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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. H. Darwin   27 May [1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 27

My dear George

Mr D Spalding has been here to lunch & I have been delighted with him.2 He wants to know which periodical & date contained that article about Ernergy & Thought, or some such title, in which it was maintained that there was no loss of energy in thinking, & which you & I read.3

He is going to experimentise on the sense of direction in animals, & has been trying blindfolded children, & I think has arrived at the same results as you have. Will you let him use your results. If so send them to me & I will forward them. He found a difference in left handed children.4

yours affect | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from D. A. Spalding, 21 July 1874.
Douglas Alexander Spalding’s visit is not recorded in Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), but see the letter from D. A. Spalding, 21 July 1874.
The article may have been Benjamin Apthorp Gould’s ‘On force and will’, Annals and Magazine of Natural History 5 (1870): 300–3.
George was evidently working on directional instinct; CD sent his notes to Spalding, but they have not been found (see letter to G. H. Darwin, 10 June 1874 and n. 4). For details of Spalding’s experiments, see Spalding 1873.


Spalding, Douglas Alexander. 1873. Instinct. With original observations on young animals. Macmillan’s Magazine 27 (1872–3): 282–93.


D. A. Spalding has asked for information to help with his experiments on sense of direction in animals. Has arrived at same results as GHD with blindfolded children. Will GHD let him have his results?

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 21
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9472,” accessed on 3 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22