6 Life and Letters o f Francis Galton And again in the Fortnightly Review for 1887
"I shall have fulfilled my object in writing this paper if it leaves a clear impression of the great range and variety of temper .among persons of both sexes in the upper and middle classes of English society; of its disregard in Marriage Selection; of the great admixture of its good and bad varieties in the same family; and of its being nevertheless as hereditary as any other quality."
Or lastly in 1904, writing in Nature (August 11) of his investigations into "Natural Ability among the Kinsfolk of Fellows of the Royal Society," Galton says
"The result of this inquiry is to prove the existence of a small number of more or less isolated hereditary centres round which a large part of the total ability of the nation is clustered, with a closeness which rapidly diminishes as the distance of kinship from its centre increases."
To these and many other published statements of Francis Galton could be added many memories of private talks. But perhaps the memorable letter of 18691, in which Charles Darwin acknowledges the receipt of Galton's Hereditary Genius, may suffice to demonstrate how early Galton taught the heredity of the mental characters. It runs as
DOWN, BECHENHAM, KENT, S.E.
Dec. 23 (18691).
MY DEAR GALTON,
I have only read about 50 pages of your Book (to the Judges), but I must exhale myself, else something will go wrong in my inside. I do not think I ever in all my life read anything more interesting and original. And how well and clearly you put every point ! George, who has finished the book, and who expresses himself just in the same terms, tells me the earlier chapters are nothing in interest to the latter ones ! It will take me some time to get to these latter chapters, as it is read aloud to me by my wife, who .is also much interested. You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work ; and I still think there is an eminently important difference. I congratulate you on producing what I am convinced will prove a memorable work.
I look forward with intense interest to each reading, but it sets me thinking so much that I find it very hard work ; but that is wholly the fault of my brain and not of your beautifully clear style. Yours most sincerely, CH. DARWIN.
The point to which Charles Darwin was converted was the principle that intellectual ability is hereditary. That much of that ability consists in the faculty for hard work is a further principle with
' The letter is so characteristic, that I have reproduced it here followed by Galton's reply on the day of receipt : see Plates I and II.