Originally published in 1883 by Macmillan.
Second Edition, 1907 by J. M. Dent & Co. (Everyman)
First electronic edition, 2001.
Based on the text in the Everyman Second Edition (with all
cuts from the first edition restored).
Edited by Gavan Tredoux
This edition forms part of the online Galton archives at
This is the first corrected proof, 2004.
Please report any errors to the editor.
a straightforward step-by-step inquiry did not seem to be the most suitable
course. I thought it safer to proceed like the surveyor of a new country, and
endeavour to fix in the first instance as truly as I could the position of several
from the Preface.
The steady and pitiless march of the hidden weaknesses in our constitutions,
through illness to death, is painfully revealed by these histories of twins. We are too
apt to look upon illness and death as capricious events, and there are some who
ascribe them to the direct effect of supernatural interference, whereas the fact of the
maladies of two twins being continually alike shows that illness and death are
necessary incidents in a regular sequence of constitutional changes beginning at
birth, and upon which external circumstances have, on the whole, very small effect.
from The History of Twins.