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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Francis Galton   [6–12 January 1877]1

2 Bryanston St

My dear G.

I have just bethought me, that I received a French essay a few months ago on the effects of the conscription on the height of the men of France & on their liability to various diseases which rendered them unfit for the army, due to the weaker men left at home propagating the race.2

He shows, I think rightly that no one hitherto had considered the problem in the proper light.— I forget author’s name,—& where published.

Do you know this essay? & shd. you care to see it.— I suppose that I could find it, but I think I have not yet catalogued it. It seemed to me a striking essay.3

Ever yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The date range is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Francis Galton, 12 January 1877, and by the address. CD was in London at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, Henrietta Emma and Richard Buckley Litchfield, from 6 to 15 January 1877 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
CD had received ‘Étude sur la dégénérescence physiologique des peuples civilisé’ from Mikhail Petrovich Churilov (Study on the physiological degeneration of civilised peoples; Tschouriloff 1876). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
CD evidently wrote to Churilov, praising the essay, in a letter that has not been found (Russkii biograficheskii slovar’ s.v. Churilov, Mikhail Petrovich).


Russkii biograficheskii slovar’. Edited by A. A. Polovtsov. St Petersburg: Izdanie Imperatorskogo Russkogo istoricheskogo obshchestva. 1896–1918.

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.


Has received French essay on effects of conscription on [decreasing] height of men, due to unfit left at home to propagate race. Would FG care to see it?

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Francis Galton
Sent from
London, Bryanston St, 2
Source of text
UCL Library Services, Special Collections (GALTON/1/1/9/5/7/23)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10774,” accessed on 6 December 2021,