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Inquiries into
Human Faculty





 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development
by
Francis Galton
FRS

First issue of this Edition 1907



 


PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

After some years had passed subsequent to the publication of this
book in 1883, its publishers, Messrs. Macmillan, informed me that
the demand for it just, but only just warranted a revised issue. I
shrank from the great trouble of bringing it up to date because it,
or rather many of my memoirs out of which it was built up, had
become starting-points for elaborate investigations both in England
and in America, to which it would be difficult and very laborious to
do justice in a brief compass. So the question of a Second Edition
was then entirely dropped. Since that time the book has by no means
ceased to live, for it continues to be quoted from and sought for,
but is obtainable only with difficulty, and at much more than its
original cost, at sales of second-hand books. Moreover, it became
the starting point of that recent movement in favour of National
Eugenics (see note p. 24 in first edition) which is recognised by
the University of London, and has its home in University College.

Having received a proposal to republish the book in its present
convenient and inexpensive form, I gladly accepted it, having first
sought and received an obliging assurance from Messrs. Macmillan
that they would waive all their claims to the contrary in my favour.

The following small changes are made in this edition. The
illustrations are for the most part reduced in size to suit the
smaller form of the volume, the lettering of the composites is
rearranged, and the coloured illustration is reproduced as closely
as circumstances permit. Two chapters are omitted, on "Theocratic
Intervention" and on the "Objective Efficacy of Prayer." The earlier
part of the latter was too much abbreviated from the original memoir
in the Fortnightly Review, 1872, and gives, as I now perceive, a
somewhat inexact impression of its object, which was to investigate
certain views then thought orthodox, but which are growing obsolete.
I could not reinsert these omissions now with advantage, unless
considerable additions were made to the references, thus giving more
appearance of personal controversy to the memoirs than is desirable.
After all, the omission of these two chapters, in which I find
nothing to recant, improves, as I am told, the general balance of the
book. FRANCIS GALTON.






CONTENTS


PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

INTRODUCTION

Origin and object of book.

VARIETY OF HUMAN NATURE

Many varieties may each be good of its kind; advantage
of variety; some peculiarities are, however, harmful.

FEATURES

Large number of elements in the human expression; of
touches in a portrait; difficulty of measuring the separate
features; or of selecting typical individuals; the typical
English face; its change at different historical periods;
colour of hair of modern English; caricatures.

COMPOSITE PORTRAITURE

(See Appendix for three Memoirs describing successive
stages of the method).--Object and principle of the process;
description of the plate--composites of medals; of family
portraits; of the two sexes and of various ages; of Royal
Engineers; the latter gives a clue to one direction in which
the English race might be improved; of criminals; of the
consumptive; ethnological application of the process.

BODILY QUALITIES

Anthropometric Committee; statistical anomalies in stature
as dependent on age; town and rural population; athletic
feats now and formerly; increase of stature of middle classes;
large number of weakly persons; some appearances of weakness
may be fallacious; a barrel and a wheel; definition
of word "eugenic."

ENERGY

It is the attribute of high races; useful stimuli to activity;
fleas, etc.; the preservation of the weakly as exercises for
pity; that of foxes for sport.

SENSITIVITY

Sensation and pain; range and grades of sensation;
idiots; men and women; the blind; reading by touch;
sailors; paucity of words to express gradation.

SEQUENCE OF TEST WEIGHTS

(See also Appendix, p. 248).--Geometric series of
weights; method of using them; the same principle is
applicable to other senses; the tests only measure the state
of faculties at time of trial; cautions in constructing the
test weights; multiplicity of the usual perceptions.

WHISTLES FOR AUDIBILITY OF SHRILL NOTES

(See also Appendix, p. 252).--Construction of them; loss
of power of hearing high notes as age advances; trials upon
animals; sensitivity of cats to high notes; of small dogs and
ponies.

ANTHROPOMETRIC REGISTERS

Want of anthropometric laboratories; of family records;
opportunities in schools; Admiralty records of life of each
seaman; family registers (see also 220); autotypes; medical
value of ancestral life-histories (see also 220); of their
importance to human eugenics.

UNCONSCIOUSNESS OF PECULIARITIES

Colour blindness usually unsuspected; unconsciousness of
high intellectual gifts; of peculiarities of mental imagery;
heredity of colour blindness in Quakers; Young and Dalton.

STATISTICAL METHODS

Objects of statistical science; constancy and continuity
of statistical results; groups and sub-groups; augival or
ogival curves; wide application of the ogival; method;
example; first method of comparing two ogival groups;
centesimal grades; example; second method of comparing
ogival groups; statistical records easily made with a
pricker.

CHARACTER

Caprice and coyness of females; its cause; observations
of character at schools; varieties of likings and antipathies;
horror of snakes is by no means universal; the horror of
blood among cattle is variable.

CRIMINALS AND THE INSANE

Peculiarities of criminal character; some of them are
normal and not morbid; their inheritance as in the Jukes
family; epileptics and their nervous instability; insanity;
religious rapture; strange views of the insane on individuality;
their moody segregation; the religious discipline of
celibacy, fasting and solitude (see also 125); large field of
study among the insane and idiotic.

GREGARIOUS AND SLAVISH INSTINCTS

Most men shrink from responsibility; study of gregarious
animals: especially of the cattle of the Damaras; fore-oxen
to waggon teams; conditions of safety of herds; cow and
young calf when approached by lions; the most effective
size of herd; corresponding production of leaders; similarly
as regards barbarian tribes and their leaders; power of
tyranny vested in chiefs; political and religious persecutions;
hence human servility; but society may flourish without
servility; its corporate actions would then have statistical
constancy; nations who are guided by successive orators,
etc., must be inconstant; the romantic side of servility; free
political life.

INTELLECTUAL DIFFERENCES

Reference to Hereditary Genius.

MENTAL IMAGERY

Purport of inquiry; circular of questions (see Appendix
for this); the first answers were from scientific men,
and were negative; those from persons in general society
were quite the reverse; sources of my materials; they are
mutually corroborative. Analysis of returns from 100
persons mostly of some eminence; extracts from replies of
those in whom the visualising faculty is highest; those in
whom it is mediocre; lowest; conformity between these
and other sets of haphazard returns; octile, median, etc.,
values; visualisation of colour; some liability to exaggeration;
blindfold chess-players; remarkable instances of visualisation;
the faculty is not necessarily connected with keen sight or
tendency to dream; comprehensive imagery; the faculty in different
sexes and ages; is strongly hereditary; seems notable among
the French; Bushmen; Eskimo; prehistoric men; admits of being
educated; imagery usually fails in flexibility; special and generic
images (see also Appendix); use of the faculty.

NUMBER-FORMS

General account of the peculiarity; mutually corroborative
statements; personal evidence given at the Anthropological
Institute; specimens of a few descriptions and
illustrative woodcuts; great variety in the Forms; their
early origin; directions in which they run; bold conceptions
of children concerning height and depth; historical
dates, months, etc.; alphabet; derivation of the Forms
from the spoken names of numerals; fixity of the Form
compared to that of the handwriting; of animals working
in constant patterns; of track of eye when searching for
lost objects; occasional origin from figures on clock; from
various other sources; the non-decimal nomenclature of
numerals; perplexity caused by it. Description of figures
in Plate I.; Plate II.; Plate III.; Plate IV. Colours
assigned to numerals (see 105); personal characters; sex;
frequency with which the various numerals are used in the
Talmud.

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS

(Description of Plate IV. continued) Associations with
numerals; with words and letters; illustrations by Dr. J.
Key; the scheme of one seer unintelligible to other seers;
mental music, etc.

VISIONARIES

Sane persons often see visions; the simpler kinds of
visions; unconsciousness of seers, at first, of their
peculiarity; subsequent dislike to speak about it; imagery
connected with words; that of Mrs. Haweis; automatic changes
in dark field of eye; my own experiences; those of Rev. G. Henslow;
visions frequently unlike vivid visualisations; phantasmagoria;
hallucinations; simile of a seal in a pond; dreams and partial
sensitiveness of brain; hallucinations and illusions, their causes;
"faces in the fire," etc.; sub-conscious picture-drawing; visions
based on patched recollections; on blended recollections; hereditary
seership; visions caused by fasting, etc.; by spiritual discipline
(see also 47); star of Napoleon I.; hallucinations of
great men; seers commoner at some periods than at others;
reasons why.

NURTURE AND NATURE

Their effects are difficult to separate; the same character
has many phases; Renaissance; changes owing merely to
love of change; feminine fashions; periodical sequences of
changed character in birds; the interaction of nurture and
nature.

ASSOCIATIONS

Derived from experience; especially from childish recollections
(see 141); abstract ideas; cumulative ideas, like composite
portraits (see also Appendix, "Generic Images," p. 229);
their resemblance even in details.

PSYCHOMETRIC EXPERIMENTS

Difficulty of watching the mind in operation; how it may
be overcome; irksomeness of the process; tentative experiments;
method used subsequently; the number of recurrent
associations; memory; ages at which associations are
formed; similarity of the associations in persons of the same
country and class of society; different descriptions of
associations, classified; their relative frequency; abstract ideas are
slowly formed; multifariousness of sub-conscious operations.

ANTECHAMBER OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Act of thinking analysed; automatic mental work; fluency
of words and of imagery; processes of literary composition;
fluency of spiritual ideas; visionary races of men; morbid
ideas of inspiration (see Enthusiasm).

EARLY SENTIMENTS

Accidents of education, religion, country, etc.; deaf-mutes
and religious ritual; religion in its essentials; all religious
teachers preach faith and instil prejudices; origin of the
faculty of conscience; evolution is always behindhand;
good men of various faiths; the fear of death; terror is
easily taught; gregarious animals (see also 47); suspiciousness
in the children of criminals; Dante and contemporary
artists on the terrors of hell; aversion is easily taught,
Eastern ideas of clean and unclean acts; the foregoing
influences affect entire classes.

HISTORY OF TWINS

It supplies means of comparing the effects of nurture and
nature; physiological signification of twinship; replies to
a circular of inquiries; eighty cases of close resemblance
between twins; the points in which their resemblance was
closest; extracts from the replies; interchangeableness of
likeness; cases of similar forms of insanity in both twins;
their tastes and dispositions; causes of growing dissimilarity
mainly referred to illness; partly to gradual development of
latent elements of dissimilarity; effect of childish illnesses
in permanently checking growth of head; parallel lives and
deaths among twins; necessitarianism; twenty cases of great
dissimilarity; extracts from the replies; evidence of slight
exaggeration; education is almost powerless to diminish
natural difference of character; simile of sticks floating
down a brook; depth of impressions made in childhood;
they are partly due to the ease with which parents and
children understand one another; cuckoos forget the teachings
of their foster-mothers.

DOMESTICATION OF ANIMALS

Alternative hypotheses of the prehistoric process of
domestication; savages rear captive animals; instances in
North America; South America; North Africa; Equatorial
Africa; South Africa; Australia; New Guinea Group;
Polynesia; ancient Syria. Sacred animals; menageries
and shows in amphitheatres; instances in ancient Egypt;
Assyria; Rome; Mexico; Peru; Syria and Greece.
Domestication is only possible when the species has certain
natural faculties, viz.--great hardiness; fondness for man;
desire of comfort; usefulness to man; fertility; being easy
to tend. Habitual selection of the tamest to breed from.
Exceptions; summary.

THE OBSERVED ORDER OF EVENTS

Steady improvement in the birthright of successive generations;
our ignorance of the origin and purport of all existence;
of the outcome of life on this earth; of the conditions
of consciousness; slow progress of evolution and its
system of ruthless routine; man is the heir of long bygone
ages; has great power in expediting the course of evolution;
he might render its progress less slow and painful;
does not yet understand that it may be his part to do so.

SELECTION AND RACE

Difference between the best specimens of a poor race and
the mediocre ones of a high race; typical centres to which
races tend to revert; delicacy of highly-bred animals; their
diminished fertility; the misery of rigorous selection; it is
preferable to replace poor races by better ones; strains of
emigrant blood; of exiles.

INFLUENCE OF MAN UPON RACE

Conquest, migrations, etc.; sentiment against extinguishing
races; is partly unreasonable; the so-called "aborigines";
on the variety and number of different races
inhabiting the same country; as in Spain; history of the
Moors; Gypsies; the races in Damara Land; their recent
changes; races in Siberia; Africa; America; West Indies;
Australia and New Zealand; wide diffusion of Arabs and
Chinese; power of man to shape future humanity.

POPULATION

Over-population; Malthus--the danger of applying his
prudential check; his originality; his phrase of misery check
is in many cases too severe; decaying races and the cause
of decay.

EARLY AND LATE MARRIAGES

Estimate of their relative effects on a population in a few
generations; example.

MARKS FOR FAMILY MERIT

On the demand for definite proposals how to improve
race; the demand is not quite fair, and the reasons why;
nevertheless attempt is made to suggest the outline of one;
on the signs of superior race; importance of giving weight
to them when making selections from candidates who are
personally equal; on families that have thriven; that are
healthy and long-lived; present rarity of our knowledge
concerning family antecedents; Mr. F.M. Hollond on the
superior morality of members of large families; Sir William
Gull on their superior vigour; claim for importance of
further inquiries into the family antecedents of those who
succeed in after life; probable large effect of any system
by which marks might be conferred on the ground of family
merit.

ENDOWMENTS

These have frequently been made in order to furnish
marriage portions; they, as well as the adoption of gifted
children of gifted families, may hereafter become common;
college statutes enjoining celibacy on Fellows; reverse effect
to that for which prizes at races were established; the recent
reform of those statutes and numerous marriages in consequence;
the English race has yet to be explored for its
natural wealth; those who are naturally gifted would be
disinclined to squander their patrimony; social consideration;
honest pride in goodness of race.

CONCLUSION

Epitome of data; the apparent place of man in nature;
he should look upon himself as a freeman; he should assist
in furthering evolution; his present ability to do so; the
certainty that his ability of doing so will increase; importance
of life-histories; brief summary.


APPENDIX

A. COMPOSITE PORTRAITURE

I. Extract of Memoir read in 1878 before the Anthropological
Institute;
II. Generic Images, extract from Lecture in 1879 to Royal
Institution;
III. Memoir read in 1881 before the Photographic Society.

B. THE RELATIVE SUPPLIES FROM TOWN AND COUNTRY FAMILIES
TO THE POPULATION OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

Memoir read in 1873 before the Statistical Society.

C. AN APPARATUS FOR TESTING THE DELICACY WITH WHICH WEIGHTS
CAN BE DISCRIMINATED BY HANDLING THEM

Memoir read in 1882 before the Anthropological Institute.

D. WHISTLES FOR TESTING THE UPPER LIMITS OF AUDIBLE SOUND
IN DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS

Read in 1876 at the South Kensington Conferences in
connection with the Loan Exhibition of Scientific Instruments.

E. QUESTIONS ON VISUALISING AND OTHER ALLIED FACULTIES

Circulated in 1880.





PLATES


SPECIMENS OF COMPOSITE PORTRAITURE

EXAMPLES OF NUMBER-FORMS

EXAMPLES OF NUMBER-FORMS

EXAMPLES OF NUMBER FORMS, HEREDITARY

COLOUR ASSOCIATIONS AND MENTAL IMAGERY

INQUIRIES INTO HUMAN FACULTY



 

last update: 05-jun-2008