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The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume II

edited by his son

Francis Darwin

February 2000 [Etext #2088]

Project Gutenberg's Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume 2
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CHAPTER 2.I.--The Publication of the 'Origin of Species'--October 3, 1859,
to December 31, 1859.

CHAPTER 2.II.--The 'Origin of Species' (continued)--1860.

CHAPTER 2.III.--The Spread of Evolution--1861-1862.

CHAPTER 2.IV.--The Spread of Evolution. 'Variation of Animals and Plants'

CHAPTER 2.V.--The Publication of the 'Variation of Animals and Plants under
Domestication'--January 1867-June 1868.

CHAPTER 2.VI.--Work on 'Man'--1864-1870.

CHAPTER 2.VII.--The Publication of the 'Descent of Man.' Work on

CHAPTER 2.VIII.--Miscellanea, including Second Editions of 'Coral Reefs,'
the 'Descent of Man,' and the 'Variation of Animals and Plants'--1874 and

CHAPTER 2.IX.--Miscellanea (continued). A Revival of Geological Work--The
Book on Earthworms--Life of Erasmus Darwin--Miscellaneous Letters--1876-


CHAPTER 2.X.--Fertilisation of Flowers--1839-1880.

CHAPTER 2.XI.--The 'Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation in the
Vegetable Kingdom'--1866-1877.

CHAPTER 2.XII.--'Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same Species'

CHAPTER 2.XIII.--Climbing and Insectivorous Plants--1863-1875.

CHAPTER 2.XIV.--The 'Power of Movement in Plants'--1878-1881.

CHAPTER 2.XV.--Miscellaneous Botanical Letters--1873-1882.


CHAPTER 2.XVI.--Conclusion.


I.--The Funeral in Westminster Abbey.

II.--List of Works by C. Darwin.


IV.--Honours, Degrees, Societies, etc.


--led to comprehend true affinities. My theory would give zest to recent &
Fossil Comparative Anatomy: it would lead to study of instincts, heredity,
& mind heredity, whole metaphysics, it would lead to closest examination of
hybridity & generation, causes of change in order to know what we have come
from & to what we tend, to what circumstances favour crossing & what
prevents it, this & direct examination of direct passages of structure in
species, might lead to laws of change, which would then be main object of
study, to guide our speculations.





OCTOBER 3, 1859, TO DECEMBER 31, 1859.


[Under the date of October 1st, 1859, in my father's Diary occurs the
entry: "Finished proofs (thirteen months and ten days) of Abstract on
'Origin of Species'; 1250 copies printed. The first edition was published
on November 24th, and all copies sold first day."

On October 2d he started for a water-cure establishment at Ilkley, near
Leeds, where he remained with his family until December, and on the 9th of
that month he was again at Down. The only other entry in the Diary for
this year is as follows: "During end of November and beginning of
December, employed in correcting for second edition of 3000 copies;
multitude of letters."

The first and a few of the subsequent letters refer to proof sheets, and to
early copies of the 'Origin' which were sent to friends before the book was

C. LYELL TO CHARLES DARWIN. (Part of this letter is given in the 'Life of
Sir Charles Lyell,' volume ii. page 325.)
October 3d, 1859.

My dear Darwin,

I have just finished your volume and right glad I am that I did my best
with Hooker to persuade you to publish it without waiting for a time which
probably could never have arrived, though you lived till the age of a
hundred, when you had prepared all your facts on which you ground so many
grand generalizations.

It is a splendid case of close reasoning, and long substantial argument
throughout so many pages; the condensation immense, too great perhaps for
the uninitiated, but an effective and important preliminary statement,
which will admit, even before your detailed proofs appear, of some
occasional useful exemplification, such as your pigeons and cirripedes, of
which you make such excellent use.

I mean that, when, as I fully expect, a new edition is soon called for, you
may here and there insert an actual case to relieve the vast number of
abstract propositions. So far as I am concerned, I am so well prepared to
take your statements of facts for granted, that I do not think the "pieces
justificatives" when published will make much difference, and I have long
seen most clearly that if any concession is made, all that you claim in
your concluding pages will follow. It is this which has made me so long
hesitate, always feeling that the case of Man and his races, and of other
animals, and that of plants is one and the same, and that if a "vera causa"
be admitted for one, instead of a purely unknown and imaginary one, such as
the word "Creation," all the consequences must follow.

I fear I have not time to-day, as I am just leaving this place, to indulge
in a variety of comments, and to say how much I was delighted with Oceanic
Islands--Rudimentary Organs--Embryology--the genealogical key to the
Natural System, Geographical Distribution, and if I went on I should be
copying the heads of all your chapters. But I will say a word of the
Recapitulation, in case some slight alteration, or at least, omission of a
word or two be still possible in that.

In the first place, at page 480, it cannot surely be said that the most
eminent naturalists have rejected the view of the mutability of species?
You do not mean to ignore G. St. Hilaire and Lamarck. As to the latter,
you may say, that in regard to animals you substitute natural selection for
volition to a certain considerable extent, but in his theory of the changes
of plants he could not introduce volition; he may, no doubt, have laid an
undue comparative stress on changes in physical conditions, and too little
on those of contending organisms. He at least was for the universal
mutability of species and for a genealogical link between the first and the
present. The men of his school also appealed to domesticated varieties.
(Do you mean LIVING naturalists?) (In the published copies of the first
edition, page 480, the words are "eminent living naturalists.")

The first page of this most important summary gives the adversary an
advantage, by putting forth so abruptly and crudely such a startling
objection as the formation of "the eye," not by means analogous to man's
reason, or rather by some power immeasurably superior to human reason, but
by superinduced variation like those of which a cattle-breeder avails
himself. Pages would be required thus to state an objection and remove it.
It would be better, as you wish to persuade, to say nothing. Leave out
several sentences, and in a future edition bring it out more fully.
Between the throwing down of such a stumbling-block in the way of the
reader, and the passage to the working ants, in page 460, there are pages
required; and these ants are a bathos to him before he has recovered from
the shock of being called upon to believe the eye to have been brought to
perfection, from a state of blindness or purblindness, by such variations
as we witness. I think a little omission would greatly lessen the
objectionableness of these sentences if you have not time to recast and

...But these are small matters, mere spots on the sun. Your comparison of
the letters retained in words, when no longer wanted for the sound, to
rudimentary organs is excellent, as both are truly genealogical.

The want of peculiar birds in Madeira is a greater difficulty than seemed
to me allowed for. I could cite passages where you show that variations
are superinduced from the new circumstances of new colonists, which would
require some Madeira birds, like those of the Galapagos, to be peculiar.
There has been ample time in the case of Madeira and Porto Santo...

You enclose your sheets in old MS., so the Post Office very properly charge
them as letters, 2 pence extra. I wish all their fines on MS. were worth
as much. I paid 4 shillings 6 pence for such wash the other day from
Paris, from a man who can prove 300 deluges in the valley of the Seine.

With my hearty congratulations to you on your grand work, believe me,

Ever very affectionately yours,

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
October 11th [1859].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you cordially for giving me so much of your valuable time in
writing me the long letter of 3d, and still longer of 4th. I wrote a line
with the missing proof-sheet to Scarborough. I have adopted most
thankfully all your minor corrections in the last chapter, and the greater
ones as far as I could with little trouble. I damped the opening passage
about the eye (in my bigger work I show the gradations in structure of the
eye) by putting merely "complex organs." But you are a pretty Lord
Chancellor to tell the barrister on one side how best to win the cause!
The omission of "living" before eminent naturalists was a dreadful blunder.


You are right, there is a screw out here; I thought no one would have
detected it; I blundered in omitting a discussion, which I have written out
in full. But once for all, let me say as an excuse, that it was most
difficult to decide what to omit. Birds, which have struggled in their own
homes, when settled in a body, nearly simultaneously in a new country,
would not be subject to much modification, for their mutual relations would
not be much disturbed. But I quite agree with you, that in time they ought
to undergo some. In Bermuda and Madeira they have, as I believe, been kept
constant by the frequent arrival, and the crossing with unaltered
immigrants of the same species from the mainland. In Bermuda this can be
proved, in Madeira highly probable, as shown me by letters from E.V.
Harcourt. Moreover, there are ample grounds for believing that the crossed
offspring of the new immigrants (fresh blood as breeders would say), and
old colonists of the same species would be extra vigorous, and would be the
most likely to survive; thus the effects of such crossing in keeping the
old colonists unaltered would be much aided.


I cannot agree with you, that species if created to struggle with American
forms, would have to be created on the American type. Facts point
diametrically the other way. Look at the unbroken and untilled ground in
La Plata, COVERED with European products, which have no near affinity to
the indigenous products. They are not American types which conquer the
aborigines. So in every island throughout the world. Alph. De Candolle's
results (though he does not see its full importance), that thoroughly well
naturalised [plants] are in general very different from the aborigines
(belonging in large proportion of cases to non-indigenous genera) is most
important always to bear in mind. Once for all, I am sure, you will
understand that I thus write dogmatically for brevity sake.


This doctrine is superfluous (and groundless) on the theory of Natural
Selection, which implies no NECESSARY tendency to progression. A monad, if
no deviation in its structure profitable to it under its EXCESSIVELY SIMPLE
conditions of life occurred, might remain unaltered from long before the
Silurian Age to the present day. I grant there will generally be a
tendency to advance in complexity of organisation, though in beings fitted
for very simple conditions it would be slight and slow. How could a
complex organisation profit a monad? if it did not profit it there would be
no advance. The Secondary Infusoria differ but little from the living.
The parent monad form might perfectly well survive unaltered and fitted for
its simple conditions, whilst the offspring of this very monad might become
fitted for more complex conditions. The one primordial prototype of all
living and extinct creatures may, it is possible, be now alive! Moreover,
as you say, higher forms might be occasionally degraded, the snake Typhlops
SEEMS (?!) to have the habits of earth-worms. So that fresh creatures of
simple forms seem to me wholly superfluous.


I am not sure that I understand your remarks which follow the above. We
must under present knowledge assume the creation of one or of a few forms
in the same manner as philosophers assume the existence of a power of
attraction without any explanation. But I entirely reject, as in my
judgment quite unnecessary, any subsequent addition "of new powers and
attributes and forces;" or of any "principle of improvement," except in so
far as every character which is naturally selected or preserved is in some
way an advantage or improvement, otherwise it would not have been selected.
If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural
selection, I would reject it as rubbish, but I have firm faith in it, as I
cannot believe, that if false, it would explain so many whole classes of
facts, which, if I am in my senses, it seems to explain. As far as I
understand your remarks and illustrations, you doubt the possibility of
gradations of intellectual powers. Now, it seems to me, looking to
existing animals alone, that we have a very fine gradation in the
intellectual powers of the Vertebrata, with one rather wide gap (not half
so wide as in many cases of corporeal structure), between say a Hottentot
and a Ourang, even if civilised as much mentally as the dog has been from
the wolf. I suppose that you do not doubt that the intellectual powers are
as important for the welfare of each being as corporeal structure; if so, I
can see no difficulty in the most intellectual individuals of a species
being continually selected; and the intellect of the new species thus
improved, aided probably by effects of inherited mental exercise. I look
at this process as now going on with the races of man; the less
intellectual races being exterminated. But there is not space to discuss
this point. If I understand you, the turning-point in our difference must
be, that you think it impossible that the intellectual powers of a species
should be much improved by the continued natural selection of the most
intellectual individuals. To show how minds graduate, just reflect how
impossible every one has yet found it, to define the difference in mind of
man and the lower animals; the latter seem to have the very same attributes
in a much lower stage of perfection than the lowest savage. I would give
absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires
miraculous additions at any one stage of descent. I think Embryology,
Homology, Classification, etc., etc., show us that all vertebrata have
descended from one parent; how that parent appeared we know not. If you
admit in ever so little a degree, the explanation which I have given of
Embryology, Homology and Classification, you will find it difficult to say:
thus far the explanation holds good, but no further; here we must call in
"the addition of new creative forces." I think you will be driven to
reject all or admit all: I fear by your letter it will be the former
alternative; and in that case I shall feel sure it is my fault, and not the
theory's fault, and this will certainly comfort me. With regard to the
descent of the great Kingdoms (as Vertebrata, Articulata, etc.) from one
parent, I have said in the conclusion, that mere analogy makes me think it
probable; my arguments and facts are sound in my judgment only for each
separate kingdom.


I dare say I have not been guarded enough, but might not the term
inferiority include less perfect adaptation to physical conditions?

My remarks apply not to single species, but to groups or genera; the
species of most genera are adapted at least to rather hotter, and rather
less hot, to rather damper and dryer climates; and when the several species
of a group are beaten and exterminated by the several species of another
group, it will not, I think, generally be from EACH new species being
adapted to the climate, but from all the new species having some common
advantage in obtaining sustenance, or escaping enemies. As groups are
concerned, a fairer illustration than negro and white in Liberia would be
the almost certain future extinction of the genus ourang by the genus man,
not owing to man being better fitted for the climate, but owing to the
inherited intellectual inferiority of the Ourang-genus to Man-genus, by his
intellect, inventing fire-arms and cutting down forests. I believe from
reasons given in my discussion, that acclimatisation is readily effected
under nature. It has taken me so many years to disabuse my mind of the TOO
great importance of climate--its important influence being so conspicuous,
whilst that of a struggle between creature and creature is so hidden--that
I am inclined to swear at the North Pole, and, as Sydney Smith said, even
to speak disrespectfully of the Equator. I beg you often to reflect (I
have found NOTHING so instructive) on the case of thousands of plants in
the middle point of their respective ranges, and which, as we positively
know, can perfectly well withstand a little more heat and cold, a little
more damp and dry, but which in the metropolis of their range do not exist
in vast numbers, although if many of the other inhabitants were destroyed
[they] would cover the ground. We thus clearly see that their numbers are
kept down, in almost every case, not by climate, but by the struggle with
other organisms. All this you will perhaps think very obvious; but, until
I repeated it to myself thousands of times, I took, as I believe, a wholly
wrong view of the whole economy of nature...


I am so much pleased that you approve of this chapter; you would be
astonished at the labour this cost me; so often was I, on what I believe
was, the wrong scent.


On the theory of Natural Selection there is a wide distinction between
Rudimentary Organs and what you call germs of organs, and what I call in my
bigger book "nascent" organs. An organ should not be called rudimentary
unless it be useless--as teeth which never cut through the gums--the
papillae, representing the pistil in male flowers, wing of Apteryx, or
better, the little wings under soldered elytra. These organs are now
plainly useless, and a fortiori, they would be useless in a less developed
state. Natural Selection acts exclusively by preserving successive slight,
USEFUL modifications. Hence Natural Selection cannot possibly make a
useless or rudimentary organ. Such organs are solely due to inheritance
(as explained in my discussion), and plainly bespeak an ancestor having the
organ in a useful condition. They may be, and often have been, worked in
for other purposes, and then they are only rudimentary for the original
function, which is sometimes plainly apparent. A nascent organ, though
little developed, as it has to be developed must be useful in every stage
of development. As we cannot prophesy, we cannot tell what organs are now
nascent; and nascent organs will rarely have been handed down by certain
members of a class from a remote period to the present day, for beings with
any important organ but little developed, will generally have been
supplanted by their descendants with the organ well developed. The mammary
glands in Ornithorhynchus may, perhaps, be considered as nascent compared
with the udders of a cow--Ovigerous frena, in certain cirripedes, are
nascent branchiae--in [illegible] the swim bladder is almost rudimentary
for this purpose, and is nascent as a lung. The small wing of penguin,
used only as a fin, might be nascent as a wing; not that I think so; for
the whole structure of the bird is adapted for flight, and a penguin so
closely resembles other birds, that we may infer that its wings have
probably been modified, and reduced by natural selection, in accordance
with its sub-aquatic habits. Analogy thus often serves as a guide in
distinguishing whether an organ is rudimentary or nascent. I believe the
Os coccyx gives attachment to certain muscles, but I can not doubt that it
is a rudimentary tail. The bastard wing of birds is a rudimentary digit;
and I believe that if fossil birds are found very low down in the series,
they will be seen to have a double or bifurcated wing. Here is a bold

To admit prophetic germs, is tantamount to rejecting the theory of Natural

I am very glad you think it worth while to run through my book again, as
much, or more, for the subject's sake as for my own sake. But I look at
your keeping the subject for some little time before your mind--raising
your own difficulties and solving them--as far more important than reading
my book. If you think enough, I expect you will be perverted, and if you
ever are, I shall know that the theory of Natural Selection, is, in the
main, safe; that it includes, as now put forth, many errors, is almost
certain, though I cannot see them. Do not, of course, think of answering
this; but if you have other OCCASION to write again, just say whether I
have, in ever so slight a degree, shaken any of your objections. Farewell.
With my cordial thanks for your long letters and valuable remarks,

Believe me, yours most truly,

P.S.--You often allude to Lamarck's work; I do not know what you think
about it, but it appeared to me extremely poor; I got not a fact or idea
from it.

CHARLES DARWIN TO L. AGASSIZ. (Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, born at
Mortier, on the lake of Morat in Switzerland, on May 28, 1807. He
emigrated to America in 1846, where he spent the rest of his life, and died
December 14, 1873. His 'Life,' written by his widow, was published in
1885. The following extract from a letter to Agassiz (1850) is worth
giving, as showing how my father regarded him, and it may be added that his
cordial feelings towards the great American naturalist remained strong to
the end of his life:--

"I have seldom been more deeply gratified than by receiving your most kind
present of 'Lake Superior.' I had heard of it, and had much wished to read
it, but I confess that it was the very great honour of having in my
possession a work with your autograph as a presentation copy that has given
me such lively and sincere pleasure. I cordially thank you for it. I have
begun to read it with uncommon interest, which I see will increase as I go
Down, November 11th [1859].

My dear Sir,

I have ventured to send you a copy of my book (as yet only an abstract) on
the 'Origin of Species.' As the conclusions at which I have arrived on
several points differ so widely from yours, I have thought (should you at
any time read my volume) that you might think that I had sent it to you out
of a spirit of defiance or bravado; but I assure you that I act under a
wholly different frame of mind. I hope that you will at least give me
credit, however erroneous you may think my conclusions, for having
earnestly endeavoured to arrive at the truth. With sincere respect, I beg
leave to remain,

Yours, very faithfully,

Down, November 11th [1859].

Dear Sir,

I have thought that you would permit me to send you (by Messrs. Williams
and Norgate, booksellers) a copy of my work (as yet only an abstract) on
the 'Origin of Species.' I wish to do this, as the only, though quite
inadequate manner, by which I can testify to you the extreme interest which
I have felt, and the great advantage which I have derived, from studying
your grand and noble work on Geographical Distribution. Should you be
induced to read my volume, I venture to remark that it will be intelligible
only by reading the whole straight through, as it is very much condensed.
It would be a high gratification to me if any portion interested you. But
I am perfectly well aware that you will entirely disagree with the
conclusion at which I have arrived.

You will probably have quite forgotten me; but many years ago you did me
the honour of dining at my house in London to meet M. and Madame Sismondi
(Jessie Allen, sister of Mrs. Josiah Wedgwood of Maer.), the uncle and aunt
of my wife. With sincere respect, I beg to remain,

Yours, very faithfully,

Down, November 11th [1859].

My dear Falconer,

I have told Murray to send you a copy of my book on the 'Origin of
Species,' which as yet is only an abstract.

If you read it, you must read it straight through, otherwise from its
extremely condensed state it will be unintelligible.

Lord, how savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to
crucify me alive! I fear it will produce no other effect on you; but if it
should stagger you in ever so slight a degree, in this case, I am fully
convinced that you will become, year after year, less fixed in your belief
in the immutability of species. With this audacious and presumptuous

I remain, my dear Falconer,
Yours most truly,

Down, November 11th [1859].

My dear Gray,

I have directed a copy of my book (as yet only an abstract) on the 'Origin
of Species' to be sent you. I know how you are pressed for time; but if
you can read it, I shall be infinitely gratified...If ever you do read it,
and can screw out time to send me (as I value your opinion so highly),
however short a note, telling me what you think its weakest and best parts,
I should be extremely grateful. As you are not a geologist, you will
excuse my conceit in telling you that Lyell highly approves of the two
Geological chapters, and thinks that on the Imperfection of the Geological
Record not exaggerated. He is nearly a convert to my views...

Let me add I fully admit that there are very many difficulties not
satisfactorily explained by my theory of descent with modification, but I
cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes
of facts as I think it certainly does explain. On these grounds I drop my
anchor, and believe that the difficulties will slowly disappear...

Down, November 11th, 1859.

My dear Henslow,

I have told Murray to send a copy of my book on Species to you, my dear old
master in Natural History; I fear, however, that you will not approve of
your pupil in this case. The book in its present state does not show the
amount of labour which I have bestowed on the subject.

If you have time to read it carefully, and would take the trouble to point
out what parts seem weakest to you and what best, it would be a most
material aid to me in writing my bigger book, which I hope to commence in a
few months. You know also how highly I value your judgment. But I am not
so unreasonable as to wish or expect you to write detailed and lengthy
criticisms, but merely a few general remarks, pointing out the weakest

If you are IN EVEN SO SLIGHT A DEGREE staggered (which I hardly expect) on
the immutability of species, then I am convinced with further reflection
you will become more and more staggered, for this has been the process
through which my mind has gone. My dear Henslow,

Yours affectionately and gratefully,

CHARLES DARWIN TO JOHN LUBBOCK. (The present Sir John Lubbock.)
Ilkley, Yorkshire,
Saturday [November 12th, 1859].

...Thank you much for asking me to Brighton. I hope much that you will
enjoy your holiday. I have told Murray to send a copy for you to Mansion
House Street, and I am surprised that you have not received it. There are
so many valid and weighty arguments against my notions, that you, or any
one, if you wish on the other side, will easily persuade yourself that I am
wholly in error, and no doubt I am in part in error, perhaps wholly so,
though I cannot see the blindness of my ways. I dare say when thunder and
lightning were first proved to be due to secondary causes, some regretted
to give up the idea that each flash was caused by the direct hand of God.

Farewell, I am feeling very unwell to-day, so no more.

Yours very truly,

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
Tuesday [November 15th, 1859].

My dear Lubbock,

I beg pardon for troubling you again. I do not know how I blundered in
expressing myself in making you believe that we accepted your kind
invitation to Brighton. I meant merely to thank you sincerely for wishing
to see such a worn-out old dog as myself. I hardly know when we leave this
place,--not under a fortnight, and then we shall wish to rest under our own

I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley's 'Natural
Theology.' I could almost formerly have said it by heart.

I am glad you have got my book, but I fear that you value it far too
highly. I should be grateful for any criticisms. I care not for Reviews;
but for the opinion of men like you and Hooker and Huxley and Lyell, etc.

Farewell, with our joint thanks to Mrs. Lubbock and yourself. Adios.


CHARLES DARWIN TO L. JENYNS. (Now Rev. L. Blomefield.)
Ilkley, Yorkshire,
November 13th, 1859.

My dear Jenyns,

I must thank you for your very kind note forwarded to me from Down. I have
been much out of health this summer, and have been hydropathising here for
the last six weeks with very little good as yet. I shall stay here for
another fortnight at least. Please remember that my book is only an
abstract, and very much condensed, and, to be at all intelligible, must be
carefully read. I shall be very grateful for any criticisms. But I know
perfectly well that you will not at all agree with the lengths which I go.
It took long years to convert me. I may, of course, be egregiously wrong;
but I cannot persuade myself that a theory which explains (as I think it
certainly does) several large classes of facts, can be wholly wrong;
notwithstanding the several difficulties which have to be surmounted
somehow, and which stagger me even to this day.

I wish that my health had allowed me to publish in extenso; if ever I get
strong enough I will do so, as the greater part is written out, and of
which MS. the present volume is an abstract.

I fear this note will be almost illegible; but I am poorly, and can hardly
sit up. Farewell; with thanks for your kind note and pleasant remembrance
of good old days.

Yours very sincerely,

Ilkley, November 13th, 1859.

My dear Sir,

I have told Murray to send you by post (if possible) a copy of my book, and
I hope that you will receive it at nearly the same time with this note.
(N.B. I have got a bad finger, which makes me write extra badly.) If you
are so inclined, I should very much like to hear your general impression of
the book, as you have thought so profoundly on the subject, and in so
nearly the same channel with myself. I hope there will be some little new
to you, but I fear not much. Remember it is only an abstract, and very
much condensed. God knows what the public will think. No one has read it,
except Lyell, with whom I have had much correspondence. Hooker thinks him
a complete convert, but he does not seem so in his letters to me; but is
evidently deeply interested in the subject. I do not think your share in
the theory will be overlooked by the real judges, as Hooker, Lyell, Asa
Gray, etc. I have heard from Mr. Slater that your paper on the Malay
Archipelago has been read at the Linnean Society, and that he was EXTREMELY
much interested by it.

I have not seen one naturalist for six or nine months, owing to the state
of my health, and therefore I really have no news to tell you. I am
writing this at Ilkley Wells, where I have been with my family for the last
six weeks, and shall stay for some few weeks longer. As yet I have
profited very little. God knows when I shall have strength for my bigger

I sincerely hope that you keep your health; I suppose that you will be
thinking of returning (Mr. Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago.) soon with
your magnificent collections, and still grander mental materials. You will
be puzzled how to publish. The Royal Society fund will be worth your
consideration. With every good wish, pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

P.S. I think that I told you before that Hooker is a complete convert. If
I can convert Huxley I shall be content.

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
Wednesday [November 16th, 1859].

...I like the place very much, and the children have enjoyed it much, and
it has done my wife good. It did H. good at first, but she has gone back
again. I have had a series of calamities; first a sprained ankle, and then
a badly swollen whole leg and face, much rash, and a frightful succession
of boils--four or five at once. I have felt quite ill, and have little
faith in this "unique crisis," as the doctor calls it, doing me much
good...You will probably have received, or will very soon receive, my
weariful book on species, I naturally believe it mainly includes the truth,
but you will not at all agree with me. Dr. Hooker, whom I consider one of
the best judges in Europe, is a complete convert, and he thinks Lyell is
likewise; certainly, judging from Lyell's letters to me on the subject, he
is deeply staggered. Farewell. If the spirit moves you, let me have a

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
November 18th [1859].

My dear Carpenter,

I must thank you for your letter on my own account, and if I know myself,
still more warmly for the subject's sake. As you seem to have understood
my last chapter without reading the previous chapters, you must have
maturely and most profoundly self-thought out the subject; for I have found
the most extraordinary difficulty in making even able men understand at
what I was driving. There will be strong opposition to my views. If I am
in the main right (of course including partial errors unseen by me), the
admission in my views will depend far more on men, like yourself, with
well-established reputations, than on my own writings. Therefore, on the
supposition that when you have read my volume you think the view in the
main true, I thank and honour you for being willing to run the chance of
unpopularity by advocating the view. I know not in the least whether any
one will review me in any of the Reviews. I do not see how an author could
enquire or interfere; but if you are willing to review me anywhere, I am
sure from the admiration which I have long felt and expressed for your
'Comparative Physiology,' that your review will be excellently done, and
will do good service in the cause for which I think I am not selfishly
deeply interested. I am feeling very unwell to-day, and this note is
badly, perhaps hardly intelligibly, expressed; but you must excuse me, for
I could not let a post pass, without thanking you for your note. You will
have a tough job even to shake in the slightest degree Sir H. Holland. I
do not think (privately I say it) that the great man has knowledge enough
to enter on the subject. Pray believe me with sincerity, Yours truly


P.S.--As you are not a practical geologist, let me add that Lyell thinks
the chapter on the Imperfection of the Geological Record NOT exaggerated.

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
November 19th [1859].

My dear Carpenter,

I beg pardon for troubling you again. If, after reading my book, you are
able to come to a conclusion in any degree definite, will you think me very
unreasonable in asking you to let me hear from you. I do not ask for a
long discussion, but merely for a brief idea of your general impression.
From your widely extended knowledge, habit of investigating the truth, and
abilities, I should value your opinion in the very highest rank. Though I,
of course, believe in the truth of my own doctrine, I suspect that no
belief is vivid until shared by others. As yet I know only one believer,
but I look at him as of the greatest authority, viz., Hooker. When I think
of the many cases of men who have studied one subject for years, and have
persuaded themselves of the truth of the foolishest doctrines, I feel
sometimes a little frightened, whether I may not be one of these mono-

Again pray excuse this, I fear, unreasonable request. A short note would
suffice, and I could bear a hostile verdict, and shall have to bear many a

Yours very sincerely,

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
Sunday [November 1859].

My dear Hooker,

I have just read a review on my book in the "Athenaeum" (November 19,
1859.), and it excites my curiosity much who is the author. If you should
hear who writes in the "Athenaeum" I wish you would tell me. It seems to
me well done, but the reviewer gives no new objections, and, being hostile,
passes over every single argument in favour of the doctrine,...I fear from
the tone of the review, that I have written in a conceited and cocksure
style (The Reviewer speaks of the author's "evident self-satisfaction," and
of his disposing of all difficulties "more or less confidently."), which
shames me a little. There is another review of which I should like to know
the author, viz., of H.C. Watson in the "Gardener's Chronicle". Some of
the remarks are like yours, and he does deserve punishment; but surely the
review is too severe. Don't you think so?

I hope you got the three copies for Foreign Botanists in time for your
parcel, and your own copy. I have heard from Carpenter, who, I think, is
likely to be a convert. Also from Quatrefages, who is inclined to go a
long way with us. He says that he exhibited in his lecture a diagram
closely like mine!

I shall stay here one fortnight more, and then go to Down, staying on the
road at Shrewsbury a week. I have been very unfortunate: out of seven
weeks I have been confined for five to the house. This has been bad for
me, as I have not been able to help thinking to a foolish extent about my
book. If some four or five GOOD men came round nearly to our view, I shall
not fear ultimate success. I long to learn what Huxley thinks. Is your
introduction (Introduction to the 'Flora of Australia.') published? I
suppose that you will sell it separately. Please answer this, for I want
an extra copy to send away to Wallace. I am very bothersome, farewell.

Yours affectionately,

I was very glad to see the Royal Medal for Mr. Bentham.

Down, December 21st, 1859.

My dear Hooker,

Pray give my thanks to Mrs. Hooker for her extremely kind note, which has
pleased me much. We are very sorry she cannot come here, but shall be
delighted to see you and W. (our boys will be at home) here in the 2nd week
of January, or any other time. I shall much enjoy discussing any points in
my book with you...

I hate to hear you abuse your own work. I, on the contrary, so sincerely
value all that you have written. It is an old and firm conviction of mine,
that the Naturalists who accumulate facts and make many partial
generalisations are the REAL benefactors of science. Those who merely
accumulate facts I cannot very much respect.

I had hoped to have come up for the Club to-morrow, but very much doubt
whether I shall be able. Ilkley seems to have done me no essential good.
I attended the Bench on Monday, and was detained in adjudicating some
troublesome cases 1 1/2 hours longer than usual, and came home utterly
knocked up, and cannot rally. I am not worth an old button...Many thanks
for your pleasant note.

Ever yours,

P.S.--I feel confident that for the future progress of the subject of the
origin and manner of formation of species, the assent and arguments and
facts of working naturalists, like yourself, are far more important than my
own book; so for God's sake do not abuse your Introduction.

Thames Ditton, November 21st [1859].

My dear Sir,

Once commenced to read the 'Origin,' I could not rest till I had galloped
through the whole. I shall now begin to re-read it more deliberately.
Meantime I am tempted to write you the first impressions, not doubting that
they will, in the main, be the permanent impressions:--

1st. Your leading idea will assuredly become recognised as an established
truth in science, i.e. "Natural Selection." It has the characteristics of
all great natural truths, clarifying what was obscure, simplifying what was
intricate, adding greatly to previous knowledge. You are the greatest
revolutionist in natural history of this century, if not of all centuries.

2nd. You will perhaps need, in some degree, to limit or modify, possibly
in some degree also to extend, your present applications of the principle
of natural selection. Without going to matters of more detail, it strikes
me that there is one considerable primary inconsistency, by one failure in
the analogy between varieties and species; another by a sort of barrier
assumed for nature on insufficient grounds and arising from "divergence."
These may, however, be faults in my own mind, attributable to yet
incomplete perception of your views. And I had better not trouble you
about them before again reading the volume.

3rd. Now these novel views are brought fairly before the scientific
public, it seems truly remarkable how so many of them could have failed to
see their right road sooner. How could Sir C. Lyell, for instance, for
thirty years read, write, and think, on the subject of species AND THEIR
SUCCESSION, and yet constantly look down the wrong road!

A quarter of a century ago, you and I must have been in something like the
same state of mind on the main question, but you were able to see and work
out the quo modo of the succession, the all-important thing, while I failed
to grasp it. I send by this post a little controversial pamphlet of old
date--Combe and Scott. If you will take the trouble to glance at the
passages scored on the margin, you will see that, a quarter of a century
ago, I was also one of the few who then doubted the absolute distinctness
of species, and special creations of them. Yet I, like the rest, failed to
detect the quo modo which was reserved for your penetration to DISCOVER,
and your discernment to APPLY.

You answered my query about the hiatus between Satyrus and Homo as was
expected. The obvious explanation really never occurred to me till some
months after I had read the papers in the 'Linnean Proceedings.' The first
species of Fere-homo ("Almost-man.") would soon make direct and
exterminating war upon his Infra-homo cousins. The gap would thus be made,
and then go on increasing, into the present enormous and still widening
hiatus. But how greatly this, with your chronology of animal life, will
shock the ideas of many men!

Very sincerely,

Athenaeum, Monday [November 21st, 1859].

My dear Darwin,

I am a sinner not to have written you ere this, if only to thank you for
your glorious book--what a mass of close reasoning on curious facts and
fresh phenomena--it is capitally written, and will be very successful. I
say this on the strength of two or three plunges into as many chapters, for
I have not yet attempted to read it. Lyell, with whom we are staying, is
perfectly enchanted, and is absolutely gloating over it. I must accept
your compliment to me, and acknowledgment of supposed assistance from me,
as the warm tribute of affection from an honest (though deluded) man, and
furthermore accept it as very pleasing to my vanity; but, my dear fellow,
neither my name nor my judgment nor my assistance deserved any such
compliments, and if I am dishonest enough to be pleased with what I don't
deserve, it must just pass. How different the BOOK reads from the MS. I
see I shall have much to talk over with you. Those lazy printers have not
finished my luckless Essay; which, beside your book, will look like a
ragged handkerchief beside a Royal Standard...

All well, ever yours affectionately,

Ilkley, Yorkshire [November 1859].

My dear Hooker,

I cannot help it, I must thank you for your affectionate and most kind
note. My head will be turned. By Jove, I must try and get a bit modest.
I was a little chagrined by the review. (This refers to the review in the
"Athenaeum", November 19, 1859, where the reviewer, after touching on the
theological aspects of the book, leaves the author to "the mercies of the
Divinity Hall, the College, the Lecture Room, and the Museum.") I hope it
was NOT --. As advocate, he might think himself justified in giving the
argument only on one side. But the manner in which he drags in
immortality, and sets the priests at me, and leaves me to their mercies, is
base. He would, on no account, burn me, but he will get the wood ready,
and tell the black beasts how to catch me...It would be unspeakably grand
if Huxley were to lecture on the subject, but I can see this is a mere
chance; Faraday might think it too unorthodox.

...I had a letter from [Huxley] with such tremendous praise of my book,
that modesty (as I am trying to cultivate that difficult herb) prevents me
sending it to you, which I should have liked to have done, as he is very
modest about himself.

You have cockered me up to that extent, that I now feel I can face a score
of savage reviewers. I suppose you are still with the Lyells. Give my
kindest remembrance to them. I triumph to hear that he continues to

Believe me, your would-be modest friend,

Ilkley Wells, Yorkshire,
November 23 [1859].

My dear Lyell,

You seemed to have worked admirably on the species question; there could
not have been a better plan than reading up on the opposite side. I
rejoice profoundly that you intend admitting the doctrine of modification
in your new edition (It appears from Sir Charles Lyell's published letters
that he intended to admit the doctrine of evolution in a new edition of the
'Manual,' but this was not published till 1865. He was, however, at work
on the 'Antiquity of Man' in 1860, and had already determined to discuss
the 'Origin' at the end of the book.); nothing, I am convinced, could be
more important for its success. I honour you most sincerely. To have
maintained in the position of a master, one side of a question for thirty
years, and then deliberately give it up, is a fact to which I much doubt
whether the records of science offer a parallel. For myself, also, I
rejoice profoundly; for, thinking of so many cases of men pursuing an
illusion for years, often and often a cold shudder has run through me, and
I have asked myself whether I may not have devoted my life to a phantasy.
Now I look at it as morally impossible that investigators of truth, like
you and Hooker, can be wholly wrong, and therefore I rest in peace. Thank
you for criticisms, which, if there be a second edition, I will attend to.
I have been thinking that if I am much execrated as an atheist, etc.,
whether the admission of the doctrine of natural selection could injure
your works; but I hope and think not, for as far as I can remember, the
virulence of bigotry is expended on the first offender, and those who adopt
his views are only pitied as deluded, by the wise and cheerful bigots.

I cannot help thinking that you overrate the importance of the multiple
origin of dogs. The only difference is, that in the case of single
origins, all difference of the races has originated since man domesticated
the species. In the case of multiple origins part of the difference was
produced under natural conditions. I should INFINITELY prefer the theory
of single origin in all cases, if facts would permit its reception. But
there seems to me some a priori improbability (seeing how fond savages are
of taming animals), that throughout all times, and throughout all the
world, that man should have domesticated one single species alone, of the
widely distributed genus Canis. Besides this, the close resemblance of at
least three kinds of American domestic dogs to wild species still
inhabiting the countries where they are now domesticated, seem to almost
compel admission that more than one wild Canis has been domesticated by

I thank you cordially for all the generous zeal and interest you have shown
about my book, and I remain, my dear Lyell,

Your affectionate friend and disciple,

Sir J. Herschel, to whom I sent a copy, is going to read my book. He says
he leans to the side opposed to me. If you should meet him after he has
read me, pray find out what he thinks, for, of course, he will not write;
and I should excessively like to hear whether I produce any effect on such
a mind.

Jermyn Street W.,
November 23rd, 1859.

My dear Darwin,

I finished your book yesterday, a lucky examination having furnished me
with a few hours of continuous leisure.

Since I read Von Baer's (Karl Ernst von Baer, born 1792, died at Dorpat
1876--one of the most distinguished biologists of the century. He
practically founded the modern science of embryology.) essays, nine years
ago, no work on Natural History Science I have met with has made so great
an impression upon me, and I do most heartily thank you for the great store
of new views you have given me. Nothing, I think, can be better than the
tone of the book, it impresses those who know nothing about the subject.
As for your doctrine, I am prepared to go to the stake, if requisite, in
support of Chapter IX., and most parts of Chapters X., XI., XII., and
Chapter XIII. contains much that is most admirable, but on one or two
points I enter a caveat until I can see further into all sides of the

As to the first four chapters, I agree thoroughly and fully with all the
principles laid down in them. I think you have demonstrated a true cause
for the production of species, and have thrown the onus probandi that
species did not arise in the way you suppose, on your adversaries.

But I feel that I have not yet by any means fully realized the bearings of
those most remarkable and original Chapters III., IV. and V., and I will
write no more about them just now.

The only objections that have occurred to me are, 1st that you have loaded
yourself with an unnecessary difficulty in adopting Natura non facit saltum
so unreservedly...And 2nd, it is not clear to me why, if continual physical
conditions are of so little moment as you suppose, variation should occur
at all.

However, I must read the book two or three times more before I presume to
begin picking holes.

I trust you will not allow yourself to be in any way disgusted or annoyed
by the considerable abuse and misrepresentation which, unless I greatly
mistake, is in store for you. Depend upon it you have earned the lasting
gratitude of all thoughtful men. And as to the curs which will bark and
yelp, you must recollect that some of your friends, at any rate, are
endowed with an amount of combativeness which (though you have often and
justly rebuked it) may stand you in good stead.

I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness.

Looking back over my letter, it really expresses so feebly all I think
about you and your noble book that I am half ashamed of it; but you will
understand that, like the parrot in the story, "I think the more."

Ever yours faithfully,

Ilkley, November 25th [1859].

My dear Huxley,

Your letter has been forwarded to me from Down. Like a good Catholic who
has received extreme unction, I can now sing "nunc dimittis." I should
have been more than contented with one quarter of what you have said.
Exactly fifteen months ago, when I put pen to paper for this volume, I had
awful misgivings; and thought perhaps I had deluded myself, like so many
have done, and I then fixed in my mind three judges, on whose decision I
determined mentally to abide. The judges were Lyell, Hooker, and yourself.
It was this which made me so excessively anxious for your verdict. I am
now contented, and can sing my nunc dimittis. What a joke it would be if I
pat you on the back when you attack some immovable creationist! You have
most cleverly hit on one point, which has greatly troubled me; if, as I
must think, external conditions produce little DIRECT effect, what the
devil determines each particular variation? What makes a tuft of feathers
come on a cock's head, or moss on a moss-rose? I shall much like to talk
over this with you...

My dear Huxley, I thank you cordially for your letter.

Yours very sincerely,

P.S.--Hereafter I shall be particularly curious to hear what you think of
my explanation of Embryological similarity. On classification I fear we
shall split. Did you perceive the argumentum ad hominem Huxley about
kangaroo and bear?

November 23rd [1859].

Dear Charles,

I am so much weaker in the head, that I hardly know if I can write, but at
all events I will jot down a few things that the Dr. (Dr., afterwards Sir
Henry Holland.) has said. He has not read much above half, so as he says
he can give no definite conclusion, and it is my private belief he wishes
to remain in that state...He is evidently in a dreadful state of
indecision, and keeps stating that he is not tied down to either view, and
that he has always left an escape by the way he has spoken of varieties. I
happened to speak of the eye before he had read that part, and it took away
his breath--utterly impossible--structure, function, etc., etc., etc., but
when he had read it he hummed and hawed, and perhaps it was partly
conceivable, and then he fell back on the bones of the ear, which were
beyond all probability or conceivability. He mentioned a slight blot,
which I also observed, that in speaking of the slave-ants carrying one
another, you change the species without giving notice first, and it makes
one turn back...

...For myself I really think it is the most interesting book I ever read,
and can only compare it to the first knowledge of chemistry, getting into a
new world or rather behind the scenes. To me the geographical
distribution, I mean the relation of islands to continents, is the most
convincing of the proofs, and the relation of the oldest forms to the
existing species. I dare say I don't feel enough the absence of varieties,
but then I don't in the least know if everything now living were fossilized
whether the paleontologists could distinguish them. In fact the a priori
reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts won't fit in,
why so much the worse for the facts is my feeling. My ague has left me in
such a state of torpidity that I wish I had gone through the process of
natural selection.

Yours affectionately,

Ilkley, November [24th, 1859].

My dear Lyell,

Again I have to thank you for a most valuable lot of criticisms in a letter
dated 22nd.

This morning I heard also from Murray that he sold the whole edition (First
edition, 1250 copies.) the first day to the trade. He wants a new edition
instantly, and this utterly confounds me. Now, under water-cure, with all
nervous power directed to the skin, I cannot possibly do head-work, and I
must make only actually necessary corrections. But I will, as far as I can
without my manuscript, take advantage of your suggestions: I must not
attempt much. Will you send me one line to say whether I must strike out
about the secondary whale (The passage was omitted in the second edition.),
it goes to my heart. About the rattle-snake, look to my Journal, under
Trigonocephalus, and you will see the probable origin of the rattle, and
generally in transitions it is the premier pas qui coute.

Madame Belloc wants to translate my book into French; I have offered to
look over proofs for SCIENTIFIC errors. Did you ever hear of her? I
believe Murray has agreed at my urgent advice, but I fear I have been rash
and premature. Quatrefages has written to me, saying he agrees largely
with my views. He is an excellent naturalist. I am pressed for time.
Will you give us one line about the whales? Again I thank you for never-
tiring advice and assistance; I do in truth reverence your unselfish and
pure love of truth.

My dear Lyell, ever yours,

[With regard to a French translation, he wrote to Mr. Murray in November
1859: "I am EXTREMELY anxious, for the subject's sake (and God knows not
for mere fame), to have my book translated; and indirectly its being known
abroad will do good to the English sale. If it depended on me, I should
agree without payment, and instantly send a copy, and only beg that she
[Mme. Belloc] would get some scientific man to look over the
translation...You might say that, though I am a very poor French scholar, I
could detect any scientific mistake, and would read over the French

The proposed translation was not made, and a second plan fell through in
the following year. He wrote to M. de Quatrefages: "The gentleman who
wished to translate my 'Origin of Species' has failed in getting a
publisher. Balliere, Masson, and Hachette all rejected it with contempt.
It was foolish and presumptuous in me, hoping to appear in a French dress;
but the idea would not have entered my head had it not been suggested to
me. It is a great loss. I must console myself with the German edition
which Prof. Bronn is bringing out." (See letters to Bronn, page 70.)

A sentence in another letter to M. de Quatrefages shows how anxious he was
to convert one of the greatest of contemporary Zoologists: "How I should
like to know whether Milne Edwards had read the copy which I sent him, and
whether he thinks I have made a pretty good case on our side of the
question. There is no naturalist in the world for whose opinion I have so
profound a respect. Of course I am not so silly as to expect to change his

Ilkley, [November 26th, 1859].

My dear Lyell,

I have received your letter of the 24th. It is no use trying to thank you;
your kindness is beyond thanks. I will certainly leave out the whale and

The edition was 1250 copies. When I was in spirits, I sometimes fancied
that my book would be successful, but I never even built a castle in the
air of such success as it has met with; I do not mean the sale, but the
impression it has made on you (whom I have always looked at as chief judge)
and Hooker and Huxley. The whole has infinitely exceeded my wildest hopes.

Farewell, I am tired, for I have been going over the sheets.

My kind friend, farewell, yours,

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
December 2nd [1859].

My dear Lyell,

Every note which you have sent me has interested me much. Pray thank Lady
Lyell for her remark. In the chapters she refers to, I was unable to
modify the passage in accordance with your suggestion; but in the final
chapter I have modified three or four. Kingsley, in a note (The letter is
given below) to me, had a capital paragraph on such notions as mine being
NOT opposed to a high conception of the Deity. I have inserted it as an
extract from a letter to me from a celebrated author and divine. I have
put in about nascent organs. I had the greatest difficulty in partially
making out Sedgwick's letter, and I dare say I did greatly underrate its
clearness. Do what I could, I fear I shall be greatly abused. In answer
to Sedgwick's remark that my book would be "mischievous," I asked him
whether truth can be known except by being victorious over all attacks.
But it is no use. H.C. Watson tells me that one zoologist says he will
read my book, "but I will never believe it." What a spirit to read any
book in! Crawford writes to me that his notice (John Crawford,
orientalist, ethnologist, etc., 1783-1868. The review appeared in the
"Examiner", and, though hostile, is free from bigotry, as the following
citation will show: "We cannot help saying that piety must be fastidious
indeed that objects to a theory the tendency of which is to show that all
organic beings, man included, are in a perpetual progress of amelioration,
and that is expounded in the reverential language which we have quoted.")
will be hostile, but that "he will not calumniate the author." He says he
has read my book, "at least such parts as he could understand." He sent me
some notes and suggestions (quite unimportant), and they show me that I
have unavoidably done harm to the subject, by publishing an abstract. He
is a real Pallasian; nearly all our domestic races descended from a
multitude of wild species now commingled. I expected Murchison to be
outrageous. How little he could ever have grappled with the subject of
denudation! How singular so great a geologist should have so
unphilosophical a mind! I have had several notes from --, very civil and
less decided. Says he shall not pronounce against me without much
reflection, PERHAPS WILL SAY NOTHING on the subject. X. says -- will go to
that part of hell, which Dante tells us is appointed for those who are
neither on God's side nor on that of the devil.

I fully believe that I owe the comfort of the next few years of my life to
your generous support, and that of a very few others. I do not think I am
brave enough to have stood being odious without support; now I feel as bold
as a lion. But there is one thing I can see I must learn, viz., to think
less of myself and my book. Farewell, with cordial thanks.

Yours most truly,

I return home on the 7th, and shall sleep at Erasmus's. I will call on you
about ten o'clock, on Thursday, the 8th, and sit with you, as I have so
often sat, during your breakfast.

I wish there was any chance of Prestwich being shaken; but I fear he is too
much of a catastrophist.

[In December there appeared in 'Macmillan's Magazine' an article, "Time and
Life," by Professor Huxley. It is mainly occupied by an analysis of the
argument of the 'Origin,' but it also gives the substance of a lecture
delivered at the Royal Institution before that book was published.
Professor Huxley spoke strongly in favour of evolution in his Lecture, and
explains that in so doing he was to a great extent resting on a knowledge
of "the general tenor of the researches in which Mr. Darwin had been so
long engaged," and was supported in so doing by his perfect confidence in
his knowledge, perseverance, and "high-minded love of truth." My father
was evidently deeply pleased by Mr. Huxley's words, and wrote:

"I must thank you for your extremely kind notice of my book in 'Macmillan.'
No one could receive a more delightful and honourable compliment. I had
not heard of your Lecture, owing to my retired life. You attribute much
too much to me from our mutual friendship. You have explained my leading
idea with admirable clearness. What a gift you have of writing (or more
properly) thinking clearly."]

Ilkley, Yorkshire,
December 3rd [1859].

My dear Carpenter,

I am perfectly delighted at your letter. It is a great thing to have got a
great physiologist on our side. I say "our" for we are now a good and
compact body of really good men, and mostly not old men. In the long run
we shall conquer. I do not like being abused, but I feel that I can now
bear it; and, as I told Lyell, I am well convinced that it is the first
offender who reaps the rich harvest of abuse. You have done an essential
kindness in checking the odium theologicum in the E.R. (This must refer to
Carpenter's critique which would now have been ready to appear in the
January number of the "Edinburgh Review", 1860, and in which the odium
theologicum is referred to.) It much pains all one's female relations and
injures the cause.

I look at it as immaterial whether we go quite the same lengths; and I
suspect, judging from myself, that you will go further, by thinking of a
population of forms like Ornithorhyncus, and by thinking of the common
homological and embryological structure of the several vertebrate orders.
But this is immaterial. I quite agree that the principle is everything.
In my fuller MS. I have discussed a good many instincts; but there will
surely be more unfilled gaps here than with corporeal structure, for we
have no fossil instincts, and know scarcely any except of European animals.
When I reflect how very slowly I came round myself, I am in truth
astonished at the candour shown by Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, and yourself. In
my opinion it is grand. I thank you cordially for taking the trouble of
writing a review for the 'National.' God knows I shall have few enough in
any degree favourable. (See a letter to Dr. Carpenter below.)

Saturday [December 5th, 1859].

...I have had a letter from Carpenter this morning. He reviews me in the
'National.' He is a convert, but does not go quite so far as I, but quite
far enough, for he admits that all birds are from one progenitor, and
probably all fishes and reptiles from another parent. But the last
mouthful chokes him. He can hardly admit all vertebrates from one parent.
He will surely come to this from Homology and Embryology. I look at it as
grand having brought round a great physiologist, for great I think he
certainly is in that line. How curious I shall be to know what line Owen
will take; dead against us, I fear; but he wrote me a most liberal note on
the reception of my book, and said he was quite prepared to consider fairly
and without prejudice my line of argument.

Kew, Monday.

Dear Darwin,

You have, I know, been drenched with letters since the publication of your
book, and I have hence forborne to add my mite. I hope now that you are
well through Edition II., and I have heard that you were flourishing in
London. I have not yet got half-through the book, not from want of will,
but of time--for it is the very hardest book to read, to full profits, that
I ever tried--it is so cram-full of matter and reasoning. I am all the
more glad that you have published in this form, for the three volumes,
unprefaced by this, would have choked any Naturalist of the nineteenth
century, and certainly have softened my brain in the operation of
assimilating their contents. I am perfectly tired of marvelling at the
wonderful amount of facts you have brought to bear, and your skill in
marshalling them and throwing them on the enemy; it is also extremely clear
as far as I have gone, but very hard to fully appreciate. Somehow it reads
very different from the MS., and I often fancy I must have been very stupid
not to have more fully followed it in MS. Lyell told me of his criticisms.
I did not appreciate them all, and there are many little matters I hope one
day to talk over with you. I saw a highly flattering notice in the
'English Churchman,' short and not at all entering into discussion, but
praising you and your book, and talking patronizingly of the
doctrine!...Bentham and Henslow will still shake their heads I fancy...

Ever yours affectionately,

Down, Saturday [December 12th, 1859].

...I had very long interviews with --, which perhaps you would like to hear
about...I infer from several expressions that, at bottom, he goes an
immense way with us...

He said to the effect that my explanation was the best ever published of
the manner of formation of species. I said I was very glad to hear it. He
took me up short: "You must not at all suppose that I agree with you in
all respects." I said I thought it no more likely that I should be right
in nearly all points, than that I should toss up a penny and get heads
twenty times running. I asked him what he thought the weakest part. He
said he had no particular objection to any part. He added:--

"If I must criticise, I should say, 'we do not want to know what Darwin
believes and is convinced of, but what he can prove.'" I agreed most fully
and truly that I have probably greatly sinned in this line, and defended my
general line of argument of inventing a theory and seeing how many classes
of facts the theory would explain. I added that I would endeavour to
modify the "believes" and "convinceds." He took me up short: "You will
then spoil your book, the charm of (!) it is that it is Darwin himself."
He added another objection, that the book was too teres atque rotundus---
that it explained everything, and that it was improbable in the highest
degree that I should succeed in this. I quite agree with this rather queer
objection, and it comes to this that my book must be very bad or very

I have heard, by roundabout channel, that Herschel says my book "is the law
of higgledy-piggledy." What this exactly means I do not know, but it is
evidently very contemptuous. If true this is a great blow and

December 14th [1859].

...The latter part of my stay at Ilkley did me much good, but I suppose I
never shall be strong, for the work I have had since I came back has
knocked me up a little more than once. I have been busy in getting a
reprint (with a very few corrections) through the press.

My book has been as yet VERY MUCH more successful than I ever dreamed of:
Murray is now printing 3000 copies. Have you finished it? If so, pray
tell me whether you are with me on the GENERAL issue, or against me. If
you are against me, I know well how honourable, fair, and candid an
opponent I shall have, and which is a good deal more than I can say of all
my opponents...

Pray tell me what you have been doing. Have you had time for any Natural

P.S.--I have got--I wish and hope I might say that WE have got--a fair
number of excellent men on our side of the question on the mutability of

Down, December 14th [1859].

My dear Hooker,

Your approval of my book, for many reasons, gives me intense satisfaction;
but I must make some allowance for your kindness and sympathy. Any one
with ordinary faculties, if he had PATIENCE enough and plenty of time,
could have written my book. You do not know how I admire your and Lyell's
generous and unselfish sympathy, I do not believe either of you would have
cared so much about your own work. My book, as yet, has been far more
successful than I ever even formerly ventured in the wildest day-dreams to
anticipate. We shall soon be a good body of working men, and shall have, I
am convinced, all young and rising naturalists on our side. I shall be
intensely interested to hear whether my book produces any effect on A.
Gray; from what I heard at Lyell's, I fancy your correspondence has brought
him some way already. I fear that there is no chance of Bentham being
staggered. Will he read my book? Has he a copy? I would send him one of
the reprints if he has not. Old J.E. Gray (John Edward Gray (1800-1875),
was the son of S.F. Gray, author of the 'Supplement to the Pharmacopoeia.'
In 1821 he published in his father's name 'The Natural Arrangement of
British Plants,' one of the earliest works in English on the natural
method. In 1824 he became connected with the Natural History Department of
the British Museum, and was appointed Keeper of the Zoological collections
in 1840. He was the author of 'Illustrations of Indian Zoology,' 'The
Knowsley Menagerie,' etc., and of innumerable descriptive Zoological
papers.), at the British Museum, attacked me in fine style: "You have just
reproduced Lamarck's doctrine and nothing else, and here Lyell and others
have been attacking him for twenty years, and because YOU (with a sneer and
laugh) say the very same thing, they are all coming round; it is the most
ridiculous inconsistency, etc., etc."

You must be very glad to be settled in your house, and I hope all the
improvements satisfy you. As far as my experience goes, improvements are
never perfection. I am very sorry to hear that you are still so very busy,
and have so much work. And now for the main purport of my note, which is
to ask and beg you and Mrs. Hooker (whom it is really an age since I have
seen), and all your children, if you like, to come and spend a week here.
It would be a great pleasure to me and to my wife...As far as we can see,
we shall be at home all the winter; and all times probably would be equally
convenient; but if you can, do not put it off very late, as it may slip
through. Think of this and persuade Mrs. Hooker, and be a good man and

Farewell, my kind and dear friend,
Yours affectionately,

P.S.--I shall be very curious to hear what you think of my discussion on
Classification in Chapter XIII.; I believe Huxley demurs to the whole, and
says he has nailed his colours to the mast, and I would sooner die than
give up; so that we are in as fine a frame of mind to discuss the point as
any two religionists.

Embryology is my pet bit in my book, and, confound my friends, not one has
noticed this to me.

Down, December 21st [1859].

My dear Gray,

I have just received your most kind, long, and valuable letter. I will
write again in a few days, for I am at present unwell and much pressed with
business: to-day's note is merely personal. I should, for several
reasons, be very glad of an American Edition. I have made up my mind to be
well abused; but I think it of importance that my notions should be read by
intelligent men, accustomed to scientific argument, though NOT naturalists.
It may seem absurd, but I think such men will drag after them those
naturalists who have too firmly fixed in their heads that a species is an
entity. The first edition of 1250 copies was sold on the first day, and
now my publisher is printing off, as RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE, 3000 more copies.
I mention this solely because it renders probable a remunerative sale in
America. I should be infinitely obliged if you could aid an American
reprint; and could make, for my sake and the publisher's, any arrangement
for any profit. The new edition is only a reprint, yet I have made a FEW
important corrections. I will have the clean sheets sent over in a few
days of as many sheets as are printed off, and the remainder afterwards,
and you can do anything you like,--if nothing, there is no harm done. I
should be glad for the new edition to be reprinted and not the old.--In
great haste, and with hearty thanks,

Yours very sincerely,

I will write soon again.

Down, 22nd [December, 1859].

My dear Lyell,
Thanks about "Bears" (See 'Origin,' edition i., page 184.), a word of ill-
omen to me.

I am too unwell to leave home, so shall not see you.

I am very glad of your remarks on Hooker. (Sir C. Lyell wrote to Sir J.D.
Hooker, December 19, 1859 ('Life,' ii. page 327): "I have just finished
the reading of your splendid Essay [the 'Flora of Australia'] on the origin
of species, as illustrated by your wide botanical experience, and think it
goes very far to raise the variety-making hypothesis to the rank of a
theory, as accounting for the manner in which new species enter the
world.") I have not yet got the essay. The parts which I read in sheets
seemed to me grand, especially the generalization about the Australian
flora itself. How superior to Robert Brown's celebrated essay! I have not
seen Naudin's paper ('Revue Horticole,' 1852. See historical Sketch in the
later editions of the 'Origin of Species.'), and shall not be able till I
hunt the libraries. I am very anxious to see it. Decaisne seems to think
he gives my whole theory. I do not know when I shall have time and
strength to grapple with Hooker...

P.S.--I have heard from Sir W. Jardine (Jardine, Sir William, Bart., 1800-
1874, was the son of Sir A. Jardine of Applegarth, Dumfriesshire. He was
educated at Edinburgh, and succeeded to the title on his father's decease
in 1821. He published, jointly with Mr. Prideaux, J. Selby, Sir Stamford
Raffles, Dr. Horsfield, and other ornithologists, 'Illustrations of
Ornithology,' and edited the 'Naturalist's Library,' in 40 volumes, which
included the four branches: Mammalia, Ornithology, Ichnology, and
Entomology. Of these 40 volumes 14 were written by himself. In 1836 he
became editor of the 'Magazine of Zoology and Botany,' which, two years
later, was transformed into 'Annals of Natural History,' but remained under
his direction. For Bohn's Standard Library he edited White's 'Natural
History of Selborne.' Sir W. Jardine was also joint editor of the
'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal,' and was author of 'British Salmonidae,'
'Ichthyology of Annandale,' 'Memoirs of the late Hugh Strickland,'
'Contributions to Ornithology,' 'Ornithological Synonyms,' etc.--(Taken
from Ward, 'Men of the Reign,' and Cates, 'Dictionary of General
Biography.'): his criticisms are quite unimportant; some of the Galapagos
so-called species ought to be called varieties, which I fully expected;
some of the sub-genera, thought to be wholly endemic, have been found on
the Continent (not that he gives his authority), but I do not make out that
the species are the same. His letter is brief and vague, but he says he
will write again.

Down [23rd December, 1859].

My dear Hooker,

I received last night your 'Introduction,' for which very many thanks; I am
surprised to see how big it is: I shall not be able to read it very soon.
It was very good of you to send Naudin, for I was very curious to see it.
I am surprised that Decaisne should say it was the same as mine. Naudin
gives artificial selection, as well as a score of English writers, and when
he says species were formed in the same manner, I thought the paper would
certainly prove exactly the same as mine. But I cannot find one word like
the struggle for existence and natural selection. On the contrary, he
brings in his principle (page 103) of finality (which I do not understand),
which, he says, with some authors is fatality, with others providence, and
which adapts the forms of every being, and harmonises them all throughout

He assumes like old geologists (who assumed that the forces of nature were
formerly greater), that species were at first more plastic. His simile of
tree and classification is like mine (and others), but he cannot, I think,
have reflected much on the subject, otherwise he would see that genealogy
by itself does not give classification; I declare I cannot see a MUCH
closer approach to Wallace and me in Naudin than in Lamarck--we all agree
in modification and descent. If I do not hear from you I will return the
'Revue' in a few days (with the cover). I dare say Lyell would be glad to
see it. By the way, I will retain the volume till I hear whether I shall
or not send it to Lyell. I should rather like Lyell to see this note,
though it is foolish work sticking up for independence or priority.

Ever yours,

A. SEDGWICK (Rev. Adam Sedgwick, 1785-1873, Woodwardian Professor of
Geology in the University of Cambridge.) TO CHARLES DARWIN.
Cambridge, December 24th, [1859].

My dear Darwin,

I write to thank you for your work on the 'Origin of Species.' It came, I
think, in the latter part of last week; but it MAY have come a few days
sooner, and been overlooked among my book-parcels, which often remain
unopened when I am lazy or busy with any work before me. So soon as I
opened it I began to read it, and I finished it, after many interruptions,
on Tuesday. Yesterday I was employed--1st, in preparing for my lecture;
2ndly, in attending a meeting of my brother Fellows to discuss the final
propositions of the Parliamentary Commissioners; 3rdly, in lecturing;
4thly, in hearing the conclusion of the discussion and the College reply,
whereby, in conformity with my own wishes, we accepted the scheme of the
Commissioners; 5thly, in dining with an old friend at Clare College; 6thly,
in adjourning to the weekly meeting of the Ray Club, from which I returned
at 10 P.M., dog-tired, and hardly able to climb my staircase. Lastly, in
looking through the "Times" to see what was going on in the busy world.

I do not state this to fill space (though I believe that Nature does abhor
a vacuum), but to prove that my reply and my thanks are sent to you by the
earliest leisure I have, though that is but a very contracted opportunity.
If I did not think you a good-tempered and truth-loving man, I should not
tell you that (spite of the great knowledge, store of facts, capital views
of the correlation of the various parts of organic nature, admirable hints
about the diffusion, through wide regions of many related organic beings,
etc., etc.) I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of
it I admired greatly, parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore;
other parts I read with absolute sorrow, because I think them utterly false
and grievously mischievous. You have DESERTED--after a start in that tram-
road of all solid physical truth--the true method of induction, and started
us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins's locomotive that was
to sail with us to the moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon
assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why then express
them in the language and arrangement of philosophical induction? As to
your grand principle--NATURAL SELECTION--what is it but a secondary
consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts! Development is a better
word, because more close to the cause of the fact? For you do not deny
causation. I call (in the abstract) causation the will of God; and I can
prove that He acts for the good of His creatures. He also acts by laws
which we can study and comprehend. Acting by law, and under what is called
final causes, comprehends, I think, your whole principle. You write of
"natural selection" as if it were done curiously by the selecting agent.
'Tis but a consequence of the presupposed development, and the subsequent
battle for life. This view of nature you have stated admirably, though
admitted by all naturalists and denied by no one of common sense. We all
admit development as a fact of history: but how came it about? Here, in
language, and still more in logic, we are point-blank at issue. There is a
moral or metaphysical part of nature as well a physical. A man who denies
this is deep in the mire of folly. 'Tis the crown and glory of organic
science that it DOES through FINAL CAUSE, link material and moral; and yet
DOES NOT allow us to mingle them in our first conception of laws, and our
classification of such laws, whether we consider one side of nature or the
other. You have ignored this link; and, if I do not mistake your meaning,
you have done your best in one or two pregnant cases to break it. Were it
possible (which, thank God, it is not) to break it, humanity, in my mind,
would suffer a damage that might brutalize it, and sink the human race into
a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its
written records tell us of its history. Take the case of the bee-cells.
If your development produced the successive modification of the bee and its
cells (which no mortal can prove), final cause would stand good as the
directing cause under which the successive generations acted and gradually
improved. Passages in your book, like that to which I have alluded (and
there are others almost as bad), greatly shocked my moral taste. I think,
in speculating on organic descent, you OVER-state the evidence of geology;
and that you UNDER-state it while you are talking of the broken links of
your natural pedigree: but my paper is nearly done, and I must go to my
lecture-room. Lastly, then, I greatly dislike the concluding chapter--not
as a summary, for in that light it appears good--but I dislike it from the
tone of triumphant confidence in which you appeal to the rising generation
(in a tone I condemned in the author of the 'Vestiges') and prophesy of
things not yet in the womb of time, nor (if we are to trust the accumulated
experience of human sense and the inferences of its logic) ever likely to
be found anywhere but in the fertile womb of man's imagination. And now to
say a word about a son of a monkey and an old friend of yours: I am
better, far better, than I was last year. I have been lecturing three days
a week (formerly I gave six a week) without much fatigue, but I find by the
loss of activity and memory, and of all productive powers, that my bodily
frame is sinking slowly towards the earth. But I have visions of the
future. They are as much a part of myself as my stomach and my heart, and
these visions are to have their antitype in solid fruition of what is best
and greatest. But on one condition only--that I humbly accept God's
revelation of Himself both in his works and in His word, and do my best to
act in conformity with that knowledge which He only can give me, and He
only can sustain me in doing. If you and I do all this we shall meet in

I have written in a hurry, and in a spirit of brotherly love, therefore
forgive any sentence you happen to dislike; and believe me, spite of any
disagreement in some points of the deepest moral interest, your true-
hearted old friend,


Down, December 25th [1859].

My dear Huxley,

One part of your note has pleased me so much that I must thank you for it.
Not only Sir H.H. [Holland], but several others, have attacked me about
analogy leading to belief in one primordial CREATED form. ('Origin,'
edition i. page 484.--"Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably
all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended
from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.") (By
which I mean only that we know nothing as yet [of] how life originates.) I
thought I was universally condemned on this head. But I answered that
though perhaps it would have been more prudent not to have put it in, I
would not strike it out, as it seemed to me probable, and I give it on no
other grounds. You will see in your mind the kind of arguments which made
me think it probable, and no one fact had so great an effect on me as your
most curious remarks on the apparent homologies of the head of Vertebrata
and Articulata.

You have done a real good turn in the Agency business ("My General Agent"
was a sobriquet applied at this time by my father to Mr. Huxley.) (I never
before heard of a hard-working, unpaid agent besides yourself), in talking
with Sir H.H., for he will have great influence over many. He floored me
from my ignorance about the bones of the ear, and I made a mental note to
ask you what the facts were.

With hearty thanks and real admiration for your generous zeal for the

Yours most truly,

You may smile about the care and precautions I have taken about my ugly MS.
(Manuscript left with Mr. Huxley for his perusal.); it is not so much the
value I set on them, but the remembrance of the intolerable labour--for
instance, in tracing the history of the breeds of pigeons.

Down, 25th [December, 1859].

...I shall not write to Decaisne (With regard to Naudin's paper in the
'Revue Horticole,' 1852.); I have always had a strong feeling that no one
had better defend his own priority. I cannot say that I am as indifferent
to the subject as I ought to be, but one can avoid doing anything in

I do not believe one iota about your having assimilated any of my notions
unconsciously. You have always done me more than justice. But I do think
I did you a bad turn by getting you to read the old MS., as it must have
checked your own original thoughts. There is one thing I am fully
convinced of, that the future progress (which is the really important
point) of the subject will have depended on really good and well-known
workers, like yourself, Lyell, and Huxley, having taken up the subject,
than on my own work. I see plainly it is this that strikes my non-
scientific friends.

Last night I said to myself, I would just cut your Introduction, but would
not begin to read, but I broke down, and had a good hour's read.

Farewell, yours affectionately,

December 28th, 1859.

...Have you seen the splendid essay and notice of my book in the "Times"?
(December 26th.) I cannot avoid a strong suspicion that it is by Huxley;
but I never heard that he wrote in the "Times". It will do grand

Down, December 28th [1859].

My dear Huxley,

Yesterday evening, when I read the "Times" of a previous day, I was amazed
to find a splendid essay and review of me. Who can the author be? I am
intensely curious. It included an eulogium of me which quite touched me,
though I am not vain enough to think it all deserved. The author is a
literary man, and German scholar. He has read my book very attentively;
but, what is very remarkable, it seems that he is a profound naturalist.
He knows my Barnacle-book, and appreciates it too highly. Lastly, he
writes and thinks with quite uncommon force and clearness; and what is even
still rarer, his writing is seasoned with most pleasant wit. We all
laughed heartily over some of the sentences. I was charmed with those
unreasonable mortals, who know anything, all thinking fit to range
themselves on one side. (The reviewer proposes to pass by the orthodox
view, according to which the phenomena of the organic world are "the
immediate product of a creative fiat, and consequently are out of the
domain of science altogether." And he does so "with less hesitation, as it
so happens that those persons who are practically conversant with the facts
of the case (plainly a considerable advantage) have always thought fit to
range themselves" in the category of those holding "views which profess to
rest on a scientific basis only, and therefore admit of being argued to
their consequences.") Who can it be? Certainly I should have said that
there was only one man in England who could have written this essay, and
that YOU were the man. But I suppose I am wrong, and that there is some
hidden genius of great calibre. For how could you influence Jupiter
Olympius and make him give three and a half columns to pure science? The
old fogies will think the world will come to an end. Well, whoever the man
is, he has done great service to the cause, far more than by a dozen
reviews in common periodicals. The grand way he soars above common
religious prejudices, and the admission of such views into the "Times", I
look at as of the highest importance, quite independently of the mere
question of species. If you should happen to be ACQUAINTED with the
author, for Heaven-sake tell me who he is?

My dear Huxley, yours most sincerely,

[It is impossible to give in a short space an adequate idea of Mr. Huxley's
article in the "Times" of December 26. It is admirably planned, so as to
claim for the 'Origin' a respectful hearing, and it abstains from anything
like dogmatism in asserting the truth of the doctrines therein upheld. A
few passages may be quoted:--"That this most ingenious hypothesis enables
us to give a reason for many apparent anomalies in the distribution of
living beings in time and space, and that it is not contradicted by the
main phenomena of life and organisation, appear to us to be
unquestionable." Mr. Huxley goes on to recommend to the readers of the
'Origin' a condition of "thatige Skepsis"--a state of "doubt which so loves
truth that it neither dares rest in doubting, nor extinguish itself by
unjustified belief." The final paragraph is in a strong contrast to
Professor Sedgwick and his "ropes of bubbles" (see below). Mr. Huxley
writes: "Mr. Darwin abhors mere speculation as nature abhors a vacuum. He
is as greedy of cases and precedents as any constitutional lawyer, and all
the principles he lays down are capable of being brought to the test of
observation and experiment. The path he bids us follow professes to be not
a mere airy track, fabricated of ideal cobwebs, but a solid and broad
bridge of facts. If it be so, it will carry us safely over many a chasm in
our knowledge, and lead us to a region free from the snares of those
fascinating but barren virgins, the Final Causes, against whom a high
authority has so justly warned us."

There can be no doubt that this powerful essay, appearing as it did in the
leading daily Journal, must have had a strong influence on the reading
public. Mr. Huxley allows me to quote from a letter an account of the
happy chance that threw into his hands the opportunity of writing it.

"The 'Origin' was sent to Mr. Lucas, one of the staff of the "Times"
writers at that day, in what I suppose was the ordinary course of business.
Mr. Lucas, though an excellent journalist, and, at a later period, editor
of 'Once a Week,' was as innocent of any knowledge of science as a babe,
and bewailed himself to an acquaintance on having to deal with such a book.
Whereupon he was recommended to ask me to get him out of his difficulty,
and he applied to me accordingly, explaining, however, that it would be
necessary for him formally to adopt anything I might be disposed to write,
by prefacing it with two or three paragraphs of his own.

"I was too anxious to seize upon the opportunity thus offered of giving the
book a fair chance with the multitudinous readers of the "Times" to make
any difficulty about conditions; and being then very full of the subject, I
wrote the article faster, I think, than I ever wrote anything in my life,
and sent it to Mr. Lucas, who duly prefixed his opening sentences.

"When the article appeared, there was much speculation as to its
authorship. The secret leaked out in time, as all secrets will, but not by
my aid; and then I used to derive a good deal of innocent amusement from
the vehement assertions of some of my more acute friends, that they knew it
was mine from the first paragraph!

"As the "Times" some years since, referred to my connection with the
review, I suppose there will be no breach of confidence in the publication
of this little history, if you think it worth the space it will occupy."]


THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES' (continued).


[I extract a few entries from my father's Diary:--

"January 7th. The second edition, 3000 copies, of 'Origin' was published."

"May 22nd. The first edition of 'Origin' in the United States was 2500

My father has here noted down the sums received for the 'Origin.'

First Edition......180 pounds
Second Edition.....636 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence

Total..............816 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence.

After the publication of the second edition he began at once, on January
9th, looking over his materials for the 'Variation of Animals and Plants;'
the only other work of the year was on Drosera.

He was at Down during the whole of this year, except for a visit to Dr.
Lane's Water-cure Establishment at Sudbrooke, and in June, and for visits
to Miss Elizabeth Wedgwood's house at Hartfield, in Sussex (July), and to
Eastbourne, September 22 to November 16.]

Down, January 3rd [1860].

My dear Hooker,

I have finished your Essay. ('Australian Flora.') As probably you would
like to hear my opinion, though a non-botanist, I will give it without any
exaggeration. To my judgment it is by far the grandest and most
interesting essay, on subjects of the nature discussed, I have ever read.
You know how I admired your former essays, but this seems to me far
grander. I like all the part after page xxvi better than the first part,
probably because newer to me. I dare say you will demur to this, for I
think every author likes the most speculative parts of his own productions.
How superior your essay is to the famous one of Brown (here will be sneer
1st from you). You have made all your conclusions so admirably clear, that
it would be no use at all to be a botanist (sneer No. 2). By Jove, it
would do harm to affix any idea to the long names of outlandish orders.
One can look at your conclusions with the philosophic abstraction with
which a mathematician looks at his a times x + the square root of z
squared, etc. etc. I hardly know which parts have interested me most; for
over and over again I exclaimed, "this beats all." The general comparison
of the Flora of Australia with the rest of the world, strikes me (as
before) as extremely original, good, and suggestive of many reflections.

...The invading Indian Flora is very interesting, but I think the fact you
mention towards the close of the essay--that the Indian vegetation, in
contradistinction to the Malayan vegetation, is found in low and level
parts of the Malay Islands, GREATLY lessens the difficulty which at first
(page 1) seemed so great. There is nothing like one's own hobby-horse. I
suspect it is the same case as of glacial migration, and of naturalised
production--of production of greater area conquering those of lesser; of
course the Indian forms would have a greater difficulty in seizing on the
cool parts of Australia. I demur to your remarks (page 1), as not
"conceiving anything in soil, climate, or vegetation of India," which could
stop the introduction of Australian plants. Towards the close of the essay
(page civ), you have admirable remarks on our profound ignorance of the
cause of possible naturalisation or introduction; I would answer page 1, by
a later page, viz. page civ.

Your contrast of the south-west and south-east corners is one of the most
wonderful cases I ever heard of...You show the case with wonderful force.
Your discussion on mixed invaders of the south-east corner (and of New
Zealand) is as curious and intricate a problem as of the races of men in
Britain. Your remark on mixed invading Flora keeping down or destroying an
original Flora, which was richer in number of species, strikes me as
EMINENTLY NEW AND IMPORTANT. I am not sure whether to me the discussion on
the New Zealand Flora is not even more instructive. I cannot too much
admire both. But it will require a long time to suck in all the facts.
Your case of the largest Australian orders having none, or very few,
species in New Zealand, is truly marvellous. Anyhow, you have now
DEMONSTRATED (together with no mammals in New Zealand) (bitter sneer No.
3), that New Zealand has never been continuously, or even nearly
continuously, united by land to Australia!! At page lxxxix, is the only
sentence (on this subject) in the whole essay at which I am much inclined
to quarrel, viz. that no theory of trans-oceanic migration can explain,
etc. etc. Now I maintain against all the world, that no man knows anything
about the power of trans-oceanic migration. You do not know whether or not
the absent orders have seeds which are killed by sea-water, like almost all
Leguminosae, and like another order which I forget. Birds do not migrate
from Australia to New Zealand, and therefore floatation SEEMS the only
possible means; but yet I maintain that we do not know enough to argue on
the question, especially as we do not know the main fact whether the seeds
of Australian orders are killed by sea-water.

The discussion on European Genera is profoundly interesting; but here alone
I earnestly beg for more information, viz. to know which of these genera
are absent in the Tropics of the world, i.e. confined to temperate regions.
I excessively wish to know, ON THE NOTION OF GLACIAL MIGRATION, how much
modification has taken place in Australia. I had better explain when we
meet, and get you to go over and mark the list.

...The list of naturalised plants is extremely interesting, but why at the
end, in the name of all that is good and bad, do you not sum up and comment
on your facts? Come, I will have a sneer at you in return for the many
which you will have launched at this letter. Should you have remarked on
the number of plants naturalised in Australia and the United States UNDER
EXTREMELY DIFFERENT CLIMATES, as showing that climate is so important, and
[on] the considerable sprinkling of plants from India, North America, and
South Africa, as showing that the frequent introduction of seeds is so
important? With respect to "abundance of unoccupied ground in Australia,"
do you believe that European plants introduced by man now grow on spots in
Australia which were absolutely bare? But I am an impudent dog, one must
defend one's own fancy theories against such cruel men as you. I dare say
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
was an unprosperous and unhappy one, full of money difficulties and
darkened by the death of his wife after a few years of marriage.), of
Calcutta, who is much disappointed at hearing that Lord Canning will not
grant any money; so I much fear that all your great pains will be thrown
away. Blyth says (and he is in many respects a very good judge) that his
ideas on species are quite revolutionised...

Down, June 5th [1860].

My dear Hooker,

It is a pleasure to me to write to you, as I have no one to talk about such
matters as we write on. But I seriously beg you not to write to me unless
so inclined; for busy as you are, and seeing many people, the case is very
different between us...

Have you seen --'s abusive article on me?...It out does even the 'North
British' and 'Edinburgh' in misapprehension and misrepresentation. I never
knew anything so unfair as in discussing cells of bees, his ignoring the
case of Melipona, which builds combs almost exactly intermediate between
hive and humble bees. What has -- done that he feels so immeasurably
superior to all us wretched naturalists, and to all political economists,
including that great philosopher Malthus? This review, however, and
Harvey's letter have convinced me that I must be a very bad explainer.
Neither really understand what I mean by Natural Selection. I am inclined
to give up the attempt as hopeless. Those who do not understand, it seems,
cannot be made to understand.

By the way, I think, we entirely agree, except perhaps that I use too
forcible language about selection. I entirely agree, indeed would almost
go further than you when you say that climate (i.e. variability from all
unknown causes) is "an active handmaid, influencing its mistress most
materially." Indeed, I have never hinted that Natural Selection is "the
efficient cause to the exclusion of the other," i.e. variability from
Climate, etc. The very term SELECTION implies something, i.e. variation or
difference, to be selected...

How does your book progress (I mean your general sort of book on plants), I
hope to God you will be more successful than I have been in making people
understand your meaning. I should begin to think myself wholly in the
wrong, and that I was an utter fool, but then I cannot yet persuade myself,
that Lyell, and you and Huxley, Carpenter, Asa Gray, and Watson, etc., are
all fools together. Well, time will show, and nothing but time.

Down, June 6th [1860].

...It consoles me that -- sneers at Malthus, for that clearly shows,
mathematician though he may be, he cannot understand common reasoning. By
the way what a discouraging example Malthus is, to show during what long
years the plainest case may be misrepresented and misunderstood. I have
read the 'Future'; how curious it is that several of my reviewers should
advance such wild arguments, as that varieties of dogs and cats do not
mingle; and should bring up the old exploded doctrine of definite
analogies...I am beginning to despair of ever making the majority
understand my notions. Even Hopkins does not thoroughly. By the way, I
have been so much pleased by the way he personally alludes to me. I must
be a very bad explainer. I hope to Heaven that you will succeed better.
Several reviews and several letters have shown me too clearly how little I
am understood. I suppose "natural selection" was a bad term; but to change
it now, I think, would make confusion worse confounded, nor can I think of
a better; "Natural Preservation" would not imply a preservation of
particular varieties, and would seem a truism, and would not bring man's
and nature's selection under one point of view. I can only hope by
reiterated explanations finally to make the matter clearer. If my MS.
spreads out, I think I shall publish one volume exclusively on variation of
animals and plants under domestication. I want to show that I have not
been quite so rash as many suppose.

Though weary of reviews, I should like to see Lowell's (The late J.A.
Lowell in the 'Christian Examiner' (Boston, U.S., May, 1860.) some time...I
suppose Lowell's difficulty about instinct is the same as Bowen's; but it
seems to me wholly to rest on the assumption that instincts cannot graduate
as finely as structures. I have stated in my volume that it is hardly
possible to know which, i.e. whether instinct or structure, change first by
insensible steps. Probably sometimes instinct, sometimes structure. When
a British insect feeds on an exotic plant, instinct has changed by very
small steps, and their structures might change so as to fully profit by the
new food. Or structure might change first, as the direction of tusks in
one variety of Indian elephants, which leads it to attack the tiger in a
different manner from other kinds of elephants. Thanks for your letter of
the 2nd, chiefly about Murray. (N.B. Harvey of Dublin gives me, in a
letter, the argument of tall men marrying short women, as one of great

I do not quite understand what you mean by saying, "that the more they
prove that you underrate physical conditions, the better for you, as
Geology comes in to your aid."

...I see in Murray and many others one incessant fallacy, when alluding to
slight differences of physical conditions as being very important; namely,
oblivion of the fact that all species, except very local ones, range over a
considerable area, and though exposed to what the world calls considerable
DIVERSITIES, yet keep constant. I have just alluded to this in the
'Origin' in comparing the productions of the Old and the New Worlds.
Farewell, shall you be at Oxford? If H. gets quite well, perhaps I shall
go there.

Yours affectionately,

Down [June 14th, 1860].

...Lowell's review (J.A. Lowell in the 'Christian Examiner,' May 1860.) is
pleasantly written, but it is clear that he is not a naturalist. He quite
overlooks the importance of the accumulation of mere individual
differences, and which, I think I can show, is the great agency of change
under domestication. I have not finished Schaaffhausen, as I read German
so badly. I have ordered a copy for myself, and should like to keep yours
till my own arrives, but will return it to you instantly if wanted. He
admits statements rather rashly, as I dare say I do. I see only one
sentence as yet at all approaching natural selection.

There is a notice of me in the penultimate number of 'All the Year Round,'
but not worth consulting; chiefly a well-done hash of my own words. Your
last note was very interesting and consolatory to me.

I have expressly stated that I believe physical conditions have a more
direct effect on plants than on animals. But the more I study, the more I
am led to think that natural selection regulates, in a state of nature,
most trifling differences. As squared stone, or bricks, or timber, are the
indispensable materials for a building, and influence its character, so is
variability not only indispensable, but influential. Yet in the same
manner as the architect is the ALL important person in a building, so is
selection with organic bodies...

[The meeting of the British Association at Oxford in 1860 is famous for two
pitched battles over the 'Origin of Species.' Both of them originated in
unimportant papers. On Thursday, June 28, Dr. Daubeny of Oxford made a
communication to Section D: "On the final causes of the sexuality of
plants, with particular reference to Mr. Darwin's work on the 'Origin of
Species.'" Mr. Huxley was called on by the President, but tried (according
to the "Athenaeum" report) to avoid a discussion, on the ground "that a
general audience, in which sentiment would unduly interfere with intellect,
was not the public before which such a discussion should be carried on."
However, the subject was not allowed to drop. Sir R. Owen (I quote from
the "Athenaeum", July 7, 1860), who "wished to approach this subject in the
spirit of the philosopher," expressed his "conviction that there were facts
by which the public could come to some conclusion with regard to the
probabilities of the truth of Mr. Darwin's theory." He went on to say that
the brain of the gorilla "presented more differences, as compared with the
brain of man, than it did when compared with the brains of the very lowest
and most problematical of the Quadrumana." Mr. Huxley replied, and gave
these assertions a "direct and unqualified contradiction," pledging himself
to "justify that unusual procedure elsewhere" ('Man's Place in Nature,' by
T.H. Huxley, 1863, page 114.), a pledge which he amply fulfilled. (See the
'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1861.) On Friday there was peace, but on Saturday
30th, the battle arose with redoubled fury over a paper by Dr. Draper of
New York, on the 'Intellectual development of Europe considered with
reference to the views of Mr. Darwin.'

The following account is from an eye-witness of the scene.

"The excitement was tremendous. The Lecture-room, in which it had been
arranged that the discussion should be held, proved far too small for the
audience, and the meeting adjourned to the Library of the Museum, which was
crammed to suffocation long before the champions entered the lists. The
numbers were estimated at from 700 to 1000. Had it been term-time, or had
the general public been admitted, it would have been impossible to have
accommodated the rush to hear the oratory of the bold Bishop. Professor
Henslow, the President of Section D, occupied the chair and wisely
announced in limine that none who had not valid arguments to bring forward
on one side or the other, would be allowed to address the meeting: a
caution that proved necessary, for no fewer than four combatants had their
utterances burked by him, because of their indulgence in vague declamation.

"The Bishop was up to time, and spoke for full half-an-hour with inimitable
spirit, emptiness and unfairness. It was evident from his handling of the
subject that he had been 'crammed' up to the throat, and that he knew
nothing at first hand; in fact, he used no argument not to be found in his
'Quarterly' article. He ridiculed Darwin badly, and Huxley savagely, but
all in such dulcet tones, so persuasive a manner, and in such well-turned
periods, that I who had been inclined to blame the President for allowing a
discussion that could serve no scientific purpose now forgave him from the
bottom of my heart. Unfortunately the Bishop, hurried along on the current
of his own eloquence, so far forgot himself as to push his attempted
advantage to the verge of personality in a telling passage in which he
turned round and addressed Huxley: I forgot the precise words, and quote
from Lyell. 'The Bishop asked whether Huxley was related by his
grandfather's or grandmother's side to an ape.' (Lyell's 'Letters,' vol.
ii. page 335.) Huxley replied to the scientific argument of his opponent
with force and eloquence, and to the personal allusion with a self-
restraint, that gave dignity to his crushing rejoinder."

Many versions of Mr. Huxley's speech were current: the following report of
his conclusion is from a letter addressed by the late John Richard Green,
then an undergraduate, to a fellow-student, now Professor Boyd Dawkins. "I
asserted, and I repeat, that a man has no reason to be ashamed of having an
ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel
shame in recalling, it would be a MAN, a man of restless and versatile
intellect, who, not content with an equivocal (Prof. V. Carus, who has a
distinct recollection of the scene, does not remember the word equivocal.
He believes too that Lyell's version of the "ape" sentence is slightly
incorrect.) success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific
questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by
an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the
real point at issue by eloquent digressions, and skilled appeals to
religious prejudice."

The letter above quoted continues:

"The excitement was now at its height; a lady fainted and had to be carried
out, and it was some time before the discussion was resumed. Some voices
called for Hooker, and his name having been handed up, the President
invited him to give his view of the theory from the Botanical side. This
he did, demonstrating that the Bishop, by his own showing, had never
grasped the principles of the 'Origin' (With regard to the Bishop's
'Quarterly Review,' my father wrote: "These very clever men think they can
write a review with a very slight knowledge of the book reviewed or subject
in question."), and that he was absolutely ignorant of the elements of
botanical science. The Bishop made no reply, and the meeting broke up.

"There was a crowded conversazione in the evening at the rooms of the
hospitable and genial Professor of Botany, Dr. Daubeny, where the almost
sole topic was the battle of the 'Origin,' and I was much struck with the
fair and unprejudiced way in which the black coats and white cravats of
Oxford discussed the question, and the frankness with which they offered
their congratulations to the winners in the combat.]

Sudbrook Park, Monday night
[July 2nd, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

I have just received your letter. I have been very poorly, with almost
continuous bad headache for forty-eight hours, and I was low enough, and
thinking what a useless burthen I was to myself and all others, when your
letter came, and it has so cheered me; your kindness and affection brought
tears into my eyes. Talk of fame, honour, pleasure, wealth, all are dirt
compared with affection; and this is a doctrine with which, I know, from
your letter, that you will agree with from the bottom of your heart...How I
should have liked to have wandered about Oxford with you, if I had been
well enough; and how still more I should have liked to have heard you
triumphing over the Bishop. I am astonished at your success and audacity.
It is something unintelligible to me how any one can argue in public like
orators do. I had no idea you had this power. I have read lately so many
hostile views, that I was beginning to think that perhaps I was wholly in
the wrong, and that -- was right when he said the whole subject would be
forgotten in ten years; but now that I hear that you and Huxley will fight
publicly (which I am sure I never could do), I fully believe that our cause
will, in the long-run, prevail. I am glad I was not in Oxford, for I
should have been overwhelmed, with my [health] in its present state.

Sudbrook Park, Richmond,
July 3rd [1860].

...I had a letter from Oxford, written by Hooker late on Sunday night,
giving me some account of the awful battles which have raged about species
at Oxford. He tells me you fought nobly with Owen (but I have heard no
particulars), and that you answered the B. of O. capitally. I often think
that my friends (and you far beyond others) have good cause to hate me, for
having stirred up so much mud, and led them into so much odious trouble.
If I had been a friend of myself, I should have hated me. (How to make
that sentence good English, I know not.) But remember, if I had not
stirred up the mud, some one else certainly soon would. I honour your
pluck; I would as soon have died as tried to answer the Bishop in such an

[On July 20th, my father wrote to Mr. Huxley:

"From all that I hear from several quarters, it seems that Oxford did the
subject great good. It is of enormous importance, the showing the world
that a few first-rate men are not afraid of expressing their opinion."]

[July 1860].

...I have just read the 'Quarterly.' ('Quarterly Review,' July 1860. The
article in question was by Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and was
afterwards published in his "Essays Contributed to the 'Quarterly Review,'
1874." The passage from the 'Anti-Jacobin' gives the history of the
evolution of space from the "primaeval point or punctum saliens of the
universe," which is conceived to have moved "forward in a right line ad
infinitum, till it grew tired; after which the right line, which it had
generated, would begin to put itself in motion in a lateral direction,
describing an area of infinite extent. This area, as soon as it became
conscious of its own existence, would begin to ascend or descend according
as its specific gravity would determine it, forming an immense solid space
filled with vacuum, and capable of containing the present universe."

The following (page 263) may serve as an example of the passages in which
the reviewer refers to Sir Charles Lyell:--"That Mr. Darwin should have
wandered from this broad highway of nature's works into the jungle of
fanciful assumption is no small evil. We trust that he is mistaken in
believing that he may count Sir C. Lyell as one of his converts. We know,
indeed, that the strength of the temptations which he can bring to bear
upon his geological brother...Yet no man has been more distinct and more
logical in the denial of the transmutation of species than Sir C. Lyell,
and that not in the infancy of his scientific life, but in its full vigour
and maturity." The Bishop goes on to appeal to Lyell, in order that with
his help "this flimsy speculation may be as completely put down as was what
in spite of all denials we must venture to call its twin though less
instructed brother, the 'Vestiges of Creation.'"

With reference to this article, Mr. Brodie Innes, my father's old friend
and neighbour, writes:--"Most men would have been annoyed by an article
written with the Bishop's accustomed vigour, a mixture of argument and
ridicule. Mr. Darwin was writing on some parish matter, and put a
postscript--'If you have not seen the last 'Quarterly,' do get it; the
Bishop of Oxford has made such capital fun of me and my grandfather.' By a
curious coincidence, when I received the letter, I was staying in the same
house with the Bishop, and showed it to him. He said, 'I am very glad he
takes it in that way, he is such a capital fellow.'") It is uncommonly
clever; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, and brings
forward well all the difficulties. It quizzes me quite splendidly by
quoting the 'Anti-Jacobin' versus my Grandfather. You are not alluded to,
nor, strange to say, Huxley; and I can plainly see, here and there, --'s
hand. The concluding pages will make Lyell shake in his shoes. By Jove,
if he sticks to us, he will be a real hero. Good-night. Your well-
quizzed, but not sorrowful, and affectionate friend.


I can see there has been some queer tampering with the Review, for a page
has been cut out and reprinted.

[Writing on July 22 to Dr. Asa Gray my father thus refers to Lyell's

"Considering his age, his former views and position in society, I think his
conduct has been heroic on this subject."]

[Hartfield, Sussex] July 22nd [1860].

My dear Gray,

Owing to absence from home at water-cure and then having to move my sick
girl to whence I am now writing, I have only lately read the discussion in
Proc. American Acad. (April 10, 1860. Dr. Gray criticised in detail
"several of the positions taken at the preceding meeting by Mr. [J.A.]
Lowell, Prof. Bowen and Prof. Agassiz." It was reprinted in the
"Athenaeum", August 4, 1860.), and now I cannot resist expressing my
sincere admiration of your most clear powers of reasoning. As Hooker
lately said in a note to me, you are more than ANY ONE else the thorough
master of the subject. I declare that you know my book as well as I do
myself; and bring to the question new lines of illustration and argument in
a manner which excites my astonishment and almost my envy! I admire these
discussions, I think, almost more than your article in Silliman's Journal.
Every single word seems weighed carefully, and tells like a 32-pound shot.
It makes me much wish (but I know that you have not time) that you could
write more in detail, and give, for instance, the facts on the variability
of the American wild fruits. The "Athenaeum" has the largest circulation,
and I have sent my copy to the editor with a request that he would
republish the first discussion; I much fear he will not, as he reviewed the
subject in so hostile a spirit...I shall be curious [to see] and will order
the August number, as soon as I know that it contains your review of
Reviews. My conclusion is that you have made a mistake in being a
botanist, you ought to have been a lawyer.

...Henslow (Professor Henslow was mentioned in the December number of
'Macmillan's Magazine' as being an adherent of Evolution. In consequence
of this he published, in the February number of the following year, a
letter defining his position. This he did by means of an extract from a
letter addressed to him by the Rev. L. Jenyns (Blomefield) which "very
nearly," as he says, expressed his views. Mr. Blomefield wrote, "I was not
aware that you had become a convert to his (Darwin's) theory, and can
hardly suppose you have accepted it as a whole, though, like myself, you
may go to the length of imagining that many of the smaller groups, both of
animals and plants, may at some remote period have had a common parentage.
I do not with some say that the whole of his theory cannot be true--but
that it is very far from proved; and I doubt its ever being possible to
prove it.") and Daubeny are shaken. I hear from Hooker that he hears from
Hochstetter that my views are making very considerable progress in Germany,
and the good workers are discussing the question. Bronn at the end of his
translation has a chapter of criticism, but it is such difficult German
that I have not yet read it. Hopkins's review in 'Fraser' is thought the
best which has appeared against us. I believe that Hopkins is so much
opposed because his course of study has never led him to reflect much on
such subjects as geographical distribution, classification, homologies,
etc., so that he does not feel it a relief to have some kind of

Hartfield [Sussex], July 30th [1860].

...I had lots of pleasant letters about the British Association, and our
side seems to have got on very well. There has been as much discussion on
the other side of the Atlantic as on this. No one I think understands the
whole case better than Asa Gray, and he has been fighting nobly. He is a
capital reasoner. I have sent one of his printed discussions to our
"Athenaeum", and the editor says he will print it. The 'Quarterly' has
been out some time. It contains no malice, which is wonderful...It makes
me say many things which I do not say. At the end it quotes all your
conclusions against Lamarck, and makes a solemn appeal to you to keep firm
in the true faith. I fancy it will make you quake a little. -- has
ingeniously primed the Bishop (with Murchison) against you as head of the
uniformitarians. The only other review worth mentioning, which I can think
of, is in the third No. of the 'London Review,' by some geologist, and
favorable for a wonder. It is very ably done, and I should like much to
know who is the author. I shall be very curious to hear on your return
whether Bronn's German translation of the 'Origin' has drawn any attention
to the subject. Huxley is eager about a 'Natural History Review,' which he
and others are going to edit, and he has got so many first-rate assistants,
that I really believe he will make it a first-rate production. I have been
doing nothing, except a little botanical work as amusement. I shall
hereafter be very anxious to hear how your tour has answered. I expect
your book on the geological history of Man will, with a vengeance, be a
bomb-shell. I hope it will not be very long delayed. Our kindest
remembrances to Lady Lyell. This is not worth sending, but I have nothing
better to say.

Yours affectionately,

Down, July 30th, [1860?].

My dear Watkins,

Your note gave me real pleasure. Leading the retired life which I do, with
bad health, I oftener think of old times than most men probably do; and
your face now rises before me, with the pleasant old expression, as vividly
as if I saw you.

My book has been well abused, praised, and splendidly quizzed by the Bishop
of Oxford; but from what I see of its influence on really good workers in
science, I feel confident that, IN THE MAIN, I am on the right road. With
respect to your question, I think the arguments are valid, showing that all
animals have descended from four or five primordial forms; and that analogy
and weak reasons go to show that all have descended from some single

Farewell, my old friend. I look back to old Cambridge days with unalloyed

Believe me, yours most sincerely,

August 6th, 1860.

My dear Darwin,

I have to announce a new and great ally for you...

Von Baer writes to me thus:--Et outre cela, je trouve que vous ecrivez
encore des redactions. Vous avez ecrit sur l'ouvrage de M. Darwin une
critique dont je n'ai trouve que des debris dans un journal allemand. J'ai
oublie le nom terrible du journal anglais dans lequel se trouve votre
recension. En tout cas aussi je ne peux pas trouver le journal ici. Comme
je m'interesse beaucoup pour les idees de M. Darwin, sur lesquelles j'ai
parle publiquement et sur lesquelles je ferai peut-etre imprimer quelque
chose--vous m'obligeriez infiniment si vous pourriez me faire parvenir ce
que vous avez ecrit sur ces idees.

"J'ai enonce les memes idees sur la transformation des types ou origine
d'especes que M. Darwin. (See Vol. I.) Mais c'est seulement sur la
geographie zoologique que je m'appuie. Vous trouverez, dans le dernier
chapitre du traite 'Ueber Papuas und Alfuren,' que j'en parle tres
decidement sans savoir que M. Darwin s'occupait de cet objet."

The treatise to which Von Baer refers he gave me when over here, but I have
not been able to lay hands on it since this letter reached me two days ago.
When I find it I will let you know what there is in it.

Ever yours faithfully,

Down, August 8 [1860].

My dear Huxley,

Your note contained magnificent news, and thank you heartily for sending it
me. Von Baer weighs down with a vengeance all the virulence of [the
'Edinburgh' reviewer] and weak arguments of Agassiz. If you write to Von
Baer, for heaven's sake tell him that we should think one nod of
approbation on our side, of the greatest value; and if he does write
anything, beg him to send us a copy, for I would try and get it translated
and published in the "Athenaeum" and in 'Silliman' to touch up
Agassiz...Have you seen Agassiz's weak metaphysical and theological attack
on the 'Origin' in the last 'Silliman'? (The 'American Journal of Science
and Arts' (commonly called 'Silliman's Journal'), July 1860. Printed from
advanced sheets of vol. iii. of 'Contributions to the Nat. Hist. of the
U.S.' My father's copy has a pencilled "Truly" opposite the following
passage:--"Unless Darwin and his followers succeed in showing that the
struggle for life tends to something beyond favouring the existence of
certain individuals over that of other individuals, they will soon find
that they are following a shadow.") I would send it you, but apprehend it
would be less trouble for you to look at it in London than return it to me.
R. Wagner has sent me a German pamphlet ('Louis Agassiz's Prinzipien der
Classification, etc., mit Rucksicht auf Darwins Ansichten. Separat-Abdruck
aus den Gottingischen gelehrten Anzeigen,' 1860.), giving an abstract of
Agassiz's 'Essay on Classification,' "mit Rucksicht auf Darwins Ansichten,"
etc. etc. He won't go very "dangerous lengths," but thinks the truth lies
half-way between Agassiz and the 'Origin.' As he goes thus far he will,
nolens volens, have to go further. He says he is going to review me in
[his] yearly Report. My good and kind agent for the propagation of the
Gospel--i.e. the devil's gospel.

Ever yours,

Down, August 11th [1860].

...I have laughed at Woodward thinking that you were a man who could be
influenced in your judgment by the voice of the public; and yet after
mortally sneering at him, I was obliged to confess to myself, that I had
had fears, what the effect might be of so many heavy guns fired by great
men. As I have (sent by Murray) a spare 'Quarterly Review,' I send it by
this post, as it may amuse you. The Anti-Jacobin part amused me. It is
full of errors, and Hooker is thinking of answering it. There has been a
cancelled page; I should like to know what gigantic blunder it contained.
Hooker says that -- has played on the Bishop, and made him strike whatever
note he liked; he has wished to make the article as disagreeable to you as
possible. I will send the "Athenaeum" in a day or two.

As you wish to hear what reviews have appeared, I may mention that Agassiz
has fired off a shot in the last 'Silliman,' not good at all, denies
variations and rests on the perfection of Geological evidence. Asa Gray
tells me that a very clever friend has been almost converted to our side by
this review of Agassiz's...Professor Parsons (Theophilus Parsons, Professor
of Law in Harvard University.) has published in the same 'Silliman' a
speculative paper correcting my notions, worth nothing. In the 'Highland
Agricultural Journal' there is a review by some Entomologist, not worth
much. This is all that I can remember...As Huxley says, the platoon firing
must soon cease. Hooker and Huxley, and Asa Gray, I see, are determined to
stick to the battle and not give in; I am fully convinced that whenever you
publish, it will produce a great effect on all TRIMMERS, and on many
others. By the way I forgot to mention Daubeny's pamphlet ('Remarks on the
final causes of the sexuality of plants with particular reference to Mr.
Darwin's work on the "Origin of Species."'--British Association Report,
1860.), very liberal and candid, but scientifically weak. I believe Hooker
is going nowhere this summer; he is excessively busy...He has written me
many, most nice letters. I shall be very curious to hear on your return
some account of your Geological doings. Talking of Geology, you used to be
interested about the "pipes" in the chalk. About three years ago a
perfectly circular hole suddenly appeared in a flat grass field to
everyone's astonishment, and was filled up with many waggon loads of earth;
and now two or three days ago, again it has circularly subsided about two
feet more. How clearly this shows what is still slowly going on. This
morning I recommenced work, and am at dogs; when I have written my short
discussion on them, I will have it copied, and if you like, you can then
see how the argument stands, about their multiple origin. As you seemed to
think this important, it might be worth your reading; though I do not feel
sure that you will come to the same probable conclusion that I have done.
By the way, the Bishop makes a very telling case against me, by
accumulating several instances where I speak very doubtfully; but this is
very unfair, as in such cases as this of the dog, the evidence is and must
be very doubtful...

Down, August 11 [1860].

My dear Gray,

On my return home from Sussex about a week ago, I found several articles
sent by you. The first article, from the 'Atlantic Monthly,' I am very
glad to possess. By the way, the editor of the "Athenaeum" (August 4,
1860.) has inserted your answer to Agassiz, Bowen, and Co., and when I
therein read them, I admired them even more than at first. They really
seemed to be admirable in their condensation, force, clearness and novelty.

I am surprised that Agassiz did not succeed in writing something better.
How absurd that logical quibble--"if species do not exist, how can they
vary?" As if any one doubted their temporary existence. How coolly he
assumes that there is some clearly defined distinction between individual
differences and varieties. It is no wonder that a man who calls identical
forms, when found in two countries, distinct species, cannot find variation
in nature. Again, how unreasonable to suppose that domestic varieties
selected by man for his own fancy should resemble natural varieties or
species. The whole article seems to me poor; it seems to me hardly worth a
detailed answer (even if I could do it, and I much doubt whether I possess
your skill in picking out salient points and driving a nail into them), and
indeed you have already answered several points. Agassiz's name, no doubt,
is a heavy weight against us...

If you see Professor Parsons, will you thank him for the extremely liberal
and fair spirit in which his Essay ('Silliman's Journal,' July, 1860.) is
written. Please tell him that I reflected much on the chance of favourable
monstrosities (i.e. great and sudden variation) arising. I have, of
course, no objection to this, indeed it would be a great aid, but I do not
allude to the subject, for, after much labour, I could find nothing which
satisfied me of the probability of such occurrences. There seems to me in
almost every case too much, too complex, and too beautiful adaptation, in
every structure, to believe in its sudden production. I have alluded under
the head of beautifully hooked seeds to such possibility. Monsters are apt
to be sterile, or NOT to transmit monstrous peculiarities. Look at the
fineness of gradation in the shells of successive SUB-STAGES of the same
great formation; I could give many other considerations which made me doubt
such view. It holds, to a certain extent, with domestic productions no
doubt, where man preserves some abrupt change in structure. It amused me
to see Sir R. Murchison quoted as a judge of affinities of animals, and it
gave me a cold shudder to hear of any one speculating about a true
crustacean giving birth to a true fish! (Parson's, loc. cit. page 5,
speaking of Pterichthys and Cephalaspis, says:--"Now is it too much to
infer from these facts that either of these animals, if a crustacean, was
so nearly a fish that some of its ova may have become fish; or, if itself a
fish, was so nearly a crustacean that it may have been born from the ovum
of a crustacean?")

Yours most truly,

Down, September 1st [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I have been much interested by your letter of the 28th, received this
morning. It has DELIGHTED me, because it demonstrates that you have
thought a good deal lately on Natural Selection. Few things have surprised
me more than the entire paucity of objections and difficulties new to me in
the published reviews. Your remarks are of a different stamp and new to
me. I will run through them, and make a few pleadings such as occur to me.

I put in the possibility of the Galapagos having been CONTINUOUSLY joined
to America, out of mere subservience to the many who believe in Forbes's
doctrine, and did not see the danger of admission, about small mammals
surviving there in such case. The case of the Galapagos, from certain
facts on littoral sea-shells (viz. Pacific Ocean and South American
littoral species), in fact convinced me more than in any other case of
other islands, that the Galapagos had never been continuously united with
the mainland; it was mere base subservience, and terror of Hooker and Co.

With respect to atolls, I think mammals would hardly survive VERY LONG,
even if the main islands (for as I have said in the Coral Book, the outline
of groups of atolls do not look like a former CONTINENT) had been tenanted
by mammals, from the extremely small area, the very peculiar conditions,
and the probability that during subsidence all or nearly all atolls have
been breached and flooded by the sea many times during their existence as

I cannot conceive any existing reptile being converted into a mammal. From
homologies I should look at it as certain that all mammals had descended
from some single progenitor. What its nature was, it is impossible to
speculate. More like, probably, the Ornithorhynchus or Echidna than any
known form; as these animals combine reptilian characters (and in a less
degree bird character) with mammalian. We must imagine some form as
intermediate, as is Lepidosiren now, between reptiles and fish, between
mammals and birds on the one hand (for they retain longer the same
embryological character) and reptiles on the other hand. With respect to a
mammal not being developed on any island, besides want of time for so
prodigious a development, there must have arrived on the island the
necessary and peculiar progenitor, having a character like the embryo of a
mammal; and not an ALREADY DEVELOPED reptile, bird or fish.

We might give to a bird the habits of a mammal, but inheritance would
retain almost for eternity some of the bird-like structure, and prevent a
new creature ranking as a true mammal.

I have often speculated on antiquity of islands, but not with your
precision, or at all under the point of view of Natural Selection NOT
having done what might have been anticipated. The argument of littoral
Miocene shells at the Canary Islands is new to me. I was deeply impressed
(from the amount of the denudation) [with the] antiquity of St. Helena, and
its age agrees with the peculiarity of the flora. With respect to bats at
New Zealand (N.B. There are two or three European bats in Madeira, and I
think in the Canary Islands) not having given rise to a group of non-volant
bats, it is, now you put the case, surprising; more especially as the genus
of bats in New Zealand is very peculiar, and therefore has probably been
long introduced, and they now speak of Cretacean fossils there. But the
first necessary step has to be shown, namely, of a bat taking to feed on
the ground, or anyhow, and anywhere, except in the air. I am bound to
confess I do know one single such fact, viz. of an Indian species killing
frogs. Observe, that in my wretched Polar Bear case, I do show the first
step by which conversion into a whale "would be easy," "would offer no
difficulty"!! So with seals, I know of no fact showing any the least
incipient variation of seals feeding on the shore. Moreover, seals wander
much; I searched in vain, and could not find ONE case of any species of
seal confined to any islands. And hence wanderers would be apt to cross
with individuals undergoing any change on an island, as in the case of land
birds of Madeira and Bermuda. The same remark applies even to bats, as
they frequently come to Bermuda from the mainland, though about 600 miles
distant. With respect to the Amblyrhynchus of the Galapagos, one may infer
as probable, from marine habits being so rare with Saurians, and from the
terrestrial species being confined to a few central islets, that its
progenitor first arrived at the Galapagos; from what country it is
impossible to say, as its affinity I believe is not very clear to any known
species. The offspring of the terrestrial species was probably rendered
marine. Now in this case I do not pretend I can show variation in habits;
but we have in the terrestrial species a vegetable feeder (in itself a
rather unusual circumstance), largely on LICHENS, and it would not be a
great change for its offspring to feed first on littoral algae and then on
submarine algae. I have said what I can in defence, but yours is a good
line of attack. We should, however, always remember that no change will
ever be effected till a variation in the habits or structure or of both
CHANCE to occur in the right direction, so as to give the organism in
question an advantage over other already established occupants of land or
water, and this may be in any particular case indefinitely long. I am very
glad you will read my dogs MS., for it will be important to me to see what
you think of the balance of evidence. After long pondering on a subject it
is often hard to judge. With hearty thanks for your most interesting
letter. Farewell.

My dear old master,

Down, September 2nd [1860].

My dear Hooker,

I am astounded at your news received this morning. I am become such an old
fogy that I am amazed at your spirit. For God's sake do not go and get
your throat cut. Bless my soul, I think you must be a little insane. I
must confess it will be a most interesting tour; and, if you get to the top
of Lebanon, I suppose extremely interesting--you ought to collect any
beetles under stones there; but the Entomologists are such slow coaches. I
dare say no result could be made out of them. [They] have never worked the
Alpines of Britain.

If you come across any Brine lakes, do attend to their minute flora and
fauna; I have often been surprised how little this has been attended to.

I have had a long letter from Lyell, who starts ingenious difficulties
opposed to Natural Selection, because it has not done more than it has.
This is very good, as it shows that he has thoroughly mastered the subject;
and shows he is in earnest. Very striking letter altogether and it
rejoices the cockles of my heart.

...How I shall miss you, my best and kindest of friends. God bless you.

Yours ever affectionately,

Down, September 10 [1860].

...You will be weary of my praise, but it (Dr. Gray in the 'Atlantic
Monthly' for July, 1860.) does strike me as quite admirably argued, and so
well and pleasantly written. Your many metaphors are inimitably good. I
said in a former letter that you were a lawyer, but I made a gross mistake,
I am sure that you are a poet. No, by Jove, I will tell you what you are,
a hybrid, a complex cross of lawyer, poet, naturalist and theologian! Was
there ever such a monster seen before?

I have just looked through the passages which I have marked as appearing to
me extra good, but I see that they are too numerous to specify, and this is
no exaggeration. My eye just alights on the happy comparison of the
colours of the prism and our artificial groups. I see one little error of
fossil CATTLE in South America.

It is curious how each one, I suppose, weighs arguments in a different
balance: embryology is to me by far the strongest single class of facts in
favour of change of forms, and not one, I think, of my reviewers has
alluded to this. Variation not coming on at a very early age, and being
inherited at not a very early corresponding period, explains, as it seems
to me, the grandest of all facts in natural history, or rather in zoology,
viz. the resemblance of embryos.

[Dr. Gray wrote three articles in the 'Atlantic Monthly' for July, August,
and October, which were reprinted as a pamphlet in 1861, and now form
chapter iii. in 'Darwiniana' (1876), with the heading 'Natural Selection
not inconsistent with Natural Theology.']

Down, September 12th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I never thought of showing your letter to any one. I mentioned in a letter
to Hooker that I had been much interested by a letter of yours with
original objections, founded chiefly on Natural Selection not having done
so much as might have been expected...In your letter just received, you
have improved your case versus Natural Selection; and it would tell with
the public (do not be tempted by its novelty to make it too strong); yet is
seems to me, not REALLY very killing, though I cannot answer your case,
especially, why Rodents have not become highly developed in Australia. You
must assume that they have inhabited Australia for a very long period, and
this may or may not be the case. But I feel that our ignorance is so
profound, why one form is preserved with nearly the same structure, or
advances in organisation or even retrogrades, or becomes extinct, that I
cannot put very great weight on the difficulty. Then, as you say often in
your letter, we know not how many geological ages it may have taken to make
any great advance in organisation. Remember monkeys in the Eocene
formations: but I admit that you have made out an excellent objection and
difficulty, and I can give only unsatisfactory and quite vague answers,
such as you have yourself put; however, you hardly put weight enough on the
absolute necessity of variations first arising in the right direction,
videlicet, of seals beginning to feed on the shore.

I entirely agree with what you say about only one species of many becoming
modified. I remember this struck me much when tabulating the varieties of
plants, and I have a discussion somewhere on this point. It is absolutely
implied in my ideas of classification and divergence that only one or two
species, of even large genera, give birth to new species; and many whole
genera become WHOLLY extinct...Please see page 341 of the 'Origin.' But I
cannot remember that I have stated in the 'Origin' the fact of only very
few species in each genus varying. You have put the view much better in
your letter. Instead of saying, as I often have, that very few species
vary at the same time, I ought to have said, that very few species of a
genus EVER vary so as to become modified; for this is the fundamental
explanation of classification, and is shown in my engraved diagram...

I quite agree with you on the strange and inexplicable fact of
Ornithorhynchus having been preserved, and Australian Trigonia, or the
Silurian Lingula. I always repeat to myself that we hardly know why any
one single species is rare or common in the best-known countries. I have
got a set of notes somewhere on the inhabitants of fresh water; and it is
singular how many of these are ancient, or intermediate forms; which I
think is explained by the competition having been less severe, and the rate
of change of organic forms having been slower in small confined areas, such
as all the fresh waters make compared with sea or land.

I see that you do allude in the last page, as a difficulty, to Marsupials
not having become Placentals in Australia; but this I think you have no
right at all to expect; for we ought to look at Marsupials and Placentals
as having descended from some intermediate and lower form. The argument of
Rodents not having become highly developed in Australia (supposing that
they have long existed there) is much stronger. I grieve to see you hint
at the creation "of distinct successive types, as well as of a certain
number of distinct aboriginal types." Remember, if you admit this, you
give up the embryological argument (THE WEIGHTIEST OF ALL TO ME), and the
morphological or homological argument. You cut my throat, and your own
throat; and I believe will live to be sorry for it. So much for species.

The striking extract which E. copied was your own writing!! in a note to
me, many long years ago--which she copied and sent to Mme. Sismondi; and
lately my aunt, in sorting her letters, found E.'s and returned them to
her...I have been of late shamefully idle, i.e. observing (Drosera) instead
of writing, and how much better fun observing is than writing.

Yours affectionately,

15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne,
Sunday [September 23rd, 1860].

My dear Lyell,

I got your letter of the 18th just before starting here. You speak of
saving me trouble in answering. Never think of this, for I look at every
letter of yours as an honour and pleasure, which is a pretty deal more than
I can say of some of the letters which I receive. I have now one of 13
CLOSELY WRITTEN FOLIO PAGES to answer on species!...

I have a very decided opinion that all mammals must have descended from a
SINGLE parent. Reflect on the multitude of details, very many of them of
extremely little importance to their habits (as the number of bones of the
head, etc., covering of hair, identical embryological development, etc.
etc.). Now this large amount of similarity I must look at as certainly due
to inheritance from a common stock. I am aware that some cases occur in
which a similar or nearly similar organ has been acquired by independent
acts of natural selection. But in most of such cases of these apparently
so closely similar organs, some important homological difference may be
detected. Please read page 193, beginning, "The electric organs," and
trust me that the sentence, "In all these cases of two very distinct
species," etc. etc., was not put in rashly, for I went carefully into every
case. Apply this argument to the whole frame, internal and external, of
mammifers, and you will see why I think so strongly that all have descended
from one progenitor. I have just re-read your letter, and I am not
perfectly sure that I understand your point.

I enclose two diagrams showing the sort of manner I CONJECTURE that mammals
have been developed. I thought a little on this when writing page 429,
beginning, "Mr. Waterhouse." (Please read the paragraph.) I have not
knowledge enough to choose between these two diagrams. If the brain of
Marsupials in embryo closely resembles that of Placentals, I should
strongly prefer No.2, and this agrees with the antiquity of Microlestes.
As a general rule I should prefer No.1 diagram; whether or not Marsupials
have gone on being developed, or rising in rank, from a very early period
would depend on circumstances too complex for even a conjecture. Lingula
has not risen since the Silurian epoch, whereas other molluscs may have

Here appear two diagrams.

Diagram I.

Mammals, not true Marsupials nor true Placentals.
2 branches
Branch I, True Placental, from which branch off
a branch terminating in Ruminants and Pachyderms,
and terminates in Quadrumana.
Branch II, True Marsupial, from which branches off
Kangaroo family
an unnamed branch terminating in 2 unnamed branches
and terminates in Didelphys Family.

Diagram II.

True Marsupials, lowly developed.
True Marsupials, highly developed.
2 branches
Branch I, Placentals, from which branch off
a branch terminating in Ruminants and Pachyderms,
and terminates in Quadrumana.
Branch II, Present Marsupials, splitting into two branches terminating in
Kangaroo family (with 2 unnamed branches) and
Didelphys family.

A, in the two diagrams, represents an unknown form, probably intermediate
between Mammals, Reptiles, and Birds, as intermediate as Lepidosiren now is
between Fish and Batrachians. This unknown form is probably more closely
related to Ornithorhynchus than to any other known form.

I do not think that the multiple origin of dogs goes against the single
origin of man...All the races of man are so infinitely closer together than
to any ape, that (as in the case of descent of all mammals from one
progenitor), I should look at all races of men as having certainly
descended from one parent. I should look at it as probable that the races
of men were less numerous and less divergent formerly than now, unless,
indeed, some lower and more aberrant race even than the Hottentot has
become extinct. Supposing, as I do for one believe, that our dogs have
descended from two or three wolves, jackals, etc., yet these have, on OUR
VIEW, descended from a single remote unknown progenitor. With domestic
dogs the question is simply whether the whole amount of difference has been
produced since man domesticated a single species; or whether part of the
difference arises in the state of nature. Agassiz and Co. think the negro
and Caucasian are now distinct species, and it is a mere vain discussion
whether, when they were rather less distinct, they would, on this standard
of specific value, deserve to be called species.

I agree with your answer which you give to yourself on this point; and the
simile of man now keeping down any new man which might be developed,
strikes me as good and new. The white man is "improving off the face of
the earth" even races nearly his equals. With respect to islands, I think
I would trust to want of time alone, and not to bats and Rodents.

N.B.--I know of no rodents on oceanic islands (except my Galapagos mouse,
which MAY have been introduced by man) keeping down the development of
other classes. Still MUCH more weight I should attribute to there being
now, neither in islands nor elsewhere, [any] known animals of a grade of
organisation intermediate between mammals, fish, reptiles, etc., whence a
new mammal could be developed. If every vertebrate were destroyed
throughout the world, except our NOW WELL-ESTABLISHED reptiles, millions of
ages might elapse before reptiles could become highly developed on a scale
equal to mammals; and, on the principle of inheritance, they would make
some quite NEW CLASS, and not mammals; though POSSIBLY more intellectual!
I have not an idea that you will care for this letter, so speculative.

Most truly yours,

Down, September 26 [1860].

...I have had a letter of fourteen folio pages from Harvey against my book,
with some ingenious and new remarks; but it is an extraordinary fact that
he does not understand at all what I mean by Natural Selection. I have
begged him to read the Dialogue in next 'Silliman,' as you never touch the
subject without making it clearer. I look at it as even more extraordinary
that you never say a word or use an epithet which does not express fully my
meaning. Now Lyell, Hooker, and others, who perfectly understand my book,
yet sometimes use expressions to which I demur. Well, your extraordinary
labour is over; if there is any fair amount of truth in my view, I am well
assured that your great labour has not been thrown away...

I yet hope and almost believe, that the time will come when you will go
further, in believing a very large amount of modification of species, than
you did at first or do now. Can you tell me whether you believe further or
more firmly than you did at first? I should really like to know this. I
can perceive in my immense correspondence with Lyell, who objected to much
at first, that he has, perhaps unconsciousnessly to himself, converted
himself very much during the last six months, and I think this is the case
even with Hooker. This fact gives me far more confidence than any other

15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne,
Friday evening [September 28th, 1860].

...I am very glad to hear about the Germans reading my book. No one will
be converted who has not independently begun to doubt about species. Is
not Krohn (There are two papers by Aug. Krohn, one on the Cement Glands,
and the other on the development of Cirripedes, 'Wiegmann's Archiv,' xxv.
and xxvi. My father has remarked that he "blundered dreadfully about the
cement glands," 'Autobiography.') a good fellow? I have long meant to
write to him. He has been working at Cirripedes, and has detected two or
three gigantic blunders,...about which, I thank Heaven, I spoke rather
doubtfully. Such difficult dissection that even Huxley failed. It is
chiefly the interpretation which I put on parts that is so wrong, and not
the parts which I describe. But they were gigantic blunders, and why I say
all this is because Krohn, instead of crowing at all, pointed out my errors
with the utmost gentleness and pleasantness. I have always meant to write
to him and thank him. I suppose Dr. Krohn, Bonn, would reach him.

I cannot see yet how the multiple origin of dog can be properly brought as
argument for the multiple origin of man. Is not your feeling a remnant of
the deeply impressed one on all our minds, that a species is an entity,
something quite distinct from a variety? Is it not that the dog case
injures the argument from fertility, so that one main argument that the
races of man are varieties and not species--i.e., because they are fertile
inter se, is much weakened?

I quite agree with what Hooker says, that whatever variation is possible
under culture, is POSSIBLE under nature; not that the same form would ever
be accumulated and arrived at by selection for man's pleasure, and by
natural selection for the organism's own good.

Talking of "natural selection;" if I had to commence de novo, I would have
used "natural preservation." For I find men like Harvey of Dublin cannot
understand me, though he has read the book twice. Dr. Gray of the British
Museum remarked to me that, "SELECTION was obviously impossible with
plants! No one could tell him how it could be possible!" And he may now
add that the author did not attempt it to him!

Yours ever affectionately,

15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne,
October 8th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I send the [English] translation of Bronn (A MS. translation of Bronn's
chapter of objections at the end of his German translation of the 'Origin
of Species.'), the first part of the chapter with generalities and praise
is not translated. There are some good hits. He makes an apparently, and
in part truly, telling case against me, says that I cannot explain why one
rat has a longer tail and another longer ears, etc. But he seems to muddle
in assuming that these parts did not all vary together, or one part so
insensibly before the other, as to be in fact contemporaneous. I might ask
the creationist whether he thinks these differences in the two rats of any
use, or as standing in some relation from laws of growth; and if he admits
this, selection might come into play. He who thinks that God created
animals unlike for mere sport or variety, as man fashions his clothes, will
not admit any force in my argumentum ad hominem.

Bronn blunders about my supposing several Glacial periods, whether or no
such ever did occur.

He blunders about my supposing that development goes on at the same rate in
all parts of the world. I presume that he has misunderstood this from the
supposed migration into all regions of the more dominant forms.

I have ordered Dr. Bree ('Species not Transmutable,' by C.R. Bree, 1860.),
and will lend it to you, if you like, and if it turns out good.

...I am very glad that I misunderstood you about species not having the
capacity to vary, though in fact few do give birth to new species. It
seems that I am very apt to misunderstand you; I suppose I am always
fancying objections. Your case of the Red Indian shows me that we agree

I had a letter yesterday from Thwaites of Ceylon, who was much opposed to
me. He now says, "I find that the more familiar I become with your views
in connection with the various phenomena of nature, the more they commend
themselves to my mind."

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.M. RODWELL. (Rev. J.M. Rodwell, who was at Cambridge
with my father, remembers him saying:--"It strikes me that all our
knowledge about the structure of our earth is very much like what an old
hen would know of a hundred acre field, in a corner of which she is
15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne.
November 5th [1860].

My dear Sir,

I am extremely much obliged for your letter, which I can compare only to a
plum-pudding, so full it is of good things. I have been rash about the
cats ("Cats with blue eyes are invariably deaf," 'Origin of Species,'
edition i. page 12.): yet I spoke on what seemed to me, good authority.
The Rev. W.D. Fox gave me a list of cases of various foreign breeds in
which he had observed the correlation, and for years he had vainly sought
an exception. A French paper also gives numerous cases, and one very
curious case of a kitten which GRADUALLY lost the blue colour in its eyes
and as gradually acquired its power of hearing. I had not heard of your
uncle, Mr. Kirby's case (William Kirby, joint author with Spence, of the
well-known 'Introduction to Entomology,' 1818.) (whom I, for as long as I
can remember, have venerated) of care in breeding cats. I do not know
whether Mr. Kirby was your uncle by marriage, but your letters show me that
you ought to have Kirby blood in your veins, and that if you had not taken
to languages you would have been a first-rate naturalist.

I sincerely hope that you will be able to carry out your intention of
writing on the "Birth, Life, and Death of Words." Anyhow, you have a
capital title, and some think this the most difficult part of a book. I
remember years ago at the Cape of Good Hope, Sir J. Herschel saying to me,
I wish some one would treat language as Lyell has treated geology. What a
linguist you must be to translate the Koran! Having a vilely bad head for
languages, I feel an awful respect for linguists.

I do not know whether my brother-in-law, Hensleigh Wedgwood's 'Etymological
Dictionary' would be at all in your line; but he treats briefly on the
genesis of words; and, as it seems to me, very ingeniously. You kindly say
that you would communicate any facts which might occur to you, and I am
sure that I should be most grateful. Of the multitude of letters which I
receive, not one in a thousand is like yours in value.

With my cordial thanks, and apologies for this untidy letter written in
haste, pray believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours sincerely obliged,

November 20th [1860].

...I have not had heart to read Phillips ('Life on the Earth.') yet, or a
tremendous long hostile review by Professor Bowen in the 4to Mem. of the
American Academy of Sciences. ("Remarks on the latest form of the
Development Theory." By Francis Bowen, Professor of Natural Religion and
Moral Philosophy, at Harvard University. 'American Academy of Arts and
Sciences,' vol. viii.) (By the way, I hear Agassiz is going to thunder
against me in the next part of the 'Contributions.') Thank you for telling
me of the sale of the 'Origin,' of which I had not heard. There will be
some time, I presume, a new edition, and I especially want your advice on
one point, and you know I think you the wisest of men, and I shall be
ABSOLUTELY GUIDED BY YOUR ADVICE. It has occurred to me, that it would
PERHAPS be a good plan to put a set of notes (some twenty to forty or
fifty) to the 'Origin,' which now has none, exclusively devoted to errors
of my reviewers. It has occurred to me that where a reviewer has erred, a
common reader might err. Secondly, it will show the reader that he must
not trust implicitly to reviewers. Thirdly, when any special fact has been
attacked, I should like to defend it. I would show no sort of anger. I
enclose a mere rough specimen, done without any care or accuracy--done from
memory alone--to be torn up, just to show the sort of thing that has

It seems to me it would have a good effect, and give some confidence to the
reader. It would [be] a horrid bore going through all the reviews.

Yours affectionately,

[Here follow samples of foot-notes, the references to volume and page being
left blank. It will be seen that in some cases he seems to have forgotten
that he was writing foot-notes, and to have continued as if writing to

*Dr. Bree asserts that I explain the structure of the cells of the Hive Bee
by "the exploded doctrine of pressure." But I do not say one word which
directly or indirectly can be interpreted into any reference to pressure.

*The 'Edinburgh' Reviewer quotes my work as saying that the "dorsal
vertebrae of pigeons vary in number, and disputes the fact." I nowhere
even allude to the dorsal vertebrae, only to the sacral and caudal

*The 'Edinburgh' Reviewer throws a doubt on these organs being the
Branchiae of Cirripedes. But Professor Owen in 1854 admits, without
hesitation, that they are Branchiae, as did John Hunter long ago.

*The confounded Wealden Calculation to be struck out, and a note to be
inserted to the effect that I am convinced of its inaccuracy from a review
in the "Saturday Review", and from Phillips, as I see in his Table of
Contents that he alludes to it.

*Mr. Hopkins ('Fraser') states--I am quoting only from vague memory--that,
"I argue in favour of my views from the extreme imperfection of the
Geological Record," and says this is the first time in the history of
Science he has ever heard of ignorance being adduced as an argument. But I
repeatedly admit, in the most emphatic language which I can use, that the
imperfect evidence which Geology offers in regard to transitorial forms is
most strongly opposed to my views. Surely there is a wide difference in
fully admitting an objection, and then in endeavouring to show that it is
not so strong as it at first appears, and in Mr. Hopkins's assertion that I
found my argument on the Objection.

*I would also put a note to "Natural Selection," and show how variously it
has been misunderstood.

*A writer in the 'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal' denies my statement that
the Woodpecker of La Plata never frequents trees. I observed its habits
during two years, but, what is more to the purpose, Azara, whose accuracy
all admit, is more emphatic than I am in regard to its never frequenting
trees. Mr. A. Murray denies that it ought to be called a woodpecker; it
has two toes in front and two behind, pointed tail feathers, a long pointed
tongue, and the same general form of body, the same manner of flight,
colouring and voice. It was classed, until recently, in the same genus--
Picus--with all other woodpeckers, but now has been ranked as a distinct
genus amongst the Picidae. It differs from the typical Picus only in the
beak, not being quite so strong, and in the upper mandible being slightly
arched. I think these facts fully justify my statement that it is "in all
essential parts of its organisation" a Woodpecker.]

Down, November 22 [1860].

My dear Huxley,

For heaven's sake don't write an anti-Darwinian article; you would do it so
confoundedly well. I have sometimes amused myself with thinking how I
could best pitch into myself, and I believe I could give two or three good
digs; but I will see you -- first before I will try. I shall be very
impatient to see the Review. (The first number of the new series of the
'Nat. Hist. Review' appeared in 1861.) If it succeeds it may really do
much, very much good...

I heard to-day from Murray that I must set to work at once on a new edition
(The 3rd edition.) of the 'Origin.' [Murray] says the Reviews have not
improved the sale. I shall always think those early reviews, almost
entirely yours, did the subject an ENORMOUS service. If you have any
important suggestions or criticisms to make on any part of the 'Origin,' I
should, of course, be very grateful for [them]. For I mean to correct as
far as I can, but not enlarge. How you must be wearied with and hate the
subject, and it is God's blessing if you do not get to hate me. Adios.

Down, November 24th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you much for your letter. I had got to take pleasure in thinking
how I could best snub my reviewers; but I was determined, in any case, to
follow your advice, and, before I had got to the end of your letter, I was
convinced of the wisdom of your advice. ("I get on slowly with my new
edition. I find that your advice was EXCELLENT. I can answer all reviews,
without any direct notice of them, by a little enlargement here and there,
with here and there a new paragraph. Bronn alone I shall treat with the
respect of giving his objections with his name. I think I shall improve my
book a good deal, and add only some twenty pages."--From a letter to Lyell,
December 4th, 1860.) What an advantage it is to me to have such friends as
you. I shall follow every hint in your letter exactly.

I have just heard from Murray; he says he sold 700 copies at his sale, and
that he has not half the number to supply; so that I must begin at once (On
the third edition of the 'Origin of Species,' published in April 1861.)...

P.S.--I must tell you one little fact which has pleased me. You may
remember that I adduce electrical organs of fish as one of the greatest
difficulties which have occurred to me, and -- notices the passage in a
singularly disingenuous spirit. Well, McDonnell, of Dublin (a first-rate
man), writes to me that he felt the difficulty of the whole case as
overwhelming against me. Not only are the fishes which have electric
organs very remote in scale, but the organ is near the head in some, and
near the tail in others, and supplied by wholly different nerves. It seems
impossible that there could be any transition. Some friend, who is much
opposed to me, seems to have crowed over McDonnell, who reports that he
said to himself, that if Darwin is right, there must be homologous organs
both near the head and tail in other non-electric fish. He set to work,
and, by Jove, he has found them! ('On an organ in the Skate, which appears
to be the homologue of the electrical organ of the Torpedo,' by R.
McDonnell, 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1861, page 57.) so that some of the
difficulty is removed; and is it not satisfactory that my hypothetical
notions should have led to pretty discoveries? McDonnell seems very
cautious; he says, years must pass before he will venture to call himself a
believer in my doctrine, but that on the subjects which he knows well,
viz., Morphology and Embryology, my views accord well, and throw light on
the whole subject.

Down, November 26th, 1860.

My dear Gray,

I have to thank you for two letters. The latter with corrections, written
before you received my letter asking for an American reprint, and saying
that it was hopeless to print your reviews as a pamphlet, owing to the
impossibility of getting pamphlets known. I am very glad to say that the
August or second 'Atlantic' article has been reprinted in the 'Annals and
Magazine of Natural History'; but I have not seen it there. Yesterday I
read over with care the third article; and it seems to me, as before,
ADMIRABLE. But I grieve to say that I cannot honestly go as far as you do
about Design. I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I
cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; and yet
I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of Design. To take a
crucial example, you lead me to infer (page 414) that you believe "that
variation has been led along certain beneficial lines." I cannot believe
this; and I think you would have to believe, that the tail of the Fantail
was led to vary in the number and direction of its feathers in order to
gratify the caprice of a few men. Yet if the Fantail had been a wild bird,
and had used its abnormal tail for some special end, as to sail before the
wind, unlike other birds, every one would have said, "What a beautiful and
designed adaptation." Again, I say I am, and shall ever remain, in a
hopeless muddle.

Thank you much for Bowen's 4to. review. ('Memoirs of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences,' vol. viii.) The coolness with which he makes all
animals to be destitute of reason is simply absurd. It is monstrous at
page 103, that he should argue against the possibility of accumulative
variation, and actually leave out, entirely, selection! The chance that an
improved Short-horn, or improved Pouter-pigeon, should be produced by
accumulative variation without man's selection is as almost infinity to
nothing; so with natural species without natural selection. How capitally
in the 'Atlantic' you show that Geology and Astronomy are, according to
Bowen, Metaphysics; but he leaves out this in the 4to. Memoir.

I have not much to tell you about my Book. I have just heard that Du Bois-
Reymond agrees with me. The sale of my book goes on well, and the
multitude of reviews has not stopped the sale...; so I must begin at once
on a new corrected edition. I will send you a copy for the chance of your
ever re-reading; but, good Heavens, how sick you must be of it!

Down, December 2nd [1860].

...I have got fairly sick of hostile reviews. Nevertheless, they have been
of use in showing me when to expatiate a little and to introduce a few new
discussions. OF COURSE I will send you a copy of the new edition.

I entirely agree with you, that the difficulties on my notions are
terrific, yet having seen what all the Reviews have said against me, I have
far more confidence in the GENERAL truth of the doctrine than I formerly
had. Another thing gives me confidence, viz. that some who went half an
inch with me now go further, and some who were bitterly opposed are now
less bitterly opposed. And this makes me feel a little disappointed that
you are not inclined to think the general view in some slight degree more
probable than you did at first. This I consider rather ominous. Otherwise
I should be more contented with your degree of belief. I can pretty
plainly see that, if my view is ever to be generally adopted, it will be by
young men growing up and replacing the old workers, and then young ones
finding that they can group facts and search out new lines of investigation
better on the notion of descent, than on that of creation. But forgive me
for running on so egotistically. Living so solitary as I do, one gets to
think in a silly manner of one's own work.

Ever yours very sincerely,

Down, December 11th [1860].

...I heard from A. Gray this morning; at my suggestion he is going to
reprint the three 'Atlantic' articles as a pamphlet, and send 250 copies to
England, for which I intend to pay half the cost of the whole edition, and
shall give away, and try to sell by getting a few advertisements put in,
and if possible notices in Periodicals.

...David Forbes has been carefully working the Geology of Chile, and as I
value praise for accurate observation far higher than for any other
quality, forgive (if you can) the INSUFFERABLE vanity of my copying the
last sentence in his note: "I regard your Monograph on Chile as, without
exception, one of the finest specimens of Geological enquiry." I feel
inclined to strut like a Turkey-cock!




[The beginning of the year 1861 saw my father with the third chapter of
'The Variation of Animals and Plants' still on his hands. It had been
begun in the previous August, and was not finished until March 1861. He
was, however, for part of this time (I believe during December 1860 and
January 1861) engaged in a new edition (2000 copies) of the 'Origin,' which
was largely corrected and added to, and was published in April 1861.

With regard to this, the third edition, he wrote to Mr. Murray in December

"I shall be glad to hear when you have decided how many copies you will
print off--the more the better for me in all ways, as far as compatible
with safety; for I hope never again to make so many corrections, or rather
additions, which I have made in hopes of making my many rather stupid
reviewers at least understand what is meant. I hope and think I shall
improve the book considerably."

An interesting feature in the new edition was the "Historical Sketch of the
Recent Progress of Opinion on the Origin of Species" (The Historical Sketch
had already appeared in the first German edition (1860) and the American
edition. Bronn states in the German edition (footnote, page 1) that it was
his critique in the 'N. Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie' that suggested the idea
of such a sketch to my father.) which now appeared for the first time, and
was continued in the later editions of the work. It bears a strong impress
of the author's personal character in the obvious wish to do full justice
to all his predecessors,--though even in this respect it has not escaped
some adverse criticism.

Towards the end of the present year (1861), the final arrangements for the
first French edition of the 'Origin' were completed, and in September a
copy of the third English edition was despatched to Mdlle. Clemence Royer,
who undertook the work of translation. The book was now spreading on the
Continent, a Dutch edition had appeared, and, as we have seen, a German
translation had been published in 1860. In a letter to Mr. Murray
(September 10, 1861), he wrote, "My book seems exciting much attention in
Germany, judging from the number of discussions sent me." The silence had
been broken, and in a few years the voice of German science was to become
one of the strongest of the advocates of evolution.

During all the early part of the year (1861) he was working at the mass of
details which are marshalled in order in the early chapter of 'Animals and
Plants.' Thus in his Diary occur the laconic entries, "May 16, Finished
Fowls (eight weeks); May 31, Ducks."

On July 1, he started, with his family, for Torquay, where he remained
until August 27--a holiday which he characteristically enters in his diary
as "eight weeks and a day." The house he occupied was in Hesketh Crescent,
a pleasantly placed row of houses close above the sea, somewhat removed
from what was then the main body of the town, and not far from the
beautiful cliffed coast-line in the neighbourhood of Anstey's Cove.

During the Torquay holiday, and for the remainder of the year, he worked at
the fertilisation of orchids. This part of the year 1861 is not dealt with
in the present chapter, because (as explained in the preface) the record of
his life, as told in his letters, seems to become clearer when the whole of
his botanical work is placed together and treated separately. The present
series of chapters will, therefore, include only the progress of his works
in the direction of a general amplification of the 'Origin of Species'--
e.g., the publication of 'Animals and Plants,' 'Descent of Man,' etc.]

Down, January 15 [1861].

My dear Hooker,

The sight of your handwriting always rejoices the very cockles of my

I most fully agree to what you say about Huxley's Article ('Natural History
Review,' 1861, page 67, "On the Zoological Relations of Man with the Lower
Animals." This memoir had its origin in a discussion at the previous
meeting of the British Association, when Professor Huxley felt himself
"compelled to give a diametrical contradiction to certain assertions
respecting the differences which obtain between the brains of the higher
apes and of man, which fell from Professor Owen." But in order that his
criticisms might refer to deliberately recorded words, he bases them on
Professor Owen's paper, "On the Characters, etc., of the Class Mammalia,"
read before the Linnean Society in February and April, 1857, in which he
proposed to place man not only in a distinct order, but in "a distinct sub-
class of the Mammalia"--the Archencephala.), and the power of writing...The
whole review seems to me excellent. How capitally Oliver has done the
resume of botanical books. Good Heavens, how he must have read!...

I quite agree that Phillips ('Life on the Earth' (1860), by Prof. Phillips,
containing the substance of the Rede Lecture (May 1860).) is unreadably
dull. You need not attempt Bree. (The following sentence (page 16) from
'Species not Transmutable,' by Dr. Bree, illustrates the degree in which he
understood the 'Origin of Species': "The only real difference between Mr.
Darwin and his two predecessors" [Lamarck and the 'Vestiges'] "is this:--
that while the latter have each given a mode by which they conceive the
great changes they believe in have been brought about, Mr. Darwin does no
such thing." After this we need not be surprised at a passage in the
preface: "No one has derived greater pleasure than I have in past days
from the study of Mr. Darwin's other works, and no one has felt a greater
degree of regret that he should have imperilled his fame by the publication
of his treatise upon the 'Origin of Species.'")...

If you come across Dr. Freke on 'Origin of Species by means of Organic
Affinity,' read a page here and there...He tells the reader to observe
[that his result] has been arrived at by "induction," whereas all my
results are arrived at only by "analogy." I see a Mr. Neale has read a
paper before the Zoological Society on 'Typical Selection;' what it means I
know not. I have not read H. Spencer, for I find that I must more and more
husband the very little strength which I have. I sometimes suspect I shall
soon entirely fail...As soon as this dreadful weather gets a little milder,
I must try a little water cure. Have you read the 'Woman in White'? the
plot is wonderfully interesting. I can recommend a book which has
interested me greatly, viz. Olmsted's 'Journey in the Back Country.' It is
an admirably lively picture of man and slavery in the Southern States...

February 2, 1861.

My dear Lyell,

I have thought you would like to read the enclosed passage in a letter from
A. Gray (who is printing his reviews as a pamphlet ("Natural Selection not
inconsistent with Natural Theology," from the 'Atlantic Monthly' for July,
August, and October, 1860; published by Trubner.), and will send copies to
England), as I think his account is really favourable in high degree to

"I wish I had time to write you an account of the lengths to which Bowen
and Agassiz, each in their own way, are going. The first denying all
heredity (all transmission except specific) whatever. The second coming
near to deny that we are genetically descended from our great-great-
grandfathers; and insisting that evidently affiliated languages, e.g.
Latin, Greek, Sanscrit, owe none of their similarities to a community of
origin, are all autochthonal; Agassiz admits that the derivation of
languages, and that of species or forms, stand on the same foundation, and
that he must allow the latter if he allows the former, which I tell him is
perfectly logical."

Is not this marvellous?

Ever yours,

Down, February 4 [1861].

My dear Hooker,

I was delighted to get your long chatty letter, and to hear that you are
thawing towards science. I almost wish you had remained frozen rather
longer; but do not thaw too quickly and strongly. No one can work long as
you used to do. Be idle; but I am a pretty man to preach, for I cannot be
idle, much as I wish it, and am never comfortable except when at work. The
word holiday is written in a dead language for me, and much I grieve at it.
We thank you sincerely for your kind sympathy about poor H. [his
daughter]...She has now come up to her old point, and can sometimes get up
for an hour or two twice a day...Never to look to the future or as little
as possible is becoming our rule of life. What a different thing life was
in youth with no dread in the future; all golden, if baseless, hopes.

...With respect to the 'Natural History Review' I can hardly think that
ladies would be so very sensitive about "lizards' guts;" but the
publication is at present certainly a sort of hybrid, and original
illustrated papers ought hardly to appear in a review. I doubt its ever
paying; but I shall much regret if it dies. All that you say seems very
sensible, but could a review in the strict sense of the word be filled with
readable matter?

I have been doing little, except finishing the new edition of the 'Origin,'
and crawling on most slowly with my volume of 'Variation under

[The following letter refers to Mr. Bates's paper, "Contributions to an
Insect Fauna of the Amazon Valley," in the 'Transactions of the
Entomological Society,' vol.5, N.S. (The paper was read November 24, 1860.)
Mr. Bates points out that with the return, after the glacial period, of a
warmer climate in the equatorial regions, the "species then living near the
equator would retreat north and south to their former homes, leaving some
of their congeners, slowly modified re-people the zone
they had forsaken." In this case the species now living at the equator
ought to show clear relationship to the species inhabiting the regions
about the 25th parallel, whose distant relatives they would of course be.
But this is not the case, and this is the difficulty my father refers to.
Mr. Belt has offered an explanation in his 'Naturalist in Nicaragua'
(1874), page 266. "I believe the answer is that there was much
extermination during the glacial period, that many species (and some
genera, etc., as, for instance, the American horse), did not survive
it...but that a refuge was found for many species on lands now below the
ocean, that were uncovered by the lowering of the sea, caused by the
immense quantity of water that was locked up in frozen masses on the

Down, 27th [March 1861].

My dear Hooker,

I had intended to have sent you Bates's article this very day. I am so
glad you like it. I have been extremely much struck with it. How well he
argues, and with what crushing force against the glacial doctrine. I
cannot wriggle out of it: I am dumbfounded; yet I do believe that some
explanation some day will appear, and I cannot give up equatorial cooling.
It explains so much and harmonises with so much. When you write (and much
interested I shall be in your letter) please say how far floras are
generally uniform in generic character from 0 to 25 degrees N. and S.

Before reading Bates, I had become thoroughly dissatisfied with what I
wrote to you. I hope you may get Bates to write in the 'Linnean.'

Here is a good joke: H.C. Watson (who, I fancy and hope, is going to
review the new edition (third edition of 2000 copies, published in April,
1861.) of the 'Origin') says that in the first four paragraphs of the
introduction, the words "I," "me," "my," occur forty-three times! I was
dimly conscious of the accursed fact. He says it can be explained
phrenologically, which I suppose civilly means, that I am the most
egotistically self-sufficient man alive; perhaps so. I wonder whether he
will print this pleasing fact; it beats hollow the parentheses in
Wollaston's writing.

_I_ am, MY dear Hooker, ever yours,

P.S.--Do not spread this pleasing joke; it is rather too biting.

Down, [April] 23? [1861].

...I quite agree with what you say on Lieutenant Hutton's Review (In the
'Geologist,' 1861, page 132, by Lieutenant Frederick Wollaston Hutton, now
Professor of Biology and Geology at Canterbury College, New Zealand.) (who
he is I know not); it struck me as very original. He is one of the very
few who see that the change of species cannot be directly proved, and that
the doctrine must sink or swim according as it groups and explains
phenomena. It is really curious how few judge it in this way, which is
clearly the right way. I have been much interested by Bentham's paper ("On
the Species and Genera of Plants, etc.," 'Natural History Review,' 1861,
page 133.) in the N.H.R., but it would not, of course, from familiarity
strike you as it did me. I liked the whole; all the facts on the nature of
close and varying species. Good Heavens! to think of the British botanists
turning up their noses, and saying that he knows nothing of British plants!
I was also pleased at his remarks on classification, because it showed me
that I wrote truly on this subject in the 'Origin.' I saw Bentham at the
Linnean Society, and had some talk with him and Lubbock, and Edgeworth,
Wallich, and several others. I asked Bentham to give us his ideas of
species; whether partially with us or dead against us, he would write
EXCELLENT matter. He made no answer, but his manner made me think he might
do so if urged; so do you attack him. Every one was speaking with
affection and anxiety of Henslow. (Prof. Henslow was in his last illness.)
I dined with Bell at the Linnean Club, and liked my dinner...Dining out is
such a novelty to me that I enjoyed it. Bell has a real good heart. I
liked Rolleston's paper, but I never read anything so obscure and not self-
evident as his 'Canons.' (George Rolleston, M.D., F.R.S., 1829-1881.
Linacre Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Oxford. A man of much
learning, who left but few published works, among which may be mentioned
his handbook 'Forms of Animal Life.' For the 'Canons,' see 'Nat. Hist.
Review,' 1861, page 206.)...I called on R. Chambers, at his very nice house
in St. John's Wood, and had a very pleasant half-hour's talk; he is really
a capital fellow. He made one good remark and chuckled over it, that the
laymen universally had treated the controversy on the 'Essays and Reviews'
as a merely professional subject, and had not joined in it, but had left it
to the clergy. I shall be anxious for your next letter about Henslow.
(Sir Joseph Hooker was Prof. Henslow's son-in-law.) Farewell, with sincere
sympathy, my old friend,


P.S.--We are very much obliged for the 'London Review.' We like reading
much of it, and the science is incomparably better than in the "Athenaeum".
You shall not go on very long sending it, as you will be ruined by pennies
and trouble, but I am under a horrid spell to the "Athenaeum" and the
"Gardener's Chronicle", but I have taken them in for so many years, that I
CANNOT give them up.

[The next letter refers to Lyell's visit to the Biddenham gravel-pits near
Bedford in April 1861. The visit was made at the invitation of Mr. James
Wyatt, who had recently discovered two stone implements "at the depth of
thirteen feet from the surface of the soil," resting "immediately on solid
beds of oolitic-limestone." ('Antiquity of Man,' fourth edition, page
214.) Here, says Sir C. Lyell, "I...for the first time, saw evidence which
satisfied me of the chronological relations of those three phenomena--the
antique tools, the extinct mammalia, and the glacial formation."]

Down, April 12 [1861].

My dear Lyell,

I have been most deeply interested by your letter. You seem to have done
the grandest work, and made the greatest step, of any one with respect to

It is an especial relief to hear that you think the French superficial
deposits are deltoid and semi-marine; but two days ago I was saying to a
friend, that the unknown manner of the accumulation of these deposits,
seemed the great blot in all the work done. I could not stomach debacles
or lacustrine beds. It is grand. I remember Falconer told me that he
thought some of the remains in the Devonshire caverns were pre-glacial, and
this, I presume, is now your conclusion for the older celts with hyena and
hippopotamus. It is grand. What a fine long pedigree you have given the
human race!

I am sure I never thought of parallel roads having been accumulated during
subsidence. I think I see some difficulties on this view, though, at first
reading your note, I jumped at the idea. But I will think over all I saw
there. I am (stomacho volente) coming up to London on Tuesday to work on
cocks and hens, and on Wednesday morning, about a quarter before ten, I
will call on you (unless I hear to the contrary), for I long to see you. I
congratulate you on your grand work.

Ever yours,

P.S.--Tell Lady Lyell that I was unable to digest the funereal ceremonies
of the ants, notwithstanding that Erasmus has often told me that I should
find some day that they have their bishops. After a battle I have always
seen the ants carry away the dead for food. Ants display the utmost
economy, and always carry away a dead fellow-creature as food. But I have
just forwarded two most extraordinary letters to Busk, from a backwoodsman
in Texas, who has evidently watched ants carefully, and declares most
positively that they plant and cultivate a kind of grass for store food,
and plant other bushes for shelter! I do not know what to think, except
that the old gentleman is not fibbing intentionally. I have left the
responsibility with Busk whether or no to read the letters. (I.e. to read
them before the Linnean Society.)

CHARLES DARWIN TO THOMAS DAVIDSON. (Thomas Davidson, F.R.S., born in
Edinburgh, May 17, 1817; died 1885. His researches were chiefly connected
with the sciences of geology and palaeontology, and were directed
especially to the elucidation of the characters, classification, history,
geological and geographical distribution of recent and fossil Brachiopoda.
On this subject he brought out an important work, 'British Fossil
Brachiopoda,' 5 vols. 4to. (Cooper, 'Men of the Time,' 1884.))
Down, April 26, 1861.

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will excuse me for venturing to make a suggestion to you
which I am perfectly well aware it is a very remote chance that you would
adopt. I do not know whether you have read my 'Origin of Species'; in that
book I have made the remark, which I apprehend will be universally
admitted, that AS A WHOLE, the fauna of any formation is intermediate in
character between that of the formations above and below. But several
really good judges have remarked to me how desirable it would be that this
should be exemplified and worked out in some detail and with some single
group of beings. Now every one will admit that no one in the world could
do this better than you with Brachiopods. The result might turn out very
unfavourable to the views which I hold; if so, so much the better for those
who are opposed to me. ("Mr. Davidson is not at all a full believer in
great changes of species, which will make his work all the more valuable.--
C. Darwin to R. Chambers (April 30, 1861).) But I am inclined to suspect
that on the whole it would be favourable to the notion of descent with
modification; for about a year ago, Mr. Salter (John William Salter; 1820-
1869. He entered the service of the Geological Survey in 1846, and
ultimately became its Palaeontologist, on the retirement of Edward Forbes,
and gave up the office in 1863. He was associated with several well-known
naturalists in their work--with Sedgwick, Murchison, Lyell, Ramsay, and
Huxley. There are sixty entries under his name in the Royal Society
Catalogue. The above facts are taken from an obituary notice of Mr. Salter
in the 'Geological Magazine,' 1869.) in the Museum in Jermyn Street, glued
on a board some Spirifers, etc., from three palaeozoic stages, and arranged
them in single and branching lines, with horizontal lines marking the
formations (like the diagram in my book, if you know it), and the result
seemed to me very striking, though I was too ignorant fully to appreciate
the lines of affinities. I longed to have had these shells engraved, as
arranged by Mr. Salter, and connected by dotted lines, and would have
gladly paid the expense: but I could not persuade Mr. Salter to publish a
little paper on the subject. I can hardly doubt that many curious points
would occur to any one thoroughly instructed in the subject, who would
consider a group of beings under this point of view of descent with
modification. All those forms which have come down from an ancient period
very slightly modified ought, I think, to be omitted, and those forms alone
considered which have undergone considerable change at each successive
epoch. My fear is whether brachiopods have changed enough. The absolute
amount of difference of the forms in such groups at the opposite extremes
of time ought to be considered, and how far the early forms are
intermediate in character between those which appeared much later in time.
The antiquity of a group is not really diminished, as some seem vaguely to
think, because it has transmitted to the present day closely allied forms.
Another point is how far the succession of each genus is unbroken, from the
first time it appeared to its extinction, with due allowance made for
formations poor in fossils. I cannot but think that an important essay
(far more important than a hundred literary reviews) might be written by
one like yourself, and without very great labour. I know it is highly
probable that you may not have leisure, or not care for, or dislike the
subject, but I trust to your kindness to forgive me for making this
suggestion. If by any extraordinary good fortune you were inclined to take
up this notion, I would ask you to read my Chapter X. on Geological
Succession. And I should like in this case to be permitted to send you a
copy of the new edition, just published, in which I have added and
corrected somewhat in Chapters IX. and X.

Pray excuse this long letter, and believe me,
My dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

P.S.--I write so bad a hand that I have had this note copied.

Down, April 30, 1861.

My dear Sir,

I thank you warmly for your letter; I did not in the least know that you
had attended to my work. I assure you that the attention which you have
paid to it, considering your knowledge and the philosophical tone of your
mind (for I well remember one remarkable letter you wrote to me, and have
looked through your various publications), I consider one of the highest,
perhaps the very highest, compliments which I have received. I live so
solitary a life that I do not often hear what goes on, and I should much
like to know in what work you have published some remarks on my book. I
take a deep interest in the subject, and I hope not simply an egotistical
interest; therefore you may believe how much your letter has gratified me;
I am perfectly contented if any one will fairly consider the subject,
whether or not he fully or only very slightly agrees with me. Pray do not
think that I feel the least surprise at your demurring to a ready
acceptance; in fact, I should not much respect anyone's judgment who did
so: that is, if I may judge others from the long time which it has taken
me to go round. Each stage of belief cost me years. The difficulties are,
as you say, many and very great; but the more I reflect, the more they seem
to me to be due to our underestimating our ignorance. I belong so much to
old times that I find that I weigh the difficulties from the imperfection
of the geological record, heavier than some of the younger men. I find, to
my astonishment and joy, that such good men as Ramsay, Jukes, Geikie, and
one old worker, Lyell, do not think that I have in the least exaggerated
the imperfection of the record. (Professor Sedgwick treated this part of
the 'Origin of Species' very differently, as might have been expected from
his vehement objection to Evolution in general. In the article in the
"Spectator" of March 24, 1860, already noticed, Sedgwick wrote: "We know
the complicated organic phenomena of the Mesozoic (or Oolitic) period. It
defies the transmutationist at every step. Oh! but the document, says
Darwin, is a fragment; I will interpolate long periods to account for all
the changes. I say, in reply, if you deny my conclusion, grounded on
positive evidence, I toss back your conclusion, derived from negative
evidence,--the inflated cushion on which you try to bolster up the defects
of your hypothesis." [The punctuation of the imaginary dialogue is
slightly altered from the original, which is obscure in one place.]) If my
views ever are proved true, our current geological views will have to be
considerably modified. My greatest trouble is, not being able to weigh the
direct effects of the long-continued action of changed conditions of life
without any selection, with the action of selection on mere accidental (so
to speak) variability. I oscillate much on this head, but generally return
to my belief that the direct action of the conditions of life has not been
great. At least this direct action can have played an extremely small part
in producing all the numberless and beautiful adaptations in every living
creature. With respect to a person's belief, what does rather surprise me
is that any one (like Carpenter) should be willing TO GO SO VERY FAR as to
believe that all birds may have descended from one parent, and not go a
little farther and include all the members of the same great division; for
on such a scale of belief, all the facts in Morphology and in Embryology
(the most important in my opinion of all subjects) become mere Divine
mockeries...I cannot express how profoundly glad I am that some day you
will publish your theoretical view on the modification and endurance of
Brachiopodous species; I am sure it will be a most valuable contribution to

Pray forgive this very egotistical letter, but you yourself are partly to
blame for having pleased me so much. I have told Murray to send a copy of
my new edition to you, and have written your name.

With cordial thanks, pray believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely,

[In Mr. Davidson's Monograph on British Brachiopoda, published shortly
afterwards by the Palaeontographical Society, results such as my father
anticipated were to some extent obtained. "No less than fifteen commonly
received species are demonstrated by Mr. Davidson by the aid of a long
series of transitional forms to appertain type." "Lyell,
'Antiquity of Man,' first edition, page 428.)

In the autumn of 1860, and the early part of 1861, my father had a good
deal of correspondence with Professor Asa Gray on a subject to which
reference has already been made--the publication in the form of a pamphlet,
of Professor Gray's three articles in the July, August, and October numbers
of the 'Atlantic Monthly,' 1860. The pamphlet was published by Messrs.
Trubner, with reference to whom my father wrote, "Messrs. Trubner have been
most liberal and kind, and say they shall make no charge for all their
trouble. I have settled about a few advertisements, and they will
gratuitously insert one in their own periodicals."

The reader will find these articles republished in Dr. Gray's 'Darwiniana,'
page 87, under the title "Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural
Theology." The pamphlet found many admirers among those most capable of
judging of its merits, and my father believed that it was of much value in
lessening opposition, and making converts to Evolution. His high opinion
of it is shown not only in his letters, but by the fact that he inserted a
special notice of it in a most prominent place in the third edition of the
'Origin.' Lyell, among others, recognised its value as an antidote to the
kind of criticism from which the cause of Evolution suffered. Thus my
father wrote to Dr. Gray:--"Just to exemplify the use of your pamphlet, the
Bishop of London was asking Lyell what he thought of the review in the
'Quarterly,' and Lyell answered, 'Read Asa Gray in the 'Atlantic.'". It
comes out very clearly that in the case of such publications as Dr. Gray's,
my father did not rejoice over the success of his special view of
Evolution, viz. that modification is mainly due to Natural Selection; on
the contrary, he felt strongly that the really important point was that the
doctrine of Descent should be accepted. Thus he wrote to Professor Gray
(May 11, 1863), with reference to Lyell's 'Antiquity of Man':--

"You speak of Lyell as a judge; now what I complain of is that he declines
to be a judge...I have sometimes almost wished that Lyell had pronounced
against me. When I say 'me,' I only mean CHANGE OF SPECIES BY DESCENT.
That seems to me the turning-point. Personally, of course, I care much
about Natural Selection; but that seems to me utterly unimportant, compared
to the question of Creation OR Modification."]

Down, April 11 [1861].

My dear Gray,

I was very glad to get your photograph: I am expecting mine, which I will
send off as soon as it comes. It is an ugly affair, and I fear the fault
does not lie with the photographer...Since writing last, I have had several
letters full of the highest commendation of your Essay; all agree that it
is by far the best thing written, and I do not doubt it has done the
'Origin' much good. I have not yet heard how it has sold. You will have
seen a review in the "Gardeners' Chronicle". Poor dear Henslow, to whom I
owe much, is dying, and Hooker is with him. Many thanks for two sets of
sheets of your Proceedings. I cannot understand what Agassiz is driving
at. You once spoke, I think, of Professor Bowen as a very clever man. I
should have thought him a singularly unobservant man from his writings. He
never can have seen much of animals, or he would have seen the difference
of old and wise dogs and young ones. His paper about hereditariness beats
everything. Tell a breeder that he might pick out his worst INDIVIDUAL
animals and breed from them, and hope to win a prize, and he would think

[Professor Henslow died on May 16, 1861, from a complication of bronchitis,
congestion of the lungs, and enlargement of the heart. His strong
constitution was slow in giving way, and he lingered for weeks in a painful
condition of weakness, knowing that his end was near, and looking at death
with fearless eyes. In Mr. Blomefield's (Jenyns) 'Memoir of Henslow'
(1862) is a dignified and touching description of Prof. Sedgwick's farewell
visit to his old friend. Sedgwick said afterwards that he had never seen
"a human being whose soul was nearer heaven."

My father wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker on hearing of Henslow's death, "I fully
believe a better man never walked this earth."

He gave his impressions of Henslow's character in Mr. Blomefield's
'Memoir.' In reference to these recollections he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker
(May 30, 1861):--

"This morning I wrote my recollections and impressions of character of poor
dear Henslow about the year 1830. I liked the job, and so have written
four or five pages, now being copied. I do not suppose you will use all,
of course you can chop and change as much as you like. If more than a
sentence is used, I should like to see a proof-page, as I never can write
decently till I see it in print. Very likely some of my remarks may appear
too trifling, but I thought it best to give my thoughts as they arose, for
you or Jenyns to use as you think fit.

"You will see that I have exceeded your request, but, as I said when I
began, I took pleasure in writing my impression of his admirable

Down, June 5 [1861].

My dear Gray,

I have been rather extra busy, so have been slack in answering your note of
May 6th. I hope you have received long ago the third edition of the
'Origin.'...I have heard nothing from Trubner of the sale of your Essay,
hence fear it has not been great; I wrote to say you could supply more. I
send a copy to Sir J. Herschel, and in his new edition of his 'Physical
Geography' he has a note on the 'Origin of Species,' and agrees, to a
certain limited extent, but puts in a caution on design--much like
yours...I have been led to think more on this subject of late, and grieve
to say that I come to differ more from you. It is not that designed
variation makes, as it seems to me, my deity "Natural Selection"
superfluous, but rather from studying, lately, domestic variation, and
seeing what an enormous field of undesigned variability there is ready for
natural selection to appropriate for any purpose useful to each creature.

I thank you much for sending me your review of Phillips. ('Life on the
Earth,' 1860.) I remember once telling you a lot of trades which you ought
to have followed, but now I am convinced that you are a born reviewer. By
Jove, how well and often you hit the nail on the head! You rank Phillips's
book higher than I do, or than Lyell does, who thinks it fearfully
retrograde. I amused myself by parodying Phillips's argument as applied to
domestic variation; and you might thus prove that the duck or pigeon has
not varied because the goose has not, though more anciently domesticated,
and no good reason can be assigned why it has not produced many varieties

I never knew the newspapers so profoundly interesting. North America does
not do England justice; I have not seen or heard of a soul who is not with
the North. Some few, and I am one of them, even wish to God, though at the
loss of millions of lives, that the North would proclaim a crusade against
slavery. In the long-run, a million horrid deaths would be amply repaid in
the cause of humanity. What wonderful times we live in! Massachusetts
seems to show noble enthusiasm. Great God! How I should like to see the
greatest curse on earth--slavery--abolished!

Farewell. Hooker has been absorbed with poor dear revered Henslow's
affairs. Farewell.

Ever yours,

31 Sackville St., W., June 23, 1861.

My dear Darwin,

I have been to Adelsberg cave and brought back with me a live Proteus
anguinus, designed for you from the moment I got it; i.e. if you have got
an aquarium and would care to have it. I only returned last night from the
continent, and hearing from your brother that you are about to go to
Torquay, I lose no time in making you the offer. The poor dear animal is
still alive--although it has had no appreciable means of sustenance for a
month--and I am most anxious to get rid of the responsibility of starving
it longer. In your hands it will thrive and have a fair chance of being
developed without delay into some type of the Columbidae--say a Pouter or a

My dear Darwin, I have been rambling through the north of Italy, and
Germany lately. Everywhere have I heard your views and your admirable
essay canvassed--the views of course often dissented from, according to the
special bias of the speaker--but the work, its honesty of purpose, grandeur
of conception, felicity of illustration, and courageous exposition, always
referred to in terms of the highest admiration. And among your warmest
friends no one rejoiced more heartily in the just appreciation of Charles
Darwin than did

Yours very truly,

Down [June 24, 1861].

My dear Falconer,

I have just received your note, and by good luck a day earlier than
properly, and I lose not a moment in answering you, and thanking you
heartily for your offer of the valuable specimen; but I have no aquarium
and shall soon start for Torquay, so that it would be a thousand pities
that I should have it. Yet I should certainly much like to see it, but I
fear it is impossible. Would not the Zoological Society be the best place?
and then the interest which many would take in this extraordinary animal
would repay you for your trouble.

Kind as you have been in taking this trouble and offering me this specimen,
to tell the truth I value your note more than the specimen. I shall keep
your note amongst a very few precious letters. Your kindness has quite
touched me.

Yours affectionately and gratefully,

2 Hesketh Crescent, Torquay,
July 13 [1861].

...I hope Harvey is better; I got his review (The 'Dublin Hospital
Gazette,' May 15, 1861. The passage referred to is at page 150.) of me a
day or two ago, from which I infer he must be convalescent; it's very good
and fair; but it is funny to see a man argue on the succession of animals
from Noah's Deluge; as God did not then wholly destroy man, probably he did
not wholly destroy the races of other animals at each geological period! I
never expected to have a helping hand from the Old Testament...

2, Hesketh Crescent, Torquay,
July 20 [1861].

My dear Lyell,

I sent you two or three days ago a duplicate of a good review of the
'Origin' by a Mr. Maw (Mr. George Maw, of Benthall Hall. The review was
published in the 'Zoologist,' July, 1861. On the back of my father's copy
is written, "Must be consulted before new edit. of 'Origin'"--words which
are wanting on many more pretentious notices, on which frequently occur my
father's brief o/-, or "nothing new."), evidently a thoughtful man, as I
thought you might like to have it, as you have so many...

This is quite a charming place, and I have actually walked, I believe, good
two miles out and back, which is a grand feat.

I saw Mr. Pengelly (William Pengelly, the geologist, and well-known
explorer of the Devonshire caves.) the other day, and was pleased at his
enthusiasm. I do not in the least know whether you are in London. Your
illness must have lost you much time, but I hope you have nearly got your
great job of the new edition finished. You must be very busy, if in
London, so I will be generous, and on honour bright do not expect any
answer to this dull little note...

Down, September 17 [1861?].

My dear Gray,

I thank you sincerely for your very long and interesting letter, political
and scientific, of August 27th and 29th, and September 2nd received this
morning. I agree with much of what you say, and I hope to God we English
are utterly wrong in doubting (1) whether the N. can conquer the S.; (2)
whether the N. has many friends in the South, and (3) whether you noble men
of Massachusetts are right in transferring your own good feelings to the
men of Washington. Again I say I hope to God we are wrong in doubting on
these points. It is number (3) which alone causes England not to be
enthusiastic with you. What it may be in Lancashire I know not, but in S.
England cotton has nothing whatever to do with our doubts. If abolition
does follow with your victory, the whole world will look brighter in my
eyes, and in many eyes. It would be a great gain even to stop the spread
of slavery into the Territories; if that be possible without abolition,
which I should have doubted. You ought not to wonder so much at England's
coldness, when you recollect at the commencement of the war how many
propositions were made to get things back to the old state with the old
line of latitude, but enough of this, all I can say is that Massachusetts
and the adjoining States have the full sympathy of every good man whom I
see; and this sympathy would be extended to the whole Federal States, if we
could be persuaded that your feelings were at all common to them. But
enough of this. It is out of my line, though I read every word of news,
and formerly well studied Olmsted...

Your question what would convince me of Design is a poser. If I saw an
angel come down to teach us good, and I was convinced from others seeing
him that I was not mad, I should believe in design. If I could be
convinced thoroughly that life and mind was in an unknown way a function of
other imponderable force, I should be convinced. If man was made of brass
or iron and no way connected with any other organism which had ever lived,
I should perhaps be convinced. But this is childish writing.

I have lately been corresponding with Lyell, who, I think, adopts your idea
of the stream of variation having been led or designed. I have asked him
(and he says he will hereafter reflect and answer me) whether he believes
that the shape of my nose was designed. If he does I have nothing more to
say. If not, seeing what Fanciers have done by selecting individual
differences in the nasal bones of pigeons, I must think that it is
illogical to suppose that the variations, which natural selection preserves
for the good of any being have been designed. But I know that I am in the
same sort of muddle (as I have said before) as all the world seems to be in
with respect to free will, yet with everything supposed to have been
foreseen or pre-ordained.

Farewell, my dear Gray, with many thanks for your interesting letter.

Your unmerciful correspondent.

Down, December 3 [1861].

My dear Sir,

I thank you for your extremely interesting letter, and valuable references,
though God knows when I shall come again to this part of my subject. One
cannot of course judge of style when one merely hears a paper (On Mimetic
Butterflies, read before the Linnean Soc., November 21, 1861. For my
father's opinion of it when published, see below.), but yours seemed to me
very clear and good. Believe me that I estimate its value most highly.
Under a general point of view, I am quite convinced (Hooker and Huxley took
the same view some months ago) that a philosophic view of nature can solely
be driven into naturalists by treating special subjects as you have done.
Under a special point of view, I think you have solved one of the most
perplexing problems which could be given to solve. I am glad to hear from
Hooker that the Linnean Society will give plates if you can get drawings...

Do not complain of want of advice during your travels; I dare say part of
your great originality of views may be due to the necessity of self-
exertion of thought. I can understand that your reception at the British
Museum would damp you; they are a very good set of men, but not the sort to
appreciate your work. In fact I have long thought that TOO MUCH systematic
work [and] description somehow blunts the faculties. The general public
appreciates a good dose of reasoning, or generalisation, with new and
curious remarks on habits, final causes, etc. etc., far more than do the
regular naturalists.

I am extremely glad to hear that you have begun your travels...I am very
busy, but I shall be TRULY glad to render any aid which I can by reading
your first chapter or two. I do not think I shall be able to correct
style, for this reason, that after repeated trials I find I cannot correct
my own style till I see the MS. in type. Some are born with a power of
good writing, like Wallace; others like myself and Lyell have to labour
very hard and slowly at every sentence. I find it a very good plan, when I
cannot get a difficult discussion to please me, to fancy that some one
comes into the room and asks me what I am doing; and then try at once and
explain to the imaginary person what it is all about. I have done this for
one paragraph to myself several times, and sometimes to Mrs. Darwin, till I
see how the subject ought to go. It is, I think, good to read one's MS.
aloud. But style to me is a great difficulty; yet some good judges think I
have succeeded, and I say this to encourage you.

What I THINK I can do will be to tell you whether parts had better be
shortened. It is good, I think, to dash "in media res," and work in later
any descriptions of country or any historical details which may be
necessary. Murray likes lots of wood-cuts--give some by all means of ants.
The public appreciate monkeys--our poor cousins. What sexual differences
are there in monkeys? Have you kept them tame? if so, about their
expression. I fear that you will hardly read my vile hand-writing, but I
cannot without killing trouble write better.

You shall have my candid opinion on your MS., but remember it is hard to
judge from MS., one reads slowly, and heavy parts seem much heavier. A
first-rate judge thought my Journal very poor; now that it is in print, I
happen to know, he likes it. I am sure you will understand why I am so

I was a LITTLE disappointed in Wallace's book ('Travels on the Amazon and
Rio Negro,' 1853.) on the Amazon; hardly facts enough. On the other hand,
in Gosse's book (Probably the 'Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica,' 1851.)
there is not reasoning enough to my taste. Heaven knows whether you will
care to read all this scribbling...

I am glad you had a pleasant day with Hooker (In a letter to Sir J.D.
Hooker (December 1861), my father wrote: "I am very glad to hear that you
like Bates. I have seldom in my life been more struck with a man's power
of mind."), he is an admirably good man in every sense.

[The following extract from a letter to Mr. Bates on the same subject is
interesting as giving an idea of the plan followed by my father in writing
his 'Naturalist's Voyage:'

"As an old hackneyed author, let me give you a bit of advice, viz. to
strike out every word which is not quite necessary to the current subject,
and which could not interest a stranger. I constantly asked myself, would
a stranger care for this? and struck out or left in accordingly. I think
too much pains cannot be taken in making the style transparently clear and
throwing eloquence to the dogs."

Mr. Bates's book, 'The Naturalist on the Amazons,' was published in 1865,
but the following letter may be given here rather than in its due
chronological position:]

Down, April 18, 1863.

Dear Bates,

I have finished volume i. My criticisms may be condensed into a single
sentence, namely, that it is the best work of Natural History Travels ever
published in England. Your style seems to me admirable. Nothing can be
better than the discussion on the struggle for existence, and nothing
better than the description of the Forest scenery. (In a letter to Lyell
my father wrote: "He [i.e. Mr. Bates] is second only to Humboldt in
describing a tropical forest.") It is a grand book, and whether or not it
sells quickly, it will last. You have spoken out boldly on Species; and
boldness on the subject seems to get rarer and rarer. How beautifully
illustrated it is. The cut on the back is most tasteful. I heartily
congratulate you on its publication.

The "Athenaeum" ("I have read the first volume of Bates's Book; it is
capital, and I think the best Natural History Travels ever published in
England. He is bold about Species, etc., and the "Athenaeum" coolly says
'he bends his facts' for this purpose."--(From a letter to Sir J.D.
Hooker.)) was rather cold, as it always is, and insolent in the highest
degree about your leading facts. Have you seen the "Reader"? I can send
it to you if you have not seen it...

Down, December 11 [1861].

My dear Gray,

Many and cordial thanks for your two last most valuable notes. What a
thing it is that when you receive this we may be at war, and we two be
bound, as good patriots, to hate each other, though I shall find this
hating you very hard work. How curious it is to see two countries, just
like two angry and silly men, taking so opposite a view of the same
transaction! I fear there is no shadow of doubt we shall fight if the two
Southern rogues are not given up. (The Confederate Commissioners Slidell
and Mason were forcibly removed from the "Trent", a West India mail steamer
on November 8, 1861. The news that the U.S. agreed to release them reached
England on January 8, 1862.) And what a wretched thing it will be if we
fight on the side of slavery. No doubt it will be said that we fight to
get cotton; but I fully believe that this has not entered into the motive
in the least. Well, thank Heaven, we private individuals have nothing to
do with so awful a responsibility. Again, how curious it is that you seem
to think that you can conquer the South; and I never meet a soul, even
those who would most wish it, who thinks it possible--that is, to conquer
and retain it. I do not suppose the mass of people in your country will
believe it, but I feel sure if we do go to war it will be with the utmost
reluctance by all classes, Ministers of Government and all. Time will
show, and it is no use writing or thinking about it. I called the other
day on Dr. Boott, and was pleased to find him pretty well and cheerful. I
see, by the way, he takes quite an English opinion of American affairs,
though an American in heart. (Dr. Boott was born in the U.S.) Buckle
might write a chapter on opinion being entirely dependent on longitude!

...With respect to Design, I feel more inclined to show a white flag than
to fire my usual long-range shot. I like to try and ask you a puzzling
question, but when you return the compliment I have great doubts whether it
is a fair way of arguing. If anything is designed, certainly man must be:
one's "inner consciousness" (though a false guide) tells one so; yet I
cannot admit that man's rudimentary mammae...were designed. If I was to
say I believed this, I should believe it in the same incredible manner as
the orthodox believe the Trinity in Unity. You say that you are in a haze;
I am in thick mud; the orthodox would say in fetid, abominable mud; yet I
cannot keep out of the question. My dear Gray, I have written a deal of

Yours most cordially,


[Owing to the illness from scarlet fever of one of his boys, he took a
house at Bournemouth in the autumn. He wrote to Dr. Gray from Southampton
(August 21, 1862):--

"We are a wretched family, and ought to be exterminated. We slept here to
rest our poor boy on his journey to Bournemouth, and my poor dear wife
sickened with scarlet fever, and has had it pretty sharply, but is
recovering well. There is no end of trouble in this weary world. I shall
not feel safe till we are all at home together, and when that will be I
know not. But it is foolish complaining."

Dr. Gray used to send postage stamps to the scarlet fever patient; with
regard to this good-natured deed my father wrote--

"I must just recur to stamps; my little man has calculated that he will now
have 6 stamps which no other boy in the school has. Here is a triumph.
Your last letter was plaistered with many coloured stamps, and he long
surveyed the envelope in bed with much quiet satisfaction."

The greater number of the letters of 1862 deal with the Orchid work, but
the wave of conversion to Evolution was still spreading, and reviews and
letters bearing on the subject still came in numbers. As an example of the
odd letters he received may be mentioned one which arrived in January of
this year "from a German homoeopathic doctor, an ardent admirer of the
'Origin.' Had himself published nearly the same sort of book, but goes
much deeper. Explains the origin of plants and animals on the principles
of homoeopathy or by the law of spirality. Book fell dead in Germany.
Therefore would I translate it and publish it in England."]

Down, [January?] 14 [1862].

My dear Huxley,

I am heartily glad of your success in the North (This refers to two of Mr.
Huxley's lectures, given before the Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh
in 1862. The substance of them is given in 'Man's Place in Nature.'), and
thank you for your note and slip. By Jove you have attacked Bigotry in its
stronghold. I thought you would have been mobbed. I am so glad that you
will publish your Lectures. You seem to have kept a due medium between
extreme boldness and caution. I am heartily glad that all went off so
well. I hope Mrs. Huxley is pretty well...I must say one word on the
Hybrid question. No doubt you are right that here is a great hiatus in the
argument; yet I think you overrate it--you never allude to the excellent
evidence of VARIETIES of Verbascum and Nicotiana being partially sterile
together. It is curious to me to read (as I have to-day) the greatest
crossing GARDENER utterly pooh-poohing the distinction which BOTANISTS make
on this head, and insisting how frequently crossed VARIETIES produce
sterile offspring. Do oblige me by reading the latter half of my Primula
paper in the 'Linn. Journal,' for it leads me to suspect that sterility
will hereafter have to be largely viewed as an acquired or SELECTED
character--a view which I wish I had had facts to maintain in the 'Origin.'
(The view here given will be discussed in the chapter on hetero-styled

Down, January 25 [1862].

My dear Hooker,

Many thanks for your last Sunday's letter, which was one of the pleasantest
I ever received in my life. We are all pretty well redivivus, and I am at
work again. I thought it best to make a clean breast to Asa Gray; and told
him that the Boston dinner, etc. etc., had quite turned my stomach, and
that I almost thought it would be good for the peace of the world if the
United States were split up; on the other hand, I said that I groaned to
think of the slave-holders being triumphant, and that the difficulties of
making a line of separation were fearful. I wonder what he will say...Your
notion of the Aristocrat being kenspeckle, and the best men of a good lot
being thus easily selected is new to me, and striking. The 'Origin' having
made you in fact a jolly old Tory, made us all laugh heartily. I have
sometimes speculated on this subject; primogeniture (My father had a strong
feeling as to the injustice of primogeniture, and in a similar spirit was
often indignant over the unfair wills that appear from time to time. He
would declare energetically that if he were law-giver no will should be
valid that was not published in the testator's lifetime; and this he
maintained would prevent much of the monstrous injustice and meanness
apparent in so many wills.) is dreadfully opposed to selection; suppose the
first-born bull was necessarily made by each farmer the begetter of his
stock! On the other hand, as you say, ablest men are continually raised to
the peerage, and get crossed with the older Lord-breeds, and the Lords
continually select the most beautiful and charming women out of the lower
ranks; so that a good deal of indirect selection improves the Lords.
Certainly I agree with you the present American row has a very Torifying
influence on us all. I am very glad to hear you are beginning to print the
'Genera;' it is a wonderful satisfaction to be thus brought to bed, indeed
it is one's chief satisfaction, I think, though one knows that another
bantling will soon be developing...

CHARLES DARWIN TO MAXWELL MASTERS. (Dr. Masters is a well-known vegetable
teratologist, and has been for many years the editor of the "Gardeners'
Down, February 26 [1862].

My dear Sir,

I am much obliged to you for sending me your article (Refers to a paper on
"Vegetable Morphology," by Dr. Masters, in the 'British and Foreign Medico-
Chirurgical Review' for 1862), which I have just read with much interest.
The history, and a good deal besides, was quite new to me. It seems to me
capitally done, and so clearly written. You really ought to write your
larger work. You speak too generously of my book; but I must confess that
you have pleased me not a little; for no one, as far as I know, has ever
remarked on what I say on classification--a part, which when I wrote it,
pleased me. With many thanks to you for sending me your article, pray
believe me,

My dear Sir, yours sincerely,

[In the spring of this year (1862) my father read the second volume of
Buckle's 'History of Civilisation." The following strongly expressed
opinion about it may be worth quoting:--

"Have you read Buckle's second volume? It has interested me greatly; I do
not care whether his views are right or wrong, but I should think they
contained much truth. There is a noble love of advancement and truth
throughout; and to my taste he is the very best writer of the English
language that ever lived, let the other be who he may."]

Down, March 15 [1862].

My dear Gray,

Thanks for the newspapers (though they did contain digs at England), and
for your note of February 18th. It is really almost a pleasure to receive
stabs from so smooth, polished, and sharp a dagger as your pen. I heartily
wish I could sympathise more fully with you, instead of merely hating the
South. We cannot enter into your feelings; if Scotland were to rebel, I
presume we should be very wrath, but I do not think we should care a penny
what other nations thought. The millennium must come before nations love
each other; but try and do not hate me. Think of me, if you will as a poor
blinded fool. I fear the dreadful state of affairs must dull your interest
in Science...

I believe that your pamphlet has done my book GREAT good; and I thank you
from my heart for myself; and believing that the views are in large part
true, I must think that you have done natural science a good turn. Natural
Selection seems to be making a little progress in England and on the
Continent; a new German edition is called for, and a French (In June, 1862,
my father wrote to Dr. Gray: "I received, 2 or 3 days ago, a French
translation of the 'Origin,' by a Madlle. Royer, who must be one of the
cleverest and oddest women in Europe: is an ardent Deist, and hates
Christianity, and declares that natural selection and the struggle for life
will explain all morality, nature of man, politics, etc. etc.! She makes
some very curious and good hits, and says she shall publish a book on these
subjects." Madlle. Royer added foot-notes to her translation, and in many
places where the author expresses great doubt, she explains the difficulty,
or points out that no real difficulty exists.) one has just appeared. One
of the best men, though at present unknown, who has taken up these views,
is Mr. Bates; pray read his 'Travels in Amazonia,' when they appear; they
will be very good, judging from MS. of the first two chapters.

...Again I say, do not hate me.

Ever yours most truly,

1 Carlton Terrace, Southampton (The house of his son William.),
August 22, [1862].

...I heartily hope that you (I.e. 'The Antiquity of Man.') will be out in say that the Bishop and Owen will be down on you; the latter
hardly can, for I was assured that Owen in his Lectures this spring
advanced as a new idea that wingless birds had lost their wings by disuse,
also that magpies stole spoons, etc., from a REMNANT of some instinct like
that of the Bower-Bird, which ornaments its playing-passage with pretty
feathers. Indeed, I am told that he hinted plainly that all birds are
descended from one...

Your P.S. touches on, as it seems to me, very difficult points. I am glad
to see [that] in the 'Origin,' I only say that the naturalists generally
consider that low organisms vary more than high; and this I think certainly
is the general opinion. I put the statement this way to show that I
considered it only an opinion probably true. I must own that I do not at
all trust even Hooker's contrary opinion, as I feel pretty sure that he has
not tabulated any result. I have some materials at home, I think I
attempted to make this point out, but cannot remember the result.

Mere variability, though the necessary foundation of all modifications, I
believe to be almost always present, enough to allow of any amount of
selected change; so that it does not seem to me at all incompatible that a
group which at any one period (or during all successive periods) varies
less, should in the long course of time have undergone more modification
than a group which is generally more variable.

Placental animals, e.g. might be at each period less variable than
Marsupials, and nevertheless have undergone more DIFFERENTIATION and
development than marsupials, owing to some advantage, probably brain

I am surprised, but do not pretend to form an opinion at Hooker's statement
that higher species, genera, etc., are best limited. It seems to me a bold

Looking to the 'Origin,' I see that I state that the productions of the
land seem to change quicker than those of the sea (Chapter X., page 339, 3d
edition), and I add there is some reason to believe that organisms
considered high in the scale change quicker than those that are low. I
remember writing these sentences after much deliberation...I remember well
feeling much hesitation about putting in even the guarded sentences which I
did. My doubts, I remember, related to the rate of change of the Radiata
in the Secondary formation, and of the Foraminifera in the oldest Tertiary

Good night,

Down, October 1 [1862].

...I found here (On his return from Bournemouth.) a short and very kind
note of Falconer, with some pages of his 'Elephant Memoir,' which will be
published, in which he treats admirably on long persistence of type. I
thought he was going to make a good and crushing attack on me, but to my
great satisfaction, he ends by pointing out a loophole, and adds (Falconer,
"On the American Fossil Elephant," in the 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1863, page
81. The words preceding those cited by my father make the meaning of his
quotation clearer. The passage begins as follows: "The inferences which I
draw from these facts are not opposed to one of the leading propositions of
Darwin's theory. With him," etc. etc.) "with him I have no faith that the
mammoth and other extinct elephants made their appearance suddenly...The
most rational view seems to be that they are the modified descendants of
earlier progenitors, etc." This is capital. There will not be soon one
good palaeontologist who believes in immutability. Falconer does not allow
for the Proboscidean group being a failing one, and therefore not likely to
be giving off new races.

He adds that he does not think Natural Selection suffices. I do not quite
see the force of his argument, and he apparently overlooks that I say over
and over again that Natural Selection can do nothing without variability,
and that variability is subject to the most complex fixed laws...

[In his letters to Sir J.D. Hooker, about the end of this year, are
occasional notes on the progress of the 'Variation of Animals and Plants.'
Thus on November 24th he wrote: "I hardly know why I am a little sorry,
but my present work is leading me to believe rather more in the direct
action of physical conditions. I presume I regret it, because it lessens
the glory of natural selection, and is so confoundedly doubtful. Perhaps I
shall change again when I get all my facts under one point of view, and a
pretty hard job this will be."

Again, on December 22nd, "To-day I have begun to think of arranging my
concluding chapters on Inheritance, Reversion, Selection, and such things,
and am fairly paralyzed how to begin and how to end, and what to do, with
my huge piles of materials."]

Down, November 6 [1862].

My dear Gray,

When your note of October 4th and 13th (chiefly about Max Muller) arrived,
I was nearly at the end of the same book ('Lectures on the Science of
Language,' 1st edition 1861.), and had intended recommending you to read
it. I quite agree that it is extremely interesting, but the latter part
about the FIRST origin of language much the least satisfactory. It is a
marvellous problem...[There are] covert sneers at me, which he seems to get
the better of towards the close of the book. I cannot quite see how it
will forward "my cause," as you call it; but I can see how any one with
literary talent (I do not feel up to it) could make great use of the
subject in illustration. (Language was treated in the manner here
indicated by Sir C. Lyell in the 'Antiquity of Man.' Also by Prof.
Schleicher, whose pamphlet was fully noticed in the "Reader", February 27,
1864 (as I learn from one of Prof. Huxley's 'Lay Sermons').) What pretty
metaphors you would make from it! I wish some one would keep a lot of the
most noisy monkeys, half free, and study their means of communication!

A book has just appeared here which will, I suppose, make a noise, by
Bishop Colenso ('The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined,'
six parts, 1862-71.), who, judging from extracts, smashes most of the Old
testament. Talking of books, I am in the middle of one which pleases me,
though it is very innocent food, viz., Miss Coopers 'Journal of a
Naturalist.' Who is she? She seems a very clever woman, and gives a
capital account of the battle between OUR and YOUR weeds. Does it not hurt
your Yankee pride that we thrash you so confoundedly? I am sure Mrs. Gray
will stick up for your own weeds. Ask her whether they are not more
honest, downright good sort of weeds. The book gives an extremely pretty
picture of one of your villages; but I see your autumn, though so much more
gorgeous than ours, comes on sooner, and that is one comfort...

Down, November 20 [1862].

Dear Bates,

I have just finished, after several reads, your paper. (This refers to Mr.
Bates's paper, "Contributions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazons Valley"
('Linn. Soc. Trans.' xxiii., 1862), in which the now familiar subject of
mimicry was founded. My father wrote a short review of it in the 'Natural
History Review,' 1863, page 219, parts of which occur in this review almost
verbatim in the later editions of the 'Origin of Species.' A striking
passage occurs showing the difficulties of the case from a creationist's
point of view:--

"By what means, it may be asked, have so many butterflies of the Amazonian
region acquired their deceptive dress? Most naturalists will answer that
they were thus clothed from the hour of their creation--an answer which
will generally be so far triumphant that it can be met only by long-drawn
arguments; but it is made at the expense of putting an effectual bar to all
further enquiry. In this particular case, moreover, the creationist will
meet with special difficulties; for many of the mimicking forms of Leptalis
can be shown by a graduated series to be merely varieties of one species;
other mimickers are undoubtedly distinct species, or even distinct genera.
So again, some of the mimicked forms can be shown to be merely varieties;
but the greater number must be ranked as distinct species. Hence the
creationist will have to admit that some of these forms have become
imitators, by means of the laws of variation, whilst others he must look at
as separately created under their present guise; he will further have to
admit that some have been created in imitation of forms not themselves
created as we now see them, but due to the laws of variation? Prof.
Agassiz, indeed, would think nothing of this difficulty; for he believes
that not only each species and each variety, but that groups of
individuals, though identically the same, when inhabiting distinct
countries, have been all separately created in due proportional numbers to
the wants of each land. Not many naturalists will be content thus to
believe that varieties and individuals have been turned out all ready made,
almost as a manufacturer turns out toys according to the temporary demand
of the market.") In my opinion it is one of the most remarkable and
admirable papers I ever read in my life. The mimetic cases are truly
marvellous, and you connect excellently a host of analogous facts. The
illustrations are beautiful, and seem very well chosen; but it would have
saved the reader not a little trouble, if the name of each had been
engraved below each separate figure. No doubt this would have put the
engraver into fits, as it would have destroyed the beauty of the plate. I
am not at all surprised at such a paper having consumed much time. I am
rejoiced that I passed over the whole subject in the 'Origin,' for I should
have made a precious mess of it. You have most clearly stated and solved a
wonderful problem. No doubt with most people this will be the cream of the
paper; but I am not sure that all your facts and reasonings on variation,
and on the segregation of complete and semi-complete species, is not really
more, or at least as valuable, a part. I never conceived the process
nearly so clearly before; one feels present at the creation of new forms.
I wish, however, you had enlarged a little more on the pairing of similar
varieties; a rather more numerous body of facts seems here wanted. Then,
again, what a host of curious miscellaneous observations there are--as on
related sexual and individual variability: these will some day, if I live,
be a treasure to me.

With respect to mimetic resemblance being so common with insects, do you
not think it may be connected with their small size; they cannot defend
themselves; they cannot escape by flight, at least, from birds, therefore
they escape by trickery and deception?

I have one serious criticism to make, and that is about the title of the
paper; I cannot but think that you ought to have called prominent attention
in it to the mimetic resemblances. Your paper is too good to be largely
appreciated by the mob of naturalists without souls; but, rely on it, that
it will have LASTING value, and I cordially congratulate you on your first
great work. You will find, I should think, that Wallace will fully
appreciate it. How gets on your book? Keep your spirits up. A book is no
light labour. I have been better lately, and working hard, but my health
is very indifferent. How is your health? Believe me, dear Bates,

Yours very sincerely,





[His book on animals and plants under domestication was my father's chief
employment in the year 1863. His diary records the length of time spent
over the composition of its chapters, and shows the rate at which he
arranged and wrote out for printing the observations and deductions of
several years.

The three chapters in volume ii. on inheritance, which occupy 84 pages of
print, were begun in January and finished on April 1st; the five on
crossing, making 106 pages, were written in eight weeks, while the two
chapters on selection, covering 57 pages, were begun on June 16th and
finished on July 20th.

The work was more than once interrupted by ill health, and in September,
what proved to be the beginning of a six month's illness, forced him to
leave home for the water-cure at Malvern. He returned in October and
remained ill and depressed, in spite of the hopeful opinion of one of the
most cheery and skilful physicians of the day. Thus he wrote to Sir J.D.
Hooker in November:--

"Dr. Brinton has been here (recommended by Busk); he does not believe my
brain or heart are primarily affected, but I have been so steadily going
down hill, I cannot help doubting whether I can ever crawl a little uphill
again. Unless I can, enough to work a little, I hope my life may be very
short, for to lie on a sofa all day and do nothing but give trouble to the
best and kindest of wives and good dear children is dreadful."

The minor works in this year were a short paper in the 'Natural History
Review' (N.S. vol. iii. page 115), entitled "On the so-called 'Auditory-
Sac' of Cirripedes," and one in the 'Geological Society's Journal' (vol.
xix), on the "Thickness of the Pampaean Formation near Buenos Ayres." The
paper on Cirripedes was called forth by the criticisms of a German
naturalist Krohn (Krohn stated that the structures described by my father
as ovaries were in reality salivary glands, also that the oviduct runs down
to the orifice described in the 'Monograph of the Cirripedia' as the
auditory meatus.), and is of some interest in illustration of my father's
readiness to admit an error.

With regard to the spread of a belief in Evolution, it could not yet be
said that the battle was won, but the growth of belief was undoubtedly
rapid. So that, for instance, Charles Kingsley could write to F.D. Maurice
(Kingsley's 'Life,' ii, page 171.):

"The state of the scientific mind is most curious; Darwin is conquering
everywhere, and rushing in like a flood, by the mere force of truth and

Mr. Huxley was as usual active in guiding and stimulating the growing
tendency to tolerate or accept the views set forth in the 'Origin of
Species.' He gave a series of lectures to working men at the School of
Mines in November, 1862. These were printed in 1863 from the shorthand
notes of Mr. May, as six little blue books, price 4 pence each, under the
title, 'Our Knowledge of the Causes of Organic Nature.' When published
they were read with interest by my father, who thus refers to them in a
letter to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"I am very glad you like Huxley's lectures. I have been very much struck
with them, especially with the 'Philosophy of Induction.' I have
quarrelled with him for overdoing sterility and ignoring cases from Gartner
and Kolreuter about sterile varieties. His Geology is obscure; and I
rather doubt about man's mind and language. But it seems to me ADMIRABLY
done, and, as you say, "Oh my," about the praise of the 'Origin.' I can't
help liking it, which makes me rather ashamed of myself."

My father admired the clearness of exposition shown in the lectures, and in
the following letter urges their author to make use of his powers for the
advantage of students:]

November 5 [1864].

I want to make a suggestion to you, but which may probably have occurred to
you. -- was reading your Lectures and ended by saying, "I wish he would
write a book." I answered, "he has just written a great book on the
skull." "I don't call that a book," she replied, and added, "I want
something that people can read; he does write so well." Now, with your
ease in writing, and with knowledge at your fingers' ends, do you not think
you could write a popular Treatise on Zoology? Of course it would be some
waste of time, but I have been asked more than a dozen times to recommend
something for a beginner and could only think of Carpenter's Zoology. I am
sure that a striking Treatise would do real service to science by educating
naturalists. If you were to keep a portfolio open for a couple of years,
and throw in slips of paper as subjects crossed your mind, you would soon
have a skeleton (and that seems to me the difficulty) on which to put the
flesh and colours in your inimitable manner. I believe such a book might
have a brilliant success, but I did not intend to scribble so much about

Give my kindest remembrance to Mrs. Huxley, and tell her I was looking at
'Enoch Arden,' and as I know how she admires Tennyson, I must call her
attention to two sweetly pretty lines (page 105)...

...and he meant, he said he meant,
Perhaps he meant, or partly meant, you well.

Such a gem as this is enough to make me young again, and like poetry with
pristine fervour.

My dear Huxley,
Yours affectionately,

[In another letter (January 1865) he returns to the above suggestion,
though he was in general strongly opposed to men of science giving up to
the writing of text-books, or to teaching, the time that might otherwise
have been given to original research.

"I knew there was very little chance of your having time to write a popular
Treatise on Zoology, but you are about the one man who could do it. At the
time I felt it would be almost a sin for you to do it, as it would of
course destroy some original work. On the other hand I sometimes think
that general and popular treatises are almost as important for the progress
of science as original work."

The series of letters will continue the history of the year 1863.]

Down, January 3 [1863].

My dear Hooker,

I am burning with indignation and must exhale...I could not get to sleep
till past 3 last night for indignation (It would serve no useful purpose if
I were to go into the matter which so strongly roused my father's anger.
It was a question of literary dishonesty, in which a friend was the
sufferer, but which in no way affected himself.)...

Now for pleasanter subjects; we were all amused at your defence of stamp
collecting and collecting generally...But, by Jove, I can hardly stomach a
grown man collecting stamps. Who would ever have thought of your
collecting Wedgwoodware! but that is wholly different, like engravings or
pictures. We are degenerate descendants of old Josiah W., for we have not
a bit of pretty ware in the house.

...Notwithstanding the very pleasant reason you give for our not enjoying a
holiday, namely, that we have no vices, it is a horrid bore. I have been
trying for health's sake to be idle, with no success. What I shall now
have to do, will be to erect a tablet in Down Church, "Sacred to the
Memory, etc.," and officially die, and then publish books, "by the late
Charles Darwin," for I cannot think what has come over me of late; I always
suffered from the excitement of talking, but now it has become ludicrous.
I talked lately 1 1/2 hours (broken by tea by myself) with my nephew, and I
was [ill] half the night. It is a fearful evil for self and family.

Good-night. Ever yours.

[The following letter to Sir Julius von Haast (Sir Julius von Haast was a
German by birth, but had long been resident in New Zealand. He was, in
1862, Government Geologist to the Province of Canterbury.), is an example
of the sympathy which he felt with the spread and growth of science in the
colonies. It was a feeling not expressed once only, but was frequently
present in his mind, and often found utterance. When we, at Cambridge, had
the satisfaction of receiving Sir J. von Haast into our body as a Doctor of
Science (July 1886), I had the opportunity of hearing from him of the vivid
pleasure which this, and other letters from my father, gave him. It was
pleasant to see how strong had been the impression made by my father's
warm-hearted sympathy--an impression which seemed, after more than twenty
years, to be as fresh as when it was first received:]

Down, January 22 [1863].

Dear Sir,

I thank you most sincerely for sending me your Address and the Geological
Report. (Address to the 'Philosophical Institute of Canterbury (N.Z.).'
The "Report" is given in "The New Zealand Government Gazette, Province of
Canterbury", October 1862.) I have seldom in my life read anything more
spirited and interesting than your address. The progress of your colony
makes one proud, and it is really admirable to see a scientific institution
founded in so young a nation. I thank you for the very honourable notice
of my 'Origin of Species.' You will easily believe how much I have been
interested by your striking facts on the old glacial period, and I suppose
the world might be searched in vain for so grand a display of terraces.
You have, indeed, a noble field for scientific research and discovery. I
have been extremely much interested by what you say about the tracks of
supposed [living] mammalia. Might I ask, if you succeed in discovering
what the creatures are, you would have the great kindness to inform me?
Perhaps they may turn out something like the Solenhofen bird creature, with
its long tail and fingers, with claws to its wings! I may mention that in
South America, in completely uninhabited regions, I found spring rat-traps,
baited with CHEESE, were very successful in catching the smaller mammals.
I would venture to suggest to you to urge on some of the capable members of
your institution to observe annually the rate and manner of spreading of
European weeds and insects, and especially to observe WHAT NATIVE PLANTS
MOST FAIL; this latter point has never been attended to. Do the introduced
hive-bees replace any other insect? etc. All such points are, in my
opinion, great desiderata in science. What an interesting discovery that
of the remains of prehistoric man!

Believe me, dear Sir,
With the most cordial respect and thanks,
Yours very faithfully,

CHARLES DARWIN TO CAMILLE DARESTE. (Professor Dareste is a well-known
worker in Animal Teratology. He was in 1863 living at Lille, but has since
then been called to Paris. My father took a special interest in Dareste's
work on the production of monsters, as bearing on the causes of variation.)
Down, February 16 [1863].

Dear and respected Sir,

I thank you sincerely for your letter and your pamphlet. I had heard (I
think in one of M. Quatrefages' books) of your work, and was most anxious
to read it, but did not know where to find it. You could not have made me
a more valuable present. I have only just returned home, and have not yet
read your work; when I do if I wish to ask any questions I will venture to
trouble you. Your approbation of my book on Species has gratified me
extremely. Several naturalists in England, North America, and Germany,
have declared that their opinions on the subject have in some degree been
modified, but as far as I know, my book has produced no effect whatever in
France, and this makes me the more gratified by your very kind expression
of approbation. Pray believe me, dear Sir, with much respect,

Yours faithfully and obliged,

Down, February 24 [1863].

My dear Hooker,

I am astonished at your note, I have not seen the "Athenaeum" (In the
'Antiquity of Man,' first edition, page 480, Lyell criticised somewhat
severely Owen's account of the difference between the Human and Simian
brains. The number of the "Athenaeum" here referred to (1863, page 262)
contains a reply by Professor Owen to Lyell's strictures. The surprise
expressed by my father was at the revival of a controversy which every one
believed to be closed. Prof. Huxley ("Medical Times", October 25, 1862,
quoted in 'Man's Place in Nature,' page 117) spoke of the "two years during
which this preposterous controversy has dragged its weary length." And
this no doubt expressed a very general feeling.) but I have sent for it,
and may get it to-morrow; and will then say what I think.

I have read Lyell's book. ['The Antiquity of Man.'] the whole certainty
struck me as a compilation, but of the highest class, for when possible the
facts have been verified on the spot, making it almost an original work.
The Glacial chapters seem to me best, and in parts magnificent. I could
hardly judge about Man, as all the gloss of novelty was completely worn
off. But certainly the aggregation of the evidence produced a very
striking effect on my mind. The chapter comparing language and changes of
species, seems most ingenious and interesting. He has shown great skill in
picking out salient points in the argument for change of species; but I am
deeply disappointed (I do not mean personally) to find that his timidity
prevents him giving any judgment...From all my communications with him I
must ever think that he has really entirely lost faith in the immutability
of species; and yet one of his strongest sentences is nearly as follows:
"If it should EVER (The italics are not Lyell's.) be rendered highly
probable that species change by variation and natural selection," etc.,
etc. I had hoped he would have guided the public as far as his own belief
went...One thing does please me on this subject, that he seems to
appreciate your work. No doubt the public or a part may be induced to
think that as he gives to us a larger space than to Lamarck, he must think
there is something in our views. When reading the brain chapter, it struck
me forcibly that if he had said openly that he believed in change of
species, and as a consequence that man was derived from some Quadrumanous
animal, it would have been very proper to have discussed by compilation the
differences in the most important organ, viz. the brain. As it is, the
chapter seems to me to come in rather by the head and shoulders. I do not
think (but then I am as prejudiced as Falconer and Huxley, or more so) that
it is too severe; it struck me as given with judicial force. It might
perhaps be said with truth that he had no business to judge on a subject on
which he knows nothing; but compilers must do this to a certain extent.
(You know I value and rank high compilers, being one myself!) I have taken
you at your word, and scribbled at great length. If I get the "Athenaeum"
to-morrow, I will add my impression of Owen's letter.

...The Lyells are coming here on Sunday evening to stay till Wednesday. I
dread it, but I must say how much disappointed I am that he has not spoken
out on species, still less on man. And the best of the joke is that he
thinks he has acted with the courage of a martyr of old. I hope I may have
taken an exaggerated view of his timidity, and shall PARTICULARLY be glad
of your opinion on this head. (On this subject my father wrote to Sir
Joseph Hooker: "Cordial thanks for your deeply interesting letters about
Lyell, Owen, and Co. I cannot say how glad I am to hear that I have not
been unjust about the species-question towards Lyell. I feared I had been
unreasonable.") When I got his book I turned over the pages, and saw he
had discussed the subject of species, and said that I thought he would do
more to convert the public than all of us, and now (which makes the case
worse for me) I must, in common honesty, retract. I wish to Heaven he had
said not a word on the subject.


I have read the "Athenaeum". I do not think Lyell will be nearly so much
annoyed as you expect. The concluding sentence is no doubt very stinging.
No one but a good anatomist could unravel Owen's letter; at least it is
quite beyond me.

...Lyell's memory plays him false when he says all anatomists were
astonished at Owen's paper ("On the Characters, etc., of the Class
Mammalia." 'Linn. Soc. Journal,' ii, 1858.); it was often quoted with
approbation. I WELL remember Lyell's admiration at this new
classification! (Do not repeat this.) I remember it, because, though I
knew nothing whatever about the brain, I felt a conviction that a
classification thus founded on a single character would break down, and it
seemed to me a great error not to separate more completely the

What an accursed evil it is that there should be all this quarrelling
within, what ought to be, the peaceful realms of science. I will go to my
own present subject of inheritance and forget it all for a time. Farewell,
my dear old friend,


Down, February 23 [1863].

...If you have time to read you will be interested by parts of Lyell's book
on man; but I fear that the best part, about the Glacial period, may be too
geological for any one except a regular geologist. He quotes you at the
end with gusto. By the way, he told me the other day how pleased some had
been by hearing that they could purchase your pamphlet. The "Parthenon"
also speaks of it as the ablest contribution to the literature of the
subject. It delights me when I see your work appreciated.

The Lyells come here this day week, and I shall grumble at his excessive
caution...The public may well say, if such a man dare not or will not speak
out his mind, how can we who are ignorant form even a guess on the subject?
Lyell was pleased when I told him lately that you thought that language
might be used as an excellent illustration of derivation of species; you
will see that he has an ADMIRABLE chapter on this...

I read Cairns's excellent Lecture (Prof. J.E. Cairns, 'The Slave Power,
etc.: an attempt to explain the real issues involved in the American
contest.' 1862.), which shows so well how your quarrel arose from Slavery.
It made me for a time wish honestly for the North; but I could never help,
though I tried, all the time thinking how we should be bullied and forced
into a war by you, when you were triumphant. But I do most truly think it
dreadful that the South, with its accursed slavery, should triumph, and
spread the evil. I think if I had power, which thank God, I have not, I
would let you conquer the border States, and all west of the Mississippi,
and then force you to acknowledge the cotton States. For do you not now
begin to doubt whether you can conquer and hold them? I have inflicted a
long tirade on you.

"The Times" is getting more detestable (but that is too weak a word) than
ever. My good wife wishes to give it up, but I tell her that is a pitch of
heroism to which only a woman is equal. To give up the "Bloody Old
'Times'," as Cobbett used to call it, would be to give up meat, drink and
air. Farewell, my dear Gray,

Yours most truly,

Down, March 6, [1863].

...I have been of course deeply interested by your book. ('Antiquity of
Man.') I have hardly any remarks worth sending, but will scribble a little
on what most interested me. But I will first get out what I hate saying,
viz., that I have been greatly disappointed that you have not given
judgment and spoken fairly out what you think about the derivation of
species. I should have been contented if you had boldly said that species
have not been separately created, and had thrown as much doubt as you like
on how far variation and natural selection suffices. I hope to Heaven I am
wrong (and from what you say about Whewell it seems so), but I cannot see
how your chapters can do more good than an extraordinary able review. I
think the "Parthenon" is right, that you will leave the public in a fog.
No doubt they may infer that as you give more space to myself, Wallace, and
Hooker, than to Lamarck, you think more of us. But I had always thought
that your judgment would have been an epoch in the subject. All that is
over with me, and I will only think on the admirable skill with which you
have selected the striking points, and explained them. No praise can be
too strong, in my opinion, for the inimitable chapter on language in
comparison with species.

(After speculating on the sudden appearance of individuals far above the
average of the human race, Lyell asks if such leaps upwards in the scale of
intellect may not "have cleared at one bound the space which separated the
higher stage of the unprogressive intelligence of the inferior animals from
the first and lowest form of improvable reason manifested by man.") page
505--A sentence at the top of the page makes me groan...

I know you will forgive me for writing with perfect freedom, for you must
know how deeply I respect you as my old honoured guide and master. I
heartily hope and expect that your book will have gigantic circulation and
may do in many ways as much good as it ought to do. I am tired, so no
more. I have written so briefly that you will have to guess my meaning. I
fear my remarks are hardly worth sending. Farewell, with kindest
remembrance to Lady Lyell.

Ever yours,

[Mr. Huxley has quoted (vol. i. page 546) some passages from Lyell's
letters which show his state of mind at this time. The following passage,
from a letter of March 11th to my father, is also of much interest:--

"My feelings, however, more than any thought about policy or expediency,
prevent me from dogmatising as to the descent of man from the brutes,
which, though I am prepared to accept it, takes away much of the charm from
my speculations on the past relating to such matters...But you ought to be
satisfied, as I shall bring hundreds towards you who, if I treated the
matter more dogmatically, would have rebelled."]

Down, 12 [March, 1863].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you for your very interesting and kind, I may say, charming letter.
I feared you might be huffed for a little time with me. I know some men
would have been so. I have hardly any more criticisms, anyhow, worth
writing. But I may mention that I felt a little surprise that old B. de
Perthes (1788-1868. See footnote below.) was not rather more honourably
mentioned. I would suggest whether you could not leave out some references
to the 'Principles;' one for the real student is as good as a hundred, and
it is rather irritating, and gives a feeling of incompleteness to the
general reader to be often referred to other books. As you say that you
have gone as far as you believe on the species question, I have not a word
to say; but I must feel convinced that at times, judging from conversation,
expressions, letters, etc., you have as completely given up belief in
immutability of specific forms as I have done. I must still think a clear
expression from you, IF YOU COULD HAVE GIVEN IT, would have been potent
with the public, and all the more so, as you formerly held opposite
opinions. The more I work the more satisfied I become with variation and
natural selection, but that part of the case I look at as less important,
though more interesting to me personally. As you ask for criticisms on
this head (and believe me that I should not have made them unasked), I may
specify (pages 412, 413) that such words as "Mr. D. labours to show," "is
believed by the author to throw light," would lead a common reader to think
that you yourself do NOT at all agree, but merely think it fair to give my
opinion. Lastly, you refer repeatedly to my view as a modification of
Lamarck's doctrine of development and progression. If this is your
deliberate opinion there is nothing to be said, but it does not seem so to
me. Plato, Buffon, my grandfather before Lamarck, and others, propounded
the OBVIOUS views that if species were not created separately they must
have descended from other species, and I can see nothing else in common
between the 'Origin' and Lamarck. I believe this way of putting the case
is very injurious to its acceptance, as it implies necessary progression,
and closely connects Wallace's and my views with what I consider, after two
deliberate readings, as a wretched book, and one from which (I well
remember my surprise) I gained nothing. But I know you rank it higher,
which is curious, as it did not in the least shake your belief. But
enough, and more than enough. Please remember you have brought it all down
on yourself!!!

I am very sorry to hear about Falconer's "reclamation." ("Falconer, whom I
referred to oftener than to any other author, says I have not done justice
to the part he took in resuscitating the cave question, and says he shall
come out with a separate paper to prove it. I offered to alter anything in
the new edition, but this he declined.--C. Lyell to C. Darwin, March 11,
1863; Lyell's 'Life,' vol. ii. page 364.) I hate the very word, and have a
sincere affection for him.

Did you ever read anything so wretched as the "Athenaeum" reviews of you,
and of Huxley ('Man's Place in Nature,' 1863.) especially. Your OBJECT to
make man old, and Huxley's OBJECT to degrade him. The wretched writer has
not a glimpse what the discovery of scientific truth means. How splendid
some pages are in Huxley, but I fear the book will not be popular...

Down [March 13, 1863].

I should have thanked you sooner for the "Athenaeum" and very pleasant
previous note, but I have been busy, and not a little uncomfortable from
frequent uneasy feeling of fullness, slight pain and tickling about the
heart. But as I have no other symptoms of heart complaint I do not suppose
it is affected...I have had a most kind and delightfully candid letter from
Lyell, who says he spoke out as far as he believes. I have no doubt his
belief failed him as he wrote, for I feel sure that at times he no more
believed in Creation than you or I. I have grumbled a bit in my answer to
him at his ALWAYS classing my work as a modification of Lamarck's, which it
is no more than any author who did not believe in immutability of species,
and did believe in descent. I am very sorry to hear from Lyell that
Falconer is going to publish a formal reclamation of his own claims...

It is cruel to think of it, but we must go to Malvern in the middle of
April; it is ruin to me. (He went to Hartfield in Sussex, on April 27, and
to Malvern in the autumn.)...

Down, March 17 [1863].

My dear Lyell,

I have been much interested by your letters and enclosure, and thank you
sincerely for giving me so much time when you must be so busy. What a
curious letter from B. de P. [Boucher de Perthes]. He seems perfectly
satisfied, and must be a very amiable man. I know something about his
errors, and looked at his book many years ago, and am ashamed to think that
I concluded the whole was rubbish! Yet he has done for man something like
what Agassiz did for glaciers. (In his 'Antiquites Celtiques' (1847),
Boucher de Perthes described the flint tools found at Abbeville with bones
of rhinoceros, hyaena, etc. "But the scientific world had no faith in the
statement that works of art, however rude, had been met with in undisturbed
beds of such antiquity." ('Antiquity of Man,' first edition, page 95).)

I cannot say that I agree with Hooker about the public not liking to be
told what to conclude, IF COMING FROM ONE IN YOUR POSITION. But I am
heartily sorry that I was led to make complaints, or something very like
complaints, on the manner in which you have treated the subject, and still
more so anything about myself. I steadily ENDEAVOUR never to forget my
firm belief that no one can at all judge about his own work. As for
Lamarck, as you have such a man as Grove with you, you are triumphant; not
that I can alter my opinion that to me it was an absolutely useless book.
Perhaps this was owing to my always searching books for facts, perhaps from
knowing my grandfather's earlier and identically the same speculation. I
will only further say that if I can analyse my own feelings (a very
doubtful process), it is nearly as much for your sake as for my own, that I
so much wish that your state of belief could have permitted you to say
boldly and distinctly out that species were not separately created. I have
generally told you the progress of opinion, as I have heard it, on the
species question. A first-rate German naturalist (No doubt Haeckel, whose
monograph on the Radiolaria was published in 1862. In the same year
Professor W. Preyer of Jena published a dissertation on Alca impennis,
which was one of the earliest pieces of special work on the basis of the
'Origin of Species.') (I now forget the name!), who has lately published a
grand folio, has spoken out to the utmost extent on the 'Origin.' De
Candolle, in a very good paper on "Oaks," goes, in Asa Gray's opinion, as
far as he himself does; but De Candolle, in writing to me, says WE, "we
think this and that;" so that I infer he really goes to the full extent
with me, and tells me of a French good botanical palaeontologist (name
forgotten) (The Marquis de Saporta.), who writes to De Candolle that he is
sure that my views will ultimately prevail. But I did not intend to have
written all this. It satisfies me with the final results, but this result,
I begin to see, will take two or three lifetimes. The entomologists are
enough to keep the subject back for half a century. I really pity your
having to balance the claims of so many eager aspirants for notice; it is
clearly impossible to satisfy all...Certainly I was struck with the full
and due honour you conferred on Falconer. I have just had a note from
Hooker...I am heartily glad that you have made him so conspicuous; he is so
honest, so candid, and so modest...

I have read --. I could find nothing to lay hold of, which in one sense I
am very glad of, as I should hate a controversy; but in another sense I am
very sorry for, as I long to be in the same boat with all my friends...I am
heartily glad the book is going off so well.

Ever yours,

Down [March 29, 1863].

...Many thanks for "Athenaeum", received this morning, and to be returned
to-morrow morning. Who would have ever thought of the old stupid
"Athenaeum" taking to Oken-like transcendental philosophy written in
Owenian style! (This refers to a review of Dr. Carpenter's 'Introduction
to the study of Foraminifera,' that appeared in the "Athenaeum" of March
28, 1863 (page 417). The reviewer attacks Dr. Carpenter's views in as much
as they support the doctrine of Descent; and he upholds spontaneous
generation (Heterogeny) in place of what Dr. Carpenter, naturally enough,
believed in, viz. the genetic connection of living and extinct
Foraminifera. In the next number is a letter by Dr. Carpenter, which
chiefly consists of a protest against the reviewer's somewhat contemptuous
classification of Dr. Carpenter and my father as disciple and master. In
the course of the letter Dr. Carpenter says--page 461:--

"Under the influence of his foregone conclusion that I have accepted Mr.
Darwin as my master, and his hypothesis as my guide, your reviewer
represents me as blind to the significance of the general fact stated by
me, that 'there has been no advance in the foraminiferous type from the
palaeozoic period to the present time.' But for such a foregone conclusion
he would have recognised in this statement the expression of my conviction
that the present state of scientific evidence, instead of sanctioning the
idea that the descendants of the primitive type or types of Foraminifera
can ever rise to any higher grade, justifies the ANTI-DARWINIAN influence,
that however widely they diverge from each other and from their originals,
THEY STILL REMAIN FORAMINIFERA.")...It will be some time before we see
"slime, protoplasm, etc.," generating a new animal. (On the same subject
my father wrote in 1871: "It is often said that all the conditions for the
first production of a living organism are now present, which could ever
have been present. But if (and oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in
some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts,
light, heat, electricity, etc., present, that a proteine compound was
chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the
present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which
would not have been the case before living creatures were formed.") But I
have long regretted that I truckled to public opinion, and used the
Pentateuchal term of creation (This refers to a passage in which the
reviewer of Dr. Carpenter's books speaks of "an operation of force," or "a
concurrence of forces which have now no place in nature," as being, "a
creative force, in fact, which Darwin could only express in Pentateuchal
terms as the primordial form 'into which life was first breathed.'" The
conception of expressing a creative force as a primordial form is the
Reviewer's.), by which I really meant "appeared" by some wholly unknown
process. It is mere rubbish, thinking at present of the origin of life;
one might as well think of the origin of matter.

Down, Friday night [April 17, 1863].

My dear Hooker,

I have heard from Oliver that you will be now at Kew, and so I am going to
amuse myself by scribbling a bit. I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed your
tour. I never in my life saw anything like the spring flowers this year.
What a lot of interesting things have been lately published. I liked
extremely your review of De Candolle. What an awfully severe article that
by Falconer on Lyell ("Athenaeum", April 4, 1863, page 459. The writer
asserts that justice has not been done either to himself or Mr. Prestwich--
that Lyell has not made it clear that it was their original work which
supplied certain material for the 'Antiquity of Man.' Falconer attempts to
draw an unjust distinction between a "philosopher" (here used as a polite
word for compiler) like Sir Charles Lyell, and original observers,
presumably such as himself, and Mr. Prestwich. Lyell's reply was published
in the "Athenaeum", April 18, 1863. It ought to be mentioned that a letter
from Mr. Prestwich ("Athenaeum", page 555), which formed part of the
controversy, though of the nature of a reclamation, was written in a very
different spirit and tone from Dr. Falconer's.); I am very sorry for it; I
think Falconer on his side does not do justice to old Perthes and
Schmerling...I shall be very curious to see how he [Lyell] answers it to-
morrow. (I have been compelled to take in the "Athenaeum" for a while.) I
am very sorry that Falconer should have written so spitefully, even if
there is some truth in his accusations; I was rather disappointed in
Carpenter's letter, no one could have given a better answer, but the chief
object of his letter seems to me to be to show that though he has touched
pitch he is not defiled. No one would suppose he went so far as to believe
all birds came from one progenitor. I have written a letter to the
"Athenaeum" ("Athenaeum", 1863, page 554: "The view given by me on the
origin or derivation of species, whatever its weaknesses may be, connects
(as has been candidly admitted by some of its opponents, such as Pictet,
Bronn, etc.), by an intelligible thread of reasoning, a multitude of facts:
such as the formation of domestic races by man's selection,--the
classification and affinities of all organic beings,--the innumerable
gradations in structure and instincts,--the similarity of pattern in the
hand, wing, or paddle of animals of the same great class,--the existence of
organs become rudimentary by disuse,--the similarity of an embryonic
reptile, bird, and mammal, with the retention of traces of an apparatus
fitted for aquatic respiration; the retention in the young calf of incisor
teeth in the upper jaw, etc.--the distribution of animals and plants, and
their mutual affinities within the same region,--their general geological
succession, and the close relationship of the fossils in closely
consecutive formations and within the same country; extinct marsupials
having preceded living marsupials in Australia, and armadillo-like animals
having preceded and generated armadilloes in South America,--and many other
phenomena, such as the gradual extinction of old forms and their gradual
replacement by new forms better fitted for their new conditions in the
struggle for life. When the advocate of Heterogeny can thus connect large
classes of facts, and not until then, he will have respectful and patient
listeners.") (the first and last time I shall take such a step) to say,
under the cloak of attacking Heterogeny, a word in my own defence. My
letter is to appear next week, so the Editor says; and I mean to quote
Lyell's sentence (See the next letter.) in his second edition, on the
principle if one puffs oneself, one had better puff handsomely...

Down, April 18 [1863].

My dear Lyell,

I was really quite sorry that you had sent me a second copy (The second
edition of the 'Antiquity of Man' was published a few months after the
first had appeared.) of your valuable book. But after a few hours my
sorrow vanished for this reason: I have written a letter to the
"Athenaeum", in order, under the cloak of attacking the monstrous article
on Heterogeny, to say a word for myself in answer to Carpenter, and now I
have inserted a few sentences in allusion to your analogous objection
(Lyell objected that the mammalia (e.g. bats and seals) which alone have
been able to reach oceanic islands ought to have become modified into
various terrestrial forms fitted to fill various places in their new home.
My father pointed out in the "Athenaeum" that Sir Charles has in some
measure answered his own objection, and went on to quote the "amended
sentence" ('Antiquity of Man,' 2nd Edition page 469) as showing how far
Lyell agreed with the general doctrines of the "Origin of Species': "Yet
we ought by no means to undervalue the importance of the step which will
have been made, should it hereafter become the generally received opinion
of men of science (as I fully expect it will) that the past changes of the
organic world have been brought about by the subordinate agency of such
causes as Variation and Natural Selection." In the first edition the words
(as I fully expect it will," do not occur.) about bats on islands, and then
with infinite slyness have quoted your amended sentence, with your
parenthesis ("as I fully believe") (My father here quotes Lyell
incorrectly; see the previous foot-note.); I do not think you can be
annoyed at my doing this, and you see, that I am determined as far as I
can, that the public shall see how far you go. This is the first time I
have ever said a word for myself in any journal, and it shall, I think, be
the last. My letter is short, and no great things. I was extremely
concerned to see Falconer's disrespectful and virulent letter. I like
extremely your answer just read; you take a lofty and dignified position,
to which you are so well entitled. (In a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker he
wrote: "I much like Lyell's letter. But all this squabbling will greatly
sink scientific men. I have seen sneers already in the 'Times'.")

I suspect that if you had inserted a few more superlatives in speaking of
the several authors there would have been none of this horrid noise. No
one, I am sure, who knows you could doubt about your hearty sympathy with
every one who makes any little advance in science. I still well remember
my surprise at the manner in which you listened to me in Hart Street on my
return from the "Beagle's" voyage. You did me a world of good. It is
horridly vexatious that so frank and apparently amiable a man as Falconer
should have behaved so. (It is to this affair that the extract from a
letter to Falconer, given in volume i., refers.) Well it will all soon be

[In reply to the above-mentioned letter of my father's to the "Athenaeum",
an article appeared in that Journal (May 2nd, 1863, page 586), accusing my
father of claiming for his views the exclusive merit of "connecting by an
intelligible thread of reasoning" a number of facts in morphology, etc.
The writer remarks that, "The different generalizations cited by Mr. Darwin
as being connected by an intelligible thread of reasoning exclusively
through his attempt to explain specific transmutation are in fact related
to it in this wise, that they have prepared the minds of naturalists for a
better reception of such attempts to explain the way of the origin of
species from species."

To this my father replied in the "Athenaeum" of May 9th, 1863:]

Down, May 5 [1863].

I hope that you will grant me space to own that your reviewer is quite
correct when he states that any theory of descent will connect, "by an
intelligible thread of reasoning," the several generalizations before
specified. I ought to have made this admission expressly; with the
reservation, however, that, as far as I can judge, no theory so well
explains or connects these several generalizations (more especially the
formation of domestic races in comparison with natural species, the
principles of classification, embryonic resemblance, etc.) as the theory,
or hypothesis, or guess, if the reviewer so likes to call it, of Natural
Selection. Nor has any other satisfactory explanation been ever offered of
the almost perfect adaptation of all organic beings to each other, and to
their physical conditions of life. Whether the naturalist believes in the
views given by Lamarck, by Geoffrey St. Hilaire, by the author of the
'Vestiges,' by Mr. Wallace and myself, or in any other such view, signifies
extremely little in comparison with the admission that species have
descended from other species, and have not been created immutable; for he
who admits this as a great truth has a wide field opened to him for further
inquiry. I believe, however, from what I see of the progress of opinion on
the Continent, and in this country, that the theory of Natural Selection
will ultimately be adopted, with, no doubt, many subordinate modifications
and improvements.


[In the following, he refers to the above letter to the "Athenaeum:]

Leith Hill Place,
Saturday [May 11, 1863].

My dear Hooker,

You give good advice about not writing in newspapers; I have been gnashing
my teeth at my own folly; and this not caused by --'s sneers, which were so
good that I almost enjoyed them. I have written once again to own to a
certain extent of truth in what he says, and then if I am ever such a fool
again, have no mercy on me. I have read the squib in "Public Opinion"
("Public Opinion", April 23, 1863. A lively account of a police case, in
which the quarrels of scientific men are satirised. Mr. John Bull gives
evidence that--

"The whole neighbourhood was unsettled by their disputes; Huxley quarrelled
with Owen, Owen with Darwin, Lyell with Owen, Falconer and Prestwich with
Lyell, and Gray the menagerie man with everybody. He had pleasure,
however, in stating that Darwin was the quietest of the set. They were
always picking bones with each other and fighting over their gains. If
either of the gravel sifters or stone breakers found anything, he was
obliged to conceal it immediately, or one of the old bone collectors would
be sure to appropriate it first and deny the theft afterwards, and the
consequent wrangling and disputes were as endless as they were wearisome.

"Lord Mayor.--Probably the clergyman of the parish might exert some
influence over them?

"The gentleman smiled, shook his head, and stated that he regretted to say
that no class of men paid so little attention to the opinions of the clergy
as that to which these unhappy men belonged."); it is capital; if there is
more, and you have a copy, do lend it. It shows well that a scientific man
had better be trampled in dirt than squabble. I have been drawing
diagrams, dissecting shoots, and muddling my brains to a hopeless degree
about the divergence of leaves, and have of course utterly failed. But I
can see that the subject is most curious, and indeed astonishing...

[The next letter refers to Mr. Bentham's presidential address to the
Linnean Society (May 25, 1863). Mr. Bentham does not yield to the new
theory of Evolution, "cannot surrender at discretion as long as many
important outworks remain contestable." But he shows that the great body
of scientific opinion is flowing in the direction of belief.

The mention of Pasteur by Mr. Bentham is in reference to the promulgation
"as it were ex cathedra," of a theory of spontaneous generation by the
reviewer of Dr. Carpenter in the "Athenaeum" (March 28, 1863). Mr. Bentham
points out that in ignoring Pasteur's refutation of the supposed facts of
spontaneous generation, the writer fails to act with "that impartiality
which every reviewer is supposed to possess."]

Down, May 22 [1863].

My dear Bentham,

I am much obliged for your kind and interesting letter. I have no fear of
anything that a man like you will say annoying me in the very least degree.
On the other hand, any approval from one whose judgment and knowledge I
have for many years so sincerely respected, will gratify me much. The
objection which you well put, of certain forms remaining unaltered through
long time and space, is no doubt formidable in appearance, and to a certain
extent in reality according to my judgment. But does not the difficulty
rest much on our silently assuming that we know more than we do? I have
literally found nothing so difficult as to try and always remember our
ignorance. I am never weary, when walking in any new adjoining district or
country, of reflecting how absolutely ignorant we are why certain old
plants are not there present, and other new ones are, and others in
different proportions. If we once fully feel this, then in judging the
theory of Natural Selection, which implies that a form will remain
unaltered unless some alteration be to its benefit, is it so very wonderful
that some forms should change much slower and much less, and some few
should have changed not at all under conditions which to us (who really
know nothing what are the important conditions) seem very different.
Certainly a priori we might have anticipated that all the plants anciently
introduced into Australia would have undergone some modification; but the
fact that they have not been modified does not seem to me a difficulty of
weight enough to shake a belief grounded on other arguments. I have
expressed myself miserably, but I am far from well to-day.

I am very glad that you are going to allude to Pasteur; I was struck with
infinite admiration at his work. With cordial thanks, believe me, dear

Yours very sincerely,

P.S.--In fact, the belief in Natural Selection must at present be grounded
entirely on general considerations. (1) On its being a vera causa, from
the struggle for existence; and the certain geological fact that species do
somehow change. (2) From the analogy of change under domestication by
man's selection. (3) And chiefly from this view connecting under an
intelligible point of view a host of facts. When we descend to details, we
can prove that no one species has changed [i.e. we cannot prove that a
single species has changed]; nor can we prove that the supposed changes are
beneficial, which is the groundwork of the theory. Nor can we explain why
some species have changed and others have not. The latter case seems to me
hardly more difficult to understand precisely and in detail than the former
case of supposed change. Bronn may ask in vain, the old creationist school
and the new school, why one mouse has longer ears than another mouse, and
one plant more pointed leaves than another plant.

Down, June 19 [1863].

My dear Bentham,

I have been extremely much pleased and interested by your address, which
you kindly sent me. It seems to be excellently done, with as much judicial
calmness and impartiality as the Lord Chancellor could have shown. But
whether the "immutable" gentlemen would agree with the impartiality may be
doubted, there is too much kindness shown towards me, Hooker, and others,
they might say. Moreover I verily believe that your address, written as it
is, will do more to shake the unshaken and bring on those leaning to our
side, than anything written directly in favour of transmutation. I can
hardly tell why it is, but your address has pleased me as much as Lyell's
book disappointed me, that is, the part on species, though so cleverly
written. I agree with all your remarks on the reviewers. By the way,
Lecoq (Author of 'Geographie Botanique.' 9 vols. 1854-58.) is a believer in
the change of species. I, for one, can conscientiously declare that I
never feel surprised at any one sticking to the belief of immutability;
though I am often not a little surprised at the arguments advanced on this
side. I remember too well my endless oscillations of doubt and difficulty.
It is to me really laughable when I think of the years which elapsed before
I saw what I believe to be the explanation of some parts of the case; I
believe it was fifteen years after I began before I saw the meaning and
cause of the divergence of the descendants of any one pair. You pay me
some most elegant and pleasing compliments. There is much in your address
which has pleased me much, especially your remarks on various naturalists.
I am so glad that you have alluded so honourably to Pasteur. I have just
read over this note; it does not express strongly enough the interest which
I have felt in reading your address. You have done, I believe, a real good
turn to the RIGHT SIDE. Believe me, dear Bentham,

Yours very sincerely,


[In my father's diary for 1864 is the entry, "Ill all January, February,
March." About the middle of April (seven months after the beginning of the
illness in the previous autumn) his health took a turn for the better. As
soon as he was able to do any work, he began to write his papers on
Lythrum, and on Climbing Plants, so that the work which now concerns us did
not begin until September, when he again set to work on 'Animals and
Plants.' A letter to Sir J.D. Hooker gives some account of the re-
commencement of the work: "I have begun looking over my old MS., and it is
as fresh as if I had never written it; parts are astonishingly dull, but
yet worth printing, I think; and other parts strike me as very good. I am
a complete millionaire in odd and curious little facts, and I have been
really astounded at my own industry whilst reading my chapters on
Inheritance and Selection. God knows when the book will ever be completed,
for I find that I am very weak and on my best days cannot do more than one
or one and a half hours' work. It is a good deal harder than writing about
my dear climbing plants."

In this year he received the greatest honour which a scientific man can
receive in this country--the Copley Medal of the Royal Society. It is
presented at the Anniversary Meeting on St. Andrew's Day (November 30), the
medalist being usually present to receive it, but this the state of my
father's health prevented. He wrote to Mr. Fox on this subject:--

"I was glad to see your hand-writing. The Copley, being open to all
sciences and all the world, is reckoned a great honour; but excepting from
several kind letters, such things make little difference to me. It shows,
however, that Natural Selection is making some progress in this country,
and that pleases me. The subject, however, is safe in foreign lands."

To Sir J.D. Hooker, also, he wrote:--

"How kind you have been about this medal; indeed, I am blessed with many
good friends, and I have received four or five notes which have warmed my
heart. I often wonder that so old a worn-out dog as I am is not quite
forgotten. Talking of medals, has Falconer had the Royal? he surely ought
to have it, as ought John Lubbock. By the way, the latter tells me that
some old members of the Royal are quite shocked at my having the Copley.
Do you know who?"

He wrote to Mr. Huxley:--

"I must and will answer you, for it is a real pleasure for me to thank you
cordially for your note. Such notes as this of yours, and a few others,
are the real medal to me, and not the round bit of gold. These have given
me a pleasure which will long endure; so believe in my cordial thanks for
your note."

Sir Charles Lyell, writing to my father in November 1864 ('Life,' vol. ii.
page 384), speaks of the supposed malcontents as being afraid to crown
anything so unorthodox as the 'Origin.' But he adds that if such were
their feelings "they had the good sense to draw in their horns." It
appears, however, from the same letter, that the proposal to give the
Copley Medal to my father in the previous year failed owing to a similar
want of courage--to Lyell's great indignation.

In the "Reader", December 3, 1864, General Sabine's presidential address at
the Anniversary Meeting is reported at some length. Special weight was
laid on my father's work in Geology, Zoology, and Botany, but the 'Origin
of Species' is praised chiefly as containing "a mass of observations," etc.
It is curious that as in the case of his election to the French
Institution, so in this case, he was honoured not for the great work of his
life, but for his less important work in special lines. The paragraph in
General Sabine's address which refers to the 'Origin of Species,' is as

"In his most recent work 'On the Origin of Species,' although opinions may
be divided or undecided with respect to its merits in some respects, all
will allow that it contains a mass of observations bearing upon the habits,
structure, affinities, and distribution of animals, perhaps unrivalled for
interest, minuteness, and patience of observation. Some amongst us may
perhaps incline to accept the theory indicated by the title of this work,
while others may perhaps incline to refuse, or at least to remit it to a
future time, when increased knowledge shall afford stronger grounds for its
ultimate acceptance or rejection. Speaking generally and collectively, we
have expressly omitted it from the grounds of our award."

I believe I am right in saying that no little dissatisfaction at the
President's manner of allusion to the 'Origin' was felt by some Fellows of
the Society.

The presentation of the Copley Medal is of interest in another way,
inasmuch as it led to Sir C. Lyell making, in his after-dinner speech, a
"confession of faith as to the 'Origin.'" He wrote to my father ('Life,'
vol. ii. page 384), "I said I had been forced to give up my old faith
without thoroughly seeing my way to a new one. But I think you would have
been satisfied with the length I went."]

Down, October 3 [1864].

My dear Huxley,

If I do not pour out my admiration of your article ("Criticisms on the
Origin of Species," 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1864. Republished in 'Lay
Sermons,' 1870, page 328. The work of Professor Kolliker referred to is
'Ueber die Darwin'sche Schopfungstheorie' (Leipzig, 1864). Toward
Professor Kolliker my father felt not only the respect due to so
distinguished a naturalist (a sentiment well expressed in Professor
Huxley's review), but he had also a personal regard for him, and often
alluded with satisfaction to the visit which Professor Kolliker paid at
Down.) on Kolliker, I shall explode. I never read anything better done. I
had much wished his article answered, and indeed thought of doing so
myself, so that I considered several points. You have hit on all, and on
some in addition, and oh! by Jove, how well you have done it. As I read on
and came to point after point on which I had thought, I could not help
jeering and scoffing at myself, to see how infinitely better you had done
it than I could have done. Well, if any one, who does not understand
Natural Selection, will read this, he will be a blockhead if it is not as
clear as daylight. Old Flourens ('Examen du livre de M. Darwin sur
l'origine des especes.' Par P. Flourens. 8vo. Paris, 1864.) was hardly
worth the powder and shot; but how capitally you bring in about the
Academician, and your metaphor of the sea-sand is INIMITABLE.

It is a marvel to me how you can resist becoming a regular reviewer. Well,
I have exploded now, and it has done me a deal of good...

[In the same article in the 'Natural History Review,' Mr. Huxley speaks of
the book above alluded to by Flourens, the Secretaire Perpetuel of the
Academie des Sciences, as one of the two "most elaborate criticisms" of the
'Origin of Species' of the year. He quotes the following passage:--

"M. Darwin continue: 'Aucune distinction absolue n'a ete et ne peut etre
entre les especes et les varietes!' Je vous ai deja dit que vous vous
trompiez; une distinction absolue separe les varietes d'avec les especes."
Mr. Huxley remarks on this, "Being devoid of the blessings of an Academy in
England, we are unaccustomed to see our ablest men treated in this way even
by a Perpetual Secretary." After demonstrating M. Flourens'
misapprehension of Natural Selection, Mr. Huxley says, "How one knows it
all by heart, and with what relief one reads at page 65 'Je laisse M.

On the same subject my father wrote to Mr. Wallace:--

"A great gun, Flourens, has written a little dull book against me which
pleases me much, for it is plain that our good work is spreading in France.
He speaks of the "engouement" about this book [the 'Origin'] "so full of
empty and presumptuous thoughts." The passage here alluded to is as

"Enfin l'ouvrage de M. Darwin a paru. On ne peut qu'etre frappe du talent
de l'auteur. Mais que d'idees obscures, que d'idees fausses! Quel jargon
metaphysique jete mal a propos dans l'histoire naturelle, qui tombe dans le
galimatias des qu'elle sort des idees claires, des idees justes. Quel
langage pretentieux et vide! Quelles personifications pueriles et
surannees! O lucidite! O solidite de l'esprit francais, que devenez-


[This was again a time of much ill-health, but towards the close of the
year he began to recover under the care of the late Dr. Bence-Jones, who
dieted him severely, and as he expressed it, "half-starved him to death."
He was able to work at 'Animals and Plants' until nearly the end of April,
and from that time until December he did practically no work, with the
exception of looking over the 'Origin of Species' for a second French
edition. He wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--"I am, as it were, reading the
'Origin' for the first time, for I am correcting for a second French
edition: and upon my life, my dear fellow, it is a very good book, but oh!
my gracious, it is tough reading, and I wish it were done." (Towards the
end of the year my father received the news of a new convert to his views,
in the person of the distinguished American naturalist Lesquereux. He
wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker: "I have had an enormous letter from Leo
Lesquereux (after doubts, I did not think it worth sending you) on Coal
Flora. He wrote some excellent articles in 'Silliman' against 'Origin'
views; but he says now, after repeated reading of the book, he is a

The following letter refers to the Duke of Argyll's address to the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, December 5th, 1864, in which he criticises the
'Origin of Species.' My father seems to have read the Duke's address as
reported in the "Scotsman" of December 6th, 1865. In a letter to my father
(January 16, 1865, 'Life,' vol. ii. page 385), Lyell wrote, "The address is
a great step towards your views--far greater, I believe, than it seems when
read merely with reference to criticisms and objections."]

Down, January 22, [1865].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you for your very interesting letter. I have the true English
instinctive reverence for rank, and therefore liked to hear about the
Princess Royal. ("I animated conversation on Darwinism with the
Princess Royal, who is a worthy daughter of her father, in the reading of
good books, and thinking of what she reads. She was very much au fait at
the 'Origin,' and Huxley's book, the 'Antiquity,' etc."--(Lyell's 'Life,'
vol. ii. page 385.) You ask what I think of the Duke's address, and I
shall be glad to tell you. It seems to me EXTREMELY clever, like
everything I have read of his; but I am not shaken--perhaps you will say
that neither gods nor men could shake me. I demur to the Duke reiterating
his objection that the brilliant plumage of the male humming-bird could not
have been acquired through selection, at the same time entirely ignoring my
discussion (page 93, 3rd edition) on beautiful plumage being acquired
through SEXUAL selection. The duke may think this insufficient, but that
is another question. All analogy makes me quite disagree with the Duke
that the difference in the beak, wing and tail, are not of importance to
the several species. In the only two species which I have watched, the
difference in flight and in the use of the tail was conspicuously great.

The Duke, who knows my Orchid book so well, might have learnt a lesson of
caution from it, with respect to his doctrine of differences for mere
variety or beauty. It may be confidently said that no tribe of plants
presents such grotesque and beautiful differences, which no one until
lately, conjectured were of any use; but now in almost every case I have
been able to show their important service. It should be remembered that
with humming birds or orchids, a modification in one part will cause
correlated changes in other parts. I agree with what you say about beauty.
I formerly thought a good deal on the subject, and was led quite to
repudiate the doctrine of beauty being created for beauty's sake. I demur
also to the Duke's expression of "new births." That may be a very good
theory, but it is not mine, unless indeed he calls a bird born with a beak
1/100th of an inch longer than usual "a new birth;" but this is not the
sense in which the term would usually be understood. The more I work the
more I feel convinced that it is by the accumulation of such extremely
slight variations that new species arise. I do not plead guilty to the
Duke's charge that I forget that natural selection means only the
preservation of variations which independently arise. ("Strictly speaking,
therefore, Mr. Darwin's theory is not a theory on the Origin of Species at
all, but only a theory on the causes which lead to the relative success and
failure of such new forms as may be born into the world."--"Scotsman",
December 6, 1864.) I have expressed this in as strong language as I could
use, but it would have been infinitely tedious had I on every occasion thus
guarded myself. I will cry "peccavi" when I hear of the Duke or you
attacking breeders for saying that man has made his improved shorthorns, or
pouter pigeons, or bantams. And I could quote still stronger expressions
used by agriculturists. Man does make his artificial breeds, for his
selective power is of such importance relatively to that of the slight
spontaneous variations. But no one will attack breeders for using such
expressions, and the rising generation will not blame me.

Many thanks for your offer of sending me the 'Elements.' (Sixth edition in
one volume.) I hope to read it all, but unfortunately reading makes my
head whiz more than anything else. I am able most days to work for two or
three hours, and this makes all the difference in my happiness. I have
resolved not to be tempted astray, and to publish nothing till my volume on
Variation is completed. You gave me excellent advice about the footnotes
in my Dog chapter, but their alteration gave me infinite trouble, and I
often wished all the dogs, and I fear sometimes you yourself, in the nether

We (dictator and writer) send our best love to Lady Lyell.

Yours affectionately,

P.S.--If ever you should speak with the Duke on the subject, please say how
much interested I was with his address.

[In his autobiographical sketch my father has remarked that owing to
certain early memories he felt the honour of being elected to the Royal and
Royal Medical Societies of Edinburgh "more than any similar honour." The
following extract from a letter to Sir Joseph Hooker refers to his election
to the former of these societies. The latter part of the extract refers to
the Berlin Academy, to which he was elected in 1878:--

"Here is a really curious thing, considering that Brewster is President and
Balfour Secretary. I have been elected Honorary Member of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh. And this leads me to a third question. Does the
Berlin Academy of Sciences send their Proceedings to Honorary Members? I
want to know, to ascertain whether I am a member; I suppose not, for I
think it would have made some impression on me; yet I distinctly remember
receiving some diploma signed by Ehrenberg. I have been so careless; I
have lost several diplomas, and now I want to know what Societies I belong
to, as I observe every [one] tacks their titles to their names in the
catalogue of the Royal Soc."]

Down, February 21 [1865].

My dear Lyell,

I have taken a long time to thank you very much for your present of the

I am going through it all, reading what is new, and what I have forgotten,
and this is a good deal.

I am simply astonished at the amount of labour, knowledge, and clear
thought condensed in this work. The whole strikes me as something quite
grand. I have been particularly interested by your account of Heer's work
and your discussion on the Atlantic Continent. I am particularly delighted
at the view which you take on this subject; for I have long thought Forbes
did an ill service in so freely making continents.

I have also been very glad to read your argument on the denudation of the
Weald, and your excellent resume on the Purbeck Beds; and this is the point
at which I have at present arrived in your book. I cannot say that I am
quite convinced that there is no connection beyond that pointed out by you,
between glacial action and the formation of lake basins; but you will not
much value my opinion on this head, as I have already changed my mind some
half-dozen times.

I want to make a suggestion to you. I found the weight of your volume
intolerable, especially when lying down, so with great boldness cut it into
two pieces, and took it out of its cover; now could not Murray without any
other change add to his advertisement a line saying, "if bound in two
volumes, one shilling or one shilling and sixpence extra." You thus might
originate a change which would be a blessing to all weak-handed readers.

Believe me, my dear Lyell,
Yours most sincerely,

Originate a second REAL BLESSING and have the edges of the sheets cut like
a bound book. (This was a favourite reform of my father's. He wrote to
the "Athenaeum" on the subject, February 5, 1867, pointing out how that a
book cut, even carefully, with a paper knife collects dust on its edges far
more than a machine-cut book. He goes on to quote the case of a lady of
his acquaintance who was in the habit of cutting books with her thumb, and
finally appeals to the "Athenaeum" to earn the gratitude of children "who
have to cut through dry and pictureless books for the benefit of their
elders." He tried to introduce the reform in the case of his own books,
but found the conservatism of booksellers too strong for him. The
presentation copies, however, of all his later books were sent out with the
edges cut.)

Down, June 11 [1865].

My dear Lubbock,

The latter half of your book ('Prehistoric Times,' 1865.) has been read
aloud to me, and the style is so clear and easy (we both think it
perfection) that I am now beginning at the beginning. I cannot resist
telling you how excellently well, in my opinion, you have done the very
interesting chapter on savage life. Though you have necessarily only
compiled the materials the general result is most original. But I ought to
keep the term original for your last chapter, which has struck me as an
admirable and profound discussion. It has quite delighted me, for now the
public will see what kind of man you are, which I am proud to think I
discovered a dozen years ago.

I do sincerely wish you all success in your election and in politics; but
after reading this last chapter, you must let me say: oh, dear! oh, dear!
oh dear!

Yours affectionately,

P.S.--You pay me a superb compliment ('Prehistoric Times,' page 487, where
the words, "the discoveries of a Newton or a Darwin," occur.), but I fear
you will be quizzed for it by some of your friends as too exaggerated.

[The following letter refers to Fritz Muller's book, 'Fur Darwin,' which
was afterwards translated, at my father's suggestion, by Mr. Dallas. It is
of interest as being the first of the long series of letters which my
father wrote to this distinguished naturalist. They never met, but the
correspondence with Muller, which continued to the close of my father's
life, was a source of very great pleasure to him. My impression is that of
all his unseen friends Fritz Muller was the one for whom he had the
strongest regard. Fritz Muller is the brother of another distinguished
man, the late Hermann Muller, the author of 'Die Befruchtung der Blumen,'
and of much other valuable work:]

Down, August 10 [1865].

My dear Sir,

I have been for a long time so ill that I have only just finished hearing
read aloud your work on species. And now you must permit me to thank you
cordially for the great interest with which I have read it. You have done
admirable service in the cause in which we both believe. Many of your
arguments seem to me excellent, and many of your facts wonderful. Of the
latter, nothing has surprised me so much as the two forms of males. I have
lately investigated the cases of dimorphic plants, and I should much like
to send you one or two of my papers if I knew how. I did send lately by
post a paper on climbing plants, as an experiment to see whether it would
reach you. One of the points which has struck me most in your paper is
that on the differences in the air-breathing apparatus of the several
forms. This subject appeared to me very important when I formerly
considered the electric apparatus of fishes. Your observations on
Classification and Embryology seem to me very good and original. They show
what a wonderful field there is for enquiry on the development of
crustacea, and nothing has convinced me so plainly what admirable results
we shall arrive at in Natural History in the course of a few years. What a
marvellous range of structure the crustacea present, and how well adapted
they are for your enquiry! Until reading your book I knew nothing of the
Rhizocephala; pray look at my account and figures of Anelasma, for it seems
to me that this latter cirripede is a beautiful connecting link with the

If ever you have any opportunity, as you are so skilful a dissector, I much
wish that you would look to the orifice at the base of the first pair of
cirrhi in cirripedes, and at the curious organ in it, and discover what its
nature is; I suppose I was quite in error, yet I cannot feel fully
satisfied at Krohn's (See vol. ii., pages 138, 187.) observations. Also if
you ever find any species of Scalpellum, pray look for complemental males;
a German author has recently doubted my observations for no reason except
that the facts appeared to him so strange.

Permit me again to thank you cordially for the pleasure which I have
derived from your work and to express my sincere admiration for your
valuable researches.

Believe me, dear Sir, with sincere respect,
Yours very faithfully,

P.S.--I do not know whether you care at all about plants, but if so, I
should much like to send you my little work on the 'Fertilization of
Orchids,' and I think I have a German copy.

Could you spare me a photograph of yourself? I should much like to possess

Down, Thursday, 27th [September, 1865].

My dear Hooker,

I had intended writing this morning to thank Mrs. Hooker most sincerely for
her last and several notes about you, and now your own note in your hand
has rejoiced me. To walk between five and six miles is splendid, with a
little patience you must soon be well. I knew you had been very ill, but I
hardly knew how ill, until yesterday, when Bentham (from the Cranworths
(Robert Rolfe, Lord Cranworth, and Lord Chancellor of England, lived at
Holwood, near Down.)) called here, and I was able to see him for ten
minutes. He told me also a little about the last days of your father (Sir
William Hooker; 1785-1865. He took charge of the Royal Gardens at Kew, in
1840, when they ceased to be the private gardens of the Royal Family. In
doing so, he gave up his professorship at Glasgow--and with it half of his
income. He founded the herbarium and library, and within ten years he
succeeded in making the gardens the first in the world. It is, thus, not
too much to say that the creation of the establishment at Kew is due to the
abilities and self-devotion of Sir William Hooker. While, for the
subsequent development of the gardens up to their present magnificent
condition, the nation must thank Sir Joseph Hooker, in whom the same
qualities are so conspicuous.); I wish I had known your father better, my
impression is confined to his remarkably cordial, courteous, and frank
bearing. I fully concur and understand what you say about the difference
of feeling in the loss of a father and child. I do not think any one could
love a father much more than I did mine, and I do not believe three or four
days ever pass without my still thinking of him, but his death at eighty-
four caused me nothing of that insufferable grief (I may quote here a
passage from a letter of November, 1863. It was written to a friend who
had lost his child: "How well I remember your feeling, when we lost Annie.
It was my greatest comfort that I had never spoken a harsh word to her.
Your grief has made me shed a few tears over our poor darling; but believe
me that these tears have lost that unutterable bitterness of former days.")
which the loss of our poor dear Annie caused. And this seems to me
perfectly natural, for one knows for years previously that one's father's
death is drawing slowly nearer and nearer, while the death of one's child
is a sudden and dreadful wrench. What a wonderful deal you read; it is a
horrid evil for me that I can read hardly anything, for it makes my head
almost immediately begin to sing violently. My good womenkind read to me a
great deal, but I dare not ask for much science, and am not sure that I
could stand it. I enjoyed Tylor ('Researches into the Early History of
Mankind,' by E.B. Tylor. 1865.) EXTREMELY, and the first part of Lecky
'The Rise of Rationalism in Europe,' by W.E.H. Lecky. 1865.); but I think
the latter is often vague, and gives a false appearance of throwing light
on his subject by such phrases as "spirit of the age," "spread of
civilization," etc. I confine my reading to a quarter or half hour per day
in skimming through the back volumes of the Annals and Magazine of Natural
History, and find much that interests me. I miss my climbing plants very
much, as I could observe them when very poorly.

I did not enjoy the 'Mill on the Floss' so much as you, but from what you
say we will read it again. Do you know 'Silas Marner'? it is a charming
little story; if you run short, and like to have it, we could send it by
post...We have almost finished the first volume of Palgrave (William
Gifford Palgrave's 'Travels in Arabia,' published in 1865.), and I like it
much; but did you ever see a book so badly arranged? The frequency of the
allusions to what will be told in the future are quite laughable...By the
way, I was very much pleased with the foot-note (The passage which seems to
be referred to occurs in the text (page 479) of 'Prehistoric Times.' It
expresses admiration of Mr. Wallace's paper in the 'Anthropological Review'
(May, 1864), and speaks of the author's "characteristic unselfishness" in
ascribing the theory of Natural Selection "unreservedly to Mr. Darwin."
about Wallace in Lubbock's last chapter. I had not heard that Huxley had
backed up Lubbock about Parliament...Did you see a sneer some time ago in
the "Times" about how incomparably more interesting politics were compared
with science even to scientific men? Remember what Trollope says, in 'Can
you Forgive her,' about getting into Parliament, as the highest earthly
ambition. Jeffrey, in one of his letters, I remember, says that making an
effective speech in Parliament is a far grander thing than writing the
grandest history. All this seems to me a poor short-sighted view. I
cannot tell you how it has rejoiced me once again seeing your handwriting--
my best of old friends.

Yours affectionately,

[In October he wrote Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"Talking of the 'Origin,' a Yankee has called my attention to a paper
attached to Dr. Wells's famous 'Essay on Dew,' which was read in 1813 to
the Royal Society, but not [then] printed, in which he applies most
distinctly the principle of Natural Selection to the Races of Man. So poor
old Patrick Matthew is not the first, and he cannot, or ought not, any
longer to put on his title-pages, 'Discoverer of the principle of Natural

CHARLES DARWIN TO F.W. FARRAR. (Canon of Westminster.)
Down, November 2 [1865?].

Dear Sir,

As I have never studied the science of language, it may perhaps seem
presumptuous, but I cannot resist the pleasure of telling you what interest
and pleasure I have derived from hearing read aloud your volume ('Chapters
on Language,' 1865.)

I formerly read Max Muller, and thought his theory (if it deserves to be
called so) both obscure and weak; and now, after hearing what you say, I
feel sure that this is the case, and that your cause will ultimately
triumph. My indirect interest in your book has been increased from Mr.
Hensleigh Wedgwood, whom you often quote, being my brother-in-law.

No one could dissent from my views on the modification of species with more
courtesy than you do. But from the tenor of your mind I feel an entire and
comfortable conviction (and which cannot possibly be disturbed) that if
your studies led you to attend much to general questions in natural history
you would come to the same conclusion that I have done.

Have you ever read Huxley's little book of Lectures? I would gladly send a
copy if you think you would read it.

Considering what Geology teaches us, the argument from the supposed
immutability of specific types seems to me much the same as if, in a nation
which had no old writings, some wise old savage was to say that his
language had never changed; but my metaphor is too long to fill up.

Pray believe me, dear Sir, yours very sincerely obliged,


[The year 1866 is given in my father's Diary in the following words:--

"Continued correcting chapters of 'Domestic Animals.'

March 1st.--Began on 4th edition of 'Origin' of 1250 copies (received for
it 238 pounds), making 7500 copies altogether.

May 10th.--Finished 'Origin,' except revises, and began going over Chapter
XIII. of 'Domestic Animals.'

November 21st.--Finished 'Pangenesis.'

December 21st.--Finished re-going over all chapters, and sent them to

December 22nd.--Began concluding chapter of book."

He was in London on two occasions for a week at a time, staying with his
brother, and for a few days (May 29th-June 2nd) in Surrey; for the rest of
the year he was at Down.

There seems to have been a gradual mending in his health; thus he wrote to
Mr. Wallace (January 1866):--"My health is so far improved that I am able
to work one or two hours a day."

With respect to the 4th edition he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"The new edition of the 'Origin' has caused me two great vexations. I
forgot Bates's paper on variation (This appears to refer to "Notes on South
American Butterflies," Trans. Entomolog. Soc., vol. v. (N.S.).), but I
remembered in time his mimetic work, and now, strange to say, I find I have
forgotten your Arctic paper! I know how it arose; I indexed for my bigger
work, and never expected that a new edition of the 'Origin' would be

"I cannot say how all this has vexed me. Everything which I have read
during the last four years I find is quite washy in my mind." As far as I
know, Mr. Bates's paper was not mentioned in the later editions of the
'Origin,' for what reason I cannot say.

In connection with his work on 'The Variation of Animals and Plants,' I
give here extracts from three letters addressed to Mr. Huxley, which are of
interest as giving some idea of the development of the theory of
'Pangenesis,' ultimately published in 1868 in the book in question:]

Down, May 27, [1865?].

...I write now to ask a favour of you, a very great favour from one so hard
worked as you are. It is to read thirty pages of MS., excellently copied
out and give me, not lengthened criticism, but your opinion whether I may
venture to publish it. You may keep the MS. for a month or two. I would
not ask this favour, but I REALLY know no one else whose judgment on the
subject would be final with me.

The case stands thus: in my next book I shall publish long chapters on
bud- and seminal-variation, on inheritance, reversion, effects of use and
disuse, etc. I have also for many years speculated on the different forms
of reproduction. Hence it has come to be a passion with me to try to
connect all such facts by some sort of hypothesis. The MS. which I wish to
send you gives such a hypothesis; it is a very rash and crude hypothesis,
yet it has been a considerable relief to my mind, and I can hang on it a
good many groups of facts. I well know that a mere hypothesis, and this is
nothing more, is of little value; but it is very useful to me as serving as
a kind of summary for certain chapters. Now I earnestly wish for your
verdict given briefly as, "Burn it"--or, which is the most favourable
verdict I can hope for, "It does rudely connect together certain facts, and
I do not think it will immediately pass out of my mind." If you can say
this much, and you do not think it absolutely ridiculous, I shall publish
it in my concluding chapter. Now will you grant me this favour? You must
refuse if you are too much overworked.

I must say for myself that I am a hero to expose my hypothesis to the fiery
ordeal of your criticism.

July 12, [1865?].

My dear Huxley,

I thank you most sincerely for having so carefully considered my MS. It
has been a real act of kindness. It would have annoyed me extremely to
have re-published Buffon's views, which I did not know of, but I will get
the book; and if I have strength I will also read Bonnet. I do not doubt
your judgment is perfectly just, and I will try to persuade myself not to
publish. The whole affair is much too speculative; yet I think some such
view will have to be adopted, when I call to mind such facts as the
inherited effects of use and disuse, etc. But I will try to be cautious...


My dear Huxley,

Forgive my writing in pencil, as I can do so lying down. I have read
Buffon: whole pages are laughably like mine. It is surprising how candid
it makes one to see one's views in another man's words. I am rather
ashamed of the whole affair, but not converted to a no-belief. What a
kindness you have done me with your "vulpine sharpness." Nevertheless,
there is a fundamental distinction between Buffon's views and mine. He
does not suppose that each cell or atom of tissue throws off a little bud;
but he supposes that the sap or blood includes his "organic molecules,"
WHICH ARE READY FORMED, fit to nourish each organ, and when this is fully
formed, they collect to form buds and the sexual elements. It is all
rubbish to speculate as I have done; yet, if I ever have strength to
publish my next book, I fear I shall not resist "Pangenesis," but I assure
you I will put it humbly enough. The ordinary course of development of
beings, such as the Echinodermata, in which new organs are formed at quite
remote spots from the analogous previous parts, seem to me extremely
difficult to reconcile on any view except the free diffusion in the parent
of the germs or gemmules of each separate new organ; and so in cases of
alternate generation. But I will not scribble any more. Hearty thanks to
you, you best of critics and most learned man...

[The letters now take up the history of the year 1866.]

Down, July 5 [1866].

My dear Wallace,

I have been much interested by your letter, which is as clear as daylight.
I fully agree with all that you say on the advantages of H. Spencer's
excellent expression of "the survival of the fittest." (Extract from a
letter of Mr. Wallace's, July 2, 1866: "The term 'survival of the fittest'
is the plain expression of the fact; 'natural selection' is a metaphorical
expression of it, and to a certain degree indirect and incorrect,
since...Nature...does not so much select special varieties as exterminate
the most unfavourable ones.") This, however, had not occurred to me till
reading your letter. It is, however, a great objection to this term that
it cannot be used as a substantive governing a verb; and that this is a
real objection I infer from H. Spencer continually using the words, natural
selection. I formerly thought, probably in an exaggerated degree, that it
was a great advantage to bring into connection natural and artificial
selection; this indeed led me to use a term in common, and I still think it
some advantage. I wish I had received your letter two months ago, for I
would have worked in "the survival, etc.," often in the new edition of the
'Origin,' which is now almost printed off, and of which I will of course
send you a copy. I will use the term in my next book on Domestic Animals,
etc., from which, by the way, I plainly see that you expect MUCH, too much.
The term Natural Selection has now been so largely used abroad and at home,
that I doubt whether it could be given up, and with all its faults I should
be sorry to see the attempt made. Whether it will be rejected must now
depend "on the survival of the fittest." As in time the term must grow
intelligible the objections to its use will grow weaker and weaker. I
doubt whether the use of any term would have made the subject intelligible
to some minds, clear as it is to others; for do we not see even to the
present day Malthus on Population absurdly misunderstood? This reflection
about Malthus has often comforted me when I have been vexed at the
misstatement of my views. As for M. Janet (This no doubt refers to Janet's
'Materialisme Contemporain.'), he is a metaphysician, and such gentlemen
are so acute that I think they often misunderstand common folk. Your
criticism on the double sense ("I find you use 'Natural Selection' in two
senses. 1st, for the simple preservation of favourable and rejection of
unfavourable variations, in which case it is equivalent to the 'survival of
the fittest,'--and 2ndly, for the effect or CHANGE produced by this
preservation." Extract from Mr. Wallace's letter above quoted.) in which I
have used Natural Selection is new to me and unanswerable; but my blunder
has done no harm, for I do not believe that any one, excepting you, has
ever observed it. Again, I agree that I have said too much about
"favourable variations;" but I am inclined to think that you put the
opposite side too strongly; if every part of every being varied, I do not
think we should see the same end, or object, gained by such wonderfully
diversified means.

I hope you are enjoying the country, and are in good health, and are
working hard at your Malay Archipelago book, for I will always put this
wish in every note I write to you, like some good people always put in a
text. My health keeps much the same, or rather improves, and I am able to
work some hours daily. With many thanks for your interesting letter.

Believe me, my dear Wallace, yours sincerely,

Down, August 30 [1866].

My dear Hooker,

I was very glad to get your note and the Notts. Newspaper. I have seldom
been more pleased in my life than at hearing how successfully your lecture
(At the Nottingham meeting of the British Association, August 27, 1866.
The subject of the lecture was 'Insular Floras.' See "Gardeners'
Chronicle", 1866.) went off. Mrs. H. Wedgwood sent us an account, saying
that you read capitally, and were listened to with profound attention and
great applause. She says, when your final allegory (Sir Joseph Hooker
allegorized the Oxford meeting of the British Association as the gathering
of a tribe of savages who believed that the new moon was created afresh
each month. The anger of the priests and medicine man at a certain heresy,
according to which the new moon is but the offspring of the old one, is
excellently given.) began, "for a minute or two we were all mystified, and
then came such bursts of applause from the audience. It was thoroughly
enjoyed amid roars of laughter and noise, making a most brilliant

I am rejoiced that you will publish your lecture, and felt sure that sooner
or later it would come to this, indeed it would have been a sin if you had
not done so. I am especially rejoiced as you give the arguments for
occasional transport, with such perfect fairness; these will now receive a
fair share of attention, as coming from you a professed botanist. Thanks
also for Grove's address; as a whole it strikes me as very good and
original, but I was disappointed in the part about Species; it dealt in
such generalities that it would apply to any view or no view in

And now farewell. I do most heartily rejoice at your success, and for
Grove's sake at the brilliant success of the whole meeting.

Yours affectionately,

[The next letter is of interest, as giving the beginning of the connection
which arose between my father and Professor Victor Carus. The translation
referred to is the third German edition made from the fourth English one.
From this time forward Professor Carus continued to translate my father's
books into German. The conscientious care with which this work was done
was of material service, and I well remember the admiration (mingled with a
tinge of vexation at his own short-comings) with which my father used to
receive the lists of oversights, etc., which Professor Carus discovered in
the course of translation. The connection was not a mere business one, but
was cemented by warm feelings of regard on both sides.]

Down, November 10, 1866.

My dear Sir,

I thank you for your extremely kind letter. I cannot express too strongly
my satisfaction that you have undertaken the revision of the new edition,
and I feel the honour which you have conferred on me. I fear that you will
find the labour considerable, not only on account of the additions, but I
suspect that Bronn's translation is very defective, at least I have heard
complaints on this head from quite a large number of persons. It would be
a great gratification to me to know that the translation was a really good
one, such as I have no doubt you will produce. According to our English
practice, you will be fully justified in entirely omitting Bronn's
Appendix, and I shall be very glad of its omission. A new edition may be
looked at as a new work...You could add anything of your own that you
liked, and I should be much pleased. Should you make any additions or
append notes, it appears to me that Nageli "Entstehung und Begriff," etc.
('Entstehung und Begriff der Naturhistorischen Art.' An address given at a
public meeting of the 'R. Academy of Sciences' at Munich, March 28, 1865.),
would be worth noticing, as one of the most able pamphlets on the subject.
I am, however, far from agreeing with him that the acquisition of certain
characters which appear to be of no service to plants, offers any great
difficulty, or affords a proof of some innate tendency in plants towards
perfection. If you intend to notice this pamphlet, I should like to write
hereafter a little more in detail on the subject.

...I wish I had known when writing my Historical Sketch that you had in
1853 published your views on the genealogical connection of past and
present forms.

I suppose you have the sheets of the last English edition on which I marked
with pencil all the chief additions, but many little corrections of style
were not marked.

Pray believe that I feel sincerely grateful for the great service and
honour which you do me by the present translation.

I remain, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely,

P.S.--I should be VERY MUCH pleased to possess your photograph, and I send
mine in case you should like to have a copy.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. NAGELI. (Professor of Botany at Munich.)
Down, June 12 [1866].

Dear Sir,

I hope you will excuse the liberty which I take in writing to you. I have
just read, though imperfectly, your 'Entstehung und Begriff,' and have been
so greatly interested by it, that I have sent it to be translated, as I am
a poor German scholar. I have just finished a new [4th] edition of my
'Origin,' which will be translated into German, and my object in writing to
you is to say that if you should see this edition you would think that I
had borrowed from you, without acknowledgment, two discussions on the
beauty of flowers and fruit; but I assure you every word was printed off
before I had opened your pamphlet. Should you like to possess a copy of
either the German or English new edition, I should be proud to send one. I
may add, with respect to the beauty of flowers, that I have already hinted
the same views as you hold in my paper on Lythrum.

Many of your criticisms on my views are the best which I have met with, but
I could answer some, at least to my own satisfaction; and I regret
extremely that I had not read your pamphlet before printing my new edition.
On one or two points, I think, you have a little misunderstood me, though I
dare say I have not been cautious in expressing myself. The remark which
has struck me most, is that on the position of the leaves not having been
acquired through natural selection, from not being of any special
importance to the plant. I well remember being formerly troubled by an
analogous difficulty, namely, the position of the ovules, their anatropous
condition, etc. It was owing to forgetfulness that I did not notice this
difficulty in the 'Origin.' (Nageli's Essay is noticed in the 5th
edition.) Although I can offer no explanation of such facts, and only hope
to see that they may be explained, yet I hardly see how they support the
doctrine of some law of necessary development, for it is not clear to me
that a plant, with its leaves placed at some particular angle, or with its
ovules in some particular position, thus stands higher than another plant.
But I must apologise for troubling you with these remarks.

As I much wish to possess your photograph, I take the liberty of enclosing
my own, and with sincere respect I remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

[I give a few extracts from letters of various dates showing my father's
interest, alluded to in the last letter, in the problem of the arrangement
of the leaves on the stems of plants. It may be added that Professor
Schwendener of Berlin has successfully attacked the question in his
'Mechanische Theorie der Blattstellungen,' 1878.

August 26 [1863].

"Do you remember telling me that I ought to study Phyllotaxy? Well I have
often wished you at the bottom of the sea; for I could not resist, and I
muddled my brains with diagrams, etc., and specimens, and made out, as
might have been expected, nothing. Those angles are a most wonderful
problem and I wish I could see some one give a rational explanation of

May 11 [1861].

"If you wish to save me from a miserable death, do tell me why the angles
1/2, 1/3, 2/5, 3/8, etc, series occur, and no other angles. It is enough
to drive the quietest man mad. Did you and some mathematician (Probably my
father was thinking of Chauncey Wright's work on Phyllotaxy, in Gould's
'Astronomical Journal,' No.99, 1856, and in the 'Mathematical Monthly,'
1859. These papers are mentioned in the "Letters of Chauncey Wright.' Mr.
Wright corresponded with my father on the subject.) publish some paper on
the subject? Hooker says you did; where is it?

[May 31, 1863?].

"I have been looking at Nageli's work on this subject, and am astonished to
see that the angle is not always the same in young shoots when the leaf-
buds are first distinguishable, as in full-grown branches. This shows, I
think, that there must be some potent cause for those angles which do
occur: I dare say there is some explanation as simple as that for the
angles of the Bees-cells."

My father also corresponded with Dr. Hubert Airy and was interested in his
views on the subject, published in the Royal Soc. Proceedings, 1873, page

We now return to the year 1866.

In November, when the prosecution of Governor Eyre was dividing England
into two bitterly opposed parties, he wrote to Sir J. Hooker:--

"You will shriek at me when you hear that I have just subscribed to the
Jamaica Committee." (He subscribed 10 pounds.)

On this subject I quote from a letter of my brother's:--

"With respect to Governor Eyre's conduct in Jamaica, he felt strongly that
J.S. Mill was right in prosecuting him. I remember one evening, at my
Uncle's, we were talking on the subject, and as I happened to think it was
too strong a measure to prosecute Governor Eyre for murder, I made some
foolish remark about the prosecutors spending the surplus of the fund in a
dinner. My father turned on me almost with fury, and told me, if those
were my feelings, I had better go back to Southampton; the inhabitants
having given a dinner to Governor Eyre on his landing, but with which I had
had nothing to do." The end of the incident, as told by my brother, is so
characteristic of my father that I cannot resist giving it, though it has
no bearing on the point at issue. "Next morning at 7 o'clock, or so, he
came into my bedroom and sat on my bed, and said that he had not been able
to sleep from the thought that he had been so angry with me, and after a
few more kind words he left me."

The same restless desire to correct a disagreeable or incorrect impression
is well illustrated in an extract which I quote from some notes by Rev. J.
Brodie Innes:--

"Allied to the extreme carefulness of observation was his most remarkable
truthfulness in all matters. On one occasion, when a parish meeting had
been held on some disputed point of no great importance, I was surprised by
a visit from Mr. Darwin at night. He came to say that, thinking over the
debate, though what he had said was quite accurate, he thought I might have
drawn an erroneous conclusion, and he would not sleep till he had explained
it. I believe that if on any day some certain fact had come to his
knowledge which contradicted his most cherished theories, he would have
placed the fact on record for publication before he slept."

This tallies with my father's habits, as described by himself. When a
difficulty or an objection occurred to him, he thought it of paramount
importance to make a note of it instantly because he found hostile facts to
be especially evanescent.

The same point is illustrated by the following incident, for which I am
indebted to Mr. Romanes:--

"I have always remembered the following little incident as a good example
of Mr. Darwin's extreme solicitude on the score of accuracy. One evening
at Down there was a general conversation upon the difficulty of explaining
the evolution of some of the distinctively human emotions, especially those
appertaining to the recognition of beauty in natural scenery. I suggested
a view of my own upon the subject, which, depending upon the principle of
association, required the supposition that a long line of ancestors should
have inhabited regions, the scenery of which is now regarded as beautiful.
Just as I was about to observe that the chief difficulty attaching to my
hypothesis arose from feelings of the sublime (seeing that these are
associated with awe, and might therefore be expected not to be agreeable),
Mr. Darwin anticipated the remark, by asking how the hypothesis was to meet
the case of these feelings. In the conversation which followed, he said
the occasion in his own life, when he was most affected by the emotions of
the sublime was when he stood upon one of the summits of the Cordillera,
and surveyed the magnificent prospect all around. It seemed, as he
quaintly observed, as if his nerves had become fiddle strings, and had all
taken to rapidly vibrating. This remark was only made incidentally, and
the conversation passed into some other branch. About an hour afterwards
Mr. Darwin retired to rest, while I sat up in the smoking-room with one of
his sons. We continued smoking and talking for several hours, when at
about one o'clock in the morning the door gently opened and Mr. Darwin
appeared, in his slippers and dressing-gown. As nearly as I can remember,
the following are the words he used:--

"'Since I went to bed I have been thinking over our conversation in the
drawing-room, and it has just occurred to me that I was wrong in telling
you I felt most of the sublime when on the top of the Cordillera; I am
quite sure that I felt it even more when in the forests of Brazil. I
thought it best to come and tell you this at once in case I should be
putting you wrong. I am sure now that I felt most sublime in the forests.'

"This was all he had come to say, and it was evident that he had come to do
so, because he thought that the fact of his feeling 'most sublime in
forests' was more in accordance with the hypothesis which we had been
discussing, than the fact which he had previously stated. Now, as no one
knew better than Mr. Darwin the difference between a speculation and a
fact, I thought this little exhibition of scientific conscientiousness very
noteworthy, where the only question concerned was of so highly speculative
a character. I should not have been so much impressed if he had thought
that by his temporary failure of memory he had put me on a wrong scent in
any matter of fact, although even in such a case he is the only man I ever
knew who would care to get out of bed at such a time at night in order to
make the correction immediately, instead of waiting till next morning. But
as the correction only had reference to a flimsy hypothesis, I certainly
was very much impressed by this display of character."]

Down, December 10 [1866].

...I have now read the last No. of H. Spencer. ('Principles of Biology.')
I do not know whether to think it better than the previous number, but it
is wonderfully clever, and I dare say mostly true. I feel rather mean when
I read him: I could bear, and rather enjoy feeling that he was twice as
ingenious and clever as myself, but when I feel that he is about a dozen
times my superior, even in the master art of wriggling, I feel aggrieved.
If he had trained himself to observe more, even if at the expense, by the
law of balancement, of some loss of thinking power, he would have been a
wonderful man.

...I am HEARTILY glad you are taking up the Distribution of Plants in New
Zealand, and suppose it will make part of your new book. Your view, as I
understand it, that New Zealand subsided and formed two or more small
islands, and then rose again, seems to me extremely probable...When I
puzzled my brains about New Zealand, I remember I came to the conclusion,
as indeed I state in the 'Origin,' that its flora, as well as that of other
southern lands, had been tinctured by an Antarctic flora, which must have
existed before the Glacial period. I concluded that New Zealand never
could have been closely connected with Australia, though I supposed it had
received some few Australian forms by occasional means of transport. Is
there any reason to suppose that New Zealand could have been more closely
connected with South Australia during the glacial period, when the
Eucalypti, etc., might have been driven further North? Apparently there
remains only the line, which I think you suggested, of sunken islands from
New Caledonia. Please remember that the Edwardsia was certainly drifted
there by the sea.

I remember in old days speculating on the amount of life, i.e. of organic
chemical change, at different periods. There seems to me one very
difficult element in the problem, namely, the state of development of the
organic beings at each period, for I presume that a Flora and Fauna of
cellular cryptogamic plants, of Protozoa and Radiata would lead to much
less chemical change than is now going on. But I have scribbled enough.

Yours affectionately,

[The following letter is in acknowledgment of Mr. Rivers' reply to an
earlier letter in which my father had asked for information on bud-

It may find a place here in illustration of the manner of my father's
intercourse with those "whose avocations in life had to do with the rearing
or use of living things" ("Mr. Dyer in 'Charles Darwin,'" "Nature Series",
1882, page 39.)--an intercourse which bore such good fruit in the
'Variation of Animals and Plants.' Mr. Dyer has some excellent remarks on
the unexpected value thus placed on apparently trivial facts disinterred
from weekly journals, or amassed by correspondence. He adds:
"Horticulturists who had...moulded plants almost at their will at the
impulse of taste or profit were at once amazed and charmed to find that
they had been doing scientific work and helping to establish a great

CHARLES DARWIN TO T. RIVERS. (The late Mr. Rivers was an eminent
horticulturist and writer on horticulture.)
Down, December 28 [1866?].

My dear Sir,

Permit me to thank you cordially for your most kind letter. For years I
have read with interest every scrap which you have written in periodicals,
and abstracted in MS. your book on Roses, and several times I thought I
would write to you, but did not know whether you would think me too
intrusive. I shall, indeed, be truly obliged for any information you can
supply me on bud-variation or sports. When any extra difficult points
occur to me in my present subject (which is a mass of difficulties), I will
apply to you, but I will not be unreasonable. It is most true what you say
that any one to study well the physiology of the life of plants, ought to
have under his eye a multitude of plants. I have endeavoured to do what I
can by comparing statements by many writers and observing what I could
myself. Unfortunately few have observed like you have done. As you are so
kind, I will mention one other point on which I am collecting facts;
namely, the effect produced on the stock by the graft; thus, it is SAID,
that the purple-leaved filbert affects the leaves of the common hazel on
which it is grafted (I have just procured a plant to try), so variegated
jessamine is SAID to affect its stock. I want these facts partly to throw
light on the marvellous laburnum Adami, trifacial oranges, etc. That
laburnum case seems one of the strangest in physiology. I have now growing
splendid, FERTILE, yellow laburnums (with a long raceme like the so-called
Waterer's laburnum) from seed of yellow flowers on the C. Adami. To a man
like myself, who is compelled to live a solitary life, and sees few
persons, it is no slight satisfaction to hear that I have been able at all
[to] interest by my books observers like yourself.

As I shall publish on my present subject, I presume, within a year, it will
be of no use your sending me the shoots of peaches and nectarines which you
so kindly offer; I have recorded your facts.

Permit me again to thank you cordially; I have not often in my life
received a kinder letter.

My dear Sir, yours sincerely,



JANUARY 1867, TO JUNE 1868.

[At the beginning of the year 1867 he was at work on the final chapter--
"Concluding Remarks" of the 'Variation of Animals and Plants under
Domestication,' which was begun after the rest of the MS. had been sent to
the printers in the preceding December. With regard to the publication of
the book he wrote to Mr. Murray, on January 3:--

"I cannot tell you how sorry I am to hear of the enormous size of my book.
(On January 9 he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker: "I have been these last few
days vexed and annoyed to a foolish degree by hearing that my MS. on Dom.
An. and Cult. Plants will make 2 volumes, both bigger than the 'Origin.'
The volumes will have to be full-sized octavo, so I have written to Murray
to suggest details to be printed in small type. But I feel that the size
is quite ludicrous in relation to the subject. I am ready to swear at
myself and at every fool who writes a book.") I fear it can never pay.
But I cannot shorten it now; nor, indeed, if I had foreseen its length, do
I see which parts ought to have been omitted.

"If you are afraid to publish it, say so at once, I beg you, and I will
consider your note as cancelled. If you think fit, get any one whose
judgment you rely on, to look over some of the more legible chapters,
namely, the Introduction, and on dogs and plants, the latter chapters being
in my opinion, the dullest in the book...The list of chapters, and the
inspection of a few here and there, would give a good judge a fair idea of
the whole book. Pray do not publish blindly, as it would vex me all my
life if I led you to heavy loss."

Mr. Murray referred the MS. to a literary friend, and, in spite of a
somewhat adverse opinion, willingly agreed to publish the book. My father

"Your note has been a great relief to me. I am rather alarmed about the
verdict of your friend, as he is not a man of science. I think if you had
sent the 'Origin' to an unscientific man, he would have utterly condemned
it. I am, however, VERY GLAD that you have consulted any one on whom you
can rely.

"I must add, that my 'Journal of Researches' was seen in MS. by an eminent
semi-scientific man, and was pronounced unfit for publication."

The proofs were begun in March, and the last revise was finished on
November 15th, and during this period the only intervals of rest were two
visits of a week each at his brother Erasmus's house in Queen Anne Street.
He notes in his Diary:--

"I began this book [in the] beginning of 1860 (and then had some MS.), but
owing to interruptions from my illness, and illness of children; from
various editions of the 'Origin,' and Papers, especially Orchis book and
Tendrils, I have spent four years and two months over it."

The edition of 'Animals and Plants' was of 1500 copies, and of these 1260
were sold at Mr. Murray's autumnal sale, but it was not published until
January 30, 1868. A new edition of 1250 copies was printed in February of
the same year.

In 1867 he received the distinction of being made a knight of the Prussian
Order "Pour le Merite." (The Order "Pour le Merite" was founded in 1740 by
Frederick II. by the re-christening of an "Order of Generosity," founded in
1665. It was at one time strictly military, having been previously both
civil and military, and in 1840 the Order was again opened to civilians.
The order consists of thirty members of German extraction, but
distinguished foreigners are admitted to a kind of extraordinary
membership. Faraday, Herschel, and Thomas Moore, have belonged to it in
this way. From the thirty members a chancellor is elected by the king (the
first officer of this kind was Alexander v. Humboldt); and it is the duty
of the chancellor to notify a vacancy in the Order to the remainder of the
thirty, who then elect by vote the new member--but the king has technically
the appointment in his own hands.) He seems not to have known how great
the distinction was, for in June 1868 he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"What a man you are for sympathy. I was made "Eques" some months ago, but
did not think much about it. Now, by Jove, we all do; but you, in fact,
have knighted me."

The letters may now take up the story.]

Down, February 8 [1867].

My dear Hooker,

I am heartily glad that you have been offered the Presidentship of the
British Association, for it is a great honour, and as you have so much work
to do, I am equally glad that you have declined it. I feel, however,
convinced that you would have succeeded very well; but if I fancy myself in
such a position, it actually makes my blood run cold. I look back with
amazement at the skill and taste with which the Duke of Argyll made a
multitude of little speeches at Glasgow. By the way, I have not seen the
Duke's book ('The Reign of Law,' 1867.), but I formerly thought that some
of the articles which appeared in periodicals were very clever, but not
very profound. One of these was reviewed in the "Saturday Review"
("Saturday Review", November 15, 1862, 'The "Edinburgh Review" on the
Supernatural.' Written by my cousin, Mr. Henry Parker.) some years ago,
and the fallacy of some main argument was admirably exposed, and I sent the
article to you, and you agreed strongly with it...There was the other day a
rather good review of the Duke's book in the "Spectator", and with a new
explanation, either by the Duke or the reviewer (I could not make out
which), of rudimentary organs, namely, that economy of labour and material
was a great guiding principle with God (ignoring waste of seed and of young
monsters, etc.), and that making a new plan for the structure of animals
was thought, and thought was labour, and therefore God kept to a uniform
plan, and left rudiments. This is no exaggeration. In short, God is a
man, rather cleverer than us...I am very much obliged for the "Nation"
(returned by this post); it is ADMIRABLY good. You say I always guess
wrong, but I do not believe any one, except Asa Gray, could have done the
thing so well. I would bet even, or three to two, that it is Asa Gray,
though one or two passages staggered me.

I finish my book on 'Domestic Animals,' etc., by a single paragraph,
answering, or rather throwing doubt, in so far as so little space permits,
on Asa Gray's doctrine that each variation has been specially ordered or
led along a beneficial line. It is foolish to touch such subjects, but
there have been so many allusions to what I think about the part which God
has played in the formation of organic beings (Prof. Judd allows me to
quote from some notes which he has kindly given me:--"Lyell once told me
that he had frequently been asked if Darwin was not one of the most unhappy
of men, it being suggested that his outrage upon public opinion should have
filled him with remorse." Sir Charles Lyell must have been able, I think,
to give a satisfactory answer on this point. Professor Judd continues:--

"I made a note of this and other conversations of Lyell's at the time. At
the present time such statements must appear strange to any one who does
not recollect the revolution in opinion which has taken place during the
last 23 years [1882]."), that I thought it shabby to evade the question...I
have even received several letters on the subject...I overlooked your
sentence about Providence, and suppose I treated it as Buckland did his own
theology, when his Bridgewater Treatise was read aloud to him for

[The following letter, from Mrs. Boole, is one of those referred to in the
last letter to Sir J.D. Hooker:]

Dear Sir,

Will you excuse my venturing to ask you a question, to which no one's
answer but your own would be quite satisfactory?

Do you consider the holding of your theory of Natural Selection, in its
fullest and most unreserved sense, to be inconsistent--I do not say with
any particular scheme of theological doctrine--but with the following
belief, namely:--

That knowledge is given to man by the direct inspiration of the Spirit of

That God is a personal and Infinitely good Being.

That the effect of the action of the Spirit of God on the brain of man is
especially a moral effect.

And that each individual man has within certain limits a power of choice as
to how far he will yield to his hereditary animal impulses, and how far he
will rather follow the guidance of the Spirit, who is educating him into a
power of resisting those impulses in obedience to moral motives?

The reason why I ask you is this: my own impression has always been, not
only that your theory was perfectly COMPATIBLE with the faith to which I
have just tried to give expression, but that your books afforded me a clue
which would guide me in applying that faith to the solution of certain
complicated psychological problems which it was of practical importance to
me as a mother to solve. I felt that you had supplied one of the missing
links--not to say THE missing link--between the facts of science and the
promises of religion. Every year's experience tends to deepen in me that

But I have lately read remarks on the probable bearing of your theory on
religious and moral questions which have perplexed and pained me sorely. I
know that the persons who make such remarks must be cleverer and wiser than
myself. I cannot feel sure that they are mistaken, unless you will tell me
so. And I think--I cannot know for certain--but I THINK--that if I were an
author, I would rather that the humblest student of my works should apply
to me directly in a difficulty, than that she should puzzle too long over
adverse and probably mistaken or thoughtless criticisms.

At the same time I feel that you have a perfect right to refuse to answer
such questions as I have asked you. Science must take her path, and
Theology hers, and they will meet when and where and how God pleases, and
you are in no sense responsible for it if the meeting-point should still be
very far off. If I receive no answer to this letter I shall infer nothing
from your silence, except that you felt I had no right to make such
enquiries of a stranger.

[My father replied as follows:]

Down, December 14, [1866].

Dear Madam,

It would have gratified me much if I could have sent satisfactory answers
to your questions, or, indeed, answers of any kind. But I cannot see how
the belief that all organic beings, including man, have been genetically
derived from some simple being, instead of having been separately created,
bears on your difficulties. These, as it seems to me, can be answered only
by widely different evidence from science, or by the so-called "inner
consciousness." My opinion is not worth more than that of any other man
who has thought on such subjects, and it would be folly in me to give it.
I may, however, remark that it has always appeared to me more satisfactory
to look at the immense amount of pain and suffering in this world as the
inevitable result of the natural sequence of events, i.e. general laws,
rather than from the direct intervention of God, though I am aware this is
not logical with reference to an omniscient Deity. Your last question
seems to resolve itself into the problem of free will and necessity, which
has been found by most persons insoluble. I sincerely wish that this note
had not been as utterly valueless as it is. I would have sent full
answers, though I have little time or strength to spare, had it been in my
power. I have the honour to remain, dear Madam,

Yours very faithfully,

P.S.--I am grieved that my views should incidentally have caused trouble to
your mind, but I thank you for your judgment, and honour you for it, that
theology and science should each run its own course, and that in the
present case I am not responsible if their meeting-point should still be
far off.

[The next letter discusses the 'Reign of Law,' referred to a few pages

Down, June 1 [1867].

...I am at present reading the Duke, and am VERY MUCH interested by him;
yet I cannot but think, clever as the whole is, that parts are weak, as
when he doubts whether each curvature of the beak of humming-birds is of
service to each species. He admits, perhaps too fully, that I have shown
the use of each little ridge and shape of each petal in orchids, and how
strange he does not extend the view to humming-birds. Still odder, it
seems to me, all that he says on beauty, which I should have thought a
nonentity, except in the mind of some sentient being. He might have as
well said that love existed during the secondary or Palaeozoic periods. I
hope you are getting on with your book better than I am with mine, which
kills me with the labour of correcting, and is intolerably dull, though I
did not think so when I was writing it. A naturalist's life would be a
happy one if he had only to observe, and never to write.

We shall be in London for a week in about a fortnight's time, and I shall
enjoy having a breakfast talk with you.

Yours affectionately,

[The following letter refers to the new and improved translation of the
'Origin,' undertaken by Professor Carus:]

Down, February 17 [1867].

My dear Sir,

I have read your preface with care. It seems to me that you have treated
Bronn with complete respect and great delicacy, and that you have alluded
to your own labour with much modesty. I do not think that any of Bronn's
friends can complain of what you say and what you have done. For my own
sake, I grieve that you have not added notes, as I am sure that I should
have profited much by them; but as you have omitted Bronn's objections, I
believe that you have acted with excellent judgment and fairness in leaving
the text without comment to the independent verdict of the reader. I
heartily congratulate you that the main part of your labour is over; it
would have been to most men a very troublesome task, but you seem to have
indomitable powers of work, judging from those two wonderful and most
useful volumes on zoological literature ('Bibliotheca Zoologica,' 1861.)
edited by you, and which I never open without surprise at their accuracy,
and gratitude for their usefulness. I cannot sufficiently tell you how
much I rejoice that you were persuaded to superintend the translation of
the present edition of my book, for I have now the great satisfaction of
knowing that the German public can judge fairly of its merits and

With my cordial and sincere thanks, believe me,

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

[The earliest letter which I have seen from my father to Professor Haeckel,
was written in 1865, and from that time forward they corresponded (though
not, I think, with any regularity) up to the end of my father's life. His
friendship with Haeckel was not nearly growth of correspondence, as was the
case with some others, for instance, Fritz Muller. Haeckel paid more than
one visit to Down, and these were thoroughly enjoyed by my father. The
following letter will serve to show the strong feeling of regard which he
entertained for his correspondent--a feeling which I have often heard him
emphatically express, and which was warmly returned. The book referred to
is Haeckel's 'Generelle Morphologie,' published in 1866, a copy of which my
father received from the author in January 1867.

Dr. E. Krause ('Charles Darwin und sein Verhaltniss zu Deutschland,' 1885.)
has given a good account of Professor Haeckel's services to the cause of
Evolution. After speaking of the lukewarm reception which the 'Origin' met
with in Germany on its first publication, he goes on to describe the first
adherents of the new faith as more or less popular writers, not especially
likely to advance its acceptance with the professorial or purely scientific
world. And he claims for Haeckel that it was his advocacy of Evolution in
his 'Radiolaria' (1862), and at the "Versammlung" of Naturalists at Stettin
in 1863, that placed the Darwinian question for the first time publicly
before the forum of German science, and his enthusiastic propagandism that
chiefly contributed to its success.

Mr. Huxley, writing in 1869, paid a high tribute to Professor Haeckel as
the Coryphaeus of the Darwinian movement in Germany. Of his 'Generelle
Morphologie,' "an attempt to work out the practical application" of the
doctrine of Evolution to their final results, he says that it has the
"force and suggestiveness, and...systematising power of Oken without his
extravagance." Professor Huxley also testifies to the value of Haeckel's
'Schopfungs-Geschichte' as an exposition of the 'Generelle Morphologie'
"for an educated public."

Again, in his 'Evolution in Biology' (An article in the 'Encyclopaedia
Britannica,' 9th edition, reprinted in 'Science and Culture,' 1881, page
298.), Mr. Huxley wrote: "Whatever hesitation may, not unfrequently, be
felt by less daring minds, in following Haeckel in many of his
speculations, his attempt to systematise the doctrine of Evolution, and to
exhibit its influence as the central thought of modern biology, cannot fail
to have a far-reaching influence on the progress of science."

In the following letter my father alludes to the somewhat fierce manner in
which Professor Haeckel fought the battle of 'Darwinismus,' and on this
subject Dr. Krause has some good remarks (page 162). He asks whether much
that happened in the heat of the conflict might not well have been
otherwise, and adds that Haeckel himself is the last man to deny this.
Nevertheless he thinks that even these things may have worked well for the
cause of Evolution, inasmuch as Haeckel "concentrated on himself by his
'Ursprung des Menschen-Geschlechts,' his 'Generelle Morphologie,' and
'Schopfungs-Geschichte,' all the hatred and bitterness which Evolution
excited in certain quarters," so that, "in a surprisingly short time it
became the fashion in Germany that Haeckel alone should be abused, while
Darwin was held up as the ideal of forethought and moderation."]

Down, May 21, 1867.

Dear Haeckel,

Your letter of the 18th has given me great pleasure, for you have received
what I said in the most kind and cordial manner. You have in part taken
what I said much stronger than I had intended. It never occurred to me for
a moment to doubt that your work, with the whole subject so admirably and
clearly arranged, as well as fortified by so many new facts and arguments,
would not advance our common object in the highest degree. All that I
think is that you will excite anger, and that anger so completely blinds
every one, that your arguments would have no chance of influencing those
who are already opposed to our views. Moreover, I do not at all like that
you, towards whom I feel so much friendship, should unnecessarily make
enemies, and there is pain and vexation enough in the world without more
being caused. But I repeat that I can feel no doubt that your work will
greatly advance our subject, and I heartily wish it could be translated
into English, for my own sake and that of others. With respect to what you
say about my advancing too strongly objections against my own views, some
of my English friends think that I have erred on this side; but truth
compelled me to write what I did, and I am inclined to think it was good
policy. The belief in the descent theory is slowly spreading in England
(In October 1867 he wrote to Mr. Wallace:--"Mr. Warrington has lately read
an excellent and spirited abstract of the 'Origin' before the Victoria
Institute, and as this is a most orthodox body, he has gained the name of
the Devil's Advocate. The discussion which followed during three
consecutive meetings is very rich from the nonsense talked. If you would
care to see the number I could send it you."), even amongst those who can
give no reason for their belief. No body of men were at first so much
opposed to my views as the members of the London Entomological Society, but
now I am assured that, with the exception of two or three old men, all the
members concur with me to a certain extent. It has been a great
disappointment to me that I have never received your long letter written to
me from the Canary Islands. I am rejoiced to hear that your tour, which
seems to have been a most interesting one, has done your health much good.
I am working away at my new book, but make very slow progress, and the work
tries my health, which is much the same as when you were here.

Victor Carus is going to translate it, but whether it is worth translation,
I am rather doubtful. I am very glad to hear that there is some chance of
your visiting England this autumn, and all in this house will be delighted
to see you here.

Believe me, my dear Haeckel,
Yours very sincerely,

Down, July 31 [1867].

My dear Sir,

I received a week ago your letter of June 2, full as usual of valuable
matter and specimens. It arrived at exactly the right time, for I was
enabled to give a pretty full abstract of your observations on the plant's
own pollen being poisonous. I have inserted this abstract in the proof-
sheets in my chapter on sterility, and it forms the most striking part of
my whole chapter. (In 'The Variation of Animals and Plants.') I thank you
very sincerely for the most interesting observations, which, however, I
regret that you did not publish independently. I have been forced to
abbreviate one or two parts more than I wished...Your letters always
surprise me, from the number of points to which you attend. I wish I could
make my letters of any interest to you, for I hardly ever see a naturalist,
and live as retired a life as you in Brazil. With respect to mimetic
plants, I remember Hooker many years ago saying he believed that there were
many, but I agree with you that it would be most difficult to distinguish
between mimetic resemblance and the effects of peculiar conditions. Who
can say to which of these causes to attribute the several plants with
heath-like foliage at the Cape of Good Hope? Is it not also a difficulty
that quadrupeds appear to recognise plants more by their [scent] than their
appearance? What I have just said reminds me to ask you a question. Sir
J. Lubbock brought me the other day what appears to be a terrestrial
Planaria (the first ever found in the northern hemisphere) and which was
coloured exactly like our dark-coloured slugs. Now slugs are not devoured
by birds, like the shell-bearing species, and this made me remember that I
found the Brazilian Planariae actually together with striped Vaginuli which
I believe were similarly coloured. Can you throw any light on this? I
wish to know, because I was puzzled some months ago how it would be
possible to account for the bright colours of the Planariae in reference to
sexual selection. By the way, I suppose they are hermaphrodites.

Do not forget to aid me, if in your power, with answers to ANY of my
questions on expression, for the subject interests me greatly. With
cordial thanks for your never-failing kindness, believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

Down, July 18 [1867].

My dear Lyell,

Many thanks for your long letter. I am sorry to hear that you are in
despair about your book (The 2nd volume of the 10th Edition of the
'Principles.'); I well know that feeling, but am now getting out of the
lower depths. I shall be very much pleased, if you can make the least use
of my present book, and do not care at all whether it is published before
yours. Mine will appear towards the end of November of this year; you
speak of yours as not coming out till November, 1868, which I hope may be
an error. There is nothing about Man in my book which can interfere with
you, so I will order all the completed clean sheets to be sent (and others
as soon as ready) to you, but please observe you will not care for the
first volume, which is a mere record of the amount of variation; but I hope
the second will be somewhat more interesting. Though I fear the whole must
be dull.

I rejoice from my heart that you are going to speak out plainly about
species. My book about Man, if published, will be short, and a large
portion will be devoted to sexual selection, to which subject I alluded in
the 'Origin' as bearing on Man...

Down, August 22 [1867].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you cordially for your last two letters. The former one did me
REAL good, for I had got so wearied with the subject that I could hardly
bear to correct the proofs (The proofs of 'Animals and Plants,' which Lyell
was then reading.), and you gave me fresh heart. I remember thinking that
when you came to the Pigeon chapter you would pass it over as quite
unreadable. Your last letter has interested me in very many ways, and I
have been glad to hear about those horrid unbelieving Frenchmen. I have
been particularly pleased that you have noticed Pangenesis. I do not know
whether you ever had the feeling of having thought so much over a subject
that you had lost all power of judging it. This is my case with Pangenesis
(which is 26 or 27 years old), but I am inclined to think that if it be
admitted as a probable hypothesis it will be a somewhat important step in

I cannot help still regretting that you have ever looked at the slips, for
I hope to improve the whole a good deal. It is surprising to me, and
delightful, that you should care in the least about the plants. Altogether
you have given me one of the best cordials I ever had in my life, and I
heartily thank you. I despatched this morning the French edition. (Of the
'Origin.' It appears that my father was sending a copy of the French
edition to Sir Charles. The introduction was by Mdlle. Royer, who
translated the book.) The introduction was a complete surprise to me, and
I dare say has injured the book in France; shows, I
think, that the woman is uncommonly clever. Once again many thanks for the
renewed courage with which I shall attack the horrid proof-sheets.

Yours affectionately,

P.S.--A Russian who is translating my new book into Russian has been here,
and says you are immensely read in Russia, and many editions--how many I
forget. Six editions of Buckle and four editions of the 'Origin.'

Down, October 16 [1867].

My dear Gray,

I send by this post clean sheets of Volume I. up to page 336, and there are
only 411 pages in this volume. I am VERY glad to hear that you are going
to review my book; but if the "Nation" (The book was reviewed by Dr. Gray
in the "Nation", March 19, 1868.) is a newspaper I wish it were at the
bottom of the sea, for I fear that you will thus be stopped reviewing me in
a scientific journal. The first volume is all details, and you will not be
able to read it; and you must remember that the chapters on plants are
written for naturalists who are not botanists. The last chapter in Volume
I. is, however, I think, a curious compilation of facts; it is on bud-
variation. In Volume II. some of the chapters are more interesting; and I
shall be very curious to hear your verdict on the chapter on close inter-
breeding. The chapter on what I call Pangenesis will be called a mad
dream, and I shall be pretty well satisfied if you think it a dream worth
publishing; but at the bottom of my own mind I think it contains a great
truth. I finish my book with a semi-theological paragraph, in which I
quote and differ from you; what you will think of it, I know not...

Down, November 17 [1867].

My dear Hooker,

Congratulate me, for I have finished the last revise of the last sheet of
my book. It has been an awful job: seven and a half months correcting the
press: the book, from much small type, does not look big, but is really
very big. I have had hard work to keep up to the mark, but during the last
week only few revises came, so that I have rested and feel more myself.
Hence, after our long mutual silence, I enjoy myself by writing a note to
you, for the sake of exhaling, and hearing from you. On account of the
index (The index was made by Mr. W.S. Dallas; I have often heard my father
express his admiration of this excellent piece of work.), I do not suppose
that you will receive your copy till the middle of next month. I shall be
intensely anxious to hear what you think about Pangenesis; though I can see
how fearfully imperfect, even in mere conjectural conclusions, it is; yet
it has been an infinite satisfaction to me somehow to connect the various
large groups of facts, which I have long considered, by an intelligible
thread. I shall not be at all surprised if you attack it and me with
unparalleled ferocity. It will be my endeavour to do as little as possible
for some time, but [I] shall soon prepare a paper or two for the Linnean
Society. In a short time we shall go to London for ten days, but the time
is not yet fixed. Now I have told you a deal about myself, and do let me
hear a good deal about your own past and future doings. Can you pay us a
visit, early in December?...I have seen no one for an age, and heard no

...About my book I will give you a bit of advice. Skip the WHOLE of Volume
I., except the last chapter (and that need only be skimmed) and skip
largely in the 2nd volume; and then you will say it is a very good book.


['The Variation of Animals and Plants' was, as already mentioned, published
on January 30, 1868, and on that day he sent a copy to Fritz Muller, and
wrote to him:--

"I send by this post, by French packet, my new book, the publication of
which has been much delayed. The greater part, as you will see, is not
meant to be read; but I should very much like to hear what you think of
'Pangenesis,' though I fear it will appear to EVERY ONE far too

February 3 [1868].

...I am very much pleased at what you say about my Introduction; after it
was in type I was as near as possible cancelling the whole. I have been
for some time in despair about my book, and if I try to read a few pages I
feel fairly nauseated, but do not let this make you praise it; for I have
made up my mind that it is not worth a fifth part of the enormous labour it
has cost me. I assure you that all that is worth your doing (if you have
time for so much) is glancing at Chapter VI., and reading parts of the
later chapters. The facts on self-impotent plants seem to me curious, and
I have worked out to my own satisfaction the good from crossing and evil
from interbreeding. I did read Pangenesis the other evening, but even
this, my beloved child, as I had fancied, quite disgusted me. The devil
take the whole book; and yet now I am at work again as hard as I am able.
It is really a great evil that from habit I have pleasure in hardly
anything except Natural History, for nothing else makes me forget my ever-
recurrent uncomfortable sensations. But I must not howl any more, and the
critics may say what they like; I did my best, and man can do no more.
What a splendid pursuit Natural History would be if it was all observing
and no writing!...

Down, February 10 [1868].

My dear Hooker,

What is the good of having a friend, if one may not boast to him? I heard
yesterday that Murray has sold in a week the whole edition of 1500 copies
of my book, and the sale so pressing that he has agreed with Clowes to get
another edition in fourteen days! This has done me a world of good, for I
had got into a sort of dogged hatred of my book. And now there has
appeared a review in the "Pall Mall" which has pleased me excessively, more
perhaps than is reasonable. I am quite content, and do not care how much I
may be pitched into. If by any chance you should hear who wrote the
article in the "Pall Mall", do please tell me; it is some one who writes
capitally, and who knows the subject. I went to luncheon on Sunday, to
Lubbock's, partly in hopes of seeing you, and, be hanged to you, you were
not there.

Your cock-a-hoop friend,

[Independently of the favourable tone of the able series of notices in the
"Pall Mall Gazette" (February 10, 15, 17, 1868), my father may well have
been gratified by the following passages:--

"We must call attention to the rare and noble calmness with which he
expounds his own views, undisturbed by the heats of polemical agitation
which those views have excited, and persistently refusing to retort on his
antagonists by ridicule, by indignation, or by contempt. Considering the
amount of vituperation and insinuation which has come from the other side,
this forbearance is supremely dignified."

And again in the third notice, February 17:--

"Nowhere has the author a word that could wound the most sensitive self-
love of an antagonist; nowhere does he, in text or note, expose the
fallacies and mistakes of brother investigators...but while abstaining from
impertinent censure, he is lavish in acknowledging the smallest debts he
may owe; and his book will make many men happy."

I am indebted to Messrs. Smith & Elder for the information that these
articles were written by Mr. G.H. Lewes.]

Down, February 23 [1868].

My dear Hooker,

I have had almost as many letters to write of late as you can have, viz.
from 8 to 10 per diem, chiefly getting up facts on sexual selection,
therefore I have felt no inclination to write to you, and now I mean to
write solely about my book for my own satisfaction, and not at all for
yours. The first edition was 1500 copies, and now the second is printed
off; sharp work. Did you look at the review in the "Athenaeum"
("Athenaeum", February 15, 1868. My father quoted Pouchet's assertion that
"variation under domestication throws no light on the natural modification
of species." The reviewer quotes the end of a passage in which my father
declares that he can see no force in Pouchet's arguments, or rather
assertions, and then goes on: "We are sadly mistaken if there are not
clear proofs in the pages of the book before us that, on the contrary, Mr.
Darwin has perceived, felt, and yielded to the force of the arguments or
assertions of his French antagonist." The following may serve as samples
of the rest of the review:--

"Henceforth the rhetoricians will have a better illustration of anti-climax
than the mountain which brought forth a mouse, the discoverer of the
origin of species, who tried to explain the variation of pigeons!

"A few summary words. On the 'Origin of Species' Mr. Darwin has nothing,
and is never likely to have anything, to say; but on the vastly important
subject of inheritance, the transmission of peculiarities once acquired
through successive generations, this work is a valuable store-house of
facts for curious students and practical breeders."), showing profound
contempt of me?...It is a shame that he should have said that I have taken
much from Pouchet, without acknowledgment; for I took literally nothing,
there being nothing to take. There is a capital review in the "Gardeners'
Chronicle" which will sell the book if anything will. I don't quite see
whether I or the writer is in a muddle about man CAUSING variability. If a
man drops a bit of iron into sulphuric acid he does not cause the
affinities to come into play, yet he may be said to make sulphate of iron.
I do not know how to avoid ambiguity.

After what the "Pall Mall Gazette" and the "Chronicle" have said I do not
care a d--.

I fear Pangenesis is stillborn; Bates says he has read it twice, and is not
sure that he understands it. H. Spencer says the view is quite different
from his (and this is a great relief to me, as I feared to be accused of
plagiarism, but utterly failed to be sure what he meant, so thought it
safest to give my view as almost the same as his), and he says he is not
sure he understands it...Am I not a poor devil? yet I took such pains, I
must think that I expressed myself clearly. Old Sir H. Holland says he has
read it twice, and thinks it very tough; but believes that sooner or later
"some view akin to it" will be accepted.

You will think me very self-sufficient, when I declare that I feel SURE if
Pangenesis is now stillborn it will, thank God, at some future time
reappear, begotten by some other father, and christened by some other name.

Have you ever met with any tangible and clear view of what takes place in
generation, whether by seeds or buds, or how a long-lost character can
possibly reappear; or how the male element can possibly affect the mother
plant, or the mother animal, so that her future progeny are affected? Now
all these points and many others are connected together, whether truly or
falsely is another question, by Pangenesis. You see I die hard, and stick
up for my poor child.

This letter is written for my own satisfaction, and not for yours. So bear

Yours affectionately,

CHARLES DARWIN TO A. NEWTON. (Prof. of Zoology at Cambridge.)
Down, February 9 [1870].

Dear Newton,

I suppose it would be universally held extremely wrong for a defendant to
write to a Judge to express his satisfaction at a judgment in his favour;
and yet I am going thus to act. I have just read what you have said in the
'Record' ('Zoological Record.' The volume for 1868, published December
1869.) about my pigeon chapters, and it has gratified me beyond measure. I
have sometimes felt a little disappointed that the labour of so many years
seemed to be almost thrown away, for you are the first man capable of
forming a judgment (excepting partly Quatrefages), who seems to have
thought anything of this part of my work. The amount of labour,
correspondence, and care, which the subject cost me, is more than you could
well suppose. I thought the article in the "Athenaeum" was very unjust;
but now I feel amply repaid, and I cordially thank you for your sympathy
and too warm praise. What labour you have bestowed on your part of the
'Record'! I ought to be ashamed to speak of my amount of work. I
thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday, which you and the others spent here, and

I remain, dear Newton, yours very sincerely,

Down, February 27 [1868].

My dear Wallace,

You cannot well imagine how much I have been pleased by what you say about
'Pangenesis.' None of my friends will speak out...Hooker, as far as I
understand him, which I hardly do at present, seems to think that the
hypothesis is little more than saying that organisms have such and such
potentialities. What you say exactly and fully expresses my feeling, viz.
that it is a relief to have some feasible explanation of the various facts,
which can be given up as soon as any better hypothesis is found. It has
certainly been an immense relief to my mind; for I have been stumbling over
the subject for years, dimly seeing that some relation existed between the
various classes of facts. I now hear from H. Spencer that his views quoted
in my foot-note refer to something quite distinct, as you seem to have

I shall be very glad to hear at some future day your criticisms on the
"causes of variability." Indeed I feel sure that I am right about
sterility and natural selection...I do not quite understand your case, and
we think that a word or two is misplaced. I wish sometime you would
consider the case under the following point of view:--If sterility is
caused or accumulated through natural selection, than as every degree
exists up to absolute barrenness, natural selection must have the power of
increasing it. Now take two species, A and B, and assume that they are (by
any means) half-sterile, i.e. produce half the full number of offspring.
Now try and make (by natural selection) A and B absolutely sterile when
crossed, and you will find how difficult it is. I grant indeed, it is
certain, that the degree of sterility of the individuals A and B will vary,
but any such extra-sterile individuals of, we will say A, if they should
hereafter breed with other individuals of A, will bequeath no advantage to
their progeny, by which these families will tend to increase in number over
other families of A, which are not more sterile when crossed with B. But I
do not know that I have made this any clearer than in the chapter in my
book. It is a most difficult bit of reasoning, which I have gone over and
over again on paper with diagrams.

...Hearty thanks for your letter. You have indeed pleased me, for I had
given up the great god Pan as a stillborn deity. I wish you could be
induced to make it clear with your admirable powers of elucidation in one
of the scientific journals...

Down, February 28 [1868].

My dear Hooker,

I have been deeply interested by your letter, and we had a good laugh over
Huxley's remark, which was so deuced clever that you could not recollect
it. I cannot quite follow your train of thought, for in the last page you
admit all that I wish, having apparently denied all, or thought all mere
words in the previous pages of your note; but it may be my muddle. I see
clearly that any satisfaction which Pan may give will depend on the
constitution of each man's mind. If you have arrived already at any
similar conclusion, the whole will of course appear stale to you. I heard
yesterday from Wallace, who says (excuse horrid vanity), "I can hardly tell
you how much I admire the chapter on 'Pangenesis.' It is a POSITIVE
COMFORT to me to have any feasible explanation of a difficulty that has
always been haunting me, and I shall never be able to give it up till a
better one supplies its place, and that I think hardly possible, etc." Now
his foregoing [italicised] words express my sentiments exactly and fully:
though perhaps I feel the relief extra strongly from having during many
years vainly attempted to form some hypothesis. When you or Huxley say
that a single cell of a plant, or the stump of an amputated limb, have the
"potentiality" of reproducing the whole--or "diffuse an influence," these
words give me no positive idea;--but when it is said that the cells of a
plant, or stump, include atoms derived from every other cell of the whole
organism and capable of development, I gain a distinct idea. But this idea
would not be worth a rush, if it applied to one case alone; but it seems to
me to apply to all the forms of reproduction--inheritance--metamorphosis--
to the abnormal transposition of organs--to the direct action of the male
element on the mother plant, etc. Therefore I fully believe that each cell
does ACTUALLY throw off an atom or gemmule of its contents;--but whether or
not, this hypothesis serves as a useful connecting link for various grand
classes of physiological facts, which at present stand absolutely isolated.

I have touched on the doubtful point (alluded to by Huxley) how far atoms
derived from the same cell may become developed into different structure
accordingly as they are differently nourished; I advanced as illustrations
galls and polypoid excrescences...

It is a real pleasure to me to write to you on this subject, and I should
be delighted if we can understand each other; but you must not let your
good nature lead you on. Remember, we always fight tooth and nail. We go
to London on Tuesday, first for a week to Queen Anne Street, and afterwards
to Miss Wedgwood's, in Regent's Park, and stay the whole month, which, as
my gardener truly says, is a "terrible thing" for my experiments.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. OGLE. (Dr. William Ogle, now the Superintendent of
Statistics to the Registrar-General.)
Down, March 6 [1868].

Dear Sir,

I thank you most sincerely for your letter, which is very interesting to
me. I wish I had known of these views of Hippocrates before I had
published, for they seem almost identical with mine--merely a change of
terms--and an application of them to classes of facts necessarily unknown
to the old philosopher. The whole case is a good illustration of how
rarely anything is new.

Hippocrates has taken the wind out of my sails, but I care very little
about being forestalled. I advance the views merely as a provisional
hypothesis, but with the secret expectation that sooner or later some such
view will have to be admitted.

...I do not expect the reviewers will be so learned as you: otherwise, no
doubt, I shall be accused of wilfully stealing Pangenesis from
Hippocrates,--for this is the spirit some reviewers delight to show.

Down, March 21 [1868].

...I am very much obliged to you for sending me so frankly your opinion on
Pangenesis, and I am sorry it is unfavourable, but I cannot quite
understand your remark on pangenesis, selection, and the struggle for life
not being more methodical. I am not at all surprised at your unfavourable
verdict; I know many, probably most, will come to the same conclusion. One
English Review says it is much too complicated...Some of my friends are
enthusiastic on the hypothesis...Sir C. Lyell says to every one, "you may
not believe in 'Pangenesis,' but if you once understand it, you will never
get it out of your mind." And with this criticism I am perfectly content.
All cases of inheritance and reversion and development now appear to me
under a new light...

[An extract from a letter to Fritz Muller, though of later date (June), may
be given here:--

"Your letter of April 22 has much interested me. I am delighted that you
approve of my book, for I value your opinion more than that of almost any
one. I have yet hopes that you will think well of Pangenesis. I feel sure
that our minds are somewhat alike, and I find it a great relief to have
some definite, though hypothetical view, when I reflect on the wonderful
transformations of animals,--the re-growth of parts,--and especially the
direct action of pollen on the mother-form, etc. It often appears to me
almost certain that the characters of the parents are "photographed" on the
child, only by means of material atoms derived from each cell in both
parents, and developed in the child."]

Down, May 8 [1868].

My dear Gray,

I have been a most ungrateful and ungracious man not to have written to you
an immense time ago to thank you heartily for the "Nation", and for all
your most kind aid in regard to the American edition [of 'Animals and
Plants']. But I have been of late overwhelmed with letters, which I was
forced to answer, and so put off writing to you. This morning I received
the American edition (which looks capital), with your nice preface, for
which hearty thanks. I hope to heaven that the book will succeed well
enough to prevent you repenting of your aid. This arrival has put the
finishing stroke to my conscience, which will endure its wrongs no longer.

...Your article in the "Nation" [March 19] seems to me very good, and you
give an excellent idea of Pangenesis--an infant cherished by few as yet,
except his tender parent, but which will live a long life. There is
parental presumption for you! You give a good slap at my concluding
metaphor (A short abstract of the precipice metaphor is given in Volume I.
Dr. Gray's criticism on this point is as follows: "But in Mr. Darwin's
parallel, to meet the case of nature according to his own view of it, not
only the fragments of rock (answering to variation) should fall, but the
edifice (answering to natural selection) should rise, irrespective of will
or choice!" But my father's parallel demands that natural selection shall
be the architect, not the edifice--the question of design only comes in
with regard to the form of the building materials.): undoubtedly I ought
to have brought in and contrasted natural and artificial selection; but it
seems so obvious to me that natural selection depended on contingencies
even more complex than those which must have determined the shape of each
fragment at the base of my precipice. What I wanted to show was that in
reference to pre-ordainment whatever holds good in the formation of a
pouter pigeon holds good in the formation of a natural species of pigeon.
I cannot see that this is false. If the right variations occurred, and no
others, natural selection would be superfluous. A reviewer in an Edinburgh
paper, who treats me with profound contempt, says on this subject that
Professor Asa Gray could with the greatest ease smash me into little
pieces. (The "Daily Review", April 27, 1868. My father has given rather a
highly coloured version of the reviewer's remarks: "We doubt not that
Professor Asa Gray...could show that natural simply an
instrument in the hands of an omnipotent and omniscient creator." The
reviewer goes on to say that the passage in question is a "very melancholy
one," and that the theory is the "apotheosis of materialism.")

Believe me, my dear Gray,
Your ungrateful but sincere friend,

Down, June 23, 1868.

My dear Mr. Bentham,

As your address (Presidential Address to the Linnean Society.) is somewhat
of the nature of a verdict from a judge, I do not know whether it is proper
for me to do so, but I must and will thank you for the pleasure which you
have given me. I am delighted at what you say about my book. I got so
tired of it, that for months together I thought myself a perfect fool for
having given up so much time in collecting and observing little facts, but
now I do not care if a score of common critics speak as contemptuously of
the book as did the "Athenaeum". I feel justified in this, for I have so
complete a reliance on your judgment that I feel certain that I should have
bowed to your judgment had it been as unfavourable as it is the contrary.
What you say about Pangenesis quite satisfies me, and is as much perhaps as
any one is justified in saying. I have read your whole Address with the
greatest interest. It must have cost you a vast amount of trouble. With
cordial thanks, pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

P.S.--I fear that it is not likely that you have a superfluous copy of your
Address; if you have, I should much like to send one to Fritz Muller in the
interior of Brazil. By the way let me add that I discussed bud-variation
chiefly from a belief which is common to several persons, that all
variability is related to sexual generation; I wished to show clearly that
this was an error.

[The above series of letters may serve to show to some extent the reception
which the new book received. Before passing on (in the next chapter) to
the 'Descent of Man,' I give a letter referring to the translation of Fritz
Muller's book, 'Fur Darwin,' it was originally published in 1864, but the
English translation, by Mr. Dallas, which bore the title suggested by Sir
C. Lyell, of 'Facts and Arguments for Darwin,' did not appear until 1869:]

Down, March 16 [1868].

My dear Sir,

Your brother, as you will have heard from him, felt so convinced that you
would not object to a translation of 'Fur Darwin' (In a letter to Fritz
Muller, my father wrote:--"I am vexed to see that on the title my name is
more conspicuous than yours, which I especially objected to, and I
cautioned the printers after seeing one proof."), that I have ventured to
arrange for a translation. Engelmann has very liberally offered me cliches
of the woodcuts for 22 thalers; Mr. Murray has agreed to bring out a
translation (and he is our best publisher) on commission, for he would not
undertake the work on his own risk; and I have agreed with Mr. W.S. Dallas
(who has translated Von Siebold on Parthenogenesis, and many German works,
and who writes very good English) to translate the book. He thinks (and he
is a good judge) that it is important to have some few corrections or
additions, in order to account for a translation appearing so lately [i.e.
at such a long interval of time] after the original; so that I hope you
will be able to send some...

[Two letters may be placed here as bearing on the spread of Evolutionary
ideas in France and Germany:]

Down, January 21 [1868].

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your interesting essay on the influence of the Geological
features of the country on the mind and habits of the Ancient Athenians
(This appears to refer to M. Gaudry's paper translated in the 'Geol. Mag.,'
1868, page 372.), and for your very obliging letter. I am delighted to
hear that you intend to consider the relations of fossil animals in
connection with their genealogy; it will afford you a fine field for the
exercise of your extensive knowledge and powers of reasoning. Your belief
will I suppose, at present, lower you in the estimation of your countrymen;
but judging from the rapid spread in all parts of Europe, excepting France,
of the belief in the common descent of allied species, I must think that
this belief will before long become universal. How strange it is that the
country which gave birth to Buffon, the elder Geoffroy, and especially to
Lamarck, should now cling so pertinaciously to the belief that species are
immutable creations.

My work on Variation, etc., under domestication, will appear in a French
translation in a few months' time, and I will do myself the pleasure and
honour of directing the publisher to send a copy to you to the same address
as this letter.

With sincere respect, I remain, dear sir,
Yours very faithfully,

[The next letter is of especial interest, as showing how high a value my
father placed on the support of the younger German naturalists:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. PREYER. (Now Professor of Physiology at Jena.)
March 31, 1868.

...I am delighted to hear that you uphold the doctrine of the Modification
of Species, and defend my views. The support which I receive from Germany
is my chief ground for hoping that our views will ultimately prevail. To
the present day I am continually abused or treated with contempt by writers
of my own country; but the younger naturalists are almost all on my side,
and sooner or later the public must follow those who make the subject their
special study. The abuse and contempt of ignorant writers hurts me very




[In the autobiographical chapter in Volume I., my father gives the
circumstances which led to his writing the 'Descent of Man.' He states
that his collection of facts, begun in 1837 or 1838, was continued for many
years without any definite idea of publishing on the subject. The
following letter to Mr. Wallace shows that in the period of ill-health and
depression about 1864 he despaired of ever being able to do so:]

Down, [May?] 28 [1864].

Dear Wallace,

I am so much better that I have just finished a paper for Linnean Society
(On the three forms, etc., of Lythrum.); but I am not yet at all strong, I
felt much disinclination to write, and therefore you must forgive me for
not having sooner thanked you for your paper on 'Man' ('Anthropological
Review,' March 1864.), received on the 11th. But first let me say that I
have hardly ever in my life been more struck by any paper than that on
'Variation,' etc. etc., in the "Reader". ('"Reader", April 16, 1864. "On
the Phenomena of Variation," etc. Abstract of a paper read before the
Linnean Society, March 17, 1864.) I feel sure that such papers will do
more for the spreading of our views on the modification of species than any
separate Treatises on the simple subject itself. It is really admirable;
but you ought not in the Man paper to speak of the theory as mine; it is
just as much yours as mine. One correspondent has already noticed to me
your "high-minded" conduct on this head. But now for your Man paper, about
which I should like to write more than I can. The great leading idea is
quite new to me, viz. that during late ages, the mind will have been
modified more than the body; yet I had got as far as to see with you that
the struggle between the races of man depended entirely on intellectual and
MORAL qualities. The latter part of the paper I can designate only as
grand and most eloquently done. I have shown your paper to two or three
persons who have been here, and they have been equally struck with it. I
am not sure that I go with you on all minor points: when reading Sir G.
Grey's account of the constant battles of Australian savages, I remember
thinking that natural selection would come in, and likewise with the
Esquimaux, with whom the art of fishing and managing canoes is said to be
hereditary. I rather differ on the rank, under a classificatory point of
view, which you assign to man; I do not think any character simply in
excess ought ever to be used for the higher divisions. Ants would not be
separated from other hymenopterous insects, however high the instinct of
the one, and however low the instincts of the other. With respect to the
differences of race, a conjecture has occurred to me that much may be due
to the correlation of complexion (and consequently hair) with constitution.
Assume that a dusky individual best escaped miasma, and you will readily
see what I mean. I persuaded the Director-General of the Medical
Department of the Army to send printed forms to the surgeons of all
regiments in tropical countries to ascertain this point, but I dare say I
shall never get any returns. Secondly, I suspect that a sort of sexual
selection has been the most powerful means of changing the races of man. I
can show that the different races have a widely different standard of
beauty. Among savages the most powerful men will have the pick of the
women, and they will generally leave the most descendants. I have
collected a few notes on man, but I do not suppose that I shall ever use
them. Do you intend to follow out your views, and if so, would you like at
some future time to have my few references and notes? I am sure I hardly
know whether they are of any value, and they are at present in a state of

There is much more that I should like to write, but I have not strength.

Believe me, dear Wallace, yours very sincerely,

P.S.--Our aristocracy is handsomer (more hideous according to a Chinese or
Negro) than the middle classes, from (having the) pick of the women; but
oh, what a scheme is primogeniture for destroying natural selection! I
fear my letter will be barely intelligible to you.

[In February 1867, when the manuscript of 'Animals and Plants' had been
sent to Messrs. Clowes to be printed, and before the proofs began to come
in, he had an interval of spare time, and began a "chapter on Man," but he
soon found it growing under his hands, and determined to publish it
separately as a "very small volume."

The work was interrupted by the necessity of correcting the proofs of
'Animals and Plants,' and by some botanical work, but was resumed in the
following year, 1868, the moment he could give himself up to it.

He recognized with regret the gradual change in his mind that rendered
continuous work more and more necessary to him as he grew older. This is
expressed in a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker, June 17, 1868, which repeats to
some extent what is expressed in the Autobiography:--

"I am glad you were at the 'Messiah,' it is the one thing that I should
like to hear again, but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to
appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat, for it is a
horrid bore to feel as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf for every
subject except Science. It sometimes makes me hate Science, though God
knows I ought to be thankful for such a perennial interest, which makes me
forget for some hours every day my accursed stomach."

The work on Man was interrupted by illness in the early summer of 1868, and
he left home on July 16th for Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight, where he
remained with his family until August 21st. Here he made the acquaintance
of Mrs. Cameron. She received the whole family with open-hearted kindness
and hospitality, and my father always retained a warm feeling of friendship
for her. She made an excellent photograph of him, which was published with
the inscription written by him: "I like this photograph very much better
than any other which has been taken of me." Further interruption occurred
in the autumn so that continuous work on the 'Descent of Man' did not begin
until 1869. The following letters give some idea of the earlier work in

Down, February 22, [1867?].

My dear Wallace,

I am hard at work on sexual selection, and am driven half mad by the number
of collateral points which require investigation, such as the relative
number of the two sexes, and especially on polygamy. Can you aid me with
respect to birds which have strongly marked secondary sexual characters,
such as birds of paradise, humming-birds, the Rupicola, or any other such
cases? Many gallinaceous birds certainly are polygamous. I suppose that
birds may be known not to be polygamous if they are seen during the whole
breeding season to associate in pairs, or if the male incubates or aids in
feeding the young. Will you have the kindness to turn this in your mind?
But it is a shame to trouble you now that, as I am HEARTILY glad to hear,
you are at work on your Malayan travels. I am fearfully puzzled how far to
extend your protective views with respect to the females in various
classes. The more I work the more important sexual selection apparently
comes out.

Can butterflies be polygamous! i.e. will one male impregnate more than one
female? Forgive me troubling you, and I dare say I shall have to ask
forgiveness again...

Down, February 23 [1867].

Dear Wallace,

I much regretted that I was unable to call on you, but after Monday I was
unable even to leave the house. On Monday evening I called on Bates, and
put a difficulty before him, which he could not answer, and, as on some
former similar occasion, his first suggestion was, "You had better ask
Wallace." My difficulty is, why are caterpillars sometimes so beautifully
and artistically coloured? Seeing that many are coloured to escape danger,
I can hardly attribute their bright colour in other cases to mere physical
conditions. Bates says the most gaudy caterpillar he ever saw in Amazonia
(of a sphinx) was conspicuous at the distance of yards, from its black and
red colours, whilst feeding on large green leaves. If any one objected to
male butterflies having been made beautiful by sexual selection, and asked
why should they not have been made beautiful as well as their caterpillars,
what would you answer? I could not answer, but should maintain my ground.
Will you think over this, and some time, either by letter or when we meet,
tell me what you think? Also I want to know whether your FEMALE mimetic
butterfly is more beautiful and brighter than the male. When next in
London I must get you to show me your kingfishers. My health is a dreadful
evil; I failed in half my engagements during this last visit to London.

Believe me, yours very sincerely,

Down, February 26 [1867].

My dear Wallace,

Bates was quite right; you are the man to apply to in a difficulty. I
never heard anything more ingenious than your suggestion (The suggestion
that conspicuous caterpillars or perfect insects (e.g. white butterflies),
which are distasteful to birds, are protected by being easily recognised
and avoided. See Mr. Wallace's 'Natural Selection,' 2nd edition, page
117.), and I hope you may be able to prove it true. That is a splendid
fact about the white moths; it warms one's very blood to see a theory thus
almost proved to be true. (Mr. Jenner Weir's observations published in the
Transactions of the Entomolog. Soc. (1869 and 1870) give strong support to
the theory in question.) With respect to the beauty of male butterflies, I
must as yet think it is due to sexual selection. There is some evidence
that dragon-flies are attracted by bright colours; but what leads me to the
above belief is, so many male Orthoptera and Cicadas having musical
instruments. This being the case, the analogy of birds makes me believe in
sexual selection with respect to colour in insects. I wish I had strength
and time to make some of the experiments suggested by you, but I thought
butterflies would not pair in confinement. I am sure I have heard of some
such difficulty. Many years ago I had a dragon-fly painted with gorgeous
colours, but I never had an opportunity of fairly trying it.

The reason of my being so much interested just at present about sexual
selection is, that I have almost resolved to publish a little essay on the
origin of Mankind, and I still strongly think (though I failed to convince
you, and this, to me, is the heaviest blow possible) that sexual selection
has been the main agent in forming the races of man.

By the way, there is another subject which I shall introduce in my essay,
namely, expression of countenance. Now, do you happen to know by any odd
chance a very good-natured and acute observer in the Malay Archipelago, who
you think would make a few easy observations for me on the expression of
the Malays when excited by various emotions? For in this case I would send
to such person a list of queries. I thank you for your most interesting
letter, and remain,

Yours very sincerely,

Down, March [1867].

My dear Wallace,

I thank you much for your two notes. The case of Julia Pastrana (A bearded
woman having an irregular double set of teeth. 'Animals and Plants,'
volume ii. page 328.) is a splendid addition to my other cases of
correlated teeth and hair, and I will add it in correcting the press of my
present volume. Pray let me hear in the course of the summer if you get
any evidence about the gaudy caterpillars. I should much like to give (or
quote if published) this idea of yours, if in any way supported, as
suggested by you. It will, however, be a long time hence, for I can see
that sexual selection is growing into quite a large subject, which I shall
introduce into my essay on Man, supposing that I ever publish it. I had
intended giving a chapter on man, inasmuch as many call him (not QUITE
truly) an eminently domesticated animal, but I found the subject too large
for a chapter. Nor shall I be capable of treating the subject well, and my
sole reason for taking it up is, that I am pretty well convinced that
sexual selection has played an important part in the formation of races,
and sexual selection has always been a subject which has interested me
much. I have been very glad to see your impression from memory on the
expression of Malays. I fully agree with you that the subject is in no way
an important one; it is simply a "hobby-horse" with me, about twenty-seven
years old; and AFTER thinking that I would write an essay on man, it
flashed on me that I could work in some "supplemental remarks on
expression." After the horrid, tedious, dull work of my present huge, and
I fear unreadable, book ['The Variation of Animals and Plants'], I thought
I would amuse myself with my hobby-horse. The subject is, I think, more
curious and more amenable to scientific treatment than you seem willing to
allow. I want, anyhow, to upset Sir C. Bell's view, given in his most
interesting work, 'The Anatomy of Expression,' that certain muscles have
been given to man solely that he may reveal to other men his feelings. I
want to try and show how expressions have arisen. That is a good
suggestion about newspapers, but my experience tells me that private
applications are generally most fruitful. I will, however, see if I can
get the queries inserted in some Indian paper. I do not know the names or
addresses of any other papers.

...My two female amanuenses are busy with friends, and I fear this scrawl
will give you much trouble to read. With many thanks,

Yours very sincerely,

[The following letter may be worth giving, as an example of his sources of
information, and as showing what were the thoughts at this time occupying

Down, February 22 [1867].

...Many thanks for all the curious facts about the unequal number of the
sexes in Crustacea, but the more I investigate this subject the deeper I
sink in doubt and difficulty. Thanks also for the confirmation of the
rivalry of Cicadae. I have often reflected with surprise on the diversity
of the means for producing music with insects, and still more with birds.
We thus get a high idea of the importance of song in the animal kingdom.
Please to tell me where I can find any account of the auditory organs in
the Orthoptera. Your facts are quite new to me. Scudder has described an
insect in the Devonian strata, furnished with a stridulating apparatus. I
believe he is to be trusted, and, if so, the apparatus is of astonishing
antiquity. After reading Landois's paper I have been working at the
stridulating organ in the Lamellicorn beetles, in expectation of finding it
sexual; but I have only found it as yet in two cases, and in these it was
equally developed in both sexes. I wish you would look at any of your
common lamellicorns, and take hold of both males and females, and observe
whether they make the squeaking or grating noise equally. If they do not,
you could, perhaps, send me a male and female in a light little box. How
curious it is that there should be a special organ for an object apparently
so unimportant as squeaking. Here is another point; have you any toucans?
if so, ask any trustworthy hunter whether the beaks of the males, or of
both sexes, are more brightly coloured during the breeding season than at
other times of the year...Heaven knows whether I shall ever live to make
use of half the valuable facts which you have communicated to me! Your
paper on Balanus armatus, translated by Mr. Dallas, has just appeared in
our 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' and I have read it with the
greatest interest. I never thought that I should live to hear of a hybrid
Balanus! I am very glad that you have seen the cement tubes; they appear
to me extremely curious, and, as far as I know, you are the first man who
has verified my observations on this point.

With most cordial thanks for all your kindness, my dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely,

Down, July 6, 1868.

My dear Sir,

I return you my SINCERE thanks for your long letter, which I consider a
great compliment, and which is quite full of most interesting facts and
views. Your references and remarks will be of great use should a new
edition of my book ('Variation of Animals and Plants.') be demanded, but
this is hardly probable, for the whole edition was sold within the first
week, and another large edition immediately reprinted, which I should think
would supply the demand for ever. You ask me when I shall publish on the
'Variation of Species in a State of Nature.' I have had the MS. for
another volume almost ready during several years, but I was so much
fatigued by my last book that I determined to amuse myself by publishing a
short essay on the 'Descent of Man.' I was partly led to do this by having
been taunted that I concealed my views, but chiefly from the interest which
I had long taken in the subject. Now this essay has branched out into some
collateral subjects, and I suppose will take me more than a year to
complete. I shall then begin on 'Species,' but my health makes me a very
slow workman. I hope that you will excuse these details, which I have
given to show that you will have plenty of time to publish your views
first, which will be a great advantage to me. Of all the curious facts
which you mention in your letter, I think that of the strong inheritance of
the scalp-muscles has interested me most. I presume that you would not
object to my giving this very curious case on your authority. As I believe
all anatomists look at the scalp-muscles as a remnant of the Panniculus
carnosus which is common to all the lower quadrupeds, I should look at the
unusual development and inheritance of these muscles as probably a case of
reversion. Your observation on so many remarkable men in noble families
having been illegitimate is extremely curious; and should I ever meet any
one capable of writing an essay on this subject, I will mention your
remarks as a good suggestion. Dr. Hooker has several times remarked to me
that morals and politics would be very interesting if discussed like any
branch of natural history, and this is nearly to the same effect with your

Down, August 19, 1868.

Dear Sir,

I thank you cordially for your very kind letter. I certainly thought that
you had formed so low an opinion of my scientific work that it might have
appeared indelicate in me to have asked for information from you, but it
never occurred to me that my letter would have been shown to you. I have
never for a moment doubted your kindness and generosity, and I hope you
will not think it presumption in me to say, that when we met, many years
ago, at the British Association at Southampton, I felt for you the warmest

Your information on the Amazonian fishes has interested me EXTREMELY, and
tells me exactly what I wanted to know. I was aware, through notes given
me by Dr. Gunther, that many fishes differed sexually in colour and other
characters, but I was particularly anxious to learn how far this was the
case with those fishes in which the male, differently from what occurs with
most birds, takes the largest share in the care of the ova and young. Your
letter has not only interested me much, but has greatly gratified me in
other respects, and I return you my sincere thanks for your kindness. Pray
believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

Down, Sunday, August 23 [1868].

My dear old Friend,

I have received your note. I can hardly say how pleased I have been at the
success of your address (Sir Joseph Hooker was President of the British
Association at the Norwich Meeting in 1868.), and of the whole meeting. I
have seen the "Times", "Telegraph", "Spectator", and "Athenaeum", and have
heard of other favourable newspapers, and have ordered a bundle. There is
a "chorus of praise." The "Times" reported miserably, i.e. as far as
errata was concerned; but I was very glad at the leader, for I thought the
way you brought in the megalithic monuments most happy. (The British
Association was desirous of interesting the Government in certain modern
cromlech builders, the Khasia race of East Bengal, in order that their
megalithic monuments might be efficiently described.) I particularly
admired Tyndall's little speech (Professor Tyndall was President of Section
A.)...The "Spectator" pitches a little into you about Theology, in
accordance with its usual spirit...

Your great success has rejoiced my heart. I have just carefully read the
whole address in the "Athenaeum"; and though, as you know, I liked it very
much when you read it to me, yet, as I was trying all the time to find
fault, I missed to a certain extent the effect as a whole; and this now
appears to me most striking and excellent. How you must rejoice at all
your bothering labour and anxiety having had so grand an end. I must say a
word about myself; never has such a eulogium been passed on me, and it
makes me very proud. I cannot get over my AMAZEMENT at what you say about
my botanical work. By Jove, as far as my memory goes, you have
strengthened instead of weakened some of the expressions. What is far more
important than anything personal, is the conviction which I feel that you
will have immensely advanced the belief in the evolution of species. This
will follow from the publicity of the occasion, your position, so
responsible, as President, and your own high reputation. It will make a
great step in public opinion, I feel sure, and I had not thought of this
before. The "Athenaeum" takes your snubbing (Sir Joseph Hooker made some
reference to the review of 'Animals and Plants' in the "Athenaeum" of
February 15, 1868.) with the utmost mildness. I certainly do rejoice over
the snubbing, and hope [the reviewer] will feel it a little. Whenever you
have SPARE time to write again, tell me whether any astronomers (In
discussing the astronomer's objection to Evolution, namely that our globe
has not existed for a long enough period to give time for the assumed
transmutation of living beings, Hooker challenged Whewell's dictum that,
astronomy is the queen of sciences--the only perfect science.) took your
remarks in ill part; as they now stand they do not seem at all too harsh
and presumptuous. Many of your sentences strike me as extremely felicitous
and eloquent. That of Lyell's "under-pinning" (After a eulogium on Sir
Charles Lyell's heroic renunciation of his old views in accepting
Evolution, Sir J.D. Hooker continued, "Well may he be proud of a
superstructure, raised on the foundations of an insecure doctrine, when he
finds that he can underpin it and substitute a new foundation; and after
all is finished, survey his edifice, not only more secure but more
harmonious in its proportion than it was before."), is capital. Tell me,
was Lyell pleased? I am so glad that you remembered my old dedication.
(The 'Naturalist's Voyage' was dedicated to Lyell.) Was Wallace pleased?

How about photographs? Can you spare time for a line to our dear Mrs.
Cameron? She came to see us off, and loaded us with presents of
photographs, and Erasmus called after her, "Mrs. Cameron, there are six
people in this house all in love with you." When I paid her, she cried
out, "Oh what a lot of money!" and ran to boast to her husband.

I must not write any more, though I am in tremendous spirits at your
brilliant success.

Yours ever affectionately,

[In the "Athenaeum" of November 29, 1868, appeared an article which was in
fact a reply to Sir Joseph Hooker's remarks at Norwich. He seems to have
consulted my father as to the wisdom of answering the article. My father
wrote on September 1:

"In my opinion Dr. Joseph Dalton Hooker need take no notice of the attack
in the "Athenaeum" in reference to Mr. Charles Darwin. What an ass the man
is to think he cuts one to the quick by giving one's Christian name in
full. How transparently false is the statement that my sole groundwork is
from pigeons, because I state I have worked them out more fully than other
beings! He muddles together two books of Flourens."

The following letter refers to a paper ('Transactions of the Ottawa Academy
of Natural Sciences,' 1868, by John D. Caton, late Chief Justice of
Illinois.) by Judge Caton, of which my father often spoke with admiration:]

Down, September 18, 1868.

Dear Sir,

I beg leave to thank you very sincerely for your kindness in sending me,
through Mr. Walsh, your admirable paper on American Deer.

It is quite full of most interesting observations, stated with the greatest
clearness. I have seldom read a paper with more interest, for it abounds
with facts of direct use for my work. Many of them consist of little
points which hardly any one besides yourself has observed, or perceived the
importance of recording. I would instance the age at which the horns are
developed (a point on which I have lately been in vain searching for
information), the rudiment of horns in the female elk, and especially the
different nature of the plants devoured by the deer and elk, and several
other points. With cordial thanks for the pleasure and instruction which
you have afforded me, and with high respect for your power of observation,
I beg leave to remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully and obliged,

[The following extract from a letter (September 24, 1868) to the Marquis de
Saporta, the eminent palaeo-botanist, refers to the growth of evolutionary
views in France (In 1868 he was pleased at being asked to authorise a
French translation of his 'Naturalist's Voyage.':--

"As I have formerly read with great interest many of your papers on fossil
plants, you may believe with what high satisfaction I hear that you are a
believer in the gradual evolution of species. I had supposed that my book
on the 'Origin of Species' had made very little impression in France, and
therefore it delights me to hear a different statement from you. All the
great authorities of the Institute seem firmly resolved to believe in the
immutability of species, and this has always astonished me...almost the one
exception, as far as I know, is M. Gaudry, and I think he will be soon one
of the chief leaders in Zoological Palaeontology in Europe; and now I am
delighted to hear that in the sister department of Botany you take nearly
the same view."]

Down, November 19 [1868].

My dear Haeckel,

I must write to you again, for two reasons. Firstly, to thank you for your
letter about your baby, which has quite charmed both me and my wife; I
heartily congratulate you on its birth. I remember being surprised in my
own case how soon the paternal instincts became developed, and in you they
seem to be unusually strong,...I hope the large blue eyes and the
principles of inheritance will make your child as good a naturalist as you
are; but, judging from my own experience, you will be astonished to find
how the whole mental disposition of your children changes with advancing
years. A young child, and the same when nearly grown, sometimes differ
almost as much as do a caterpillar and butterfly.

The second point is to congratulate you on the projected translation of
your great work ('Generelle Morphologie,' 1866. No English translation of
this book has appeared.), about which I heard from Huxley last Sunday. I
am heartily glad of it, but how it has been brought about, I know not, for
a friend who supported the supposed translation at Norwich, told me he
thought there would be no chance of it. Huxley tells me that you consent
to omit and shorten some parts, and I am confident that this is very wise.
As I know your object is to instruct the public, you will assuredly thus
get many more readers in England. Indeed, I believe that almost every book
would be improved by condensation. I have been reading a good deal of your
last book ('Die Naturliche Schopfungs-Geschichte,' 1868. It was translated
and published in 1876, under the title, 'The History of Creation.'), and
the style is beautifully clear and easy to me; but why it should differ so
much in this respect from your great work I cannot imagine. I have not yet
read the first part, but began with the chapter on Lyell and myself, which
you will easily believe pleased me VERY MUCH. I think Lyell, who was
apparently much pleased by your sending him a copy, is also much gratified
by this chapter. (See Lyell's interesting letter to Haeckel. 'Life of Sir
C. Lyell,' ii. page 435.) Your chapters on the affinities and genealogy of
the animal kingdom strike me as admirable and full of original thought.
Your boldness, however, sometimes makes me tremble, but as Huxley remarked,
some one must be bold enough to make a beginning in drawing up tables of
descent. Although you fully admit the imperfection of the geological
record, yet Huxley agreed with me in thinking that you are sometimes rather
rash in venturing to say at what periods the several groups first appeared.
I have this advantage over you, that I remember how wonderfully different
any statement on this subject made 20 years ago, would have been to what
would now be the case, and I expect the next 20 years will make quite as
great a difference. Reflect on the monocotyledonous plant just discovered
in the PRIMORDIAL formation in Sweden.

I repeat how glad I am at the prospect of the translation, for I fully
believe that this work and all your works will have a great influence in
the advancement of Science.

Believe me, my dear Haeckel, your sincere friend,

[It was in November of this year that he sat for the bust by Mr. Woolner:
he wrote:--

"I should have written long ago, but I have been pestered with stupid
letters, and am undergoing the purgatory of sitting for hours to Woolner,
who, however, is wonderfully pleasant, and lightens as much as man can, the
penance; as far as I can judge, it will make a fine bust."

If I may criticise the work of so eminent a sculptor as Mr. Woolner, I
should say that the point in which the bust fails somewhat as a portrait,
is that it has a certain air, almost of pomposity, which seems to me
foreign to my father's expression.]


[At the beginning of the year he was at work in preparing the fifth edition
of the 'Origin.' This work was begun on the day after Christmas, 1868, and
was continued for "forty-six days," as he notes in his diary, i.e. until
February 10th, 1869. He then, February 11th, returned to Sexual Selection,
and continued at this subject (excepting for ten days given up to Orchids,
and a week in London), until June 10th, when he went with his family to
North Wales, where he remained about seven weeks, returning to Down on July

Caerdeon, the house where he stayed, is built on the north shore of the
beautiful Barmouth estuary, and is pleasantly placed, in being close to
wild hill country behind, as well as to the picturesque wooded "hummocks,"
between the steeper hills and the river. My father was ill and somewhat
depressed throughout this visit, and I think felt saddened at being
imprisoned by his want of strength, and unable even to reach the hills over
which he had once wandered for days together.

He wrote from Caerdeon to Sir J.D. Hooker (June 22nd):--

"We have been here for ten days, how I wish it was possible for you to pay
us a visit here; we have a beautiful house with a terraced garden, and a
really magnificent view of Cader, right opposite. Old Cader is a grand
fellow, and shows himself off superbly with every changing light. We
remain here till the end of July, when the H. Wedgwoods have the house. I
have been as yet in a very poor way; it seems as soon as the stimulus of
mental work stops, my whole strength gives way. As yet I have hardly
crawled half a mile from the house, and then have been fearfully fatigued.
It is enough to make one wish oneself quiet in a comfortable tomb."

With regard to the fifth edition of the 'Origin,' he wrote to Mr. Wallace
(January 22, 1869):--

"I have been interrupted in my regular work in preparing a new edition of
the 'Origin,' which has cost me much labour, and which I hope I have
considerably improved in two or three important points. I always thought
individual differences more important than single variations, but now I
have come to the conclusion that they are of paramount importance, and in
this I believe I agree with you. Fleeming Jenkin's arguments have
convinced me."

This somewhat obscure sentence was explained, February 2, in another letter
to Mr. Wallace:--

"I must have expressed myself atrociously; I meant to say exactly the
reverse of what you have understood. F. Jenkin argued in the 'North
British Review' against single variations ever being perpetuated, and has
convinced me, though not in quite so broad a manner as here put. I always
thought individual differences more important; but I was blind and thought
that single variations might be preserved much oftener than I now see is
possible or probable. I mentioned this in my former note merely because I
believed that you had come to a similar conclusion, and I like much to be
in accord with you. I believe I was mainly deceived by single variations
offering such simple illustrations, as when man selects."

The late Mr. Fleeming Jenkin's review, on the 'Origin of Species,' was
published in the 'North British Review' for June 1867. It is not a little
remarkable that the criticisms, which my father, as I believe, felt to be
the most valuable ever made on his views should have come, not from a
professed naturalist but from a Professor of Engineering.

It is impossible to give in a short compass an account of Fleeming Jenkin's
argument. My father's copy of the paper (ripped out of the volume as
usual, and tied with a bit of string) is annotated in pencil in many
places. I may quote one passage opposite which my father has written "good
sneers"--but it should be remembered that he used the word "sneer" in
rather a special sense, not as necessarily implying a feeling of bitterness
in the critic, but rather in the sense of "banter." Speaking of the 'true
believer,' Fleeming Jenkin says, page 293:--

"He can invent trains of ancestors of whose existence there is no evidence;
he can marshal hosts of equally imaginary foes; he can call up continents,
floods, and peculiar atmospheres; he can dry up oceans, split islands, and
parcel out eternity at will; surely with these advantages he must be a dull
fellow if he cannot scheme some series of animals and circumstances
explaining our assumed difficulty quite naturally. Feeling the difficulty
of dealing with adversaries who command so huge a domain of fancy, we will
abandon these arguments, and trust to those which at least cannot be
assailed by mere efforts of imagination."

In the fifth edition of the 'Origin,' my father altered a passage in the
Historical Sketch (fourth edition page xviii.). He thus practically gave
up the difficult task of understanding whether or no Sir R. Owen claims to
have discovered the principle of Natural Selection. Adding, "As far as the
mere enunciation of the principle of Natural Selection is concerned, it is
quite immaterial whether or not Professor Owen preceded me, for both of
us...were long ago preceded by Dr. Wells and Mr. Matthew."

A somewhat severe critique on the fifth edition, by Mr. John Robertson,
appeared in the "Athenaeum", August 14, 1869. The writer comments with
some little bitterness on the success of the 'Origin:' "Attention is not
acceptance. Many editions do not mean real success. The book has sold;
the guess has been talked over; and the circulation and discussion sum up
the significance of the editions." Mr. Robertson makes the true, but
misleading statement: "Mr. Darwin prefaces his fifth English edition with
an Essay, which he calls 'An Historical Sketch,' etc." As a matter of fact
the Sketch appeared in the third edition in 1861.

Mr. Robertson goes on to say that the Sketch ought to be called a
collection of extracts anticipatory or corroborative of the hypothesis of
Natural Selection. "For no account is given of any hostile opinions. The
fact is very significant. This historical sketch thus resembles the
histories of the reign of Louis XVIII., published after the Restoration,
from which the Republic and the Empire, Robespierre and Buonaparte were

The following letter to Prof. Victor Carus gives an idea of the character
of the new edition of the 'Origin:']

Down, May 4, 1869.

...I have gone very carefully through the whole, trying to make some parts
clearer, and adding a few discussions and facts of some importance. The
new edition is only two pages at the end longer than the old; though in one
part nine pages in advance, for I have condensed several parts and omitted
some passages. The translation I fear will cause you a great deal of
trouble; the alterations took me six weeks, besides correcting the press;
you ought to make a special agreement with M. Koch [the publisher]. Many
of the corrections are only a few words, but they have been made from the
evidence on various points appearing to have become a little stronger or

Thus I have been led to place somewhat more value on the definite and
direct action of external conditions; to think the lapse of time, as
measured by years, not quite so great as most geologists have thought; and
to infer that single variations are of even less importance, in comparison
with individual differences, than I formerly thought. I mention these
points because I have been thus led to alter in many places A FEW WORDS;
and unless you go through the whole new edition, one part will not agree
with another, which would be a great blemish...

[The desire that his views might spread in France was always strong with my
father, and he was therefore justly annoyed to find that in 1869 the Editor
of the first French edition had brought out a third edition without
consulting the author. He was accordingly glad to enter into an
arrangement for a French translation of the fifth edition; this was
undertaken by M. Reinwald, with whom he continued to have pleasant
relations as the publisher of many of his books into French.

He wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"I must enjoy myself and tell you about Mdlle. C. Royer, who translated the
'Origin' into French, and for whose second edition I took infinite trouble.
She has now just brought out a third edition without informing me, so that
all the corrections, etc., in the fourth and fifth English editions are
lost. Besides her enormously long preface to the first edition, she has
added a second preface abusing me like a pick-pocket for Pangenesis, which
of course has no relation to the 'Origin.' So I wrote to Paris; and
Reinwald agrees to bring out at once a new translation from the fifth
English edition, in competition with her third edition...This fact shows
that "evolution of species" must at last be spreading in France."

With reference to the spread of Evolution among the orthodox, the following
letter is of some interest. In March he received, from the author, a copy
of a lecture by Rev. T.R.R. Stebbing, given before the Torquay Natural
History Society, February 1, 1869, bearing the title "Darwinism." My
father wrote to Mr. Stebbing:]

Dear Sir,

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in sending me your spirited
and interesting lecture; if a layman had delivered the same address, he
would have done good service in spreading what, as I hope and believe, is
to a large extent the truth; but a clergyman in delivering such an address
does, as it appears to me, much more good by his power to shake ignorant
prejudices, and by setting, if I may be permitted to say so, an admirable
example of liberality.

With sincere respect, I beg leave to remain,
Dear Sir, yours faithfully and obliged,

[The references to the subject of expression in the following letter are
explained by the fact that my father's original intention was to give his
essay on this subject as a chapter in the 'Descent of Man,' which in its
turn grew, as we have seen, out of a proposed chapter in 'Animals and

Down, February 22 [1869?].

...Although you have aided me to so great an extent in many ways, I am
going to beg for any information on two other subjects. I am preparing a
discussion on "Sexual Selection," and I want much to know how low down in
the animal scale sexual selection of a particular kind extends. Do you
know of any lowly organised animals, in which the sexes are separated, and
in which the male differs from the female in arms of offence, like the
horns and tusks of male mammals, or in gaudy plumage and ornaments, as with
birds and butterflies? I do not refer to secondary sexual characters, by
which the male is able to discover the female, like the plumed antennae of
moths, or by which the male is enabled to seize the female, like the
curious pincers described by you in some of the lower Crustaceans. But
what I want to know is, how low in the scale sexual differences occur which
require some degree of self-consciousness in the males, as weapons by which
they fight for the female, or ornaments which attract the opposite sex.
Any differences between males and females which follow different habits of
life would have to be excluded. I think you will easily see what I wish to
learn. A priori, it would never have been anticipated that insects would
have been attracted by the beautiful colouring of the opposite sex, or by
the sounds emitted by the various musical instruments of the male
Orthoptera. I know no one so likely to answer this question as yourself,
and should be grateful for any information, however small.

My second subject refers to expression of countenance, to which I have long
attended, and on which I feel a keen interest; but to which, unfortunately,
I did not attend when I had the opportunity of observing various races of
man. It has occurred to me that you might, without much trouble, make a
FEW observations for me, in the course of some months, on Negroes, or
possibly on native South Americans, though I care most about Negroes;
accordingly I enclose some questions as a guide, and if you could answer me
even one or two I should feel truly obliged. I am thinking of writing a
little essay on the Origin of Mankind, as I have been taunted with
concealing my opinions, and I should do this immediately after the
completion of my present book. In this case I should add a chapter on the
cause or meaning of expression...

[The remaining letters of this year deal chiefly with the books, reviews,
etc., which interested him.]

Down, February 25, 1869.

Dear Sir,

On my return home after a short absence, I found your very courteous note,
and the pamphlet ('Ueber einige Formen der Landwirthschaftlichen
Genossenschaften.' by Dr. H. Thiel, then of the Agricultural Station at
Poppelsdorf.), and I hasten to thank you for both, and for the very
honourable mention which you make of my name. You will readily believe how
much interested I am in observing that you apply to moral and social
questions analogous views to those which I have used in regard to the
modification of species. It did not occur to me formerly that my views
could be extended to such widely different, and most important, subjects.
With much respect, I beg leave to remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully and obliged,

Down, March 19 [1869].

My dear Huxley,

Thanks for your 'Address.' (In his 'Anniversary Address' to the Geological
Society, 1869, Mr. Huxley criticised Sir William Thomson's paper ('Trans.
Geol. Soc., Glasgow,' volume iii.) "On Geological Time.") People complain
of the unequal distribution of wealth, but it is a much greater shame and
injustice that any one man should have the power to write so many brilliant
essays as you have lately done. There is no one who writes like you...If I
were in your shoes, I should tremble for my life. I agree with all you
say, except that I must think that you draw too great a distinction between
the evolutionists and the uniformitarians.

I find that the few sentences which I have sent to press in the 'Origin'
about the age of the world will do fairly well...

Ever yours,

Down, March 22 [1869].

My dear Wallace,

I have finished your book ('The Malay Archipelago,' etc., 1869.); it seems
to me excellent, and at the same time most pleasant to read. That you ever
returned alive is wonderful after all your risks from illness and sea
voyages, especially that most interesting one to Waigiou and back. Of all
the impressions which I have received from your book, the strongest is that
your perseverance in the cause of science was heroic. Your descriptions of
catching the splendid butterflies have made me quite envious, and at the
same time have made me feel almost young again, so vividly have they
brought before my mind old days when I collected, though I never made such
captures as yours. Certainly collecting is the best sport in the world. I
shall be astonished if your book has not a great success; and your splendid
generalizations on Geographical Distribution, with which I am familiar from
your papers, will be new to most of your readers. I think I enjoyed most
the Timor case, as it is best demonstrated; but perhaps Celebes is really
the most valuable. I should prefer looking at the whole Asiatic continent
as having formerly been more African in its fauna, than admitting the
former existence of a continent across the Indian Ocean...

[The following letter refers to Mr. Wallace's article in the April number
of the 'Quarterly Review' (My father wrote to Mr. Murray: "The article by
Wallace is inimitably good, and it is a great triumph that such an article
should appear in the 'Quarterly,' and will make the Bishop of Oxford and --
gnash their teeth."), 1869, which to a large extent deals with the tenth
edition of Sir Charles Lyell's 'Principles,' published in 1867 and 1868.
The review contains a striking passage on Sir Charles Lyell's confession of
evolutionary faith in the tenth edition of his 'Principles,' which is worth
quoting: "The history of science hardly presents so striking an instance
of youthfulness of mind in advanced life as is shown by this abandonment of
opinions so long held and so powerfully advocated; and if we bear in mind
the extreme caution, combined with the ardent love of truth which
characterise every work which our author has produced, we shall be
convinced that so great a change was not decided on without long and
anxious deliberation, and that the views now adopted must indeed be
supported by arguments of overwhelming force. If for no other reason than
that Sir Charles Lyell in his tenth edition has adopted it, the theory of
Mr. Darwin deserves an attentive and respectful consideration from every
earnest seeker after truth."]

Down, April 14, 1869.

My dear Wallace,

I have been wonderfully interested by your article, and I should think
Lyell will be much gratified by it. I declare if I had been editor, and
had the power of directing you, I should have selected for discussion the
very points which you have chosen. I have often said to younger geologists
(for I began in the year 1830) that they did not know what a revolution
Lyell had effected; nevertheless, your extracts from Cuvier have quite
astonished me. Though not able really to judge, I am inclined to put more
confidence in Croll than you seem to do; but I have been much struck by
many of your remarks on degradation. Thomson's views of the recent age of
the world have been for some time one of my sorest troubles, and so I have
been glad to read what you say. Your exposition of Natural Selection seems
to me inimitably good; there never lived a better expounder than you. I
was also much pleased at your discussing the difference between our views
and Lamarck's. One sometimes sees the odious expression, "Justice to
myself compels me to say," etc., but you are the only man I ever heard of
who persistently does himself an injustice, and never demands justice.
Indeed, you ought in the review to have alluded to your paper in the
'Linnean Journal,' and I feel sure all our friends will agree in this. But
you cannot "Burke" yourself, however much you may try, as may be seen in
half the articles which appear. I was asked but the other day by a German
professor for your paper, which I sent him. Altogether I look at your
article as appearing in the 'Quarterly' as an immense triumph for our
cause. I presume that your remarks on Man are those to which you alluded
in your note. If you had not told me I should have thought that they had
been added by some one else. As you expected, I differ grievously from
you, and I am very sorry for it. I can see no necessity for calling in an
additional and proximate cause in regard to man. (Mr. Wallace points out
that any one acquainted merely with the "unaided productions of nature,"
might reasonably doubt whether a dray-horse, for example, could have been
developed by the power of man directing the "action of the laws of
variation, multiplication, and survival, for his own purpose. We know,
however, that this has been done, and we must therefore admit the
possibility that in the development of the human race, a higher
intelligence has guided the same laws for nobler ends.") But the subject
is too long for a letter. I have been particularly glad to read your
discussion because I am now writing and thinking much about man.

I hope that your Malay book sells well; I was extremely pleased with the
article in the 'Quarterly Journal of Science,' inasmuch as it is thoroughly
appreciative of your work: alas! you will probably agree with what the
writer says about the uses of the bamboo.

I hear that there is also a good article in the "Saturday Review", but have
heard nothing more about it. Believe me my dear Wallace,

Yours ever sincerely,

Down, May 4 [1869].

My dear Lyell,

I have been applied to for some photographs (carte de visite) to be copied
to ornament the diplomas of honorary members of a new Society in Servia!
Will you give me one for this purpose? I possess only a full-length one of
you in my own album, and the face is too small, I think, to be copied.

I hope that you get on well with your work, and have satisfied yourself on
the difficult point of glacier lakes. Thank heaven, I have finished
correcting the new edition of the 'Origin,' and am at my old work of Sexual

Wallace's article struck me as ADMIRABLE; how well he brought out the
revolution which you effected some 30 years ago. I thought I had fully
appreciated the revolution, but I was astounded at the extracts from
Cuvier. What a good sketch of natural selection! but I was dreadfully
disappointed about Man, it seems to me incredibly strange...; and had I not
known to the contrary, would have sworn it had been inserted by some other
hand. But I believe that you will not agree quite in all this.

My dear Lyell, ever yours sincerely,

Down, May 28 [1869 or 1870].

Dear Sir,

I have received and read your volume (Essays reprinted from the 'Revue des
Deux Mondes,' under the title 'Histoire Naturelle Generale,' etc., 1869.),
and am much obliged for your present. The whole strikes me as a
wonderfully clear and able discussion, and I was much interested by it to
the last page. It is impossible that any account of my views could be
fairer, or, as far as space permitted, fuller, than that which you have
given. The way in which you repeatedly mention my name is most gratifying
to me. When I had finished the second part, I thought that you had stated
the case so favourably that you would make more converts on my side than on
your own side. On reading the subsequent parts I had to change my sanguine
view. In these latter parts many of your strictures are severe enough, but
all are given with perfect courtesy and fairness. I can truly say I would
rather be criticised by you in this manner than praised by many others. I
agree with some of your criticisms, but differ entirely from the remainder;
but I will not trouble you with any remarks. I may, however, say, that you
must have been deceived by the French translation, as you infer that I
believe that the Parus and the Nuthatch (or Sitta) are related by direct
filiation. I wished only to show by an imaginary illustration, how either
instincts or structures might first change. If you had seen Canis
Magellanicus alive you would have perceived how foxlike its appearance is,
or if you had heard its voice, I think that you would never have hazarded
the idea that it was a domestic dog run wild; but this does not much
concern me. It is curious how nationality influences opinion; a week
hardly passes without my hearing of some naturalist in Germany who supports
my views, and often puts an exaggerated value on my works; whilst in France
I have not heard of a single zoologist, except M. Gaudry (and he only
partially), who supports my views. But I must have a good many readers as
my books are translated, and I must hope, notwithstanding your strictures,
that I may influence some embryo naturalists in France.

You frequently speak of my good faith, and no compliment can be more
delightful to me, but I may return you the compliment with interest, for
every word which you write bears the stamp of your cordial love for the
truth. Believe me, dear Sir, with sincere respect,

Yours very faithfully,

Down, October 14 [1869].

My dear Huxley,

I have been delighted to see your review of Haeckel (A review of Haeckel's
'Schopfungs-Geschichte.' The "Academy", 1869. Reprinted in 'Critiques and
Addresses,' page 303.), and as usual you pile honours high on my head. But
I write now (REQUIRING NO ANSWER) to groan a little over what you have said
about rudimentary organs. (In discussing Teleology and Haeckel's
"Dysteleology," Prof. Huxley says:--"Such cases as the existence of lateral
rudiments of toes, in the foot of a horse, place us in a dilemma. For
either these rudiments are of no use to the animals, in which case...they
surely ought to have disappeared; or they are of some use to the animal, in
which case they are of no use as arguments against Teleology."--('Critiques
and Addresses,' page 308.) Many heretics will take advantage of what you
have said. I cannot but think that the explanation given at page 541 of
the last edition of the 'Origin' of the long retention of rudimentary
organs and of their greater relative size during early life, is
satisfactory. Their final and complete abortion seems to me a much greater
difficulty. Do look in my 'Variations under Domestication,' volume ii.
page 397, at what Pangenesis suggests on this head, though I did not dare
to put in the 'Origin.' The passage bears also a little on the struggle
between the molecules or gemmules. ("It is a probable hypothesis, that
what the world is to organisms in general, each organism is to the
molecules of which it is composed. Multitudes of these having diverse
tendencies, are competing with one another for opportunity to exist and
multiply; and the organism, as a whole, is as much the product of the
molecules which are victorious as the Fauna, or Flora, of a country is the
product of the victorious organic beings in it."--('Critiques and
Addresses,' page 309.) There is likewise a word or two indirectly bearing
on this subject at pages 394-395. It won't take you five minutes, so do
look at these passages. I am very glad that you have been bold enough to
give your idea about Natural Selection amongst the molecules, though I can
not quite follow you.


[My father wrote in his Diary:--"The whole of this year [1870] at work on
the 'Descent of Man.'...Went to Press August 30, 1870."

The letters are again of miscellaneous interest, dealing, not only with his
work, but also serving to indicate the course of his reading.]

Down, March 15 [1870].

My dear Sir,

I do not know whether you will consider me a very troublesome man, but I
have just finished your book ('Comparative Longevity.'), and can not resist
telling you how the whole has much interested me. No doubt, as you say,
there must be much speculation on such a subject, and certain results can
not be reached; but all your views are highly suggestive, and to my mind
that is high praise. I have been all the more interested as I am now
writing on closely allied though not quite identical points. I was pleased
to see you refer to my much despised child, 'Pangenesis,' who I think will
some day, under some better nurse, turn out a fine stripling. It has also
pleased me to see how thoroughly you appreciate (and I do not think that
this is general with the men of science) H. Spencer; I suspect that
hereafter he will be looked at as by far the greatest living philosopher in
England; perhaps equal to any that have lived. But I have no business to
trouble you with my notions. With sincere thanks for the interest which
your work has given me,

I remain, yours very faithfully,

[The next letter refers to Mr. Wallace's 'Natural Selection' (1870), a
collection of essays reprinted with certain alterations of which a list is
given in the volume:]

Down, April 20 [1870].

My dear Wallace,

I have just received your book, and read the preface. There never has been
passed on me, or indeed on any one, a higher eulogium than yours. I wish
that I fully deserved it. Your modesty and candour are very far from new
to me. I hope it is a satisfaction to you to reflect--and very few things
in my life have been more satisfactory to me--that we have never felt any
jealousy towards each other, though in one sense rivals. I believe that I
can say this of myself with truth, and I am absolutely sure that it is true
of you.

You have been a good Christian to give a list of your additions, for I want
much to read them, and I should hardly have had time just at present to
have gone through all your articles. Of course I shall immediately read
those that are new or greatly altered, and I will endeavour to be as honest
as can reasonably be expected. Your book looks remarkably well got up.

Believe me, my dear Wallace, to remain,
Yours very cordially,

[Here follow one or two letters indicating the progress of the 'Descent of
Man;' the woodcuts referred to were being prepared for that work:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A. GUNTHER. (Dr. Gunther, Keeper of Zoology in the
British Museum.)
March 23, [1870?].

Dear Gunther,

As I do not know Mr. Ford's address, will you hand him this note, which is
written solely to express my unbounded admiration of the woodcuts. I
fairly gloat over them. The only evil is that they will make all the other
woodcuts look very poor! They are all excellent, and for the feathers I
declare I think it the most wonderful woodcut I ever saw; I can not help
touching it to make sure that it is smooth. How I wish to see the two
other, and even more important, ones of the feathers, and the four [of]
reptiles, etc. Once again accept my very sincere thanks for all your
kindness. I am greatly indebted to Mr. Ford. Engravings have always
hitherto been my greatest misery, and now they are a real pleasure to me.

Yours very sincerely,

P.S.--I thought I should have been in press by this time, but my subject
has branched off into sub-branches, which have cost me infinite time, and
heaven knows when I shall have all my MS. ready, but I am never idle.

May 15 [1870].

My dear Dr. Gunther,

Sincere thanks. Your answers are wonderfully clear and complete. I have
some analogous questions on reptiles, etc., which I will send in a few
days, and then I think I shall cause no more trouble. I will get the books
you refer me to. The case of the Solenostoma (In most of the Lophobranchii
the male has a marsupial sack in which the eggs are hatched, and in these
species the male is slightly brighter coloured than the female. But in
Solenostoma the female is the hatcher, and is also the more brightly
coloured.--'Descent of Man,' ii. 21.) is magnificent, so exactly analogous
to that of those birds in which the female is the more gay, but ten times
better for me, as she is the incubator. As I crawl on with the successive
classes I am astonished to find how similar the rules are about the nuptial
or "wedding dress" of all animals. The subject has begun to interest me in
an extraordinary degree; but I must try not to fall into my common error of
being too speculative. But a drunkard might as well say he would drink a
little and not too much! My essay, as far as fishes, batrachians and
reptiles are concerned, will be in fact yours, only written by me. With
hearty thanks.

Yours very sincerely,

[The following letter is of interest, as showing the excessive care and
pains which my father took in forming his opinion on a difficult point:]

Down, September 23 [undated].

My dear Wallace,

I am very much obliged for all your trouble in writing me your long letter,
which I will keep by me and ponder over. To answer it would require at
least 200 folio pages! If you could see how often I have re-written some
pages you would know how anxious I am to arrive as near as I can to the
truth. I lay great stress on what I know takes place under domestication;
I think we start with different fundamental notions on inheritance. I find
it is most difficult, but not I think impossible, to see how, for instance,
a few red feathers appearing on the head of a male bird, and which ARE AT
FIRST TRANSMITTED TO BOTH SEXES, could come to be transmitted to males
alone. It is not enough that females should be produced from the males
with red feathers, which should be destitute of red feathers; but these
females must have a LATENT TENDENCY to produce such feathers, otherwise
they would cause deterioration in the red head-feathers of their male
offspring. Such latent tendency would be shown by their producing the red
feathers when old, or diseased in their ovaria. But I have no difficulty
in making the whole head red if the few red feathers in the male from the
first tended to be sexually transmitted. I am quite willing to admit that
the female may have been modified, either at the same time or subsequently,
for protection by the accumulation of variations limited in their
transmission to the female sex. I owe to your writings the consideration
of this latter point. But I cannot yet persuade myself that females ALONE
have often been modified for protection. Should you grudge the trouble
briefly to tell me whether you believe that the plainer head and less
bright colours of a female chaffinch, the less red on the head and less
clean colours of the female goldfinch, the much less red on the breast of
the female bull-finch, the paler crest of golden-crested wren, etc., have
been acquired by them for protection. I cannot think so any more than I
can that the considerable differences between female and male house
sparrow, or much greater brightness of the male Parus coeruleus (both of
which build under cover) than of the female Parus, are related to
protection. I even mis-doubt much whether the less blackness of the female
blackbird is for protection.

Again, can you give me reasons for believing that the moderate differences
between the female pheasant, the female Gallus bankiva, the female black
grouse, the pea-hen, the female partridge, [and their respective males,]
have all special references to protection under slightly different
conditions? I, of course, admit that they are all protected by dull
colours, derived, as I think, from some dull-ground progenitor; and I
account partly for their difference by partial transference of colour from
the male and by other means too long to specify; but I earnestly wish to
see reason to believe that each is specially adapted for concealment to its

I grieve to differ from you, and it actually terrifies me and makes me
constantly distrust myself. I fear we shall never quite understand each
other. I value the cases of bright-coloured, incubating male fishes, and
brilliant female butterflies, solely as showing that one sex may be made
brilliant without any necessary transference of beauty to the other sex;
for in these cases I cannot suppose that beauty in the other sex was
checked by selection.

I fear this letter will trouble you to read it. A very short answer about
your belief in regard to the female finches and gallinaceae would suffice.

Believe me, my dear Wallace,
Yours very sincerely,

Down, May 25 [1870].

...Last Friday we all went to the Bull Hotel at Cambridge to see the boys,
and for a little rest and enjoyment. The backs of the Colleges are simply
paradisaical. On Monday I saw Sedgwick, who was most cordial and kind; in
the morning I thought his brain was enfeebled; in the evening he was
brilliant and quite himself. His affection and kindness charmed us all.
My visit to him was in one way unfortunate; for after a long sit he
proposed to take me to the museum, and I could not refuse, and in
consequence he utterly prostrated me; so that we left Cambridge next
morning, and I have not recovered the exhaustion yet. Is it not
humiliating to be thus killed by a man of eighty-six, who evidently never
dreamed that he was killing me? As he said to me, "Oh, I consider you as a
mere baby to me!" I saw Newton several times, and several nice friends of
F.'s. But Cambridge without dear Henslow was not itself; I tried to get to
the two old houses, but it was too far for me...

CHARLES DARWIN TO B.J. SULIVAN. (Admiral Sir James Sulivan was a
lieutenant on board the "Beagle".)
Down, June 30 [1870].

My dear Sulivan,

It was very good of you to write to me so long a letter, telling me much
about yourself and your children, which I was extremely glad to hear.
Think what a benighted wretch I am, seeing no one and reading but little in
the newspapers, for I did not know (until seeing the paper of your Natural
History Society) that you were a K.C.B. Most heartily glad I am that the
Government have at last appreciated your most just claim for this high
distinction. On the other hand, I am sorry to hear so poor an account of
your health; but you were surely very rash to do all that you did and then
pass through so exciting a scene as a ball at the Palace. It was enough to
have tired a man in robust health. Complete rest will, however, I hope,
quite set you up again. As for myself, I have been rather better of late,
and if nothing disturbs me I can do some hours' work every day. I shall
this autumn publish another book partly on man, which I dare say many will
decry as very wicked. I could have travelled to Oxford, but could no more
have withstood the excitement of a commemoration (This refers to an
invitation to receive the honorary degree of D.C.L. He was one of those
nominated for the degree by Lord Salisbury on assuming the office of
Chancellor of the University of Oxford. The fact that the honour was
declined on the score of ill-health was published in the "Oxford University
Gazette", June 17, 1870.) than I could a ball at Buckingham Palace. Many
thanks for your kind remarks about my boys. Thank God, all give me
complete satisfaction; my fourth stands second at Woolwich, and will be an
Engineer Officer at Christmas. My wife desires to be very kindly
remembered to Lady Sulivan, in which I very sincerely join, and in
congratulation about your daughter's marriage. We are at present solitary,
for all our younger children are gone a tour in Switzerland. I had never
heard a word about the success of the T. del Fuego mission. It is most
wonderful, and shames me, as I always prophesied utter failure. It is a
grand success. I shall feel proud if your Committee think fit to elect me
an honorary member of your society. With all good wishes and affectionate
remembrances of ancient days,

Believe me, my dear Sulivan,
Your sincere friend,

[My father's connection with the South American Mission, which is referred
to in the above letter, has given rise to some public comment, and has been
to some extent misunderstood. The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking at
the annual meeting of the South American Missionary Society, April 21st,
1885 (I quote a 'Leaflet,' published by the Society.), said that the
Society "drew the attention of Charles Darwin, and made him, in his pursuit
of the wonders of the kingdom of nature, realise that there was another
kingdom just as wonderful and more lasting." Some discussion on the
subject appeared in the "Daily News" of April 23rd, 24th, 29th, 1885, and
finally Admiral Sir James Sulivan, on April 24th, wrote to the same
journal, giving a clear account of my father's connection with the

"Your article in the "Daily News" of yesterday induces me to give you a
correct statement of the connection between the South American Missionary
Society and Mr. Charles Darwin, my old friend and shipmate for five years.
I have been closely connected with the Society from the time of Captain
Allen Gardiner's death, and Mr. Darwin has often expressed to me his
conviction that it was utterly useless to send Missionaries to such a set
of savages as the Fuegians, probably the very lowest of the human race. I
had always replied that I did not believe any human beings existed too low
to comprehend the simple message of the Gospel of Christ. After many
years, I think about 1869 (It seems to have been in 1867.), but I cannot
find the letter, he wrote to me that the recent accounts of the Mission
proved to him that he had been wrong and I right in our estimates of the
native character, and the possibility of doing them good through
Missionaries; and he requested me to forward to the Society an enclosed
cheque for 5 pounds, as a testimony of the interest he took in their good
work. On June 6th, 1874, he wrote: 'I am very glad to hear so good an
account of the Fuegians, and it is wonderful.' On June 10th, 1879: 'The
progress of the Fuegians is wonderful, and had it not occurred would have
been to me quite incredible.' On January 3rd, 1880: 'Your extracts' [from
a journal] 'about the Fuegians are extremely curious, and have interested
me much. I have often said that the progress of Japan was the greatest
wonder in the world, but I declare that the progress of Fuegia is almost
equally wonderful. On March 20th, 1881: 'The account of the Fuegians
interested not only me, but all my family. It is truly wonderful what you
have heard from Mr. Bridges about their honesty and their language. I
certainly should have predicted that not all the Missionaries in the world
could have done what has been done.' On December 1st, 1881, sending me his
annual subscription to the Orphanage at the Mission Station, he wrote:
'Judging from the "Missionary Journal", the Mission in Tierra del Fuego
seems going on quite wonderfully well.'"]

Down, July 17, 1870.

My dear Lubbock,

As I hear that the Census will be brought before the House to-morrow, I
write to say how much I hope that you will express your opinion on the
desirability of queries in relation to consanguineous marriages being
inserted. As you are aware, I have made experiments on the subject during
the marriages of cousins might be discouraged. If the proper queries are
inserted, the returns would show whether married cousins have in their
households on the night of the census as many children as have parents of
who are not related; and should the number prove fewer, we might safely
infer either lessened fertility in the parents, or which is more probable,
lessened vitality in the offspring.

It is, moreover, much to be wished that the truth of the often repeated
assertion that consanguineous marriages lead to deafness, and dumbness,
blindness, etc., should be ascertained; and all such assertions could be
easily tested by the returns from a single census.

Believe me,
Yours very sincerely,

[When the Census Act was passing through the House of Commons, Sir John
Lubbock and Dr. Playfair attempted to carry out this suggestion. The
question came to a division, which was lost, but not by many votes.

The subject of cousin marriages was afterwards investigated by my brother.
("Marriages between First Cousins in England, and their Effects.' By
George Darwin. 'Journal of the Statistical Society,' June, 1875.) The
results of this laborious piece of work were negative; the author sums up
in the sentence:--

"My paper is far from giving any thing like a satisfactory solution of the
question as to the effects of consanguineous marriages, but it does, I
think, show that the assertion that this question has already been set at
rest, cannot be substantiated."]





[The last revise of the 'Descent of Man' was corrected on January 15th,
1871, so that the book occupied him for about three years. He wrote to Sir
J. Hooker: "I finished the last proofs of my book a few days ago, the work
half-killed me, and I have not the most remote idea whether the book is
worth publishing."

He also wrote to Dr. Gray:--

"I have finished my book on the 'Descent of Man,' etc., and its publication
is delayed only by the Index: when published, I will send you a copy, but
I do not know that you will care about it. Parts, as on the moral sense,
will, I dare say, aggravate you, and if I hear from you, I shall probably
receive a few stabs from your polished stiletto of a pen."

The book was published on February 24, 1871. 2500 copies were printed at
first, and 5000 more before the end of the year. My father notes that he
received for this edition 1470 pounds. The letters given in the present
chapter deal with its reception, and also with the progress of the work on
Expression. The letters are given, approximately, in chronological order,
an arrangement which necessarily separates letters of kindred subject-
matter, but gives perhaps a truer picture of the mingled interests and
labours of my father's life.

Nothing can give a better idea (in small compass) of the growth of
Evolutionism and its position at this time, than a quotation from Mr.
Huxley ('Contemporary Review,' 1871.):--

"The gradual lapse of time has now separated us by more than a decade from
the date of the publication of the 'Origin of Species;' and whatever may be
thought or said about Mr. Darwin's doctrines, or the manner in which he has
propounded them, this much is certain, that in a dozen years the 'Origin of
Species' has worked as complete a revolution in Biological Science as the
'Principia' did in Astronomy;" and it has done so, "because, in the words
of Helmholtz, it contains 'an essentially new creative thought.' And, as
time has slipped by, a happy change has come over Mr. Darwin's critics.
The mixture of ignorance and insolence which at first characterised a large
proportion of the attacks with which he was assailed, is no longer the sad
distinction of anti-Darwinian criticism."

A passage in the Introduction to the 'Descent of Man' shows that the author
recognised clearly this improvement in the position of Evolution. "When a
naturalist like Carl Vogt ventures to say in his address, as President of
the National Institution of Geneva (1869), 'personne en Europe au moins,
n'ose plus soutenir la creation independante et de toutes pieces, des
especes,' it is manifest that at least a large number of naturalists must
admit that species are the modified descendants of other species; and this
especially holds good with the younger and rising naturalists...Of the
older and honoured chiefs in natural science, many, unfortunately, are
still opposed to Evolution in every form."

In Mr. James Hague's pleasantly written article, "A Reminiscence of Mr.
Darwin" ('Harper's Magazine,' October 1884), he describes a visit to my
father "early in 1871" (it must have been at the end of February, within a
week after the publication of the book.), shortly after the publication of
the 'Descent of Man.' Mr. Hague represents my father as "much impressed by
the general assent with which his views had been received," and as
remarking that "everybody is talking about it without being shocked."

Later in the year the reception of the book is described in different
language in the 'Edinburgh Review' (July 1871. An adverse criticism. The
reviewer sums up by saying that: "Never perhaps in the history of
philosophy have such wide generalisations been derived from such a small
basis of fact."): "On every side it is raising a storm of mingled wrath,
wonder, and admiration."

With regard to the subsequent reception of the 'Descent of Man,' my father
wrote to Dr. Dohrn, February 3, 1872:--

"I did not know until reading your article (In 'Das Ausland.'), that my
'Descent of Man' had excited so much furore in Germany. It has had an
immense circulation in this country and in America, but has met the
approval of hardly any naturalists as far as I know. Therefore I suppose
it was a mistake on my part to publish it; but, anyhow, it will pave the
way for some better work."

The book on the 'Expression of the Emotions' was begun on January 17th,
1871, the last proof of the 'Descent of Man' having been finished on
January 15th. The rough copy was finished by April 27th, and shortly after
this (in June) the work was interrupted by the preparation of a sixth
edition of the 'Origin.' In November and December the proofs of the
'Expression' book were taken in hand, and occupied him until the following
year, when the book was published.

Some references to the work on Expression have occurred in letters already
given, showing that the foundation of the book was, to some extent, laid
down for some years before he began to write it. Thus he wrote to Dr. Asa
Gray, April 15, 1867:--

"I have been lately getting up and looking over my old notes on Expression,
and fear that I shall not make so much of my hobby-horse as I thought I
could; nevertheless, it seems to me a curious subject which has been
strangely neglected."

It should, however, be remembered that the subject had been before his
mind, more or less, from 1837 or 1838, as I judge from entries in his early
note-books. It was in December, 1839, that he began to make observations
on children.

The work required much correspondence, not only with missionaries and
others living among savages, to whom he sent his printed queries, but among
physiologists and physicians. He obtained much information from Professor
Donders, Sir W. Bowman, Sir James Paget, Dr. W. Ogle, Dr. Crichton Browne,
as well as from other observers.

The first letter refers to the 'Descent of Man.']

Down, January 30 [1871].

My dear Wallace,

(In the note referred to, dated January 27, Mr. Wallace wrote:--

"Many thanks for your first volume which I have just finished reading
through with the greatest pleasure and interest; and I have also to thank
you for the great tenderness with which you have treated me and my

The heresy is the limitation of natural selection as applied to man. My
father wrote ('Descent of Man,' i. page 137):--"I cannot therefore
understand how it is that Mr. Wallace maintains that 'natural selection
could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that
of an ape.'" In the above quoted letter Mr. Wallace wrote:--"Your chapters
on 'Man' are of intense interest, but as touching my special heresy not as
yet altogether convincing, though of course I fully agree with every word
and every argument which goes to prove the evolution or development of man
out of a lower form.")

Your note has given me very great pleasure, chiefly because I was so
anxious not to treat you with the least disrespect, and it is so difficult
to speak fairly when differing from any one. If I had offended you, it
would have grieved me more than you will readily believe. Secondly, I am
greatly pleased to hear that Volume I. interests you; I have got so sick of
the whole subject that I felt in utter doubt about the value of any part.
I intended, when speaking of females not having been specially modified for
protection, to include the prevention of characters acquired by the male
being transmitted to the female; but I now see it would have been better to
have said "specially acted on," or some such term. Possibly my intention
may be clearer in Volume II. Let me say that my conclusions are chiefly
founded on the consideration of all animals taken in a body, bearing in
mind how common the rules of sexual differences appear to be in all
classes. The first copy of the chapter on Lepidoptera agreed pretty
closely with you. I then worked on, came back to Lepidoptera, and thought
myself compelled to alter it--finished Sexual Selection and for the last
time went over Lepidoptera, and again I felt forced to alter it. I hope to
God there will be nothing disagreeable to you in Volume II., and that I
have spoken fairly of your views; I am fearful on this head, because I have
just read (but not with sufficient care) Mivart's book ('The Genesis of
Species,' by St. G. Mivart, 1871.), and I feel ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that he
meant to be fair (but he was stimulated by theological fervour); yet I do
not think he has been quite fair...The part which, I think, will have most
influence is where he gives the whole series of cases like that of the
whalebone, in which we cannot explain the gradational steps; but such cases
have no weight on my mind--if a few fish were extinct, who on earth would
have ventured even to conjecture that lungs had originated in a swim-
bladder? In such a case as the Thylacine, I think he was bound to say that
the resemblance of the jaw to that of the dog is superficial; the number
and correspondence and development of teeth being widely different. I
think again when speaking of the necessity of altering a number of
characters together, he ought to have thought of man having power by
selection to modify simultaneously or almost simultaneously many points, as
in making a greyhound or racehorse--as enlarged upon in my 'Domestic
Animals.' Mivart is savage or contemptuous about my "moral sense," and so
probably will you be. I am extremely pleased that he agrees with my
position, AS FAR AS ANIMAL NATURE IS CONCERNED, of man in the series; or if
anything, thinks I have erred in making him too distinct.

Forgive me for scribbling at such length. You have put me quite in good
spirits; I did so dread having been unintentionally unfair towards your
views. I hope earnestly the second volume will escape as well. I care now
very little what others say. As for our not quite agreeing, really in such
complex subjects, it is almost impossible for two men who arrive
independently at their conclusions to agree fully, it would be unnatural
for them to do so.

Yours ever, very sincerely,

[Professor Haeckel seems to have been one of the first to write to my
father about the 'Descent of Man.' I quote from his reply:--

"I must send you a few words to thank you for your interesting, and I may
truly say, charming letter. I am delighted that you approve of my book, as
far as you have read it. I felt very great difficulty and doubt how often
I ought to allude to what you have published; strictly speaking every idea,
although occurring independently to me, if published by you previously
ought to have appeared as if taken from your works, but this would have
made my book very dull reading; and I hoped that a full acknowledgment at
the beginning would suffice. (In the introduction to the 'Descent of Man'
the author wrote:--

"This last naturalist [Haeckel]...has recently...published his 'Naturliche
Schopfungs-geschichte,' in which he fully discusses the genealogy of man.
If this work had appeared before my essay had been written, I should
probably never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions at which I
have arrived, I find confirmed by this naturalist, whose knowledge on many
points is much fuller than mine.") I cannot tell you how glad I am to find
that I have expressed my high admiration of your labours with sufficient
clearness; I am sure that I have not expressed it too strongly."]

Down, March 16, 1871.

My dear Wallace,

I have just read your grand review. ("Academy", March 15, 1871.) It is in
every way as kindly expressed towards myself as it is excellent in matter.
The Lyells have been here, and Sir C. remarked that no one wrote such good
scientific reviews as you, and as Miss Buckley added, you delight in
picking out all that is good, though very far from blind to the bad. In
all this I most entirely agree. I shall always consider your review as a
great honour; and however much my book may hereafter be abused, as no doubt
it will be, your review will console me, notwithstanding that we differ so
greatly. I will keep your objections to my views in my mind, but I fear
that the latter are almost stereotyped in my mind. I thought for long
weeks about the inheritance and selection difficulty, and covered quires of
paper with notes in trying to get out of it, but could not, though clearly
seeing that it would be a great relief if I could. I will confine myself
to two or three remarks. I have been much impressed with what you urge
against colour (Mr. Wallace says that the pairing of butterflies is
probably determined by the fact that one male is stronger-winged, or more
pertinacious than the rest, rather than by the choice of the females. He
quotes the case of caterpillars which are brightly coloured and yet
sexless. Mr. Wallace also makes the good criticism that the 'Descent of
Man' consists of two books mixed together.) in the case of insects, having
been acquired through sexual selection. I always saw that the evidence was
very weak; but I still think, if it be admitted that the musical
instruments of insects have been gained through sexual selection, that
there is not the least improbability in colour having been thus gained.
Your argument with respect to the denudation of mankind and also to
insects, that taste on the part of one sex would have to remain nearly the
same during many generations, in order that sexual selection should produce
any effect, I agree to; and I think this argument would be sound if used by
one who denied that, for instance, the plumes of birds of Paradise had been
so gained. I believe you admit this, and if so I do not see how your
argument applies in other cases. I have recognized for some short time
that I have made a great omission in not having discussed, as far as I
could, the acquisition of taste, its inherited nature, and its permanence
within pretty close limits for long periods.

[With regard to the success of the 'Descent of Man,' I quote from a letter
to Professor Ray Lankester (March 22, 1871):--

"I think you will be glad to hear, as a proof of the increasing liberality
of England, that my book has sold wonderfully...and as yet no abuse (though
some, no doubt, will come, strong enough), and only contempt even in the
poor old 'Athenaeum'."

As to reviews that struck him he wrote to Mr. Wallace (March 24, 1871):--

"There is a very striking second article on my book in the 'Pall Mall'.
The articles in the "Spectator" ("Spectator", March 11 and 18, 1871. With
regard to the evolution of conscience the reviewer thinks that my father
comes much nearer to the "kernel of the psychological problem" than many of
his predecessors. The second article contains a good discussion of the
bearing of the book on the question of design, and concludes by finding in
it a vindication of Theism more wonderful than that in Paley's 'Natural
Theology.') have also interested me much."

On March 20 he wrote to Mr. Murray:--

"Many thanks for the "Nonconformist" [March 8, 1871]. I like to see all
that is written, and it is of some real use. If you hear of reviewers in
out-of-the-way papers, especially the religious, as "Record", "Guardian",
"Tablet", kindly inform me. It is wonderful that there has been no abuse
("I feel a full conviction that my chapter on man will excite attention and
plenty of abuse, and I suppose abuse is as good as praise for selling a
book."--(from a letter to Mr. Murray, January 31, 1867.) as yet, but I
suppose I shall not escape. On the whole, the reviews have been highly

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Murray (April 13, 1871) refers
to a review in the "Times". ("Times", April 7 and 8, 1871. The review is
not only unfavourable as regards the book under discussion, but also as
regards Evolution in general, as the following citation will show: "Even
had it been rendered highly probable, which we doubt, that the animal
creation has been developed into its numerous and widely different
varieties by mere evolution, it would still require an independent
investigation of overwhelming force and completeness to justify the
presumption that man is but a term in this self-evolving series.")

"I have no idea who wrote the "Times" review. He has no knowledge of
science, and seems to me a wind-bag full of metaphysics and classics, so
that I do not much regard his adverse judgment, though I suppose it will
injure the sale."

A review of the 'Descent of Man,' which my father spoke of as "capital,"
appeared in the "Saturday Review" (March 4 and 11, 1871). A passage from
the first notice (March 4) may be quoted in illustration of the broad basis
as regards general acceptance, on which the doctrine of Evolution now
stood: "He claims to have brought man himself, his origin and
constitution, within that unity which he had previously sought to trace
through all lower animal forms. The growth of opinion in the interval, due
in chief measure to his own intermediate works, has placed the discussion
of this problem in a position very much in advance of that held by it
fifteen years ago. The problem of Evolution is hardly any longer to be
treated as one of first principles; nor has Mr. Darwin to do battle for a
first hearing of his central hypothesis, upborne as it is by a phalanx of
names full of distinction and promise, in either hemisphere."

The infolded point of the human ear, discovered by Mr. Woolner, and
described in the 'Descent of Man,' seems especially to have struck the
popular imagination; my father wrote to Mr. Woolner:--

"The tips to the ears have become quite celebrated. One reviewer
('Nature') says they ought to be called, as I suggested in joke, Angulus
Woolnerianus. ('Nature' April 6, 1871. The term suggested is Angulus
Woolnerii.) A German is very proud to find that he has the tips well
developed, and I believe will send me a photograph of his ears."]

Brodie, formerly Vicar of Down.)
Down, May 29 [1871].

My dear Innes,

I have been very glad to receive your pleasant letter, for to tell you the
truth, I have sometimes wondered whether you would not think me an outcast
and a reprobate after the publication of my last book ['Descent']. (In a
former letter of my father's to Mr. Innes:--"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 which I should feel very proud of, if any
one could say it of me.") I do not wonder at all at your not agreeing with
me, for a good many professed naturalists do not. Yet when I see in how
extraordinary a manner the judgment of naturalists has changed since I
published the 'Origin,' I feel convinced that there will be in ten years
quite as much unanimity about man, as far as his corporeal frame is

[The following letters addressed to Dr. Ogle deal with the progress of the
work on expression.]

Down, March 12 [1871].

My dear Dr. Ogle,

I have received both your letters, and they tell me all that I wanted to
know in the clearest possible way, as, indeed, all your letters have ever
done. I thank you cordially. I will give the case of the murderer
('Expression of the Emotions,' page 294. The arrest of a murderer, as
witnessed by Dr. Ogle in a hospital.) in my hobby-horse essay on
expression. I fear that the Eustachian tube question must have cost you a
deal of labour; it is quite a complete little essay. It is pretty clear
that the mouth is not opened under surprise merely to improve the hearing.
Yet why do deaf men generally keep their mouths open? The other day a man
here was mimicking a deaf friend, leaning his head forward and sideways to
the speaker, with his mouth well open; it was a lifelike representation of
a deaf man. Shakespeare somewhere says: "Hold your breath, listen" or
"hark," I forget which. Surprise hurries the breath, and it seems to me
one can breathe, at least hurriedly, much quieter through the open mouth
than through the nose. I saw the other day you doubted this. As objection
is your province at present, I think breathing through the nose ought to
come within it likewise, so do pray consider this point, and let me hear
your judgment. Consider the nose to be a flower to be fertilised, and then
you will make out all about it. (Dr. Ogle had corresponded with my father
on his own observations on the fertilisation of flowers.) I have had to
allude to your paper on 'Sense of Smell' (Medico-chirurg. Trans. liii.); is
the paging right, namely, 1, 2, 3? If not, I protest by all the gods
against the plan followed by some, of having presentation copies falsely
paged; and so does Rolleston, as he wrote to me the other day. In haste.

Yours very sincerely,

Down, March 25 [1871].

My dear Dr. Ogle,

You will think me a horrid bore, but I beg you, IN RELATION TO A NEW POINT
FOR OBSERVATION, to imagine as well as you can that you suddenly come
across some dreadful object, and act with a sudden little start, a SHUDDER
OF HORROR; please do this once or twice, and observe yourself as well as
you can, and AFTERWARDS read the rest of this note, which I have
consequently pinned down. I find, to my surprise, whenever I act thus my
platysma contracts. Does yours? (N.B.--See what a man will do for
science; I began this note with a horrid fib, namely, that I want you to
attend to a new point. (The point was doubtless described as a new one, to
avoid the possibility of Dr. Ogle's attention being directed to the
platysma, a muscle which had been the subject of discussion in other
letters.)) I will try and get some persons thus to act who are so lucky as
not to know that they even possess this muscle, so troublesome for any one
making out about expression. Is a shudder akin to the rigor or shivering
before fever? If so, perhaps the platysma could be observed in such cases.
Paget told me that he had attended much to shivering, and had written in
MS. on the subject, and been much perplexed about it. He mentioned that
passing a catheter often causes shivering. Perhaps I will write to him
about the platysma. He is always most kind in aiding me in all ways, but
he is so overworked that it hurts my conscience to trouble him, for I have
a conscience, little as you have reason to think so. Help me if you can,
and forgive me. Your murderer case has come in splendidly as the acme of
prostration from fear.

Yours very sincerely,

Down, April 29 [1871].

My dear Dr. Ogle,

I am truly obliged for all the great trouble which you have so kindly
taken. I am sure you have no cause to say that you are sorry you can give
me no definite information, for you have given me far more than I ever
expected to get. The action of the platysma is not very important for me,
but I believe that you will fully understand (for I have always fancied
that our minds were very similar) the intolerable desire I had not to be
utterly baffled. Now I know that it sometimes contracts from fear and from
shuddering, but not apparently from a prolonged state of fear such as the
insane suffer...

[Mr. Mivart's 'Genesis of Species,'--a contribution to the literature of
Evolution, which excited much attention--was published in 1871, before the
appearance of the 'Descent of Man.' To this book the following letter
(June 21, 1871) from the late Chauncey Wright to my father refers.
(Chauncey Wright was born at Northampton, Massachusetts, September 20,
1830, and came of a family settled in that town since 1654. He became in
1852 a computer in the Nautical Almanac office at Cambridge, Mass., and
lived a quiet uneventful life, supported by the small stipend of his
office, and by what he earned from his occasional articles, as well as by a
little teaching. He thought and read much on metaphysical subjects, but on
the whole with an outcome (as far as the world was concerned) not
commensurate to the power of his mind. He seems to have been a man of
strong individuality, and to have made a lasting impression on his friends.
He died in September, 1875.)]:

"I send...revised proofs of an article which will be published in the July
number of the 'North American Review,' sending it in the hope that it will
interest or even be of greater value to you. Mr. Mivart's book ['Genesis
of Species'] of which this article is substantially a review, seems to me a
very good background from which to present the considerations which I have
endeavoured to set forth in the article, in defence and illustration of the
theory of Natural Selection. My special purpose has been to contribute to
the theory by placing it in its proper relations to philosophical enquiries
in general." ('Letters of Chauncey Wright,' by J.B. Thayer. Privately
printed, 1878, page 230.)

With regard to the proofs received from Mr. Wright, my father wrote to Mr.

Down, July 9 [1871].

My dear Wallace,

I send by this post a review by Chauncey Wright, as I much want your
opinion of it as soon as you can send it. I consider you an incomparably
better critic than I am. The article, though not very clearly written, and
poor in parts from want of knowledge, seems to me admirable. Mivart's book
is producing a great effect against Natural Selection, and more especially
against me. Therefore if you think the article even somewhat good I will
write and get permission to publish it as a shilling pamphlet, together
with the MS. additions (enclosed), for which there was not room at the end
of the review...

I am now at work at a new and cheap edition of the 'Origin,' and shall
answer several points in Mivart's book, and introduce a new chapter for
this purpose; but I treat the subject so much more concretely, and I dare
say less philosophically, than Wright, that we shall not interfere with
each other. You will think me a bigot when I say, after studying Mivart, I
was never before in my life so convinced of the GENERAL (i.e. not in
detail) truth of the views in the 'Origin.' I grieve to see the omission
of the words by Mivart, detected by Wright. ('North American Review,'
volume 113, pages 83, 84. Chauncey Wright points out that the words
omitted are "essential to the point on which he [Mr. Mivart] cites Mr.
Darwin's authority." It should be mentioned that the passage from which
words are omitted is not given within inverted commas by Mr. Mivart.) I
complained to Mivart that in two cases he quotes only the commencement of
sentences by me, and thus modifies my meaning; but I never supposed he
would have omitted words. There are other cases of what I consider unfair
treatment. I conclude with sorrow that though he means to be honourable he
is so bigoted that he cannot act fairly...

Down, July 14, 1871.

My dear Sir,

I have hardly ever in my life read an article which has given me so much
satisfaction as the review which you have been so kind as to send me. I
agree to almost everything which you say. Your memory must be wonderfully
accurate, for you know my works as well as I do myself, and your power of
grasping other men's thoughts is something quite surprising; and this, as
far as my experience goes, is a very rare quality. As I read on I
perceived how you have acquired this power, viz. by thoroughly analyzing
each word.

...Now I am going to beg a favour. Will you provisionally give me
permission to reprint your article as a shilling pamphlet? I ask only
provisionally, as I have not yet had time to reflect on the subject. It
would cost me, I fancy, with advertisements, some 20 or 30 pounds; but the
worst is that, as I hear, pamphlets never will sell. And this makes me
doubtful. Should you think it too much trouble to send me a title FOR THE
CHANCE? The title ought, I think, to have Mr. Mivart's name on it.

...If you grant permission and send a title, you will kindly understand
that I will first make further enquiries whether there is any chance of a
pamphlet being read.

Pray believe me yours very sincerely obliged,

[The pamphlet was published in the autumn, and on October 23 my father
wrote to Mr. Wright:--

"It pleases me much that you are satisfied with the appearance of your
pamphlet. I am sure it will do our cause good service; and this same
opinion Huxley has expressed to me. ('Letters of Chauncey Wright,' page

Down, July 12 [1871].

...I feel very doubtful how far I shall succeed in answering Mivart, it is
so difficult to answer objections to doubtful points, and make the
discussion readable. I shall make only a selection. The worst of it is,
that I cannot possibly hunt through all my references for isolated points,
it would take me three weeks of intolerably hard work. I wish I had your
power of arguing clearly. At present I feel sick of everything, and if I
could occupy my time and forget my daily discomforts, or rather miseries, I
would never publish another word. But I shall cheer up, I dare say, soon,
having only just got over a bad attack. Farewell; God knows why I bother
you about myself. I can say nothing more about missing-links than what I
have said. I should rely much on pre-silurian times; but then comes Sir W.
Thomson like an odious spectre. Farewell.

...There is a most cutting review of me in the 'Quarterly' (July 1871.); I
have only read a few pages. The skill and style make me think of Mivart.
I shall soon be viewed as the most despicable of men. This 'Quarterly
Review' tempts me to republish Ch. Wright, even if not read by any one,
just to show some one will say a word against Mivart, and that his (i.e.
Mivart's) remarks ought not to be swallowed without some reflection...God
knows whether my strength and spirit will last out to write a chapter
versus Mivart and others; I do so hate controversy and feel I shall do it
so badly.

[The above-mentioned 'Quarterly' review was the subject of an article by
Mr. Huxley in the November number of the 'Contemporary Review.' Here,
also, are discussed Mr. Wallace's 'Contribution to the Theory of Natural
Selection,' and the second edition of Mr. Mivart's 'Genesis of Species.'
What follows is taken from Mr. Huxley's article. The 'Quarterly' reviewer,
though being to some extent an evolutionist, believes that Man "differs
more from an elephant or a gorilla, than do these from the dust of the
earth on which they tread." The reviewer also declares that my father has
"with needless opposition, set at naught the first principles of both
philosophy and religion." Mr. Huxley passes from the 'Quarterly'
reviewer's further statement, that there is no necessary opposition between
evolution and religion, to the more definite position taken by Mr. Mivart,
that the orthodox authorities of the Roman Catholic Church agree in
distinctly asserting derivative creation, so that "their teachings
harmonise with all that modern science can possibly require." Here Mr.
Huxley felt the want of that "study of Christian philosophy" (at any rate,
in its Jesuitic garb), which Mr. Mivart speaks of, and it was a want he at
once set to work to fill up. He was then staying at St. Andrews, whence he
wrote to my father:--

"By great good luck there is an excellent library here, with a good copy of
Suarez (The learned Jesuit on whom Mr. Mivart mainly relies.), in a dozen
big folios. Among these I dived, to the great astonishment of the
librarian, and looking into them 'as the careful robin eyes the delver's
toil' (vide 'Idylls'), I carried off the two venerable clasped volumes
which were most promising." Even those who know Mr. Huxley's unrivalled
power of tearing the heart out of a book must marvel at the skill with
which he has made Suarez speak on his side. "So I have come out," he
wrote, "in the new character of a defender of Catholic orthodoxy, and upset
Mivart out of the mouth of his own prophet."

The remainder of Mr. Huxley's critique is largely occupied with a
dissection of the 'Quarterly' reviewer's psychology, and his ethical views.
He deals, too, with Mr. Wallace's objections to the doctrine of Evolution
by natural causes when applied to the mental faculties of Man. Finally, he
devotes a couple of pages to justifying his description of the 'Quarterly'
reviewer's "treatment of Mr. Darwin as alike unjust and unbecoming."

It will be seen that the two following letters were written before the
publication of Mr. Huxley's article.]

Down, September 21 [1871].

My dear Huxley,

Your letter has pleased me in many ways, to a wonderful degree...What a
wonderful man you are to grapple with those old metaphysico-divinity books.
It quite delights me that you are going to some extent to answer and attack
Mivart. His book, as you say, has produced a great effect; yesterday I
perceived the reverberations from it, even from Italy. It was this that
made me ask Chauncey Wright to publish at my expense his article, which
seems to me very clever, though ill-written. He has not knowledge enough
to grapple with Mivart in detail. I think there can be no shadow of doubt
that he is the author of the article in the 'Quarterly Review'...I am
preparing a new edition of the 'Origin,' and shall introduce a new chapter
in answer to miscellaneous objections, and shall give up the greater part
to answer Mivart's cases of difficulty of incipient structures being of no
use: and I find it can be done easily. He never states his case fairly,
and makes wonderful blunders...The pendulum is now swinging against our
side, but I feel positive it will soon swing the other way; and no mortal
man will do half as much as you in giving it a start in the right
direction, as you did at the first commencement. God forgive me for
writing so long and egotistical a letter; but it is your fault, for you
have so delighted me; I never dreamed that you would have time to say a
word in defence of the cause which you have so often defended. It will be
a long battle, after we are dead and gone...Great is the power of

Down, September 30 [1871].

My dear Huxley,

It was very good of you to send the proof-sheets, for I was VERY anxious to
read your article. I have been delighted with it. How you do smash
Mivart's theology: it is almost equal to your article versus Comte
('Fortnightly Review,' 1869. With regard to the relations of Positivism to
Science my father wrote to Mr. Spencer in 1875: "How curious and amusing
it is to see to what an extent the Positivists hate all men of science; I
fancy they are dimly conscious what laughable and gigantic blunders their
prophet made in predicting the course of science."),--that never can be
transcended...But I have been preeminently glad to read your discussion on
[the 'Quarterly' reviewer's] metaphysics, especially about reason and his
definition of it. I felt sure he was wrong, but having only common
observation and sense to trust to, I did not know what to say in my second
edition of my 'Descent.' Now a footnote and reference to you will do the
work...For me, this is one of the most IMPORTANT parts of the review. But
for PLEASURE, I have been particularly glad that my few words ('Descent of
Man,' volume i. page 87. A discussion on the question whether an act done
impulsively or instinctively can be called moral.) on the distinction, if
it can be so called, between Mivart's two forms of morality, caught your
attention. I am so pleased that you take the same view, and give
authorities for it; but I searched Mill in vain on this head. How well you
argue the whole case. I am mounting climax on climax; for after all there
is nothing, I think, better in your whole review than your arguments v.
Wallace on the intellect of savages. I must tell you what Hooker said to
me a few years ago. "When I read Huxley, I feel quite infantile in
intellect." By Jove I have felt the truth of this throughout your review.
What a man you are. There are scores of splendid passages, and vivid
flashes of wit. I have been a good deal more than merely pleased by the
concluding part of your review; and all the more, as I own I felt mortified
by the accusation of bigotry, arrogance, etc., in the 'Quarterly Review.'
But I assure you, he may write his worst, and he will never mortify me

My dear Huxley, yours gratefully,

Haredene, Albury, August 2 [1871].

My dear Sir,

Your last letter has interested me greatly; it is wonderfully rich in facts
and original thoughts. First, let me say that I have been much pleased by
what you say about my book. It has had a VERY LARGE sale; but I have been
much abused for it, especially for the chapter on the moral sense; and most
of my reviewers consider the book as a poor affair. God knows what its
merits may really be; all that I know is that I did my best. With
familiarity I think naturalists will accept sexual selection to a greater
extent than they now seem inclined to do. I should very much like to
publish your letter, but I do not see how it could be made intelligible,
without numerous coloured illustrations, but I will consult Mr. Wallace on
this head. I earnestly hope that you keep notes of all your letters, and
that some day you will publish a book: 'Notes of a Naturalist in S.
Brazil,' or some such title. Wallace will hardly admit the possibility of
sexual selection with Lepidoptera, and no doubt it is very improbable.
Therefore, I am very glad to hear of your cases (which I will quote in the
next edition) of the two sets of Hesperiadae, which display their wings
differently, according to which surface is coloured. I cannot believe that
such display is accidental and purposeless...

No fact of your letter has interested me more than that about mimicry. It
is a capital fact about the males pursuing the wrong females. You put the
difficulty of the first steps in imitation in a most striking and
CONVINCING manner. Your idea of sexual selection having aided protective
imitation interests me greatly, for the same idea had occurred to me in
quite different cases, viz. the dulness of all animals in the Galapagos
Islands, Patagonia, etc., and in some other cases; but I was afraid even to
hint at such an idea. Would you object to my giving some such sentence as
follows: "F. Muller suspects that sexual selection may have come into
play, in aid of protective imitation, in a very peculiar manner, which will
appear extremely improbable to those who do not fully believe in sexual
selection. It is that the appreciation of certain colour is developed in
those species which frequently behold other species thus ornamented."
Again let me thank you cordially for your most interesting letter...

Down, [September 24, 1871].

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will allow me to have the pleasure of telling you how
greatly I have been interested by your 'Primitive Culture,' now that I have
finished it. It seems to me a most profound work, which will be certain to
have permanent value, and to be referred to for years to come. It is
wonderful how you trace animism from the lower races up to the religious
belief of the highest races. It will make me for the future look at
religion--a belief in the soul, etc.--from a new point of view. How
curious, also, are the survivals or rudiments of old customs...You will
perhaps be surprised at my writing at so late a period, but I have had the
book read aloud to me, and from much ill-health of late could only stand
occasional short reads. The undertaking must have cost you gigantic
labour. Nevertheless, I earnestly hope that you may be induced to treat
morals in the same enlarged yet careful manner, as you have animism. I
fancy from the last chapter that you have thought of this. No man could do
the work so well as you, and the subject assuredly is a most important and
interesting one. You must now possess references which would guide you to
a sound estimation of the morals of savages; and how writers like Wallace,
Lubbock, etc., etc., do differ on this head. Forgive me for troubling you,
and believe me, with much respect,

Yours very sincerely,


[At the beginning of the year the sixth edition of the 'Origin,' which had
been begun in June, 1871, was nearly completed. The last sheet was revised
on January 10, 1872, and the book was published in the course of the month.
This volume differs from the previous ones in appearance and size--it
consists of 458 pages instead of 596 pages and is a few ounces lighter; it
is printed on bad paper, in small type, and with the lines unpleasantly
close together. It had, however, one advantage over previous editions,
namely that it was issued at a lower price. It is to be regretted that
this the final edition of the 'Origin' should have appeared in so
unattractive a form; a form which has doubtless kept off many readers from
the book.

The discussion suggested by the 'Genesis of Species' was perhaps the most
important addition to the book. The objection that incipient structures
cannot be of use was dealt with in some detail, because it seemed to the
author that this was the point in Mr. Mivart's book which has struck most
readers in England.

It is a striking proof of how wide and general had become the acceptance of
his views that my father found it necessary to insert (sixth edition, page
424), the sentence: "As a record of a former state of things, I have
retained in the foregoing paragraphs and also elsewhere, several sentences
which imply that naturalists believe in the separate creation of each
species; and I have been much censured for having thus expressed myself.
But undoubtedly this was the general belief when the first edition of the
present work appeared...Now things are wholly changed, and almost every
naturalist admits the great principle of evolution."

A small correction introduced into this sixth edition is connected with one
of his minor papers: "Note on the habits of the Pampas Woodpecker."
(Zoolog. Soc. Proc. 1870.) In the fifth edition of the 'Origin,' page 220,
he wrote:--

"Yet as I can assert not only from my own observation, but from that of the
accurate Azara, it [the ground woodpecker] never climbs a tree." The paper
in question was a reply to Mr. Hudson's remarks on the woodpecker in a
previous number of the same journal. The last sentence of my father's
paper is worth quoting for its temperate tone: "Finally, I trust that Mr.
Hudson is mistaken when he says that any one acquainted with the habits of
this bird might be induced to believe that I 'had purposely wrested the
truth' in order to prove my theory. He exonerates me from this charge; but
I should be loath to think that there are many naturalists who, without any
evidence, would accuse a fellow-worker of telling a deliberate falsehood to
prove his theory." In the sixth edition, page 142, the passage runs "in
certain large districts it does not climb trees." And he goes on to give
Mr. Hudson's statement that in other regions it does frequent trees.

One of the additions in the sixth edition (page 149), was a reference to
Mr. A. Hyatt's and Professor Cope's theory of "acceleration." With regard
to this he wrote (October 10, 1872) in characteristic words to Mr. Hyatt:--

"Permit me to take this opportunity to express my sincere regret at having
committed two grave errors in the last edition of my 'Origin of Species,'
in my allusion to yours and Professor Cope's views on acceleration and
retardation of development. I had thought that Professor Cope had preceded
you; but I now well remember having formerly read with lively interest, and
marked, a paper by you somewhere in my library, on fossil Cephalapods with
remarks on the subject. It seems also that I have quite misrepresented
your joint view. This has vexed me much. I confess that I have never been
able to grasp fully what you wish to show, and I presume that this must be
owing to some dulness on my part."

Lastly, it may be mentioned that this cheap edition being to some extent
intended as a popular one, was made to include a glossary of technical
terms, "given because several readers have complained...that some of the
terms used were unintelligible to them." The glossary was compiled by Mr.
Dallas, and being an excellent collection of clear and sufficient
definitions, must have proved useful to many readers.]

Down, January 15, 1872.

My dear Sir,

I am much obliged for your very kind letter and exertions in my favour. I
had thought that the publication of my last book ['Descent of Man'] would
have destroyed all your sympathy with me, but though I estimated very
highly your great liberality of mind, it seems that I underrated it.

I am gratified to hear that M. Lacaze-Duthiers will vote (He was not
elected as a corresponding member of the French Academy until 1878.) for
me, for I have long honoured his name. I cannot help regretting that you
should expend your valuable time in trying to obtain for me the honour of
election, for I fear, judging from the last time, that all your labour will
be in vain. Whatever the result may be, I shall always retain the most
lively recollection of your sympathy and kindness, and this will quite
console me for my rejection.

With much respect and esteem, I remain, dear Sir,

Yours truly obliged,

P.S.--With respect to the great stress which you lay on man walking on two
legs, whilst the quadrumana go on all fours, permit me to remind you that
no one much values the great difference in the mode of locomotion, and
consequently in structure, between seals and the terrestrial carnivora, or
between the almost biped kangaroos and other marsupials.

CHARLES DARWIN TO AUGUST WEISMANN. (Professor of Zoology in Freiburg.)
Down, April 5, 1872.

My dear Sir,

I have now read your essay ('Ueber den Einfluss der Isolirung auf die
Artbildung.' Leipzig, 1872.) with very great interest. Your view of the
'Origin' of local races through "Amixie," is altogether new to me, and
seems to throw an important light on an obscure problem. There is,
however, something strange about the periods or endurance of variability.
I formerly endeavoured to investigate the subject, not by looking to past
time, but to species of the same genus widely distributed; and I found in
many cases that all the species, with perhaps one or two exceptions, were
variable. It would be a very interesting subject for a conchologist to
investigate, viz., whether the species of the same genus were variable
during many successive geological formations. I began to make enquiries on
this head, but failed in this, as in so many other things, from the want of
time and strength. In your remarks on crossing, you do not, as it seems to
me, lay nearly stress enough on the increased vigour of the offspring
derived from parents which have been exposed to different conditions. I
have during the last five years been making experiments on this subject
with plants, and have been astonished at the results, which have not yet
been published.

In the first part of your essay, I thought that you wasted (to use an
English expression) too much powder and shot on M. Wagner (Prof. Wagner has
written two essays on the same subject. 'Die Darwin'sche Theorie und das
Migrationsgesetz, in 1868, and 'Ueber den Einfluss der Geographischen
Isolirung, etc.,' an address to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences at Munich,
1870.); but I changed my opinion when I saw how admirably you treated the
whole case, and how well you used the facts about the Planorbis. I wish I
had studied this latter case more carefully. The manner in which, as you
show, the different varieties blend together and make a constant whole,
agrees perfectly with my hypothetical illustrations.

Many years ago the late E. Forbes described three closely consecutive beds
in a secondary formation, each with representative forms of the same fresh-
water shells: the case is evidently analogous with that of Hilgendorf
("Ueber Planorbis multiformis im Steinheimer Susswasser-kalk."
Monatsbericht of the Berlin Academy, 1866.), but the interesting connecting
varieties or links were here absent. I rejoice to think that I formerly
said as emphatically as I could, that neither isolation nor time by
themselves do anything for the modification of species. Hardly anything in
your essay has pleased me so much personally, as to find that you believe
to a certain extent in sexual selection. As far as I can judge, very few
naturalists believe in this. I may have erred on many points, and extended
the doctrine too far, but I feel a strong conviction that sexual selection
will hereafter be admitted to be a powerful agency. I cannot agree with
what you say about the taste for beauty in animals not easily varying. It
may be suspected that even the habit of viewing differently coloured
surrounding objects would influence their taste, and Fritz Muller even goes
so far as to believe that the sight of gaudy butterflies might influence
the taste of distinct species. There are many remarks and statements in
your essay which have interested me greatly, and I thank you for the
pleasure which I have received from reading it.

With sincere respect, I remain,
My dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

P.S.--If you should ever be induced to consider the whole doctrine of
sexual selection, I think that you will be led to the conclusion, that
characters thus gained by one sex are very commonly transferred in a
greater or less degree to the other sex.

[With regard to Moritz Wagner's first Essay, my father wrote to that
naturalist, apparently in 1868:]

Dear and respected Sir,

I thank you sincerely for sending me your 'Migrationsgesetz, etc.,' and for
the very kind and most honourable notice which you have taken of my works.
That a naturalist who has travelled into so many and such distant regions,
and who has studied animals of so many classes, should, to a considerable
extent, agree with me, is, I can assure you, the highest gratification of
which I am capable...Although I saw the effects of isolation in the case of
islands and mountain-ranges, and knew of a few instances of rivers, yet the
greater number of your facts were quite unknown to me. I now see that from
the want of knowledge I did not make nearly sufficient use of the views
which you advocate; and I almost wish I could believe in its importance to
the same extent with you; for you well show, in a manner which never
occurred to me, that it removes many difficulties and objections. But I
must still believe that in many large areas all the individuals of the same
species have been slowly modified, in the same manner, for instance, as the
English race-horse has been improved, that is by the continued selection of
the fleetest individuals, without any separation. But I admit that by this
process two or more new species could hardly be found within the same
limited area; some degree of separation, if not indispensable, would be
highly advantageous; and here your facts and views will be of great

[The following letter bears on the same subject. It refers to Professor M.
Wagner's Essay, published in "Das Ausland", May 31, 1875:]

Down, October 13, 1876.

Dear Sir,

I have now finished reading your essays, which have interested me in a very
high degree, notwithstanding that I differ much from you on various points.
For instance, several considerations make me doubt whether species are much
more variable at one period than at another, except through the agency of
changed conditions. I wish, however, that I could believe in this
doctrine, as it removes many difficulties. But my strongest objection to
your theory is that it does not explain the manifold adaptations in
structure in every organic being--for instance in a Picus for climbing
trees and catching insects--or in a Strix for catching animals at night,
and so on ad infinitum. No theory is in the least satisfactory to me
unless it clearly explains such adaptations. I think that you
misunderstand my views on isolation. I believe that all the individuals of
a species can be slowly modified within the same district, in nearly the
same manner as man effects by what I have called the process of unconscious
selection...I do not believe that one species will give birth to two or
more new species as long as they are mingled together within the same
district. Nevertheless I cannot doubt that many new species have been
simultaneously developed within the same large continental area; and in my
'Origin of Species' I endeavoured to explain how two new species might be
developed, although they met and intermingled on the BORDERS of their
range. It would have been a strange fact if I had overlooked the
importance of isolation, seeing that it was such cases as that of the
Galapagos Archipelago, which chiefly led me to study the origin of species.
In my opinion the greatest error which I have committed, has been not
allowing sufficient weight to the direct action of the environment, i.e.
food, climate, etc., independently of natural selection. Modifications
thus caused, which are neither of advantage nor disadvantage to the
modified organism, would be especially favoured, as I can now see chiefly
through your observations, by isolation in a small area, where only a few
individuals lived under nearly uniform conditions.

When I wrote the 'Origin,' and for some years afterwards, I could find
little good evidence of the direct action of the environment; now there is
a large body of evidence, and your case of the Saturnia is one of the most
remarkable of which I have heard. Although we differ so greatly, I hope
that you will permit me to express my respect for your long-continued and
successful labours in the good cause of natural science.

I remain, dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

[The two following letters are also of interest as bearing on my father's
views on the action of isolation as regards the origin of new species:]

Down, November 26, 1878.

My dear Professor Semper,

When I published the sixth edition of the 'Origin,' I thought a good deal
on the subject to which you refer, and the opinion therein expressed was my
deliberate conviction. I went as far as I could, perhaps too far in
agreement with Wagner; since that time I have seen no reason to change my
mind, but then I must add that my attention has been absorbed on other
subjects. There are two different classes of cases, as it appears to me,
viz. those in which a species becomes slowly modified in the same country
(of which I cannot doubt there are innumerable instances) and those cases
in which a species splits into two or three or more new species, and in the
latter case, I should think nearly perfect separation would greatly aid in
their "specification," to coin a new word.

I am very glad that you are taking up this subject, for you will be sure to
throw much light on it. I remember well, long ago, oscillating much; when
I thought of the Fauna and Flora of the Galapagos Islands I was all for
isolation, when I thought of S. America I doubted much. Pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely,


P.S.--I hope that this letter will not be quite illegible, but I have no
amanuensis at present.

Down, November 30, 1878.

Dear Professor Semper,

Since writing I have recalled some of the thoughts and conclusions which
have passed through my mind of late years. In North America, in going from
north to south or from east to west, it is clear that the changed
conditions of life have modified the organisms in the different regions, so
that they now form distinct races or even species. It is further clear
that in isolated districts, however small, the inhabitants almost always
get slightly modified, and how far this is due to the nature of the
slightly different conditions to which they are exposed, and how far to
mere interbreeding, in the manner explained by Weismann, I can form no
opinion. The same difficulty occurred to me (as shown in my 'Variation of
Animals and Plants under Domestication') with respect to the aboriginal
breeds of cattle, sheep, etc., in the separated districts of Great Britain,
and indeed throughout Europe. As our knowledge advances, very slight
differences, considered by systematists as of no importance in structure,
are continually found to be functionally important; and I have been
especially struck with this fact in the case of plants to which my
observations have of late years been confined. Therefore it seems to me
rather rash to consider the slight differences between representative
species, for instance those inhabiting the different islands of the same
archipelago, as of no functional importance, and as not in any way due to
natural selection. With respect to all adapted structures, and these are
innumerable, I cannot see how M. Wagner's view throws any light, nor indeed
do I see at all more clearly than I did before, from the numerous cases
which he has brought forward, how and why it is that a long isolated form
should almost always become slightly modified. I do not know whether you
will care about hearing my further opinion on the point in question, for as
before remarked I have not attended much of late years to such questions,
thinking it prudent, now that I am growing old, to work at easier subjects.

Believe me, yours very sincerely,

I hope and trust that you will throw light on these points.

P.S.--I will add another remark which I remember occurred to me when I
first read M. Wagner. When a species first arrives on a small island, it
will probably increase rapidly, and unless all the individuals change
instantaneously (which is improbable in the highest degree), the slowly,
more or less, modifying offspring must intercross one with another, and
with their unmodified parents, and any offspring not as yet modified. The
case will then be like that of domesticated animals which have slowly
become modified, either by the action of the external conditions or by the
process which I have called the UNCONSCIOUS SELECTION by man--i.e., in
contrast with methodical selection.

[The letters continue the history of the year 1872, which has been
interrupted by a digression on Isolation.]

Down, April 8, 1872.

Dear Sir,

I thank you very sincerely and feel much honoured by the trouble which you
have taken in giving me your reflections on the origin of Man. It
gratifies me extremely that some parts of my work have interested you, and
that we agree on the main conclusion of the derivation of man from some
lower form.

I will reflect on what you have said, but I cannot at present give up my
belief in the close relationship of Man to the higher Simiae. I do not put
much trust in any single character, even that of dentition; but I put the
greatest faith in resemblances in many parts of the whole organisation, for
I cannot believe that such resemblances can be due to any cause except
close blood relationship. That man is closely allied to the higher Simiae
is shown by the classification of Linnaeus, who was so good a judge of
affinity. The man who in England knows most about the structure of the
Simiae, namely, Mr. Mivart, and who is bitterly opposed to my doctrines
about the derivation of the mental powers, yet has publicly admitted that I
have not put man too close to the higher Simiae, as far as bodily structure
is concerned. I do not think the absence of reversions of structure in man
is of much weight; C. Vogt, indeed, argues that [the existence of] Micro-
cephalous idiots is a case of reversion. No one who believes in Evolution
will doubt that the Phocae are descended from some terrestrial Carnivore.
Yet no one would expect to meet with any such reversion in them. The
lesser divergence of character in the races of man in comparison with the
species of Simiadae may perhaps be accounted for by man having spread over
the world at a much later period than did the Simiadae. I am fully
prepared to admit the high antiquity of man; but then we have evidence, in
the Dryopithecus, of the high antiquity of the Anthropomorphous Simiae.

I am glad to hear that you are at work on your fossil plants, which of late
years have afforded so rich a field for discovery. With my best thanks for
your great kindness, and with much respect, I remain,

Dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

[In April, 1872, he was elected to the Royal Society of Holland, and wrote
to Professor Donders:--

"Very many thanks for your letter. The honour of being elected a foreign
member of your Royal Society has pleased me much. The sympathy of his
fellow workers has always appeared to me by far the highest reward to which
any scientific man can look. My gratification has been not a little
increased by first hearing of the honour from you."]

Down, June 3, 1872.

My dear Sir,

Many thanks for your article (The proof-sheets of an article which appeared
in the July number of the 'North American Review.' It was a rejoinder to
Mr. Mivart's reply ('North American Review,' April 1872) to Mr. Chauncey
Wright's pamphlet. Chauncey Wright says of it ('Letters,' page 238):--"It
is not properly a rejoinder but a new article, repeating and expounding
some of the points of my pamphlet, and answering some of Mr. Mivart's
replies incidentally.") in the 'North American Review,' which I have read
with great interest. Nothing can be clearer than the way in which you
discuss the permanence or fixity of species. It never occurred to me to
suppose that any one looked at the case as it seems Mr. Mivart does. Had I
read his answer to you, perhaps I should have perceived this; but I have
resolved to waste no more time in reading reviews of my works or on
Evolution, excepting when I hear that they are good and contain new
matter...It is pretty clear that Mr. Mivart has come to the end of his
tether on this subject.

As your mind is so clear, and as you consider so carefully the meaning of
words, I wish you would take some incidental occasion to consider when a
thing may properly be said to be effected by the will of man. I have been
led to the wish by reading an article by your Professor Whitney versus
Schleicher. He argues, because each step of change in language is made by
the will of man, the whole language so changes; but I do not think that
this is so, as man has no intention or wish to change the language. It is
a parallel case with what I have called "unconscious selection," which
depends on men consciously preserving the best individuals, and thus
unconsciously altering the breed.

My dear Sir, yours sincerely,

[Not long afterwards (September) Mr. Chauncey Wright paid a visit to Down
(Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Brace, who had given much of their lives to
philanthropic work in New York, also paid a visit at Down in this summer.
Some of their work is recorded in Mr. Brace's 'The Dangerous Classes of New
York,' and of this book my father wrote to the author:--

"Since you were here my wife has read aloud to me more than half of your
work, and it has interested us both in the highest degree, and we shall
read every word of the remainder. The facts seem to me very well told, and
the inferences very striking. But after all this is but a weak part of the
impression left on our minds by what we have read; for we are both filled
with earnest admiration at the heroic labours of yourself and others."),
which he described in a letter ('Letters, page 246-248.) to Miss S.
Sedgwick (now Mrs. William Darwin): "If you can imagine me enthusiastic--
absolutely and unqualifiedly so, without a BUT or criticism, then think of
my last evening's and this morning's talks with Mr. Darwin...I was never so
worked up in my life, and did not sleep many hours under the hospitable
roof...It would be quite impossible to give by way of report any idea of
these talks before and at and after dinner, at breakfast, and at leave-
taking; and yet I dislike the egotism of 'testifying' like other religious
enthusiasts, without any verification, or hint of similar experience."]

Bassett, Southampton, June 10, [1872].

Dear Spencer,

I dare say you will think me a foolish fellow, but I cannot resist the wish
to express my unbounded admiration of your article ('Mr. Martineau on
Evolution,' by Herbert Spencer, 'Contemporary Review,' July 1872.) in
answer to Mr. Martineau. It is, indeed, admirable, and hardly less so your
second article on Sociology (which, however, I have not yet finished): I
never believed in the reigning influence of great men on the world's
progress; but if asked why I did not believe, I should have been sorely
perplexed to have given a good answer. Every one with eyes to see and ears
to hear (the number, I fear, are not many) ought to bow their knee to you,
and I for one do.

Believe me, yours most sincerely,

Down, July 12 [1872].

My dear Hooker,

I must exhale and express my joy at the way in which the newspapers have
taken up your case. I have seen the "Times", the "Daily News", and the
"Pall Mall", and hear that others have taken up the case.

The Memorial has done great good this way, whatever may be the result in
the action of our wretched Government. On my soul, it is enough to make
one turn into an old honest Tory...

If you answer this, I shall be sorry that I have relieved my feelings by

Yours affectionately,

[The memorial here referred to was addressed to Mr. Gladstone, and was
signed by a number of distinguished men, including Sir Charles Lyell, Mr.
Bentham, Mr. Huxley, and Sir James Paget. It gives a complete account of
the arbitrary and unjust treatment received by Sir J.D. Hooker at the hands
of his official chief, the First Commissioner of Works. The document is
published in full in 'Nature' (July 11, 1872), and is well worth studying
as an example of the treatment which it is possible for science to receive
from officialism. As 'Nature' observes, it is a paper which must be read
with the greatest indignation by scientific men in every part of the world,
and with shame by all Englishmen. The signatories of the memorial conclude
by protesting against the expected consequences of Sir Joseph Hooker's
persecution--namely his resignation, and the loss of "a man honoured for
his integrity, beloved for his courtesy and kindliness of heart; and who
has spent in the public service not only a stainless but an illustrious

Happily this misfortune was averted, and Sir Joseph was freed from further

Down, August 3 [1872].

My dear Wallace,

I hate controversy, chiefly perhaps because I do it badly; but as Dr. Bree
accuses you (Mr. Wallace had reviewed Dr. Bree's book, 'An Exposition of
Fallacies in the Hypothesis of Mr. Darwin,' in 'Nature,' July 25, 1872.) of
"blundering," I have thought myself bound to send the enclosed letter (The
letter is as follows:--"Bree on Darwinism." 'Nature,' August 8, 1872.
Permit me to state--though the statement is almost superfluous--that Mr.
Wallace, in his review of Dr. Bree's work, gives with perfect correctness
what I intended to express, and what I believe was expressed clearly, with
respect to the probable position of man in the early part of his pedigree.
As I have not seen Dr. Bree's recent work, and as his letter is
unintelligible to me, I cannot even conjecture how he has so completely
mistaken my meaning: but, perhaps, no one who has read Mr. Wallace's
article, or who has read a work formerly published by Dr. Bree on the same
subject as his recent one, will be surprised at any amount of
misunderstanding on his part.--Charles Darwin. August 3.) to 'Nature,'
that is if you in the least desire it. In this case please post it. If
you do not AT ALL wish it, I should rather prefer not sending it, and in
this case please to tear it up. And I beg you to do the same, if you
intend answering Dr. Bree yourself, as you will do it incomparably better
than I should. Also please tear it up if you don't like the letter.

My dear Wallace, yours very sincerely,

Down, August 28, 1872.

My dear Wallace,

I have at last finished the gigantic job of reading Dr. Bastian's book
('The Beginnings of Life.' H.C. Bastian, 1872.) and have been deeply
interested by it. You wished to hear my impression, but it is not worth

He seems to me an extremely able man, as, indeed, I thought when I read his
first essay. His general argument in favour of Archebiosis (That is to
say, Spontaneous Generation. For the distinction between Archebiosis and
Heterogenesis, see Bastian, chapter vi.) is wonderfully strong, though I
cannot think much of some few of his arguments. The result is that I am
bewildered and astonished by his statements, but am not convinced, though,
on the whole, it seems to me probable that Archebiosis is true. I am not
convinced, partly I think owing to the deductive cast of much of his
reasoning; and I know not why, but I never feel convinced by deduction,
even in the case of H. Spencer's writings. If Dr. Bastian's book had been
turned upside down, and he had begun with the various cases of
Heterogenesis, and then gone on to organic, and afterwards to saline
solutions, and had then given his general arguments, I should have been, I
believe, much more influenced. I suspect, however, that my chief
difficulty is the effect of old convictions being stereotyped on my brain.
I must have more evidence that germs, or the minutest fragments of the
lowest forms, are always killed by 212 degrees of Fahr. Perhaps the mere
reiteration of the statements given by Dr. Bastian [by] other men, whose
judgment I respect, and who have worked long on the lower organisms, would
suffice to convince me. Here is a fine confession of intellectual
weakness; but what an inexplicable frame of mind is that of belief!

As for Rotifers and Tardigrades being spontaneously generated, my mind can
no more digest such statements, whether true or false, than my stomach can
digest a lump of lead. Dr. Bastian is always comparing Archebiosis, as
well as growth, to crystallisation; but, on this view, a Rotifer or
Tardigrade is adapted to its humble conditions of life by a happy accident,
and this I cannot believe...He must have worked with very impure materials
in some cases, as plenty of organisms appeared in a saline solution not
containing an atom of nitrogen.

I wholly disagree with Dr. Bastian about many points in his latter
chapters. Thus the frequency of generalised forms in the older strata
seems to me clearly to indicate the common descent with divergence of more
recent forms. Notwithstanding all his sneers, I do not strike my colours
as yet about Pangenesis. I should like to live to see Archebiosis proved
true, for it would be a discovery of transcendent importance; or, if false,
I should like to see it disproved, and the facts otherwise explained; but I
shall not live to see all this. If ever proved, Dr. Bastian will have
taken a prominent part in the work. How grand is the onward rush of
science; it is enough to console us for the many errors which we have
committed, and for our efforts being overlaid and forgotten in the mass of
new facts and new views which are daily turning up.

This is all I have to say about Dr. Bastian's book, and it certainly has
not been worth saying...

Down, December 11, 1872.

My dear Sir,

I began reading your new book ('Histoire des Sciences et des Savants.'
1873.) sooner than I intended, and when I once began, I could not stop; and
now you must allow me to thank you for the very great pleasure which it has
given me. I have hardly ever read anything more original and interesting
than your treatment of the causes which favour the development of
scientific men. The whole was quite new to me, and most curious. When I
began your essay I was afraid that you were going to attack the principle
of inheritance in relation to mind, but I soon found myself fully content
to follow you and accept your limitations. I have felt, of course, special
interest in the latter part of your work, but there was here less novelty
to me. In many parts you do me much honour, and everywhere more than
justice. Authors generally like to hear what points most strike different
readers, so I will mention that of your shorter essays, that on the future
prevalence of languages, and on vaccination interested me the most, as,
indeed, did that on statistics, and free will. Great liability to certain
diseases, being probably liable to atavism, is quite a new idea to me. At
page 322 you suggest that a young swallow ought to be separated, and then
let loose in order to test the power of instinct; but nature annually
performs this experiment, as old cuckoos migrate in England some weeks
before the young birds of the same year. By the way, I have just used the
forbidden word "nature," which, after reading your essay, I almost
determined never to use again. There are very few remarks in your book to
which I demur, but when you back up Asa Gray in saying that all instincts
are congenital habits, I must protest.

Finally, will you permit me to ask you a question: have you yourself, or
some one who can be quite trusted, observed (page 322) that the butterflies
on the Alps are tamer than those on the lowlands? Do they belong to the
same species? Has this fact been observed with more than one species? Are
they brightly coloured kinds? I am especially curious about their
alighting on the brightly coloured parts of ladies' dresses, more
especially because I have been more than once assured that butterflies like
bright colours, for instance, in India the scarlet leaves of Poinsettia.

Once again allow me to thank you for having sent me your work, and for the
very unusual amount of pleasure which I have received in reading it.

With much respect, I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely,

[The last revise of the 'Expression of the Emotions' was finished on August
22nd, 1872, and he wrote in his Diary:--"Has taken me about twelve months."
As usual he had no belief in the possibility of the book being generally
successful. The following passage in a letter to Haeckel gives the
impression that he had felt the writing of this book as a somewhat severe

"I have finished my little book on 'Expression,' and when it is published
in November I will of course send you a copy, in case you would like to
read it for amusement. I have resumed some old botanical work, and perhaps
I shall never again attempt to discuss theoretical views.

"I am growing old and weak, and no man can tell when his intellectual
powers begin to fail. Long life and happiness to you for your own sake and
for that of science."

It was published in the autumn. The edition consisted of 7000, and of
these 5267 copies were sold at Mr. Murray's sale in November. Two thousand
were printed at the end of the year, and this proved a misfortune, as they
did not afterwards sell so rapidly, and thus a mass of notes collected by
the author was never employed for a second edition during his lifetime.

Among the reviews of the 'Expression of the Emotions' may be mentioned the
unfavourable notices in the "Athenaeum", November 9, 1872, and the "Times",
December 13, 1872. A good review by Mr. Wallace appeared in the 'Quarterly
Journal of Science,' January 1873. Mr. Wallace truly remarks that the book
exhibits certain "characteristics of the author's mind in an eminent
degree," namely, "the insatiable longing to discover the causes of the
varied and complex phenomena presented by living things." He adds that in
the case of the author "the restless curiosity of the child to know the
'what for?' the 'why?' and the 'how?' of everything" seems "never to have
abated its force."

A writer in one of the theological reviews describes the book as the most
"powerful and insidious" of all the author's works.

Professor Alexander Bain criticised the book in a postscript to the 'Senses
and the Intellect;' to this essay the following letter refers:]

Down, October 9, 1873.

My dear Sir,

I am particularly obliged to you for having send me your essay. Your
criticisms are all written in a quite fair spirit, and indeed no one who
knows you or your works would expect anything else. What you say about the
vagueness of what I have called the direct action of the nervous system, is
perfectly just. I felt it so at the time, and even more of late. I
confess that I have never been able fully to grasp your principle of
spontaneity, as well as some other of your points, so as to apply them to
special cases. But as we look at everything from different points of view,
it is not likely that we should agree closely. (Professor Bain expounded
his theory of Spontaneity in the essay here alluded to. It would be
impossible to do justice to it within the limits of a foot-note. The
following quotations may give some notion of it:--

"By Spontaneity I understand the readiness to pass into movement in the
absence of all stimulation whatever; the essential requisite being that the
nerve-centres and muscles shall be fresh and vigorous...The gesticulations
and the carols of young and active animals are mere overflow of nervous
energy; and although they are very apt to concur with pleasing emotion,
they have an independent source...They are not properly movements of
expression; they express nothing at all except an abundant stock of
physical power.")

I have been greatly pleased by what you say about the crying expression and
about blushing. Did you read a review in a late 'Edinburgh?' (The review
on the 'Expression of the Emotions' appeared in the April number of the
'Edinburgh Review,' 1873. The opening sentence is a fair sample of the
general tone of the article: "Mr. Darwin has added another volume of
amusing stories and grotesque illustrations to the remarkable series of
works already devoted to the exposition and defence of the evolutionary
hypothesis." A few other quotations may be worth giving. "His one-sided
devotion to an a priori scheme of interpretation seems thus steadily
tending to impair the author's hitherto unrivalled powers as an observer.
However this may be, most impartial critics will, we think, admit that
there is a marked falling off both in philosophical tone and scientific
interest in the works produced since Mr. Darwin committed himself to the
crude metaphysical conception so largely associated with his name." The
article is directed against Evolution as a whole, almost as much as against
the doctrines of the book under discussion. We find throughout plenty of
that effective style of criticism which consists in the use of such
expressions as "dogmatism," "intolerance," "presumptuous," "arrogant."
Together with accusations of such various faults a "virtual abandonment of
the inductive method," and the use of slang and vulgarisms.

The part of the article which seems to have interested my father is the
discussion on the use which he ought to have made of painting and
sculpture.) It was magnificently contemptuous towards myself and many

I retain a very pleasant recollection of our sojourn together at that
delightful place, Moor Park.

With my renewed thanks, I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours sincerely,

CHARLES DARWIN TO MRS. HALIBURTON. (Mrs. Haliburton was a daughter of my
father's old friend, Mr. Owen of Woodhouse. Her husband, Judge Haliburton,
was the well-known author of 'Sam Slick.')
Down, November 1 [1872].

My dear Mrs. Haliburton,

I dare say you will be surprised to hear from me. My object in writing now
is to say that I have just published a book on the 'Expression of the
Emotions in Man and Animals;' and it has occurred to me that you might
possibly like to read some parts of it; and I can hardly think that this
would have been the case with any of the books which I have already
published. So I send by this post my present book. Although I have had no
communication with you or the other members of your family for so long a
time, no scenes in my whole life pass so frequently or so vividly before my
mind as those which relate to happy old days spent at Woodhouse. I should
very much like to hear a little news about yourself and the other members
of your family, if you will take the trouble to write to me. Formerly I
used to glean some news about you from my sisters.

I have had many years of bad health and have not been able to visit
anywhere; and now I feel very old. As long as I pass a perfectly uniform
life, I am able to do some daily work in Natural History, which is still my
passion, as it was in old days, when you used to laugh at me for collecting
beetles with such zeal at Woodhouse. Excepting from my continued ill-
health, which has excluded me from society, my life has been a very happy
one; the greatest drawback being that several of my children have inherited
from me feeble health. I hope with all my heart that you retain, at least
to a large extent, the famous "Owen constitution." With sincere feelings
of gratitude and affection for all bearing the name of Owen, I venture to
sign myself,

Yours affectionately,

Down, November 6 [1872].

My dear Sarah,

I have been very much pleased by your letter, which I must call charming.
I hardly ventured to think that you would have retained a friendly
recollection of me for so many years. Yet I ought to have felt assured
that you would remain as warm-hearted and as true-hearted as you have ever
been from my earliest recollection. I know well how many grievous sorrows
you have gone through; but I am very sorry to hear that your health is not
good. In the spring or summer, when the weather is better, if you can
summon up courage to pay us a visit here, both my wife, as she desires me
to say, and myself, would be truly glad to see you, and I know that you
would not care about being rather dull here. It would be a real pleasure
to me to see you.--Thank you much for telling about your family,--much of
which was new to me. How kind you all were to me as a boy, and you
especially, and how much happiness I owe to you. Believe me your
affectionate and obliged friend,


P.S.--Perhaps you would like to see a photograph of me now that I am old.


[The only work (other than botanical) of this year was the preparation of a
second edition of the 'Descent of Man,' the publication of which is
referred to in the following chapter. This work was undertaken much
against the grain, as he was at the time deeply immersed in the manuscript
of 'Insectivorous Plants.' Thus he wrote to Mr. Wallace (November 19), "I
never in my lifetime regretted an interruption so much as this new edition
of the 'Descent.'" And later (in December) he wrote to Mr. Huxley: "The
new edition of the 'Descent' has turned out an awful job. It took me ten
days merely to glance over letters and reviews with criticisms and new
facts. It is a devil of a job."

The work was continued until April 1, 1874, when he was able to return to
his much loved Drosera. He wrote to Mr. Murray:--

"I have at last finished, after above three months as hard work as I have
ever had in my life, a corrected edition of the 'Descent,' and I much wish
to have it printed off as soon as possible. As it is to be stereotyped I
shall never touch it again."

The first of the miscellaneous letters of 1873 refers to a pleasant visit
received from Colonel Higginson of Newport, U.S.]

Down, February 27th [1873].

My dear Sir,

My wife has just finished reading aloud your 'Life with a Black Regiment,'
and you must allow me to thank you heartily for the very great pleasure
which it has in many ways given us. I always thought well of the negroes,
from the little which I have seen of them; and I have been delighted to
have my vague impressions confirmed, and their character and mental powers
so ably discussed. When you were here I did not know of the noble position
which you had filled. I had formerly read about the black regiments, but
failed to connect your name with your admirable undertaking. Although we
enjoyed greatly your visit to Down, my wife and myself have over and over
again regretted that we did not know about the black regiment, as we should
have greatly liked to have heard a little about the South from your own

Your descriptions have vividly recalled walks taken forty years ago in
Brazil. We have your collected Essays, which were kindly sent us by Mr.
[Moncure] Conway, but have not yet had time to read them. I occasionally
glean a little news of you in the 'Index'; and within the last hour have
read an interesting article of yours on the progress of Free Thought.

Believe me, my dear sir, with sincere admiration,
Yours very faithfully,

[On May 28th he sent the following answers to the questions that Mr. Galton
was at that time addressing to various scientific men, in the course of the
inquiry which is given in his 'English Men of Science, their Nature and
Nurture,' 1874. With regard to the questions my father wrote, "I have
filled up the answers as well as I could, but it is simply impossible for
me to estimate the degrees." For the sake of convenience, the questions
and answers relating to "Nurture" are made to precede those on "Nature":



How taught? I consider that all I have learnt of any value has been self-

Conducive to or restrictive of habits of observation? Restrictive of
observation, being almost entirely classical.

Conducive to health or otherwise? Yes.

Peculiar merits? None whatever.

Chief omissions? No mathematics or modern languages, nor any habits of
observation or reasoning.


Has the religious creed taught in your youth had any deterrent effect on
the freedom of your researches? No.


Do your scientific tastes appear to have been innate? Certainly innate.

Were they determined by any and what events? My innate taste for natural
history strongly confirmed and directed by the voyage in the "Beagle".


Specify any interests that have been very actively pursued. Science, and
field sports to a passionate degree during youth.

(C.D. = CHARLES DARWIN, R.D. = ROBERT DARWIN, his father.)


C.D.--Nominally to Church of England.
R.D.--Nominally to Church of England.


C.D.--Liberal or Radical.


C.D.--Good when young--bad for last 33 years.
R.D.--Good throughout life, except from gout.


C.D.--6ft. Figure, etc.?--Spare, whilst young rather stout. Measurement
round inside of hat?--22 1/4 in. Colour of Hair?--Brown. Complexion?--
Rather sallow.
R.D.--6ft. 2 in. Figure, etc?--Very broad and corpulent. Colour of hair?
--Brown. Complexion?--Ruddy.


C.D.--Somewhat nervous.


C.D.--Energy shown by much activity, and whilst I had health, power of
resisting fatigue. I and one other man were alone able to fetch water for
a large party of officers and sailors utterly prostrated. Some of my
expeditions in S. America were adventurous. An early riser in the morning.
R.D.--Great power of endurance although feeling much fatigue, as after
consultations after long journeys ; very active--not restless--very early
riser, no travels. My father said his father suffered much from sense of
fatigue, that he worked very hard.


C.D.--Shown by rigorous and long-continued work on same subject, as 20
years on the 'Origin of Species,' and 9 years on 'Cirripedia.'
R.D.--Habitually very active mind--shown in conversation with a succession
of people during the whole day.


C.D.--Memory very bad for dates, and for learning by rote; but good in
retaining a general or vague recollection of many facts.
R.D.--Wonderful memory for dates. In old age he told a person, reading
aloud to him a book only read in youth, the passages which were coming--
knew the birthdays and death, etc., of all friends and acquaintances.


C.D.--Very studious, but not large acquirements.
R.D.--Not very studious or mentally receptive, except for facts in
conversation--great collector of anecdotes.


C.D.--I think fairly independent; but I can give no instances. I gave up
common religious belief almost independently from my own reflections.
R.D.--Free thinker in religious matters. Liberal, with rather a tendency
to Toryism.


C.D.-- -- Thinks this applies to me; I do not think so--i.e., as far as
eccentricity. I suppose that I have shown originality in science, as I
have made discoveries with regard to common objects.
R.D.--Original character, had great personal influence and power of
producing fear of himself in others. He kept his accounts with great care
in a peculiar way, in a number of separate little books, without any
general ledger.


C.D.--None, except for business as evinced by keeping accounts, replies to
correspondence, and investing money very well. Very methodical in all my
R.D.--Practical business--made a large fortune and incurred no losses.


C.D.--Steadiness--great curiosity about facts and their meaning. Some love
of the new and marvellous.
R.D.--Strong social affection and great sympathy in the pleasures of
others. Sceptical as to new things. Curious as to facts. Great
foresight. Not much public spirit--great generosity in giving money and

N.B.--I find it quite impossible to estimate my character by your degrees.

The following letter refers inter alia to a letter which appeared in
'Nature' (September 25, 1873), "On the Males and Complemental Males of
certain Cirripedes, and on Rudimentary Organs:"]

Down, September 25, 1873.

My dear Haeckel,

I thank you for the present of your book ('Schopfungs-geschichte,' 4th
edition. The translation ('The History of Creation') was not published
until 1876.), and I am heartily glad to see its great success. You will do
a wonderful amount of good in spreading the doctrine of Evolution,
supporting it as you do by so many original observations. I have read the
new preface with very great interest. The delay in the appearance of the
English translation vexes and surprises me, for I have never been able to
read it thoroughly in German, and I shall assuredly do so when it appears
in English. Has the problem of the later stages of reduction of useless
structures ever perplexed you? This problem has of late caused me much
perplexity. I have just written a letter to 'Nature' with a hypothetical
explanation of this difficulty, and I will send you the paper with the
passage marked. I will at the same time send a paper which has interested
me; it need not be returned. It contains a singular statement bearing on
so-called Spontaneous Generation. I much wish that this latter question
could be settled, but I see no prospect of it. If it could be proved true
this would be most important to us...

Wishing you every success in your admirable labours,

I remain, my dear Haeckel, yours very sincerely,



1874 AND 1875.

[The year 1874 was given up to 'Insectivorous Plants,' with the exception
of the months devoted to the second edition of the 'Descent of Man,' and
with the further exception of the time given to a second edition of his
'Coral Reefs' (1874). The Preface to the latter states that new facts have
been added, the whole book revised, and "the latter chapters almost
rewritten." In the Appendix some account is given of Professor Semper's
objections, and this was the occasion of correspondence between that
naturalist and my father. In Professor Semper's volume, 'Animal Life' (one
of the International Series), the author calls attention to the subject in
the following passage which I give in German, the published English
translation being, as it seems to me, incorrect: "Es scheint mir als ob er
in der zweiten Ausgabe seines allgemein bekannten Werks uber Korallenriffe
einem Irrthume uber meine Beobachtungen zum Opfer gefallen ist, indem er
die Angaben, die ich allerdings bisher immer nur sehr kurz gehalten hatte,
vollstandig falsch wiedergegeben hat."

The proof-sheets containing this passage were sent by Professor Semper to
my father before 'Animal Life' was published, and this was the occasion for
the following letter, which was afterwards published in Professor Semper's

Down, October 2, 1879.

My dear Professor Semper,

I thank you for your extremely kind letter of the 19th, and for the proof-
sheets. I believe that I understand all, excepting one or two sentences,
where my imperfect knowledge of German has interfered. This is my sole and
poor excuse for the mistake which I made in the second edition of my
'Coral' book. Your account of the Pellew Islands is a fine addition to our
knowledge on coral reefs. I have very little to say on the subject, even
if I had formerly read your account and seen your maps, but had known
nothing of the proofs of recent elevation, and of your belief that the
islands have not since subsided. I have no doubt that I should have
considered them as formed during subsidence. But I should have been much
troubled in my mind by the sea not being so deep as it usually is round
atolls, and by the reef on one side sloping so gradually beneath the sea;
for this latter fact, as far as my memory serves me, is a very unusual and
almost unparalleled case. I always foresaw that a bank at the proper depth
beneath the surface would give rise to a reef which could not be
distinguished from an atoll, formed during subsidence. I must still adhere
to my opinion that the atolls and barrier reefs in the middle of the
Pacific and Indian Oceans indicate subsidence; but I fully agree with you
that such cases as that of the Pellew Islands, if of at all frequent
occurrence, would make my general conclusions of very little value. Future
observers must decide between us. It will be a strange fact if there has
not been subsidence of the beds of the great oceans, and if this has not
affected the forms of the coral reefs.

In the last three pages of the last sheet sent I am extremely glad to see
that you are going to treat of the dispersion of animals. Your preliminary
remarks seem to me quite excellent. There is nothing about M. Wagner, as I
expected to find. I suppose that you have seen Moseley's last book, which
contains some good observations on dispersion.

I am glad that your book will appear in English, for then I can read it
with ease. Pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

[The most recent criticism on the Coral-reef theory is by Mr. Murray, one
of the staff of the "Challenger", who read a paper before the Royal Society
of Edinburgh, April 5, 1880. (An abstract is published in volume x. of the
'Proceedings,' page 505, and in 'Nature,' August 12, 1880.) The chief
point brought forward is the possibility of the building up of submarine
mountains, which may serve as foundations for coral reefs. Mr. Murray also
seeks to prove that "the chief features of coral reefs and islands can be
accounted for without calling in the aid of great and general subsidence."
The following letter refers to this subject:]

Down, May 5, 1881.

...You will have seen Mr. Murray's views on the formation of atolls and
barrier reefs. Before publishing my book, I thought long over the same
view, but only as far as ordinary marine organisms are concerned, for at
that time little was known of the multitude of minute oceanic organisms. I
rejected this view, as from the few dredgings made in the "Beagle", in the
south temperate regions, I concluded that shells, the smaller corals, etc.,
decayed, and were dissolved, when not protected by the deposition of
sediment, and sediment could not accumulate in the open ocean. Certainly,
shells, etc., were in several cases completely rotten, and crumbled into
mud between my fingers; but you will know well whether this is in any
degree common. I have expressly said that a bank at the proper depth would
give rise to an atoll, which could not be distinguished from one formed
during subsidence. I can, however, hardly believe in the former presence
of as many banks (there having been no subsidence) as there are atolls in
the great oceans, within a reasonable depth, on which minute oceanic
organisms could have accumulated to the thickness of many hundred
feet...Pray forgive me for troubling you at such length, but it has
occurred [to me] that you might be disposed to give, after your wide
experience, your judgment. If I am wrong, the sooner I am knocked on the
head and annihilated so much the better. It still seems to me a marvellous
thing that there should not have been much, and long continued, subsidence
in the beds of the great oceans. I wish that some doubly rich millionaire
would take it into his head to have borings made in some of the Pacific and
Indian atolls, and bring home cores for slicing from a depth of 500 or 600

[The second edition of the 'Descent of Man' was published in the autumn of
1874. Some severe remarks on the "monistic hypothesis" appeared in the
July (The review necessarily deals with the first edition of the 'Descent
of Man.') number of the 'Quarterly Review' (page 45). The Reviewer
expresses his astonishment at the ignorance of certain elementary
distinctions and principles (e.g. with regard to the verbum mentale)
exhibited, among others, by Mr. Darwin, who does not exhibit the faintest
indication of having grasped them, yet a clear perception of them, and a
direct and detailed examination of his facts with regard to them, "was a
sine qua non for attempting, with a chance of success, the solution of the
mystery as to the descent of man."

Some further criticisms of a later date may be here alluded to. In the
'Academy,' 1876 (pages 562, 587), appeared a review of Mr. Mivart's
'Lessons from Nature,' by Mr. Wallace. When considering the part of Mr.
Mivart's book relating to Natural and Sexual Selection, Mr. Wallace says:
"In his violent attack on Mr. Darwin's theories our author uses unusually
strong language. Not content with mere argument, he expresses 'reprobation
of Mr. Darwin's views'; and asserts that though he (Mr. Darwin) has been
obliged, virtually, to give up his theory, it is still maintained by
Darwinians with 'unscrupulous audacity,' and the actual repudiation of it
concealed by the 'conspiracy of silence.'" Mr. Wallace goes on to show
that these charges are without foundation, and points out that, "if there
is one thing more than another for which Mr. Darwin is pre-eminent among
modern literary and scientific men, it is for his perfect literary honesty,
his self-abnegation in confessing himself wrong, and the eager haste with
which he proclaims and even magnifies small errors in his works, for the
most part discovered by himself."

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Wallace (June 17th) refers to
Mr. Mivart's statement ('Lessons from Nature,' page 144) that Mr. Darwin at
first studiously disguised his views as to the "bestiality of man":--

"I have only just heard of and procured your two articles in the Academy.
I thank you most cordially for your generous defence of me against Mr.
Mivart. In the 'Origin' I did not discuss the derivation of any one
species; but that I might not be accused of concealing my opinion, I went
out of my way, and inserted a sentence which seemed to me (and still so
seems) to disclose plainly my belief. This was quoted in my 'Descent of
Man.' Therefore it is very unjust,...of Mr. Mivart to accuse me of base
fraudulent concealment."

The letter which here follows is of interest in connection with the
discussion, in the 'Descent of Man,' on the origin of the musical sense in

CHARLES DARWIN TO E. GURNEY. (Author of 'The Power of Sound.')
Down, July 8, 1876.

My dear Mr. Gurney,

I have read your article ("Some disputed Points in Music."--'Fortnightly
Review,' July, 1876.) with much interest, except the latter part, which
soared above my ken. I am greatly pleased that you uphold my views to a
certain extent. Your criticism of the rasping noise made by insects being
necessarily rhythmical is very good; but though not made intentionally, it
may be pleasing to the females from the nerve cells being nearly similar in
function throughout the animal kingdom. With respect to your letter, I
believe that I understand your meaning, and agree with you. I never
supposed that the different degrees and kinds of pleasure derived from
different music could be explained by the musical powers of our semi-human
progenitors. Does not the fact that different people belonging to the same
civilised nation are very differently affected by the same music, almost
show that these diversities of taste and pleasure have been acquired during
their individual lives? Your simile of architecture seems to me
particularly good; for in this case the appreciation almost must be
individual, though possibly the sense of sublimity excited by a grand
cathedral, may have some connection with the vague feelings of terror and
superstition in our savage ancestors, when they entered a great cavern or
gloomy forest. I wish some one could analyse the feeling of sublimity. It
amuses me to think how horrified some high flying aesthetic men will be at
your encouraging such low degraded views as mine.

Believe me, yours very sincerely,

[The letters which follow are of a miscellaneous interest. The first
extract (from a letter, January 18, 1874) refers to a spiritualistic
seance, held at Erasmus Darwin's house, 6 Queen Anne Street, under the
auspices of a well-known medium:]

"...We had grand fun, one afternoon, for George hired a medium, who made
the chairs, a flute, a bell, and candlestick, and fiery points jump about
in my brother's diningroom, in a manner that astounded every one, and took
away all their breaths. It was in the dark, but George and Hensleigh
Wedgwood held the medium's hands and feet on both sides all the time. I
found it so hot and tiring that I went away before all these astounding
miracles, or jugglery, took place. How the man could possibly do what was
done passes my understanding. I came downstairs, and saw all the chairs,
etc., on the table, which had been lifted over the heads of those sitting
round it.

The Lord have mercy on us all, if we have to believe in such rubbish. F.
Galton was there, and says it was a good seance..."

The Seance in question led to a smaller and more carefully organised one
being undertaken, at which Mr. Huxley was present, and on which he reported
to my father:]

Down, January 29 [1874].

My dear Huxley,

It was very good of you to write so long an account. Though the seance did
tire you so much it was, I think, really worth the exertion, as the same
sort of things are done at all the seances, even at --'s; and now to my
mind an enormous weight of evidence would be requisite to make one believe
in anything beyond mere trickery...I am pleased to think that I declared to
all my family, the day before yesterday, that the more I thought of all
that I had heard happened at Queen Anne St., the more convinced I was it
was all theory was that [the medium] managed to get the two
men on each side of him to hold each other's hands, instead of his, and
that he was thus free to perform his antics. I am very glad that I issued
my ukase to you to attend.

Yours affectionately,

[In the spring of this year (1874) he read a book which gave him great
pleasure and of which he often spoke with admiration:--'The Naturalist in
Nicaragua,' by the late Thomas Belt. Mr. Belt, whose untimely death may
well be deplored by naturalists, was by profession an Engineer, so that all
his admirable observations in Natural History in Nicaragua and elsewhere
were the fruit of his leisure. The book is direct and vivid in style and
is full of description and suggestive discussions. With reference to it my
father wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"Belt I have read, and I am delighted that you like it so much, it appears
to me the best of all natural history journals which have ever been

Down, May 30, 1874.

Dear Sir,

I have been very neglectful in not having sooner thanked you for your
kindness in having sent me your 'Etudes sur la Vegetation,' etc., and other
memoirs. I have read several of them with very great interest, and nothing
can be more important, in my opinion, than your evidence of the extremely
slow and gradual manner in which specific forms change. I observe that M.
A. De Candolle has lately quoted you on this head versus Heer. I hope that
you may be able to throw light on the question whether such protean, or
polymorphic forms, as those of Rubus, Hieracium, etc., at the present day,
are those which generate new species; as for myself, I have always felt
some doubt on this head. I trust that you may soon bring many of your
countrymen to believe in Evolution, and my name will then perhaps cease to
be scorned. With the most sincere respect, I remain, Dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

Down, June 5 [1874].

My dear Gray,

I have now read your article (The article, "Charles Darwin," in the series
of "Scientific Worthies" ('Nature,' June 4, 1874). This admirable estimate
of my father's work in science is given in the form of a comparison and
contrast between Robert Brown and Charles Darwin.) in 'Nature,' and the
last two paragraphs were not included in the slip sent before. I wrote
yesterday and cannot remember exactly what I said, and now cannot be easy
without again telling you how profoundly I have been gratified. Every one,
I suppose, occasionally thinks that he has worked in vain, and when one of
these fits overtakes me, I will think of your article, and if that does not
dispel the evil spirit, I shall know that I am at the time a little bit
insane, as we all are occasionally.

What you say about Teleology ("Let us recognise Darwin's great service to
Natural Science in bringing back to it Teleology: so that instead of
Morphology versus Teleology, we shall have Morphology wedded to
Teleology.") pleases me especially, and I do not think any one else has
ever noticed the point. (See, however, Mr. Huxley's chapter on the
'Reception of the Origin of Species' in volume i.) I have always said you
were the man to hit the nail on the head.

Yours gratefully and affectionately,

[As a contribution to the history of the reception of the 'Origin of
Species,' the meeting of the British Association in 1874, at Belfast,
should be mentioned. It is memorable for Professor Tyndall's brilliant
presidential address, in which a sketch of the history of Evolution is
given culminating in an eloquent analysis of the 'Origin of Species,' and
of the nature of its great success. With regard to Prof. Tyndall's
address, Lyell wrote ('Life,' ii. page 455) congratulating my father on the
meeting, "on which occasion you and your theory of Evolution may be fairly
said to have had an ovation." In the same letter Sir Charles speaks of a
paper (On the Ancient Volcanoes of the Highlands, 'Journal of Geological
Soc.,' 1874.) of Professor Judd's, and it is to this that the following
letter refers:]

Down, September 23, 1874.

My dear Lyell,

I suppose that you have returned, or will soon return, to London (Sir
Charles Lyell returned from Scotland towards the end of September.); and, I
hope, reinvigorated by your outing. In your last letter you spoke of Mr.
Judd's paper on the Volcanoes of the Hebrides. I have just finished it,
and to ease my mind must express my extreme admiration.

It is years since I have read a purely geological paper which has
interested me so greatly. I was all the more interested, as in the
Cordillera I often speculated on the sources of the deluges of submarine
porphyritic lavas, of which they are built; and, as I have stated, I saw to
a certain extent the causes of the obliteration of the points of eruption.
I was also not a little pleased to see my volcanic book quoted, for I
thought it was completely dead and forgotten. What fine work will Mr. Judd
assuredly do!...Now I have eased my mind; and so farewell, with both E.D.'s
and C.D.'s very kind remembrances to Miss Lyell.

Yours affectionately,

[Sir Charles Lyell's reply to the above letter must have been one of the
latest that my father received from his old friend, and it is with this
letter that the volumes of his published correspondence closes.]

Down, October 15, 1874.

My dear Sir,

I have now read the whole of your admirable work ('Les Fourmis de la
Suisse,' 4to, 1874.) and seldom in my life have I been more interested by
any book. There are so many interesting facts and discussions, that I
hardly know which to specify; but I think, firstly, the newest points to me
have been about the size of the brain in the three sexes, together with
your suggestion that increase of mind power may have led to the sterility
of the workers. Secondly about the battles of the ants, and your curious
account of the enraged ants being held by their comrades until they calmed
down. Thirdly, the evidence of ants of the same community being the
offspring of brothers and sisters. You admit, I think, that new
communities will often be the product of a cross between not-related ants.
Fritz Muller has made some interesting observations on this head with
respect to Termites. The case of Anergates is most perplexing in many
ways, but I have such faith in the law of occasional crossing that I
believe an explanation will hereafter be found, such as the dimorphism of
either sex and the occasional production of winged males. I see that you
are puzzled how ants of the same community recognize each other; I once
placed two (F. rufa) in a pill-box smelling strongly of asafoetida and
after a day returned them to their homes; they were threatened, but at last
recognized. I made the trial thinking that they might know each other by
their odour; but this cannot have been the case, and I have often fancied
that they must have some common signal. Your last chapter is one great
mass of wonderful facts and suggestions, and the whole profoundly
interesting. I have seldom been more gratified than by [your] honourable
mention of my work.

I should like to tell you one little observation which I made with care
many years ago; I saw ants (Formica rufa) carrying cocoons from a nest
which was the largest I ever saw and which was well-known to all the
country people near, and an old man, apparently about eighty years of age,
told me that he had known it ever since he was a boy. The ants carrying
the cocoons did not appear to be emigrating; following the line, I saw many
ascending a tall fir tree still carrying their cocoons. But when I looked
closely I found that all the cocoons were empty cases. This astonished me,
and next day I got a man to observe with me, and we again saw ants bringing
empty cocoons out of the nest; each of us fixed on one ant and slowly
followed it, and repeated the observation on many others. We thus found
that some ants soon dropped their empty cocoons; others carried them for
many yards, as much as thirty paces, and others carried them high up the
fir tree out of sight. Now here I think we have one instinct in contest
with another and mistaken one. The first instinct being to carry the empty
cocoons out of the nest, and it would have been sufficient to have laid
them on the heap of rubbish, as the first breath of wind would have blown
them away. And then came in the contest with the other very powerful
instinct of preserving and carrying their cocoons as long as possible; and
this they could not help doing although the cocoons were empty. According
as the one or other instinct was the stronger in each individual ant, so
did it carry the empty cocoon to a greater or less distance. If this
little observation should ever prove of any use to you, you are quite at
liberty to use it. Again thanking you cordially for the great pleasure
which your work has given me, I remain with much respect,

Yours sincerely,

P.S.--If you read English easily I should like to send you Mr. Belt's book,
as I think you would like it as much as did Fritz Muller.

Down, December 8, 1874.

My dear Sir,

You must allow me to thank you for the very great interest with which I
have at last slowly read the whole of your work. ('Outlines of Cosmic
Philosophy,' 2 volumes, 8vo. 1874.) I have long wished to know something
about the views of the many great men whose doctrines you give. With the
exception of special points I did not even understand H. Spencer's general
doctrine; for his style is too hard work for me. I never in my life read
so lucid an expositor (and therefore thinker) as you are; and I think that
I understand nearly the whole--perhaps less clearly about Cosmic Theism and
Causation than other parts. It is hopeless to attempt out of so much to
specify what has interested me most, and probably you would not care to
hear. I wish some chemist would attempt to ascertain the result of the
cooling of heated gases of the proper kinds, in relation to your hypothesis
of the origin of living matter. It pleased me to find that here and there
I had arrived from my own crude thoughts at some of the same conclusions
with you; though I could seldom or never have given my reasons for such
conclusions. I find that my mind is so fixed by the inducive method, that
I cannot appreciate deductive reasoning: I must begin with a good body of
facts and not from a principle (in which I always suspect some fallacy) and
then as much deduction as you please. This may be very narrow-minded; but
the result is that such parts of H. Spencer, as I have read with care
impress my mind with the idea of his inexhaustible wealth of suggestion,
but never convince me; and so I find it with some others. I believe the
cause to lie in the frequency with which I have found first-formed theories
[to be] erroneous. I thank you for the honourable mention which you make
of my works. Parts of the 'Descent of Man' must have appeared laughably
weak to you: nevertheless, I have sent you a new edition just published.
Thanking you for the profound interest and profit with which I have read
your work. I remain,

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully,


[The only work, not purely botanical, which occupied my father in the
present year was the correction of the second edition of 'The Variation of
Animals and Plants,' and on this he was engaged from the beginning of July
till October 3rd. The rest of the year was taken up with his work on
insectivorous plants, and on cross-fertilisation, as will be shown in a
later chapter. The chief alterations in the second edition of 'Animals and
Plants' are in the eleventh chapter on "Bud-variation and on certain
anomalous modes of reproduction;" the chapter on Pangenesis "was also
largely altered and remodelled." He mentions briefly some of the authors
who have noticed the doctrine. Professor Delpino's 'Sulla Darwiniana
Teoria della Pangenesi' (1869), an adverse but fair criticism, seems to
have impressed him as valuable. Of another critique my father
characteristically says ('Animals and Plants,' 2nd edition volume ii. page
350.), "Dr. Lionel Beale ('Nature,' May 11, 1871, page 26) sneers at the
whole doctrine with much acerbity and some justice." He also points out
that, in Mantegazza's 'Elementi di Igiene,' the theory of Pangenesis was
clearly foreseen.

In connection with this subject, a letter of my father's to 'Nature' (April
27, 1871) should be mentioned. A paper by Mr. Galton had been read before
the Royal Society (March 30, 1871) in which were described experiments, on
intertransfusion of blood, designed to test the truth of the hypothesis of
pangenesis. My father, while giving all due credit to Mr. Galton for his
ingenious experiments, does not allow that pangenesis has "as yet received
its death-blow, though from presenting so many vulnerable points its life
is always in jeopardy."

He seems to have found the work of correcting very wearisome, for he

"I have no news about myself, as I am merely slaving over the sickening
work of preparing new editions. I wish I could get a touch of poor Lyell's
feelings, that it was delightful to improve a sentence, like a painter
improving a picture."

The feeling of effort or strain over this piece of work, is shown in a
letter to Professor Haeckel:--

"What I shall do in future if I live, Heaven only knows; I ought perhaps to
avoid general and large subjects, as too difficult for me with my advancing
years, and I suppose enfeebled brain."

At the end of March, in this year, the portrait for which he was sitting to
Mr. Ouless was finished. He felt the sittings a great fatigue, in spite of
Mr. Ouless's considerate desire to spare him as far as was possible. In a
letter to Sir J.D. Hooker he wrote, "I look a very venerable, acute,
melancholy old dog; whether I really look so I do not know." The picture
is in the possession of the family, and is known to many through M. Rajon's
etching. Mr. Ouless's portrait is, in my opinion, the finest
representation of my father that has been produced.

The following letter refers to the death of Sir Charles Lyell, which took
place on February 22nd, 1875, in his seventy-eighth year.]

Secretary to Sir Charles Lyell.)
Down, February 23, 1875.

My dear Miss Buckley,

I am grieved to hear of the death of my old and kind friend, though I knew
that it could not be long delayed, and that it was a happy thing that his
life should not have been prolonged, as I suppose that his mind would
inevitably have suffered. I am glad that Lady Lyell (Lady Lyell died in
1873.) has been saved this terrible blow. His death makes me think of the
time when I first saw him, and how full of sympathy and interest he was
about what I could tell him of coral reefs and South America. I think that
this sympathy with the work of every other naturalist was one of the finest
features of his character. How completely he revolutionised Geology: for
I can remember something of pre-Lyellian days.

I never forget that almost everything which I have done in science I owe to
the study of his great works. Well, he has had a grand and happy career,
and no one ever worked with a truer zeal in a noble cause. It seems
strange to me that I shall never again sit with him and Lady Lyell at their
breakfast. I am very much obliged to you for having so kindly written to

Pray give our kindest remembrances to Miss Lyell, and I hope that she has
not suffered much in health, from fatigue and anxiety.

Believe me, my dear Miss Buckley,
Yours very sincerely,

Down, February 25 [1875].

My dear Hooker,

Your letter so full of feeling has interested me greatly. I cannot say
that I felt his [Lyell's] death much, for I fully expected it, and have
looked for some little time at his career as finished.

I dreaded nothing so much as his surviving with impaired mental powers. He
was, indeed, a noble man in very many ways; perhaps in none more than in
his warm sympathy with the work of others. How vividly I can recall my
first conversation with him, and how he astonished me by his interest in
what I told him. How grand also was his candour and pure love of truth.
Well, he is gone, and I feel as if we were all soon to go...I am deeply
rejoiced about Westminster Abbey (Sir C. Lyell was buried in Westminster
Abbey.), the possibility of which had not occurred to me when I wrote
before. I did think that his works were the most enduring of all
testimonials (as you say) to him; but then I did not like the idea of his
passing away with no outward sign of what scientific men thought of his
merits. Now all this is changed, and nothing can be better than
Westminster Abbey. Mrs. Lyell has asked me to be one of the pall-bearers,
but I have written to say that I dared not, as I should so likely fail in
the midst of the ceremony, and have my head whirling off my shoulders. All
this affair must have cost you much fatigue and worry, and how I do wish
you were out of England...

[In 1881 he wrote to Mrs. Fisher in reference to her article on Sir Charles
Lyell in the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica':--

"For such a publication I suppose you do not want to say much about his
private character, otherwise his strong sense of humour and love of society
might have been added. Also his extreme interest in the progress of the
world, and in the happiness of mankind. Also his freedom from all
religious bigotry, though these perhaps would be a superfluity."

The following refers to the Zoological station at Naples, a subject on
which my father felt an enthusiastic interest:]

Down, [1875?].

My dear Dr. Dohrn,

Many thanks for your most kind letter, I most heartily rejoice at your
improved health and at the success of your grand undertaking, which will
have so much influence on the progress of Zoology throughout Europe.

If we look to England alone, what capital work has already been done at the
Station by Balfour and Ray Lankester...When you come to England, I suppose
that you will bring Mrs. Dohrn, and we shall be delighted to see you both
here. I have often boasted that I have had a live Uhlan in my house! It
will be very interesting to me to read your new views on the ancestry of
the Vertebrates. I shall be sorry to give up the Ascidians, to whom I feel
profound gratitude; but the great thing, as it appears to me, is that any
link whatever should be found between the main divisions of the Animal

Down, December 6, 1875.

My dear Sir,

I have been profoundly interested by your essay on Amblystoma ('Umwandlung
des Axolotl.'), and think that you have removed a great stumbling block in
the way of Evolution. I once thought of reversion in this case; but in a
crude and imperfect manner. I write now to call your attention to the
sterility of moths when hatched out of their proper season; I give
references in chapter 18 of my 'Variation under Domestication' (volume ii.
page 157, of English edition), and these cases illustrate, I think, the
sterility of Amblystoma. Would it not be worth while to examine the
reproductive organs of those individuals of WINGLESS Hemiptera which
occasionally have wings, as in the case of the bed-bug. I think I have
heard that the females of Mutilla sometimes have wings. These cases must
be due to reversion. I dare say many anomalous cases will be hereafter
explained on the same principle.

I hinted at this explanation in the extraordinary case of the black-
shouldered peacock, the so-called Pavo nigripennis given in my 'Variation
under Domestication;' and I might have been bolder, as the variety is in
many respects intermediate between the two known species.

With much respect,
Yours sincerely,


[It was in November 1875 that my father gave his evidence before the Royal
Commission on Vivisection. (See volume i.) I have, therefore, placed
together here the matter relating to this subject, irrespective of date.
Something has already been said of my father's strong feeling with regard
to suffering both in man and beast. It was indeed one of the strongest
feelings in his nature, and was exemplified in matters small and great, in
his sympathy with the educational miseries of dancing dogs, or in his
horror at the sufferings of slaves. (He once made an attempt to free a
patient in a mad-house, who (as he wrongly supposed) was sane. He had some
correspondence with the gardener at the asylum, and on one occasion he
found a letter from a patient enclosed with one from the gardener. The
letter was rational in tone and declared that the writer was sane and
wrongfully confined.

My father wrote to the Lunacy Commissioners (without explaining the source
of his information) and in due time heard that the man had been visited by
the Commissioners, and that he was certainly insane. Sometime afterwards
the patient was discharged, and wrote to thank my father for his
interference, adding that he had undoubtedly been insane, when he wrote his
former letter.)

The remembrance of screams, or other sounds heard in Brazil, when he was
powerless to interfere with what he believed to be the torture of a slave,
haunted him for years, especially at night. In smaller matters, where he
could interfere, he did so vigorously. He returned one day from his walk
pale and faint from having seen a horse ill-used, and from the agitation of
violently remonstrating with the man. On another occasion he saw a horse-
breaker teaching his son to ride, the little boy was frightened and the man
was rough; my father stopped, and jumping out of the carriage reproved the
man in no measured terms.

One other little incident may be mentioned, showing that his humanity to
animals was well-known in his own neighbourhood. A visitor, driving from
Orpington to Down, told the man to go faster, "Why," said the driver, "If I
had whipped the horse THIS much, driving Mr. Darwin, he would have got out
of the carriage and abused me well."

With respect to the special point under consideration,--the sufferings of
animals subjected to experiment,--nothing could show a stronger feeling
than the following extract from a letter to Professor Ray Lankester (March
22, 1871):--

"You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it is
justifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not for mere
damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick
with horror, so I will not say another word about it, else I shall not
sleep to-night."

An extract from Sir Thomas Farrer's notes shows how strongly he expressed
himself in a similar manner in conversation:--

"The last time I had any conversation with him was at my house in Bryanston
Square, just before one of his last seizures. He was then deeply
interested in the vivisection question; and what he said made a deep
impression on me. He was a man eminently fond of animals and tender to
them; he would not knowingly have inflicted pain on a living creature; but
he entertained the strongest opinion that to prohibit experiments on living
animals, would be to put a stop to the knowledge of and the remedies for
pain and disease."

The Anti-Vivisection agitation, to which the following letters refer, seems
to have become specially active in 1874, as may be seen, e.g. by the index
to 'Nature' for that year, in which the word "Vivisection," suddenly comes
into prominence. But before that date the subject had received the earnest
attention of biologists. Thus at the Liverpool Meeting of the British
Association in 1870, a Committee was appointed, which reported, defining
the circumstances and conditions under which, in the opinion of the
signatories, experiments on living animals were justifiable. In the spring
of 1875, Lord Hartismere introduced a Bill into the Upper House to regulate
the course of physiological research. Shortly afterwards a Bill more just
towards science in its provisions was introduced to the House of Commons by
Messrs. Lyon Playfair, Walpole, and Ashley. It was, however, withdrawn on
the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole question.
The Commissioners were Lords Cardwell and Winmarleigh, Mr. W.E. Forster,
Sir J.B. Karslake, Mr. Huxley, Professor Erichssen, and Mr. R.H. Hutton:
they commenced their inquiry in July, 1875, and the Report was published
early in the following year.

In the early summer of 1876, Lord Carnarvon's Bill, entitled, "An Act to
amend the Law relating to Cruelty to Animals," was introduced. It cannot
be denied that the framers of this Bill, yielding to the unreasonable
clamour of the public, went far beyond the recommendations of the Royal
Commission. As a correspondent in 'Nature' put it (1876, page 248), "the
evidence on the strength of which legislation was recommended went beyond
the facts, the Report went beyond the evidence, the Recommendations beyond
the Report; and the Bill can hardly be said to have gone beyond the
Recommendations; but rather to have contradicted them."

The legislation which my father worked for, as described in the following
letters, was practically what was introduced as Dr. Lyon Playfair's Bill.]

January 4, 1875.

My dear H.

Your letter has led me to think over vivisection (I wish some new word like
anaes-section could be invented (He communicated to 'Nature' (September 30,
1880) an article by Dr. Wilder, of Cornell University, an abstract of which
was published (page 517). Dr. Wilder advocated the use of the word
'Callisection' for painless operations on animals.) for some hours, and I
will jot down my conclusions, which will appear very unsatisfactory to you.
I have long thought physiology one of the greatest of sciences, sure
sooner, or more probably later, greatly to benefit mankind; but, judging
from all other sciences, the benefits will accrue only indirectly in the
search for abstract truth. It is certain that physiology can progress only
by experiments on living animals. Therefore the proposal to limit research
to points of which we can now see the bearings in regard to health, etc., I
look at as puerile. I thought at first it would be good to limit
vivisection to public laboratories; but I have heard only of those in
London and Cambridge, and I think Oxford; but probably there may be a few
others. Therefore only men living in a few great towns would carry on
investigation, and this I should consider a great evil. If private men
were permitted to work in their own houses, and required a licence, I do
not see who is to determine whether any particular man should receive one.
It is young unknown men who are the most likely to do good work. I would
gladly punish severely any one who operated on an animal not rendered
insensible, if the experiment made this possible; but here again I do not
see that a magistrate or jury could possibly determine such a point.
Therefore I conclude, if (as is likely) some experiments have been tried
too often, or anaesthetics have not been used when they could have been,
the cure must be in the improvement of humanitarian feelings. Under this
point of view I have rejoiced at the present agitation. If stringent laws
are passed, and this is likely, seeing how unscientific the House of
Commons is, and that the gentlemen of England are humane, as long as their
sports are not considered, which entailed a hundred or thousand-fold more
suffering than the experiments of physiologists--if such laws are passed,
the result will assuredly be that physiology, which has been until within
the last few years at a standstill in England, will languish or quite
cease. It will then be carried on solely on the Continent; and there will
be so many the fewer workers on this grand subject, and this I should
greatly regret. By the way, F. Balfour, who has worked for two or three
years in the laboratory at Cambridge, declares to George that he has never
seen an experiment, except with animals rendered insensible. No doubt the
names of Doctors will have great weight with the House of Commons; but very
many practitioners neither know nor care anything about the progress of
knowledge. I cannot at present see my way to sign any petition, without
hearing what physiologists thought would be its effect, and then judging
for myself. I certainly could not sign the paper sent me by Miss Cobbe,
with its monstrous (as it seems to me) attack on Virchow for experimenting
on the Trichinae. I am tired and so no more.

Yours affectionately,

Down, April 14 [1875].

My dear Hooker,

I worked all the time in London on the vivisection question; and we now
think it advisable to go further than a mere petition. Litchfield (Mr.
R.B. Litchfield, his son-in-law.) drew up a sketch of a Bill, the essential
features of which have been approved by Sanderson, Simon and Huxley, and
from conversation, will, I believe, be approved by Paget, and almost
certainly, I think, by Michael Foster. Sanderson, Simon and Paget wish me
to see Lord Derby, and endeavour to gain his advocacy with the Home
Secretary. Now, if this is carried into effect, it will be of great
importance to me to be able to say that the Bill in its essential features
has the approval of some half-dozen eminent scientific men. I have
therefore asked Litchfield to enclose a copy to you in its first rough
form; and if it is not essentially modified may I say that it meets with
your approval as President of the Royal Society? The object is to protect
animals, and at the same time not to injure Physiology, and Huxley and
Sanderson's approval almost suffices on this head. Pray let me have a line
from you soon.

Yours affectionately,

[The Physiological Society, which was founded in 1876, was in some measure
the outcome of the anti-vivisection movement, since it was this agitation
which impressed on Physiologists the need of a centre for those engaged in
this particular branch of science. With respect to the Society, my father
wrote to Mr. Romanes (May 29, 1876):--

"I was very much gratified by the wholly unexpected honour of being elected
one of the Honorary Members. This mark of sympathy has pleased me to a
very high degree."

The following letter appeared in the "Times", April 18th, 1881:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO FRITHIOF HOLMGREN. (Professor of Physiology at Upsala.)
Down, April 14, 1881.

Dear Sir,

In answer to your courteous letter of April 7, I have no objection to
express my opinion with respect to the right of experimenting on living
animals. I use this latter expression as more correct and comprehensive
than that of vivisection. You are at liberty to make any use of this
letter which you may think fit, but if published I should wish the whole to
appear. I have all my life been a strong advocate for humanity to animals,
and have done what I could in my writings to enforce this duty. Several
years ago, when the agitation against physiologists commenced in England,
it was asserted that inhumanity was here practised, and useless suffering
caused to animals; and I was led to think that it might be advisable to
have an Act of Parliament on the subject. I then took an active part in
trying to get a Bill passed, such as would have removed all just cause of
complaint, and at the same time have left physiologists free to pursue
their researches,--a Bill very different from the Act which has since been
passed. It is right to add that the investigation of the matter by a Royal
Commission proved that the accusations made against our English
physiologists were false. From all that I have heard, however, I fear that
in some parts of Europe little regard is paid to the sufferings of animals,
and if this be the case, I should be glad to hear of legislation against
inhumanity in any such country. On the other hand, I know that physiology
cannot possibly progress except by means of experiments on living animals,
and I feel the deepest conviction that he who retards the progress of
physiology commits a crime against mankind. Any one who remembers, as I
can, the state of this science half a century ago, must admit that it has
made immense progress, and it is now progressing at an ever-increasing
rate. What improvements in medical practice may be directly attributed to
physiological research is a question which can be properly discussed only
by those physiologists and medical practitioners who have studied the
history of their subjects; but, as far as I can learn, the benefits are
already great. However this may be, no one, unless he is grossly ignorant
of what science has done for mankind, can entertain any doubt of the
incalculable benefits which will hereafter be derived from physiology, not
only by man, but by the lower animals. Look for instance at Pasteur's
results in modifying the germs of the most malignant diseases, from which,
as it so happens, animals will in the first place receive more relief than
man. Let it be remembered how many lives and what a fearful amount of
suffering have been saved by the knowledge gained of parasitic worms
through the experiments of Virchow and others on living animals. In the
future every one will be astonished at the ingratitude shown, at least in
England, to these benefactors of mankind. As for myself, permit me to
assure you that I honour, and shall always honour, every one who advances
the noble science of physiology.

Dear Sir, yours faithfully,

[In the "Times" of the following day appeared a letter headed "Mr. Darwin
and Vivisection," signed by Miss Frances Power Cobbe. To this my father
replied in the "Times" of April 22, 1881. On the same day he wrote to Mr.

"As I have a fair opportunity, I sent a letter to the "Times" on
Vivisection, which is printed to-day. I thought it fair to bear my share
of the abuse poured in so atrocious a manner on all physiologists.]



I do not wish to discuss the views expressed by Miss Cobbe in the letter
which appeared in the "Times" of the 19th inst.; but as she asserts that I
have "misinformed" my correspondent in Sweden in saying that "the
investigation of the matter by a Royal Commission proved that the
accusations made against our English physiologists were false," I will
merely ask leave to refer to some other sentences from the Report of the

1. The sentence--"It is not to be doubted that inhumanity may be found in
persons of very high position as physiologists," which Miss Cobbe quotes
from page 17 of the report, and which, in her opinion, "can necessarily
concern English physiologists alone and not foreigners," is immediately
followed by the words "We have seen that it was so in Magendie." Magendie
was a French physiologist who became notorious some half century ago for
his cruel experiments on living animals.

2. The Commissioners, after speaking of the "general sentiment of
humanity" prevailing in this country, say (page 10):--

"This principle is accepted generally by the very highly educated men whose
lives are devoted either to scientific investigation and education or to
the mitigation or the removal of the sufferings of their fellow-creatures;
though differences of degree in regard to its practical application will be
easily discernible by those who study the evidence as it has been laid
before us."

Again, according to the Commissioners (page 10):--

"The secretary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals, when asked whether the general tendency of the scientific world in
this country is at variance with humanity, says he believes it to be very
different, indeed, from that of foreign physiologists; and while giving it
as the opinion of the society that experiments are performed which are in
their nature beyond any legitimate province of science, and that the pain
which they inflict is pain which it is not justifiable to inflict even for
the scientific object in view, he readily acknowledges that he does not
know a single case of wanton cruelty, and that in general the English
physiologists have used anaesthetics where they think they can do so with
safety to the experiment."

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

April 21.

[In the "Times" of Saturday, April 23, 1881, appeared a letter from Miss
Cobbe in reply:]

Down, April 25, 1881.

My dear Romanes,

I was very glad to read your last note with much news interesting to me.
But I write now to say how I, and indeed all of us in the house have
admired your letter in the "Times". (April 25, 1881.--Mr. Romanes defended
Dr. Sanderson against the accusations made by Miss Cobbe.) It was so
simple and direct. I was particularly glad about Burton Sanderson, of whom
I have been for several years a great admirer. I was also especially glad
to read the last sentences. I have been bothered with several letters, but
none abusive. Under a SELFISH point of view I am very glad of the
publication of your letter, as I was at first inclined to think that I had
done mischief by stirring up the mud. Now I feel sure that I have done
good. Mr. Jesse has written to me very politely, he says his Society has
had nothing to do with placards and diagrams against physiology, and I
suppose, therefore, that these all originate with Miss Cobbe...Mr. Jesse
complains bitterly that the "Times" will "burke" all his letters to this
newspaper, nor am I surprised, judging from the laughable tirades
advertised in "Nature".

Ever yours, very sincerely,

[The next letter refers to a projected conjoint article on vivisection, to
which Mr. Romanes wished my father to contribute:]

Down, September 2, 1881.

My dear Romanes,

Your letter has perplexed me beyond all measure. I fully recognise the
duty of every one whose opinion is worth anything, expressing his opinion
publicly on vivisection; and this made me send my letter to the "Times". I
have been thinking at intervals all morning what I could say, and it is the
simple truth that I have nothing worth saying. You and men like you, whose
ideas flow freely, and who can express them easily, cannot understand the
state of mental paralysis in which I find myself. What is most wanted is a
careful and accurate attempt to show what physiology has already done for
man, and even still more strongly what there is every reason to believe it
will hereafter do. Now I am absolutely incapable of doing this, or of
discussing the other points suggested by you.

If you wish for my name (and I should be glad that it should appear with
that of others in the same cause), could you not quote some sentence from
my letter in the "Times" which I enclose, but please return it. If you
thought fit you might say you quoted it with my approval, and that after
still further reflection I still abide most strongly in my expressed

For Heaven's sake, do think of this. I do not grudge the labour and
thought; but I could write nothing worth any one reading.

Allow me to demur to your calling your conjoint article a "symposium"
strictly a "drinking party." This seems to me very bad taste, and I do
hope every one of you will avoid any semblance of a joke on the subject. I
KNOW that words, like a joke, on this subject have quite disgusted some
persons not at all inimical to physiology. One person lamented to me that
Mr. Simon, in his truly admirable Address at the Medical Congress (by far
the best thing which I have read), spoke of the fantastic SENSUALITY
('Transactions of the International Medical Congress,' 1881, volume iv.
page 413. The expression "lackadaisical" (not fantastic), and "feeble
sensuality," are used with regard to the feelings of the anti-
vivisectionists.) (or some such term) of the many mistaken, but honest men
and women who are half mad on the subject...

[To Dr. Lauder Brunton my father wrote in February 1882:--

"Have you read Mr. [Edmund] Gurney's articles in the 'Fortnightly' ("A
chapter in the Ethics of Pain," 'Fortnightly Review,' 1881, volume xxx.
page 778.) and 'Cornhill?' ("An Epilogue on Vivisection," 'Cornhill
Magazine,' 1882, volume xlv. page 191.) They seem to me very clever,
though obscurely written, and I agree with almost everything he says,
except with some passages which appear to imply that no experiments should
be tried unless some immediate good can be predicted, and this is a
gigantic mistake contradicted by the whole history of science."]




[We have now to consider the work (other than botanical) which occupied the
concluding six years of my father's life. A letter to his old friend Rev.
L. Blomefield (Jenyns), written in March, 1877, shows what was my father's
estimate of his own powers of work at this time:--

"My dear Jenyns (I see I have forgotten your proper names).--Your extremely
kind letter has given me warm pleasure. As one gets old, one's thoughts
turn back to the past rather than to the future, and I often think of the
pleasant, and to me valuable, hours which I spent with you on the borders
of the Fens.

"You ask about my future work; I doubt whether I shall be able to do much
more that is new, and I always keep before my mind the example of poor old
--, who in his old age had a cacoethes for writing. But I cannot endure
doing nothing, so I suppose that I shall go on as long as I can without
obviously making a fool of myself. I have a great mass of matter with
respect to variation under nature; but so much has been published since the
appearance of the 'Origin of Species,' that I very much doubt whether I
retain power of mind and strength to reduce the mass into a digested whole.
I have sometimes thought that I would try, but dread the attempt..."

His prophecy proved to be a true one with regard to any continuation of any
general work in the direction of Evolution, but his estimate of powers
which could afterwards prove capable of grappling with the 'Power of
Movement in Plants,' and with the work on 'Earthworms,' was certainly a low

The year 1876, with which the present chapter begins, brought with it a
revival of geological work. He had been astonished, as I hear from
Professor Judd, and as appears in his letters, to learn that his books on
'Volcanic Islands,' 1844, and on 'South America,' 1846, were still
consulted by geologists, and it was a surprise to him that new editions
should be required. Both these works were originally published by Messrs.
Smith and Elder, and the new edition of 1876 was also brought out by them.
This appeared in one volume with the title 'Geological Observations on the
Volcanic Islands, and Parts of South America visited during the Voyage of
H.M.S. "Beagle".' He has explained in the preface his reasons for leaving
untouched the text of the original editions: "They relate to parts of the
world which have been so rarely visited by men of science, that I am not
aware that much could be corrected or added from observations subsequently
made. Owing to the great progress which Geology has made within recent
times, my views on some few points may be somewhat antiquated; but I have
thought it best to leave them as they originally appeared."

It may have been the revival of geological speculation, due to the revision
of his early books, that led to his recording the observations of which
some account is given in the following letter. Part of it has been
published in Professor James Geikie's 'Prehistoric Europe,' chapters vii.
and ix. (My father's suggestion is also noticed in Prof. Geikie's address
on the 'Ice Age in Europe and North America,' given at Edinburgh, November
20, 1884.), a few verbal alterations having been made at my father's
request in the passages quoted. Mr. Geikie lately wrote to me: "The views
suggested in his letter as to the origin of the angular gravels, etc., in
the South of England will, I believe, come to be accepted as the truth.
This question has a much wider bearing than might at first appear. In
point of fact it solves one of the most difficult problems in Quaternary
Geology--and has already attracted the attention of German geologists."]

Down, November 16, 1876.

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will forgive me for troubling you with a very long letter.
But first allow me to tell you with what extreme pleasure and admiration I
have just finished reading your 'Great Ice Age.' It seems to me admirably
done, and most clear. Interesting as many chapters are in the history of
the world, I do not think that any one comes [up] nearly to the glacial
period or periods. Though I have steadily read much on the subject, your
book makes the whole appear almost new to me.

I am now going to mention a small observation, made by me two or three
years ago, near Southampton, but not followed out, as I have no strength
for excursions. I need say nothing about the character of the drift there
(which includes palaeolithic celts), for you have described its essential
features in a few words at page 506. It covers the whole country [in an]
even plain-like surface, almost irrespective of the present outline of the

The coarse stratification has sometimes been disturbed. I find that you
allude "to the larger stones often standing on end;" and this is the point
which struck me so much. Not only moderately sized angular stones, but
small oval pebbles often stand vertically up, in a manner which I have
never seen in ordinary gravel beds. This fact reminded me of what occurs
near my home, in the stiff red clay, full of unworn flints over the chalk,
which is no doubt the residue left undissolved by rain water. In this
clay, flints as long and thin as my arm often stand perpendicularly up; and
I have been told by the tank-diggers that it is their "natural position!"
I presume that this position may safely be attributed to the differential
movement of parts of the red clay as it subsided very slowly from the
dissolution of the underlying chalk; so that the flints arrange themselves
in the lines of least resistance. The similar but less strongly marked
arrangement of the stones in the drift near Southampton makes me suspect
that it also must have slowly subsided; and the notion has crossed my mind
that during the commencement and height of the glacial period great beds of
frozen snow accumulated over the south of England, and that, during the
summer, gravel and stones were washed from the higher land over its
surface, and in superficial channels. The larger streams may have cut
right through the frozen snow, and deposited gravel in lines at the bottom.
But on each succeeding autumn, when the running water failed, I imagine
that the lines of drainage would have been filled up by blown snow
afterwards congealed, and that, owing to great surface accumulations of
snow, it would be a mere chance whether the drainage, together with gravel
and sand, would follow the same lines during the next summer. Thus, as I
apprehend, alternate layers of frozen snow and drift, in sheets and lines,
would ultimately have covered the country to a great thickness, with lines
of drift probably deposited in various directions at the bottom by the
larger streams. As the climate became warmer, the lower beds of frozen
snow would have melted with extreme slowness, and the many irregular beds
of interstratified drift would have sunk down with equal slowness; and
during this movement the elongated pebbles would have arranged themselves
more or less vertically. The drift would also have been deposited almost
irrespective of the outline of the underlying land. When I viewed the
country I could not persuade myself that any flood, however great, could
have deposited such coarse gravel over the almost level platforms between
the valleys. My view differs from that of Holst, page 415 ['Great Ice
Age'], of which I had never heard, as his relates to channels cut through
glaciers, and mine to beds of drift interstratified with frozen snow where
no glaciers existed. The upshot of this long letter is to ask you to keep
my notion in your head, and look out for upright pebbles in any lowland
country which you may examine, where glaciers have not existed. Or if you
think the notion deserves any further thought, but not otherwise, to tell
any one of it, for instance Mr. Skertchly, who is examining such districts.
Pray forgive me for writing so long a letter, and again thanking you for
the great pleasure derived from your book,

I remain yours very faithfully,

P.S....I am glad that you have read Blytt (Axel Blytt.--'Essay on the
Immigration of the Norwegian Flora during alternate rainy and dry Seasons.'
Christiania, 1876.); his paper seemed to me a most important contribution
to Botanical Geography. How curious that the same conclusions should have
been arrived at by Mr. Skertchly, who seems to be a first-rate observer;
and this implies, as I always think, a sound theoriser.

I have told my publisher to send you in two or three days a copy (second
edition) of my geological work during the voyage of the "Beagle". The sole
point which would perhaps interest you is about the steppe-like plains of

For many years past I have had fearful misgivings that it must have been
the level of the sea, and not that of the land which has changed.

I read a few months ago your [brother's] very interesting life of
Murchison. (By Mr. Archibald Geikie.) Though I have always thought that
he ranked next to W. Smith in the classification of formations, and though
I knew how kind-hearted [he was], yet the book has raised him greatly in my
respect, notwithstanding his foibles and want of broad philosophical views.

[The only other geological work of his later years was embodied in his book
on earthworms (1881), which may therefore be conveniently considered in
this place. This subject was one which had interested him many years
before this date, and in 1838 a paper on the formation of mould was
published in the Proceedings of the Geological Society (see volume i.).

Here he showed that "fragments of burnt marl, cinders, etc., which had been
thickly strewed over the surface of several meadows were found after a few
years lying at a depth of some inches beneath the turf, but still forming a
layer." For the explanation of this fact, which forms the central idea of
the geological part of the book, he was indebted to his uncle Josiah
Wedgwood, who suggested that worms, by bringing earth to the surface in
their castings, must undermine any objects lying on the surface and cause
an apparent sinking.

In the book of 1881 he extended his observations on this burying action,
and devised a number of different ways of checking his estimates as to the
amount of work done. (He received much valuable help from Dr. King, of the
Botanical Gardens, Calcutta. The following passage is from a letter to Dr.
King, dated January 18, 1873:--

"I really do not know how to thank you enough for the immense trouble which
you have taken. You have attended EXACTLY and FULLY to the points about
which I was most anxious. If I had been each evening by your side, I could
not have suggested anything else.") He also added a mass of observations
on the habits, natural history and intelligence of worms, a part of the
work which added greatly to its popularity.

In 1877 Sir Thomas Farrer had discovered close to his garden the remains of
a building of Roman-British times, and thus gave my father the opportunity
of seeing for himself the effects produced by earthworms' work on the old
concrete-floors, walls, etc. On his return he wrote to Sir Thomas Farrer:

"I cannot remember a more delightful week than the last. I know very well
that E. will not believe me, but the worms were by no means the sole

In the autumn of 1880, when the 'Power of Movement in Plants' was nearly
finished, he began once more on the subject. He wrote to Professor Carus
(September 21):--

"In the intervals of correcting the press, I am writing a very little book,
and have done nearly half of it. Its title will be (as at present
designed) 'The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms.'
(The full title is 'The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of
Worms with Observations on their Habits,' 1881.) As far as I can judge it
will be a curious little book."

The manuscript was sent to the printers in April, 1881, and when the proof-
sheets were coming in he wrote to Professor Carus: "The subject has been
to me a hobby-horse, and I have perhaps treated it in foolish detail."

It was published on October 10, and 2000 copies were sold at once. He
wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker, "I am glad that you approve of the 'Worms.' When
in old days I used to tell you whatever I was doing, if you were at all
interested, I always felt as most men do when their work is finally

To Mr. Mellard Reade he wrote (November 8): "It has been a complete
surprise to me how many persons have cared for the subject." And to Mr.
Dyer (in November): "My book has been received with almost laughable
enthusiasm, and 3500 copies have been sold!!!" Again, to his friend Mr.
Anthony Rich, he wrote on February 4, 1882, "I have been plagued with an
endless stream of letters on the subject; most of them very foolish and
enthusiastic; but some containing good facts which I have used in
correcting yesterday the 'Sixth Thousand.'" The popularity of the book may
be roughly estimated by the fact that, in the three years following its
publication, 8500 copies were sold--a sale relatively greater than that of
the 'Origin of Species.'

It is not difficult to account for its success with the non-scientific
public. Conclusions so wide and so novel, and so easily understood, drawn
from the study of creatures so familiar, and treated with unabated vigour
and freshness, may well have attracted many readers. A reviewer remarks:
"In the eyes of most men...the earthworm is a mere blind, dumb, senseless,
and unpleasantly slimy annelid. Mr. Darwin undertakes to rehabilitate his
character, and the earthworm steps forth at once as an intelligent and
beneficent personage, a worker of vast geological changes, a planer down of
mountain sides...a friend of man...and an ally of the Society for the
preservation of ancient monuments." The "St. James Gazette", October 17,
1881, pointed out that the teaching of the cumulative importance of the
infinitely little is the point of contact between this book and the
author's previous work.

One more book remains to be noticed, the 'Life of Erasmus Darwin.'

In February 1879 an essay by Dr. Ernst Krause, on the scientific work of
Erasmus Darwin, appeared in the evolutionary journal, 'Kosmos.' The number
of 'Kosmos' in question was a "Gratulationsheft" (The same number contains
a good biographical sketch of my father, of which the material was to a
large extent supplied by him to the writer, Professor Preyer of Jena. The
article contains an excellent list of my father's publications.), or
special congratulatory issue in honour of my father's birthday, so that Dr.
Krause's essay, glorifying the older evolutionist, was quite in its place.
He wrote to Dr. Krause, thanking him cordially for the honour paid to
Erasmus, and asking his permission to publish (The wish to do so was shared
by his brother, Erasmus Darwin the younger, who continued to be associated
with the project.) an English translation of the Essay.

His chief reason for writing a notice of his grandfather's life was "to
contradict flatly some calumnies by Miss Seward." This appears from a
letter of March 27, 1879, to his cousin Reginald Darwin, in which he asks
for any documents and letters which might throw light on the character of
Erasmus. This led to Mr. Reginald Darwin placing in my father's hands a
quantity of valuable material, including a curious folio common-place book,
of which he wrote: "I have been deeply interested by the great
book,...reading and looking at it is like having communion with the
dead...[it] has taught me a good deal about the occupations and tastes of
our grandfather." A subsequent letter (April 8) to the same correspondent
describes the source of a further supply of material:--

Since my last letter I have made a strange discovery; for an old box from
my father marked "Old Deeds," and which consequently I had never opened, I
found full of letters--hundreds from Dr. Erasmus--and others from old
members of the Family: some few very curious. Also a drawing of Elston
before it was altered, about 1750, of which I think I will give a copy."

Dr. Krause's contribution formed the second part of the 'Life of Erasmus
Darwin,' my father supplying a "preliminary notice." This expression on
the title-page is somewhat misleading; my father's contribution is more
than half the book, and should have been described as a biography. Work of
this kind was new to him, and he wrote doubtfully to Mr. Thiselton Dyer,
June 18th: "God only knows what I shall make of his life, it is such a new
kind of work to me." The strong interest he felt about his forebears
helped to give zest to the work, which became a decided enjoyment to him.
With the general public the book was not markedly successful, but many of
his friends recognised its merits. Sir J.D. Hooker was one of these, and
to him my father wrote, "Your praise of the Life of Dr. D. has pleased me
exceedingly, for I despised my work, and thought myself a perfect fool to
have undertaken such a job."

To Mr. Galton, too, he wrote, November 14:--

"I am EXTREMELY glad that you approve of the little 'Life' of our
grandfather, for I have been repenting that I ever undertook it, as the
work was quite beyond my tether."

The publication of the 'Life of Erasmus Darwin' led to an attack by Mr.
Samuel Butler, which amounted to a charge of falsehood against my father.
After consulting his friends, he came to the determination to leave the
charge unanswered, as unworthy of his notice. (He had, in a letter to Mr.
Butler, expressed his regret at the oversight which caused so much
offence.) Those who wish to know more of the matter, may gather the facts
of the case from Ernst Krause's 'Charles Darwin,' and they will find Mr.
Butler's statement of his grievance in the "Athenaeum", January 31, 1880,
and in the "St. James's Gazette", December 8, 1880. The affair gave my
father much pain, but the warm sympathy of those whose opinion he respected
soon helped him to let it pass into a well-merited oblivion.

The following letter refers to M. J.H. Fabre's 'Souvenirs Entomologiques.'
It may find a place here, as it contains a defence of Erasmus Darwin on a
small point. The postscript is interesting, as an example of one of my
father's bold ideas both as to experiment and theory:]

Down, January 31, 1880.

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will permit me to have the satisfaction of thanking you
cordially for the lively pleasure which I have derived from reading your
book. Never have the wonderful habits of insects been more vividly
described, and it is almost as good to read about them as to see them. I
feel sure that you would not be unjust to even an insect, much less to a
man. Now, you have been misled by some translator, for my grandfather,
Erasmus Darwin, states ('Zoonomia,' volume i. page 183, 1794) that it was a
wasp (guepe) which he saw cutting off the wings of a large fly. I have no
doubt that you are right in saying that the wings are generally cut off
instinctively; but in the case described by my grandfather, the wasp, after
cutting off the two ends of the body, rose in the air, and was turned round
by the wind; he then alighted and cut off the wings. I must believe, with
Pierre Huber, that insects have "une petite dose de raison." In the next
edition of your book, I hope that you will alter PART of what you say about
my grandfather.

I am sorry that you are so strongly opposed to the Descent theory; I have
found the searching for the history of each structure or instinct an
excellent aid to observation; and wonderful observer as you are, it would
suggest new points to you. If I were to write on the evolution of
instincts, I could make good use of some of the facts which you give.
Permit me to add, that when I read the last sentence in your book, I
sympathised deeply with you. (The book is intended as a memorial of the
early death of M. Fabre's son, who had been his father's assistant in his
observations on insect life.)

With the most sincere respect,
I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

P.S.--Allow me to make a suggestion in relation to your wonderful account
of insects finding their way home. I formerly wished to try it with
pigeons: namely, to carry the insects in their paper "cornets," about a
hundred paces in the opposite direction to that which you ultimately
intended to carry them; but before turning round to return, to put the
insect in a circular box, with an axle which could be made to revolve very
rapidly, first in one direction, and then in another, so as to destroy for
a time all sense of direction in the insects. I have sometimes IMAGINED
that animals may feel in which direction they were at the first start
carried. (This idea was a favourite one with him, and he has described in
'Nature' (volume vii. 1873, page 360) the behaviour of his cob Tommy, in
whom he fancied he detected a sense of direction. The horse had been taken
by rail from Kent to the Isle of Wight; when there he exhibited a marked
desire to go eastward, even when his stable lay in the opposite direction.
In the same volume of 'Nature,' page 417, is a letter on the 'Origin of
Certain Instincts,' which contains a short discussion on the sense of
direction.) If this plan failed, I had intended placing the pigeons within
an induction coil, so as to disturb any magnetic or dia-magnetic
sensibility, which it seems just possible that they may possess.


[During the latter years of my father's life there was a growing tendency
in the public to do him honour. In 1877 he received the honorary degree of
LL.D. from the University of Cambridge. The degree was conferred on
November 17, and with the customary Latin speech from the Public Orator,
concluding with the words: "Tu vero, qui leges naturae tam docte
illustraveris, legum doctor nobis esto."

The honorary degree led to a movement being set on foot in the University
to obtain some permanent memorial of my father. A sum of about 400 pounds
was subscribed, and after the rejection of the idea that a bust would be
the best memorial, a picture was determined on. In June 1879 he sat to Mr.
W. Richmond for the portrait in the possession of the University, now
placed in the Library of the philosophical Society at Cambridge. He is
represented seated in his Doctor's gown, the head turned towards the
spectator: the picture has many admirers, but, according to my own view,
neither the attitude nor the expression are characteristic of my father.

A similar wish on the part of the Linnean Society-- with which my father
was so closely associated--led to his sitting in August, 1881, to Mr. John
Collier, for the portrait now in the possession of the Society. Of the
artist, he wrote, "Collier was the most considerate, kind and pleasant
painter a sitter could desire." The portrait represents him standing
facing the observer in the loose cloak so familiar to those who knew him,
and with his slouch hat in his hand. Many of those who knew his face most
intimately, think that Mr. Collier's picture is the best of the portraits,
and in this judgment the sitter himself was inclined to agree. According
to my feeling it is not so simple or strong a representation of him as that
given by Mr. Ouless. There is a certain expression in Mr. Collier's
portrait which I am inclined to consider an exaggeration of the almost
painful expression which Professor Cohn has described in my father's face,
and which he had previously noticed in Humboldt. Professor Cohn's remarks
occur in a pleasantly written account of a visit to Down in 1876,
published in the "Breslauer Zeitung", April 23, 1882. (In this connection
may be mentioned a visit (1881) from another distinguished German, Hans
Richter. The occurrence is otherwise worthy of mention, inasmuch as it led
to the publication, after my father's death, of Herr Richter's
recollections of the visit. The sketch is simply and sympathetically
written, and the author has succeeded in giving a true picture of my father
as he lived at Down. It appeared in the "Neue Tagblatt" of Vienna, and was
republished by Dr. O. Zacharias in his 'Charles R. Darwin,' Berlin, 1882.)

Besides the Cambridge degree, he received about the same time honours of an
academic kind from some foreign societies.

On August 5, 1878, he was elected a Corresponding Member of the French
Institute ("Lyell always spoke of it as a great scandal that Darwin was so
long kept out of the French Institute. As he said, even if the development
hypothesis were objected to, Darwin's original works on Coral Reefs, the
Cirripedia, and other subjects, constituted a more than sufficient claim"--
From Professor Judd's notes.), in the Botanical Section, and wrote to Dr.
Asa Gray:--

"I see that we are both elected Corresponding Members of the Institute. It
is rather a good joke that I should be elected in the Botanical Section, as
the extent of my knowledge is little more than that a daisy is a
Compositous plant and a pea a Leguminous one."

(The statement has been more than once published that he was elected to the
Zoological Section, but this was not the case.

He received twenty-six votes out of a possible 39, five blank papers were
sent in, and eight votes were recorded for the other candidates.

In 1872 an attempt had been made to elect him to the Section of Zoology,
when, however, he only received 15 out of 48 votes, and Loven was chosen
for the vacant place. It appears ('Nature,' August 1, 1872) that an
eminent member of the Academy wrote to "Les Mondes" to the following

"What has closed the doors of the Academy to Mr. Darwin is that the science
of those of his books which have made his chief title to fame-the 'Origin
of Species,' and still more the 'Descent of Man,' is not science, but a
mass of assertions and absolutely gratuitous hypotheses, often evidently
fallacious. This kind of publication and these theories are a bad example,
which a body that respects itself cannot encourage.")

In the early part of the same year he was elected a Corresponding Member of
the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and he wrote (March 12) to Professor Du
Bois Reymond, who had proposed him for election:--

"I thank you sincerely for your most kind letter, in which you announce the
great honour conferred on me. The knowledge of the names of the
illustrious men, who seconded the proposal is even a greater pleasure to me
than the honour itself."

The seconders were Helmholtz, Peters, Ewald, Pringsheim and Virchow.

In 1879 he received the Baly Medal of the Royal College of Physicians.
(The visit to London, necessitated by the presentation of the Baly Medal,
was combined with a visit to Miss Forster's house at Abinger, in Surrey,
and this was the occasion of the following characteristic letter:--"I must
write a few words to thank you cordially for lending us your house. It was
a most kind thought, and has pleased me greatly; but I know well that I do
not deserve such kindness from any one. On the other hand, no one can be
too kind to my dear wife, who is worth her weight in gold many times over,
and she was anxious that I should get some complete rest, and here I cannot
rest. Your house will be a delightful haven and again I thank you truly.")

Again in 1879 he received from the Royal Academy of Turin the "Bressa"
prize for the years 1875-78, amounting to the sum of 12,000 francs. In the
following year he received on his birthday, as on previous occasions, a
kind letter of congratulation from Dr. Dohrn of Naples. In writing
(February 15th) to thank him and the other naturalists at the Zoological
Station, my father added:--

"Perhaps you saw in the papers that the Turin Society honoured me to an
extraordinary degree by awarding me the "Bressa" Prize. Now it occurred to
me that if your station wanted some pieces of apparatus, of about the value
of 100 pounds, I should very much like to be allowed to pay for it. Will
you be so kind as to keep this in mind, and if any want should occur to
you, I would send you a cheque at any time."

I find from my father's accounts that 100 pounds was presented to the
Naples Station.

He received also several tokens of respect and sympathy of a more private
character from various sources. With regard to such incidents and to the
estimation of the public generally, his attitude may be illustrated by a
passage from a letter to Mr. Romanes:--(The lecture referred to was given
at the Dublin meeting of the British association.)

"You have indeed passed a most magnificent eulogium upon me, and I wonder
that you were not afraid of hearing 'oh! oh!' or some other sign of
disapprobation. Many persons think that what I have done in science has
been much overrated, and I very often think so myself; but my comfort is
that I have never consciously done anything to gain applause. Enough and
too much about my dear self."

Among such expressions of regard he valued very highly the two photographic
albums received from Germany and Holland on his birthday, 1877. Herr Emil
Rade of Munster, originated the idea of the German birthday gift, and
undertook the necessary arrangements. To him my father wrote (February 16,

"I hope that you will inform the one hundred and fifty-four men of science,
including some of the most highly honoured names in the world, how grateful
I am for their kindness and generous sympathy in having sent me their
photographs on my birthday."

To Professor Haeckel he wrote (February 16, 1877):--

The album has just arrived quite safe. It is most superb. (The album is
magnificently bound and decorated with a beautifully illuminated title
page, the work of an artist, Herr A. Fitger of Bremen, who also contributed
the dedicatory poem.) It is by far the greatest honour which I have ever
received, and my satisfaction has been greatly enhanced by your most kind
letter of February 9...I thank you all from my heart. I have written by
this post to Herr Rade, and I hope he will somehow manage to thank all my
generous friends."

To Professor A. van Bemmelen he wrote, on receiving a similar present from
a number of distinguished men and lovers of Natural History in the


I received yesterday the magnificent present of the album, together with
your letter. I hope that you will endeavour to find some means to express
to the two hundred and seventeen distinguished observers and lovers of
natural science, who have sent me their photographs, my gratitude for their
extreme kindness. I feel deeply gratified by this gift, and I do not think
that any testimonial more honourable to me could have been imagined. I am
well aware that my books could never have been written, and would not have
made any impression on the public mind, had not an immense amount of
material been collected by a long series of admirable observers; and it is
to them that honour is chiefly due. I suppose that every worker at science
occasionally feels depressed, and doubts whether what he has published has
been worth the labour which it has cost him, but for the few remaining
years of my life, whenever I want cheering, I will look at the portraits of
my distinguished co-workers in the field of science, and remember their
generous sympathy. When I die, the album will be a most precious bequest
to my children. I must further express my obligation for the very
interesting history contained in your letter of the progress of opinion in
the Netherlands, with respect to Evolution, the whole of which is quite new
to me. I must again thank all my kind friends, from my heart, for their
ever-memorable testimonial, and I remain, Sir,

Your obliged and grateful servant,

[In the June of the following year (1878) he was gratified by learning that
the Emperor of Brazil had expressed a wish to meet him. Owing to absence
from home my father was unable to comply with this wish; he wrote to Sir
J.D. Hooker:--

"The Emperor has done so much for science, that every scientific man is
bound to show him the utmost respect, and I hope that you will express in
the strongest language, and which you can do with entire truth, how greatly
I feel honoured by his wish to see me; and how much I regret my absence
from home."

Finally it should be mentioned that in 1880 he received an address
personally presented by members of the Council of the Birmingham
Philosophical Society, as well as a memorial from the Yorkshire Naturalist
Union presented by some of the members, headed by Dr. Sorby. He also
received in the same year a visit from some of the members of the Lewisham
and Blackheath Scientific Association,--a visit which was, I think, enjoyed
by both guests and host.]


[The chief incident of a personal kind (not already dealt with) in the
years which we are now considering was the death of his brother Erasmus,
who died at his house in Queen Anne Street, on August 26th, 1881. My
father wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker (August 30):--

"The death of Erasmus is a very heavy loss to all of us, for he had a most
affectionate disposition. He always appeared to me the most pleasant and
clearest headed man, whom I have ever known. London will seem a strange
place to me without his presence; I am deeply glad that he died without any
great suffering, after a very short illness from mere weakness and not from
any definite disease. ("He was not, I think, a happy man, and for many
years did not value life, though never complaining."--From a letter to Sir
Thomas Farrer.)

"I cannot quite agree with you about the death of the old and young. Death
in the latter case, when there is a bright future ahead, causes grief never
to be wholly obliterated."

An incident of a happy character may also be selected for especial notice,
since it was one which strongly moved my father's sympathy. A letter
(December 17, 1879) to Sir Joseph Hooker shows that the possibility of a
Government Pension being conferred on Mr. Wallace first occurred to my
father at this time. The idea was taken up by others, and my father's
letters show that he felt the most lively interest in the success of the
plan. He wrote, for instance, to Mrs. Fisher, "I hardly ever wished for
anything more than I do for the success of our plan." He was deeply
pleased when this thoroughly deserved honour was bestowed on his friend,
and wrote to the same correspondent (January 7, 1881), on receiving a
letter from Mr. Gladstone announcing the fact: "How extraordinarily kind
of Mr. Gladstone to find time to write under the present circumstances.
(Mr. Gladstone was then in office, and the letter must have been written
when he was overwhelmed with business connected with the opening of
Parliament (January 6). Good heavens! how pleased I am!"

The letters which follow are of a miscellaneous character and refer
principally to the books he read, and to his minor writings.]

Down, February 11 [1876].

My dear Miss Buckley,

You must let me have the pleasure of saying that I have just finished
reading with very great interest your new book. ('A Short History of
Natural Science.') The idea seems to me a capital one, and as far as I can
judge very well carried out. There is much fascination in taking a bird's
eye view of all the grand leading steps in the progress of science. At
first I regretted that you had not kept each science more separate; but I
dare say you found it impossible. I have hardly any criticisms, except
that I think you ought to have introduced Murchison as a great classifier
of formations, second only to W. Smith. You have done full justice, and
not more than justice, to our dear old master, Lyell. Perhaps a little
more ought to have been said about botany, and if you should ever add this,
you would find Sachs' 'History,' lately published, very good for your

You have crowned Wallace and myself with much honour and glory. I heartily
congratulate you on having produced so novel and interesting a work, and

My dear Miss Buckley, yours very faithfully,

[Hopedene] (Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood's house in Surrey.), June 5, 1876.

My dear Wallace,

I must have the pleasure of expressing to you my unbounded admiration of
your book ('Geographical Distribution,' 1876.), though I have read only to
page 184--my object having been to do as little as possible while resting.
I feel sure that you have laid a broad and safe foundation for all future
work on Distribution. How interesting it will be to see hereafter plants
treated in strict relation to your views; and then all insects, pulmonate
molluscs and fresh-water fishes, in greater detail than I suppose you have
given to these lower animals. The point which has interested me most, but
I do not say the most valuable point, is your protest against sinking
imaginary continents in a quite reckless manner, as was stated by Forbes,
followed, alas, by Hooker, and caricatured by Wollaston and [Andrew]
Murray! By the way, the main impression that the latter author has left on
my mind is his utter want of all scientific judgment. I have lifted up my
voice against the above view with no avail, but I have no doubt that you
will succeed, owing to your new arguments and the coloured chart. Of a
special value, as it seems to me, is the conclusion that we must determine
the areas, chiefly by the nature of the mammals. When I worked many years
ago on this subject, I doubted much whether the now called Palaearctic and
Nearctic regions ought to be separated; and I determined if I made another
region that it should be Madagascar. I have, therefore, been able to
appreciate your evidence on these points. What progress Palaeontology has
made during the last 20 years; but if it advances at the same rate in the
future, our views on the migration and birth-place of the various groups
will, I fear, be greatly altered. I cannot feel quite easy about the
Glacial period, and the extinction of large mammals, but I must hope that
you are right. I think you will have to modify your belief about the
difficulty of dispersal of land molluscs; I was interrupted when beginning
to experimentize on the just hatched young adhering to the feet of ground-
roosting birds. I differ on one other point, viz. in the belief that there
must have existed a Tertiary Antarctic continent, from which various forms
radiated to the southern extremities of our present continents. But I
could go on scribbling forever. You have written, as I believe, a grand
and memorable work which will last for years as the foundation for all
future treatises on Geographical Distribution.

My dear Wallace, yours very sincerely,

P.S.--You have paid me the highest conceivable compliment, by what you say
of your work in relation to my chapters on distribution in the 'Origin,'
and I heartily thank you for it.

[The following letters illustrate my father's power of taking a vivid
interest in work bearing on Evolution, but unconnected with his own special
researches at the time. The books referred to in the first letter are
Professor Weismann's 'Studien zur Descendenzlehre' (My father contributed a
prefatory note to Mr. Meldola's translation of Prof. Weismann's 'Studien,'
1880-81.), being part of the series of essays by which the author has done
such admirable service to the cause of evolution:]

January 12, 1877.

...I read German so slowly, and have had lately to read several other
papers, so that I have as yet finished only half of your first essay and
two-thirds of your second. They have excited my interest and admiration in
the highest degree, and whichever I think of last, seems to me the most
valuable. I never expected to see the coloured marks on caterpillars so
well explained; and the case of the ocelli delights me especially...

...There is one other subject which has always seemed to me more difficult
to explain than even the colours of caterpillars, and that is the colour of
birds' eggs, and I wish you would take this up.

CHARLES DARWIN TO MELCHIOR NEUMAYR (Professor of Palaeontology at Vienna.),
Down, Beckenham, Kent, March 9, 1877.

Dear Sir,

From having been obliged to read other books, I finished only yesterday
your essay on 'Die Congerien,' etc. ('Die Congerien und Paludinenschichten
Slavoneins.' 4to, 1875.)

I hope that you will allow me to express my gratitude for the pleasure and
instruction which I have derived from reading it. It seems to me to be an
admirable work; and is by far the best case which I have ever met with,
showing the direct influence of the conditions of life on the organization.

Mr. Hyatt, who has been studying the Hilgendorf case, writes to me with
respect to the conclusions at which he has arrived, and these are nearly
the same as yours. He insists that closely similar forms may be derived
from distinct lines of descent; and this is what I formerly called
analogical variation. There can now be no doubt that species may become
greatly modified through the direct action of the environment. I have some
excuse for not having formerly insisted more strongly on this head in my
'Origin of Species,' as most of the best facts have been observed since its

With my renewed thanks for your most interesting essay, and with the
highest respect, I remain, dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

Down, April 23, 1877.

My dear Sir,

You must allow me just to tell you how very much I have been interested
with the excellent Address ("What American Zoologists have done for
Evolution," an Address to the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, August, 1876. Volume xxv. of the Proceedings of the Association.)
which you have been so kind as to send me, and which I had much wished to
read. I believe that I had read all, or very nearly all, the papers by
your countrymen to which you refer, but I have been fairly astonished at
their number and importance when seeing them thus put together. I quite
agree about the high value of Mr. Allen's works (Mr. J.A. Allen shows the
existence of geographical races of birds and mammals. Proc. Boston Soc.
Nat. Hist. volume xv.), as showing how much change may be expected
apparently through the direct action of the conditions of life. As for the
fossil remains in the West, no words will express how wonderful they are.
There is one point which I regret that you did not make clear in your
Address, namely what is the meaning and importance of Professors Cope and
Hyatt's views on acceleration and retardation. I have endeavoured, and
given up in despair, the attempt to grasp their meaning.

Permit me to thank you cordially for the kind feeling shown towards me
through your Address, and I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

[The next letter refers to his 'Biographical Sketch of an Infant,' written
from notes made 37 years previously, and published in 'Mind,' July, 1877.
The article attracted a good deal of attention, and was translated at the
time in 'Kosmos,' and the 'Revue Scientifique,' and has been recently
published in Dr. Krause's 'Gesammelte kleinere SchrifteN von Charles
Darwin,' 1887:]

Down, April 27, 1877.

Dear Sir,

I hope that you will be so good as to take the trouble to read the enclosed
MS., and if you think it fit for publication in your admirable journal of
'Mind,' I shall be gratified. If you do not think it fit, as is very
likely, will you please to return it to me. I hope that you will read it
in an extra critical spirit, as I cannot judge whether it is worth
publishing from having been so much interested in watching the dawn of the
several faculties in my own infant. I may add that I should never have
thought of sending you the MS., had not M. Taine's article appeared in your
Journal. (1877, page 252. The original appeared in the 'Revue
Philosophique' 1876.) If my MS. is printed, I think that I had better see
a proof.

I remain, dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,

[The two following extracts show the lively interest he preserved in
diverse fields of enquiry. Professor Cohn of Breslau had mentioned, in a
letter, Koch's researches on Splenic Fever, my father replied, January 3:--

"I well remember saying to myself, between twenty and thirty years ago,
that if ever the origin of any infectious disease could be proved, it would
be the greatest triumph to science; and now I rejoice to have seen the

In the spring he received a copy of Dr. E. von Mojsisovics' 'Dolomit
Riffe,' his letter to the author (June 1, 1878) is interesting as bearing
on the influence of his own work on the methods of geology.

"I have at last found time to read the first chapter of your 'Dolomit
Riffe,' and have been EXCEEDINGLY interested by it. What a wonderful
change in the future of Geological chronology you indicate, by assuming the
descent theory to be established, and then taking the graduated changes of
the same group of organisms as the true standard! I never hoped to live to
see such a step even proposed by any one."

Another geological research which roused my father's admiration was Mr. D.
Mackintosh's work on erratic blocks. Apart from its intrinsic merit the
work keenly excited his sympathy from the conditions under which it was
executed, Mr. Mackintosh being compelled to give nearly his whole time to
tuition. The following passage is from a letter to Mr. Mackintosh of
October 9, 1879, and refers to his paper in the Journal of the Geological
Society, 1878:--

"I hope that you will allow me to have the pleasure of thanking you for the
very great pleasure which I have derived from just reading your paper on
erratic blocks. The map is wonderful, and what labour each of those lines
show! I have thought for some years that the agency of floating ice, which
nearly half a century ago was overrated, has of late been underrated. You
are the sole man who has ever noticed the distinction suggested by me (In
his paper on the 'Ancient Glaciers of Carnarvonshire,' Phil. Mag. xxi.
1842.) between flat or planed scored rocks, and mammillated scored rocks."]

Down, November 28, 1878.

Dear Sir,

I just skimmed through Dr. Pusey's sermon, as published in the "Guardian",
but it did [not] seem to me worthy of any attention. As I have never
answered criticisms excepting those made by scientific men, I am not
willing that this letter should be published; but I have no objection to
your saying that you sent me the three questions, and that I answered that
Dr. Pusey was mistaken in imagining that I wrote the 'Origin' with any
relation whatever to Theology. I should have thought that this would have
been evident to any one who had taken the trouble to read the book, more
especially as in the opening lines of the introduction I specify how the
subject arose in my mind. This answer disposes of your two other
questions; but I may add that many years ago, when I was collecting facts
for the 'Origin,' my belief in what is called a personal God was as firm as
that of Dr. Pusey himself, and as to the eternity of matter I have never
troubled myself about such insoluble questions. Dr. Pusey's attack will be
as powerless to retard by a day the belief in Evolution, as were the
virulent attacks made by divines fifty years ago against Geology, and the
still older ones of the Catholic Church against Galileo, for the public is
wise enough always to follow Scientific men when they agree on any subject;
and now there is almost complete unanimity amongst Biologists about
Evolution, though there is still considerable difference as to the means,
such as how far natural selection has acted, and how far external
conditions, or whether there exists some mysterious innate tendency to
perfectability. I remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

[Theologians were not the only adversaries of freedom in science. On
September 22, 1877, Prof. Virchow delivered an address at the Munich
meeting of German Naturalists and Physicians, which had the effect of
connecting Socialism with the Descent theory. This point of view was taken
up by anti-evolutionists to such an extent that, according to Haeckel, the
"Kreuz Zeitung" threw "all the blame of" the "treasonable attempts of the
democrats Hodel and Nobiling...directly on the theory of Descent." Prof.
Haeckel replied with vigour and ability in his 'Freedom in Science and
Teaching' (English Translation 1879), an essay which must have the sympathy
of all lovers of freedom.

The following passage from a letter (December 26, 1879) to Dr. Scherzer,
the author of the 'Voyage of the "Novara",' gives a hint of my father's
views on this once burning question:--

"What a foolish idea seems to prevail in Germany on the connection between
Socialism and Evolution through Natural Selection."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.N. MOSELEY. (Professor of Zoology at Oxford. The book
alluded to is Prof. Moseley's 'Notes by a Naturalist on the "Challenger".')
Down, January 20, 1879.

Dear Moseley,

I have just received your book, and I declare that never in my life have I
seen a dedication which I admired so much. ("To Charles Darwin, Esquire,
LL.D., F.R.S., etc., from the study of whose 'Journal of Researches' I
mainly derived my desire to travel round the world; to the development of
whose theory I owe the principal pleasures and interests of my life, and
who has personally given me much kindly encouragement in the prosecution of
my studies, this book is, by permission, gratefully dedicated.") Of course
I am not a fair judge, but I hope that I speak dispassionately, though you
have touched me in my very tenderest point, by saying that my old Journal
mainly gave you the wish to travel as a Naturalist. I shall begin to read
your book this very evening, and am sure that I shall enjoy it much.

Yours very sincerely,

Down, February 4, 1879.

Dear Moseley,

I have at last read every word of your book, and it has excited in me
greater interest than any other scientific book which I have read for a
long time. You will perhaps be surprised how slow I have been, but my head
prevents me reading except at intervals. If I were asked which parts have
interested me most, I should be somewhat puzzled to answer. I fancy that
the general reader would prefer your account of Japan. For myself I
hesitate between your discussions and description of the Southern ice,
which seems to me admirable, and the last chapter which contained many
facts and views new to me, though I had read your papers on the stony
Hydroid Corals, yet your resume made me realise better than I had done
before, what a most curious case it is.

You have also collected a surprising number of valuable facts bearing on
the dispersal of plants, far more than in any other book known to me. In
fact your volume is a mass of interesting facts and discussions, with
hardly a superfluous word; and I heartily congratulate you on its

Your dedication makes me prouder than ever.

Believe me, yours sincerely,

[In November, 1879, he answered for Mr. Galton a series of questions
utilised in his 'Inquiries into Human Faculty,' 1883. He wrote to Mr.

"I have answered the questions as well as I could, but they are miserably
answered, for I have never tried looking into my own mind. Unless others
answer very much better than I can do, you will get no good from your
queries. Do you not think you ought to have the age of the answerer? I
think so, because I can call up faces of many schoolboys, not seen for
sixty years, with MUCH DISTINCTNESS, but nowadays I may talk with a man for
an hour, and see him several times consecutively, and, after a month, I am
utterly unable to recollect what he is at all like. The picture is quite
washed out. The greater number of the answers are given in the annexed


1. ILLUMINATION? Moderate, but my solitary breakfast was early, and the
morning dark.

2. DEFINITION? Some objects quite defined, a slice of cold beef, some
grapes and a pear, the state of my plate when I had finished, and a few
other objects, are as distinct as if I had photo's before me.

3. COMPLETENESS? Very moderately so.

4. COLOURING? The objects above named perfectly coloured.

5. EXTENT OF FIELD OF VIEW? Rather small.


6. PRINTED PAGES. I cannot remember a single sentence, but I remember the
place of the sentence and the kind of type.

7. FURNITURE? I have never attended to it.

8. PERSONS? I remember the faces of persons formerly well-known vividly,
and can make them do anything I like.

9. SCENERY? Remembrance vivid and distinct, and gives me pleasure.



12. MECHANISM? Never tried.

13. GEOMETRY? I do not think I have any power of the kind.

14. NUMERALS? When I think of any number, printed figures arise before my
mind. I can't remember for an hour four consecutive figures.

15. CARD PLAYING? Have not played for many years, but I am sure should
not remember.

16. CHESS? Never played.

[In 1880 he published a short paper in 'Nature' (volume xxi. page 207) on
the "Fertility of Hybrids from the common and Chinese goose." He received
the hybrids from the Rev. Dr. Goodacre, and was glad of the opportunity of
testing the accuracy of the statement that these species are fertile inter
se. This fact, which was given in the 'Origin' on the authority of Mr.
Eyton, he considered the most remarkable as yet recorded with respect to
the fertility of hybrids. The fact (as confirmed by himself and Dr.
Goodacre) is of interest as giving another proof that sterility is no
criterion of specific difference, since the two species of goose now shown
to be fertile inter se are so distinct that they have been placed by some
authorities in distinct genera or sub-genera.

The following letter refers to Mr. Huxley's lecture: "The Coming of Age of
the Origin of Species" (This same "Coming of Age" was the subject of an
address from the Council of the Otago Institute. It is given in 'Nature,'
February 24, 1881.), given at the Royal Institution, April 9, 1880,
published in 'Nature,' and in 'Science and Culture,' page 310:]

Abinger Hall, Dorking, Sunday, April 11, 1880.

My dear Huxley,

I wished much to attend your Lecture, but I have had a bad cough, and we
have come here to see whether a change would do me good, as it has done.
What a magnificent success your lecture seems to have been, as I judge from
the reports in the "Standard" and "Daily News", and more especially from
the accounts given me by three of my children. I suppose that you have not
written out your lecture, so I fear there is no chance of its being printed
in extenso. You appear to have piled, as on so many other occasions,
honours high and thick on my old head. But I well know how great a part
you have played in establishing and spreading the belief in the descent-
theory, ever since that grand review in the "Times" and the battle royal at
Oxford up to the present day.

Ever my dear Huxley,
Yours sincerely and gratefully,

P.S.--It was absurdly stupid in me, but I had read the announcement of your
Lecture, and thought that you meant the maturity of the subject, until my
wife one day remarked, "it is almost twenty-one years since the 'Origin'
appeared," and then for the first time the meaning of your words flashed on

[In the above-mentioned lecture Mr. Huxley made a strong point of the
accumulation of palaeontological evidence which the years between 1859 and
1880 have given us in favour of Evolution. On this subject my father wrote
(August 31, 1880):]

My dear Professor Marsh,

I received some time ago your very kind note of July 28th, and yesterday
the magnificent volume. (Odontornithes. A Monograph on the extinct
Toothed Birds of North America. 1880. By O.C. Marsh.) I have looked with
renewed admiration at the plates, and will soon read the text. Your work
on these old birds, and on the many fossil animals of North America has
afforded the best support to the theory of Evolution, which has appeared
within the last twenty years. (Mr. Huxley has well pointed out ('Science
and Culture,' page 317) that: "In 1875, the discovery of the toothed birds
of the cretaceous formation in North America, by Prof. Marsh, completed the
series of transitional forms between birds and reptiles, and removed Mr.
Darwin's proposition that, 'many animal forms of life have been utterly
lost, through which the early progenitors of birds were formerly connected
with the early progenitors of the other vertebrate classes,' from the
region of hypothesis to that of demonstrable fact.") The general
appearance of the copy which you have sent me is worthy of its contents,
and I can say nothing stronger than this.

With cordial thanks, believe me,
Yours very sincerely,

[In November, 1880, he received an account of a flood in Brazil, from which
his friend Fritz Muller had barely escaped with his life. My father
immediately wrote to Hermann Muller anxiously enquiring whether his brother
had lost books, instruments, etc., by this accident, and begging in that
case "for the sake of science, so that science should not suffer," to be
allowed to help in making good the loss. Fortunately, however, the injury
to Fritz Muller's possessions was not so great as was expected, and the
incident remains only as a memento, which I trust cannot be otherwise than
pleasing to the survivor, of the friendship of the two naturalists.

In 'Nature' (November 11, 1880) appeared a letter from my father, which is,
I believe, the only instance in which he wrote publicly with anything like
severity. The late Sir Wyville Thomson wrote, in the Introduction to the
'Voyage of the "Challenger"': "The character of the abyssal fauna refuses
to give the least support to the theory which refers the evolution of
species to extreme variation guided only by natural selection." My father,
after characterising these remarks as a "standard of criticism, not
uncommonly reached by theologians and metaphysicians," goes on to take
exception to the term "extreme variation," and challenges Sir Wyville to
name any one who has "said that the evolution of species depends only on
natural selection." The letter closes with an imaginary scene between Sir
Wyville and a breeder, in which Sir Wyville criticises artificial selection
in a somewhat similar manner. The breeder is silent, but on the departure
of his critic he is supposed to make use of "emphatic but irreverent
language about naturalists." The letter, as originally written, ended with
a quotation from Sedgwick on the invulnerability of those who write on what
they do not understand, but this was omitted on the advice of a friend, and
curiously enough a friend whose combativeness in the good cause my father
had occasionally curbed.]

Down, April 16, 1881.

My dear Romanes,

My MS. on 'Worms' has been sent to the printers, so I am going to amuse
myself by scribbling to you on a few points; but you must not waste your
time in answering at any length this scribble.

Firstly, your letter on intelligence was very useful to me and I tor up and
re-wrote what I sent to you. I have not attempted to define intelligence;
but have quoted your remarks on experience, and have shown how far they
apply to worms. It seems to me that they must be said to work with some
intelligence, anyhow they are not guided by a blind instinct.

Secondly, I was greatly interested by the abstract in 'Nature' of your work
on Echinoderms ("On the locomotor system of Echinoderms," by G.J. Romanes
and J. Cossar Ewart. 'Philosophical Transactions,' 1881, page 829.), the
complexity with simplicity, and with such curious co-ordination of the
nervous system is marvellous; and you showed me before what splendid
gymnastic feats they can perform.

Thirdly, Dr. Roux has sent me a book just published by him: 'Der Kampf der
Theile,' etc., 1881 (240 pages in length).

He is manifestly a well-read physiologist and pathologist, and from his
position a good anatomist. It is full of reasoning, and this in German is
very difficult to me, so that I have only skimmed through each page; here
and there reading with a little more care. As far as I can imperfectly
judge, it is the most important book on Evolution, which has appeared for
some time. I believe that G.H. Lewes hinted at the same fundamental idea,
viz. that there is a struggle going on within every organism between the
organic molecules, the cells and the organs. I think that his basis is,
that every cell which best performs its function is, in consequence, at the
same time best nourished and best propagates its kind. The book does not
touch on mental phenomena, but there is much discussion on rudimentary or
atrophied parts, to which subject you formerly attended. Now if you would
like to read this book, I would sent it...If you read it, and are struck
with it (but I may be WHOLLY mistaken about its value), you would do a
public service by analysing and criticising it in 'Nature.'

Dr. Roux makes, I think, a gigantic oversight in never considering plants;
these would simplify the problem for him.

Fourthly, I do not know whether you will discuss in your book on the mind
of animals any of the more complex and wonderful instincts. It is
unsatisfactory work, as there can be no fossilised instincts, and the sole
guide is their state in other members of the same order, and mere

But if you do discuss any (and it will perhaps be expected of you), I
should think that you could not select a better case than that of the sand
wasps, which paralyse their prey, as formerly described by Fabre, in his
wonderful paper in the 'Annales des Sciences,' and since amplified in his
admirable 'Souvenirs.'

Whilst reading this latter book, I speculated a little on the subject.
Astonishing nonsense is often spoken of the sand wasp's knowledge of
anatomy. Now will any one say that the Gauchos on the plains of La Plata
have such knowledge, yet I have often seen them pith a struggling and
lassoed cow on the ground with unerring skill, which no mere anatomist
could imitate. The pointed knife was infallibly driven in between the
vertebrae by a single slight thrust. I presume that the art was first
discovered by chance, and that each young Gaucho sees exactly how the
others do it, and then with a very little practice learns the art. Now I
suppose that the sand wasps originally merely killed their prey by stinging
them in many places (see page 129 of Fabre's 'Souvenirs,' and page 241) on
the lower and softest side of the body--and that to sting a certain segment
was found by far the most successful method; and was inherited like the
tendency of a bulldog to pin the nose of a bull, or of a ferret to bite the
cerebellum. It would not be a very great step in advance to prick the
ganglion of its prey only slightly, and thus to give its larvae fresh meat
instead of old dried meat. Though Fabre insists so strongly on the
unvarying character of instinct, yet it is shown that there is some
variability, as at pages 176, 177.

I fear that I shall have utterly wearied you with my scribbling and bad

My dear Romanes, yours, very sincerely,


I read with much interest your address before the American Association.
However true your remarks on the genealogies of the several groups may be,
I hope and believe that you have over-estimated the difficulties to be
encountered in the future:--A few days after reading your address, I
interpreted to myself your remarks on one point (I hope in some degree
correctly) in the following fashion:--

Any character of an ancient, generalised, or intermediate form may, and
often does, re-appear in its descendants, after countless generations, and
this explains the extraordinarily complicated affinities of existing
groups. This idea seems to me to throw a flood of light on the lines,
sometimes used to represent affinities, which radiate in all directions,
often to very distant sub-groups,--a difficulty which has haunted me for
half a century. A strong case could be made out in favour of believing in
such reversion after immense intervals of time. I wish the idea had been
put into my head in old days, for I shall never again write on difficult
subjects, as I have seen too many cases of old men becoming feeble in their
minds, without being in the least conscious of it. If I have interpreted
your ideas at all correctly, I hope that you will re-urge, on any fitting
occasion, your view. I have mentioned it to a few persons capable of
judging, and it seemed quite new to them. I beg you to forgive the
proverbial garrulity of old age.


[The following letter refers to Sir J.D. Hooker's Geographical address at
the York Meeting (1881) of the British Association:]

Down, August 6, 1881.

My dear Hooker,

For Heaven's sake never speak of boring me, as it would be the greatest
pleasure to aid you in the slightest degree and your letter has interested
me exceedingly. I will go through your points seriatim, but I have never
attended much to the history of any subject, and my memory has become
atrociously bad. It will therefore be a mere chance whether any of my
remarks are of any use.

Your idea, to show what travellers have done, seems to me a brilliant and
just one, especially considering your audience.

1. I know nothing about Tournefort's works.

2. I believe that you are fully right in calling Humboldt the greatest
scientific traveller who ever lived, I have lately read two or three
volumes again. His Geology is funny stuff; but that merely means that he
was not in advance of his age. I should say he was wonderful, more for his
near approach to omniscience than for originality. Whether or not his
position as a scientific man is as eminent as we think, you might truly
call him the parent of a grand progeny of scientific travellers, who, taken
together, have done much for science.

3. It seems to me quite just to give Lyell (and secondarily E. Forbes) a
very prominent place.

4. Dana was, I believe, the first man who maintained the permanence of
continents and the great oceans...When I read the 'Challenger's' conclusion
that sediment from the land is not deposited at greater distances than 200
or 300 miles from the land, I was much strengthened in my old belief.
Wallace seems to me to have argued the case excellently. Nevertheless, I
would speak, if I were in your place, rather cautiously; for T. Mellard
Reade has argued lately with some force against the view; but I cannot call
to mind his arguments. If forced to express a judgment, I should abide by
the view of approximate permanence since Cambrian days.

5. The extreme importance of the Arctic fossil-plants, is self-evident.
Take the opportunity of groaning over [our] ignorance of the Lignite Plants
of Kerguelen Land, or any Antarctic land. It might do good.

6. I cannot avoid feeling sceptical about the travelling of plants from
the North EXCEPT DURING THE TERTIARY PERIOD. It may of course have been so
and probably was so from one of the two poles at the earliest period,
during Pre-Cambrian ages; but such speculations seem to me hardly
scientific seeing how little we know of the old Floras.

I will now jot down without any order a few miscellaneous remarks.

I think you ought to allude to Alph. De Candolle's great book, for though
it (like almost everything else) is washed out of my mind, yet I remember
most distinctly thinking it a very valuable work. Anyhow, you might allude
to his excellent account of the history of all cultivated plants.

How shall you manage to allude to your New Zealand and Tierra del Fuego
work? if you do not allude to them you will be scandalously unjust.

The many Angiosperm plants in the Cretacean beds of the United States (and
as far as I can judge the age of these beds has been fairly well made out)
seems to me a fact of very great importance, so is their relation to the
existing flora of the United States under an Evolutionary point of view.
Have not some Australian extinct forms been lately found in Australia? or
have I dreamed it?

Again, the recent discovery of plants rather low down in our Silurian beds
is very important.

Nothing is more extraordinary in the history of the Vegetable Kingdom, as
it seems to me, than the APPARENTLY very sudden or abrupt development of
the higher plants. I have sometimes speculated whether there did not exist
somewhere during long ages an extremely isolated continent, perhaps near
the South Pole.

Hence I was greatly interested by a view which Saporta propounded to me, a
few years ago, at great length in MS. and which I fancy he has since
published, as I urged him to do--viz., that as soon as flower-frequenting
insects were developed, during the latter part of the secondary period, an
enormous impulse was given to the development of the higher plants by
cross-fertilization being thus suddenly formed.

A few years ago I was much struck with Axel Blytt's Essay showing from
observation, on the peat beds in Scandinavia, that there had apparently
been long periods with more rain and other with less rain (perhaps
connected with Croll's recurrent astronomical periods), and that these
periods had largely determined the present distribution of the plants of
Norway and Sweden. This seemed to me, a very important essay.

I have just read over my remarks and I fear that they will not be of the
slightest use to you.

I cannot but think that you have got through the hardest, or at least the
most difficult, part of your work in having made so good and striking a
sketch of what you intend to say; but I can quite understand how you must
groan over the great necessary labour.

I most heartily sympathise with you on the successes of B. and R.: as
years advance what happens to oneself becomes of very little consequence,
in comparison with the careers of our children.

Keep your spirits up, for I am convinced that you will make an excellent

Ever yours, affectionately,

[In September he wrote:--

"I have this minute finished reading your splendid but too short address.
I cannot doubt that it will have been fully appreciated by the Geographers
of York; if not, they are asses and fools."]

Sunday evening [1881].

My dear L.,

Your address (Presidential Address at the York meeting of the British
Association.) has made me think over what have been the great steps in
Geology during the last fifty years, and there can be no harm in telling
you my impression. But it is very odd that I cannot remember what you have
said on Geology. I suppose that the classification of the Silurian and
Cambrian formations must be considered the greatest or most important step;
for I well remember when all these older rocks were called grau-wacke, and
nobody dreamed of classing them; and now we have three azoic formations
pretty well made out beneath the Cambrian! But the most striking step has
been the discovery of the Glacial period: you are too young to remember
the prodigious effect this produced about the year 1840 (?) on all our
minds. Elie de Beaumont never believed in it to the day of his death! the
study of the glacial deposits led to the study of the superficial drift,
which was formerly NEVER STUDIED and called Diluvium, as I well remember.
The study under the microscope of rock-sections is another not
inconsiderable step. So again the making out of cleavage and the foliation
of the metamorphic rocks. But I will not run on, having now eased my mind.
Pray do not waste even one minute in acknowledging my horrid scrawls.

Ever yours,

[The following extracts referring to the late Francis Maitland Balfour
(Professor of Animal Morphology at Cambridge. He was born in 1851, and was
killed, with his guide, on the Aiguille Blanche, near Courmayeur, in July,
1882.), show my father's estimate of his work and intellectual qualities,
but they give merely an indication of his strong appreciation of Balfour's
most lovable personal character:--

From a letter to Fritz Muller, January 5, 1882:--

"Your appreciation of Balfour's book ['Comparative Embryology'] has pleased
me excessively, for though I could not properly judge of it, yet it seemed
to me one of the most remarkable books which have been published for some
considerable time. He is quite a young man, and if he keeps his health,
will do splendid work...He has a fair fortune of his own, so that he can
give up his whole time to Biology. He is very modest, and very pleasant,
and often visits here and we like him very much."

From a letter to Dr. Dohrn, February 13, 1882:--

"I have got one very bad piece of news to tell you, that F. Balfour is very
ill at Cambridge with typhoid fever...I hope that he is not in a very
dangerous state; but the fever is severe. Good Heavens, what a loss he
would be to Science, and to his many loving friends!"]

Down, January 12, 1882.

My dear Huxley,

Very many thanks for 'Science and Culture,' and I am sure that I shall read
most of the essays with much interest. With respect to Automatism ("On the
hypothesis that animals are automata and its history," an Address given at
the Belfast meeting of the British Association, 1874, and published in the
'Fortnightly Review,' 1874, and in 'Science and Culture.'), I wish that you
could review yourself in the old, and of course forgotten, trenchant style,
and then you would here answer yourself with equal incisiveness; and thus,
by Jove, you might go on ad infinitum, to the joy and instruction of the

Ever yours very sincerely,

[The following letter refers to Dr. Ogle's translation of Aristotle, 'On
the Parts of Animals' (1882):]

Down, February 22, 1882.

My dear Dr. Ogle,

You must let me thank you for the pleasure which the introduction to the
Aristotle book has given me. I have rarely read anything which has
interested me more, though I have not read as yet more than a quarter of
the book proper.

From quotations which I had seen, I had a high notion of Aristotle's
merits, but I had not the most remote notion what a wonderful man he was.
Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways,
but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle. How very curious, also,
his ignorance on some points, as on muscles as the means of movement. I am
glad that you have explained in so probable a manner some of the grossest
mistakes attributed to him. I never realized, before reading your book, to
what an enormous summation of labour we owe even our common knowledge. I
wish old Aristotle could know what a grand Defender of the Faith he had
found in you. Believe me, my dear Dr. Ogle,

Yours very sincerely,

[In February, he received a letter and a specimen from a Mr. W.D. Crick,
which illustrated a curious mode of dispersal of bivalve shells, namely, by
closure of their valves so as to hold on to the leg of a water-beetle.
This class of fact had a special charm for him, and he wrote to 'Nature,'
describing the case. ('Nature,' April 6, 1882.)

In April he received a letter from Dr. W. Van Dyck, Lecturer in Zoology at
the Protestant College of Beyrout. The letter showed that the street dogs
of Beyrout had been rapidly mongrelised by introduced European dogs, and
the facts have an interesting bearing on my father's theory of Sexual

Down, April 3, 1882.

Dear Sir,

After much deliberation, I have thought it best to send your very
interesting paper to the Zoological Society, in hopes that it will be
published in their Journal. This journal goes to every scientific
institution in the world, and the contents are abstracted in all year-books
on Zoology. Therefore I have preferred it to 'Nature,' though the latter
has a wider circulation, but is ephemeral.

I have prefaced your essay by a few general remarks, to which I hope that
you will not object.

Of course I do not know that the Zoological Society, which is much addicted
to mere systematic work, will publish your essay. If it does, I will send
you copies of your essay, but these will not be ready for some months. If
not published by the Zoological Society, I will endeavour to get 'Nature'
to publish it. I am very anxious that it should be published and

Dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,

[The paper was read at a meeting of the Zoological Society on April 18th--
the day before my father's death.

The preliminary remarks with which Dr. Van Dyck's paper is prefaced are
thus the latest of my father's writings.]


We must now return to an early period of his life, and give a connected
account of his botanical work, which has hitherto been omitted.



[In the letters already given we have had occasion to notice the general
bearing of a number of botanical problems on the wider question of
Evolution. The detailed work in botany which my father accomplished by the
guidance of the light cast on the study of natural history by his own work
on Evolution remains to be noticed. In a letter to Mr. Murray, September
24th, 1861, speaking of his book on the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' he
says: "It will perhaps serve to illustrate how Natural History may be
worked under the belief of the modification of species." This remark gives
a suggestion as to the value and interest of his botanical work, and it
might be expressed in far more emphatic language without danger of

In the same letter to Mr. Murray, he says: "I think this little volume
will do good to the 'Origin,' as it will show that I have worked hard at
details." It is true that his botanical work added a mass of corroborative
detail to the case for Evolution, but the chief support to his doctrines
given by these researches was of another kind. They supplied an argument
against those critics who have so freely dogmatised as to the uselessness
of particular structures, and as to the consequent impossibility of their
having been developed by means of natural selection. His observations on
Orchids enabled him to say: "I can show the meaning of some of the
apparently meaningless ridges, horns, who will now venture to say that this
or that structure is useless?" A kindred point is expressed in a letter to
Sir J.D. Hooker (May 14th, 1862:)--

"When many parts of structure, as in the woodpecker, show distinct
adaptation to external bodies, it is preposterous to attribute them to the
effects of climate, etc., but when a single point alone, as a hooked seed,
it is conceivable it may thus have arisen. I have found the study of
Orchids eminently useful in showing me how nearly all parts of the flower
are co-adapted for fertilization by insects, and therefore the results of
natural selection--even the most trifling details of structure."

One of the greatest services rendered by my father to the study of Natural
History is the revival of Teleology. The evolutionist studies the purpose
or meaning of organs with the zeal of the older Teleology, but with far
wider and more coherent purpose. He has the invigorating knowledge that he
is gaining not isolated conceptions of the economy of the present, but a
coherent view of both past and present. And even where he fails to
discover the use of any part, he may, by a knowledge of its structure,
unravel the history of the past vicissitudes in the life of the species.
In this way a vigour and unity is given to the study of the forms of
organised beings, which before it lacked. This point has already been
discussed in Mr. Huxley's chapter on the 'Reception of the "Origin of
Species",' and need not be here considered. It does, however, concern us
to recognize that this "great service to natural science," as Dr. Gray
describes it, was effected almost as much by his special botanical work as
by the 'Origin of Species.'

For a statement of the scope and influence of my father's botanical work, I
may refer to Mr. Thiselton Dyer's article in 'Charles Darwin,' one of the
"Nature Series". Mr. Dyer's wide knowledge, his friendship with my father,
and especially his power of sympathising with the work of others, combine
to give this essay a permanent value. The following passage (page 43)
gives a true picture:--

"Notwithstanding the extent and variety of his botanical work, Mr. Darwin
always disclaimed any right to be regarded as a professed botanist. He
turned his attention to plants, doubtless because they were convenient
objects for studying organic phenomena in their least complicated forms;
and this point of view, which, if one may use the expression without
disrespect, had something of the amateur about it, was in itself of the
greatest importance. For, from not being, till he took up any point,
familiar with the literature bearing on it, his mind was absolutely free
from any prepossession. He was never afraid of his facts, or of framing
any hypothesis, however startling, which seemed to explain them...In any
one else such an attitude would have produced much work that was crude and
rash. But Mr. Darwin--if one may venture on language which will strike no
one who had conversed with him as over-strained--seemed by gentle
persuasion to have penetrated that reserve of nature which baffles smaller
men. In other words, his long experience had given him a kind of
instinctive insight into the method of attack of any biological problem,
however unfamiliar to him, while he rigidly controlled the fertility of his
mind in hypothetical explanations by the no less fertility of ingeniously
devised experiment."

To form any just idea of the greatness of the revolution worked by my
father's researches in the study of the fertilisation of flowers, it is
necessary to know from what a condition this branch of knowledge has
emerged. It should be remembered that it was only during the early years
of the present century that the idea of sex, as applied to plants, became
at all firmly established. Sachs, in his 'History of Botany' (1875), has
given some striking illustrations of the remarkable slowness with which its
acceptance gained ground. He remarks that when we consider the
experimental proofs given by Camerarius (1694), and by Kolreuter (1761-66),
it appears incredible that doubts should afterwards have been raised as to
the sexuality of plants. Yet he shows that such doubts did actually
repeatedly crop up. These adverse criticisms rested for the most part on
careless experiments, but in many cases on a priori arguments. Even as
late as 1820, a book of this kind, which would now rank with circle
squaring, or flat-earth philosophy, was seriously noticed in a botanical

A distinct conception of sex as applied to plants, had not long emerged
from the mists of profitless discussion and feeble experiment, at the time
when my father began botany by attending Henslow's lectures at Cambridge.

When the belief in the sexuality of plants had become established as an
incontrovertible piece of knowledge, a weight of misconception remained,
weighing down any rational view of the subject. Camerarius (Sachs,
'Geschichte,' page 419.) believed (naturally enough in his day) that
hermaphrodite flowers are necessarily self-fertilised. He had the wit to
be astonished at this, a degree of intelligence which, as Sachs points out,
the majority of his successors did not attain to.

The following extracts from a note-book show that this point occurred to my
father as early as 1837:--

"Do not plants which have male and female organs together [i.e. in the same
flower] yet receive influence from other plants? Does not Lyell give some
argument about varieties being difficult to keep [true] on account of
pollen from other plants? Because this may be applied to show all plants
do receive intermixture."

Sprengel (Christian Conrad Sprengel, 1750-1816.), indeed, understood that
the hermaphrodite structure of flowers by no means necessarily leads to
self-fertilisation. But although he discovered that in many cases pollen
is of necessity carried to the stigma of another FLOWER, he did not
understand that in the advantage gained by the intercrossing of distinct
PLANTS lies the key to the whole question. Hermann Muller has well
remarked that this "omission was for several generations fatal to
Sprengel's work...For both at the time and subsequently, botanists felt
above all the weakness of his theory, and they set aside, along with his
defective ideas, his rich store of patient and acute observations and his
comprehensive and accurate interpretations." It remained for my father to
convince the world that the meaning hidden in the structure of flowers was
to be found by seeking light in the same direction in which Sprengel,
seventy years before, had laboured. Robert Brown was the connecting link
between them, for it was at his recommendation that my father in 1841 read
Sprengel's now celebrated 'Secret of Nature Displayed.' ('Das entdeckte
Geheimniss der Natur im Baue und in der Befruchtung der Blumen.' Berlin,
1793.) The book impressed him as being "full of truth," although "with
some little nonsense." It not only encouraged him in kindred speculation,
but guided him in his work, for in 1844 he speaks of verifying Sprengel's
observations. It may be doubted whether Robert Brown ever planted a more
beautiful seed than in putting such a book into such hands.

A passage in the 'Autobiography' (volume i.) shows how it was that my
father was attracted to the subject of fertilisation: "During the summer
of 1839, and I believe during the previous summer, I was led to attend to
the cross-fertilisation of flowers by the aid of insects, from having come
to the conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, that
crossing played an important part in keeping specific forms constant."

The original connection between the study of flowers and the problem of
evolution is curious, and could hardly have been predicted. Moreover, it
was not a permanent bond. As soon as the idea arose that the offspring of
cross-fertilisation is, in the struggle for life, likely to conquer the
seedlings of self-fertilised parentage, a far more vigorous belief in the
potency of natural selection in moulding the structure of flowers is
attained. A central idea is gained towards which experiment and
observation may be directed.

Dr. Gray has well remarked with regard to this central idea ('Nature,' June
4, 1874):--"The aphorism, 'Nature abhors a vacuum,' is a characteristic
specimen of the science of the middle ages. The aphorism, Nature abhors
close fertilisation,' and the demonstration of the principle, belong to our
age and to Mr. Darwin. To have originated this, and also the principle of
Natural Selection...and to have applied these principles to the system of
nature, in such a manner as to make, within a dozen years, a deeper
impression upon natural history than has been made since Linnaeus, is ample
title for one man's fame."

The flowers of the Papilionaceae attracted his attention early, and were
the subject of his first paper on fertilisation. ("Gardeners' Chronicle",
1857, page 725. It appears that this paper was a piece of "over-time"
work. He wrote to a friend, "that confounded leguminous paper was done in
the afternoon, and the consequence was I had to go to Moor Park for a
week.") The following extract from an undated letter to Dr. Asa Gray seems
to have been written before the publication of this paper, probably in 1856
or 1857:--

"...What you say on Papilionaceous flowers is very true; and I have no
facts to show that varieties are crossed; but yet (and the same remark is
applicable in a beautiful way to Fumaria and Dielytra, as I noticed many
years ago), I must believe that the flowers are constructed partly in
direct relation to the visits of insects; and how insects can avoid
bringing pollen from other individuals I cannot understand. It is really
pretty to watch the action of a Humble-bee on the scarlet kidney bean, and
in this genus (and in Lathyrus grandiflorus) the honey is so placed that
the bee invariably alights on that ONE side of the flower towards which the
spiral pistil is protruded (bringing out with it pollen), and by the
depression of the wing-petal is forced against the bee's side all dusted
with pollen. (If you will look at a bed of scarlet kidney beans you will
find that the wing-petals on the LEFT side alone are all scratched by the
tarsi of the bees. [Note in the original letter by C. Darwin.]) In the
broom the pistil is rubbed on the centre of the back of the bee. I suspect
there is something to be made out about the Leguminosae, which will bring
the case within OUR theory; though I have failed to do so. Our theory will
explain why in the vegetable and animal kingdom the act of fertilisation
even in hermaphrodites usually takes place sub-jove, though thus exposed to
GREAT injury from damp and rain. In animals which cannot be [fertilised]
by insects or wind, there is NO CASE of LAND-animals being hermaphrodite
without the concourse of two individuals."

A letter to Dr. Asa Gray (September 5th, 1857) gives the substance of the
paper in the "Gardeners' Chronicle":--

"Lately I was led to examine buds of kidney bean with the pollen shed; but
I was led to believe that the pollen could HARDLY get on the stigma by wind
or otherwise, except by bees visiting [the flower] and moving the wing
petals: hence I included a small bunch of flowers in two bottles in every
way treated the same: the flowers in one I daily just momentarily moved,
as if by a bee; these set three fine pods, the other NOT ONE. Of course
this little experiment must be tried again, and this year in England it is
too late, as the flowers seem now seldom to set. If bees are necessary to
this flower's self-fertilisation, bees must almost cross them, as their
dusted right-side of head and right legs constantly touch the stigma.

"I have, also, lately been re-observing daily Lobelia fulgens--this in my
garden is never visited by insects, and never sets seeds, without pollen be
put on the stigma (whereas the small blue Lobelia is visited by bees and
does set seed); I mention this because there are such beautiful
contrivances to prevent the stigma ever getting its own pollen; which seems
only explicable on the doctrine of the advantage of crosses."

The paper was supplemented by a second in 1858. ("Gardeners' Chronicle",
1858, page 828. In 1861 another paper on Fertilisation appeared in the
"Gardeners' Chronicle", page 552, in which he explained the action of
insects on Vinca major. He was attracted to the periwinkle by the fact
that it is not visited by insects and never set seeds.) The chief object
of these publications seems to have been to obtain information as to the
possibility of growing varieties of leguminous plants near each other, and
yet keeping them true. It is curious that the Papilionaceae should not
only have been the first flowers which attracted his attention by their
obvious adaptation to the visits of insects, but should also have
constituted one of his sorest puzzles. The common pea and the sweet pea
gave him much difficulty, because, although they are as obviously fitted
for insect-visits as the rest of the order, yet their varieties keep true.
The fact is that neither of these plants being indigenous, they are not
perfectly adapted for fertilisation by British insects. He could not, at
this stage of his observations, know that the co-ordination between a
flower and the particular insect which fertilises it may be as delicate as
that between a lock and its key, so that this explanation was not likely to
occur to him. (He was of course alive to variety in the habits of insects.
He published a short note in the "Entomologists Weekly Intelligencer",
1860, asking whether the Tineina and other small moths suck flowers.)

Besides observing the Leguminosae, he had already begun, as shown in the
foregoing extracts, to attend to the structure of other flowers in relation
to insects. At the beginning of 1860 he worked at Leschenaultia (He
published a short paper on the manner of fertilisation of this flower, in
the "Gardeners' Chronicle", 1871, page 1166.), which at first puzzled him,
but was ultimately made out. A passage in a letter chiefly relating to
Leschenaultia seems to show that it was only in the spring of 1860 that he
began widely to apply his knowledge to the relation of insects to other
flowers. This is somewhat surprising, when we remember that he had read
Sprengel many years before. He wrote (May 14):--

"I should look at this curious contrivance as specially related to visits
of insects; as I begin to think is almost universally the case."

Even in July 1862 he wrote to Dr. Asa Gray:--

"There is no end to the adaptations. Ought not these cases to make one
very cautious when one doubts about the use of all parts? I fully believe
that the structure of all irregular flowers is governed in relation to
insects. Insects are the Lords of the floral (to quote the witty
"Athenaeum") world."

He was probably attracted to the study of Orchids by the fact that several
kinds are common near Down. The letters of 1860 show that these plants
occupied a good deal of his attention; and in 1861 he gave part of the
summer and all the autumn to the subject. He evidently considered himself
idle for wasting time on Orchids, which ought to have been given to
'Variation under Domestication.' Thus he wrote:--

"There is to me incomparably more interest in observing than in writing;
but I feel quite guilty in trespassing on these subjects, and not sticking
to varieties of the confounded cocks, hens and ducks. I hear that Lyell is
savage at me. I shall never resist Linum next summer."

It was in the summer of 1860 that he made out one of the most striking and
familiar facts in the book, namely, the manner in which the pollen masses
in Orchis are adapted for removal by insects. He wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker
July 12:--

"I have been examining Orchis pyramidalis, and it almost equals, perhaps
even beats, your Listera case; the sticky glands are congenitally united
into a saddle-shaped organ, which has great power of movement, and seizes
hold of a bristle (or proboscis) in an admirable manner, and then another
movement takes place in the pollen masses, by which they are beautifully
adapted to leave pollen on the two LATERAL stigmatic surfaces. I never saw
anything so beautiful."

In June of the same year he wrote:--

"You speak of adaptation being rarely VISIBLE, though present in plants. I
have just recently been looking at the common Orchis, and I declare I think
its adaptations in every part of the flower quite as beautiful and plain,
or even more beautiful than in the Woodpecker. I have written and sent a
notice for the "Gardeners' Chronicle" (June 9, 1860. This seems to have
attracted some attention, especially among entomologists, as it was
reprinted in the "Entomologists Weekly Intelligencer", 1860.), on a curious
difficulty in the Bee Orchis, and should much like to hear what you think
of the case. In this article I have incidentally touched on adaptation to
visits of insects; but the contrivance to keep the sticky glands fresh and
sticky beats almost everything in nature. I never remember having seen it
described, but it must have been, and, as I ought not in my book to give
the observation as my own, I should be very glad to know where this
beautiful contrivance is described."

He wrote also to Dr. Gray, June 8, 1860:--

"Talking of adaptation, I have lately been looking at our common orchids,
and I dare say the facts are as old and well-known as the hills, but I have
been so struck with admiration at the contrivances, that I have sent a
notice to the "Gardeners' Chronicle". The Ophrys apifera, offers, as you
will see, a curious contradiction in structure."

Besides attending to the fertilisation of the flowers he was already, in
1860, busy with the homologies of the parts, a subject of which he made
good use in the Orchid book. He wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker (July):--

"It is a real good joke my discussing homologies of Orchids with you, after
examining only three or four genera; and this very fact makes me feel
positive I am right! I do not quite understand some of your terms; but
sometime I must get you to explain the homologies; for I am intensely
interested on the subject, just as at a game of chess."

This work was valuable from a systematic point of view. In 1880 he wrote
to Mr. Bentham:--

"It was very kind in you to write to me about the Orchideae, for it has
pleased me to an extreme degree that I could have been of the LEAST use to
you about the nature of the parts."

The pleasure which his early observations on Orchids gave him is shown in
such extracts as the following from a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker (July 27,

"You cannot conceive how the Orchids have delighted me. They came safe,
but box rather smashed; cylindrical old cocoa- or snuff-canister much
safer. I enclose postage. As an account of the movement, I shall allude
to what I suppose is Oncidium, to make CERTAIN,--is the enclosed flower
with crumpled petals this genus? Also I most specially want to know what
the enclosed little globular brown Orchid is. I have only seen pollen of a
Cattleya on a bee, but surely have you not unintentionally sent me what I
wanted most (after Catasetum or Mormodes), viz. one of the Epidendreae?! I
PARTICULARLY want (and will presently tell you why) another spike of this
little Orchid, with older flowers, some even almost withered."

His delight in observation is again shown in a letter to Dr. Gray (1863).
referring to Cruger's letters from Trinidad, he wrote:--"Happy man, he has
actually seen crowds of bees flying round Catasetum, with the pollinia
sticking to their backs!"

The following extracts of letters to Sir J.D. Hooker illustrate further the
interest which his work excited in him:--

"Veitch sent me a grand lot this morning. What wonderful structures!

"I have now seen enough, and you must not send me more, for though I enjoy
looking at them MUCH, and it has been very useful to me, seeing so many
different forms, it is idleness. For my object each species requires
studying for days. I wish you had time to take up the group. I would give
a good deal to know what the rostellum is, of which I have traced so many
curious modifications. I suppose it cannot be one of the stigmas (It is a
modification of the upper stigma.), there seems a great tendency for two
lateral stigmas to appear. My paper, though touching on only subordinate
points will run, I fear, to 100 MS. folio pages! The beauty of the
adaptation of parts seems to me unparalleled. I should think or guess waxy
pollen was most differentiated. In Cypripedium which seems least modified,
and a much exterminated group, the grains are single. In ALL OTHERS, as
far as I have seen, they are in packets of four; and these packets cohere
into many wedge-formed masses in Orchis; into eight, four, and finally two.
It seems curious that a flower should exist, which could AT MOST fertilise
only two other flowers, seeing how abundant pollen generally is; this fact
I look at as explaining the perfection of the contrivance by which the
pollen, so important from its fewness, is carried from flower to flower"

"I was thinking of writing to you to-day, when your note with the Orchids
came. What frightful trouble you have taken about Vanilla; you really must
not take an atom more; for the Orchids are more play than real work. I
have been much interested by Epidendrum, and have worked all morning at
them; for heaven's sake, do not corrupt me by any more" (August 30, 1861).

He originally intended to publish his notes on Orchids as a paper in the
Linnean Society's Journal, but it soon became evident that a separate
volume would be a more suitable form of publication. In a letter to Sir
J.D. Hooker, September 24, 1861, he writes:--

"I have been acting, I fear that you will think, like a goose; and perhaps
in truth I have. When I finished a few days ago my Orchis paper, which
turns out 140 folio pages!! and thought of the expense of woodcuts, I said
to myself, I will offer the Linnean Society to withdraw it, and publish it
in a pamphlet. It then flashed on me that perhaps Murray would publish it,
so I gave him a cautious description, and offered to share risks and
profits. This morning he writes that he will publish and take all risks,
and share profits and pay for all illustrations. It is a risk, and heaven
knows whether it will not be a dead failure, but I have not deceived
Murray, and [have] told him that it would interest those alone who cared
much for natural history. I hope I do not exaggerate the curiosity of the
many special contrivances."

He wrote the two following letters to Mr. Murray about the publication of
the book:]

Down, September 21 [1861].

My dear Sir,

Will you have the kindness to give me your opinion, which I shall
implicitly follow. I have just finished a very long paper intended for
Linnean Society (the title is enclosed), and yesterday for the first time
it occurred to me that POSSIBLY it might be worth publishing separately
which would save me trouble and delay. The facts are new, and have been
collected during twenty years and strike me as curious. Like a Bridgewater
treatise, the chief object is to show the perfection of the many
contrivances in Orchids. The subject of propagation is interesting to most
people, and is treated in my paper so that any woman could read it. Parts
are dry and purely scientific; but I think my paper would interest a good
many of such persons who care for Natural History, but no others.

...It would be a very little book, and I believe you think very little
books objectionable. I have myself GREAT doubts on the subject. I am very
apt to think that my geese are swans; but the subject seems to me curious
and interesting.

I beg you not to be guided in the least in order to oblige me, but as far
as you can judge, please give me your opinion. If I were to publish
separately, I would agree to any terms, such as half risk and half profit,
or what you liked; but I would not publish on my sole risk, for to be
frank, I have been told that no publisher whatever, under such
circumstances, cares for the success of a book.

Down, September 24 [1861].

My dear Sir,

I am very much obliged for your note and very liberal offer. I have had
some qualms and fears. All that I can feel sure of is that the MS.
contains many new and curious facts, and I am sure the Essay would have
interested me, and will interest those who feel lively interest in the
wonders of nature; but how far the public will care for such minute
details, I cannot at all tell. It is a bold experiment; and at worst,
cannot entail much loss; as a certain amount of sale will, I think, be
pretty certain. A large sale is out of the question. As far as I can
judge, generally the points which interest me I find interest others; but I
make the experiment with fear and trembling,--not for my own sake, but for

[On September 28th he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"What a good soul you are not to sneer at me, but to pat me on the back. I
have the greatest doubt whether I am not going to do, in publishing my
paper, a most ridiculous thing. It would annoy me much, but only for
Murray's sake, if the publication were a dead failure."

There was still much work to be done, and in October he was still receiving
Orchids from Kew, and wrote to Hooker:--

"It is impossible to thank you enough. I was almost mad at the wealth of
Orchids." And again--

"Mr. Veitch most generously has sent me two splendid buds of Mormodes,
which will be capital for dissection, but I fear will never be irritable;
so for the sake of charity and love of heaven do, I beseech you, observe
what movement takes place in Cychnoches, and what part must be touched.
Mr. V. has also sent me one splendid flower of Catasetum, the most
wonderful Orchid I have seen."

On October 13th he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker:--

"It seems that I cannot exhaust your good nature. I have had the hardest
day's work at Catasetum and buds of Mormodes, and believe I understand at
last the mechanism of movements and the functions. Catasetum is a
beautiful case of slight modification of structure leading to new
functions. I never was more interested in any subject in my life than in
this of Orchids. I owe very much to you."

Again to the same friend, November 1, 1861:--

"If you really can spare another Catasetum, when nearly ready, I shall be
most grateful; had I not better send for it? The case is truly marvellous;
the (so-called) sensation, or stimulus from a light touch is certainly
transmitted through the antennae for more than one inch INSTANTANEOUSLY...A
cursed insect or something let my last flower off last night."

Professor de Candolle has remarked ('Darwin considere, etc.,' 'Archives des
Sciences Physiques et Naturelles,' 3eme periode. Tome vii. 481, 1882
(May).) of my father, "Ce n'est pas lui qui aurait demande de construire
des palais pour y loger des laboratoires." This was singularly true of his
orchid work, or rather it would be nearer the truth to say that he had no
laboratory, for it was only after the publication of the 'Fertilisation of
Orchids,' that he built himself a greenhouse. He wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker
(December 24th, 1862):--

"And now I am going to tell you a MOST important piece of news!! I have
almost resolved to build a small hot-house; my neighbour's really first-
rate gardener has suggested it, and offered to make me plans, and see that
it is well done, and he is really a clever fellow, who wins lots of prizes,
and is very observant. He believes that we should succeed with a little
patience; it will be a grand amusement for me to experiment with plants."

Again he wrote (February 15th, 1863):--

"I write now because the new hot-house is ready, and I long to stock it,
just like a schoolboy. Could you tell me pretty soon what plants you can
give me; and then I shall know what to order? And do advise me how I had
better get such plants as you can SPARE. Would it do to send my tax-cart
early in the morning, on a day that was not frosty, lining the cart with
mats, and arriving here before night? I have no idea whether this degree
of exposure (and of course the cart would be cold) could injure stove-
plants; they would be about five hours (with bait) on the journey home."

A week later he wrote:--

"you cannot imagine what pleasure your plants give me (far more than your
dead Wedgwood ware can give you); and I go and gloat over them, but we
privately confessed to each other, that if they were not our own, perhaps
we should not see such transcendent beauty in each leaf."

And in March, when he was extremely unwell he wrote:--

"A few words about the Stove-plants; they do so amuse me. I have crawled
to see them two or three times. Will you correct and answer, and return
enclosed. I have hunted in all my books and cannot find these names (His
difficulty with regard to the names of plants is illustrated, with regard
to a Lupine on which he was at work, in an extract from a letter (July 21,
1866) to Sir J.D. Hooker: "I sent to the nursery garden, whence I bought
the seed, and could only hear that it was 'the common blue Lupine,' the man
saying 'he was no scholard, and did not know Latin, and that parties who
make experiments ought to find out the names.'"), and I like much to know
the family."

The book was published May 15th, 1862. Of its reception he writes to
Murray, June 13th and 18th:--

"The Botanists praise my Orchid-book to the skies. Some one sent me
(perhaps you) the 'Parthenon,' with a good review. The "Athenaeum" (May
24, 1862.) treats me with very kind pity and contempt; but the reviewer
knew nothing of his subject."

"There is a superb, but I fear exaggerated, review in the 'London Review,'
(June 14, 1862.) But I have not been a fool, as I thought I was, to
publish (Doubts on this point still, however, occurred to him about this
time. He wrote to Prof. Oliver (June 8): "I am glad that you have read my
Orchis-book and seem to approve of it; for I never published anything which
I so much doubted whether it was worth publishing, and indeed I still
doubt. The subject interested me beyond what, I suppose, it is worth.");
for Asa Gray, about the most competent judge in the world, thinks almost as
highly of the book as does the 'London Review.' The "Athenaeum" will
hinder the sale greatly."

The Rev. M.J. Berkeley was the author of the notice in the 'London Review,'
as my father learned from Sir J.D. Hooker, who added, 'I thought it very
well done indeed. I have read a good deal of the Orchid-book, and echo all
he says."

To this my father replied (June 30th, 1862):--

"My dear Old Friend,

You speak of my warming the cockles of your heart, but you will never know
how often you have warmed mine. It is not your approbation of my
scientific work (though I care for that more than for any one's): it is
something deeper. To this day I remember keenly a letter you wrote to me
from Oxford, when I was at the Water-cure, and how it cheered me when I was
utterly weary of life. Well, my Orchis-book is a success (but I do not
know whether it sells.)"

In another letter to the same friend, he wrote:--

"You have pleased me much by what you say in regard to Bentham and Oliver
approving of my book; for I had got a sort of nervousness, and doubted
whether I had not made an egregious fool of myself, and concocted pleasant
little stinging remarks for reviews, such as 'Mr. Darwin's head seems to
have been turned by a certain degree of success, and he thinks that the
most trifling observations are worth publication.'"

Mr. Bentham's approval was given in his Presidential Address to the Linnean
Society, May 24, 1862, and was all the more valuable because it came from
one who was by no means supposed to be favourable to evolutionary

Down, June 10 [1862].

My dear Gray,

Your generous sympathy makes you overestimate what you have read of my
Orchid-book. But your letter of May 18th and 26th has given me an almost
foolish amount of satisfaction. The subject interested me, I knew, beyond
its real value; but I had lately got to think that I had made myself a
complete fool by publishing in a semi-popular form. Now I shall
confidently defy the world. I have heard that Bentham and Oliver approve
of it; but I have heard the opinion of no one else whose opinion is worth a
farthing...No doubt my volume contains much error: how curiously difficult
it is to be accurate, though I try my utmost. Your notes have interested
me beyond measure. I can now afford to d-- my critics with ineffable
complacency of mind. Cordial thanks for this benefit. It is surprising to
me that you should have strength of mind to care for science, amidst the
awful events daily occurring in your country. I daily look at the "Times"
with almost as much interest as an American could do. When will peace
come? it is dreadful to think of the desolation of large parts of your
magnificent country; and all the speechless misery suffered by many. I
hope and think it not unlikely that we English are wrong in concluding that
it will take a long time for prosperity to return to you. It is an awful
subject to reflect on...

[Dr. Asa Gray reviewed the book in 'Silliman's Journal' ('Silliman's
Journal,' volume xxiv. page 138. Here is given an account of the
fertilisation of Platanthera Hookeri. P. hyperborea is discussed in Dr.
Gray's 'Enumeration' in the same volume, page 259; also, with other
species, in a second notice of the Orchid-book at page 420.), where he
speaks, in strong terms, of the fascination which it must have for even
slightly instructed readers. He made, too, some original observations on
an American orchid, and these first-fruits of the subject, sent in MS. or
proof sheet to my father, were welcomed by him in a letter (July 23rd):--

"Last night, after writing the above, I read the great bundle of notes.
Little did I think what I had to read. What admirable observations! You
have distanced me on my own hobby-horse! I have not had for weeks such a
glow of pleasure as your observations gave me."

The next letter refers to the publication of the review:]

Down, July 28 [1862].

My dear Gray,

I hardly know what to thank for first. Your stamps gave infinite
satisfaction. I took him (One of his boys who was ill.) first one lot, and
then an hour afterwards another lot. He actually raised himself on one
elbow to look at them. It was the first animation he showed. He said
only: "You must thank Professor Gray awfully." In the evening after a
long silence, there came out the oracular sentence: "He is awfully kind."
And indeed you are, overworked as you are, to take so much trouble for our
poor dear little man.--And now I must begin the "awfullys" on my own
account: what a capital notice you have published on the orchids! It
could not have been better; but I fear that you overrate it. I am very
sure that I had not the least idea that you or any one would approve of it
so much. I return your last note for the chance of your publishing any
notice on the subject; but after all perhaps you may not think it worth
while; yet in my judgment SEVERAL of your facts, especially Platanthera
hyperborea, are MUCH too good to be merged in a review. But I have always
noticed that you are prodigal in originality in your reviews...

[Sir Joseph Hooker reviewed the book in the "Gardeners' Chronicle", writing
in a successful imitation of the style of Lindley, the Editor. My father
wrote to Sir Joseph (November 12, 1862):--

"So you did write the review in the "Gardeners' Chronicle". Once or twice
I doubted whether it was Lindley; but when I came to a little slap at R.
Brown, I doubted no longer. You arch-rogue! I do not wonder you have
deceived others also. Perhaps I am a conceited dog; but if so, you have
much to answer for; I never received so much praise, and coming from you I
value it much more than from any other."

With regard to botanical opinion generally, he wrote to Dr. Gray, "I am
fairly astonished at the success of my book with botanists." Among
naturalists who were not botanists, Lyell was pre-eminent in his
appreciation of the book. I have no means of knowing when he read it, but
in later life, as I learn from Professor Judd, he was enthusiastic in
praise of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' which he considered "next to the
'Origin,' as the most valuable of all Darwin's works." Among the general
public the author did not at first hear of many disciples, thus he wrote to
his cousin Fox in September 1862: "Hardly any one not a botanist, except
yourself, as far as I know, has cared for it."

A favourable notice appeared in the "Saturday Review", October 18th, 1862;
the reviewer points out that the book would escape the angry polemics
aroused by the 'Origin.' (Dr. Gray pointed out that if the Orchid-book
(with a few trifling omissions) had appeared before the 'Origin,' the
author would have been canonised rather than anathematised by the natural
theologians.) This is illustrated by a review in the "Literary Churchman",
in which only one fault found, namely, that Mr. Darwin's expression of
admiration at the contrivances in orchids is too indirect a way of saying,
"O Lord, how manifold are Thy works!"

A somewhat similar criticism occurs in the 'Edinburgh Review' (October
1862). The writer points out that Mr. Darwin constantly uses phrases, such
as "beautiful contrivance," "the labellum is...IN ORDER TO attract," "the
nectar is PURPOSELY lodged." The Reviewer concludes his discussion thus:
"We know, too that these purposes and ideas are not our own, but the ideas
and purposes of Another."

The 'Edinburgh' reviewer's treatment of this subject was criticised in the
"Saturday Review", November 15th, 1862: With reference to this article my
father wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker (December 29th, 1862):--

"Here is an odd chance; my nephew Henry Parker, an Oxford Classic, and
Fellow of Oriel, came here this evening; and I asked him whether he knew
who had written the little article in the "Saturday", smashing the
[Edinburgh reviewer], which we liked; and after a little hesitation he
owned he had. I never knew that he wrote in the "Saturday"; and was it not
an odd chance?"

The 'Edinburgh' article was written by the Duke of Argyll, and has since
been made use of in his 'Reign of Law,' 1867. Mr. Wallace replied
('Quarterly Journal of Science,' October 1867. Republished in 'Natural
Selection,' 1871.) to the Duke's criticisms, making some specially good
remarks on those which refer to orchids. He shows how, by a "beautiful
self-acting adjustment," the nectary of the orchid Angraecum (from 10 to 14
inches in length), and the proboscis of a moth sufficiently long to reach
the nectar, might be developed by natural selection. He goes on to point
out that on any other theory we must suppose that the flower was created
with an enormously long nectary, and that then by a special act, an insect
was created fitted to visit the flower, which would otherwise remain
sterile. With regard to this point my father wrote (October 12 or 13,

"I forgot to remark how capitally you turn the tables on the Duke, when you
make him create the Angraecum and Moth by special creation."

If we examine the literature relating to the fertilisation of flowers, we
do not find that this new branch of study showed any great activity
immediately after the publication of the Orchid-book. There are a few
papers by Asa Gray, in 1862 and 1863, by Hildebrand in 1864, and by
Moggridge in 1865, but the great mass of work by Axell, Delpino,
Hildebrand, and the Mullers, did not begin to appear until about 1867. The
period during which the new views were being assimilated, and before they
became thoroughly fruitful, was, however, surprisingly short. The later
activity in this department may be roughly gauged by the fact that the
valuable 'Bibliography,' given by Prof. D'Arcy Thompson in his translation
of Muller's 'Befruchtung' (1883), contains references to 814 papers.

Besides the book on Orchids, my father wrote two or three papers on the
subject, which will be found mentioned in the Appendix. The earliest of
these, on the three sexual forms of Catasetum, was published in 1862; it is
an anticipation of part of the Orchid-book, and was merely published in the
Linnean Society's Journal, in acknowledgment of the use made of a specimen
in the Society's possession. The possibility of apparently distinct
species being merely sexual forms of a single species, suggested a
characteristic experiment, which is alluded to in the following letter to
one of his earliest disciples in the study of the fertilisation of

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. TRAHERNE MOGGRIDGE. (The late Mr. Moggridge, author
of 'Harvesting Ants and Trap-door Spiders,' 'Flora of Mentone,' etc.)
Down, October 13 [1865].

My dear Sir,

I am especially obliged to you for your beautiful plates and letter-press;
for no single point in natural history interests and perplexes me so much
as the self-fertilisation (He once remarked to Dr. Norman Moore that one of
the things that made him wish to live a few thousand years, was his desire
to see the extinction of the Bee-orchis,--an end to which he believed its
self-fertilising habit was leading.) of the Bee-orchis. You have already
thrown some light on the subject, and your present observations promise to
throw more.

I formed two conjectures: first, that some insect during certain seasons
might cross the plants, but I have almost given up this; nevertheless, pray
have a look at the flowers next season. Secondly, I conjectured that the
Spider and Bee-orchis might be a crossing and self-fertile form of the same
species. Accordingly I wrote some years ago to an acquaintance, asking him
to mark some Spider-orchids, and observe whether they retained the same
character; but he evidently thought the request as foolish as if I had
asked him to mark one of his cows with a ribbon, to see if it would turn
next spring into a horse. Now will you be so kind as to tie a string round
the stem of a half-a-dozen Spider-orchids, and when you leave Mentone dig
them up, and I would try and cultivate them and see if they kept constant;
but I should require to know in what sort of soil and situations they grow.
It would be indispensable to mark the plant so that there could be no
mistake about the individual. It is also just possible that the same plant
would throw up, at different seasons different flower-scapes, and the
marked plants would serve as evidence.

With many thanks, my dear sir,
Yours sincerely,

P.S.--I send by this post my paper on climbing plants, parts of which you
might like to read.

[Sir Thomas Farrer and Dr. W. Ogle were also guided and encouraged by my
father in their observations. The following refers to a paper by Sir
Thomas Farrer, in the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' 1868, on
the fertilisation of the Scarlet Runner:]

Down, September 15, 1868.

My dear Mr. Farrer,

I grieve to say that the MAIN features of your case are known. I am the
sinner and described them some ten years ago. But I overlooked many
details, as the appendage to the single stamen, and several other points.
I send my notes, but I must beg for their return, as I have NO OTHER COPY.
I quite agree, the facts are most striking, especially as you put them.
Are you sure that the Hive-bee is the cutter? it is against my experience.
If sure, make the point more prominent, or if not sure, erase it. I do not
think the subject is quite new enough for the Linnean Society; but I dare
say the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' or "Gardeners' Chronicle"
would gladly publish your observations, and it is a great pity they should
be lost. If you like I would send your paper to either quarter with a
note. In this case you must give a title, and your name, and perhaps it
would be well to premise your remarks with a line of reference to my paper
stating that you had observed independently and more fully.

I have read my own paper over after an interval of several years, and am
amused at the caution with which I put the case that the final end was for
crossing distinct individuals, of which I was then as fully convinced as
now, but I knew that the doctrine would shock all botanists. Now the
opinion is becoming familiar.

To see penetration of pollen-tubes is not difficult, but in most cases
requires some practice with dissecting under a one-tenth of an inch focal
distance single lens; and just at first this will seem to you extremely

What a capital observer you are--a first-rate Naturalist has been
sacrificed, or partly sacrificed to Public life.

Believe me, yours very sincerely,

P.S.--If you come across any large Salvia, look at it--the contrivance is
admirable. It went to my heart to tell a man who came here a few weeks ago
with splendid drawings and MS. on Salvia, that the work had been all done
in Germany. (Dr. W. Ogle, the observer of the fertilisation of Salvia here
alluded to, published his results in the 'Pop. Science Review,' 1869. He
refers both gracefully and gratefully to his relationship with my father in
the introduction to his translation of Kerner's 'Flowers and their Unbidden

[The following extract is from a letter, November 26th, 1868, to Sir Thomas
Farrer, written as I learn from him, "in answer to a request for some
advice as to the best modes of observation."

"In my opinion the best plan is to go on working and making copious notes,
without much thought of publication, and then if the results turn out
striking publish them. It is my impression, but I do not feel sure that I
am right, that the best and most novel plan would be, instead of describing
the means of fertilisation in particular plants, to investigate the part
which certain structures play with all plants or throughout certain orders;
for instance, the brush of hairs on the style, or the diadelphous condition
of the stamens, in the Leguminosae, or the hairs within the corolla, etc.
etc. Looking to your note, I think that this is perhaps the plan which you

"It is well to remember that Naturalists value observations far more than
reasoning; therefore your conclusions should be as often as possible
fortified by noticing how insects actually do the work."

In 1869, Sir Thomas Farrer corresponded with my father on the fertilisation
of Passiflora and of Tacsonia. He has given me his impressions of the

"I had suggested that the elaborate series of chevaux-de-frise, by which
the nectary of the common Passiflora is guarded, were specially calculated
to protect the flower from the stiff-beaked humming birds which would not
fertilise it, and to facilitate the access of the little proboscis of the
humble bee, which would do so; whilst, on the other hand, the long pendent
tube and flexible valve-like corona which retains the nectar of Tacsonia
would shut out the bee, which would not, and admit the humming bird which
would, fertilise that flower. The suggestion is very possibly worthless,
and could only be verified or refuted by examination of flowers in the
countries where they grow naturally...What interested me was to see that on
this as on almost any other point of detailed observation, Mr. Darwin could
always say, 'Yes; but at one time I made some observations myself on this
particular point; and I think you will find, etc. etc.' That he should
after years of interval remember that he had noticed the peculiar structure
to which I was referring in the Passiflora princeps struck me at the time
as very remarkable."

With regard to the spread of a belief in the adaptation of flowers for
cross-fertilisation, my father wrote to Mr. Bentham April 22, 1868:

"Most of the criticisms which I sometimes meet with in French works against
the frequency of crossing, I am certain are the result of mere ignorance.
I have never hitherto found the rule to fail that when an author describes
the structure of a flower as specially adapted for self-fertilisation, it
is really adapted for crossing. The Fumariaceae offer a good instance of
this, and Treviranus threw this order in my teeth; but in Corydalis,
Hildebrand shows how utterly false the idea of self-fertilisation is. This
author's paper on Salvia is really worth reading, and I have observed some
species, and know that he is accurate."

The next letter refers to Professor Hildebrand's paper on Corydalis,
published in the 'Proc. Internat. Hort. Congress,' London, 1866, and in
Pringsheim's 'Jahrbucher,' volume v. The memoir on Salvia alluded to is
contained in the previous volume of the same Journal:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. HILDEBRAND. (Professor of Botany at Freiburg.)
Down, May 16 [1866].

My dear Sir,

The state of my health prevents my attending the Hort. Congress; but I
forwarded yesterday your paper to the secretary, and if they are not
overwhelmed with papers, yours will be gladly received. I have made many
observations on the Fumariaceae, and convinced myself that they were
adapted for insect agency; but I never observed anything nearly so curious
as your most interesting facts. I hope you will repeat your experiments on
the Corydalis on a larger scale, and especially on several distinct plants;
for your plant might have been individually peculiar, like certain
individual plants of Lobelia, etc., described by Gartner, and of Passiflora
and Orchids described by Mr. Scott...

Since writing to you before, I have read your admirable memoir on Salvia,
and it has interested me almost as much as when I first investigated the
structure of Orchids. Your paper illustrates several points in my 'Origin
of Species,' especially the transition of organs. Knowing only two or
three species in the genus, I had often marvelled how one cell of the
anther could have been transformed into the movable plate or spoon; and how
well you show the gradations; but I am surprised that you did not more
strongly insist on this point.

I shall be still more surprised if you do not ultimately come to the same
belief with me, as shown by so many beautiful contrivances, that all plants
require, from some unknown cause, to be occasionally fertilized by pollen
from a distinct individual. With sincere respect, believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

[The following letter refers to the late Hermann Muller's 'Befruchtung der
Blumen,' by far the most valuable of the mass of literature originating in
the 'Fertilisation of Orchids.' An English translation, by Prof. D'Arcy
Thompson was published in 1883. My father's "Prefatory Notice" to this
work is dated February 6, 1882, and is therefore almost the last of his

Down, May 5, 1873.

My dear Sir,

Owing to all sorts of interruptions and to my reading German so slowly, I
have read only to page 88 of your book; but I must have the pleasure of
telling you how very valuable a work it appears to me. Independently of
the many original observations, which of course form the most important
part, the work will be of the highest use as a means of reference to all
that has been done on the subject. I am fairly astonished at the number of
species of insects, the visits of which to different flowers you have
recorded. You must have worked in the most indefatigable manner. About
half a year ago the editor of 'Nature' suggested that it would be a grand
undertaking if a number of naturalists were to do what you have already
done on so large a scale with respect to the visits of insects. I have
been particularly glad to read your historical sketch, for I had never
before seen all the references put together. I have sometimes feared that
I was in error when I said that C.K. Sprengel did not fully perceive that
cross-fertilisation was the final end of the structure of flowers; but now
this fear is relieved, and it is a great satisfaction to me to believe that
I have aided in making his excellent book more generally known. Nothing
has surprised me more than to see in your historical sketch how much I
myself have done on the subject, as it never before occurred to me to think
of all my papers as a whole. But I do not doubt that your generous
appreciation of the labours of others has led you to over-estimate what I
have done. With very sincere thanks and respect, believe me,

Yours faithfully,

P.S.--I have mentioned your book to almost every one who, as far as I know,
cares for the subject in England; and I have ordered a copy to be send to
our Royal Society.

[The next letter, to Dr. Behrens, refers to the same subject as the last:]

Down, August 29 [1878].

Dear Sir,

I am very much obliged to you for having sent me your 'Geschichte der
Bestaubungs-Theorie' (Progr. der K. Gewerbschule zu Elberfeld, 1877,
1878.), and which has interested me much. It has put some things in a new
light, and has told me other things which I did not know. I heartily agree
with you in your high appreciation of poor old C. Sprengel's work; and one
regrets bitterly that he did not live to see his labours thus valued. It
rejoices me also to notice how highly you appreciate H. Muller, who has
always seemed to me an admirable observer and reasoner. I am at present
endeavouring to persuade an English publisher to bring out a translation of
his 'Befruchtung.'

Lastly, permit me to thank you for your very generous remarks on my works.
By placing what I have been able to do on this subject in systematic order,
you have made me think more highly of my own work than I ever did before!
Nevertheless, I fear that you have done me more than justice.

I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully and obliged,

[The letter which follows was called forth by Dr. Gray's article in
'Nature,' to which reference has already been made, and which appeared June
4, 1874:]

Down, June 3 [1874].

My dear Gray,

I was rejoiced to see your hand-writing again in your note of the 4th, of
which more anon. I was astonished to see announced about a week ago that
you were going to write in 'Nature' an article on me, and this morning I
received an advance copy. It is the grandest thing ever written about me,
especially as coming from a man like yourself. It has deeply pleased me,
particularly some of your side remarks. It is a wonderful thing to me to
live to see my name coupled in any fashion with that of Robert Brown. But
you are a bold man, for I am sure that you will be sneered at by not a few
botanists. I have never been so honoured before, and I hope it will do me
good and make me try to be as careful as possible; and good heavens, how
difficult accuracy is! I feel a very proud man, but I hope this won't

[Fritz Muller has observed that the flowers of Hedychium are so arranged
that the pollen is removed by the wings of hovering butterflies. My
father's prediction of this observation is given in the following letter:]

Down, August 7, 1876.

...I was much interested by your brother's article on Hedychium; about two
years ago I was so convinced that the flowers were fertilized by the tips
of the wings of large moths, that I wrote to India to ask a man to observe
the flowers and catch the moths at work, and he sent me 20 to 30 Sphinx-
moths, but so badly packed that they all arrived in fragments; and I could
make out nothing...

Yours sincerely,

[The following extract from a letter (February 25, 1864), to Dr. Gray
refers to another prediction fulfilled:--

"I have of course seen no one, and except good dear Hooker, I hear from no
one. He, like a good and true friend, though so overworked, often writes
to me.

"I have had one letter which has interested me greatly, with a paper, which
will appear in the Linnean Journal, by Dr. Cruger of Trinidad, which shows
that I am all right about Catasetum, even to the spot where the pollinia
adhere to the bees, which visit the flower, as I said, to gnaw the
labellum. Cruger's account of Coryanthes and the use of the bucket-like
labellum full of water beats everything: I SUSPECT that the bees being
well wetted flattens their hairs, and allows the viscid disc to adhere."]

Down, December 24, 1877.

My dear Sir,

I thank you sincerely for your long and most interesting letter, which I
should have answered sooner had it not been delayed in London. I had not
heard before that I was to be proposed as a Corresponding Member of the
Institute. Living so retired a life as I do, such honours affect me very
little, and I can say with entire truth that your kind expression of
sympathy has given and will give me much more pleasure than the election
itself, should I be elected.

Your idea that dicotyledonous plants were not developed in force until
sucking insects had been evolved seems to me a splendid one. I am
surprised that the idea never occurred to me, but this is always the case
when one first hears a new and simple explanation of some mysterious
phenomenon...I formerly showed that we might fairly assume that the beauty
of flowers, their sweet odour and copious nectar, may be attributed to the
existence of flower-haunting insects, but your idea, which I hope you will
publish, goes much further and is much more important. With respect to the
great development of mammifers in the later Geological periods following
from the development of dicotyledons, I think it ought to be proved that
such animals as deer, cows, horses, etc. could not flourish if fed
exclusively on the gramineae and other anemophilous monocotyledons; and I
do not suppose that any evidence on this head exists.

Your suggestion of studying the manner of fertilisation of the surviving
members of the most ancient forms of the dicotyledons is a very good one,
and I hope that you will keep it in mind yourself, for I have turned my
attention to other subjects. Delpino I think says that Magnolia is
fertilised by insects which gnaw the petals, and I should not be surprised
if the same fact holds good with Nymphaea. Whenever I have looked at the
flowers of these latter plants I have felt inclined to admit the view that
petals are modified stamens, and not modified leaves; though Poinsettia
seems to show that true leaves might be converted into coloured petals. I
grieve to say that I have never been properly grounded in Botany and have
studied only special points--therefore I cannot pretend to express any
opinion on your remarks on the origin of the flowers of the Coniferae,
Gnetaceae, etc.; but I have been delighted with what you say on the
conversion of a monoecious species into a hermaphrodite one by the
condensations of the verticils on a branch bearing female flowers near the
summit, and male flowers below.

I expect Hooker to come here before long, and I will then show him your
drawing, and if he makes any important remarks I will communicate with you.
He is very busy at present in clearing off arrears after his American
Expedition, so that I do not like to trouble him, even with the briefest
note. I am at present working with my son at some Physiological subjects,
and we are arriving at very curious results, but they are not as yet
sufficiently certain to be worth communicating to you...

[In 1877 a second edition of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids' was published,
the first edition having been for some time out of print. The new edition
was remodelled and almost re-written, and a large amount of new matter
added, much of which the author owed to his friend Fritz Muller.

With regard to this edition he wrote to Dr. Gray:--

"I do not suppose I shall ever again touch the book. After much doubt I
have resolved to act in this way with all my books for the future; that is
to correct them once and never touch them again, so as to use the small
quantity of work left in me for new matter."

He may have felt a diminution of his powers of reviewing large bodies of
facts, such as would be needed in the preparation of new editions, but his
powers of observation were certainly not diminished. He wrote to Mr. Dyer
on July 14, 1878:]

My dear Dyer,

Thalia dealbata was sent me from Kew: it has flowered and after looking
casually at the flowers, they have driven me almost mad, and I have worked
at them for a week: it is as grand a case as that of Catasetum.

Pistil vigorously motile (so that whole flower shakes when pistil suddenly
coils up); when excited by a touch the two filaments [are] produced
laterally and transversely across the flower (just over the nectar) from
one of the petals or modified stamens. It is splendid to watch the
phenomenon under a weak power when a bristle is inserted into a YOUNG
flower which no insect has visited. As far as I know Stylidium is the sole
case of sensitive pistil and here it is the pistil + stamens. In Thalia
(Hildebrand has described an explosive arrangement in some of the
Maranteae--the tribe to which Thalia belongs.) cross-fertilisation is
ensured by the wonderful movement, if bees visit several flowers.

I have now relieved my mind and will tell the purport of this note--viz. if
any other species of Thalia besides T. dealbata should flower with you, for
the love of heaven and all the saints, send me a few in TIN BOX WITH DAMP

Your insane friend,

[In 1878 Dr. Ogle's translation of Kerner's interesting book, 'Flowers and
their Unbidden Guests,' was published. My father, who felt much interest
in the translation (as appears in the following letter), contributed some
prefatory words of approval:]

Down, December 16 [1878].

...I have now read Kerner's book, which is better even than I anticipated.
The translation seems to me as clear as daylight, and written in forcible
and good familiar English. I am rather afraid that it is too good for the
English public, which seems to like very washy food, unless it be
administered by some one whose name is well-known, and then I suspect a
good deal of the unintelligible is very pleasing to them. I hope to heaven
that I may be wrong. Anyhow, you and Mrs. Ogle have done a right good
service for Botanical Science. Yours very sincerely,


P.S.--You have done me much honour in your prefatory remarks.

[One of the latest references to his Orchid-work occurs in a letter to Mr.
Bentham, February 16, 1880. It shows the amount of pleasure which this
subject gave to my father, and (what is characteristic of him) that his
reminiscence of the work was one of delight in the observations which
preceded its publication. Not to the applause which followed it:--

"They are wonderful creatures, these Orchids, and I sometimes think with a
glow of pleasure, when I remember making out some little point in their
method of fertilisation."]




[This book, as pointed out in the 'Autobiography,' is a complement to the
'Fertilisation of Orchids,' because it shows how important are the results
of cross-fertilisation which are ensured by the mechanisms described in
that book.

By proving that the offspring of cross-fertilisation are more vigorous than
the offspring of self-fertilisation, he showed that one circumstance which
influences the fate of young plants in the struggle for life is the degree
to which their parents are fitted for cross-fertilisation. He thus
convinced himself that the intensity of the struggle (which he had
elsewhere shown to exist among young plants) is a measure of the strength
of a selective agency perpetually sifting out every modification in the
structure of flowers which can effect its capabilities for cross-

The book is also valuable in another respect, because it throws light on
the difficult problems of the origin of sexuality. The increased vigour
resulting from cross-fertilisation is allied in the closest manner to the
advantage gained by change of conditions. So strongly is this the case,
that in some instances cross-fertilisation gives no advantage to the
offspring, unless the parents have lived under slightly different
conditions. So that the really important thing is not that two individuals
of different BLOOD shall unite, but two individuals which have been
subjected to different conditions. We are thus led to believe that
sexuality is a means for infusing vigour into the offspring by the
coalescence of differentiated elements, an advantage which could not follow
if reproductions were entirely asexual.

It is remarkable that this book, the result of eleven years of experimental
work, owed its origin to a chance observation. My father had raised two
beds of Linaria vulgaris--one set being the offspring of cross- and the
other of self-fertilisation. These plants were grown for the sake of some
observations on inheritance, and not with any view to cross-breeding, and
he was astonished to observe that the offspring of self-fertilisation were
clearly less vigorous than the others. It seemed incredible to him that
this result could be due to a single act of self-fertilisation, and it was
only in the following year when precisely the same result occurred in the
case of a similar experiment on inheritance in Carnations, that his
attention was "thoroughly aroused" and that he determined to make a series
of experiments specially directed to the question. The following letters
give some account of the work in question.]

September 10, [1866?].

...I have just begun a large course of experiments on the germination of
the seed, and on the growth of the young plants when raised from a pistil
fertilised by pollen from the same flower, and from pollen from a distinct
plant of the same, or of some other variety. I have not made sufficient
experiments to judge certainly, but in some cases the difference in the
growth of the young plants is highly remarkable. I have taken every kind
of precaution in getting seed from the same plant, in germinating the seed
on my own chimney-piece, in planting the seedlings in the same flower-pot,
and under this similar treatment I have seen the young seedlings from the
crossed seed exactly twice as tall as the seedlings from the self-
fertilised seed; both seeds having germinated on the same day. If I can
establish this fact (but perhaps it will all go to the dogs), in some fifty
cases, with plants of different orders, I think it will be very important,
for then we shall positively know why the structure of every flower
permits, or favours, or necessitates an occasional cross with a distinct
individual. But all this is rather cooking my hare before I have caught
it. But somehow it is a great pleasure to me to tell you what I am about.
Believe me, my dear Gray,

Ever yours most truly, and with cordial thanks,

April 22, 1868.

...I am experimenting on a very large scale on the difference in power of
growth between plants raised from self-fertilised and crossed seeds; and it
is no exaggeration to say that the difference in growth and vigour is
sometimes truly wonderful. Lyell, Huxley and Hooker have seen some of my
plants, and been astonished; and I should much like to show them to you. I
always supposed until lately that no evil effects would be visible until
after several generations of self-fertilisation; but now I see that one
generation sometimes suffices; and the existence of dimorphic plants and
all the wonderful contrivances of orchids are quite intelligible to me.

With cordial thanks for your letter, which has pleased me greatly,

Yours very sincerely,

[An extract from a letter to Dr. Gray (March 11, 1873) mentions the
progress of the work:--

"I worked last summer hard at Drosera, but could not finish till I got
fresh plants, and consequently took up the effects of crossing and self-
fertilising plants, and am got so interested that Drosera must go to the
dogs till I finish with this, and get it published; but then I will resume
my beloved Drosera, and I heartily apologise for having sent the precious
little things even for a moment to the dogs."

The following letters give the author's impression of his own book.]

Down, September 16, 1876.

My dear Sir,

I have just received proofs in sheet of five sheets, so you will have to
decide soon how many copies will have to be struck off. I do not know what
to advise. The greater part of the book is extremely dry, and the whole on
a special subject. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the book is of value,
and I am convinced that for MANY years copies will be occasionally sold.
Judging from the sale of my former books, and from supposing that some
persons will purchase it to complete the set of my works, I would suggest
1500. But you must be guided by your larger experience. I will only
repeat that I am convinced the book is of some permanent value...

Down, September 27, 1876.

My dear Sir,

I sent by this morning's post the four first perfect sheets of my new book,
the title of which you will see on the first page, and which will be
published early in November.

I am sorry to say that it is only shorter by a few pages than my
'Insectivorous Plants.' The whole is now in type, though I have corrected
finally only half the volume. You will, therefore, rapidly receive the
remainder. The book is very dull. Chapters II. to VI., inclusive, are
simply a record of experiments. Nevertheless, I believe (though a man can
never judge his own books) that the book is valuable. You will have to
decide whether it is worth translating. I hope so. It has cost me very
great labour, and the results seem to me remarkable and well established.

If you translate it, you could easily get aid for Chapters II. to VI., as
there is here endless, but I have thought necessary repetition. I shall be
anxious to hear what you decide...

I most sincerely hope that your health has been fairly good this summer.

My dear Sir, yours very truly,

Down, October 28, 1876.

My dear Gray,

I send by this post all the clean sheets as yet printed, and I hope to send
the remainder within a fortnight. Please observe that the first six
chapters are not readable, and the six last very dull. Still I believe
that the results are valuable. If you review the book, I shall be very
curious to see what you think of it, for I care more for your judgment than
for that of almost any one else. I know also that you will speak the
truth, whether you approve or disapprove. Very few will take the trouble
to read the book, and I do not expect you to read the whole, but I hope you
will read the latter chapters.

...I am so sick of correcting the press and licking my horrid bad style
into intelligible English.

[The 'Effects of Cross and Self-fertilisation' was published on November
10, 1876, and 1500 copies were sold before the end of the year. The
following letter refers to a review in 'Nature' (February 15, 1877.):]

Down, February 16, 1877.

Dear Dyer,

I must tell you how greatly I am pleased and honoured by your article in
'Nature,' which I have just read. You are an adept in saying what will
please an author, not that I suppose you wrote with this express intention.
I should be very well contented to deserve a fraction of your praise. I
have also been much interested, and this is better than mere pleasure, by
your argument about the separation of the sexes. I dare say that I am
wrong, and will hereafter consider what you say more carefully: but at
present I cannot drive out of my head that the sexes must have originated
from two individuals, slightly different, which conjugated. But I am aware
that some cases of conjugation are opposed to any such views.

With hearty thanks,
Yours sincerely,




[The volume bearing the above title was published in 1877, and was
dedicated by the author to Professor Asa Gray, "as a small tribute of
respect and affection." It consists of certain earlier papers re-edited,
with the addition of a quantity of new matter. The subjects treated in the
book are:--

1. Heterostyled Plants.

2. Polygamous, Dioecious, and Gynodioecious Plants.

3. Cleistogamic Flowers.

The nature of heterostyled plants may be illustrated in the primrose, one
of the best known examples of the class. If a number of primroses be
gathered, it will be found that some plants yield nothing but "pin-eyed"
flowers, in which the style (or organ for the transmission of the pollen to
the ovule) is long, while the others yield only "thrum-eyed" flowers with
short styles. Thus primroses are divided into two sets or castes differing
structurally from each other. My father showed that they also differ
sexually, and that in fact the bond between the two castes more nearly
resembles that between separate sexes than any other known relationship.
Thus for example a long-styled primrose, though it can be fertilised by its
own pollen, is not FULLY fertile unless it is impregnated by the pollen of
a short-styled flower. Heterostyled plants are comparable to hermaphrodite
animals, such as snails, which require the concourse of two individuals,
although each possesses both the sexual elements. The difference is that
in the case of the primrose it is PERFECT FERTILITY, and not simply
FERTILITY, that depends on the mutual action of the two sets of

The work on heterostyled plants has a special bearing, to which the author
attached much importance, on the problem of origin of species. (See
'Autobiography,' volume i.)

He found that a wonderfully close parallelism exists between hybridisation
and certain forms of fertilisation among heterostyled plants. So that it
is hardly an exaggeration to say that the "illegitimately" reared seedlings
are hybrids, although both their parents belong to identically the same
species. In a letter to Professor Huxley, my father writes as if his
researches on heterostyled plants tended to make him believe that sterility
is a selected or acquired quality. But in his later publications, e.g. in
the sixth edition of the 'Origin,' he adheres to the belief that sterility
is an incidental rather than a selected quality. The result of his work on
heterostyled plants is of importance as showing that sterility is no test
of specific distinctness, and that it depends on differentiation of the
sexual elements which is independent of any racial difference. I imagine
that it was his instinctive love of making out a difficulty which to a
great extent kept him at work so patiently on the heterostyled plants. But
it was the fact that general conclusions of the above character could be
drawn from his results which made him think his results worthy of
publication. (See 'Forms of Flowers,' page 243.)

The papers which on this subject preceded and contributed to 'Forms of
Flowers' were the following:--

"On the two Forms or Dimorphic Condition in the Species of Primula, and on
their remarkable Sexual Relations." Linn. Soc. Journal, 1862.)

"On the Existence of Two Forms, and on their Reciprocal Sexual Relations,
in several Species of the Genus Linum." Linn. Soc. Journal, 1863.

"On the Sexual Relations of the Three Forms of Lythrum salicaria," Ibid.

"On the Character and Hybrid-like Nature of the Offspring from the
Illegitimate Unions of Dimorphic and Trimorphic Plants." Ibid. 1869.

"On the Specific Differences between Primula veris, Brit. Fl. (var.
Officinalis, Linn.), P. vulgaris, Brit. Fl. (var. acaulis, Linn.) and P.
elatior, Jacq.; and on the Hybrid Nature of the Common Oxlip. With
Supplementary Remarks on Naturally Produced Hybrids in the Genus
Verbascum." Ibid. 1869.

The following letter shows that he began the work on heterostyled plants
with an erroneous view as to the meaning of the facts.]

Down, May 7 [1860].

...I have this morning been looking at my experimental cowslips, and I find
some plants have all flowers with long stamens and short pistils, which I
will call "male plants," others with short stamens and long pistils, which
I will call "female plants." This I have somewhere seen noticed, I think
by Henslow; but I find (after looking at my two sets of plants) that the
stigmas of the male and female are of slightly different shape, and
certainly different degree of roughness, and what has astonished me, the
pollen of the so-called female plant, though very abundant, is more
transparent, and each granule is exactly only 2/3 of the size of the pollen
of the so-called male plant. Has this been observed? I cannot help
suspecting [that] the cowslip is in fact dioecious, but it may turn out all
a blunder, but anyhow I will mark with sticks the so-called male and female
plants and watch their seeding. It would be a fine case of gradation
between an hermaphrodite and unisexual condition. Likewise a sort of case
of balancement of long and short pistils and stamens. Likewise perhaps
throws light on oxlips...

I have now examined primroses and find exactly the same difference in the
size of the pollen, correlated with the same difference in the length of
the style and roughness of the stigmas.

June 8 [1860].

...I have been making some little trifling observations which have
interested and perplexed me much. I find with primroses and cowslips, that
about an equal number of plants are thus characterised.

SO-CALLED (by me) MALE plant. Pistil much shorter than stamens; stigma
rather smooth,--POLLEN GRAINS LARGE, throat of corolla short.

SO-CALLED FEMALE plant. Pistil much longer than stamens, stigma rougher,
POLLEN-GRAINS SMALLER,--throat of corolla long.

I have marked a lot of plants, and expected to find the so-called male
plant barren; but judging from the feel of the capsules, this is not the
case, and I am very much surprised at the difference in the size of the
pollen...If it should prove that the so-called male plants produce less
seed than the so-called females, what a beautiful case of gradation from
hermaphrodite to unisexual condition it will be! If they produce about
equal number of seed, how perplexing it will be.

Down, December 17 [1860?].

...I have just been ordering a photograph of myself for a friend; and have
ordered one for you, and for heaven's sake oblige me, and burn that now
hanging up in your room.--It makes me look atrociously wicked.

...In the spring I must get you to look for long pistils and short pistils
in the rarer species of Primula and in some allied Genera. It holds with
P. Sinensis. You remember all the fuss I made on this subject last spring;
well, the other day at last I had time to weigh the seeds, and by Jove the
plants of primroses and cowslip with short pistils and large grained pollen
(Thus the plants which he imagined to be tending towards a male condition
were more productive than the supposed females.) are rather more fertile
than those with long pistils, and small-grained pollen. I find that they
require the action of insects to set them, and I never will believe that
these differences are without some meaning.

Some of my experiments lead me to suspect that the large-grained pollen
suits the long pistils and the small-grained pollen suits the short
pistils; but I am determined to see if I cannot make out the mystery next

How does your book on plants brew in your mind? Have you begun it?...

Remember me most kindly to Oliver. He must be astonished at not having a
string of questions, I fear he will get out of practice!

[The Primula-work was finished in the autumn of 1861, and on November 8th
he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"I have sent my paper on dimorphism in Primula to the Linn. Soc. I shall
go up and read it whenever it comes on; I hope you may be able to attend,
for I do not suppose many will care a penny for the subject."

With regard to the reading of the paper (on November 21st), he wrote to the
same friend:--

"I by no means thought that I produced a "tremendous effect" in the Linn.
Soc., but by Jove the Linn. Soc. produced a tremendous effect on me, for I
could not get out of bed till late next evening, so that I just crawled
home. I fear I must give up trying to read any paper or speak; it is a
horrid bore, I can do nothing like other people."

To Dr. Gray he wrote, (December 1861):--

"You may rely on it, I will send you a copy of my Primula paper as soon as
I can get one; but I believe it will not be printed till April 1st, and
therefore after my Orchid Book. I care more for your and Hooker's opinion
than for that of all the rest of the world, and for Lyell's on geological
points. Bentham and Hooker thought well of my paper when read; but no one
can judge of evidence by merely hearing a paper."

The work on Primula was the means of bringing my father in contact with the
late Mr. John Scott, then working as a gardener in the Botanic Gardens at
Edinburgh,--an employment which he seems to have chosen in order to gratify
his passion for natural history. He wrote one or two excellent botanical
papers, and ultimately obtained a post in India. (While in India he made
some admirable observations on expression for my father.) He died in 1880.

A few phrases may be quoted from letters to Sir J.D. Hooker, showing my
father's estimate of Scott:--

"If you know, do please tell me who is John Scott of the Botanical Gardens
of Edinburgh; I have been corresponding largely with him; he is no common

"If he had leisure he would make a wonderful observer; to my judgment I
have come across no one like him."

"He has interested me strangely, and I have formed a very high opinion of
his intellect. I hope he will accept pecuniary assistance from me; but he
has hitherto refused." (He ultimately succeeded in being allowed to pay
for Mr. Scott's passage to India.)

"I know nothing of him excepting from his letters; these show remarkable
talent, astonishing perseverance, much modesty, and what I admire,
determined difference from me on many points."

So highly did he estimate Scott's abilities that he formed a plan (which
however never went beyond an early stage of discussion) of employing him to
work out certain problems connected with intercrossing.

The following letter refers to my father's investigations on Lythrum (He
was led to this, his first case of trimorphism by Lecoq's 'Geographie
Botanique,' and this must have consoled him for the trick this work played
him in turning out to be so much larger than he expected. He wrote to Sir
J.D. Hooker: "Here is a good joke: I saw an extract from Lecoq,
'Geograph. Bot.,' and ordered it and hoped that it was a good sized
pamphlet, and nine thick volumes have arrived!"), a plant which reveals
even a more wonderful condition of sexual complexity than that of Primula.
For in Lythrum there are not merely two, but three castes, differing
structurally and physiologically from each other:]

Down, August 9 [1862].

My dear Gray,

It is late at night, and I am going to write briefly, and of course to beg
a favour.

The Mitchella very good, but pollen apparently equal-sized. I have just
examined Hottonia, grand difference in pollen. Echium vulgare, a humbug,
merely a case like Thymus. But I am almost stark staring mad over Lythrum
(On another occasion he wrote (to Dr. Gray) with regard to Lythrum: "I
must hold hard, otherwise I shall spend my life over dimorphism."); if I
can prove what I fully believe, it is a grand case of TRIMORPHISM, with
three different pollens and three stigmas; I have castrated and fertilised
above ninety flowers, trying all the eighteen distinct crosses which are
possible within the limits of this one species! I cannot explain, but I
feel sure you would think it a grand case. I have been writing to
Botanists to see if I can possibly get L. hyssopifolia, and it has just
flashed on me that you might have Lythrum in North America, and I have
looked to your Manual. For the love of heaven have a look at some of your
species, and if you can get me seed, do; I want much to try species with
few stamens, if they are dimorphic; Nesaea verticillata I should expect to
be trimorphic. Seed! Seed! Seed! I should rather like seed of
Mitchella. But oh, Lythrum!

Your utterly mad friend,

P.S.--There is reason in my madness, for I can see that to those who
already believe in change of species, these facts will modify to a certain
extent the whole view of Hybridity. (A letter to Dr. Gray (July, 1862)
bears on this point: "A few days ago I made an observation which has
surprised me more than it ought to do--it will have to be repeated several
times, but I have scarcely a doubt of its accuracy. I stated in my Primula
paper that the long-styled form of Linum grandiflorum was utterly sterile
with its own pollen; I have lately been putting the pollen of the two forms
on the stigma of the SAME flower; and it strikes me as truly wonderful,
that the stigma distinguishes the pollen; and is penetrated by the tubes of
the one and not by those of the other; nor are the tubes exserted. Or
(which is the same thing) the stigma of the one form acts on and is acted
on by pollen, which produces not the least effect on the stigma of the
other form. Taking sexual power as the criterion of difference, the two
forms of this one species may be said to be generically distinct.")

[On the same subject he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker in August 1862:--

"Is Oliver at Kew? When I am established at Bournemouth I am completely
mad to examine any fresh flowers of any Lythraceous plant, and I would
write and ask him if any are in bloom."

Again he wrote to the same friend in October:--

"If you ask Oliver, I think he will tell you I have got a real odd case in
Lythrum, it interests me extremely, and seems to me the strangest case of
propagation recorded amongst plants or animals, viz. a necessary triple
alliance between three hermaphrodites. I feel sure I can now prove the
truth of the case from a multitude of crosses made this summer."

In an article, 'Dimorphism in the Genitalia of Plants' ('Silliman's
Journal,' 1862, volume xxxiv. page 419), Dr. Gray pointed out that the
structural difference between the two forms of Primula had already been
defined in the 'Flora of North America,' as DIOECIO-DIMORPHISM. The use of
this term called forth the following remarks from my father. The letter
also alludes to a review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids' in the same
volume of 'Silliman's Journal.']

Down, November 26 [1862].

My dear Gray,

The very day after my last letter, yours of November 10th, and the review
in 'Silliman,' which I feared might have been lost, reached me. We were
all very much interested by the political part of your letter; and in some
odd way one never feels that information and opinions painted in a
newspaper come from a living source; they seem dead, whereas all that you
write is full of life. The reviews interested me profoundly; you rashly
ask for my opinion, and you must consequently endure a long letter. First
for Dimorphism; I do not AT PRESENT like the term "Dioecio-dimorphism;" for
I think it gives quite a false notion, that the phenomena are connected
with a separation of the sexes. Certainly in Primula there is unequal
fertility in the two forms, and I suspect this is the case with Linum; and,
therefore I felt bound in the Primula paper to state that it might be a
step towards a dioecious condition; though I believe there are no dioecious
forms in Primulaceae or Linaceae. But the three forms in Lythrum convince
me that the phenomenon is in no way necessarily connected with any tendency
to separation of sexes. The case seems to me in result or function to be
almost identical with what old C.K. Sprengel called "dichogamy," and which
is so frequent in truly hermaphrodite groups; namely, the pollen and stigma
of each flower being mature at different periods. If I am right, it is
very advisable not to use the term "dioecious," as this at once brings
notions of separation of sexes.

...I was much perplexed by Oliver's remarks in the 'Natural History Review'
on the Primula case, on the lower plants having sexes more often separated
than in the higher plants,--so exactly the reverse of what takes place in
animals. Hooker in his review of the 'Orchids' repeats this remark. There
seems to be much truth in what you say ("Forms which are low in the scale
as respects morphological completeness may be high in the scale of rank
founded on specialisation of structure and function."--Dr. Gray, in
'Silliman's Journal.'), and it did not occur to me, about no improbability
of specialisation in CERTAIN lines in lowly organised beings. I could
hardly doubt that the hermaphrodite state is the aboriginal one. But how
is it in the conjugation of Confervae--is not one of the two individuals
here in fact male, and the other female? I have been much puzzled by this
contrast in sexual arrangements between plants and animals. Can there be
anything in the following consideration: By ROUGHEST calculation about
one-third of the British GENERA of aquatic plants belong to the Linnean
classes of Mono and Dioecia; whilst of terrestrial plants (the aquatic
genera being subtracted) only one-thirteenth of the genera belong to these
two classes. Is there any truth in this fact generally? Can aquatic
plants, being confined to a small area or small community of individuals,
require more free crossing, and therefore have separate sexes? But to
return to our point, does not Alph. de Candolle say that aquatic plants
taken as a whole are lowly organised, compared with terrestrial; and may
not Oliver's remark on the separation of the sexes in lowly organised
plants stand in some relation to their being frequently aquatic? Or is
this all rubbish?

...What a magnificent compliment you end your review with! You and Hooker
seem determined to turn my head with conceit and vanity (if not already
turned) and make me an unbearable wretch.

With most cordial thanks, my good and kind friend,

[The following passage from a letter (July 28, 1863), to Prof. Hildebrand,
contains a reference to the reception of the dimorphic work in France:--

"I am extremely much pleased to hear that you have been looking at the
manner of fertilisation of your native Orchids, and still more pleased to
hear that you have been experimenting on Linum. I much hope that you may
publish the result of these experiments; because I was told that the most
eminent French botanists of Paris said that my paper on Primula was the
work of imagination, and that the case was so improbable they did not
believe in my results."]

April 19 [1864].

...I received a little time ago a paper with a good account of your
Herbarium and Library, and a long time previously your excellent review of
Scott's 'Primulaceae,' and I forwarded it to him in India, as it would much
please him. I was very glad to see in it a new case of Dimorphism (I
forget just now the name of the plant); I shall be grateful to hear of any
other cases, as I still feel an interest in the subject. I should be very
glad to get some seed of your dimorphic Plantagos; for I cannot banish the
suspicion that they must belong to a very different class like that of the
common Thyme. (In this prediction he was right. See 'Forms of Flowers,'
page 307.) How could the wind, which is the agent of fertilisation, with
Plantago, fertilise "reciprocally dimorphic" flowers like Primula? Theory
says this cannot be, and in such cases of one's own theories I follow
Agassiz and declare, "that nature never lies." I should even be very glad
to examine the two dried forms of Plantago. Indeed, any dried dimorphic
plants would be gratefully received...

Did my Lythrum paper interest you? I crawl on at the rate of two hours per
diem, with 'Variation under Domestication.'

Down, November 26 [1864].

...You do not know how pleased I am that you have read my Lythrum paper; I
thought you would not have time, and I have for long years looked at you as
my Public, and care more for your opinion than that of all the rest of the
world. I have done nothing which has interested me so much as Lythrum,
since making out the complemental males of Cirripedes. I fear that I have
dragged in too much miscellaneous matter into the paper.

...I get letters occasionally, which show me that Natural Selection is
making GREAT progress in Germany, and some amongst the young in France. I
have just received a pamphlet from Germany, with the complimentary title of
"Darwinische Arten-Enstehung-Humbug"!

Farewell, my best of old friends,

September 10, [1867?].

...The only point which I have made out this summer, which could possibly
interest you, is that the common Oxlip found everywhere, more or less
commonly in England, is certainly a hybrid between the primrose and
cowslip; whilst the P. elatior (Jacq.), found only in the Eastern Counties,
is a perfectly distinct and good species; hardly distinguishable from the
common oxlip, except by the length of the seed-capsule relatively to the
calyx. This seems to me rather a horrid fact for all systematic

Down, November 16, 1868.

My dear Sir,

I wrote my last note in such a hurry from London, that I quite forgot what
I chiefly wished to say, namely to thank you for your excellent notices in
the 'Bot. Zeitung' of my paper on the offspring of dimorphic plants. The
subject is so obscure that I did not expect that any one would have noticed
my paper, and I am accordingly very much pleased that you should have
brought the subject before the many excellent naturalists of Germany.

Of all the German authors (but they are not many) whose works I have read,
you write by far the clearest style, but whether this is a compliment to a
German writer I do not know.

[The two following letters refer to the small bud-like "Cleistogamic"
flowers found in the violet and many other plants. They do not open and
are necessarily self-fertilised:]

Down, May 30 [1862].

...What will become of my book on Variation? I am involved in a
multiplicity of experiments. I have been amusing myself by looking at the
small flowers of Viola. If Oliver (Shortly afterwards he wrote: "Oliver,
the omniscient, has sent me a paper in the 'Bot. Zeitung,' with most
accurate description of all that I saw in Viola.") has had time to study
them, he will have seen the curious case (as it seems to me) which I have
just made clearly out, viz. that in these flowers, the FEW pollen grains
are never shed, or never leave the anther-cells, but emit long pollen
tubes, which penetrate the stigma. To-day I got the anther with the
included pollen grain (now empty) at one end, and a bundle of tubes
penetrating the stigmatic tissue at the other end; I got the whole under a
microscope without breaking the tubes; I wonder whether the stigma pours
some fluid into the anther so as to excite the included grains. It is a
rather odd case of correlation, that in the double sweet violet the small
flowers are double; i.e., have a multitude of minute scales representing
the petals. What queer little flowers they are.

Have you had time to read poor dear Henslow's life? it has interested me
for the man's sake, and, what I did not think possible, has even exalted
his character in my estimation...

[The following is an extract from the letter given in part above, and
refers to Dr. Gray's article on the sexual differences of plants:]

NOVEMBER 26 [1862].

...You will think that I am in the most unpleasant, contradictory,
fractious humour, when I tell you that I do not like your term of
"precocious fertilisation" for your second class of dimorphism [i.e. for
cleistogamic fertilisation]. If I can trust my memory, the state of the
corolla, of the stigma, and the pollen-grains is different from the state
of the parts in the bud; that they are in a condition of special
modification. But upon my life I am ashamed of myself to differ so much
from my betters on this head. The TEMPORARY theory (This view is now
generally accepted.) which I have formed on this class of dimorphism, just
to guide experiment, is that the PERFECT flowers can only be perfectly
fertilised by insects, and are in this case abundantly crossed; but that
the flowers are not always, especially in early spring, visited enough by
insects, and therefore the little imperfect self-fertilising flowers are
developed to ensure a sufficiency of seed for present generations. Viola
canina is sterile, when not visited by insects, but when so visited forms
plenty of seed. I infer from the structure of three or four forms of