12 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
provided also in like measure for literally hundreds of their contemporaries. If nurture could produce such mental characters as we find in both, then we should count such men by the tens instead of by units. Nurture indeed 1 Let us listen to what Galton himself says of his school-the King Edward's School at Birmingham
"The literary provender provided at Dr Jeune's school disagreed wholly with my mental digestion. The time spent there was a period of stagnation to myself, which for many years I deeply deplored, for I was very willing and eager to learn, and could have
learnt much, if a suitable teacher had been at hand to direct and encourage me." (Memories, p. 21.)
Or, again, try Darwin! Writing of Shrewsbury, his school, he says " The school as a means of education to me was simply a blank," and again of his course at Edinburgh
"The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and these were intolerably dull, with the exception of those on chemistry by Hope; but to my mind there are no advantages and many disadvantages in lectures compared with reading." (Life, i, p. 36.)
At Cambridge both cousins took Poll degrees. Darwin says that his three years at Cambridge were, " wasted as far as the academical studies were concerned, as completely as at Edinburgh and at school." Galton wondered at the narrowness of Cambridge, " for not a soul seemed to have the slightest knowledge of, or interest in, what I had acquired in my medical education, and what we have since learnt to call Biology" (Memories, p. 59).
Undoubtedly their Cambridge time gave Darwin and Galton much -friends and the leisure to develop on their own lines. 'But in neither case was it nurture moulding the men, it was nature making the best use of an uncongenial environment.
It may be said that the nurture was not that of school or college,
but the nurture of the home. Both men were the exceptional members
of generally able stocks. That in many respects their home-conditions
were sympathetic goes without saying, but these home conditions were
similar to those of others of their own stock and of many contem
poraries. It may be said that their common grandfather was a man
of distinction, and that although his writings were open to the world,
Charles Darwin and Francis Galton, although born after Erasmus's
death, came by family tradition more closely in touch with his teaching.
Yet here is what Charles Darwin wrote of his grandfather's chief
work ; he is speaking about his Edinburgh acquaintance with R. E.