skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Francis Galton   23 December [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Dec. 23d

My dear Galton

I have only read about 50 pages of your Book (to the Judges) but I must exhale myself, else something will go wrong in my inside.2 I do not think I ever in all my life read anything more interesting & original. And how well & clearly you put every point! George,3 who has finished the Book, & who expressed himself just in the same terms, tells me the earlier chapters are nothing in interest to the latter ones! It will take me some time to get to these latter chapters,, as it is read aloud to me by my wife, who is also much interested.— You have made a convert of an opponent in one sense, for I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal & hard work; & I still think there is an eminently important difference.

I congratulate you on producing what I am convinced will prove a memorable work.—

I look forward with intense interest to each reading, but it sets me thinking so much that I find it very hard work; but that is wholly the fault of my brain & not of your beautifully clear style.—

Yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Galton’s Hereditary genius (Galton 1869).
CD was reading Hereditary genius: an inquiry into its laws and consequences (Galton 1869).
George Howard Darwin.


Galton, Francis. 1869. Hereditary genius: an inquiry into its laws and consequences. London: Macmillan.


Praises FG’s book [Hereditary genius (1869)]. CD is converted by its argument. Previously CD believed men did not differ much in intellect, but only in zeal and hard work.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Francis Galton
Sent from
Source of text
UCL Library Services, Special Collections (GALTON/1/1/9/5/7/8)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7032,” accessed on 22 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17