Letter icon
Letter 8296

Darwin, C. R. to Galton, Francis

21 Apr [1872]


Encourages FG to carry out investigation [of spiritualism]. However, his own health is too uncertain to accept Daniel Dunglas Home’s offer. Discusses possibility of reproducing Crookes’s apparatus for sale.


Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Ap. 21st.

My dear Galton

I have considered your proposition well. It seems to me highlydesirable that the subject shd. be investigated, & that it is asort of duty in every one who can do so to aid.—f2 I have consultedmy wife, & she thinks even more strongly than I do, that it wd. beimpossible for me.— It is very rare that I can converse withanyone & be in any way excited for an hour: my head then begins to rock, &all power of attention is lost. I am, also, so often too unwell to go out,that I shd. frequently break any appointment.— Moreover, odd as itmay seem, an extreme desire to be well on any particular day, or ratherevening, is very apt to make me bad.— I regret it much, but I dare not acceptMr. Home’sf3 remarkably liberal offer. Do not give up yourself.—Can you not get some man known for physical science to join you?

If Mr Crooke succeeds in making his apparatus, & can get someinstrument-maker to sell it, then everyone could buy one & try forhimself—f4 This would settle the question at once, whether anypower does come out of the human body of certain or many individuals.—It wd. undoubtedly be a very grand discovery.—

With very sincere thanks for your letter | Yours very truly | Ch. Darwin

I regret my decision deeply, but I am sure it is unavoidable.— Onlythose who live with me can know how strange a state I am in in health,I never pass 24 hours, without failing several times, when I cando nothing whatever & not even read a line.—

Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)



The year is established by the relationship between this letter andthe letter from Francis Galton, 19 April 1872.
See letter from Francis Galton, 19 April 1872. Galton had invitedCD to attend a séance.
Daniel Dunglas Home.
William Crookes had already attempted to record Home’s phenomena onself-registering instruments between April and July 1871 (ODNBs.v. Home, Daniel Dunglas). He evidently planned to construct newinstruments for this purpose.
Maximized viewPrint letter