c.] ANTECEDENTS. 45
DARWIN.-There are many instances in this family of a love for natural history and theory, and of an aptitude for collecting facts in businesslike but peculiar ways. Speaking from private sources of knowledge, I am sure that these cha
racteristics are hereditary rather than traditional ; there is also a strong element of individuality in the race which is adverse to traditional influence.
First generation.-(1) Erasmus Darwin, M.D., F.R.S., physician, physiologist and poet. His " Botanic Garden " had an immense reputation at the time it was written ; for, besides its intrinsic merits, it chimed in with the sentiments and mode of expression of his day. The ingenuity of Dr. Darwin's numerous writings and theories is truly remarkable. He was held in very high esteem by his scientific friends, including such celebrities as Priestley and James Watt, and it is by a man's position among his contemporaries and competitors that his worth may most justly be appraised. Unfortunately for his memory, he has had no good biographer. He was a man of great vigour, humour and geniality (Miss Seward's life of him, and latterly a pamphlet by Dr. Richa.rdson ;