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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   12 January 1877

42 Rutland Gate,

Jan. 12/77.

My dear Darwin,

Thanks very many: When you come across the essay I should be very glad to see it.1 I know of a curious Swiss memoir, something apparently to the same effect, in which the author says that the Swiss yeomen are very apt to leave their homestead to a sickly son, knowing that he will not be called out on service, nor tempted to take service abroad in any form, but will stay at home and look after the property. Consequently the Swiss landed population tend to deteriorate.2

I will try hard to put in practice your valuable hints about making my lecture as little unintelligible and dull as may be and have hopes of succeeding somewhat. George has most kindly taken infinite pains to the same end.3

Ever sincerely yours, Francis Galton.

Charles Darwin, Esq.


The Swiss essay has not been identified.
George Howard Darwin and CD had been advising Galton in preparing a lecture later delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on 9 February 1877 (Galton 1877). Galton was planning to meet George and CD on 14 January 1877 (see letter to Francis Galton, 9 January [1877] and n. 2).


Tschouriloff, Michel (Mikhail Petrovich Churilov). 1876. Étude sur la dégénérescence physiologique des peuples civilisés (causes de dégénérescence des peuples civilisés). Revue d’anthropologie 5: 605–64.


Would like to see essay [on effects of conscription in France, see 10774]. Knows of Swiss memoir to the same effect. Author says Swiss yeomen apt to leave homestead to sickly son. Landed populations deteriorate.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
Pearson 1914–30, 2: 192

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10783,” accessed on 13 June 2021,