Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

80 NATURAL INHERITANCE. [chai*. 
that I need specify were the very first that I used ; they 
refer to the sizes of seeds, which are equivalent to the 
Statures of seeds. I both measured and weighed them, 
but after assuring myself of the equivalence of the 
two methods (see Appendix C.), confined myself to 
ascertaining the weights, as they were much more 
easily ascertained than the measures. It is more 
than 10 years since I procured these data. They 
were the result of an extensive series of experiments 
on the produce of seeds of different sizes, hut of 
the same species, conducted for the following reasons. 
I had endeavoured to find a population possessed 
of some measurable characteristic that was suitable 
for investigating the causes of the statistical similarity 
between successive generations of a people, as will here¬ 
after be discussed in Chapter VIII. At last I determined 
to experiment on seeds, and after much inquiry of very 
competent advisers, selected sweet-peas for the purpose. 
They do not cross-fertilize, which is a very exceptional 
condition among plants ; they are hardy, prolific, of a 
convenient size to handle, and nearly spherical ; their 
weight does not alter perceptibly when the air changes 
from damp to dry, and the little pea at the end of the 
pod, so characteristic of ordinary peas, is absent in sweet- 
peas. I began by weighing thousands of them individ¬ 
ually, and treating them as a census officer would treat 
a large population. Then I selected with great pains 
several sets for planting. Each set contained seven 
little packets, numbered K, L, M, N, O, P, and Q, 
each of the seven packets contained ten seeds of almost
        

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