The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume II

Part 2 out of 11

this letter will appear very conceited, but one must form an opinion on
what one reads with attention, and in simple truth, I cannot find words
strong enough to express my admiration of your essay.

My dear old friend, yours affectionately,

P.S.--I differ about the "Saturday Review". ("Saturday Review", December
24, 1859. The hostile arguments of the reviewer are geological, and he
deals especially with the denudation of the Weald. The reviewer remarks
that, "if a million of centuries, more or less, is needed for any part of
his argument, he feels no scruple in taking them to suit his purpose.")
One cannot expect fairness in a reviewer, so I do not complain of all the
other arguments besides the 'Geological Record' being omitted. Some of the
remarks about the lapse of years are very good, and the reviewer gives me
some good and well-deserved raps--confound it. I am sorry to confess the
truth: but it does not at all concern the main argument. That was a nice
notice in the "Gardeners' Chronicle". I hope and imagine that Lindley is
almost a convert. Do not forget to tell me if Bentham gets all the more

With respect to tropical plants during the Glacial period, I throw in your
teeth your own facts, at the base of the Himalaya, on the possibility of
the co-existence of at least forms of the tropical and temperate regions.
I can give a parallel case for animals in Mexico. Oh! my dearly beloved
puny child, how cruel men are to you! I am very glad you approve of the
Geographical chapters...

Down, [January 4th, 1860].

My dear L.

"Gardeners' Chronicle" returned safe. Thanks for note. I am beyond
measure glad that you get more and more roused on the subject of species,
for, as I have always said, I am well convinced that your opinions and
writings will do far more to convince the world than mine. You will make a
grand discussion on man. You are very bold in this, and I honour you. I
have been, like you, quite surprised at the want of originality in opposed
arguments and in favour too. Gwyn Jeffreys attacks me justly in his letter
about strictly littoral shells not being often embedded at least in
Tertiary deposits. I was in a muddle, for I was thinking of Secondary, yet
Chthamalus applied to Tertiary...

Possibly you might like to see the enclosed note (Dr. Whewell wrote
(January 2, 1860): "...I cannot, yet at least, become a convert. But
there is so much of thought and of fact in what you have written that it is
not to be contradicted without careful selection of the ground and manner
of the dissent." Dr. Whewell dissented in a practical manner for some
years, by refusing to allow a copy of the 'Origin of Species' to be placed
in the Library of Trinity College.) from Whewell, merely as showing that he
is not horrified with us. You can return it whenever you have occasion to
write, so as not to waste your time.


Down, [January 4th? 1860].

...I have had a brief note from Keyserling (Joint author with Murchison of
the 'Geology of Russia,' 1845.), but not worth sending you. He believes in
change of species, grants that natural selection explains well adaptation
of form, but thinks species change too regularly, as if by some chemical
law, for natural selection to be the sole cause of change. I can hardly
understand his brief note, but this is I think the upshot.

...I will send A. Murray's paper whenever published. (The late Andrew
Murray wrote two papers on the 'Origin' in the Proc. R. Soc. Edin. 1860.
The one referred to here is dated January 16, 1860. The following is
quoted from page 6 of the separate copy: "But the second, and, as it
appears to me, by much the most important phase of reversion to type (and
which is practically, if not altogether ignored by Mr. Darwin), is the
instinctive inclination which induces individuals of the same species by
preference to intercross with those possessing the qualities which they
themselves want, so as to preserve the purity or equilibrium of the
breed...It is trite to a proverb, that tall men marry little women...a man
of genius marries a fool...and we are told that this is the result of the
charm of contrast, or of qualities admired in others because we do not
possess them. I do not so explain it. I imagine it is the effort of
nature to preserve the typical medium of the race.") It includes
speculations (which he perhaps will modify) so rash, and without a single
fact in support, that had I advanced them he or other reviewers would have
hit me very hard. I am sorry to say that I have no "consolatory view" on
the dignity of man. I am content that man will probably advance, and care
not much whether we are looked at as mere savages in a remotely distant
future. Many thanks for your last note.

Yours affectionately,

I have received, in a Manchester newspaper, rather a good squib, showing
that I have proved "might is right," and therefore that Napoleon is right,
and every cheating tradesman is also right.

Down, January 6th [1860]?

My dear Carpenter,

I have just read your excellent article in the 'National.' It will do
great good; especially if it becomes known as your production. It seems to
me to give an excellently clear account of Mr. Wallace's and my views. How
capitally you turn the flanks of the theological opposers by opposing to
them such men as Bentham and the more philosophical of the systematists! I
thank you sincerely for the EXTREMELY honourable manner in which you
mention me. I should have liked to have seen some criticisms or remarks on
embryology, on which subject you are so well instructed. I do not think
any candid person can read your article without being much impressed with
it. The old doctrine of immutability of specific forms will surely but
slowly die away. It is a shame to give you trouble, but I should be very
much obliged if you could tell me where differently coloured eggs in
individuals of the cuckoo have been described, and their laying in twenty-
seven kinds of nests. Also do you know from your own observation that the
limbs of sheep imported into the West Indies change colour? I have had
detailed information about the loss of wool; but my accounts made the
change slower than you describe.

With most cordial thanks and respect, believe me, my dear Carpenter, yours
very sincerely,

CHARLES DARWIN TO L. JENYNS. (Rev. L. Blomefield.)
Down, January 7th, 1860.

My dear Jenyns,

I am very much obliged for your letter. It is of great use and interest to
me to know what impression my book produces on philosophical and instructed
minds. I thank you for the kind things which you say; and you go with me
much further than I expected. You will think it presumptuous, but I am
will go further. No one has yet cast doubts on my explanation of the
subordination of group to group, on homologies, embryology, and rudimentary
organs; and if my explanation of these classes of facts be at all right,
whole classes of organic beings must be included in one line of descent.

The imperfection of the Geological Record is one of the greatest
difficulties...During the earliest period the record would be most
imperfect, and this seems to me sufficient to account for our not finding
intermediate forms between the classes in the same great kingdoms. It was
certainly rash in me putting in my belief of the probability of all beings
having descended from ONE primordial form; but as this seems yet to me
probable, I am not willing to strike it out. Huxley alone supports me in
this, and something could be said in its favour. With respect to man, I am
very far from wishing to obtrude my belief; but I thought it dishonest to
quite conceal my opinion. Of course it is open to every one to believe
that man appeared by a separate miracle, though I do not myself see the
necessity or probability.

Pray accept my sincere thanks for your kind note. Your going some way with
me gives me great confidence that I am not very wrong. For a very long
time I halted half way; but I do not believe that any enquiring mind will
rest half-way. People will have to reject all or admit all; by ALL I mean
only the members of each great kingdom.

My dear Jenyns, yours most sincerely,

Down, January 10th [1860].

...It is perfectly true that I owe nearly all the corrections (The second
edition of 3000 copies of the 'Origin' was published on January 7th.) to
you, and several verbal ones to you and others; I am heartily glad you
approve of them, as yet only two things have annoyed me; those confounded
millions (This refers to the passage in the 'Origin of Species' (2nd
edition, page 285), in which the lapse of time implied by the denudation of
the Weald is discussed. The discussion closes with the sentence: "So that
it is not improbable that a longer period than 300 million years has
elapsed since the latter part of the Secondary period." This passage is
omitted in the later editions of the 'Origin,' against the advice of some
of his friends, as appears from the pencil notes in my father's copy of the
second edition.) of years (not that I think it is probably wrong), and my
not having (by inadvertance) mentioned Wallace towards the close of the
book in the summary, not that any one has noticed this to me. I have now
put in Wallace's name at page 484 in a conspicuous place. I cannot refer
you to tables of mortality of children, etc. etc. I have notes somewhere,
but I have not the LEAST idea where to hunt, and my notes would now be old.
I shall be truly glad to read carefully any MS. on man, and give my
opinion. You used to caution me to be cautious about man. I suspect I
shall have to return the caution a hundred fold! Yours will, no doubt, be
a grand discussion; but it will horrify the world at first more than my
whole volume; although by the sentence (page 489, new edition (First
edition, page 488.)) I show that I believe man is in the same predicament
with other animals. It is, in fact, impossible to doubt it. I have
thought (only vaguely) on man. With respect to the races, one of my best
chances of truth has broken down from the impossibility of getting facts.
I have one good speculative line, but a man must have entire credence in
Natural Selection before he will even listen to it. Psychologically, I
have done scarcely anything. Unless, indeed, expression of countenance can
be included, and on that subject I have collected a good many facts, and
speculated, but I do not suppose I shall ever publish, but it is an
uncommonly curious subject. By the way, I sent off a lot of questions the
day before yesterday to Tierra del Fuego on expression! I suspect (for I
have never read it) that Spencer's 'Psychology' has a bearing on Psychology
as we should look at it. By all means read the Preface, in about 20 pages,
of Hensleigh Wedgwood's new Dictionary on the first origin of Language;
Erasmus would lend it. I agree about Carpenter, a very good article, but
with not much original...Andrew Murray has criticised, in an address to the
Botanical Society of Edinburgh, the notice in the 'Linnean Journal,' and
"has disposed of" the whole theory by an ingenious difficulty, which I was
very stupid not to have thought of; for I express surprise at more and
analogous cases not being known. The difficulty is, that amongst the blind
insects of the caves in distant parts of the world there are some of the
same genus, and yet the genus is not found out of the caves or living in
the free world. I have little doubt that, like the fish Amblyopsis, and
like Proteus in Europe, these insects are "wrecks of ancient life," or
"living fossils," saved from competition and extermination. But that
formerly SEEING insects of the same genus roamed over the whole area in
which the cases are included.

Farewell, yours affectionately,

P.S.--OUR ancestor was an animal which breathed water, had a swim bladder,
a great swimming tail, an imperfect skull, and undoubtedly was an

Here is a pleasant genealogy for mankind.

Down, January 14th [1860].

...I shall be much interested in reading your man discussion, and will give
my opinion carefully, whatever that may be worth; but I have so long looked
at you as the type of cautious scientific judgment (to my mind one of the
highest and most useful qualities), that I suspect my opinion will be
superfluous. It makes me laugh to think what a joke it will be if I have
to caution you, after your cautions on the same subject to me!

I will order Owen's book ('Classification of the Mammalia,' 1859.); I am
very glad to hear Huxley's opinion on his classification of man; without
having due knowledge, it seemed to me from the very first absurd; all
classifications founded on single characters I believe have failed.

...What a grand, immense benefit you conferred on me by getting Murray to
publish my book. I never till to-day realised that it was getting widely
distributed; for in a letter from a lady to-day to E., she says she heard a
man enquiring for it at the RAILWAY STATION!!! at Waterloo Bridge; and the
bookseller said that he had none till the new edition was out. The
bookseller said he had not read it, but had heard it was a very remarkable

Down, 14th [January, 1860].

...I heard from Lyell this morning, and he tells me a piece of news. You
are a good-for-nothing man; here you are slaving yourself to death with
hardly a minute to spare, and you must write a review of my book! I
thought it ('Gardeners' Chronicle', 1860. Referred to above. Sir J.D.
Hooker took the line of complete impartiality, so as not to commit
Lindley.) a very good one, and was so much struck with it that I sent it to
Lyell. But I assumed, as a matter of course, that it was Lindley's. Now
that I know it is yours, I have re-read it, and, my kind and good friend,
it has warmed my heart with all the honourable and noble things you say of
me and it. I was a good deal surprised at Lindley hitting on some of the
remarks, but I never dreamed of you. I admired it chiefly as so well
adapted to tell on the readers of the 'Gardeners' Chronicle'; but now I
admired it in another spirit. Farewell, with hearty thanks...Lyell is
going at man with an audacity that frightens me. It is a good joke; he
used always to caution me to slip over man.

[In the "Gardeners' Chronicle", January 21, 1860, appeared a short letter
from my father which was called forth by Mr. Westwood's communication to
the previous number of the journal, in which certain phenomena of cross-
breeding are discussed in relation to the 'Origin of Species.' Mr.
Westwood wrote in reply (February 11) and adduced further evidence against
the doctrine of descent, such as the identity of the figures of ostriches
on the ancient "Egyptian records," with the bird as we now know it. The
correspondence is hardly worth mentioning, except as one of the very few
cases in which my father was enticed into anything resembling a

Cambridge, Mass.,
January 5th, 1860.

My dear Hooker,

Your last letter, which reached me just before Christmas, has got mislaid
during the upturnings in my study which take place at that season, and has
not yet been discovered. I should be very sorry to lose it, for there were
in it some botanical mems. which I had not secured...

The principal part of your letter was high laudation of Darwin's book.

Well, the book has reached me, and I finished its careful perusal four days
ago; and I freely say that your laudation is not out of place.

It is done in a MASTERLY MANNER. It might well have taken twenty years to
produce it. It is crammed full of most interesting matter--thoroughly
digested--well expressed--close, cogent, and taken as a system it makes out
a better case than I had supposed possible...

Agassiz, when I saw him last, had read but a part of it. He says it is
POOR--VERY POOR!! (entre nous). The fact [is] he is very much annoyed by
it,...and I do not wonder at it. To bring all IDEAL systems within the
domain of science, and give good physical or natural explanations of all
his capital points, is as bad as to have Forbes take the glacier
materials...and give scientific explanation of all the phenomena.

Tell Darwin all this. I will write to him when I get a chance. As I have
promised, he and you shall have fair-play here...I must myself write a
review of Darwin's book for 'Silliman's Journal' (the more so that I
suspect Agassiz means to come out upon it) for the next (March) No., and I
am now setting about it (when I ought to be every moment working the
Expl[oring] Expedition Compositae, which I know far more about). And
really it is no easy job, as you may well imagine.

I doubt if I shall please you altogether. I know I shall not please
Agassiz at all. I hear another reprint is in the Press, and the book will
excite much attention here, and some controversy...

Down, January 28th [1860].

My dear Gray,

Hooker has forwarded to me your letter to him; and I cannot express how
deeply it has gratified me. To receive the approval of a man whom one has
long sincerely respected. And whose judgment and knowledge are most
universally admitted, is the highest reward an author can possibly wish
for; and I thank you heartily for your most kind expressions.

I have been absent from home for a few days, and so could not earlier
answer your letter to me of the 10th of January. You have been extremely
kind to take so much trouble and interest about the edition. It has been a
mistake of my publisher not thinking of sending over the sheets. I had
entirely and utterly forgotten your offer of receiving the sheets as
printed off. But I must not blame my publisher, for had I remembered your
most kind offer I feel pretty sure I should not have taken advantage of it;
for I never dreamed of my book being so successful with general readers; I
believe I should have laughed at the idea of sending the sheets to America.
(In a letter to Mr. Murray, 1860, my father wrote:--"I am amused by Asa
Gray's account of the excitement my book has made amongst naturalists in
the United States. Agassiz has denounced it in a newspaper, but yet in
such terms that it is in fact a fine advertisement!" This seems to refer
to a lecture given before the Mercantile Library Association.)

After much consideration, and on the strong advice of Lyell and others, I
have resolved to leave the present book as it is (excepting correcting
errors, or here and there inserting short sentences) and to use all my
strength, WHICH IS BUT LITTLE, to bring out the first part (forming a
separate volume with index, etc.) of the three volumes which will make my
bigger work; so that I am very unwilling to take up time in making
corrections for an American edition. I enclose a list of a few corrections
in the second reprint, which you will have received by this time complete,
and I could send four or five corrections or additions of equally small
importance, or rather of equal brevity. I also intend to write a SHORT
preface with a brief history of the subject. These I will set about, as
they must some day be done, and I will send them to you in a short time--
the few corrections first, and the preface afterwards, unless I hear that
you have given up all idea of a separate edition. You will then be able to
judge whether it is worth having the new edition with YOUR REVIEW PREFIXED.
Whatever be the nature of your review, I assure you I should feel it a
GREAT honour to have my book thus preceded...

Cambridge, January 23rd, 1860.

My dear Darwin,

You have my hurried letter telling you of the arrival of the remainder of
the sheets of the reprint, and of the stir I had made for a reprint in
Boston. Well, all looked pretty well, when, lo, we found that a second New
York publishing house had announced a reprint also! I wrote then to both
New York publishers, asking them to give way to the AUTHOR and his reprint
of a revised edition. I got an answer from the Harpers that they withdraw
--from the Appletons that they had got the book OUT (and the next day I saw
a copy); but that, "if the work should have any considerable sale, we
certainly shall be disposed to pay the author reasonably and liberally."

The Appletons being thus out with their reprint, the Boston house declined
to go on. So I wrote to the Appletons taking them at their word, offering
to aid their reprint, to give them the use of the alterations in the London
reprint, as soon as I find out what they are, etc. etc. And I sent them
the first leaf, and asked them to insert in their future issue the
additional matter from Butler (A quotation from Butler's 'Analogy,' on the
use of the word natural, which in the second edition is placed with the
passages from Whewell and Bacon on page ii, opposite the title-page.),
which tells just right. So there the matter stands. If you furnish any
matter in advance of the London third edition, I will make them pay for it.

I may get something for you. All got is clear gain; but it will not be
very much, I suppose.

Such little notices in the papers here as have yet appeared are quite
handsome and considerate.

I hope next week to get printed sheets of my review from New Haven, and
send [them] to you, and will ask you to pass them on to Dr. Hooker.

To fulfil your request, I ought to tell you what I think the weakest, and
what the best, part of your book. But this is not easy, nor to be done in
a word or two. The BEST PART, I think, is the WHOLE, i.e., its PLAN and
TREATMENT, the vast amount of facts and acute inferences handled as if you
had a perfect mastery of them. I do not think twenty years too much time
to produce such a book in.

Style clear and good, but now and then wants revision for little matters
(page 97, self-fertilises ITSELF, etc.).

Then your candour is worth everything to your cause. It is refreshing to
find a person with a new theory who frankly confesses that he finds
difficulties, insurmountable, at least for the present. I know some people
who never have any difficulties to speak of.

The moment I understood your premisses, I felt sure you had a real
foundation to hold on. Well, if one admits your premisses, I do not see
how he is to stop short of your conclusions, as a probable hypothesis at

It naturally happens that my review of your book does not exhibit anything
like the full force of the impression the book has made upon me. Under the
circumstances I suppose I do your theory more good here, by bespeaking for
it a fair and favourable consideration, and by standing non-committed as to
its full conclusions, than I should if I announced myself a convert; nor
could I say the latter, with truth.

Well, what seems to me the weakest point in the book is the attempt to
account for the formation of organs, the making of eyes, etc., by natural
selection. Some of this reads quite Lamarckian.

The chapter on HYBRIDISM is not a WEAK, but a STRONG chapter. You have
done wonders there. But still you have not accounted, as you may be held
to account, for divergence up to a certain extent producing increased
fertility of the crosses, but carried one short almost imperceptible step
more, giving rise to sterility, or reversing the tendency. Very likely you
are on the right track; but you have something to do yet in that

Enough for the present.

...I am not insensible to your compliments, the very high compliment which
you pay me in valuing my opinion. You evidently think more of it than I
do, though from the way I write [to] you, and especially [to] Hooker, this
might not be inferred from the reading of my letters.

I am free to say that I never learnt so much from one book as I have from
yours, there remain a thousand things I long to say about it.

Ever yours,

[February? 1860].

...Now I will just run through some points in your letter. What you say
about my book gratifies me most deeply, and I wish I could feel all was
deserved by me. I quite think a review from a man, who is not an entire
convert, if fair and moderately favourable, is in all respects the best
kind of review. About the weak points I agree. The eye to this day gives
me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradations, my reason
tells me I ought to conquer the cold shudder.

Pray kindly remember and tell Prof. Wyman how very grateful I should be for
any hints, information, or criticisms. I have the highest respect for his
opinion. I am so sorry about Dana's health. I have already asked him to
pay me a visit.

Farewell, you have laid me under a load of obligation--not that I feel it a
load. It is the highest possible gratification to me to think that you
have found my book worth reading and reflection; for you and three others I
put down in my own mind as the judges whose opinions I should value most of

My dear Gray, yours most sincerely,

P.S.--I feel pretty sure, from my own experience, that if you are led by
your studies to keep the subject of the origin of species before your mind,
you will go further and further in your belief. It took me long years, and
I assure you I am astonished at the impression my book has made on many
minds. I fear twenty years ago, I should not have been half as candid and
open to conviction.

Down, [January 31st, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

I have resolved to publish a little sketch of the progress of opinion on
the change of species. Will you or Mrs. Hooker do me the favour to copy
ONE sentence out of Naudin's paper in the 'Revue Horticole,' 1852, page
103, namely, that on his principle of Finalite. Can you let me have it
soon, with those confounded dashes over the vowels put in carefully? Asa
Gray, I believe, is going to get a second edition of my book, and I want to
send this little preface over to him soon. I did not think of the
necessity of having Naudin's sentence on finality, otherwise I would have
copied it.

Yours affectionately,

P.S.--I shall end by just alluding to your Australian Flora Introduction.
What was the date of publication: December 1859, or January 1860? Please
answer this.

My preface will also do for the French edition, which I BELIEVE, is agreed

February [1860].

...As the 'Origin' now stands, Harvey's (William Henry Harvey was descended
from a Quaker family of Youghal, and was born in February, 1811, at
Summerville, a country house on the banks of the Shannon. He died at
Torquay in 1866. In 1835, Harvey went to Africa (Table Bay) to pursue his
botanical studies, the results of which were given in his 'Genera of South
African Plants.' In 1838, ill-health compelled him to obtain leave of
absence, and return to England for a time; in 1840 he returned to Cape
Town, to be again compelled by illness to leave. In 1843 he obtained the
appointment of Botanical Professor at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1854,
1855, and 1856 he visited Australia, New Zealand, the Friendly and Fiji
Islands. In 1857 Dr. Harvey reached home, and was appointed the successor
of Professor Allman to the Chair of Botany in Dublin University. He was
author of several botanical works, principally on Algae.--(From a Memoir
published in 1869.)) is a good hit against my talking so much of the
insensibly fine gradations; and certainly it has astonished me that I
should be pelted with the fact, that I had not allowed abrupt and great
enough variations under nature. It would take a good deal more evidence to
make me admit that forms have often changed by saltum.

Have you seen Wollaston's attack in the 'Annals'? ('Annals and Magazine of
Natural History,' 1860.) The stones are beginning to fly. But Theology
has more to do with these two attacks than Science...

[In the above letter a paper by Harvey in the "Gardeners' Chronicle",
February 18, 1860, is alluded to. He describes a case of monstrosity in
Begonia frigida, in which the "sport" differed so much from a normal
Begonia that it might have served as the type of a distinct natural order.
Harvey goes on to argue that such a case is hostile to the theory of
natural selection, according to which changes are not supposed to take
place per saltum, and adds that "a few such cases would overthrow it [Mr.
Darwin's hypothesis] altogether." In the following number of the
"Gardeners' Chronicle" Sir J.D. Hooker showed that Dr. Harvey had
misconceived the bearing of the Begonia case, which he further showed to be
by no means calculated to shake the validity of the doctrine of
modification by means of natural selection. My father mentions the Begonia
case in a letter to Lyell (February 18, 1860):--

"I send by this post an attack in the "Gardeners' Chronicle", by Harvey (a
first-rate Botanist, as you probably know). It seems to me rather strange;
he assumes the permanence of monsters, whereas, monsters are generally
sterile, and not often inheritable. But grant his case, it comes that I
have been too cautious in not admitting great and sudden variations. Here
again comes in the mischief of my ABSTRACT. In the fuller MS. I have
discussed a parallel case of a normal fish like the monstrous gold-fish."

With reference to Sir J.D. Hooker's reply, my father wrote:]

Down, [February 26th, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

Your answer to Harvey seems to me ADMIRABLY good. You would have made a
gigantic fortune as a barrister. What an omission of Harvey's about the
graduated state of the flowers! But what strikes me most is that surely I
ought to know my own book best, yet, by Jove, you have brought forward ever
so many arguments which I did not think of! Your reference to
classification (viz. I presume to such cases as Aspicarpa) is EXCELLENT,
for the monstrous Begonia no doubt in all details would be Begonia. I did
not think of this, nor of the RETROGRADE step from separated sexes to an
hermaphrodite state; nor of the lessened fertility of the monster. Proh
pudor to me.

The world would say what a lawyer has been lost in a MERE botanist!

Farewell, my dear master in my own subject,

Yours affectionately,

I am so heartily pleased to see that you approve of the chapter on

I wonder what Harvey will say. But no one hardly, I think, is able at
first to see when he is beaten in an argument.

[The following letters refer to the first translation (1860) of the 'Origin
of Species' into German, which was superintended by H.G. Bronn, a good
zoologist and palaeontologist, who was at the time at Freiburg, but
afterwards Professor at Heidelberg. I have been told that the translation
was not a success, it remained an obvious translation, and was
correspondingly unpleasant to read. Bronn added to the translation an
appendix of the difficulties that occurred to him. For instance, how can
natural selection account for differences between species, when these
differences appear to be of no service to their possessors; e.g., the
length of the ears and tail, or the folds in the enamel of the teeth of
various species of rodents? Krause, in his book, 'Charles Darwin,' page
91, criticises Bronn's conduct in this manner, but it will be seen that my
father actually suggested the addition of Bronn's remarks. A more serious
charge against Bronn made by Krause (op. cit. page 87) is that he left out
passages of which he did not approve, as, for instance, the passage
('Origin,' first edition, page 488) "Light will be thrown on the origin of
man and his history." I have no evidence as to whether my father did or
did not know of these alterations.]

Down, February 4 [1860].

Dear and much honoured Sir,

I thank you sincerely for your most kind letter; I feared that you would
much disapprove of the 'Origin,' and I sent it to you merely as a mark of
my sincere respect. I shall read with much interest your work on the
productions of Islands whenever I receive it. I thank you cordially for
the notice in the 'Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie,' and still more for
speaking to Schweitzerbart about a translation; for I am most anxious that
the great and intellectual German people should know something about my

I have told my publisher to send immediately a copy of the NEW (Second
edition.) edition to Schweitzerbart, and I have written to Schweitzerbart
that I gave up all right to profit for myself, so that I hope a translation
will appear. I fear that the book will be difficult to translate, and if
you could advise Schweitzerbart about a GOOD translator, it would be of
very great service. Still more, if you would run your eye over the more
difficult parts of the translation; but this is too great a favour to
expect. I feel sure that it will be difficult to translate, from being so
much condensed.

Again I thank you for your noble and generous sympathy, and I remain, with
entire respect,

Yours, truly obliged,

P.S.--The new edition has some few corrections, and I will send in MS. some
additional corrections, and a short historical preface, to Schweitzerbart.

How interesting you could make the work by EDITING (I do not mean
translating) the work, and appending notes of REFUTATION or confirmation.
The book has sold so very largely in England, that an editor would, I
think, make profit by the translation.

Down, February 14 [1860].

My dear and much honoured Sir,

I thank you cordially for your extreme kindness in superintending the
translation. I have mentioned this to some eminent scientific men, and
they all agree that you have done a noble and generous service. If I am
proved quite wrong, yet I comfort myself in thinking that my book may do
some good, as truth can only be known by rising victorious from every
attack. I thank you also much for the review, and for the kind manner in
which you speak of me. I send with this letter some corrections and
additions to M. Schweitzerbart, and a short historical preface. I am not
much acquainted with German authors, as I read German very slowly;
therefore I do not know whether any Germans have advocated similar views
with mine; if they have, would you do me the favour to insert a foot-note
to the preface? M. Schweitzerbart has now the reprint ready for a
translator to begin. Several scientific men have thought the term "Natural
Selection" good, because its meaning is NOT obvious, and each man could not
put on it his own interpretation, and because it at once connects variation
under domestication and nature. Is there any analogous term used by German
breeders of animals? "Adelung," ennobling, would, perhaps, be too
metaphysical. It is folly in me, but I cannot help doubting whether "Wahl
der Lebensweise" expresses my notion. It leaves the impression on my mind
of the Lamarckian doctrine (which I reject) of habits of life being all-
important. Man has altered, and thus improved the English race-horse by
SELECTING successive fleeter individuals; and I believe, owing to the
struggle for existence, that similar SLIGHT variations in a wild horse, IF
ADVANTAGEOUS TO IT, would be SELECTED or PRESERVED by nature; hence Natural
Selection. But I apologise for troubling you with these remarks on the
importance of choosing good German terms for "Natural Selection." With my
heartfelt thanks, and with sincere respect,

I remain, dear Sir, yours very sincerely,

Down, July 14 [1860].

Dear and honoured Sir,

On my return home, after an absence of some time, I found the translation
of the third part (The German translation was published in three pamphlet-
like numbers.) of the 'Origin,' and I have been delighted to see a final
chapter of criticisms by yourself. I have read the first few paragraphs
and final paragraph, and am perfectly contented, indeed more than
contented, with the generous and candid spirit with which you have
considered my views. You speak with too much praise of my work. I shall,
of course, carefully read the whole chapter; but though I can read
descriptive books like Gaertner's pretty easily, when any reasoning comes
in, I find German excessively difficult to understand. At some FUTURE time
I should very much like to hear how my book has been received in Germany,
and I most sincerely hope M. Schweitzerbart will not lose money by the
publication. Most of the reviews have been bitterly opposed to me in
England, yet I have made some converts, and SEVERAL naturalists who would
not believe in a word of it, are now coming slightly round, and admit that
natural selection may have done something. This gives me hope that more
will ultimately come round to a certain extent to my views.

I shall ever consider myself deeply indebted to you for the immense service
and honour which you have conferred on me in making the excellent
translation of my book. Pray believe me, with most sincere respect,

Dear Sir, yours gratefully,

Down, [February 12th, 1860].

...I think it was a great pity that Huxley wasted so much time in the
lecture on the preliminary remarks;...but his lecture seemed to me very
fine and very bold. I have remonstrated (and he agrees) against the
impression that he would leave, that sterility was a universal and
infallible criterion of species.

You will, I am sure, make a grand discussion on man. I am so glad to hear
that you and Lady Lyell will come here. Pray fix your own time; and if it
did not suit us we would say so. We could then discuss man well...

How much I owe to you and Hooker! I do not suppose I should hardly ever
have published had it not been for you.

[The lecture referred to in the last letter was given at the Royal
Institution, February 10, 1860. The following letter was written in reply
to Mr. Huxley's request for information about breeding, hybridisation, etc.
It is of interest as giving a vivid retrospect of the writer's experience
on the subject.]

Ilkley, Yorks, November 27 [1859].

My dear Huxley,

Gartner grand, Kolreuter grand, but papers scattered through many volumes
and very lengthy. I had to make an abstract of the whole. Herbert's
volume on Amaryllidaceae very good, and two excellent papers in the
'Horticultural Journal.' For animals, no resume to be trusted at all;
facts are to be collected from all original sources. (This caution is
exemplified in the following extract from an earlier letter to Professor
Huxley:--"The inaccuracy of the blessed gang (of which I am one) of
compilers passes all bounds. MONSTERS have frequently been described as
hybrids without a tittle of evidence. I must give one other case to show
how we jolly fellows work. A Belgian Baron (I forget his name at this
moment) crossed two distinct geese and got SEVEN hybrids, which he proved
subsequently to be quite sterile; well, compiler the first, Chevreul, says
that the hybrids were propagated for SEVEN generations inter se. Compiler
second (Morton) mistakes the French name, and gives Latin names for two
more distinct geese, and says CHEVREUL himself propagated them inter se for
seven generations; and the latter statement is copied from book to book.")
I fear my MS. for the bigger book (twice or thrice as long as in present
book), with all references, would be illegible, but it would save you
infinite labour; of course I would gladly lend it, but I have no copy, so
care would have to be taken of it. But my accursed handwriting would be
fatal, I fear.

About breeding, I know of no one book. I did not think well of Lowe, but I
can name none better. Youatt I look at as a far better and MORE PRACTICAL
authority; but then his views and facts are scattered through three or four
thick volumes. I have picked up most by reading really numberless special
treatises and ALL agricultural and horticultural journals; but it is a work
of long years. THE DIFFICULTY IS TO KNOW WHAT TO TRUST. No one or two
statements are worth a farthing; the facts are so complicated. I hope and
think I have been really cautious in what I state on this subject, although
all that I have given, as yet, is FAR too briefly. I have found it very
important associating with fanciers and breeders. For instance, I sat one
evening in a gin palace in the Borough amongst a set of pigeon fanciers,
when it was hinted that Mr. Bull had crossed his Pouters with Runts to gain
size; and if you had seen the solemn, the mysterious, and awful shakes of
the head which all the fanciers gave at this scandalous proceeding, you
would have recognised how little crossing has had to do with improving
breeds, and how dangerous for endless generations the process was. All
this was brought home far more vividly than by pages of mere statements,
etc. But I am scribbling foolishly. I really do not know how to advise
about getting up facts on breeding and improving breeds. Go to Shows is
one way. Read ALL treatises on any ONE domestic animal, and believe
nothing without largely confirmed. For your lectures I can give you a few
amusing anecdotes and sentences, if you want to make the audience laugh.

I thank you particularly for telling me what naturalists think. If we can
once make a compact set of believers we shall in time conquer. I am
EMINENTLY glad Ramsey is on our side, for he is, in my opinion, a first-
rate geologist. I sent him a copy. I hope he got it. I shall be very
curious to hear whether any effect has been produced on Prestwich; I sent
him a copy, not as a friend, but owing to a sentence or two in some paper,
which made me suspect he was doubting.

Rev. C. Kingsley has a mind to come round. Quatrefages writes that he goes
some long way with me; says he exhibited diagrams like mine. With most
hearty thanks,

Yours very tired,

[I give the conclusion of Professor Huxley's lecture, as being one of the
earliest, as well as one of the most eloquent of his utterances in support
of the 'Origin of Species':

"I have said that the man of science is the sworn interpreter of nature in
the high court of reason. But of what avail is his honest speech, if
ignorance is the assessor of the judge, and prejudice the foreman of the
jury? I hardly know of a great physical truth, whose universal reception
has not been preceded by an epoch in which most estimable persons have
maintained that the phenomena investigated were directly dependent on the
Divine Will, and that the attempt to investigate them was not only futile,
but blasphemous. And there is a wonderful tenacity of life about this sort
of opposition to physical science. Crushed and maimed in every battle, it
yet seems never to be slain; and after a hundred defeats it is at this day
as rampant, though happily not so mischievous, as in the time of Galileo.

"But to those whose life is spent, to use Newton's noble words, in picking
up here a pebble and there a pebble on the shores of the great ocean of
truth--who watch, day by day, the slow but sure advance of that mighty
tide, bearing on its bosom the thousand treasures wherewith man ennobles
and beautifies his life--it would be laughable, if it were not so sad, to
see the little Canutes of the hour enthroned in solemn state, bidding that
great wave to stay, and threatening to check its beneficent progress. The
wave rises and they fly; but, unlike the brave old Dane, they learn no
lesson of humility: the throne is pitched at what seems a safe distance,
and the folly is repeated.

"Surely it is the duty of the public to discourage anything of this kind,
to discredit these foolish meddlers who think they do the Almighty a
service by preventing a thorough study of His works.

"The Origin of Species is not the first, and it will not be the last, of
the great questions born of science, which will demand settlement from this
generation. The general mind is seething strangely, and to those who watch
the signs of the times, it seems plain that this nineteenth century will
see revolutions of thought and practice as great as those which the
sixteenth witnessed. Through what trials and sore contests the civilised
world will have to pass in the course of this new reformation, who can

"But I verily believe that come what will, the part which England may play
in the battle is a grand and a noble one. She may prove to the world that,
for one people, at any rate, despotism and demagogy are not the necessary
alternatives of government; that freedom and order are not incompatible;
that reverence is the handmaid of knowledge; that free discussion is the
life of truth, and of true unity in a nation.

"Will England play this part? That depends upon how you, the public, deal
with science. Cherish her, venerate her, follow her methods faithfully and
implicitly in their application to all branches of human thought, and the
future of this people will be greater than the past.

"Listen to those who would silence and crush her, and I fear our children
will see the glory of England vanishing like Arthur in the mist; they will
cry too late the woful cry of Guinever:--

'It was my duty to have loved the highest;
It surely was my profit had I known;
It would have been my pleasure had I seen.'"]

Down [February 15th, 1860].

...I am perfectly convinced (having read this morning) that the review in
the 'Annals' (Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist. third series, vol. 5, page 132.
My father has obviously taken the expression "pestilent" from the following
passage (page 138): "But who is this Nature, we have a right to ask, who
has such tremendous power, and to whose efficiency such marvellous
performances are ascribed? What are her image and attributes, when dragged
from her wordy lurking-place? Is she aught but a pestilent abstraction,
like dust cast in our eyes to obscure the workings of an Intelligent First
Cause of all?" The reviewer pays a tribute to my father's candour, "so
manly and outspoken as almost to 'cover a multitude of sins.'" The
parentheses (to which allusion is made above) are so frequent as to give a
characteristic appearance to Mr. Wollaston's pages.) is by Wollaston; no
one else in the world would have used so many parentheses. I have written
to him, and told him that the "pestilent" fellow thanks him for his kind
manner of speaking about him. I have also told him that he would be
pleased to hear that the Bishop of Oxford says it is the most
unphilosophical (Another version of the words is given by Lyell, to whom
they were spoken, viz. "the most illogical book ever written."--'Life,'
volume ii. page 358.) work he ever read. The review seems to me clever,
and only misinterprets me in a few places. Like all hostile men, he passes
over the explanation given of Classification, Morphology, Embryology, and
Rudimentary Organs, etc. I read Wallace's paper in MS. ("On the Zoological
Geography of the Malay Archipelago."--Linn. Soc. Journ. 1860.), and thought
it admirably good; he does not know that he has been anticipated about the
depth of intervening sea determining distribution...The most curious point
in the paper seems to me that about the African character of the Celebes
productions, but I should require further confirmation...

Henslow is staying here; I have had some talk with him; he is in much the
same state as Bunbury (The late Sir Charles Bunbury, well-known as a
Palaeo-botanist.), and will go a very little way with us, but brings up no
real argument against going further. He also shudders at the eye! It is
really curious (and perhaps is an argument in our favour) how differently
different opposers view the subject. Henslow used to rest his opposition
on the imperfection of the Geological Record, but he now thinks nothing of
this, and says I have got well out of it; I wish I could quite agree with
him. Baden Powell says he never read anything so conclusive as my
statement about the eye!! A stranger writes to me about sexual selection,
and regrets that I boggle about such a trifle as the brush of hair on the
male turkey, and so on. As L. Jenyns has a really philosophical mind, and
as you say you like to see everything, I send an old letter of his. In a
later letter to Henslow, which I have seen, he is more candid than any
opposer I have heard of, for he says, though he CANNOT go so far as I do,
yet he can give no good reason why he should not. It is funny how each man
draws his own imaginary line at which to halt. It reminds me so vividly
what I was told (By Professor Henslow.) about you when I first commenced
geology--to believe a LITTLE, but on no account to believe all.

Ever yours affectionately,

Down, February 18th [1860].

My dear Gray,

I received about a week ago two sheets of your Review (The 'American
Journal of Science and Arts,' March, 1860. Reprinted in 'Darwiniana,'
1876.); read them, and sent them to Hooker; they are now returned and re-
read with care, and to-morrow I send them to Lyell. Your Review seems to
me ADMIRABLE; by far the best which I have read. I thank you from my heart
both for myself, but far more for the subject's sake. Your contrast
between the views of Agassiz and such as mine is very curious and
instructive. (The contrast is briefly summed up thus: "The theory of
Agassiz regards the origin of species and their present general
distribution over the world as equally primordial, equally supernatural;
that of Darwin as equally derivative, equally natural."--'Darwiniana,' page
14.) By the way, if Agassiz writes anything on the subject, I hope you
will tell me. I am charmed with your metaphor of the streamlet never
running against the force of gravitation. Your distinction between an
hypothesis and theory seems to me very ingenious; but I do not think it is
ever followed. Every one now speaks of the undulatory THEORY of light; yet
the ether is itself hypothetical, and the undulations are inferred only
from explaining the phenomena of light. Even in the THEORY of gravitation
is the attractive power in any way known, except by explaining the fall of
the apple, and the movements of the Planets? It seems to me that an
hypothesis is DEVELOPED into a theory solely by explaining an ample lot of
facts. Again and again I thank you for your generous aid in discussing a
view, about which you very properly hold yourself unbiassed.

My dear Gray, yours most sincerely,

P.S.--Several clergymen go far with me. Rev. L. Jenyns, a very good
naturalist. Henslow will go a very little way with me, and is not shocked
with me. He has just been visiting me.

[With regard to the attitude of the more liberal representatives of the
Church, the following letter (already referred to) from Charles Kingsley is
of interest:]

Eversley Rectory, Winchfield,
November 18th, 1859.

Dear Sir,

I have to thank you for the unexpected honour of your book. That the
Naturalist whom, of all naturalists living, I most wish to know and to
learn from, should have sent a scientist like me his book, encourages me at
least to observe more carefully, and perhaps more slowly.

I am so poorly (in brain), that I fear I cannot read your book just now as
I ought. All I have seen of it AWES me; both with the heap of facts and
the prestige of your name, and also with the clear intuition, that if you
be right, I must give up much that I have believed and written.

In that I care little. Let God be true, and every man a liar! Let us know
what IS, and, as old Socrates has it, epesthai to logo--follow up the
villainous shifty fox of an argument, into whatsoever unexpected bogs and
brakes he may lead us, if we do but run into him at last.

From two common superstitions, at least, I shall be free while judging of
your books:--

1. I have long since, from watching the crossing of domesticated animals
and plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species.

2. I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of
Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self development
into all forms needful pro tempore and pro loco, as to believe that He
required a fresh act of intervention to supply the lacunas which He Himself
had made. I question whether the former be not the loftier thought.

Be it as it may, I shall prize your book, both for itself, and as a proof
that you are aware of the existence of such a person as

Your faithful servant,

[My father's old friend, the Rev. J. Brodie Innes, of Milton Brodie, who
was for many years Vicar of Down, writes in the same spirit:

"We never attacked each other. Before I knew Mr. Darwin I had adopted, and
publicly expressed, the principle that the study of natural history,
geology, and science in general, should be pursued without reference to the
Bible. That the Book of Nature and Scripture came from the same Divine
source, ran in parallel lines, and when properly understood would never

"His views on this subject were very much to the same effect from his side.
Of course any conversations we may have had on purely religious subjects
are as sacredly private now as in his life; but the quaint conclusion of
one may be given. We had been speaking of the apparent contradiction of
some supposed discoveries with the Book of Genesis; he said, 'you are (it
would have been more correct to say you ought to be) a theologian, I am a
naturalist, the lines are separate. I endeavour to discover facts without
considering what is said in the Book of Genesis. I do not attack Moses,
and I think Moses can take care of himself.' To the same effect he wrote
more recently, 'I cannot remember that I ever published a word directly
against religion or the clergy; but if you were to read a little pamphlet
which I received a couple of days ago by a clergyman, you would laugh, and
admit that I had some excuse for bitterness. After abusing me for two or
three pages, in language sufficiently plain and emphatic to have satisfied
any reasonable man, he sums up by saying that he has vainly searched the
English language to find terms to express his contempt for me and all
Darwinians.' In another letter, after I had left Down, he writes, 'We
often differed, but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can
differ and yet feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing [of] which I
should feel very proud, if any one could say [it] of me.'

"On my last visit to Down, Mr. Darwin said, at his dinner-table, 'Brodie
Innes and I have been fast friends for thirty years, and we never
thoroughly agreed on any subject but once, and then we stared hard at each
other, and thought one of us must be very ill.'"]

Down, February 23rd [1860].

My dear Lyell,

That is a splendid answer of the father of Judge Crompton. How curious
that the Judge should have hit on exactly the same points as yourself. It
shows me what a capital lawyer you would have made, how many unjust acts
you would have made appear just! But how much grander a field has science
been than the law, though the latter might have made you Lord Kinnordy. I
will, if there be another edition, enlarge on gradation in the eye, and on
all forms coming from one prototype, so as to try and make both less
glaringly improbable...

With respect to Bronn's objection that it cannot be shown how life arises,
and likewise to a certain extent Asa Gray's remark that natural selection
is not a vera causa, I was much interested by finding accidentally in
Brewster's 'Life of Newton,' that Leibnitz objected to the law of gravity
because Newton could not show what gravity itself is. As it has chanced, I
have used in letters this very same argument, little knowing that any one
had really thus objected to the law of gravity. Newton answers by saying
that it is philosophy to make out the movements of a clock, though you do
not know why the weight descends to the ground. Leibnitz further objected
that the law of gravity was opposed to Natural Religion! Is this not
curious? I really think I shall use the facts for some introductory
remarks for my bigger book.

...You ask (I see) why we do not have monstrosities in higher animals; but
when they live they are almost always sterile (even giants and dwarfs are
GENERALLY sterile), and we do not know that Harvey's monster would have
bred. There is I believe only one case on record of a peloric flower being
fertile, and I cannot remember whether this reproduced itself.

To recur to the eye. I really think it would have been dishonest, not to
have faced the difficulty; and worse (as Talleyrand would have said), it
would have been impolitic I think, for it would have been thrown in my
teeth, as H. Holland threw the bones of the ear, till Huxley shut him up by
showing what a fine gradation occurred amongst living creatures.

I thank you much for your most pleasant letter.

Yours affectionately,

P.S.--I send a letter by Herbert Spencer, which you can read or not as you
think fit. He puts, to my mind, the philosophy of the argument better than
almost any one, at the close of the letter. I could make nothing of Dana's
idealistic notions about species; but then, as Wollaston says, I have not a
metaphysical head.

By the way, I have thrown at Wollaston's head, a paper by Alexander Jordan,
who demonstrates metaphysically that all our cultivated races are God-
created species.

Wollaston misrepresents accidentally, to a wonderful extent, some passages
in my book. He reviewed, without relooking at certain passages.

Down, February 25th [1860].

...I cannot help wondering at your zeal about my book. I declare to heaven
you seem to care as much about my book as I do myself. You have no right
to be so eminently unselfish! I have taken off my spit [i.e. file] a
letter of Ramsay's, as every geologist convert I think very important. By
the way, I saw some time ago a letter from H.D. Rogers (Professor of
Geology in the University of Glasgow. Born in the United States 1809, died
1866.) to Huxley, in which he goes very far with us...

Down, Saturday, March 3rd, [1860].

My dear Hooker,

What a day's work you had on that Thursday! I was not able to go to London
till Monday, and then I was a fool for going, for, on Tuesday night, I had
an attack of fever (with a touch of pleurisy), which came on like a lion,
but went off as a lamb, but has shattered me a good bit.

I was much interested by your last note...I think you expect too much in
regard to change of opinion on the subject of Species. One large class of
men, more especially I suspect of naturalists, never will care about ANY
general question, of which old Gray, of the British Museum, may be taken as
a type; and secondly, nearly all men past a moderate age, either in actual
years or in mind, are, I am fully convinced, incapable of looking at facts
under a new point of view. Seriously, I am astonished and rejoiced at the
progress which the subject has made; look at the enclosed memorandum. (See
table of names below.) -- says my book will be forgotten in ten years,
perhaps so; but, with such a list, I feel convinced the subject will not.
The outsiders, as you say, are strong.

You say that you think that Bentham is touched, "but, like a wise man,
holds his tongue." Perhaps you only mean that he cannot decide, otherwise
I should think such silence the reverse of magnanimity; for if others
behaved the same way, how would opinion ever progress? It is a dereliction
of actual duty. (In a subsequent letter to Sir J.D. Hooker (March 12th,
1860), my father wrote, "I now quite understand Bentham's silence.")

I am so glad to hear about Thwaites. (Dr. G.J.K. Thwaites, who was born in
1811, established a reputation in this country as an expert microscopist,
and an acute observer, working especially at cryptogamic botany. On his
appointment as Director of the Botanic Gardens at Peradenyia, Ceylon, Dr.
Thwaites devoted himself to the flora of Ceylon. As a result of this he
has left numerous and valuable collections, a description of which he
embodied in his 'Enumeratio Plantarum Zeylaniae' (1864). Dr. Thwaites was
a fellow of the Linnean Society, but beyond the above facts little seems to
have been recorded of his life. His death occurred in Ceylon on September
11th, 1882, in his seventy-second year. "Athenaeum", October 14th, 1882,
page 500.)...I have had an astounding letter from Dr. Boott (The letter is
enthusiastically laudatory, and obviously full of genuine feeling.); it
might be turned into ridicule against him and me, so I will not send it to
any one. He writes in a noble spirit of love of truth.

I wonder what Lindley thinks; probably too busy to read or think on the

I am vexed about Bentham's reticence, for it would have been of real value
to know what parts appeared weakest to a man of his powers of observation.

Farewell, my dear Hooker, yours affectionately,

P.S.--Is not Harvey in the class of men who do not at all care for
generalities? I remember your saying you could not get him to write on
Distribution. I have found his works very unfruitful in every respect.

[Here follows the memorandum referred to:]

Geologists. Zoologists and Physiologists. Botanists.

Lyell. Huxley. Carpenter. Hooker.

Ramsay.* J. Lubbock. Sir H. Holland H.C. Watson.
(to large extent).

Jukes.* L. Jenyns Asa Gray
(to large extent). (to some extent).

H.D. Rogers. Searles Wood.* Dr. Boott
(to large extent).


(*Andrew Ramsay, late Director-General of the Geological Survey.

Joseph Beete Jukes, M.A., F.R.S., 1811-1869. He was educated at Cambridge,
and from 1842 to 1846 he acted as naturalist to H.M.S. "Fly", on an
exploring expedition in Australia and New Guinea. He was afterwards
appointed Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland. He was the author
of many papers, and of more than one good hand-book of geology.

Searles Valentine Wood, February 14, 1798-1880. Chiefly known for his work
on the Mollusca of the 'Crag.')

[The following letter is of interest in connection with the mention of Mr.
Bentham in the last letter:]

25 Wilton Place, S.W.,
May 30th, 1882.

My dear Sir,

In compliance with your note which I received last night, I send herewith
the letters I have from your father. I should have done so on seeing the
general request published in the papers, but that I did not think there
were any among them which could be of any use to you. Highly flattered as
I was by the kind and friendly notice with which Mr. Darwin occasionally
honoured me, I was never admitted into his intimacy, and he therefore never
made any communications to me in relation to his views and labours. I have
been throughout one of his most sincere admirers, and fully adopted his
theories and conclusions, notwithstanding the severe pain and
disappointment they at first occasioned me. On the day that his celebrated
paper was read at the Linnean Society, July 1st, 1858, a long paper of mine
had been set down for reading, in which, in commenting on the British
Flora, I had collected a number of observations and facts illustrating what
I then believed to be a fixity in species, however difficult it might be to
assign their limits, and showing a tendency of abnormal forms produced by
cultivation or otherwise, to withdraw within those original limits when
left to themselves. Most fortunately my paper had to give way to Mr.
Darwin's and when once that was read, I felt bound to defer mine for
reconsideration; I began to entertain doubts on the subject, and on the
appearance of the 'Origin of Species,' I was forced, however reluctantly,
to give up my long-cherished convictions, the results of much labour and
study, and I cancelled all that part of my paper which urged original
fixity, and published only portions of the remainder in another form,
chiefly in the 'Natural History Review.' I have since acknowledged on
various occasions my full adoption of Mr. Darwin's views, and chiefly in my
Presidential Address of 1863, and in my thirteenth and last address, issued
in the form of a report to the British Association at its meeting at
Belfast in 1874.

I prize so highly the letters that I have of Mr. Darwin's, that I should
feel obliged by your returning them to me when you have done with them.
Unfortunately I have not kept the envelopes, and Mr. Darwin usually only
dated them by the month not by the year, so that they are not in any
chronological order.

Yours very sincerely,

Down [March] 12th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

Thinking over what we talked about, the high state of intellectual
development of the old Grecians with the little or no subsequent
improvement, being an apparent difficulty, it has just occurred to me that
in fact the case harmonises perfectly with our views. The case would be a
decided difficulty on the Lamarckian or Vestigian doctrine of necessary
progression, but on the view which I hold of progression depending on the
conditions, it is no objection at all, and harmonises with the other facts
of progression in the corporeal structure of other animals. For in a state
of anarchy, or despotism, or bad government, or after irruption of
barbarians, force, strength, or ferocity, and not intellect, would be apt
to gain the day.

We have so enjoyed your and Lady Lyell's visit.


P.S.--By an odd chance (for I had not alluded even to the subject) the
ladies attacked me this evening, and threw the high state of old Grecians
into my teeth, as an unanswerable difficulty, but by good chance I had my
answer all pat, and silenced them. Hence I have thought it worth
scribbling to you...

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. PRESTWICH. (Now Professor of Geology in the
University of Oxford.)
Down, March 12th [1860].

...At some future time, when you have a little leisure, and when you have
read my 'Origin of Species,' I should esteem it a SINGULAR favour if you
would send me any general criticisms. I do not mean of unreasonable
length, but such as you could include in a letter. I have always admired
your various memoirs so much that I should be eminently glad to receive
your opinion, which might be of real service to me.

Pray do not suppose that I expect to CONVERT or PERVERT you; if I could
stagger you in ever so slight a degree I should be satisfied; nor fear to
annoy me by severe criticisms, for I have had some hearty kicks from some
of my best friends. If it would not be disagreeable to you to send me your
opinion, I certainly should be truly obliged...

Down, April 3rd [1860].

...I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all
over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now small
trifling particulars of structure often make me very uncomfortable. The
sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me

You may like to hear about reviews on my book. Sedgwick (as I and Lyell
feel CERTAIN from internal evidence) has reviewed me savagely and unfairly
in the "Spectator". (See the quotations which follow the present letter.)
The notice includes much abuse, and is hardly fair in several respects. He
would actually lead any one, who was ignorant of geology, to suppose that I
had invented the great gaps between successive geological formations,
instead of its being an almost universally admitted dogma. But my dear old
friend Sedgwick, with his noble heart, is old, and is rabid with
indignation. It is hard to please every one; you may remember that in my
last letter I asked you to leave out about the Weald denudation: I told
Jukes this (who is head man of the Irish geological survey), and he blamed
me much, for he believed every word of it, and thought it not at all
exaggerated! In fact, geologists have no means of gauging the infinitude
of past time. There has been one prodigy of a review, namely, an OPPOSED
one (by Pictet (Francois Jules Pictet, in the 'Archives des Sciences de la
Bibliotheque Universelle,' Mars 1860. The article is written in a
courteous and considerate tone, and concludes by saying that the 'Origin'
will be of real value to naturalists, especially if they are not led away
by its seductive arguments to believe in the dangerous doctrine of
modification. A passage which seems to have struck my father as being
valuable, and opposite which he has made double pencil marks and written
the word "good," is worth quoting: "La theorie de M. Darwin s'accorde mal
avec l'histoire des types a formes bien tranchees et definies qui
paraissent n'avoir vecu que pendant un temps limite. On en pourrait citer
des centaines d'exemples, tel que les reptiles volants, les ichthyosaures,
les belemnites, les ammonites, etc." Pictet was born in 1809, died 1872;
he was Professor of Anatomy and Zoology at Geneva.), the palaeontologist,
in the Bib. Universelle of Geneva) which is PERFECTLY fair and just, and I
agree to every word he says; our only difference being that he attaches
less weight to arguments in favour, and more to arguments opposed, than I
do. Of all the opposed reviews, I think this the only quite fair one, and
I never expected to see one. Please observe that I do not class your
review by any means as opposed, though you think so yourself! It has done
me MUCH too good service ever to appear in that rank in my eyes. But I
fear I shall weary you with so much about my book. I should rather think
there was a good chance of my becoming the most egotistical man in all
Europe! What a proud pre-eminence! Well, you have helped to make me so
and therefore you must forgive me if you can.

My dear Gray, ever yours most gratefully,

[In a letter to Sir Charles Lyell reference is made to Sedgwick's review in
the "Spectator", March 24:

"I now feel certain that Sedgwick is the author of the article in the
"Spectator". No one else could use such abusive terms. And what a
misrepresentation of my notions! Any ignoramus would suppose that I had
FIRST broached the doctrine, that the breaks between successive formations
marked long intervals of time. It is very unfair. But poor dear old
Sedgwick seems rabid on the question. "Demoralised understanding!" If
ever I talk with him I will tell him that I never could believe that an
inquisitor could be a good man: but now I know that a man may roast
another, and yet have as kind and noble a heart as Sedgwick's."

The following passages are taken from the review:

"I need hardly go on any further with these objections. But I cannot
conclude without expressing my detestation of the theory, because of its
unflinching materialism;--because it has deserted the inductive track, the
only track that leads to physical truth;--because it utterly repudiates
final causes, and thereby indicates a demoralised understanding on the part
of its advocates."

"Not that I believe that Darwin is an atheist; though I cannot but regard
his materialism as atheistical. I think it untrue, because opposed to the
obvious course of nature, and the very opposite of inductive truth. And I
think it intensely mischievous."

"Each series of facts is laced together by a series of assumptions, and
repetitions of the one false principle. You cannot make a good rope out of
a string of air bubbles."

"But any startling and (supposed) novel paradox, maintained very boldly and
with something of imposing plausibility, produces in some minds a kind of
pleasing excitement which predisposes them in its favour; and if they are
unused to careful reflection, and averse to the labour of accurate
investigation, they will be likely to conclude that what is (apparently)
ORIGINAL, must be a production of original GENIUS, and that anything very
much opposed to prevailing notions must be a grand DISCOVERY,--in short,
that whatever comes from the 'bottom of a well' must be the 'truth'
supposed to be hidden there."

In a review in the December number of 'Macmillan's Magazine,' 1860, Fawcett
vigorously defended my father from the charge of employing a false method
of reasoning; a charge which occurs in Sedgwick's review, and was made at
the time ad nauseam, in such phrases as: "This is not the true Baconian
method." Fawcett repeated his defence at the meeting of the British
Association in 1861. (See an interesting letter from my father in Mr.
Stephen's 'Life of Henry Fawcett,' 1886, page 101.)]

Down, April 6th [1860].

My dear Carpenter,

I have this minute finished your review in the 'Med. Chirurg. Review.'
(April 1860.) You must let me express my admiration at this most able
essay, and I hope to God it will be largely read, for it must produce a
great effect. I ought not, however, to express such warm admiration, for
you give my book, I fear, far too much praise. But you have gratified me
extremely; and though I hope I do not care very much for the approbation of
the non-scientific readers, I cannot say that this is at all so with
respect to such few men as yourself. I have not a criticism to make, for I
object to not a word; and I admire all, so that I cannot pick out one part
as better than the rest. It is all so well balanced. But it is impossible
not to be struck with your extent of knowledge in geology, botany, and
zoology. The extracts which you give from Hooker seem to me EXCELLENTLY
chosen, and most forcible. I am so much pleased in what you say also about
Lyell. In fact I am in a fit of enthusiasm, and had better write no more.
With cordial thanks,

Yours very sincerely,

Down, April 10th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

Thank you much for your note of the 4th; I am very glad to hear that you
are at Torquay. I should have amused myself earlier by writing to you, but
I have had Hooker and Huxley staying here, and they have fully occupied my
time, as a little of anything is a full dose for me...There has been a
plethora of reviews, and I am really quite sick of myself. There is a very
long review by Carpenter in the 'Medical and Chirurg. Review,' very good
and well balanced, but not brilliant. He discusses Hooker's books at as
great length as mine, and makes excellent extracts; but I could not get
Hooker to feel the least interest in being praised.

Carpenter speaks of you in thoroughly proper terms. There is a BRILLIANT
review by Huxley ('Westminster Review,' April 1860.), with capital hits,
but I do not know that he much advances the subject. I THINK I have
convinced him that he has hardly allowed weight enough to the case of
varieties of plants being in some degrees sterile.

To diverge from reviews: Asa Gray sends me from Wyman (who will write), a
good case of all the pigs being black in the Everglades of Virginia. On
asking about the cause, it seems (I have got capital analogous cases) that
when the BLACK pigs eat a certain nut their bones become red, and they
suffer to a certain extent, but that the WHITE pigs lose their hoofs and
perish, "and we aid by SELECTION, for we kill most of the young white
pigs." This was said by men who could hardly read. By the way, it is a
great blow to me that you cannot admit the potency of natural selection.
The more I think of it, the less I doubt its power for great and small
changes. I have just read the 'Edinburgh' ('Edinburgh Review,' April
1860.), which without doubt is by --. It is extremely malignant, clever,
and I fear will be very damaging. He is atrociously severe on Huxley's
lecture, and very bitter against Hooker. So we three ENJOYED it together.
Not that I really enjoyed it, for it made me uncomfortable for one night;
but I have got quite over it to-day. It requires much study to appreciate
all the bitter spite of many of the remarks against me; indeed I did not
discover all myself. It scandalously misrepresents many parts. He
misquotes some passages, altering words within inverted commas...

It is painful to be hated in the intense degree with which -- hates me.

Now for a curious thing about my book, and then I have done. In last
Saturday's "Gardeners' Chronicle" (April 7th, 1860.), a Mr. Patrick Matthew
publishes a long extract from his work on 'Naval Timber and Arboriculture,'
published in 1831, in which he briefly but completely anticipates the
theory of Natural Selection. I have ordered the book, as some few passages
are rather obscure, but it is certainly, I think, a complete but not
developed anticipation! Erasmus always said that surely this would be
shown to be the case some day. Anyhow, one may be excused in not having
discovered the fact in a work on Naval Timber.

I heartily hope that your Torquay work may be successful. Give my kindest
remembrances to Falconer, and I hope he is pretty well. Hooker and Huxley
(with Mrs. Huxley) were extremely pleasant. But poor dear Hooker is tired
to death of my book, and it is a marvel and a prodigy if you are not worse
tired--if that be possible. Farewell, my dear Lyell,

Yours affectionately,

Down, [April 13th, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

Questions of priority so often lead to odious quarrels, that I should
esteem it a great favour if you would read the enclosed. ((My father wrote
("Gardeners' Chronicle", 1860, page 362, April 21st): "I have been much
interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's communication in the number of your
paper dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that Mr. Matthew has
anticipated by many years the explanation which I have offered of the
origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I think that no
one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any other
naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how briefly they
are given, and that they appeared in the appendix to a work on Naval Timber
and Arboriculture. I can do no more than offer my apologies to Mr. Matthew
for my entire ignorance of this publication. If any other edition of my
work is called for, I will insert to the foregoing effect." In spite of my
father's recognition of his claims, Mr. Matthew remained unsatisfied, and
complained that an article in the 'Saturday Analyst and Leader' was
"scarcely fair in alluding to Mr. Darwin as the parent of the origin of
species, seeing that I published the whole that Mr. Darwin attempts to
prove, more than twenty-nine years ago."--"Saturday Analyst and Leader",
November 24, 1860.) If you think it proper that I should send it (and of
this there can hardly be any question), and if you think it full and ample
enough, please alter the date to the day on which you post it, and let that
be soon. The case in the "Gardeners' Chronicle" seems a LITTLE stronger
than in Mr. Matthew's book, for the passages are therein scattered in three
places; but it would be mere hair-splitting to notice that. If you object
to my letter, please return it; but I do not expect that you will, but I
thought that you would not object to run your eye over it. My dear Hooker,
it is a great thing for me to have so good, true, and old a friend as you.
I owe much for science to my friends.

Many thanks for Huxley's lecture. The latter part seemed to be grandly

...I have gone over [the 'Edinburgh'] review again, and compared passages,
and I am astonished at the misrepresentations. But I am glad I resolved
not to answer. Perhaps it is selfish, but to answer and think more on the
subject is too unpleasant. I am so sorry that Huxley by my means has been
thus atrociously attacked. I do not suppose you much care about the
gratuitous attack on you.

Lyell in his letter remarked that you seemed to him as if you were
overworked. Do, pray, be cautious, and remember how many and many a man
has done this--who thought it absurd till too late. I have often thought
the same. You know that you were bad enough before your Indian journey.

Down, April [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I was very glad to get your nice long letter from Torquay. A press of
letters prevented me writing to Wells. I was particularly glad to hear
what you thought about not noticing [the 'Edinburgh'] review. Hooker and
Huxley thought it a sort of duty to point out the alteration of quoted
citations, and there is truth in this remark; but I so hated the thought
that I resolved not to do so. I shall come up to London on Saturday the
14th, for Sir B. Brodie's party, as I have an accumulation of things to do
in London, and will (if I do not hear to the contrary) call about a quarter
before ten on Sunday morning, and sit with you at breakfast, but will not
sit long, and so take up much of your time. I must say one more word about
our quasi-theological controversy about natural selection, and let me have
your opinion when we meet in London. Do you consider that the successive
variations in the size of the crop of the Pouter Pigeon, which man has
accumulated to please his caprice, have been due to "the creative and
sustaining powers of Brahma?" In the sense that an omnipotent and
omniscient Deity must order and know everything, this must be admitted;
yet, in honest truth, I can hardly admit it. It seems preposterous that a
maker of a universe should care about the crop of a pigeon solely to please
man's silly fancies. But if you agree with me in thinking such an
interposition of the Deity uncalled for, I can see no reason whatever for
believing in such interpositions in the case of natural beings, in which
strange and admirable peculiarities have been naturally selected for the
creature's own benefit. Imagine a Pouter in a state of nature wading into
the water and then, being buoyed up by its inflated crop, sailing about in
search of food. What admiration this would have excited--adaptation to the
laws of hydrostatic pressure, etc. etc. For the life of me I cannot see
any difficulty in natural selection producing the most exquisite structure,
experience how hard it is to name any structure towards which at least some
gradations are not known.

Ever yours,

P.S.--The conclusion at which I have come, as I have told Asa Gray, is that
such a question, as is touched on in this note, is beyond the human
intellect, like "predestination and free will," or the "origin of evil."

Down, [April 18th, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

I return --'s letter...Some of my relations say it cannot POSSIBLY be --'s
article (The 'Edinburgh Review.'), because the reviewer speaks so very
highly of --. Poor dear simple folk! My clever neighbour, Mr. Norman,
says the article is so badly written, with no definite object, that no one
will read it. Asa Gray has sent me an article ('North American Review,'
April, 1860. "By Professor Bowen," is written on my father's copy. The
passage referred to occurs at page 488, where the author says that we ought
to find "an infinite number of other varieties--gross, rude, and
purposeless--the unmeaning creations of an unconscious cause.") from the
United States, clever, and dead against me. But one argument is funny.
The reviewer says, that if the doctrine were true, geological strata would
be full of monsters which have failed! A very clear view this writer had
of the struggle for existence!

...I am glad you like Adam Bede so much. I was charmed with it...

We think you must by mistake have taken with your own numbers of the
'National Review' my precious number. (This no doubt refers to the January
number, containing Dr. Carpenter's review of the 'Origin.') I wish you
would look.

Down, April 25th [1860].

My dear Gray,

I have no doubt I have to thank you for the copy of a review on the
'Origin' in the 'North American Review.' It seems to me clever, and I do
not doubt will damage my book. I had meant to have made some remarks on
it; but Lyell wished much to keep it, and my head is quite confused between
the many reviews which I have lately read. I am sure the reviewer is wrong
about bees' cells, i.e. about the distance; any lesser distance would do,
or even greater distance, but then some of the places would lie outside the
generative spheres; but this would not add much difficulty to the work.
The reviewer takes a strange view of instinct: he seems to regard
intelligence as a developed instinct; which I believe to be wholly false.
I suspect he has never much attended to instinct and the minds of animals,
except perhaps by reading.

My chief object is to ask you if you could procure for me a copy of the
"New York Times" for Wednesday, March 28th. It contains A VERY STRIKING
review of my book, which I should much like to keep. How curious that the
two most striking reviews (i.e. yours and this) should have appeared in
America. This review is not really useful, but somehow is impressive.
There was a good review in the 'Revue des Deux Mondes,' April 1st, by M.
Laugel, said to be a very clever man.

Hooker, about a fortnight ago, stayed here a few days, and was very
pleasant; but I think he overworks himself. What a gigantic undertaking, I
imagine, his and Bentham's 'Genera Plantarum' will be! I hope he will not
get too much immersed in it, so as not to spare some time for Geographical
Distribution and other such questions.

I have begun to work steadily, but very slowly as usual, at details on
variation under domestication.

My dear Gray,
Yours always truly and gratefully,

Down, [May 8th, 1860].

...I have sent for the 'Canadian Naturalist.' If I cannot procure a copy I
will borrow yours. I had a letter from Henslow this morning, who says that
Sedgwick was, on last Monday night, to open a battery on me at the
Cambridge Philosophical Society. Anyhow, I am much honoured by being
attacked there, and at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

I do not think it worth while to contradict single cases nor is it worth
while arguing against those who do not attend to what I state. A moment's
reflection will show you that there must be (on our doctrine) large genera
not varying (see page 56 on the subject, in the second edition of the
'Origin'). Though I do not there discuss the case in detail.

It may be sheer bigotry for my own notions, but I prefer to the Atlantis,
my notion of plants and animals having migrated from the Old to the New
World, or conversely, when the climate was much hotter, by approximately
the line of Behring's Straits. It is most important, as you say, to see
living forms of plants going back so far in time. I wonder whether we
shall ever discover the flora of the dry land of the coal period, and find
it not so anomalous as the swamp or coal-making flora. I am working away
over the blessed Pigeon Manuscript; but, from one cause or another, I get
on very slowly...

This morning I got a letter from the Academy of Natural Sciences of
Philadelphia, announcing that I am elected a correspondent...It shows that
some Naturalists there do not think me such a scientific profligate as many
think me here.

My dear Lyell, yours gratefully,

P.S.--What a grand fact about the extinct stag's horn worked by man!

Down, [May 13th, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

I return Henslow, which I was very glad to see. How good of him to defend
me. (Against Sedgwick's attack before the Cambridge Philosophical
Society.) I will write and thank him.

As you said you were curious to hear Thomson's (Dr. Thomas Thomson the
Indian Botanist. He was a collaborateur in Hooker and Thomson's Flora
Indica. 1855.) opinion, I send his kind letter. He is evidently a strong
opposer to us...

Down, [May 15th, 1860].

...How paltry it is in such men as X, Y and Co. not reading your essay. It
is incredibly paltry. (These remarks do not apply to Dr. Harvey, who was,
however, in a somewhat similar position. See below.) They may all attack
me to their hearts' content. I am got case-hardened. As for the old
fogies in Cambridge, it really signifies nothing. I look at their attacks
as a proof that our work is worth the doing. It makes me resolve to buckle
on my armour. I see plainly that it will be a long uphill fight. But
think of Lyell's progress with Geology. One thing I see most plainly, that
without Lyell's, yours, Huxley's and Carpenter's aid, my book would have
been a mere flash in the pan. But if we all stick to it, we shall surely
gain the day. And I now see that the battle is worth fighting. I deeply
hope that you think so. Does Bentham progress at all? I do not know what
to say about Oxford. (His health prevented him from going to Oxford for
the meeting of the British Association.) I should like it much with you,
but it must depend on health...

Yours must affectionately,

Down, May 18th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I send a letter from Asa Gray to show how hotly the battle rages there.
Also one from Wallace, very just in his remarks, though too laudatory and
too modest, and how admirably free from envy or jealousy. He must be a
good fellow. Perhaps I will enclose a letter from Thomson of Calcutta; not
that it is much, but Hooker thinks so highly of him...

Henslow informs me that Sedgwick (Sedgwick's address is given somewhat
abbreviated in "The Cambridge Chronicle", May 19th, 1860.) and then
Professor Clarke [sic] (The late William Clark, Professor of Anatomy, my
father seems to have misunderstood his informant. I am assured by Mr. J.W.
Clark that his father (Prof. Clark) did not support Sedgwick in the
attack.) made a regular and savage onslaught on my book lately at the
Cambridge Philosophical Society, but Henslow seems to have defended me
well, and maintained that the subject was a legitimate one for
investigation. Since then Phillips (John Phillips, M.A., F.R.S., born
1800, died 1874, from the effects of a fall. Professor of Geology at
King's College, London, and afterwards at Oxford. He gave the 'Rede'
lecture at Cambridge on May 15th, 1860, on 'The Succession of Life on the
earth.' The Rede Lecturer is appointed annually by the Vice-Chancellor,
and is paid by an endowment left in 1524 by Sir Robert Rede, Lord Chief
Justice, in the reign of Henry VIII.) has given lectures at Cambridge on
the same subject, but treated it very fairly. How splendidly Asa Gray is
fighting the battle. The effect on me of these multiplied attacks is
simply to show me that the subject is worth fighting for, and assuredly I
will do my best...I hope all the attacks make you keep up your courage, and
courage you assuredly will require...

Down, May 18th, 1860.

My dear Mr. Wallace,

I received this morning your letter from Amboyna, dated February 16th,
containing some remarks and your too high approval of my book. Your letter
has pleased me very much, and I most completely agree with you on the parts
which are strongest and which are weakest. The imperfection of the
Geological Record is, as you say, the weakest of all; but yet I am pleased
to find that there are almost more geological converts than of pursuers of
other branches of natural science...I think geologists are more easily
converted than simple naturalists, because more accustomed to reasoning.
Before telling you about the progress of opinion on the subject, you must
let me say how I admire the generous manner in which you speak of my book.
Most persons would in your position have felt some envy or jealousy. How
nobly free you seem to be of this common failing of mankind. But you speak
far too modestly of yourself. You would, if you had my leisure, have done
the work just as well, perhaps better, than I have done it...

...Agassiz sends me a personal civil message, but incessantly attacks me;
but Asa Gray fights like a hero in defence. Lyell keeps as firm as a
tower, and this Autumn will publish on the 'Geological History of Man,' and
will then declare his conversion, which now is universally known. I hope
that you have received Hooker's splendid essay...Yesterday I heard from
Lyell that a German, Dr. Schaaffhausen (Hermann Schaaffhausen 'Ueber
Bestandigkeit und Umwandlung der Arten.' Verhandl. d. Naturhist. Vereins,
Bonn, 1853. See 'Origin,' Historical Sketch.), has sent him a pamphlet
published some years ago, in which the same view is nearly anticipated; but
I have not yet seen this pamphlet. My brother, who is a very sagacious
man, always said, "you will find that some one will have been before you."
I am at work at my larger work, which I shall publish in a separate volume.
But from ill-health and swarms of letters, I get on very very slowly. I
hope that I shall not have wearied you with these details. With sincere
thanks for your letter, and with most deeply felt wishes for your success
in science, and in every way, believe me,

Your sincere well-wisher,

Down, May 22nd 1860.

My dear Gray,

Again I have to thank you for one of your very pleasant letters of May 7th,
enclosing a very pleasant remittance of 22 pounds. I am in simple truth
astonished at all the kind trouble you have taken for me. I return
Appleton's account. For the chance of your wishing for a formal
acknowledgment I send one. If you have any further communication to the
Appletons, pray express my acknowledgment for [their] generosity; for it is
generosity in my opinion. I am not at all surprised at the sale
diminishing; my extreme surprise is at the greatness of the sale. No doubt
the public has been SHAMEFULLY imposed on! for they bought the book
thinking that it would be nice easy reading. I expect the sale to stop
soon in England, yet Lyell wrote to me the other day that calling at
Murray's he heard that fifty copies had gone in the previous forty-eight
hours. I am extremely glad that you will notice in 'Silliman' the
additions in the 'Origin.' Judging from letters (and I have just seen one
from Thwaites to Hooker), and from remarks, the most serious omission in my
book was not explaining how it is, as I believe, that all forms do not
necessarily advance, how there can now be SIMPLE organisms still
existing...I hear there is a VERY severe review on me in the 'North
British,' by a Rev. Mr. Dunns (This statement as to authorship was made on
the authority of Robert Chambers.), a Free Kirk minister, and dabbler in
Natural History. I should be very glad to see any good American reviews,
as they are all more or less useful. You say that you shall touch on other
reviews. Huxley told me some time ago that after a time he would write a
review on all the reviews, whether he will I know not. If you allude to
the 'Edinburgh,' pray notice SOME of the points which I will point out on a
separate slip. In the "Saturday Review" (one of our cleverest periodicals)
of May 5th, page 573, there is a nice article on [the 'Edinburgh'] review,
defending Huxley, but not Hooker; and the latter, I think, [the 'Edinburgh'
reviewer] treats most ungenerously. (In a letter to Mr. Huxley my father
wrote: "Have you seen the last "Saturday Review"? I am very glad of the
defence of you and of myself. I wish the reviewer had noticed Hooker. The
reviewer, whoever he is, is a jolly good fellow, as this review and the
last on me showed. He writes capitally, and understands well his subject.
I wish he had slapped [the 'Edinburgh' reviewer] a little bit harder.")
But surely you will get sick unto death of me and my reviewers.

With respect to the theological view of the question. This is always
painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write
atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as
I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us.
There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself
that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the
Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living
bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing
this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed.
On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful
universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything
is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as
resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left
to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion AT ALL
satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound
for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of
Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can. Certainly I agree with
you that my views are not at all necessarily atheistical. The lightning
kills a man, whether a good one or bad one, owing to the excessively
complex action of natural laws. A child (who may turn out an idiot) is
born by the action of even more complex laws, and I can see no reason why a
man, or other animal, may not have been aboriginally produced by other
laws, and that all these laws may have been expressly designed by an
omniscient Creator, who foresaw every future event and consequence. But
the more I think the more bewildered I become; as indeed I probably have
shown by this letter.

Most deeply do I feel your generous kindness and interest.

Yours sincerely and cordially,

{Here follow my father's criticisms on the 'Edinburgh Review':

"What a quibble to pretend he did not understand what I meant by
INHABITANTS of South America; and any one would suppose that I had not
throughout my volume touched on Geographical Distribution. He ignores also
everything which I have said on Classification, Geological Succession,
Homologies, Embryology, and Rudimentary Organs--page 496.

He falsely applies what I said (too rudely) about "blindness of
preconceived opinions" to those who believe in creation, whereas I
exclusively apply the remark to those who give up multitudes of species as
true species, but believe in the remainder--page 500.

He slightly alters what I say,--I ASK whether creationists really believe
that elemental atoms have flashed into life. He says that I describe them
as so believing, and this, surely, is a difference--page 501.

He speaks of my "clamouring against" all who believe in creation, and this
seems to me an unjust accusation--page 501.

He makes me say that the dorsal vertebrae vary; this is simply false: I
nowhere say a word about dorsal vertebrae--page 522.

What an illiberal sentence that is about my pretension to candour, and
about my rushing through barriers which stopped Cuvier: such an argument
would stop any progress in science--page 525.

How disingenuous to quote from my remark to you about my BRIEF letter
[published in the 'Linn. Soc. Journal'], as if it applied to the whole
subject--page 530.

How disingenuous to say that we are called on to accept the theory, from
the imperfection of the geological record, when I over and over again [say]
how grave a difficulty the imperfection offers--page 530."]

Down, May 30th [1860].

My dear Hooker,

I return Harvey's letter, I have been very glad to see the reason why he
has not read your Essay. I feared it was bigotry, and I am glad to see
that he goes a little way (VERY MUCH further than I supposed) with us...

I was not sorry for a natural opportunity of writing to Harvey, just to
show that I was not piqued at his turning me and my book into ridicule (A
"serio-comic squib," read before the 'Dublin University Zoological and
Botanical Association,' February 17, 1860, and privately printed. My
father's presentation copy is inscribed "With the writer's REPENTANCE,
October 1860."), not that I think it was a proceeding which I deserved, or
worthy of him. It delights me that you are interested in watching the
progress of opinion on the change of Species; I feared that you were weary
of the subject; and therefore did not send A. Gray's letters. The battle
rages furiously in the United States. Gray says he was preparing a speech,
which would take 1 1/2 hours to deliver, and which he "fondly hoped would
be a stunner." He is fighting splendidly, and there seems to have been
many discussions with Agassiz and others at the meetings. Agassiz pities
me much at being so deluded. As for the progress of opinion, I clearly see
that it will be excessively slow, almost as slow as the change of
species...I am getting wearied at the storm of hostile reviews and hardly
any useful...

Down, Friday night [June 1st, 1860].

...Have you seen Hopkins (William Hopkins died in 1866, "in his seventy-
third year." He began life with a farm in Suffolk, but ultimately entered,
comparatively late in life, at Peterhouse, Cambridge; he took his degree in
1827, and afterward became an Esquire Bedell of the University. He was
chiefly known as a mathematical "coach," and was eminently successful in
the manufacture of Senior Wranglers. Nevertheless Mr. Stephen says ('Life
of Fawcett,' page 26) that he "was conspicuous for inculcating" a "liberal
view of the studies of the place. He endeavoured to stimulate a
philosophical interest in the mathematical sciences, instead of simply
rousing an ardour for competition." He contributed many papers on
geological and mathematical subjects to the scientific journals. He had a
strong influence for good over the younger men with whom he came in
contact. The letter which he wrote to Henry Fawcett on the occasion of his
blindness illustrates this. Mr. Stephen says ('Life of Fawcett,' page 48)
that by "this timely word of good cheer," Fawcett was roused from "his
temporary prostration," and enabled to take a "more cheerful and resolute
tone.") in the new 'Fraser'? the public will, I should think, find it
heavy. He will be dead against me, as you prophesied; but he is generally
civil to me personally. ('Fraser's Magazine,' June 1860. My father, no
doubt, refers to the following passage, page 752, where the Reviewer
Expresses his "full participation in the high respect in which the author
is universally held, both as a man and a naturalist; and the more so,
because in the remarks which will follow in the second part of this Essay
we shall be found to differ widely from him as regards many of his
conclusions and the reasonings on which he has founded them, and shall
claim the full right to express such differences of opinion with all that
freedom which the interests of scientific truth demands, and which we are
sure Mr. Darwin would be one of the last to refuse to any one prepared to
exercise it with candour and courtesy." Speaking of this review, my father
wrote to Dr. Asa Gray: "I have remonstrated with him [Hopkins] for so
coolly saying that I base my views on what I reckon as great difficulties.
Any one, by taking these difficulties alone, can make a most strong case
against me. I could myself write a more damning review than has as yet
appeared!" A second notice by Hopkins appeared in the July number of
'Fraser's Magazine.') On his standard of proof, NATURAL science would
never progress, for without the making of theories I am convinced there
would be no observation.

...I have begun reading the 'North British' (May 1860.), which so far
strikes me as clever.

Phillips's Lecture at Cambridge is to be published.

All these reiterated attacks will tell heavily; there will be no more
converts, and probably some will go back. I hope you do not grow
disheartened, I am determined to fight to the last. I hear, however, that
the great Buckle highly approves of my book.

I have had a note from poor Blyth (Edward Blyth, 1810-1873. His
indomitable love of natural history made him neglect the druggist's
business with which he started in life, and he soon got into serious
difficulties. After supporting himself for a few years as a writer on
Field Natural History, he ultimately went out to India as Curator of the
Museum of the R. Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, where the greater part of his
working life was spent. His chief publications were the monthly reports
made as part of his duty to the Society. He had stored in his remarkable
memory a wonderful wealth of knowledge, especially with regard to the
mammalia and birds of India--knowledge of which he freely gave to those who
asked. His letters to my father give evidence of having been carefully
studied, and the long list of entries after his name in the index to
'Animals and Plants,' show how much help was received from him. His life


Back to Full Books