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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   2 June 1875

(Fontainebleau, at present only)

June 2. 1875

My dear Darwin

Thank you very much for your kind letter & information.1 It delights me that (not withstanding the Frenchman’s assertion) the large peas do really produce large plants, and that the extreme sizes sewn (except Q) are coming up.2 I could not and did not hope for complete success in rearing all the seedlings, but have little doubt that the sizes that have failed may be supplemented by partial successes elsewhere.3

We have found Fontainebleau very pleasant and are now moving on viâ Neuchâtel, with some hope that George may as he was inclined to do, hereafter fall in with us.4 He knows how to learn our address from time to time. My wife5 is already markedly better.

With our united kindest remembrances to you all | Ever yrs. | Francis Galton.

It seems absurd to congratulate you on your election to the Vienna Academy, because you are a long way above such honour; but am glad they have so strengthened their list, by adding your name to it.6


CD’s letter has not been found, but see the letter from Francis Galton, 14 April 1875. CD had assisted Galton with experiments on sweetpeas (Lathyrus odoratus), planting seeds of different sizes and observing the progeny.
The Frenchman has not been identified. Galton was investigating the range of variation in the size of seeds produced by plants, themselves raised from different-sized seeds over several generations. Although the large seeds produced larger plants, the distribution of seed sizes in the progeny tended to revert to the mean (Galton 1877a, p. 298).
CD was one of several friends who carried out the experiments on sweetpeas (Galton 1877a, p. 290). Galton’s results were presented at the 9 February 1877 meeting of the Royal Institution of Great Britain and published in the institution’s proceedings and also in Nature (Galton 1877a, 1877b).
No record of George Howard Darwin’s travelling to Europe in the summer of 1875 has been found. George suffered from digestive problems and apparently was unwell for part of the summer. In a letter to Henrietta Emma Litchfield of [4 September 1875], Emma Darwin wrote that George had been ‘at his worst, bringing up blood & his stomach feeling q. raw’, and noted that he had been advised to go to a warm climate (DAR 219.9: 125).
Louisa Jane Galton had become very ill in September 1874, after which she was in frequent pain and an invalid for the rest of her life (Pearson 1914–30, 2: 130, 179, 180 n.
CD was elected a foreign honorary member of the Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien (Imperial Academy of Science of Vienna) on 28 May 1875 (see Appendix III).


Pearson, Karl. 1914–30. The life, letters and labours of Francis Galton. 3 vols. in 4. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Interested to hear about the peas.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: A79
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10005,” accessed on 10 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23