Correspondence with Alphonse de Candolle 1g5
42, RUTLAND GATE, LONDON. Dec.-27/72."
DEAR SIR, I thank you much for your volume which I received about a fortnight since and which I have read and re-read with care and with great instruction to myself. Allow me to congratulate you on the happy idea of accepting the nominations of the French Academy and similar bodies as reliable diplomas of scientific eminence, and on thus obtaining a solid basis. for your, reasoning. I must however express no small surprise at the contrast between your judgement'_ on my theories and your own conclusions. You say and imply that my views on hereditaty genius are wrong and -that you are going to correct them; well, I read on, and find to my astonishment that so far from correcting them you re-enunciate them. I am perfectly unable to discover on what particulars, speaking broadly, your conclusions have invalidated mine. They have largely supplemented them, by thoroughly working out a branch of the inquiry intowhich I never professed -to enter, but I literally cannot see that your conclusions, so far as heredity is concerned, differ in any marked way from mine. You say that race is all-important(p. 253 etc.)-that families of the same race differ from each other more widely than the races themselves (p. 268)-that physical form is certainly hereditary and that intellect is dependent on structure and must therefore be inherited (p. 326)-that for success, an individual must both "vouloir et pouvoir" (p. 92)-that the natural faculties must be above mediocrity, (p. 106)" and- very many other similar remarks. I never said, nor thought, that special aptitudes were inherited so strongly as to be irresistible, which seems to be a dogma you are pleased to ascribe to me and then to repudiate. My whole book, including the genealogical tables, shows that ability-the "pouvoir"-may manifest itself in many ways. I feel the injustice you have done -0me strongly, and one reason that I did not write earlier was that I might first hear the independent verdict of some scientific man who had read both books. This I have now done, having seen Mr Darwin whose opinion confirms mine in every particular. Let me, before proceeding to more agreeable subjects, complain of yet another misrepresentation. You say (p. 380) that I deny or doubt (contester) the good tendencies of children reared in the families of clergymen-I never said anything of the sort. What -I did say was against the "pious," that is the over-religious. My genealogies are full of clergymen:-in the list you give, p. 381, I doubt if any of the parents. are known to have been "pious"-though you might have quoted Hailer in your 'favour. Let me en passant remark about the last paragraphof your footnote, to p. 383, the sons of English; clergy are or were hardly ever sent into the army, because thir parents could not afford it, and therefore their sons could not become Generals. Sometimes, but very rarely, they were put into the Navy, which is a less costly profession, and Admiral Lord Nelson was one of such.-
- I regret very much that you did not succeed in working out the genealogies of the ,such. discoverers, on whom you rely, and on both sides. However thereis no denying the fact., that as a whole they are specialists, rather than illustrious men, and are therefore somewhat obscuree to fame. Man against man, they would be nowhere in competition with a great, statesmanbut they have owed more to concentration and the narrowing of their faculties than to a' general prodigality of their nature. Such men are more easily affected by circumstances than the borngeniuses about whom I chiefly busied myself, and are therefore all the more suitable subjects. for an inquiry like yours, into the effects of different circumstances.
One of the most striking things to me in your book is the chilling influence-on scientific curiosity you .prove to result from religious authority. The figures you give seem to me of--the highest importance. I am also greatly impressed with the conditions of fortune (funds not land)and the desire for an European -rather than a local reputation which you ascribe to religious and other refugees.-Switzerland's reputation seems made by the Huguenots, Euler and Hallerbeing the only two in your list of purely native birth. I wish youhad given the genealogies' of the rest in full.-Have you not made some slip of the pen in p. 125-at the bottom? If-you cut off the sons of pasteurs I do-not find that equality is re-established, nearly.-Then see p. 40. where out of 20 fathers of associates only 4 were pasteurs and of all these associates only, onewas Catholic.-There remain 14 non-clergy and 2 Quakers as parents of 16 Protestants to that I Catholic. Is not `Protestant' a deceptive word? I-fear most of the scientific men would be= more truly described as `infidel' or `agnostic.'
How remarkable are your conclusions about teaching. I suppose severe teaching sacrifices many original minds but raises the level. We in England are in the throes of educational: reform-; wanting to know how best to teach "How to observe."
:In your table XI of the scientific value of a million of different races, I note, what appears to