Characterisation, especially by Letters 523
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. July 29, 1903.
DEAR SIR, The packet of 50 Puckeys has just come, together with the very legible letter for which pray thank Mrs Perry Coste most sincerely on my behalf. I will bear your suggestions about scrutinising pedigrees well in mind. As yet I have not found time to begin a careful revision, etc., of them, but shall be free very soon to do so. I find your notes of relationship, thus far, perfectly clear. Thanks for the hint about the chamois leather dabber. I dab with the india-rubber, which I keep scrupulously clean. The small children make beautiful prints when the ink is spread thinly and evenly and when the children are submissive. It is a good plan just before pressing the child's finger on the paper to direct its attention to the window, then its curled-up finger relaxes at once, and a good print is taken.
The " odd " persons are acceptable. As I said in my circular (or in a revised re-print of it) I am just now glad of a large collection of unrelated persons in addition to the related ones. They are wanted for the first purpose to which I alluded, of getting a natural classification. You are indeed carrying through a big work *; it is most useful to myself. It is impossible not to see evidences of finger-print relationships when outlining the patterns prior to a more exact study of them. I have now greater hopes than ever of extracting much good out of this inquiry.
Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
F. H. PEHRY CosTE, EsQ.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S. W. August 21, 1903.
DEAR SIR, I had written to the Vicar of Lizard before your second letter arrived, and have had a very courteous reply from him, but he declines for want of leisure. I shall treat Polperro folk as a much intermarried group, and this fact comes out conspicuously in the much greater frequency of arches in their .finger-prints, than occurs in the population at large. Their prints have not yet been strictly isolated in my preliminary statistics though they will be. At present, a large infusion of them is sufficient to raise the arch-frequency of a mixed lot.
Enclosed I send more schedules and forms. On Monday we move to a house I have taken for four weeks certain, viz. "Manor House, Peppard Common, Henleyon-Thames." It will be better to address letters there for the present. One reason for my going there is to be in the neighbourhood of Prof. Karl Pearson who also has taken a house there. Moreover Prof. Weldon comes down each week-end, Friday to Monday, so biometric affairs can be discussed and especially some problems connected with these finger-prints before I finally commit myself. The ins and outs of Statistics are as you well know singularly intricate and apt to mislead inquirers. Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
F. H. PERRY COSTE, ESQ.
MANOR HOUSE, PEPPARD COMMON, HENLEY-ON-THAMES. August 28, 1903.
DEAR SIR, (1) The large contribution of Curtises, (2) the schedules, and now (3) your letter of yesterday, have all reached me. I am working as hard as I can at my material with a niece to help, and am gradually getting it into order. As yet I do not see my way to discuss more distant relations, as such, than first cousins, but propose to deal with batches of inter-related persons as wholes. It is most remarkable to note the frequency with which particular patterns affect such groups, and I shall before long get this into a numerical form. But there is much to be done before I can even attempt this. Thank you much for your offer of help in getting such members of the odd -parents' fraternities as it may prove desirable to have. I will bear this in mind. You also say that you could get" 200 or 300 more finger-prints "in order practically to exhaust the population of Polperro. Of course I should be most grateful for such a large contribution, but I am diffident in asking for so much. The utility would be many-sided. They would be welcome merely as prints, to establish the first of the objects of the inquiry. They would perhaps include something of the native Polperro types, and they would serve in some degree as a " control series. Should you really brace yourself up to this great additional labour I for my part should be greatly obliged and should value the finger-prints highly. Please in that case take particular care never to use too muck ink. Your fault as a " finger-printer " is blottiness. This
Mr Perry Coste had taken the finger-prints of nearly the whole population of Polperro, a Cornish fishing village with much inbreeding.