skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   12 May 1871

42 Rutland Gate

May 12/71

My dear Darwin

I have just seen Lionel Beale’s, not nicely conceived, letter in ‘Nature’ on Pangenesis and write at once to you, lest you should imagine that I in any way share the animus of the letter.1

I do not know him, at least, I have, perhaps twice, only, had occasion to converse with him,—& what he says, certainly does not express my own opinion as expressed eleswhere. or to others.— & I should not feel easy, if I did not disavow all share in it, to you.

Yours very sincerely | Francis Galton

My new experiments are not hopeful—alas!

I hope Pangenesis will get well discussed now.

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Answered’ ink


Lionel Smith Beale’s letter appeared in Nature, 11 May 1871, pp. 25–6. It criticised CD’s hypothesis of pangenesis on the grounds that his ‘gemmules’ were purely imaginary and their existence could not be proved or disproved. Galton had recently reported on the unsuccessful results of a series of experiments that had been designed to test CD’s hypothesis; and CD had written to Nature, stating that the failure of Galton’s experiments did not disprove pangenesis. See letter from Francis Galton, 2 May 1871.


Writes that he does not share at all in Lionel Beale’s letter in Nature [4 (1871): 25–6];

his new experiments are not hopeful.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: 31–2
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7754,” accessed on 17 June 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19