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The Ancestry of Francis Galton   13

Grant, afterwards Professor of Comparative Anatomy in University College, London, to whom that College owes its fine Grant Library

"I knew him well; he was dry and formal in manner, with much enthusiasm beneath this outward crust. He one day, when we were walking together, burst forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on evolution. I listened in silent astonishment and as far as I can judge without any effect on my mind. I had previously read the Zoonomia of my grandfather, in which similar views are maintained, but without producing any effect on me. Nevertheless it is probable that the hearing rather early in life such views maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under a different form in my Origin of Species. At this time I had admired greatly the Zoonomia, but on reading it a second time after an interval of ten or fifteen years, I was much disappointed ; the proportion of speculation being so large to the facts given" (p. 38).

In a letter to Alphonse de Candolle written shortly after -Charles Darwin's death in June, 1882, Francis Galton says

"Thank you very much for your interesting brochure on Charles Darwin, analysing the causes that contributed to his success. It has been a great satisfaction in all our grief at his loss, to witness the wide recognition of the value of his work. He certainly as you say appeared at a moment when the public mind was ripe to receive his views. I can truly say for my part that I was groaning under the intellectual burden of the old teleology, that my intellect rebelled against it, but that I saw no way out of it till Darwin's Origin of Species emancipated me. Let me, while fully agreeing with the views expressed in the pamphlet in all important particulars supply a few minor criticisms which it might be well to mention."

After a reference to economic matters Galton,cites the words of de Candolle that the descendants of the " poete physiologue" had certainly read at the right moment the works of their grandfather, and continues

"I am almost certain of the contrary in every case except Charles Darwin (and I doubt whether he had)-[as we have seen, he certainly had read the Zoonomia]. To myself the florid and now ridiculed poetry was and is intolerable, and the speculative physiology repellent. I had often taken up the books and could never get on with them. Canning's parody The Loves of the Triangles quite killed poor Dr Darwin's reputation. It just hit the mood of the moment, and though my mother never wearied of talking of him, his life was to me like a fable only half believed in. That much the same was the case with some of Charles Darwin's sons, I can I think affirm."

Without being, perhaps, as hard on "poor Dr Darwin" as his grandson, I think we must admit that it was the hereditary taste or bent of the Darwin stock that Erasmus transmitted to his grandchildren and not an environment or even a sympathetic tradition. In studying the works of Erasmus Darwin, it is indeed difficult not to be


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