CHILDHOOD AND BOYHOOD
FRANCIS GALTON was born on February 16,1822', at the Larches, near Sparkbrook, Birmingham. We have already noted the features of that house ; how it was built by the botanist, Dr Withering, after the mob had practically destroyed the whole of Priestley's residence, one room only surviving. The site is now marked by a tablet to Priestley ; it would be fitting to add to it some commemoration of the relation of the site to another Birmingham worthy, who has been as great a leader of scientific thought.
Writing sixty years after the event a birthday letter to her brother Francis, Emma Galton thus recalls the day itself
11 My dearest Frank, We shall think of you tomorrow, and wish you and Louisa [Mrs Francis Galton] very many happy returns of the day. What a blessing you have been to us, and how proud we all feel of you. How wonderful a thing memory is ! It seems but the other day that Mrs Ryland had called with her 4 horses, and walked in the garden by my mother's garden chair. At Booth [Adele Galton, Mrs Booth, Francis Galton's aunt] dined at our house, and in the evening you were born about 9 o'clock. And the importance Darwin, Erasmus and myself thought of the Dudson carriage and pompous coachman coming early on the following morning (Sunday) to take us to spend the day at Dudson [Grandfather Samuel Galton's house]. And we worried the servants by every now and then standing on a chair to make us high enough to reach the call-tube in the Library to inform them : 'Mama had a Baby, and it was a Boy!' But we then little realised what a comfort you would be to every one of us. We should have vegetated and had green mould much thicker upon us had it not beell for you." [Letter from 5 Bertie Terrace, Leamington, Feb. 15, 1882?].
1 He was baptised on March 20 following at the Church of St Martin, Birmingham. As we have already noted his father Tertius Galton had left the Society of Friends and received adult baptism in 1816 at Radbourne.
2 Another account is given by sister Adele herself 42 years after the event : « How well do I remember Aunt Booth dining with us on that day and she and my mother coming up in the white room to sit with me that evening ; my mother being taken ill at 8 o'clock ; Mr Hodgson being sent for and his coming to awake me in the middle of the night to tell me that a ' fine boy' was born. How well can I remember seeing you