Characterisation, especially by Letters 471
INGLEWOOD, BEDFORD PARK, TURNIIAM GREEN. April 27, 1882.
MY DEAR MR GALTON, I thank you heartily for your note. And I so fear to trespass upon the profound sorrow that fills the home at Bromley that I cannot venture to obtrude directly even an expression of the gratitude I feel that my name should have been remembered in giving out invitations to the funeral. It was, indeed, with deep satisfaction that I learned that our Minister, Mr Lowell, was to be a pall-bearer, and his countrymen will regard it as a most happy circumstance that they were represented, on such an occasion, by no mere politician but by a man so worthy to bear the pall of Charles Darwin. I see also that the venerable Robert C. Winthrop was present, the President of the Massachusetts Historical Society and in many ways a representative American.
The experience you speak of, in connection with the generalisation worked out by your great relative, corresponds with the experiences of others who were watching by night when 'the glory of this new star shone around them. A few years ago when, through that considerateness of a heart which could hold a world and at the same time not overlook the smallest opportunity for kindness in it, I was invited to Down, and when I was walking with him in his garden, I felt as if I would fain clasp his feet and try to tell him what he had been to me. At night I well remember lying sleepless for some hours tracking the steps of my pilgrimage which had begun in an Egypt of Darkness and been able to clear Wildernesses by his aid. .This spiritual effect of a pure scientific generalisation, as I have known it in myself and in many other minds, is the most significant phenomenon of this age. It is a thing to be pondered on by those who consider what is to be the God-spell or glad tidings of the coming time.
On Sunday last I had a very large audience to attend our memorial service and discourse in honour of Darwin. I am now engaged in preparing a sort of memoir which I shall probably deliver before the American Assoc. for Advancement of Science at their meeting in August. It occurs this year at Montreal, and Steny Hunt has tempted me to cross the ocean merely to remain one month. (I wish I could tempt you to go also.) I shall aim, in what I am writing, to give the facts of Darwin's personal life, so far as I can obtain them ; the dates of his works, etc. I shall also try to trace carefully the history of the doctrine of evolution-tracing it from the empirical suggestions of Newton, and then Buffon, to Erasmus Darwin, then to Lamarck, Oken, Goethe, Geoffroy St Hilaire, and Darwin. (And by the way, do you know that more than forty years ago Ralph Waldo Emerson was basing his entire idealistic philosophy on evolution?-in his first book, 1836, writing
" And striving to be Iran, the worm Mounts through all the spires of form.
As for this matter of a memoir concerning Darwin, I should hope to consult you about it at some time.
I send you an American paper with a little Essay of mine written last year. I sent it to Mr Darwin in January. It is not much, but may interest you and Mrs Galton. Ever yours, MONCURE D. CONWAY.
HARLECH HOUSE, BOURNEMOUTH. March 26, 1883.
MY DEAR PROFESSOR*, Thank you much for your pretty cloud problem. I have been on the look out for an opportunity of experimenting with it, but have not hitherto had a chance. It has however suggested to me a plan which I enclose, and which I have tried, that really looks as though it might be regularly employed in many stations where there are cliffs or neighbouring hills, and which might even give good results for clouds up to 2000 or so feet. I experimented by using the Kew Pagoda to serve as the AC in the enclosed. The sea here is bare of ships, but I have tried the method this morning upon one that happened to be passing and it seemed very convenient. Very sincerely yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
5, BERTIE TERRACE, LEAMINGTON. September 27, 1883.
MY DEAR MILLYt, From your very liberal standpoint, the arguments in the Chapter on Prayer have necessarily little value. They are directed to those who either (1) like the great
* Professor G. G. Stokes.
t Mrs Millicent Lethbridge, daughter of Galton's Sister Adele, Mrs Bunbury. Galton is
referring to the section on Prayer in his Inquiries into Human Faculty : see our Vol. u,
pp. 100-101, 115-117, 258-261.