island groups, and when I come back in the autumn I propose to set much more agoing. My impediment has been to find someone with a genius for classification and power of work. I myself can do but little. As regards families, my collection as yet is small, but I propose to make an effort, and a sustained one, in that direction. The classification is, of course, laborious on account of the numbers, but it is not at all difficult after the right way of setting to work is well explained, and those specimens have been examined which are to be accepted as transitional cases between the classes. There would be great difficulty in doing this satisfactorily by written or printed description. Nearly but not quite as much as I can do in this way appears in the last number of the Royal Society Proceedings and is hinted at in an article by me in the Nineteenth Century of this month. I am sure the inquiry is a promising one. I find, for example, a distinct statistical difference between the finger markings of the Hebrew and the Anglo-Saxon*. I also find them to be as strongly hereditary as anything else. As they are independent of age, and cannot be falsified, they form a solid basis for work. Should you be inclined, when I come back in October, to work at these conjointly with me, you doing the analysis and I advising, but doing little morel The object would be to produce joint papers (1) on racial differences; (2) on the measure of hereditary tendency; I should add a third, or a previous one perhaps, based on other material that is already in hand, viz. (3) on the measure of the tendency to symmetry. I shall be at the above address for nearly three weeks, and a letter to 42, Rutland Gate will always reach me in time. Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S. W. October 22, 1891.
DEAR MR COLLINS, The beautifully neat packet and roll reached me three hours ago with your letter, since which I have carefully gone through the first 59 and purposely cease there, that my pencilling may not interfere with your revision of the rest. I return them both. You clearly are on the threshold of doing it quite right, but the threshold is just the place at which people are. apt to stumble when entering a house. Your chief difficulty is with the Whorls, not taking a bold enough view of them. You will see what I mean, by looking at my pencillings. Another minor common fault is interpreting an ordinary loop as though it had an eye in it thus
. These Jewesses are deficient in eyes of this kind (however well they may be endowed with real ones). In the Primaries] it is better not to make outlines thus
I think it will be a useful guidance if I send you, as I do herewith, a packet of thumbprints (Nos. 3000-3164) which have been carefully outlined and measured; these are all rolled prints, so the nature of the patterns, especially of the Whorls, is much more easily understood than in the finger-prints. They will teach confidence in outlining by inference. (Please let me ultimately have these back again.)
Will you then again go over the Jewesses, and finish the 60-100 by the light of what is now sent, and let me see them when complete and before you take the trouble of making a fresh table? There is a little difficulty. about some few imperfect prints. It would not do to
* Calton was much less certain about this later: see Vol. III, pp. 193-4. t Galton's original name for Arches.
but thus /~