The Ancestry of Francis Galton 11
distinction in your country meant immense resource, activity and mental ability. Men like Alfred the Great, Friedrich Barbarossa, or William the Conqueror, were kings because they were essentially men
preeminent in ability in their days ; and to show in the male line a continuous descent of ten generations, as the de Bruces did, signified that the family had craft to gain and strength to hold the acquired.
The game at politics meant death to the checkmated, often destruction of their stock and forfeiture of their land. Thus it came about that royal and noble blood, from early mediaeval times almost to the close of the Stuart period, really signified stocks of physical and mental strength ; and the earlier we go back the more certain is this truth. To anyone whose ancestry carries him to such noble or royal lines, there will be little difficulty in linking on to most of the great names of early European history.
To follow step by step backwards the pedigree of one man like Francis Galton till we can go no further, but find all our lines fail us, is perhaps the most instructive lesson in history that is possible. The biographer has learnt more history, social and political, in the present inquiry than he had ever done before. One sees not only our own times linked up with great names in the past, but one feels that yeoman, squire, noble and king form a- more homogeneous whole than we have hitherto appreciated with our narrow class distinctions ; and we realise that the stocks which led to famous men of old may exhibit them to-day in methods more in keeping with our social ends.
It seems to me that the pedigree showing the noteworthy ancestry of the Barclays is in itself a full reply to those who think it suffices to say that Francis Galton was a grandson of Erasmus Darwin ! Francis Galton owed much to his Darwin descent, but he owed not less to other strains, and- notably to the firmness, conviction, toleration, and business aptitude of those Quaker strains of Galton, Button, Farmer and Barclay which formed nearly half his heritage.
I trust that Pedigree B' may show the reader reason enough for taking a wider view than Galton himself has given us of his past familyhistory; for indicating as he himself has indicated that it is neither to be wholly neglected, nor summed up in any one line of descent. The nurture of comfortable homes, good schools and our leading universities was provided for both Charles Darwin and Francis Galton, but it was
'. See end of this volume.