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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Francis Galton   2 November [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Nov. 2d

My dear Galton

I hear from George that you are going to write on inheritance & therefore I think it worth telling you that Huxley does not at all believe in Balbianis views & statements.2 He says he published some years ago some strange facts & then went right round & gave them all up.—3 I send you Wedderburns note & a pamphlet by him which will amuse you & which need not be returned4

Your’s very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Francis Galton, 3 November 1875.
No letter from George Howard Darwin mentioning Galton’s work on inheritance has been found. No letter from Thomas Henry Huxley mentioning Édouard-Gérard Balbiani has been found; however, Huxley visited Down on 16 October 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Balbiani’s controversial work on the reproduction of aphids (Balbiani 1866) was discussed in Fripp 1866 and Lubbock 1867, pp. lv–lvii (see also T. H. Huxley 1858). CD’s annotated copy of Balbiani 1866 is in his collection of unbound journals in the Darwin Library–CUL. For CD’s views on the paper, see Correspondence vol. 14, letters to B. D. Walsh, 20 August [1866] and 24 December [1866].
A pamphlet by the colonial civil servant William Wedderburn, ‘“Be ye therefore perfect:” a lay sermon’, is in the Darwin Pamphlet collection–CUL. It discussed the application of ‘scientific selection’ to problems of over-population and the moral and physical deterioration of the race; Wedderburn described the project as ‘applying Darwinian principles to human affairs’ (Wedderburn n.d., p. 4). Wedderburn’s note has not been found; his brother, David Wedderburn, had written to CD in 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19, letter from David Wedderburn, 6 April 1871).


Balbiani, Édouard-Gérard. 1866. On the reproduction and embryogeny of the Aphides. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 18: 62–9, 106–9.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Fripp, H. E. 1866. Genesis, or parthenogenesis. Popular Science Review 5: 442–52.


Has heard that FG will write on inheritance. Huxley does not believe in E. G. Balbiani’s views on subject.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Francis Galton
Sent from
Source of text
UCL Library Services, Special Collections (GALTON/1/1/9/5/7/17)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10237,” accessed on 18 January 2020,

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