'206 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
discredit the inquiry. M. Antoine d'Abbadie who sees these number-forms clearly, kindly questioned for me several of his colleagues of the Acadsmie des Sciences and came to just the same result that I did. It was therefore with some wicked feeling of triumph that I collected and marched off with', to the evening meeting of the Anthropological Institute, six good men including persons well known to science, who were prepared to describe their number-forms and who did so very effectively. I am now busy on a more generally interesting part_ of the subject of Mental Imagery. Believe me with thanks, and warm acknowledgement of the kind interest you have so often shown in my work, Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
I am afraid our mutual friend Mr Bentham has felt the gloom and severity of this past winter, for he does not look well, and complains about himself.
To M. ALPHONSE DE CANDOLLE.
42, RUTLAND GATE, LONDON. June 5/82.
MY DEAR SIR, Thank you much for your interesting brochure' on Ch. Darwin, analysing the causes that contributed to his success. It has been a great satisfaction in all our grief at his loss, to witness the wide recognition of the value of his work. He certainly, as you say, appeared at a moment when the public mind was ripe to receive his views. I can truly say for my part that I was groaning under the intellectual burden of the old teleology, that my intellect rebelled against it, but that I saw no way out of it till Darwin's 'Origin of Species' emancipated me. Let me, while fully agreeing with the views expressed in the pamphlet in all important particulars, supply a few minor criticisms which it might be well to mention.
(1) As to the pecuniary fortune of Darwin, I think the phrases "moyenne pour l'Angleterre etc."-"la maison modeste..." [pp. 12-13] hardly convey the right idea. I should think that his fortune was much more considerable-say upwards of X5000 a year, before his brother's death in 1881, and subsequently larger. The house was maintained in thoroughly substantial and costly comfort,-but when the particulars of the Will are published, which I suppose they soon will be, we shall know.
(2) "Les descendants du poete phys[iologiste] p. 12...ont lu certainement de bonne heure les ouvrages de leur aieul." I am almost certain of the contrary in every case except Ch. Darwin, (and I doubt in his case whether he had). To myself the florid and now ridiculed poetry was and is intolerable and the speculative physiology repellent. I had often taken up the books and could never get on with them. Canning's parody "the loves of the triangles" quite killed poor Dr Darwin's reputation. It just hit the mood of the moment and though my mother never wearied of talking of him, his life was to me like a fable only half believed in. That much the same was the case with some of Charles Darwin's sons, I can, I think, affirm.
(3) George Darwin "deja connu par de bons memoires de statistique" [p. 13]. Probably you may not know his present very high position as a mathematical astronomer, who has revealed the past history of the planetary system, in a most unexpected way. His works are spoken of in the presidential address of the Royal Society etc. as massive works. They are only slowly becoming known, being exceedingly laborious mathematical work of a kind that is within the practice of very few men indeed, but by them cordially recognised as commensurate in originality and importance with that of Laplace. His calculations depend on the "viscosity" of all solid bodies on the yielding of their substance to a tidal action, and most unexpected results came out, which bind under one scheme•a large variety of astronomical phenomena.
When I received your pamphlet, it so happened that your name had just been on my lips in respect to quite another matter, in which you were at one time much interested and which is now being taken up here. It is a question of cumulative temperature on vegetation. I have been since the beginning one of the members of the council to whom a large annualgrant is entrusted by Government to carry on the systems of Forecasts in land and ocean meteorology and we are endeavouring to give weekly data that may be of direct use to agriculturists. In reply to questions that we circulated as to the best form for that purpose, frequent mention was made of the cumulative values of heat. We have accordingly been investigating the probability of calculating these values in units of 'day-degrees' viz. (1) cumulative effect of heat derived from 1. Fahr. of temperature acting during 24 hours, or of (2) acting during 12
'. After giving them all a good dinner, Memories, p. 271.
2 "Darwin aleul, considers au point de vue des causes de son succes et l'importance de ses travaux" tire des Archives des Sciences de la Bibliotheque Universelle, Tome VII. May 1882.