Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/186

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Realizing "the pressing necessity of obtaining a multitude of exact measurements relating to every measurable faculty of body or mind, for two generations at least, on which to theorize "he set about in many different ways to achieve this object. In 1882, he published a plea beginning" When shall we have anthropometric laboratories, where a man may from time to time get himself and his children weighed, measured and rightly photographed, and have each of their bodily faculties tested, by the best methods known to modern science?"

This plan was realized in 1884 when Mr. Galton established an anthropometric laboratory at the International Health Exhibition, London. Subsequently the laboratory was maintained in the Science Galleries of the South Kensington Museum for about six years.

It is impossible to summarize fitly the consequences of the establishment of these laboratories. Certainly they are not to be gauged by the tangible data which they yielded. The measurement of the various faculties required special apparatus, and our psychological laboratories and college gymnasia are greatly indebted to these pioneer institutions. From anthropometry in particular is a natural step to biometry in general.

With Francis Galton anthropometry was largely a means to an end—heredity. The titles of his major works on inheritance have already been given. Heredity in its turn was merely the scientific prerequisite for a humanitarian movement—eugenics. To this end it was with the few exceptions mentioned above concentrated upon man.

Among biologists one often hears misgivings expressed concerning studies of heredity based on man. "Obviously enough the laws of inheritance are the same for man as for other animals, or as for plants, but the material is not suitable for investigation," is the substance of frequent comments. In a degree this criticism is quite justified. Human pedigrees are collected with great difficulty, as compared with those of peas or fowls or mice. Even where the greatest caution is exercised, the opportunities for deception and concealment are very great, and individual pedigrees must be looked upon with the greatest caution.

These objections can not detract in the slightest degree from the credit due to Francis Galton. The work of an individual to be justly appraised must be judged in relation to the intellectual environment of his time, just as social or religious movements to be intelligible must be studied in their historical setting. In "Hereditary Genius" Mr. Galton records the results of an exploration of an entirely new field. In it he entered a terra incognita just as truly as when he turned his back upon the missionary outposts and his face towards the land of the Ovampo. Up to Galton's time men discussed heredity. He set about to measure its intensity. Even after much of his epoch-making work was published, prominent and otherwise well-informed men denied the