11 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 12 Feb 1898

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Feb 12/98

42, Rutland Gate, S.W.

Dear Capt Smith

At last I am so far convalescent as to begin work, gently, again, & the first things taken in hand were yr 3 last horses. I have crossed worked them in various ways and the results are quite satisfactory except that the optical axis of the camera was far turn horizontal in A and somewhat wrong in C. I send copies of parts of the work for you keep. I do not want them back.

The distances KL in the one & MN in the other [sketch indicating a horse section]

are not suitable to this method of measuring.

The arrangement of horse C, with a knotted cord lengthways between his legs, is excellent. Clearly in a place prepared for an hippometric laboratory an equivalent to this could be drawn on a concrete floor & a concrete back ground could be given, & the camera be set on a place, adjusted once for all. The necessary lineations[sic] to verify the correctness of position of the camera, cd I think be easily arranged in a very inconspicuous


way. Your dotted squares, ¼ inch in side, are amply large enough to be seen & connecting lines of 1/8th in width wd be quite sufficient. A little experience would be needed to reach the utmost of simplicity & suitability. The suspended sealer would then be superfluous.

It will give me great pleasure to read your ? memoir, wd you care you send it me in M S. An objection to the argument strikes me as possible, & consequently might with advantage be anticipated. Viz: that the experts’ judgement of draught power is largely depends on their estimate of the horses weight. Consequently what you


chiefly measure may be, in the last analysis, little or more then the accuracy of the experts in appraising weight. I feel sure this way of expressing it does some injustice to your theory. still it is partly true, and if you cd show what is the real weight to be attached to the objection it might be well.

I hope to be fit to leave England in the little more than a week, for a three months stay in S France and Sicily.

With sincere thanks for all your trouble on my behalf & the help you have given me

Very faithfully yours

Francis Galton

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