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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   22 February 1877

42 Rutland Gate

Feb 22/77

My dear Darwin

By this book post I return Tschouriloff1 with many thanks (after keeping in an unconscionable time, but I knew you did not want it & it was useful to refer to, to me.)

About the deaf & dumb men speaking with Castilian &c accent, according to their teachers I cannot help thinking it sufficiently explained by their imitation of the actions of the lips & of the teachers.2 I have tried in a looking glass, & it seems that I mouth quite differently when I speak broad Scotch; again, last year I was trying some experiments with Barlows “logograph” and the traces were greatly modified under different conditions of cadence.3

Let me before ending, heartily congratulate you on the German & Dutch testimonial of which I see a notice in to days “Times”.4 and take the opportunity of wishing you many, very many happy returns of the birthday.5

Ever sincerely Yrs. | Francis Galton

My wife is convalescent & already walks out a little.6


William Henry Barlow invented a recording device for the human voice called the logograph; it was presented at the Royal Society of London in 1874 (see Barlow 1874).
A short notice on the two photograph albums sent to CD appeared in The Times, 22 February 1877, p. 11. On the German and Austrian album, see the letter from Emil Rade, [before 16] February 1877; on the Dutch album, see the letter from A. A. van Bemmelen and H. J. Veth, 6 February 1877.
CD was 68 on 12 February 1877.
In his letter of 11 February [1877], CD had asked about Louisa Jane Galton’s health.


Barlow, William Henry. 1874. On the pneumatic action which accompanies the articulation of sounds by the human voice, as exhibited by a recording instrument. [Read 16 April 1874.] Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 22: 277–86.

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.


Attributes the Castilian accent of speech of deaf and dumb men to imitation of their teachers’ lip movements.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: A97–8
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10859,” accessed on 22 June 2021,