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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   7 June 1872

42 Rutland Gate SW

June 7/72

My dear Darwin

I did not reply yesterday about the Spiritualists as I expected that day & this to have heard from Mr. Home & Crookes is out of town.1

It will give me great pleasure to do what I can, for Lord Sackville Cecil but rather doubt whether I shall have power to do much. I can’t myself get to these séances as often as I like— indeed I have had no opportunity for a long time past. The fact is, that first class mediums are very few in number & are always ailing— Also that Crookes & others are working their very best at the subject and entertain a full belief that they will be able to establish something important and lastly what, I see, is a real difficulty with them, the introduction of a stranger always disturbs the séances. I say all this to excuse me in your eyes, if I dont fulfil your wishes as you wd. like, but I will do my best & write—whenever I have anything to say, to Ld. S. Cecil as you propose.

The person most likely to help would, I think, be Lord Lindsay.2

I wonder if I have offended Home by my last letter to him— he has never replied & I hear incidentally there is to be an important seance this very night! Alas for me.

Ever yours sincerely | Francis Galton


CD had been asked to help arrange an invitation for Sackville Arthur Cecil to attend a séance with Galton and William Crookes; Crookes was investigating the claims of mediums, including those of Daniel Dunglas Home (see letter from Francis Galton, 26 May 1872 and nn. 2 and 3, and letter from M. C. Stanley, 4 June 1872). No letter from CD to Galton passing on the request has been found.
James Ludovic Lindsay had published the results of an experiment that suggested Home could detect magnetic force, and a description of an apparent instance of levitation (Lindsay 1871; see Noakes 2007, pp. 11–12).


Will do what he can for Lord Sackville Cecil, but he, himself, cannot get to séances when he likes. Introduction of a stranger always disturbs séances. Person most likely to help would be Lord Lindsey.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: A64–5
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8373,” accessed on 25 June 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20