7 – Letter to Frederick Smith from Francis Galton, 13 Jan 1898

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Jan 12/98

42, Rutland Gate, S.W.

Dear Capt Smith

Thank you very much indeed. I enclose my results.

Is my supposition of 2 errors in measurement (see note at bottom of enclosed) a possibility? If I am right, the results are very fair, except AB which has no business to be ½ inch wrong.

The measures are very easily made under a watchmakers


lens. & the multiplications by means of Crelle’s tables is still quicker.

I dont think the obliquity of the side scale has led to notable error, it is perspectively shortened thereby to perhaps 2 or 3 % but I have not properly worked it out. (I ought to make a little table.)

Two or three days ago I had a long & instructive talk with Capt Hayes,


who spoke much of the extreme fidgetiness of thoroughbreds & still more of well bred Hackneys. He showed me his book (wh: I knew before) & in turning over the leaves, I remarked on a zebra standing quietly in a small enclosure, & asked whether a thoroughbred would tolerate being led into a sort of pen, thus :-

[sketch indicating “wall place for horse to stand]

He quite thought the plan wd do


and suggested a rope for AB, as amply sufficient, because these fidgetty[sic] horses hate touching anything, and a rope could not hurt them. In this case, 2 knots in the rope would give the scale. What do you think of this? I might possibly get the plan tried at some racing stables – not photographing these, but merely seeing whether the horses wd stand quiet under the conditions.

Very faithfully yours,

Francis Galton

I never answered your question about the whistles. I do not put them very near. If you find any hopeful result with the coarse whistle I sent you, I could lend a much more delicate one, better suited for very high notes.

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