The Ancestry of Francis Galton 15
It is worth noting here that. we cannot, when judging of the ability of the Darwin stirp, confine-our attention to Erasmus and Charles. Erasmus Darwin's brother-the elder Robert Waring Darwinpublished a Principia botanica or Introduction to the Sexual Botany of Linnaeus. The present writer is not able to judge its merits, but it ran through several editions, and illustrates at least the taste and bent of the ' stock. We note how the scientific work of the Darwins begins de novo in this generation with. the two brothers Robert Waring and Erasmus'. The sons of Erasmus by his first wife were Charles, Erasmus and Robert Waring, the father of the greater Charles the younger. It is difficult in this case to separate out the personality of Erasmus the elder from that of his sons. Yet I think there is evidence that there was independence. Charles died from a dissection wound.-at the early age of 20, and a prize essay of his on pus and mucus and his proposed doctor's thesis were afterwards edited by the elder Erasmus. In the prize essay we find a number of experiments, in the thesis a round of clinical observations discussed in moderate and straightforward language. Only occasionally, as in the peroration of the thesis, do we feel sure that we read the words of the father, Erasmus himself
"I beg, illustrious professors, and ingenious fellow-students, that you will recollect how difficult a task 1 have attempted, to evince the retrograde motions of the lymphatic vessels, when the vessels themselves, for so many ages, escaped the eyes and glasses of
philosophers ; and if you are not quite convinced of the truth of this theory, hold, I entreat you, your minds in suspense, 'till ANATOMY draws her sword, with happier omens, cuts asunder the tenets which entangle PHYSIOLOGY ; and, like an augur, inspecting the immolated victim, announces to mankind the wisdom of HEAVEN'.'
In the same manner it is not possible to judge fairly 'of the thesis of Robert Waring Darwin which was published at Leyden in 1785, and afterwards in the Philosophical Transactions, 1786. The author was at the date of publication only 19, and Charles Darwin asserts that it was written by Erasmus. It largely reappears in the Zoonomia, but contains more appeal than the elder Darwin usually
' I hardly think we can class Robert Darwin their father in this category; see however Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, i, p. 3.
' Even, the printing of Heaven in smaller capitals than the Sciences is characteristic of Erasmus Darwin's muse, although when reprinting the essay in his Zoanomia, Vol. i, p. 512, he seems to have become conscious of the difficulty and transposed the sizes !