The Ancestry of Francis Galton 45
Buttons in this letter of Samuel Galton the second, and although Priestley did not venture, perhaps for the sake of his friends, to face Birmingham, Samuel Galton continued-,,,to give an annual benefaction towards the cost of his researches.
The fact that Samuel the first sent his son to the Warrington Academy-while absolutely consistent with the toleration preached by Robert Barclay-indicates that he had already departed somewhat from the religious teaching of the Society of Friends. He also had been concerned in the gun-trade with James Farmer. But in 1795 Samuel Galton was formally disowned by the Society of Friends "for fabricating and selling instruments of war," after the matter had been for several years agitated. Galton entirely disregarded the disownment and went on attending the, meetings until his death in 1832. The position of the Society was, I think, only consistent with their doctrines, but the disownment ought to have come much earlier-even to Samuel the first'. If the statement be correct, that the. Society continued to receive Samuel Galton's donations, then the disownment was certainly of a very specious character. Both Samuel Galton and his wife Lucy (Barclay) lived and died as Quakers and were buried in the burying ground attached to the Quakers' meeting-house in Bull Street (see Plate XXXII). There is little doubt, however, that both Samuel the first, and Samuel the second, the friend of Priestley and Erasmus Darwin', had progressed from Quakerism a considerable way towards
1 In the British Museum is an interesting tract by Samuel Galton, "To the Friends of the Monthly Meeting at Birmingham" 1795. It points out that for 70 years his grandfather (i.e. Farmer), his uncle (John G.) and his father (Samuel G.) had been
engaged in the business without animadversion on the part of the Society, that the trade had devolved upon him as an inheritance. That to be consistent no member of the Society ought to pay taxes to a Government which 'prepared for war, or for preserving the
peace in case of riots. Men were not responsible for the abuse of what they manufactured. He declines to give any pledge to the Society with respect to abandoning his business; when he did withdraw, it should be from spontaneous sentiment and not from external influence. All is in excellent common sense and full of characteristic
stubbornness, but his position was undoubtedly a false one judged by Quaker principles. Actually he gave up the gun business eight years later, three years after his father's _ death.
' Erasmus Darwin was regarded as almost an atheist by Anna Seward, and Mrs Schimmelpenninck, referring to Dr Darwin, says : " I was thus in a state of mind to receive evil from a new and hurtful influence which now approached our family
circle " (Life, p. 126). And again, " I had been much in the society of freethinkers " (p. 441).