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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   24 December 1869

42 Rutland Gate S.w.

Dec 24— 1869

My dear Darwin,

It would be idle to speak of the delight your letter has given me,1 for there is no one in the world whose approbation in these matters can have the same weight as yours. Neither is there any one whose approbation I prize more highly, on purely personal grounds, because I always think of you in the same way as converts from barbarism think of the teacher who first relieved them from the intollerable burden of their superstition. I used to be wretched under the weight of the old fashioned ‘arguments from design’,2 of which I felt though I was unable to prove to myself, the worthlessness. Consequently the appearance of your ‘Origin of Species’ formed a real crisis in my life; your book drove away the constraint of my old superstition as if it had been a nightmare and was the first to give me freedom of thought.

I now look forward anxiously to your final opinion after you have quite gone through the book.—3 Wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas

Believe me very sincerely yours | Francis Galton


Letter to Francis Galton, 23 December [1869].
Galton refers to works such as William Paley’s Natural theology; or, evidences of the existence and attributes of the Deity, collected from the appearances of nature (Paley 1802).
CD was reading Hereditary genius (Galton 1869).


Greatly pleased by approbation from CD, whom he admires and whose Origin did much for him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: 3–4
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7034,” accessed on 19 June 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17