Correspondence with Charles Darwin 183
In conclusion, I restate a former definition, that I gave of the character of the relationship between parent and child, which I make out to be, not like that which connects a parent nation and its colonists, but like that which connects the representative government of the parent nation with the representative government of the colonists; with the further supposition, that the government of the parent country is empowered to nominate a small proportion of the colonists.
I have now, so far as the limits of a letter admit, made a clean breast of my audacity in theoretically differing from Pangenesis:
(1) In supposing the sexual elements to be of as early an origin as any part of the body (it was the emphatic declarations of Balbiani on this point that chiefly attracted my interest) and that they are not formed by aggregation of germs, floating loose and freely circulating in the system, and
(2) In supposing the personal structure to be of very secondary importance in Heredity, being, as I take it, a sample of that which is of primary importance, but not the thing itself.
If I could help, even in accustoming people to the idea that the notion of Organic Germs is certainly that on which the true theory of Heredity must rest, and that the question now is upon details and not on first principles, I should be very happy. Ever yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
Thanks for the letter on the Hindoo family, which I will keep, and for the pamphlet on the wholesale execution of weakly people, which- I return by book post.
Nov. 4th . Down, BECKENHAM, KENT. RAILWAY STATION, ORPINGTON, S.E.R.
MY DEAR GALTON, I have just returned from London where I was forced to go yesterday for Vivisection Commission.
I have read your interesting note and am delighted that you stick up for germs. I can hardly form any opinion until I read your paper in extenso. I have modified parts of the Chapter on Pangenesis which is now printing, and have allowed that the gemmules may, or perhaps do, multiply in the reproductive organs. I write now as I fancy that you have not read B.-Sequard's last paper, in which he gives 17 or 13 (I forget which) instances of deficient toes on the same foot in the offspring of parents, which had gnawed off their own gangrenous toes owing to the sciatic nerve having been divided.
You speak of "almost the necessity of double parentage in all complex organisations." I suppose you have thought well on the many cases of parthenogenesis in Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera and surely these are complex enough.
I am very glad indeed of your work, though I cannot yet follow all your reasoning. In haste, Most sincerely yours, C. DARWIN.
DOWN, BECKENHAM, KENT. [? Nov 4, 18751.] RAILWAY STATION, ORPINGTON, S.E.R.
MY DEAR MR GALTON, My father thought you might care to have the reference to BrownSequard's paper. There is a good resume of all his observations in the `Lancet,' Jan. 1875, p. 7. Yours very sincerely, FRANCIS DARWIN.
1 The reader will notee with amusement the complete omission of date-the inheritance in an intensified form of a habit peculiar not only to Charles Darwin but also to Mrs Darwin. I only know one letter to which Darwin did put a date, it is the following written to his aunt Violetta Galton, Francis Galton's mother.
July 12, 1871. DOWN, BECKENHAM, KENT.
MY DEAR AUNT, I am very much obliged to you for your great kindness in writing to me with your own hand. My sons were no doubt deceived, and the picture-seller affixed the name of a celebrated man to the picture for the sake of getting his price. Your note is a wonderful proof how well some few people in this world can write and express themselves at an advanced age. It is enough to make one not fear so much the advance of age, as I often do, though you must think me quite a youth! With my best thanks, pray believe me with much respect, Your affectionate nephew, CHARLES DARWIN.
This letter so gracefully suggestive of both Violetta Darwin and Charles Darwin deserves to be put on record.