The Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton

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Karl Pearson
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The delay that has attended the issue of this Life of Francis Galton, of which even now only the first volume appears, is largely due to three causes. In the first place the writer has so many other duties that the time to sort out, peruse and abstract the large amount of available material has only been obtained in odd holiday intervals or by postponing the claims of students and workers in the Galton Laboratory on his attention and energy. I trust that they will for the sake of this account of the life of the man, to whom we alike owe so much, pardon the delays, which have so often been inflicted on the publication of their own researches. Secondly I had hoped that some postponement of the date of issue might lead to the discovery of more material bearing on the Fallow Years 1844 to 1849. This hope has not been fulfilled, and nothing has reached me which in any way supplies the place of the material, which appears to have existed at the date of Galton's death, judging by his own index to his letters. Hardly a letter to him of this period, which would have fixed his habitation and occupation, or have suggested his thoughts and reading, has reached me. The whole of his letters home from Egypt and Syria have perished, and the letters to him from his sisters, which would have told much, have been destroyed. The first realisation of this loss so depressed me, that I almost determined to give up the portraiture of a life, which could thus never be adequately exhibited in some of its most momentous phases. The five years which follow most men's University careers are the most developmental of their lives. No other quinquennium is one of such marked growth, for men usually in this period will start to think and act definitely for themselves; they must then face the fundamental problems of life relying on their own powers.

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