200 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
It was, perhaps, too generous an idea to expect in 1882 that an `evolution' window could, even in Westminster Abbey, replace the old `creation' window based upon its neolithic myth. But the time may yet come when the national mausoleum shall contain not only the ashes of the nation's great dead, but some appropriate witness to those living embers of the mind which entitled them to their final resting-place. Galton strongly believed in and generously supported all projects of perpetuating the memory of the worthy dead. It was exhibited not only in the case of Darwin, but in several other instances. Thus in the monument he put up to Erasmus Darwin in Lichfield Cathedral', in "his support of the Speke memorial and his desire to see it extended to embrace other African pioneers (see our p. 25 fin.), and again in the substantial aid he gave to the Oxford Weldon memorial. I have no doubt fuller investigation would lead to the discovery of other instances'.
But for Darwin, Galton's affection and reverence were unlimited. Within three weeks of the former's death he wrote to Darwin's son George as follows
42, RUTLAND GATE, May 16th, 1882.
MY DEAR GEORGE, You may be glad to hear that the memorial to your father was fairly started this afternoon and very shortly the letters to foreigners will be sent and notices in the papers will appear. A Sub-Cmte. of the executive Cmte. has only now to fix a few details. I was very sorry to have missed you when you called, as there is much I should like to have heard about you all. I am very glad that your Mother bears up 'so` welt
I wanted too, to speak to you (as I have to Spottiswoode) about getting together available illustrations and memorial scraps of all kinds for a book of mementos for the Royal Society (like those of Priestley-do you know them?). There ought to be a picture of the 'Beagle' if one is procurable and copies (small) of all the pictures and photographs. You are no doubt collecting all available information of his early life before his contemporaries and seniors shall have passed away. Every month is precious. I do wish somebody had done this many years ago for Dr Erasmus Darwin. If omitted, this want is soon irrevocable. When you are next in Town
pray come to us. Ever yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
Talking once to the husband of one of the greatest of Victorian women, about the loss of a great friend-to whose learning and scholarship I owe whatever love I may possess for accurate investigation-he remarked
"It is difficult to measure what the mental development of an individual loses and what it gains by the death of a friend of dominant personality."
The words seemed to me then harsh and unsympathetic, but I have learnt with the years the element of truth in the experience expressed by them. -That truth is not wholly appropriate to the friendship of Galton with Darwin; the latter was only thirteen years Galton's senior, but those years, and Galton's unlimited reverence for intellectual power did, as in the
' See Note at the end of this Chapter.
2. One other instance I can indeed refer to from letters in my possession. He was the prime mover in the scheme for obtaining a portrait of Sir Joseph Hooker. There are numerous letters to Galton approving and enclosing subscriptions, and the letter of Hooker to Galton is worthy
of .being preserved elsewhere than in an autograph book where I found it
ROYAL GARDENS, KEW, May 15/80.
MY DEAR GALTON, Your kind letter announces a most unexpected honour, and a crowning one. I only wish I could feel that I was worthy of it. I am quite at Mr Collier's disposal and very. pleased to find that he is the selected artist. Very sincerely Yours, Jos. D. HOOKER.