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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   [after 22 December 1871]1

⁠⟨⁠1 page missing⁠⟩⁠

Butler, not only when sleeping in an arm chair, but chiefly & habitually in bed & in both cases it is when he is fast asleep, not when dozing.2 In his father’s case, it was the same but almost wholly, if not wholly, in bed, for I find the arm chair evidence is weak. The mistake was mine, and was due to my having seen the narrators while sitting in their chairs imitate the movement, whence it never occurred to me that it took place elsewhere than in a chair3 The wives of the two Headmasters were, & Mrs. M. Butler’s is, exceedingly fidgetted by this curious & continually recurring see-saw manoeuvres.4 The granddaughter5 has not, or had not been sufficiently observed—the assertion of her having the trick was based upon a remark of her nurse—but I shall soon hear more. & will then send you a revised statement—if not too late for your book.

Crookes wrote to me that Home’s preference was very important,—for the experiments were far more succesful when he was the medium, than when any one else was & he is now in Russia & will not return till May.6 So I will wait.

Very sincerely yours | Francis Galton


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Francis Galton, 22 December 1871.
See letter from Francis Galton, 22 December 1871. William Crookes had subjected the medium Daniel Dunglas Home to tests in 1871 and was convinced that he ‘possessed a psychic force that could be used to modify gravity, produce musical effects, and perform feats unknown to science or conjuring’ (ODNB s.v. Crookes, William; Home, Daniel Dunglas).


ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Gives his account of H. M. Butler’s apparently inherited habit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: A42–3
Physical description
ALS 3pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8126,” accessed on 26 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19