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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   1 December 1876

42 Rutland Gate

Dec 1/76

My dear Darwin

Many thanks for the enclosed, which I have copied, & return.1

I can give you another instance in which that curious habit (in the Butler family) of raising the arm when asleep & letting the wrist fall over the nose, has occurred. You may recollect the case I sent you, which you quoted.2 The new instance is this:—

The 7th child of one of the other sons, had this peculiarity also. It was first observed and commented on by the nurse & pointed out by he⁠⟨⁠r⁠⟩⁠ to the mother, the nurse being wholly ignorant of the peculiarity hav⁠⟨⁠ing⁠⟩⁠ existed in other members of the family, & the mother who had heard of its existence had never until that time, paid attention to the account. (The son in question is Spencer Butler; the peculiarity as far as known, runs thus:—3


The crosses are those that are known to have it.)

Their grandfather,2 out of 8 children
and3 out of 17 grandchildren (about)
are known to have it

Ever sincerely Yr. | Francis Galton


The enclosure has not been found.
In 1871, Galton had sent CD an account of the arm-raising habit of his brother-in-law Henry Montagu Butler, Butler’s father, George Butler, and his daughter Agnes Isabel (see Correspondence vol. 19, letters from Francis Galton, 22 December 1871 and [after 22 December 1871]). CD cited the case in Expression, pp. 33–4 n. 8.
Spencer Perceval Butler was a son of George Butler. His wife was Mary Butler, and their seventh child was Arthur Francis Butler.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Gives another instance of curious habit in the Butler family.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: A96
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10694,” accessed on 28 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24