Kantsaywhere by Francis Galton
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Kantsaywhere

 




by Francis Galton

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Kantsaywhere by Francis Galton is one of the background documents relevant to the document series that discusses limiting franchise directed to mitigating the worst consequences of unrestricted franchise within the context of poorly educated populations.
introduction to franchise discussion documents citizenship curriculum The logic of ethics
franchise by examination, education and intelligence power, ownership and freedom

background:
Curious Republic of Gondour by Mark Twain
from Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein

• Kantsaywhere
by Francis Galton
from In the Wet by Neville Shute
historic UK vote allocation
for related short briefing documents examining the world’s growing crisis, start at
replacing fossil fuels, the scale of the problem
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Kantsaywhere by Francis Galton
From Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton by Karl Pearson [1930] [1],
vol IIIA pp. 414 - 424
From Galton’s effects [not published in his lifetime]

This rather desultory sally into fiction seems to have embarrassed Galton to the extent of him destroying much of it. This document reproduces what still remains. Recovered from his effects by his biographer, by Karl Pearson, Kantsaywhere was probably written very close to the end of Galton’s life [1822 - 1911]. As far as I know, this is the first time that this text has been reproduced anywhere as an independent item. There is another document at abelard.org giving background to Francis Galton’s work, including a copy of his statistical paper on the efficacy of prayer.
Text in yellow
is based on Karl Pearson’s commentary on the extracts.

[p.414]
The hero of the tale is the “I” of the following extracts.

“Mr Neverwas had died, leaving all his property in the hands of trustees for the use of the Council of Kantsaywhere and their successors. He desired in his testament that the income should be employed in improving the stock of the place, especially of its human breed. The methods of doing so in force at the time of his death were to be continued with such future changes directed to the same end as experience might suggest.

“The College was to grant diplomas for heritable gifts, physical and mental, to encourage the early marriages of highly diplomaed parents by the offer of appropriate awards of various social and material advantages to relieve the cost of nurturing their children, to keep a minute register of results, and to discuss those results from time to time. He laid down the principle with much emphasis, that none of the income of his property was to be spent on the support of the naturally feeble. It was intended, on the contrary, to help those who were strong by nature to multiply and to be well-nourished. The practice of charity in the ordinary sense of protecting the feeble, however commendable in itself, was to be left to such other agencies as might be formed independently of the College and not disapproved by it.

“The 200 inhabitants of 1820 have now become 10,000, partly through natural increase, which is equal to the full rate of the present [1910] population of Russia, where in every decade, 100 becomes 140. At this rate in 90 years the 200 have become 1000. Immigration accounts for the rest.

“The Trustees of the College are the sole proprietors of almost all the territory of Kantsaywhere, and they exercise a corresponding influence over the whole population. Their moral ascendancy is paramount. The families of the College and those of the Town are connected by numerous inter-marriages and common interests, so that the relation between them is more like that between the Fellows of a College and the undergraduates, than between the Gown and Town of an English University. In short, Kantsaywhere may be looked upon as an active little community, containing a highly-respected and wealthy guild. So much for the early History of Kantsaywhere. ”

“It is the way of Kantsaywhere, for everybody is classed by everybody else according to their estimate or knowledge of his person and faculties.

“Let me explain at once that what they are concerned with in one another are the natural, and therefore the only heritable characteristics. We have heard much in political talk of the ‘prairie value’ of land, that is to say, of its value when uncultivated, neither fenced nor drained, ploughed nor planted, only to be reached over the waste, and having neither houses nor farm buildings. Applying this idea to man, as if he were land, it is the prairie value of him that the Kantsaywhere people seek to ascertain. His ‘brute value’ would be a proper expression if employed in the original sense of that word, but ‘brute’ has acquired so many disagreeable connotations that if used here it would be misunderstood.

“I learnt that I was only just in time to undergo the first of my two examinations. It was merely a ‘Pass’ one, but a necessary preliminary for admission to the ‘Honours’ examination, in which the more successful candidates are classed in order of merit. The Honours examination of girls for the year was just over, and the lists were to be published that very night. The eldest daughter of the house, Miss Augusta Allfancy, was a candidate and all the family were keenly anxious to learn the result, for it would have an important effect on her after-life. It seemed tacitly agreed that nothing should be said on this matter until the results arrived, so they were only too happy to have their thoughts diverted to English topics and to my own affairs.

“In Kantsaywhere they think much more of the race than of the individual, and on my expressing a faint surprise, the family argued to the following effect: ‘Suppose a person to be one of the two parents of four children. He or she contributes a half share to each, which is [p.415] much the same as a whole share to two [2]. This process may continue indefinitely in a growing population like their own, so his or her influence on the race may increase in geometric proportion as the generations go on. A person is therefore more important as a probable progenitor of many others more or less like to him in constitution than as a mere individual.’ I learnt that the object of the first examination was to give a Pass certificate for ‘Genetic’ qualities. By ‘genetic’ is meant all that is transmissible by heredity, whether it be of ancestral origin or a personal sport or mutation. The refusal to grant a Pass certificate is equivalent to an assertion that the person is unfit to have any offspring at all. By a second-class certificate that permission is granted, but with reservations, of which more will be said later.

“In reply to my expression of diffidence as regards my own success, I was emphatically reassured by my late scrutineers as to my personal capabilities, which Tom was pleased to rate at ‘30 at least,’—a term which will be explained later. But what my ancestral claims might be valued at, was another matter. They assured me that my sponsor, Mr Allfancy, had already submitted an outline of them to the examiners, in as favourable terms as the information warranted, and that he was quite satisfied with them for pass purposes, but was sure that they were insufficiently authenticated to receive adequate credence from the examiners for honours. Consequently far fewer marks might be awarded me for my ancestry than I probably deserved. They all expressed surprise at foreigners knowing so little with exactness about their grandparents and other ancestors, saying, that everyone in Kantsaywhere knew their own as well almost as if they had been their playmates and comrades, and that they all possessed an abundance of well authenticated facts about them [3]....

“I was told on inquiry that those who were placed high in the list, as Miss Augusta was, were justified in expecting numerous advantages on their marriage, that as many of them as there were vacancies in the College—there were ten in the present year—were elected Probationers, and therefore future recipients of those advantages if their husbands were adequately diplomaed, but not otherwise. What the girls most thought of, as Tom afterwards told me, was a marriage between two probationers whose joint marks exceeded 200 and who had at least two stars, of which more will be said later. It gave the right of having the marriage conducted with special ceremony [4], and of its being known and recorded as a ‘College marriage.’ The offspring of such marriages are reckoned foster children of the College during their childhood, and they and their ‘College parents’ are helped in many important ways. But Tom added that his sister, in order to obtain one, must marry a man with at least 107 marks and one star, and that very few of such unmarried men are available. I took full notes of what Tom told me of the advantages attached to a College wedding, and to others which were a little short of having a ‘joint 200 marks and two stars,’ but I must get them verified before putting the results into my Journal.”

Reproduced above is all that remains of the first four chapters.

Chapter V is titled: Pass and Honours Examinations.
“I went through physical tests, which I need not describe particularly, as they were similar to those which all Englishmen undergo before admission into the Army, Navy, Indian Civil Service, etc. But the examination was more strict and minute and in the medical part it was [p.416] such as a very careful Insurance Office might be expected to require. I was much questioned about the papers that Mr Allfancy had sent in, as regards my personal knowledge of the authorities for the facts there set forth. They then smilingly gave me a first-class P. G.—Passed in Genetics—degree, and I had to imprint my fingers in their Register, for future identification if necessary. So I returned to my host with one small portion of a load of anxiety taken off my mind.

“I heard a little now, but must inform myself more particularly hereafter, as to the fate of those who failed to pass. A Bureau was charged with looking after the unclassed parents and their offspring, and much was done to make the lot of the unclassed as pleasant as might be, so long as they propagated no children. If they did do so kindness was changed into sharp severity.

“Labour Colonies are established where the very inferior are segregated under conditions that are not onerous, except that they must work hard and live in celibacy. It is difficult to describe the indignation and even the horror felt in Kantsaywhere, at acts that may spoil the goodness of their stock, of which they have become extremely proud and jealous. They look confidently forward to a coming time when Kantsaywhere shall have evolved a superior race of men. As it is the people who are born there and emigrate nearly always excel most of their competitors on equal terms, and return in after life with sufficient means to end their days in tranquillity near their beloved College.

“In the evening I found the Allfancy party much saddened by ill news to the effect that one of their dearest friends, who had made a ‘College’ wedding with much éclat a few years previously, had given birth to a deformed child. I had expected to hear from Mrs Allfancy some severe remark on the subject, but was mistaken. She was most sympathetic with the family and the child. The College was responsible, she said, for its existence: the marriage of its parents had its highest approval; it was brought into the world in accordance with the rules they advocate. The misfortune was due to some overlooked cause, which might or might not be of a kind that would hereafter be understood and could be provided against. No blame whatever attaches to the parents who should be whole-heartedly condoled with. The child should be in no way discouraged on account of its natural defect, except as regards absolute prohibition hereafter to marry.”

“This was the first of the four days to be occupied in the annual examination of about 80 candidates for Honours, one quarter of them on each day. The examination consists of four divisions. The first is mainly anthropometric, the second is aesthetic and literary, the third is medical, and the fourth is ancestral. Many examiners are employed and a staff of skilled clerks in addition. The examination is conducted in batches, each batch being assigned a particular hour for beginning, and for being thenceforward submitted to the four sets of Examiners successively.

“My batch had to present itself at 12 noon. At that hour I handed in my Pass Certificate to an official, who sat in the Hall, by the entrance to a long enclosure of lattice-work [5], through which everything was easily seen from the outside. The enclosure contained a row of narrow [p.417] tables ranged down its middle, on which most of the measuring instruments were placed, the heavier ones standing on the ground between them. Those instruments were duplicated that required a longer time for their use than the rest. A passage ran between each side of the tables and the walls of the enclosure. Five attendants, each having one candidate in charge, were engaged all day long in making a tour of the tables in succession. The candidate emerges and is dismissed at an exit door, which is separated from the entrance by a low gate, over which the official can lean while he sits.

Francis Galton's first anthrometric laboratory at the International Health Exhibition, South Kensington, 1884

“Immediately after entering the enclosure, my attendant made me sign my name and impress my blackened fingers on a blank Schedule. It contained numerous spaces with printed headings, which the attendant filled in with pencil as he went on. He took me round the enclosure, testing me in turn by every instrument and recording the results. They referred to stature, both standing and sitting, span of arms, weight, breathing capacity, strength of arm as when pulling a bow, power of grip, swiftness of blow, reaction time, discrimination (blindfold) between weights, normality of eye, acuity of vision, colour sense, acuteness of hearing, discrimination of notes, sensitivity of taste and of touch, and a few other faculties. Lastly the states of my teeth, which are particularly good, and of my mouth, were inspected. The entries to my schedule now and later on were, as I heard, to be examined and checked by clerks whose business it was to translate the Measures into Marks, according to a definite system. For related faculties, Weight and Strength in combination, a sheet of paper ruled in squares was prepared, in which a series of successive weights was written down its side and a series of Strengths along its top. In the square where the line of the one was crossed by the column of he other the appropriate mark was written. This was copied out by the clerk for the use of the Examiners. But more will be said later on of their Measures and Marks.

“I was next taken to another part of the Hall and submitted to an examination for aesthetics and literature. I was given both prose and poetry to read aloud before the Examiners, a copy of these extracts having been handed to me to peruse beforehand. Then some simple singing was asked for. After this, a few athletic poses were gone through as ·well as some marching past, and the Examiners noted their opinions on my Schedule. Then I was allowed an hour to write four short essays on given subjects. This was the only literary test.

“I should say that they lay much stress on the aesthetic side of things at Kantsaywhere. ‘Grace and Thoroughness' is a motto carved over one of the houses for girls in the College, and I have seen it repeated more than once in embroidery and the like. A loutish boy and an awkward girl hardly exist in the place. They are a merry and high-spirited people, for whose superfluous energy song is a favourite outlet. Besides, they find singing classes to be one of the best ways of bridging over the differences of social rank. Musical speech and clear but refined pronunciation are thought highly of; so is literary expression, and this examination is intended to test all these. The ’arry and ’arriet class is wholly unknown in Kantsaywhere.

“I was then medically examined in a private room, very strictly indeed, and much was asked about my early ailments and former state of health. Here again I need not go into details, for they can be easily imagined in a general way, even by a layman. It is wonderful how adroit the skilled medical examiners become in their task. Nothing seemed to escape their sharp observation, whether of old scars or any internal abnormality. My few defects re unimportant; I thought my vaccination marks had become invisible but they were quickly noted and minutely examined. The principles on which marks are to be awarded are fully laid down in printed directions.

“Lastly came the consideration of my ancestry. The papers communicated by Mr Allfancy were produced and again looked into and criticised, but much more minutely than before, and the value of the authorities for the facts stated in them was keenly discussed. I lay under a difficulty here. The official records made at Kantsaywhere are so minutely kept, that the requirements of the examiners have grown to be extremely rigorous as regards the evidences of ancestral gifts and maladies. All immigrants are more or less suspected. Besides this, such evidences as would require little confirmation in England, owing to public knowledge of the characters of their high authorities, may, and do, require more confirmation here than can easily be collected at home. I deeply resented my own ill-luck in this matter. The examiners told me only what I was fully prepared to hear, but expressed at the same time much regret that they were unable to give as many marks for my Ancestral Efficiency as I possibly, or even probably, deserved. In fact, I only got 5 marks for my ancestry.

[p.418] “This concluded all that I had to undergo. I had spent about one hour under anthropometric tests, and from half-an-hour to one hour under each of the other three, besides the hour in essay-writing, or about four hours in all, exclusive of intervals. Candidates were undergoing examinations in different parts of the Hall at the same time, but not necessarily in the same order. The Medical Room was wholly separated from the rest. The Examination Hall was in full use during 6 hours, so with duplicated examiners, more than 20 candidates could be wholly and easily examined in a single day. Four such days dealt with all the 80 candidates. The clerks were simultaneously employed, each in copying and in reducing entries and adding up figures, which after being checked by other clerks were submitted to the chief examiners. Those gentlemen had also acted as overseers and taken some part in the examinations.

“The maximum number of positive marks that could be gained by each candidate is four times 30 or 120. A star (*) might also be gained in each subject. The marks were totalled, and about half of these totals usually range between + 45 and + 70. None of the candidates were given negative marks, those who would otherwise have received them having been weeded out by the Pass Examination. The names and marks of those who gained 70 marks and upwards are published in the newspaper, together with such brief notes as each case might call for. This part of the publication is official and wholly under the editorship of the Registrar. I learnt that supplementary marks might be, and often were, accorded for especially good service to the community subsequent to the examination. They had to be proposed by the Board of Examiners, and the grounds for the proposal had to be set forth in their Annual Report. This was submitted to the final approval of the General Meeting, which was almost always given as a matter of course. These Supplementary Marks are supposed to attest that the natural capacity of the person who receives them really exceeds that which was expressed by the number of marks he had received at the original examination.

“I do not know much in detail about the examination for girls. It is carried out by women examiners who had taken medical degrees elsewhere, and is, I was assured, as thorough as that which I had myself undergone, and was considered to be as trustworthy.

“ There is a bifurcation of the Examinations both for girls and boys, part of each of them being intended for the more cultured class and part for the hard workers, whether on farms or in town. I need not go into particulars.

“I inquired minutely whether they were unable to devise some test for endurance or staying power, which seemed to me one of the most important of those they had to consider. It seemed that they had not as yet succeeded in eliminating the effect of practice. Neither were they enabled to examine into character directly as a separate subject, partly because it was not fully developed at the usual age of examination, and partly because of the extreme difficulty at that age of estimating it justly, the teachers and the comrades of a girl or boy often making sad mistakes of judgment.

“I was assured that no doubt was felt as to the trustworthiness of the marks given by the examiners, as a general rule, subject rarely to exceptions such as might be expected. The sons of College Marriages were unmistakably superior in bodily and mental gifts to those of the ordinary folk of Kantsaywhere, and these again compare very favourably with those of neighbouring colonies. Besides this, numerous results are published in which comparisons are made between the children of high-diplomaed parents and of those who are less highly graded. All concur in showing the general superiority of the former, just as much but not more than would be expected of the offspring of various qualities of any domestic animal. A general conviction of this truth forms the firm basis of the customs and ideals of Kantsaywhere.

CHAPTER VI. The Calendar of Kantsaywhere.
“I returned to my host's house, where I was congratulated on having gone through my ordeal. I felt sure of success in the anthropometric part because I was something of an athlete, having rowed in a University race. I was also good in other respects, being reputed by good judges to be so prompt and sure a shot, that I have been urged, in all seriousness, to go to Monte Karlo and compete there for the valuable pigeon-shooting prizes. r knew I was all right medically, and thought I might do fairly in aesthetics. I, however, saw clearly that I was not even yet received with perfect freedom, except by Tom; the others evidently waited to learn how I should be placed, before letting themselves go, so to speak. They did not as yet invite me to accompany them to the houses of their friends, so I had much spare time, and thought the best way of occupying it until the lists were out, was to stay indoors and to make a careful study of the Calendar of Kantsaywhere College. I saw little [p. 419] of Miss Augusta at this time, as she was invited to a succession of parties. The first four were official invitations given to ensure that each girl probationer should be made acquainted with an equal number of male probationers three or more years older in standing. The male probationers are divided more or less at random into two groups A and B, the females into F and G, then the four official invitations are to A and F, A and G, Band F, and Band G. They have an amusing old-fashioned method of grouping and re-grouping the guests at these entertainments, in order that each girl should have a full half hour of conversation with each young man. It approached merry-making and banished diffidence. It seems however that marriages between two newly made probationers are not particularly approved. It is thought best that the girls should marry young, say about 22 years of age, which admits of more than 4 generations being produced in each century. As for the men, they have to establish themselves in some occupation before they can support a wife, which cannot usually be done till nearly the age of thirty. Consequently many social gatherings are arranged to bring together young girl probationers and older unmarried men, also of the rank of probationers. Persons may fall in love in Kantsaywhere as they do in England, on grounds more or less unaccountable to others, but it is felt here that the best girls and the best men should have frequent opportunities of becoming friends and the earliest chance of falling in love with one another.

“I was surprised to learn from the Calendar of the large extent of the College possessions in farms, houses, hostels, and funds, which were used to encourage early marriages among the most highly diplomaed; I also perceived that the Collegiates must look upon themselves, as they did, as a great family community, out of which about one half of the members of each new generation were obliged to seek their living elsewhere, just as it usually happens in English families now. The Calendar contained the names of all who, since the date of the preceding edition, had either received marks exceeding + 70 or any special award. The record in the Calendar of their doings was minute. It corresponded in length to the paragraphs of Burke’s or Debrett’s Peerages, but differed totally from them by containing anthropological facts, and little else. It was a mine of information for inquirers into heredity, yet it was described as being only a brief abstract of what was preserved in MSS. in the records of the Registrar.

“Tom had hinted to me that he thought his sister was slightly chagrined at her marks falling short of one half of those required for the great honour of a College wedding. The number of names of the men amongst whom she must marry, in order to secure one, was very small, and could easily be found from the Calendar. I looked for them and found only twelve, some or all of whom might be already engaged.

“The large property of the College consisted, first, of the original endowment, of which the income was now retained in England and had been accumulating during recent years to form an Emergency Fund. Secondly, of the fee simple of the district and of all the houses, etc., that had been erected on it since the beginning of the Settlement. Thirdly, of gifts and bequests from former Collegiates, in gratitude for their rearing and in payment for its cost. Fourthly, the annual Eugenic Rates from Kantsaywhere. The inhabitants submitted as cheerfully to as heavy a rate in support of the College, as we do for the support of our Fleet, namely three quarters of £1 per head of the population. We in England, numbering some 45 millions, contribute about 35 millions of pounds annually to the maintenance of our Navy. Here, the 10,000 inhabitants contribute £7,500 to the College, and could easily be persuaded to contribute more, if it were really needed. In very round numbers one half of the income from the last two sources, from gifts and from rates, goes to the Examining, Inspecting and Registering Departments, which together form the soul of the place. The other half goes to collegiates who really need help to enable them to give proper nurture to their large families. This is done very judiciously on the joint recommendations made to the Committee of Awards, by a Board of District Visitors in conjunction with the District Inspector. The Chief Medical Inspector is me of three High Officials, the Rector and the Registrar being the other two. These are elected by the Senate at its Annual General Meetings for a term of three years, and are re-eligible. the Senate consists of all resident Collegiates of either sex, who had gained at least 70 marks, or who are parents of children whose average marks exceed 70 and whose total marks exceed 200, and is the supreme Authority, but in quiet times, the above-mentioned three High Officials, together with a Council, annually elected at thc General Meeting, manage matters very much in their own way. This constitution works very well on the whole, though with occasional jars, much as those which occur in our leading Scientific Societies at home.

[p.420] “An important Committee of this Council is charged with the care of those who fail to pass the Poll examination in Eugenics. Such persons are undesirable as individuals, and dangerous to the community, owing to the practical certainty that they will propagate their kind if unchecked. They are subjected to surveillance and annoyance if they refuse to emigrate. Considerable facilities are afforded to tempt them to go, and agents of the College who are settled in the nearer towns to which they are most likely to drift, are prepared to take charge of them on their arrival. Their passage out is paid, small sums are granted to them at first, on the condition of their never returning to Kantsaywhere. They must renounce in writing all its privileges before being allowed the cost of deportation. Not a few of these persons do well enough especially when the principal reason of their rejection is some hereditary taint, and not personal feebleness. As regards the insane and mentally defective, suitable places for their life segregation are maintained in Kantsaywhere. With so small and eugenic a population, the cases are few and easily dealt with.

“The Regulations printed in the Calendar confirmed the view I had already formed, that the propagation of children by the Unfit is looked upon by the inhabitants of Kantsaywhere as a crime to the State. The people are not misled by the specious argument that there is no certainty whether the anticipations of their unfitness will be verified in any particular case and the individual risk may be faced. They look on the community as a whole and know the results of unfit marriages with statistical certainty, which differs little from absolute certainty whenever large numbers are concerned. For instance, they say 1000 unfit couples will assuredly produce a number of children that can be specified within narrow limits, of each grade of unfitness, though they cannot foretell whether these children will be the offspring of A, B, C or X. This same statistical certainty forms a large part of the foundation of laws and penalties in every part of the world. There are many grades of expected unfitness, ranging from that of the offspring of the idiots, the insane and the feeble-minded, at the lower end of the scale of civic worth, to whom the propagation of offspring is peremptorily forbidden, whether it be by forcible segregation or other strong measures, up to the moderate unfitness expected in the offspring of parents who rank only a little below the average in eugenic worth. The methods of penalizing, taken in the order of their severity, are social disapprobation, fine, excommunication as by boycott, deportation, and life-long segregation. The degree of restriction varies from the limitation of the offspring of unfit parents to a small number, up to its total prohibition. They say that limitation of families is now a recognised institution among most of the cultured and many of the artisan and labouring classes in Europe and America, and there is no reason why a sentence demanding it for the protection of the nation should not be passed, and the infraction of that sentence punished as a criminal act. As regards fines, if the defaulter cannot pay them, he is treated with severity as a bankrupt debtor to the State, being placed ill a Labour Colony with hard work and hard fare until it is considered that he has purged his debt. With so small a population as the 10,000 of Kantsaywhere, and with the general high level of breed of its inhabitants, the cases of marked unfitness are not sufficiently numerous to require formal classification in different asylums. They can be more or less individually dealt with by the Board of Penalties.

“The difficulty must again be discussed here, relating to the introduction of unfit immigrants. Municipal laws have been enacted, that are quite as severe as those in America and elsewhere, to exclude impecunious immigrants, but they are enacted here for the purpose of excluding the immigration of the constitutionally unfit into Kantsaywhere. Ships, as already mentioned, are only allowed to disembark their passengers subject to the fulfilment of certain accepted conditions. If unfulfilled, the ship-owners are obliged to convey them back to whence they came. Registered medical men are established at the principal ports from which immigrants arrive, whose certificate that a person has passed the ordinary test for fitness in body and mind is accepted. It exempts them from the somewhat more severe and tedious examination of which I have already spoken, which is conducted in a building attached to the Custom House and must be successfully gone through before they are allowed to disembark even for a short residence. They are required later on to pass the Poll examination which allows them to become citizens of Kantsaywhere.

“The grades of unfitness on the part of those who are married are determined by the number of their joint marks. Immigrant parents both of whom have received positive marks at the Poll examination may keep their children with them, but not otherwise.

[p.421] “The restriction placed by public sentiment and, in extreme cases, by penalty, on the number of offspring that a couple may propagate in Kantsaywhere, is based on that of their joint marks. If these exceed + 20 the restriction is nil and large families are encouraged. If between + 10 and + 20 they are restricted by public sentiment to about three children. If over 0 and under + 10 they are restricted to two children. If between 0 and - 10 they are restricted by law as well as by sentiment to one child. If below - 10 offspring are wholly prohibited to them. The above concessions were established as compromises, after balancing conflicting claims. It was necessary to take in to account the need of the parents, the ad vantages of family life and the well-being of the children, as well as that of the race.”

Chapter VII: Measures and Marks.
“A paragraph in the Calendar headed “Measures and Marks” greatly interested me in connection with my previous statistical studies. These enabled me to understand easily the methods used in Kantsaywhere, which must seem puzzling and fanciful to others to whom they are wholly new. Such persons will I fear skip this chapter.”

Next follows a description of Galton’s process of ranking by size. Then the quartiles are defined and we are told that half of their difference is taken equal to 10 Q-Vars [6], while half of their sum is accepted as the middlemost value (median) of the series.

“Each measure is translated into the middlemost value of the series plus or minus so many Q-Vars. The quickly increasing variety of larger values than 30 Q-Vars and the fear of untrustworthiness in applying them have led the examiners in Kantsaywhere to limit their measures to a maximum of 30 Q-Vars, in each of the four principal divisions of the Examination. If the candidate obviously deserves still higher marks, they add a star (*) with accompanying explanation. Tom’s exclamation that I was ‘at least 30 in personal qualities’ was thus explained.

“Measurement by Q-Vars, or indeed by any kind of Var, in the case of all ‘Normal’ variables [7], has the further advantage of affording means whereby class-places may be converted into measurements, or vice versa, notwithstanding that they run at very different rates.

“ ... It is reasonably inferred that such faculties as cannot yet be directly measured, but which can be classified by judgment, will also obey the ‘normal’ law. The suitability of candidates for a particular post, or the goodness of essays written by different candidates, are cases in point. Whenever the objects in a ‘normal’ group of values can be classified, their class-places can be converted into Q-Vars.

Conversion of Q-Vars into Centesimal Class-Places.
Q-Vars  ...          ...          ... -30 -20 -10 0 + 10 + 20 + 30
Class-places (Centesimal) 2 9 25 50 75 91 98

“Measures made in Q-Vars are converted into marks by multiplying them by a factor appropriate to the importance of the faculty measured.”

Thus Galton says if the civic worth of one faculty be ½ that of a second, the marks of the first will be multiplied by 0·5, before combining the two.
[p.422]
He does not explain how the proper weighting is to be reached. Galton is here reproducing the ideas and methods of his paper of 1889 on “Marks for Bodily Efficiency” and his preference for the use of percentiles. Galton, when 85 years old, broke a last lance for the use of the ogive curve, the median and quartiles. I had not at that date examined the fragment of “Kantsaywhere.” It will be clear from the above résumé of its Chapter VII, that within two months of his death, in his 89th year, Galton again illustrated in popular language the advantages of his method of ranking.

CHAPTER VIII. Marks gained by me—Society of the Place.
“The lists came out on March 30. I got 17 marks less than Miss Allfancy, i.e. 77, but under the circumstances it was a very fair performance and I at once noticed the change in the reception given to me. It was distinctly more genial and intimate than before, and I was begged to accompany my host's family to half a score of different places to which they were invited. The loss of marks I had sustained owing to an “English” ignorance of my ancestry, became generally known and allowed for. I will describe in a few words my general impressions of Kantsaywhere society, to which I was now freely introduced. I had carefully guarded myself against exaggerated expectations of what might have been achieved by selective breeding at this place. It is but a small community and though of a high general level, the highest variations from that level cannot be expected to exceed those of an enormously larger population whose level is somewhat, and even considerably, lower. There are nearly 50,000,000 inhabitants in the British Isles and only 10,000 in Kantsaywhere; that is, they are 5000 times fewer. Again, however far gone a population may be in its decadence, it will retain enough organisation to bring forward its best specimens when there is a demand for them. I was greatly impressed by the tone and manner at the social gatherings that I attended, which were at first those of the more cultured class. The guests were gay without frivolity, friendly without gush, and intelligent without brilliancy; they were eminently a wholesome set of young people, with whom one could pass one's life, not only in serenity but with satisfaction and even a large share of keen pleasure. The physique of the girls reminded me of that of the “Hours” in the engraving of the famous picture of ‘Aurora’ by Guido in Rome. It is a favourite picture of mine and I recall it clearly. The girls have the same massive forms, short of heaviness, and seem promising mothers of a noble race. The simple way of gathering the hair in a small knot at the back of the head, shown in the dancing ‘Hours,’ is the fashion at Kantsaywhere. So is the general effect of their dresses, only they are here more decorously buttoned or fastened, than are the fly-away garments in the picture. As for the men they are well built, practised both in military drill and in athletics, very courteous, but with a resolute look that suggests fighting qualities of a high order. Both sexes are true to themselves, the women being thoroughly feminine, and I may add, mammalian, and the men being as thoroughly virile. No petty gossip or scandal is to be heard in their conversation, but a great deal is said about family histories and the prospects of the coming generation. These subjects occupy almost as much of their talk as athletic topics do at a public school, or as the performance of horses in racing circles. And it was genuine interest too; for they looked upon themselves, as I have mentioned more than once, with obvious pride as a chosen race for the purpose of furthering humanity, and were as suspicious and guarded against unknown outsiders as a Jew against a Gentile, or [p.423] a Greek against a Barbarian. This gave a prevalent, and not a disagreeable mannerism. It suggested a constant sense of noblesse oblige, far removed from that disagreeable but not uncommon “Oxford tone” which implies that the speaker is a superior person to his listener. I think the selection of Kantsaywhere College folk may be rated as about equivalent to at least the best quarter of that of the population of Kantsaywhere town, which itself has a high level. The Collegiate average must be fully equal to the best twelfth of an English population. Now 1 in 12 is that of the foreman of a jury, and, unquestionably, the foremen play their parts, as a rule, very respectably. We are accustomed to appreciate bodies of picked men in many ranks of life and know well how superior they are. The crew of an Arctic research vessel are said to be a magnificent set of men: so are the Sappers and Miners. At a somewhat lower, but yet conspicuous degree of selection, stand the persons attached to those great and well-managed estates and firms, whose service is so popular that they have always more candidates to choose from than there are vacancies to fill.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Nothing struck me more than the photographic workshops, for besides their immediate interest, a religious parallel was drawn from them which will be described farther on. There is a great demand in Kantsaywhere for composite portraits of families. The material for making these is abundant and excellent, as it has long since become the fashion, now grown into an obligatory custom, for everyone to be photographed at reasonable intervals, both in full face and in profile, under similar and standard conditions of light, in addition to whatever more artistic representation may be desired. I am a bit of a photographer myself, and was delighted at the punctilious and exact way by which composite photographs were made. There was no unacknowledged faking but the work was strictly truthful throughout the whole process. The object is, I need hardly say, to superimpose the images of many different portraits, all of the same size, aspect and shading, in succession for a short time, upon the same photographic plate. The scale of the portraits and their emplacement require much precision. Here the various reductions and adjustments are leisurely made for each portrait and in a separate frame. When the photography begins, the frames are dropped in succession into their exact place, guided by pins and resting on a horizontal board below a fixed vertical camera.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“I saw several beautiful composites in the Studio, of men and women, respectively. Every family desires at least four family composites, one of the Grand-parental series, including Great Uncles and Aunts on both sides, another of the Parental series, including Father and Mother, Uncles and Aunts, and yet another of Self, Brothers and Sisters. Lastly, one made from the four grandparents and the two parents, allowing one half of the exposure time to each grandparent that was allowed to either parent. A peculiar interest lies in the close analogy between composite portraits and their religious imagery, as will be seen from what is now about to be said.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Their creed, or rather, I should say, their superstition—for it has not yet crystallised into a dogmatic creed, is that living beings, and pre-eminently mankind, are the only executive agents of whom we have any certain knowledge. They look upon life at large, as probably a huge organisation in which every separate living thing plays an unconscious part, much as the separate cells do in a living person. Whether the following views were self-born or partly borrowed I do not know, but the people of Kantsaywhere have the strong belief that the spirits of all the beings who have ever lived are round about, and regard all their actions. They watch the doings of men with eagerness, grieving when their actions are harmful to humanity, and rejoicing when they are helpful. It is a kind of grandiose personification of what we call conscience into a variety of composite portraits. I expect that many visionaries among them—for there are visionaries in all races—actually see with more or less distinctness the beseeching or the furious figures of these imaginary spirits, whether as individuals or as composites. There seems to be some confusion between the family, the racial, and the universal clouds of spirit-watchers. They are supposed to co-exist separately and yet may merge into one or many different wholes. There is also much difference of opinion as to the power of these spirits, some think them only sympathetic, others assign the faculty to them of inspiring ideas in men, others [p.424] again accredit them with occasional physical powers. Everyone here feels that they themselves will, after their life is over, join the spirit legion, and they look forward with eager hope that their descendants will then do what will be agreeable and not hateful to them. I have heard some who likened life to the narrow crest of the line of breakers of a never-resting and infinite ocean, eating slowly and everlastingly into the opposing shore of an infinite and inert continent. But that metaphor does not help me much, beyond picturing what, in their view, is the smallness in amount of actual life with the much larger amount of elements of potential life. It is quite possible that if their confused ideas were worked out by theologians, who in a general way firmly believed in them, and who were able to define on valid grounds the extent of influences that the spirit world exerts over the living world, a very respectable creed might be deduced. Their superstition certainly succeeds, even as it is, in giving a unity of endeavour and a seriousness of action to the whole population. They have no fear of death. Their funerals are not dismal functions as with us, but are made into occasions for short appreciative speeches dwelling lovingly on the life-work of the deceased.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“The houses near the town are practically villas, for the use of town dwellers, each with a small garden for flowers, vegetables and fruit. The extent of garden and agricultural land is about twenty square miles. There are about 500 holdings in all, of a rough general average of 40 acres each. About one half of these are let at a low rent, especially to highly diplomaed parents. Though every married couple has perfect freedom in choosing his residence here, or in emigrating elsewhere, the attractions offered to those who settle in the country are so large and many that the pick of the Collegiates occupy farms or villas. A country life is considered to be so highly conducive to the health and size of families that a large part of the wealth of Kantsaywhere is gladly allotted to its encouragement. It is a great convenience to the Registrar to have so large a part of his charge located close at hand and for his inspectors to have means of easily verifying doubtful statements by conversation with neighbours. Nearly every household undertakes some unpaid office connected with administration and there is abundance of local pride and patriotism in doing this work well. With a less gifted people these customs would hardly answer, but here it is otherwise.

“The character of the farming of Kantsaywhere is in many respects such as is described as ruling in Denmark, but for the most part it must bear a closer resemblance to .... ”

Here ends what survives of Kantsaywhere. return to index


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some of the end notes by Karl Pearson

  1. From Life, Letters and Labours of Francis Galton by Karl Pearson was published in three volumes, in four parts between 1914 - 1930.
    Vol I: 1914, Vol.II: 1924, Vol.IIIA and IIIB:1930. This book is now very difficult to access.

  2. A “share” in this sentence must be taken of course to comprise all that an individual’s germ-plasm involves, not merely his apparent characteristics.

  3. Galton was undoubtably thinking hereof his books the Record of Family Faculties (1884) and the Life-History Album (1884); see our Vol. II, pp. 362-370.

  4. This idea, as well as others in “Kantsaywhere,” closely resembles that of Galton’s first paper on Eugenics, that of 1864; see our Vol. II, p. 78.

  5. The whole passage is a description of Galton’s First South Kensington Laboratory; even the lattice-work—the beginning of which is seen in Plate L, p. 371, of our Vol II—was in use there.

  6. The “Var” is thus the tenth part of the “probable error” = ·06745 x standard deviation.
    Thus 30 Q-Vars equal about 2·0235 times the standard deviation, and roughly about 2% of the population exceeds this.

  7. “Normal” variation is described in simple terms and attributed (erroneously) to “the great mathematician Gauss”; it is stated to be “with a useful degree of precision” the rule of distribution in the case of most anthropological measurements.

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