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Title: More Letters of Charles Darwin Volume I

Author: Charles Darwin

Editors: Francis Darwin and A.C. Seward

July, 2001 [Etext #2739]

Project Gutenberg Etext of More Letters of Charles Darwin Vol. 1
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All biographical footnotes appear at the end of Volume II.

All other notes by Charles Darwin's editors appear in the text, in brackets
() with a Chapter/Note or Letter/Note number.









"You will never know how much I owe to you for your constant kindness and



The "Life and Letters of Charles Darwin" was published in 1887. Since that
date, through the kindness of various correspondents, additional letters
have been received; among them may be mentioned those written by Mr. Darwin
to Mr. Belt, Lady Derby, Hugh Falconer, Mr. Francis Galton, Huxley, Lyell,
Mr. John Morley, Max Muller, Owen, Lord Playfair, John Scott, Thwaites, Sir
William Turner, John Jenner Weir. But the material for our work consisted
in chief part of a mass of letters which, for want of space or for other
reasons, were not printed in the "Life and Letters." We would draw
particular attention to the correspondence with Sir Joseph Hooker. To him
Mr. Darwin wrote with complete freedom, and this has given something of a
personal charm to the most technical of his letters. There is also much
correspondence, hardly inferior in biographical interest, with Sir Charles
Lyell, Fritz Muller, Mr. Huxley, and Mr. Wallace. From this unused
material we have been able to compile an almost complete record of Mr.
Darwin's work in a series of letters now published for the first time. We
have, however, in a few instances, repeated paragraphs, or in one or two
cases whole letters, from the "Life and Letters," where such repetition
seemed necessary for the sake of clearness or continuity.

Our two volumes contain practically all the matter that it now seems
desirable to publish. But at some future time others may find interesting
data in what remains unprinted; this is certainly true of a short series of
letters dealing with the Cirripedes, which are omitted solely for want of
space. (Preface/1. Those addressed to the late Albany Hancock have
already appeared in the "Transactions of the Tyneside Nat. Field Club,"
VIII., page 250.)

We are fortunate in being permitted, by Sir Joseph Hooker and by Mr.
Wallace, to publish certain letters from them to Mr. Darwin. We have also
been able to give a few letters from Sir Charles Lyell, Hugh Falconer,
Edward Forbes, Dr. Asa Gray, Professor Hyatt, Fritz Muller, Mr. Francis
Galton, and Sir T. Lauder Brunton. To the two last named, also to Mrs.
Lyell (the biographer of Sir Charles), Mrs. Asa Gray and Mrs. Hyatt, we
desire to express our grateful acknowledgments.

The present volumes have been prepared, so as to give as full an idea as
possible of the course of Mr. Darwin's work. The volumes therefore
necessarily contain many letters of a highly technical character, but none,
we hope, which are not essentially interesting. With a view to saving
space, we have confined ourselves to elucidating the letters by full
annotations, and have for the same reason--though with some regret--omitted
in most cases the beginnings and endings of the letters. For the main
facts of Mr. Darwin's life, we refer our readers to the abstract of his
private Diary, given in the present volume.

Mr. Darwin generally wrote his letters when he was tired or hurried, and
this often led to the omission of words. We have usually inserted the
articles, and this without any indication of their absence in the
originals. Where there seemed any possibility of producing an alteration
of meaning (and in many cases where there is no such possibility) we have
placed the introduced words in square brackets. We may say once for all
that throughout the book square brackets indicate words not found in the
originals. (Preface/2. Except in a few places where brackets are used to
indicate passages previously published. In all such cases the meaning of
the symbol is explained.) Dots indicate omissions, but many omissions are
made without being so indicated.

The selection and arrangement of the letters have not been easy. Our plan
has been to classify the letters according to subject--into such as deal
with Evolution, Geographical Distribution, Botany, etc., and in each group
to place the letters chronologically. But in several of the chapters we
have adopted sectional headings, which we believe will be a help to the
reader. The great difficulty lay in deciding in which of the chief groups
a given letter should be placed. If the MS. had been cut up into
paragraphs, there would have been no such difficulty; but we feel strongly
that a letter should as far as possible be treated as a whole. We have in
fact allowed this principle to interfere with an accurate classification,
so that the reader will find, for instance, in the chapters on Evolution,
questions considered which might equally well have come under Geographical
Distribution or Geology, or questions in the chapter on Man which might
have been placed under the heading Evolution. In the same way, to avoid
mutilation, we have allowed references to one branch of science to remain
in letters mainly concerned with another subject. For these irregularities
we must ask the reader's patience, and beg him to believe that some pains
have been devoted to arrangement.

Mr. Darwin, who was careful in other things, generally omitted the date in
familiar correspondence, and it is often only by treating a letter as a
detective studies a crime that we can make sure of its date. Fortunately,
however, Sir Joseph Hooker and others of Darwin's correspondents were
accustomed to add the date on which the letters were received. This
sometimes leads to an inaccuracy which needs a word of explanation. Thus a
letter which Mr. Darwin dated "Wednesday" might be headed by us "Wednesday
[January 3rd, 1867]," the latter half being the date on which the letter
was received; if it had been dated by the writer it would have been
"Wednesday, January 2nd, 1867."

In thanking those friends--especially Sir Joseph Hooker and Mr. Wallace--
who have looked through some of our proof-sheets, we wish to make it clear
that they are not in the smallest degree responsible for our errors or
omissions; the weight of our shortcomings rests on us alone.

We desire to express our gratitude to those who have so readily supplied us
with information, especially to Sir Joseph Hooker, Professor Judd,
Professor Newton, Dr. Sharp, Mr. Herbert Spencer, and Mr. Wallace. And we
have pleasure in mentioning Mr. H.W. Rutherford, of the University Library,
to whose conscientious work as a copyist we are much indebted.

Finally, it is a pleasure to express our obligation to those who have
helped us in the matter of illustrations. The portraits of Dr. Asa Gray,
Mr. Huxley, Sir Charles Lyell, Mr. Romanes, are from their respective
Biographies, and for permission to make use of them we have to thank Mrs.
Gray, Mr. L. Huxley, Mrs. Lyell, and Mrs. Romanes, as well as the
publishers of the books in question. For the reproduction of the early
portrait of Mr. Darwin we are indebted to Miss Wedgwood; for the
interesting portraits of Hugh Falconer and Edward Forbes we have to thank
Mr. Irvine Smith, who obtained for us the negatives; these being of paper,
and nearly sixty years old, rendered their reproduction a work of some
difficulty. We also thank Messrs. Elliott & Fry for very kindly placing at
our disposal a negative of the fine portrait, which forms the frontispiece
to Volume II. For the opportunity of making facsimiles of diagrams in
certain of the letters, we are once more indebted to Sir Joseph Hooker, who
has most generously given the original letters to Mr. Darwin's family.

Cambridge, October, 1902.



Outline of Charles Darwin's Life, etc.

CHAPTER 1.I.--An Autobiographical Fragment, and Early Letters, 1809-1842.

CHAPTER 1.II.--Evolution, 1844-1858.

CHAPTER 1.III.--Evolution, 1859-1863.

CHAPTER 1.IV.--Evolution, 1864-1869.

CHAPTER 1.V.--Evolution, 1870-1882.

CHAPTER 1.VI.--Geographical Distribution, 1843-1867.


From a coloured chalk drawing by Sharples, in possession of Miss Wedgwood,
of Leith Hill Place.

MRS. DARWIN, 1881.
From a photograph by Barraud.

EDWARD FORBES, 1844 (?).
From a photograph by Hill & Adamson.

From a photograph by Maull & Fox.
(Huxley's "Life," Volume I.)

From a photograph.

From a photograph by Hill & Adamson.

From a photograph by Wallich.

ASA GRAY, 1867.
From a photograph.
("Letters of Asa Gray," Volume I.)


CHAPTER 2.VII.--Geographical Distribution, 1867-1882.

CHAPTER 2.VIII.--Man, 1860-1882.
2.VIII.I. Descent of Man, 1860-1882.
2.VIII.II. Sexual Selection, 1866-1872.
2.VIII.III. Expression, 1868-1874.

CHAPTER 2.IX.--Geology, 1840-1882.
2.IX.I. Vulcanicity and Earth-movements, 1840-1881.
2.IX.II. Ice-action, 1841-1882.
2.IX.III. The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, 1841-1880.
2.IX.IV. Coral Reefs, Fossil and Recent, 1841-1881.
2.IX.V. Cleavage and Foliation, 1846-1856.
2.IX.VI. Age of the World, 1868-1877.
2.IX.VII. Geological Action of Earth-worms, 1880-1882.
2.IX.VIII. Miscellaneous, 1846-1878.

CHAPTER 2.X.--Botany, 1843-1871.
2.X.I. Miscellaneous, 1843-1862.
2.X.II. Melastomaceae, 1862-1881.
2.X.III. Correspondence with John Scott, 1862-1871.

CHAPTER 2.XI.--Botany, 1863-1881.
2.XI.I. Miscellaneous, 1863-1866.
2.XI.II. Correspondence with Fritz Muller, 1865-1881.
2.XI.III. Miscellaneous, 1868-1881.

CHAPTER 2.XII.--Vivisection and Miscellaneous Subjects, 1867-1882.
2.XII.I. Vivisection, 1875-1882.
2.XII.II. Miscellaneous Subjects, 1867-1882.


CHARLES DARWIN, 1881. From a photograph by Elliott & Fry.

ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE, 1878. From a photograph by Maull & Fox.

GEORGE J. ROMANES, 1891. From a photograph by Elliott & Fry. (Romanes'

CHARLES LYELL. From a photograph by Maull & Fox. (Lyell's "Life," Volume

CHARLES DARWIN, 1854 (?). From a photograph by Maull & Fox.

FRITZ MULLER. From a photograph.


FIGURE 1. Hypothetical Section Illustrating Continental Elevation.

FIGURE 2. Diagram of Junction between Dike and Lava.

FIGURE 3. Outline of an Elliptic Crater.

FIGURE 4. Hypothetical Section showing the Relation of Dikes to Volcanic

FIGURE 5. Map illustrating the Linear Arrangement of Volcanic Islands in
relation to Continental Coast-lines.

FIGURE 6. Sketch showing the Form and Distribution of Quartz in a Foliated

FIGURE 7. Sketch showing the Arrangement of Felspar and Quartz in a
Metamorphic Series.

FIGURE 8. Floral Diagram of an Orchid.

FIGURE 9. Dissected Flower of Habenaria Chlorantha.

FIGURE 10. Diagram of a Cruciferous Flower.

FIGURE 11. Longitudinal Section of a Cruciferous Flower.

FIGURE 12. Transverse Section of the Ovary of a Crucifer.

FIGURE 13. (Contents/1. Not a facsimile.) Leaf of Trifolium resupinatum.
(Drawn by Miss Pertz.)





References to the Journals in which Mr. Darwin's papers were published will
be found in his "Life and Letters" III., Appendix II. We are greatly
indebted to Mr. C.F. Cox, of New York, for calling our attention to
mistakes in the Appendix, and we take this opportunity of correcting them.

Appendix II., List ii.--Mr. Romanes spoke on Mr. Darwin's essay on Instinct
at a meeting of the Linnean Society, December 6th, 1883, and some account
of it is given in "Nature" of the same date. But it was not published by
the Linnean Society.

Appendix II., List iii.--"Origin of saliferous deposits. Salt lakes of
Patagonia and La Plata" (1838). This is the heading of an extract from
Darwin's volume on South America reprinted in the "Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society," Volume II., Part ii., "Miscellanea," pages 127-8,

The paper on "Analogy of the Structure of some Volcanic Rocks, etc." was
published in 1845, not in 1851.

A paper "On the Fertilisation of British Orchids by Insect Agency," in the
"Entomologist's Weekly Intelligencer" viii., and "Gardeners' Chronicle,"
June 9th, 1860, should be inserted in the bibliography.

1809. February 12th: Born at Shrewsbury.

1817. Death of his mother.

1818. Went to Shrewsbury School.

1825. Left Shrewsbury School.


Went to Edinburgh University.
Read two papers before the Plinian Society of Edinburgh "at the close of
1826 or early in 1827."

1827. Entered at Christ's College, Cambridge.

1828. Began residence at Cambridge.


Passed his examination for B.A., and kept the two following terms.

Geological tour with Sedgwick.

September 11th:
Went to Plymouth to see the "Beagle."

October 2nd:
"Took leave of my home."

December 27th:
"Sailed from England on our circumnavigation."


January 16th:
"First landed on a tropical shore" (Santiago).


December 6th:
"Sailed for last time from Rio Plata."


June 10th:
"Sailed for last time from Tierra del Fuego."


September 5th:
"Sailed from west shores of South America."

November 16th:
Letters to Professor Henslow, read at a meeting of the Cambridge
Philosophical Society.

November 18th:
Paper read before the Geological Society on Notes made during a Survey of
the East and West Coasts of South America in years 1832-35.


May 31st:
Anchored at the Cape of Good Hope.

October 2nd:
Anchored at Falmouth.

October 4th:
Reached Shrewsbury after an absence of five years and two days.

December 13th:
Went to live at Cambridge.


January 4th:
Paper on Recent Elevation in Chili read.

March 13th:
Settled at 36, Great Marlborough Street.

March 14th:
Paper on "Rhea" read.

Read papers on Coral Formation, and on the Pampas, to the Geological

Opened first note-book on Transmutation of Species.

March 13th to November:
Occupied with his Journal.

October and November:
Preparing the scheme for the Zoology of the Voyage of the "Beagle."
Working at Geology of South America.

November 1st:
Read the paper on Earthworms before the Geological Society.


Worked at the Geology of South America and Zoology of Voyage.
"Some little species theory."

March 7th:
Read paper on the Connexion of certain Volcanic Phenomena and on the
Formation of Mountain Chains, to the Geological Society.

Health began to break down.

June 23rd:
Started for Glen Roy. The paper on Glen Roy was written in August and

October 5th:
Began Coral paper.

November 11th:
Engaged to be married to his cousin, Emma Wedgwood.

December 31st:
"Entered 12 Upper Gower Street."


January 29th:
Married at Maer.

February and March:
Some work on Corals and on Species Theory.

March (part) and April:
Working at Coral paper.
Papers on a Rock seen on an Iceberg, and on the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy.
Published "Journal and Remarks," being volume iii. of the "Narrative of the
Surveying Voyages of H.M.S. 'Adventure' and 'Beagle,' etc."
For the rest of the year, Corals and Zoology of the Voyage.
Publication of the "Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle,'" Part II.


Worked at Corals and the Zoology of the Voyage.
Contributed Geological introduction to Part I. of the "Zoology of the
Voyage" (Fossil Mammalia by Owen).


Publication of Part III. of the "Zoology of the Voyage" (Birds).
Read paper on Boulders and Glacial Deposits of South America, to Geological
Published paper on a remarkable bar of Sandstone off Pernambuco, on the
coast of Brazil.
Publication of Part IV. of "Zoology of the Voyage" (Fish).


May 6th:
Last proof of the Coral book corrected.

Examined Glacier action in Wales.
"Wrote pencil sketch of my Species Theory."

Wrote paper on Glaciers of Caernarvonshire.

Began his book on Volcanic Islands.


Working at "Volcanic Islands" and "some Species work."


February 13th:
Finished "Volcanic Islands."

July to September:
Wrote an enlarged version of Species Theory.
Papers on Sagitta, and on Planaria.

July 27th:
Began his book on the Geology of South America.


Paper on the Analogy of the Structure of Volcanic Rocks with that of
Glaciers. "Proc. R. Soc. Edin."

April 25th to August 25th:
Working at second edition of "Naturalist's Voyage."


October 1st:
Finished last proof of "Geological Observations on South America."
Papers on Atlantic Dust, and on Geology of Falkland Islands, communicated
to the Geological Society.
Paper on Arthrobalanus.


Working at Cirripedes.
Review of Waterhouse's "Natural History of the Mammalia."


March 20th:
Finished Scientific Instructions in Geology for the Admiralty Manual.
Working at Cirripedes.
Paper on Erratic Boulders.


Health especially bad.
Working at Cirripedes.

Water-cure at Malvern.


Working at Cirripedes.
Published Monographs of Recent and Fossil Lepadidae.


Working at Cirripedes.


November 30th:
"Royal Medal given to me."


Published Monographs on Recent and on Fossil Balanidae and Verrucidae.

September 9th:
Finished packing up all my Cirripedes.
"Began sorting notes for Species Theory."


Experiments on the effect of salt water on seeds.
Papers on Icebergs and on Vitality of Seeds.


May 14th:
"Began, by Lyell's advice, writing Species Sketch" (described in "Life and
Letters" as the "Unfinished Book").

December 16th:
Finished Chapter III.
Paper read to Linnean Society, On Sea-water and the Germination of Seeds.


September 29th:
Finished Chapters VII. and VIII.

September 30th to December 29th:
Working on Hybridism.
Paper on the Agency of Bees in the Fertilisation of Papilionaceous Flowers.


March 9th:
"Finished Instinct chapter."

June 18th:
Received Mr. Wallace's sketch of his evolutionary theory.

July 1st:
Joint paper of Darwin and Wallace read at the Linnean Society.

July 20th to July 27th:
"Began Abstract of Species book," i.e., the "Origin of Species," at
Sandown, I.W.
Paper on Bees and Fertilisation of Flowers.


May 25th:
Began proof-sheets of the "Origin of Species."

November 24th:
Publication of the "Origin": 1250 copies printed.

October 2nd to December 9th:
At the water-cure establishment, Ilkley, Yorkshire.


January 7th:
Publication of Edition II. of "Origin" (3000 copies).

January 9th:
"Looking over MS. on Variation."
Paper on the Fertilisation of British Orchids.

July and again in September:
Made observations on Drosera.
Paper on Moths and Flowers.
Publication of "A Naturalist's Voyage."


Up to July at work on "Variation under Domestication."

April 30th:
Publication of Edition III. of "Origin" (2000 copies).

July to the end of year:
At work on Orchids.

Primula paper read at Linnean Society.
Papers on Pumilio and on Fertilisation of Vinca.


May 15th:
Orchid book published.
Working at Variation.
Paper on Catasetum (Linnean Society).
Contribution to Chapter III. of Jenyns' Memoir of Henslow.


Working at "Variation under Domestication."
Papers on Yellow Rain, the Pampas, and on Cirripedes.
A review of Bates' paper on Mimetic Butterflies.
Severe illness to the end of year.


Illness continued until April.
Paper on Linum published by the Linnean Society.

May 25th:
Paper on Lythrum finished.

September 13th:
Paper on Climbing Plants finished.
Work on "Variation under Domestication."

November 30th:
Copley medal awarded to him.


January 1st:
Continued at work on Variation until April 22nd. The work was interrupted
by illness until late in the autumn.

Read paper on Climbing Plants.

December 25th:
Began again on Variation.


Continued work at "Variation under Domestication."

March 1st to May 10th:
At work on Edition IV. of the "Origin."
Published June (1250 copies).
Read paper on Cytisus scoparius to the Linnean Society.

December 22nd:
Began the last chapter of "Variation under Domestication."


November 15th:
Finished revises of "Variation under Domestication."

Began papers on Illegitimate Unions of Dimorphic and Trimorphic Plants, and
on Primula.


January 30th:
Publication of "Variation under Domestication."

February 4th:
Began work on Man.

February 10th:
New edition of "Variation under Domestication."
Read papers on Illegitimate Unions of Dimorphic and Trimorphic Plants, and
on Verbascum.


February 10th:
"Finished fifth edition of 'Origin'; has taken me forty-six days."

Edition V. published in May.

Working at the "Descent of Man."
Papers on the Fertilisation of Orchids, and on the Fertilisation of Winter-
flowering Plants.


Working at the "Descent of Man."
Paper on the Pampas Woodpecker.


January 17th:
Began the "Expression of the Emotions."

February 24th:
"Descent of Man" published (2500 copies).

April 27th:
Finished the rough copy of "Expression."

June 18th:
Began Edition VI. of "Origin."
Paper on the Fertilisation of Leschenaultia.


January 10th:
Finished proofs of Edition VI. of the "Origin," and "again rewriting

August 22nd:
Finished last proofs of "Expression."

August 23rd:
Began working at Drosera.

"Expression" published (7000 copies, and 2000 more printed at the end of
the year.)

November 8th:
"At Murray's sale 5267 copies sold to London booksellers."


Correcting the Climbing Plants paper for publication as a book.

February 3rd:
At work on "Cross-fertilisation."

February to September:
Contributions to "Nature."

June 14th:
"Began Drosera again."

November 20th:
Began "Descent of Man," Edition II.


"Descent of Man," Edition II, in one volume, published (Preface dated
"Coral Reefs," Edition II., published.

April 1st:
Began "Insectivorous Plants."

February to May:
Contributed notes to "Nature."


July 2nd:
"Insectivorous Plants" published (3000 copies); 2700 copies sold

July 6th:
"Correcting 2nd edition of 'Variation under Domestication.'" It was
published in the autumn.

September 1st (approximately):
Began on "Cross and Self-Fertilisation."

Vivisection Commission.


May 5th:
"Finished MS., first time over, of "Cross and Self-Fertilisation."

May to June:
Correction of "Fertilisation of Orchids," Edition II.
Wrote his Autobiographical Sketch.

May and November:
Contributions to "Nature."

August 19th:
First proofs of "Cross and Self-Fertilisation."

November 10th:
"Cross and Self-Fertilisation" published (1500 copies).


"All the early part of summer at work on "Different Forms of Flowers."

Publication of "Different Forms of Flowers" (1250 copies).
During the rest of the year at work on the bloom on leaves, movements of
plants, "and a little on worms."

LL.D. at Cambridge.
Second edition of "Fertilisation of Orchids" published.
Contributions to "Nature," "Gardeners' Chronicle," and "Mind."


The whole year at work on movements of plants, and on the bloom on leaves.

Contribution to "Nature."
Second edition of "Different Forms of Flowers."
Wrote prefatory letter to Kerner's "Flowers and their Unbidden Guests."


The whole year at work on movements of plants, except for "about six weeks"
in the spring and early summer given to the "Life of Erasmus Darwin," which
was published in the autumn.
Contributions to "Nature."

"All spring finishing MS. of 'Power of Movement in Plants' and proof
"Began in autumn on Worms."
Prefatory notice written for Meldola's translation of Weismann's book.

November 6th:
1500 copies of "Power of Movement" sold at Murray's sale.
Contributions to "Nature."


During all the early part of the year at work on the "Worm book."
Several contributions to "Nature."

October 10th:
The book on "Earthworms" published: 2000 copies sold at once.

At work on the action of carbonate of ammonia on plants.


No entries in the Diary.

At work correcting the sixth thousand of the "Earthworms."

March 6th and March 16th:
Papers on the action of Carbonate of Ammonia on roots, etc., read at the
Linnean Society.

April 6th:
Note to "Nature" on Dispersal of Bivalves.

April 18th:
Van Dyck's paper on Syrian Dogs, with a preliminary notice by Charles
Darwin, read before the Zoological Society.

April 19th:
Charles Darwin died at Down.





(Chapter I./1. In the process of removing the remainder of Mr. Darwin's
books and papers from Down, the following autobiographical notes, written
in 1838, came to light. They seem to us worth publishing--both as giving
some new facts, and also as illustrating the interest which he clearly felt
in his own development. Many words are omitted in the manuscript, and some
names incorrectly spelled; the corrections which have been made are not
always indicated.)

My earliest recollection, the date of which I can approximately tell, and
which must have been before I was four years old, was when sitting on
Caroline's (Caroline Darwin) knee in the drawing room, whilst she was
cutting an orange for me, a cow ran by the window which made me jump, so
that I received a bad cut, of which I bear the scar to this day. Of this
scene I recollect the place where I sat and the cause of the fright, but
not the cut itself, and I think my memory is real, and not as often happens
in similar cases, [derived] from hearing the thing often repeated, [when]
one obtains so vivid an image, that it cannot be separated from memory:
because I clearly remember which way the cow ran, which would not probably
have been told me. My memory here is an obscure picture, in which from not
recollecting any pain I am scarcely conscious of its reference to myself.


When I was four years and a half old I went to the sea, and stayed there
some weeks. I remember many things, but with the exception of the
maidservants (and these are not individualised) I recollect none of my
family who were there. I remember either myself or Catherine being
naughty, and being shut up in a room and trying to break the windows. I
have an obscure picture of a house before my eyes, and of a neighbouring
small shop, where the owner gave me one fig, but which to my great joy
turned out to be two: this fig was given me that the man might kiss the
maidservant. I remember a common walk to a kind of well, on the road to
which was a cottage shaded with damascene (Chapter I./2. Damson is derived
from Damascene; the fruit was formerly known as a "Damask Prune.") trees,
inhabited by an old man, called a hermit, with white hair, who used to give
us damascenes. I know not whether the damascenes, or the reverence and
indistinct fear for this old man produced the greatest effect on my memory.
I remember when going there crossing in the carriage a broad ford, and
fear and astonishment of white foaming water has made a vivid impression.
I think memory of events commences abruptly; that is, I remember these
earliest things quite as clearly as others very much later in life, which
were equally impressed on me. Some very early recollections are connected
with fear at Parkfield and with poor Betty Harvey. I remember with horror
her story of people being pushed into the canal by the towing rope, by
going the wrong side of the horse. I had the greatest horror of this
story--keen instinct against death. Some other recollections are those of
vanity--namely, thinking that people were admiring me, in one instance for
perseverance and another for boldness in climbing a low tree, and what is
odder, a consciousness, as if instinctive, that I was vain, and contempt of
myself. My supposed admirer was old Peter Haile the bricklayer, and the
tree the mountain ash on the lawn. All my recollections seem to be
connected most closely with myself; now Catherine (Catherine Darwin) seems
to recollect scenes where others were the chief actors. When my mother
died I was 8 1/2 years old, and [Catherine] one year less, yet she
remembers all particulars and events of each day whilst I scarcely
recollect anything (and so with very many other cases) except being sent
for, the memory of going into her room, my father meeting me--crying
afterwards. I recollect my mother's gown and scarcely anything of her
appearance, except one or two walks with her. I have no distinct
remembrance of any conversation, and those only of a very trivial nature.
I remember her saying "if she did ask me to do something," which I said she
had, "it was solely for my good."

Catherine remembers my mother crying, when she heard of my grandmother's
death. Also when at Parkfield how Aunt Sarah and Aunt Kitty used to
receive her. Susan, like me, only remembers affairs personal. It is
sufficiently odd this [difference] in subjects remembered. Catherine says
she does not remember the impression made upon her by external things, as
scenery, but for things which she reads she has an excellent memory, i.e.,
for ideas. Now her sympathy being ideal, it is part of her character, and
shows how easily her kind of memory was stamped, a vivid thought is
repeated, a vivid impression forgotten.

I remember obscurely the illumination after the battle of Waterloo, and the
Militia exercising about that period, in the field opposite our house.


At 8 1/2 years old I went to Mr. Case's School. (Chapter I/3. A day-
school at Shrewsbury kept by Rev. G. Case, minister of the Unitarian Chapel
("Life and Letters," Volume I., page 27 et seq.)) I remember how very much
I was afraid of meeting the dogs in Barker Street, and how at school I
could not get up my courage to fight. I was very timid by nature. I
remember I took great delight at school in fishing for newts in the quarry
pool. I had thus young formed a strong taste for collecting, chiefly
seals, franks, etc., but also pebbles and minerals--one which was given me
by some boy decided this taste. I believe shortly after this, or before, I
had smattered in botany, and certainly when at Mr. Case's School I was very
fond of gardening, and invented some great falsehoods about being able to
colour crocuses as I liked. (Chapter I./4. The story is given in the
"Life and Letters," I., page 28, the details being slightly different.) At
this time I felt very strong friendship for some boys. It was soon after I
began collecting stones, i.e., when 9 or 10, that I distinctly recollect
the desire I had of being able to know something about every pebble in
front of the hall door--it was my earliest and only geological aspiration
at that time. I was in those days a very great story-teller--for the pure
pleasure of exciting attention and surprise. I stole fruit and hid it for
these same motives, and injured trees by barking them for similar ends. I
scarcely ever went out walking without saying I had seen a pheasant or some
strange bird (natural history taste); these lies, when not detected, I
presume, excited my attention, as I recollect them vividly, not connected
with shame, though some I do, but as something which by having produced a
great effect on my mind, gave pleasure like a tragedy. I recollect when I
was at Mr. Case's inventing a whole fabric to show how fond I was of
speaking the TRUTH! My invention is still so vivid in my mind, that I
could almost fancy it was true, did not memory of former shame tell me it
was false. I have no particularly happy or unhappy recollections of this
time or earlier periods of my life. I remember well a walk I took with a
boy named Ford across some fields to a farmhouse on the Church Stretton
road. I do not remember any mental pursuits excepting those of collecting
stones, etc., gardening, and about this time often going with my father in
his carriage, telling him of my lessons, and seeing game and other wild
birds, which was a great delight to me. I was born a naturalist.

When I was 9 1/2 years old (July 1818) I went with Erasmus to see
Liverpool: it has left no impressions on my mind, except most trifling
ones--fear of the coach upsetting, a good dinner, and an extremely vague
memory of ships.

In Midsummer of this year I went to Dr. Butler's School. (Chapter I./5.
Darwin entered Dr. Butler's school in Shrewsbury in the summer of 1818, and
remained there till 1825 ("Life and Letters," I., page 30).) I well
recollect the first going there, which oddly enough I cannot of going to
Mr. Case's, the first school of all. I remember the year 1818 well, not
from having first gone to a public school, but from writing those figures
in my school book, accompanied with obscure thoughts, now fulfilled,
whether I should recollect in future life that year.

In September (1818) I was ill with the scarlet fever. I well remember the
wretched feeling of being delirious.

1819, July (10 1/2 years old).

Went to the sea at Plas Edwards and stayed there three weeks, which now
appears to me like three months. (Chapter I./6. Plas Edwards, at Towyn,
on the Welsh coast.) I remember a certain shady green road (where I saw a
snake) and a waterfall, with a degree of pleasure, which must be connected
with the pleasure from scenery, though not directly recognised as such.
The sandy plain before the house has left a strong impression, which is
obscurely connected with an indistinct remembrance of curious insects,
probably a Cimex mottled with red, and Zygaena, the burnet-moth. I was at
that time very passionate (when I swore like a trooper) and quarrelsome.
The former passion has I think nearly wholly but slowly died away. When
journeying there by stage coach I remember a recruiting officer (I think I
should know his face to this day) at tea time, asking the maid-servant for
toasted bread and butter. I was convulsed with laughter and thought it the
quaintest and wittiest speech that ever passed from the mouth of man. Such
is wit at 10 1/2 years old. The memory now flashes across me of the
pleasure I had in the evening on a blowy day walking along the beach by
myself and seeing the gulls and cormorants wending their way home in a wild
and irregular course. Such poetic pleasures, felt so keenly in after
years, I should not have expected so early in life.

1820, July.

Went a riding tour (on old Dobbin) with Erasmus to Pistyll Rhiadr (Chapter
I./7. Pistyll Rhiadr proceeds from Llyn Pen Rhiadr down the Llyfnant to
the Dovey.); of this I recollect little, an indistinct picture of the fall,
but I well remember my astonishment on hearing that fishes could jump up

(Chapter I./8. The autobiographical fragment here comes to an end. The
next letters give some account of Darwin as an Edinburgh student. He has
described ("Life and Letters," I., pages 35-45) his failure to be
interested in the official teaching of the University, his horror at the
operating theatre, and his gradually increasing dislike of medical study,
which finally determined his leaving Edinburgh, and entering Cambridge with
a view to taking Orders.)

Sunday Morning [Edinburgh, October, 1825].

My dear Father

As I suppose Erasmus (Erasmus Darwin) has given all the particulars of the
journey, I will say no more about it, except that altogether it has cost me
7 pounds. We got into our lodgings yesterday evening, which are very
comfortable and near the College. Our Landlady, by name Mrs. Mackay, is a
nice clean old body--exceedingly civil and attentive. She lives in "11,
Lothian Street, Edinburgh" (1/1. In a letter printed in the "Edinburgh
Evening Despatch" of May 22nd, 1888, the writer suggested that a tablet
should be placed on the house, 11, Lothian Street. This suggestion was
carried out in 1888 by Mr. Ralph Richardson (Clerk of the Commissary Court,
Edinburgh), who obtained permission from the proprietors to affix a tablet
to the house, setting forth that Charles Darwin resided there as an
Edinburgh University student. We are indebted to Mr. W.K. Dickson for
obtaining for us this information, and to Mr. Ralph Richardson for kindly
supplying us with particulars. See Mr. Richardson's Inaugural Address,
"Trans. Edinb. Geol. Soc." 1894-95; also "Memorable Edinburgh Houses," by
Wilmot Harrison, 1898.), and only four flights of steps from the ground-
floor, which is very moderate to some other lodgings that we were nearly
taking. The terms are 1 pound 6 shillings for two very nice and LIGHT
bedrooms and a sitting-room; by the way, light bedrooms are very scarce
articles in Edinburgh, since most of them are little holes in which there
is neither air nor light. We called on Dr. Hanley the first morning, whom
I think we never should have found, had it not been for a good-natured Dr.
of Divinity who took us into his library and showed us a map, and gave us
directions how to find him. Indeed, all the Scotchmen are so civil and
attentive, that it is enough to make an Englishman ashamed of himself. I
should think Dr. Butler or any other fat English Divine would take two
utter strangers into his library and show them the way! When at last we
found the Doctor, and having made all the proper speeches on both sides, we
all three set out and walked all about the town, which we admire
excessively; indeed Bridge Street is the most extraordinary thing I ever
saw, and when we first looked over the sides, we could hardly believe our
eyes, when instead of a fine river, we saw a stream of people. We spend
all our mornings in promenading about the town, which we know pretty well,
and in the evenings we go to the play to hear Miss Stephens (Probably
Catherine Stephens), which is quite delightful; she is very popular here,
being encored to such a degree, that she can hardly get on with the play.
On Monday we are going to Der F (I do not know how to spell the rest of the
word). (1/2. "Der F" is doubtless "Der Freischutz," which appeared in
1820, and of which a selection was given in London, under Weber's
direction, in 1825. The last of Weber's compositions, "From Chindara's
warbling fount," was written for Miss Stephens, who sang it to his
accompaniment "the last time his fingers touched the key-board." (See
"Dict. of Music," "Stephens" and "Weber.")) Before we got into our
lodgings, we were staying at the Star Hotel in Princes St., where to my
surprise I met with an old schoolfellow, whom I like very much; he is just
come back from a walking tour in Switzerland and is now going to study for
his [degree?] The introductory lectures begin next Wednesday, and we were
matriculated for them on Saturday; we pay 10s., and write our names in a
book, and the ceremony is finished; but the Library is not free to us till
we get a ticket from a Professor. We just have been to Church and heard a
sermon of only 20 minutes. I expected, from Sir Walter Scott's account, a
soul-cutting discourse of 2 hours and a half.

I remain your affectionate son,

January 6th, 1826. Edinburgh.

Many thanks for your very entertaining letter, which was a great relief
after hearing a long stupid lecture from Duncan on Materia Medica, but as
you know nothing either of the Lectures or Lecturers, I will give you a
short account of them. Dr. Duncan is so very learned that his wisdom has
left no room for his sense, and he lectures, as I have already said, on the
Materia Medica, which cannot be translated into any word expressive enough
of its stupidity. These few last mornings, however, he has shown signs of
improvement, and I hope he will "go on as well as can be expected." His
lectures begin at eight in the morning. Dr. Hope begins at ten o'clock,
and I like both him and his lectures VERY much (after which Erasmus goes to
"Mr. Sizars on Anatomy," who is a charming Lecturer). At 12 the Hospital,
after which I attend Monro on Anatomy. I dislike him and his lectures so
much, that I cannot speak with decency about them. Thrice a week we have
what is called Clinical lectures, which means lectures on the sick people
in the Hospital--these I like very much. I said this account should be
short, but I am afraid it has been too long, like the lectures themselves.

I will be a good boy and tell something about Johnson again (not but what I
am very much surprised that Papa should so forget himself as call me, a
Collegian in the University of Edinburgh, a boy). He has changed his
lodgings for the third time; he has got very cheap ones, but I am afraid it
will not answer, for they must make up by cheating. I hope you like
Erasmus' official news, he means to begin every letter so. You mentioned
in your letter that Emma was staying with you: if she is not gone, ask her
to tell Jos that I have not succeeded in getting any titanium, but that I
will try again...I want to know how old I shall be next birthday--I believe
17, and if so, I shall be forced to go abroad for one year, since it is
necessary that I shall have completed my 21st year before I take my degree.
Now you have no business to be frowning and puzzling over this letter, for
I did not promise to write a good hand to you.


(3/1. Extracts from Darwin's letters to Henslow were read before the
Cambridge Philosophical Society on November 16th, 1835. Some of the
letters were subsequently printed, in an 8vo pamphlet of 31 pages, dated
December 1st, 1835, for private distribution among the members of the
Society. A German translation by W. Preyer appeared in the "Deutsche
Rundschau," June 1891.)

[15th August, 1832. Monte Video.]

We are now beating up the Rio Plata, and I take the opportunity of
beginning a letter to you. I did not send off the specimens from Rio
Janeiro, as I grudged the time it would take to pack them up. They are now
ready to be sent off and most probably go by this packet. If so they go to
Falmouth (where Fitz-Roy has made arrangements) and so will not trouble
your brother's agent in London. When I left England I was not fully aware
how essential a kindness you offered me when you undertook to receive my
boxes. I do not know what I should do without such head-quarters. And now
for an apologetical prose about my collection: I am afraid you will say it
is very small, but I have not been idle, and you must recollect what a very
small show hundreds of species make. The box contains a good many
geological specimens; I am well aware that the greater number are too
small. But I maintain that no person has a right to accuse me, till he has
tried carrying rocks under a tropical sun. I have endeavoured to get
specimens of every variety of rock, and have written notes upon all. If
you think it worth your while to examine any of them I shall be very glad
of some mineralogical information, especially on any numbers between 1 and
254 which include Santiago rocks. By my catalogue I shall know which you
may refer to. As for my plants, "pudet pigetque mihi." All I can say is
that when objects are present which I can observe and particularise about,
I cannot summon resolution to collect when I know nothing.

It is positively distressing to walk in the glorious forest amidst such
treasures and feel they are all thrown away upon one. My collection from
the Abrolhos is interesting, as I suspect it nearly contains the whole
flowering vegetation--and indeed from extreme sterility the same may almost
be said of Santiago. I have sent home four bottles with animals in
spirits, I have three more, but would not send them till I had a fourth. I
shall be anxious to hear how they fare. I made an enormous collection of
Arachnidae at Rio, also a good many small beetles in pill boxes, but it is
not the best time of year for the latter. Amongst the lower animals
nothing has so much interested me as finding two species of elegantly
coloured true Planaria inhabiting the dewy forest! The false relation they
bear to snails is the most extraordinary thing of the kind I have ever
seen. In the same genus (or more truly family) some of the marine species
possess an organisation so marvellous that I can scarcely credit my
eyesight. Every one has heard of the discoloured streaks of water in the
equatorial regions. One I examined was owing to the presence of such
minute Oscillariae that in each square inch of surface there must have been
at least one hundred thousand present. After this I had better be silent,
for you will think me a Baron Munchausen amongst naturalists. Most
assuredly I might collect a far greater number of specimens of Invertebrate
animals if I took less time over each; but I have come to the conclusion
that two animals with their original colour and shape noted down will be
more valuable to naturalists than six with only dates and place. I hope
you will send me your criticisms about my collection; and it will be my
endeavour that nothing you say shall be lost on me. I would send home my
writings with my specimens, only I find I have so repeatedly occasion to
refer back that it would be a serious loss to me. I cannot conclude about
my collection without adding that I implicitly trust in your keeping an
exact account against all the expense of boxes, etc., etc. At this present
minute we are at anchor in the mouth of the river, and such a strange scene
as it is. Everything is in flames--the sky with lightning, the water with
luminous particles, and even the very masts are pointed with a blue flame.
I expect great interest in scouring over the plains of Monte Video, yet I
look back with regret to the Tropics, that magic lure to all naturalists.
The delight of sitting on a decaying trunk amidst the quiet gloom of the
forest is unspeakable and never to be forgotten. How often have I then
wished for you. When I see a banana I well recollect admiring them with
you in Cambridge--little did I then think how soon I should eat their

August 15th. In a few days the box will go by the "Emulous" packet (Capt.
Cooke) to Falmouth and will be forwarded to you. This letter goes the same
way, so that if in course of due time you do not receive the box, will you
be kind enough to write to Falmouth? We have been here (Monte Video) for
some time; but owing to bad weather and continual fighting on shore, we
have scarcely ever been able to walk in the country. I have collected
during the last month nothing, but to-day I have been out and returned like
Noah's Ark with animals of all sorts. I have to-day to my astonishment
found two Planariae living under dry stones: ask L. Jenyns if he has ever
heard of this fact. I also found a most curious snail, and spiders,
beetles, snakes, scorpions ad libitum, and to conclude shot a Cavia
weighing a cwt.--On Friday we sail for the Rio Negro, and then will
commence our real wild work. I look forward with dread to the wet stormy
regions of the south, but after so much pleasure I must put up with some
sea-sickness and misery.

Monte Video, 24th November 1832.

We arrived here on the 24th of October, after our first cruise on the coast
of Patagonia. North of the Rio Negro we fell in with some little schooners
employed in sealing: to save the loss of time in surveying the intricate
mass of banks, Capt. Fitz-Roy has hired two of them and has put officers on
them. It took us nearly a month fitting them out; as soon as this was
finished we came back here, and are now preparing for a long cruise to the
south. I expect to find the wild mountainous country of Terra del Fuego
very interesting, and after the coast of Patagonia I shall thoroughly enjoy
it.--I had hoped for the credit of Dame Nature, no such country as this
last existed; in sad reality we coasted along 240 miles of sand hillocks; I
never knew before, what a horrid ugly object a sand hillock is. The famed
country of the Rio Plata in my opinion is not much better: an enormous
brackish river, bounded by an interminable green plain is enough to make
any naturalist groan. So Hurrah for Cape Horn and the Land of Storms. Now
that I have had my growl out, which is a privilege sailors take on all
occasions, I will turn the tables and give an account of my doing in Nat.
History. I must have one more growl: by ill luck the French Government
has sent one of its collectors to the Rio Negro, where he has been working
for the last six months, and is now gone round the Horn. So that I am very
selfishly afraid he will get the cream of all the good things before me.
As I have nobody to talk to about my luck and ill luck in collecting, I am
determined to vent it all upon you. I have been very lucky with fossil
bones; I have fragments of at least 6 distinct animals: as many of them
are teeth, I trust, shattered and rolled as they have been, they will be
recognised. I have paid all the attention I am capable of to their
geological site; but of course it is too long a story for here. 1st, I
have the tarsi and metatarsi very perfect of a Cavia; 2nd, the upper jaw
and head of some very large animal with four square hollow molars and the
head greatly protruded in front. I at first thought it belonged either to
the Megalonyx or Megatherium (4/1. The animal may probably have been
Grypotherium Darwini, Ow. The osseous plates mentioned below must have
belonged to one of the Glyptodontidae, and not to Megatherium. We are
indebted to Mr. Kerr for calling our attention to a passage in Buckland's
"Bridgewater Treatise" (Volume II., page 20, note), where bony armour is
ascribed to Megatherium.); in confirmation of this in the same formation I
found a large surface of the osseous polygonal plates, which "late
observations" (what are they?) show belong to the Megatherium. Immediately
I saw this I thought they must belong to an enormous armadillo, living
species of which genus are so abundant here. 3rd, The lower jaw of some
large animal which, from the molar teeth, I should think belonged to the
Edentata; 4th, some large molar teeth which in some respects would seem to
belong to an enormous rodent; 5th, also some smaller teeth belonging to the
same order. If it interests you sufficiently to unpack them, I shall be
very curious to hear something about them. Care must be taken in this case
not to confuse the tallies. They are mingled with marine shells which
appear to me identical with what now exist. But since they were deposited
in their beds several geological changes have taken place in the country.
So much for the dead, and now for the living: there is a poor specimen of
a bird which to my unornithological eyes appears to be a happy mixture of a
lark, pigeon and snipe (No. 710). Mr. MacLeay himself never imagined such
an inosculating creature: I suppose it will turn out to be some well-known
bird, although it has quite baffled me. I have taken some interesting
Amphibia; a new Trigonocephalus beautifully connecting in its habits
Crotalus and the Viperidae, and plenty of new (as far as my knowledge goes)
saurians. As for one little toad, I hope it may be new, that it may be
christened "diabolicus." Milton must allude to this very individual when
he talks of "squat like a toad"
(4/2. "...him [Satan] there they [Ithuriel and Zephon] found,
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve"
("Paradise Lost," Book IV., line 800).

"Formerly Milton's "Paradise Lost" had been my chief favourite, and in my
excursions during the voyage of the 'Beagle,' when I could take only a
single volume, I always chose Milton" ("Autobiography," page 69).);
its colours are by Werner (4/3. Werner's "Nomenclature of Colours,"
Edinburgh, 1821.) ink black, vermilion red and buff orange. It has been a
splendid cruise for me in Nat. History. Amongst the Pelagic Crustacea,
some new and curious genera. In the Zoophytes some interesting animals.
As for one Flustra, if I had not the specimen to back me up nobody would
believe in its most anomalous structure. But as for novelty all this is
nothing to a family of pelagic animals which at first sight appear like
Medusae but are really highly organised. I have examined them repeatedly,
and certainly from their structure it would be impossible to place them in
any existing order. Perhaps Salpa is the nearest animal, although the
transparency of the body is nearly the only character they have in common.
I think the dried plants nearly contain all which were then (Bahia Blanca)
flowering. All the specimens will be packed in casks. I think there will
be three (before sending this letter I will specify dates, etc., etc.). I
am afraid you will groan or rather the floor of the lecture room will when
the casks arrive. Without you I should be utterly undone. The small cask
contains fish: will you open it to see how the spirit has stood the
evaporation of the Tropics. On board the ship everything goes on as well
as possible; the only drawback is the fearful length of time between this
and the day of our return. I do not see any limits to it. One year is
nearly completed and the second will be so, before we even leave the east
coast of S. America. And then our voyage may be said really to have
commenced. I know not how I shall be able to endure it. The frequency
with which I think of all the happy hours I have spent at Shrewsbury and
Cambridge is rather ominous--I trust everything to time and fate and will
feel my way as I go on.

November 24th.--We have been at Buenos Ayres for a week; it is a fine large
city, but such a country, everything is mud, you can go nowhere, you can do
nothing for mud. In the city I obtained much information about the banks
of the Uruguay--I hear of limestone with shells, and beds of shells in
every direction. I hope when we winter in the Plata to have a most
interesting geological excursion into that country: I purchased fragments
(Nos. 837-8) of some enormous bones, which I was assured belonged to the
former giants!! I also procured some seeds--I do not know whether they are
worth your accepting; if you think so I will get some more. They are in
the box. I have sent to you by the "Duke of York" packet, commanded by
Lieut. Snell, to Falmouth two large casks containing fossil bones, a small
cask with fish and a box containing skins, spirit bottle, etc., and pill-
boxes with beetles. Would you be kind enough to open these latter as they
are apt to become mouldy. With the exception of the bones the rest of my
collection looks very scanty. Recollect how great a proportion of time is
spent at sea. I am always anxious to hear in what state the things come
and any criticisms about quantity or kind of specimens. In the smaller
cask is part of a large head, the anterior portions of which are in the
other large one. The packet has arrived and I am in a great bustle. You
will not hear from me for some months.

Valparaiso, July 24th 1834.

A box has just arrived in which were two of your most kind and affectionate
letters. You do not know how happy they have made me. One is dated
December 15th, 1833, the other January 15th of the same year! By what
fatality it did not arrive sooner I cannot conjecture; I regret it much,
for it contains the information I most wanted, about manner of packing,
etc., etc.: roots with specimens of plants, etc., etc. This I suppose was
written after the reception of my first cargo of specimens. Not having
heard from you until March of this year I really began to think that my
collections were so poor, that you were puzzled what to say; the case is
now quite on the opposite tack; for you are guilty of exciting all my vain
feelings to a most comfortable pitch; if hard work will atone for these
thoughts, I vow it shall not be spared. It is rather late, but I will
allude to some remarks in the January letter; you advise me to send home
duplicates of my notes; I have been aware of the advantage of doing so; but
then at sea to this day, I am invariably sick, excepting on the finest
days, at which times with pelagic animals around me, I could never bring
myself to the task--on shore the most prudent person could hardly expect
such a sacrifice of time. My notes are becoming bulky. I have about 600
small quarto pages full; about half of this is Geology--the other imperfect
descriptions of animals; with the latter I make it a rule only to describe
those parts or facts, which cannot be seen in specimens in spirits. I keep
my private Journal distinct from the above. (N.B. this letter is a most
untidy one, but my mind is untidy with joy; it is your fault, so you must
take the consequences.) With respect to the land Planariae, unquestionably
they are not molluscous animals. I read your letters last night, this
morning I took a little walk; by a curious coincidence, I found a new white
species of Planaria, and a new to me Vaginulus (third species which I have
found in S. America) of Cuvier. Amongst the marine mollusques I have seen
a good many genera, and at Rio found one quite new one. With respect to
the December letter, I am very glad to hear the four casks arrived safe;
since which time you have received another cargo, with the bird skins about
which you did not understand me. Have any of the B. Ayrean seeds produced
plants? From the Falklands I acknowledged a box and letter from you; with
the letter were a few seeds from Patagonia. At present I have specimens
enough to make a heavy cargo, but shall wait as much longer as possible,
because opportunities are not now so good as before. I have just got scent
of some fossil bones of a MAMMOTH; what they may be I do not know, but if
gold or galloping will get them they shall be mine. You tell me you like
hearing how I am going on and what doing, and you well may imagine how much
I enjoy speaking to any one upon subjects which I am always thinking about,
but never have any one to talk to [about]. After leaving the Falklands we
proceeded to the Rio S. Cruz, following up the river till within twenty
miles of the Cordilleras. Unfortunately want of provisions compelled us to
return. This expedition was most important to me as it was a transverse
section of the great Patagonian formation. I conjecture (an accurate
examination of fossils may possibly determine the point) that the main bed
is somewhere about the Miocene period (using Mr. Lyell's expression); I
judge from what I have seen of the present shells of Patagonia. This bed
contains an ENORMOUS field of lava. This is of some interest, as being a
rude approximation to the age of the volcanic part of the great range of
the Andes. Long before this it existed as a slate and porphyritic line of
hills. I have collected a tolerable quantity of information respecting the
period and forms of elevations of these plains. I think these will be
interesting to Mr. Lyell; I had deferred reading his third volume till my
return: you may guess how much pleasure it gave me; some of his woodcuts
came so exactly into play that I have only to refer to them instead of
redrawing similar ones. I had my barometer with me, I only wish I had used
it more in these plains. The valley of S. Cruz appears to me a very
curious one; at first it quite baffled me. I believe I can show good
reasons for supposing it to have been once a northern straits like to that
of Magellan. When I return to England you will have some hard work in
winnowing my Geology; what little I know I have learnt in such a curious
fashion that I often feel very doubtful about the number of grains [of
value?]. Whatever number they may turn out, I have enjoyed extreme
pleasure in collecting them. In T. del Fuego I collected and examined some
corallines; I have observed one fact which quite startled me: it is that
in the genus Sertularia (taken in its most restricted form as [used] by
Lamoureux) and in two species which, excluding comparative expressions, I
should find much difficulty in describing as different, the polypi quite
and essentially differed in all their most important and evident parts of
structure. I have already seen enough to be convinced that the present
families of corallines as arranged by Lamarck, Cuvier, etc., are highly
artificial. It appears that they are in the same state [in] which shells
were when Linnaeus left them for Cuvier to rearrange. I do so wish I was a
better hand at dissecting, I find I can do very little in the minute parts
of structure; I am forced to take a very rough examination as a type for
different classes of structure. It is most extraordinary I can nowhere see
in my books one single description of the polypus of any one coralline
excepting Alcyonium Lobularia of Savigny. I found a curious little stony
Cellaria (5/1. Cellaria, a genus of Bryozoa, placed in the section
Flustrina of the Suborder Chilostomata.) (a new genus) each cell provided
with long toothed bristle, these are capable of various and rapid motions.
This motion is often simultaneous, and can be produced by irritation. This
fact, as far as I can see, is quite isolated in the history of zoophytes
(excepting the Flustra with an organ like a vulture's head); it points out
a much more intimate relation between the polypi than Lamarck is willing to
allow. I forgot whether I mentioned having seen something of the manner of
propagation in that most ambiguous family, the corallines; I feel pretty
well convinced if they are not plants they are not zoophytes. The
"gemmule" of a Halimeda contained several articulations united, ready to
burst their envelope, and become attached to some basis. I believe in
zoophytes universally the gemmule produces a single polypus, which
afterwards or at the same time grows with its cell or single articulation.

The "Beagle" left the Sts. of Magellan in the middle of winter; she found
her road out by a wild unfrequented channel; well might Sir J. Narborough
call the west coast South Desolation, "because it is so desolate a land to
behold." We were driven into Chiloe by some very bad weather. An
Englishman gave me three specimens of that very fine Lucanoidal insect
which is described in the "Camb. Phil. Trans." (5/2. "Description of
Chiasognathus Grantii, a new Lucanideous Insect, etc." by J.F. Stephens
("Trans. Camb. Phil. Soc." Volume IV., page 209, 1833.), two males and one
female. I find Chiloe is composed of lava and recent deposits. The lavas
are curious from abounding in, or rather being in parts composed of
pitchstone. If we go to Chiloe in the summer, I shall reap an
entomological harvest. I suppose the Botany both there and in Chili is

I forgot to state that in the four cargoes of specimens there have been
sent three square boxes, each containing four glass bottles. I mention
this in case they should be stowed beneath geological specimens and thus
escape your notice, perhaps some spirit may be wanted in them. If a box
arrives from B. Ayres with a Megatherium head the other unnumbered
specimens, be kind enough to tell me, as I have strong fears for its
safety. We arrived here the day before yesterday; the views of the distant
mountains are most sublime and the climate delightful; after our long
cruise in the damp gloomy climates of the south, to breathe a clear dry air
and feel honest warm sunshine, and eat good fresh roast beef must be the
summum bonum of human life. I do not like the look of the rocks half so
much as the beef, there is too much of those rather insipid ingredients,
mica, quartz and feldspar. Our plans are at present undecided; there is a
good deal of work to the south of Valparaiso and to the north an indefinite
quantity. I look forward to every part with interest. I have sent you in
this letter a sad dose of egotism, but recollect I look up to you as my
father in Natural History, and a son may talk about himself to his father.
In your paternal capacity as proproctor what a great deal of trouble you
appear to have had. How turbulent Cambridge is become. Before this time
it will have regained its tranquillity. I have a most schoolboy-like wish
to be there, enjoying my holidays. It is a most comfortable reflection to
me, that a ship being made of wood and iron, cannot last for ever, and
therefore this voyage must have an end.

October 28th. This letter has been lying in my portfolio ever since July;
I did not send it away because I did not think it worth the postage; it
shall now go with a box of specimens. Shortly after arriving here I set
out on a geological excursion, and had a very pleasant ramble about the
base of the Andes. The whole country appears composed of breccias (and I
imagine slates) which universally have been modified and oftentimes
completely altered by the action of fire. The varieties of porphyry thus
produced are endless, but nowhere have I yet met with rocks which have
flowed in a stream; dykes of greenstone are very numerous. Modern volcanic
action is entirely shut up in the very central parts (which cannot now be
reached on account of the snow) of the Cordilleras. In the south of the R.
Maypu I examined the Tertiary plains, already partially described by M.
Gay. (5/3. "Rapport fait a l'Academie Royale des Sciences, sur les
Travaux Geologiques de M. Gay," by Alex. Brongniart ("Ann. Sci. Nat."
Volume XXVIII., page 394, 1833.) The fossil shells appear to me to be far
more different from the recent ones than in the great Patagonian formation;
it will be curious if an Eocene and Miocene (recent there is abundance of)
could be proved to exist in S. America as well as in Europe. I have been
much interested by finding abundance of recent shells at an elevation of
1,300 feet; the country in many places is scattered over with shells but
these are all littoral ones. So that I suppose the 1,300 feet elevation
must be owing to a succession of small elevations such as in 1822. With
these certain proofs of the recent residence of the ocean over all the
lower parts of Chili, the outline of every view and the form of each valley
possesses a high interest. Has the action of running water or the sea
formed this deep ravine? was a question which often arose in my mind and
generally was answered by finding a bed of recent shells at the bottom. I
have not sufficient arguments, but I do not believe that more than a small
fraction of the height of the Andes has been formed within the Tertiary
period. The conclusion of my excursion was very unfortunate, I became
unwell and could hardly reach this place. I have been in bed for the last
month, but am now rapidly getting well. I had hoped during this time to
have made a good collection of insects but it has been impossible: I
regret the less because Chiloe fairly swarms with collectors; there are
more naturalists in the country, than carpenters or shoemakers or any other
honest trade.

In my letter from the Falkland Islands I said I had fears about a box with
a Megatherium. I have since heard from B. Ayres that it went to Liverpool
by the brig "Basingwaithe." If you have not received it, it is I think
worth taking some trouble about. In October two casks and a jar were sent
by H.M.S. "Samarang" via Portsmouth. I have no doubt you have received
them. With this letter I send a good many bird skins; in the same box with
them, there is a paper parcel containing pill boxes with insects. The
other pill boxes require no particular care. You will see in two of these
boxes some dried Planariae (terrestrial), the only method I have found of
preserving them (they are exceedingly brittle). By examining the white
species I understand some little of the internal structure. There are two
small parcels of seeds. There are some plants which I hope may interest
you, or at least those from Patagonia where I collected every one in
flower. There is a bottle clumsily but I think securely corked containing
water and gas from the hot baths of Cauquenes seated at foot of Andes and
long celebrated for medicinal properties. I took pains in filling and
securing both water and gas. If you can find any one who likes to analyze
them, I should think it would be worth the trouble. I have not time at
present to copy my few observations about the locality, etc., etc., [of]
these springs. Will you tell me how the Arachnidae which I have sent home,
for instance those from Rio, appear to be preserved. I have doubts whether
it is worth while collecting them.

We sail the day after to-morrow: our plans are at last limited and
definite; I am delighted to say we have bid an eternal adieu to T. del
Fuego. The "Beagle" will not proceed further south than C. Tres Montes;
from which point we survey to the north. The Chonos Archipelago is
delightfully unknown: fine deep inlets running into the Cordilleras--where
we can steer by the light of a volcano. I do not know which part of the
voyage now offers the most attractions. This is a shamefully untidy
letter, but you must forgive me.

April 18th, 1835. Valparaiso.

I have just returned from Mendoza, having crossed the Cordilleras by two
passes. This trip has added much to my knowledge of the geology of the
country. Some of the facts, of the truth of which I in my own mind feel
fully convinced, will appear to you quite absurd and incredible. I will
give a very short sketch of the structure of these huge mountains. In the
Portillo pass (the more southern one) travellers have described the
Cordilleras to consist of a double chain of nearly equal altitude separated
by a considerable interval. This is the case; and the same structure
extends to the northward to Uspallata; the little elevation of the eastern
line (here not more than 6,000-7,000 feet.) has caused it almost to be
overlooked. To begin with the western and principal chain, we have, where
the sections are best seen, an enormous mass of a porphyritic conglomerate
resting on granite. This latter rock seems to form the nucleus of the
whole mass, and is seen in the deep lateral valleys, injected amongst,
upheaving, overturning in the most extraordinary manner, the overlying
strata. The stratification in all the mountains is beautifully distinct
and from a variety in the colour can be seen at great distances. I cannot
imagine any part of the world presenting a more extraordinary scene of the
breaking up of the crust of the globe than the very central parts of the
Andes. The upheaval has taken place by a great number of (nearly) N. and
S. lines; which in most cases have formed as many anticlinal and synclinal
ravines; the strata in the highest pinnacles are almost universally
inclined at an angle from 70 deg to 80 deg. I cannot tell you how I
enjoyed some of these views--it is worth coming from England, once to feel
such intense delight; at an elevation from 10 to 12,000 feet there is a
transparency in the air, and a confusion of distances and a sort of
stillness which gives the sensation of being in another world, and when to
this is joined the picture so plainly drawn of the great epochs of
violence, it causes in the mind a most strange assemblage of ideas.

The formation I call Porphyritic Conglomerates is the most important and
most developed one in Chili: from a great number of sections I find it a
true coarse conglomerate or breccia, which by every step in a slow
gradation passes into a fine claystone-porphyry; the pebbles and cement
becoming porphyritic till at last all is blended in one compact rock. The
porphyries are excessively abundant in this chain. I feel sure at least
4/5ths of them have been thus produced from sedimentary beds in situ.
There are porphyries which have been injected from below amongst strata,
and others ejected, which have flowed in streams; it is remarkable, and I
could show specimens of this rock produced in these three methods, which
cannot be distinguished. It is a great mistake considering the Cordilleras
here as composed of rocks which have flowed in streams. In this range I
nowhere saw a fragment, which I believe to have thus originated, although
the road passes at no great distance from the active volcanoes. The
porphyries, conglomerate, sandstone and quartzose sandstone and limestones
alternate and pass into each other many times, overlying (where not broken
through by the granite) clay-slate. In the upper parts, the sandstone
begins to alternate with gypsum, till at last we have this substance of a
stupendous thickness. I really think the formation is in some places (it
varies much) nearly 2,000 feet thick, it occurs often with a green
(epidote?) siliceous sandstone and snow-white marble; it resembles that
found in the Alps in containing large concretions of a crystalline marble
of a blackish grey colour. The upper beds which form some of the higher
pinnacles consist of layers of snow-white gypsum and red compact sandstone,
from the thickness of paper to a few feet, alternating in an endless round.
The rock has a most curiously painted appearance. At the pass of the
Peuquenes in this formation, where however a black rock like clay-slate,
without many laminae, occurring with a pale limestone, has replaced the red
sandstone, I found abundant impressions of shells. The elevation must be
between 12 and 13,000 feet. A shell which I believe is the Gryphaea is the
most abundant--an Ostrea, Turratella, Ammonites, small bivalves,
Terebratulae (?). Perhaps some good conchologist (6/1. Some of these
genera are mentioned by Darwin ("Geol. Obs." page 181) as having been named
for him by M. D'Orbigny.) will be able to give a guess, to what grand
division of the formations of Europe these organic remains bear most
resemblance. They are exceedingly imperfect and few. It was late in the
season and the situation particularly dangerous for snow-storms. I did not
dare to delay, otherwise a grand harvest might have been reaped. So much
for the western line; in the Portillo pass, proceeding eastward, we meet an
immense mass of conglomerate, dipping to the west 45 deg, which rest on
micaceous sandstone, etc., etc., upheaved and converted into quartz-rock
penetrated by dykes from the very grand mass of protogine (large crystals
of quartz, red feldspar, and occasional little chlorite). Now this
conglomerate which reposes on and dips from the protogene 45 deg consists
of the peculiar rocks of the first described chain, pebbles of the black
rock with shells, green sandstone, etc., etc. It is hence manifest that
the upheaval (and deposition at least of part) of the grand eastern chain
is entirely posterior to the western. To the north in the Uspallata pass,
we have also a fact of the same class. Bear this in mind: it will help to
make you believe what follows. I have said the Uspallata range is
geologically, although only 6,000-7,000 feet, a continuation of the grand
eastern chain. It has its nucleus of granite, consists of grand beds of
various crystalline rocks, which I can feel no doubt are subaqueous lavas
alternating with sandstone, conglomerates and white aluminous beds (like
decomposed feldspar) with many other curious varieties of sedimentary
deposits. These lavas and sandstones alterate very many times, and are
quite conformable one to the other. During two days of careful examination
I said to myself at least fifty times, how exactly like (only rather
harder) these beds are to those of the upper Tertiary strata of Patagonia,
Chiloe and Concepcion, without the possible identity ever having occurred
to me. At last there was no resisting the conclusion. I could not expect
shells, for they never occur in this formation; but lignite or carbonaceous
shale ought to be found. I had previously been exceedingly puzzled by
meeting in the sandstone, thin layers (few inches to feet thick) of a
brecciated pitchstone. I strongly suspect the underlying granite has
altered such beds into this pitchstone. The silicified wood (particularly
characteristic) was yet absent. The conviction that I was on the Tertiary
strata was so strong by this time in my mind, that on the third day in the
midst of lavas and [? masses] of granite I began my apparently forlorn
hunt. How do you think I succeeded? In an escarpement of compact greenish
sandstone, I found a small wood of petrified trees in a vertical position,
or rather the strata were inclined about 20-30 deg to one point and the
trees 70 deg to the opposite one. That is, they were before the tilt truly
vertical. The sandstone consists of many layers, and is marked by the
concentric lines of the bark (I have specimens); 11 are perfectly
silicified and resemble the dicotyledonous wood which I have found at
Chiloe and Concepcion (6/2. "Geol. Obs." page 202. Specimens of the
silicified wood were examined by Robert Brown, and determined by him as
coniferous, "partaking of the characters of the Araucarian tribe, with some
curious points of affinity with the yew."); the others (30-40) I only know
to be trees from the analogy of form and position; they consist of snow-
white columns (like Lot's wife) of coarsely crystalline carb. of lime. The
largest shaft is 7 feet. They are all close together, within 100 yards,
and about the same level: nowhere else could I find any. It cannot be
doubted that the layers of fine sandstone have quietly been deposited
between a clump of trees which were fixed by their roots. The sandstone
rests on lava, is covered by a great bed apparently about 1,000 feet thick
of black augitic lava, and over this there are at least 5 grand
alternations of such rocks and aqueous sedimentary deposits, amounting in
thickness to several thousand feet. I am quite afraid of the only
conclusion which I can draw from this fact, namely that there must have
been a depression in the surface of the land to that amount. But
neglecting this consideration, it was a most satisfactory support of my
presumption of the Tertiary (I mean by Tertiary, that the shells of the
period were closely allied, or some identical, to those which now live, as
in the lower beds of Patagonia) age of this eastern chain. A great part of
the proof must remain upon my ipse dixit of a mineralogical resemblance
with those beds whose age is known, and the character of which resemblance
is to be subject to infinite variation, passing from one variety to another
by a concretionary structure. I hardly expect you to believe me, when it
is a consequence of this view that granite, which forms peaks of a height
probably of 14,000 feet, has been fluid in the Tertiary period; that strata
of that period are altered by its heat, and are traversed by dykes from the
mass. That these strata have also probably undergone an immense
depression, that they are now inclined at high angles and form regular or
complicated anticlinal lines. To complete the climax and seal your
disbelief, these same sedimentary strata and lavas are traversed by VERY
NUMEROUS, true metallic veins of iron, copper, arsenic, silver and gold,
and these can be traced to the underlying granite. A gold mine has been
worked close to the clump of silicified trees. If when you see my
specimens, sections and account, you should think that there is pretty
strong presumptive evidence of the above facts, it appears very important;
for the structure, and size of this chain will bear comparison with any in
the world, and that this all should have been produced in so very recent a
period is indeed wonderful. In my own mind I am quite convinced of the
reality of this. I can anyhow most conscientiously say that no previously
formed conjecture warped my judgment. As I have described so did I
actually observe the facts. But I will have some mercy and end this most
lengthy account of my geological trip.

On some of the large patches of perpetual snow, I found the famous red snow
of the Arctic countries; I send with this letter my observations and a
piece of paper on which I tried to dry some specimens. If the fact is new
and you think it worth while, either yourself examine them or send them to
whoever has described the specimens from the north and publish a notice in
any of the periodicals. I also send a small bottle with two lizards, one
of them is viviparous as you will see by the accompanying notice. A M.
Gay--a French naturalist--has already published in one of the newspapers of
this country a similar statement and probably has forwarded to Paris some
account; as the fact appears singular would it not be worth while to hand
over the specimens to some good lizardologist and comparative anatomist to
publish an account of their internal structure? Do what you think fit.

This letter will go with a cargo of specimens from Coquimbo. I shall write
to let you know when they are sent off. In the box there are two bags of
seeds, one [from the] valleys of the Cordilleras 5,000-10,000 feet high,
the soil and climate exceedingly dry, soil very light and stony, extremes
in temperature; the other chiefly from the dry sandy Traversia of Mendoza
3,000 feet more or less. If some of the bushes should grow but not be
healthy, try a slight sprinkling of salt and saltpetre. The plain is
saliferous. All the flowers in the Cordilleras appear to be autumnal
flowerers--they were all in blow and seed, many of them very pretty. I
gathered them as I rode along on the hill sides. If they will but choose
to come up, I have no doubt many would be great rarities. In the Mendoza
bag there are the seeds or berries of what appears to be a small potato
plant with a whitish flower. They grow many leagues from where any
habitation could ever have existed owing to absence of water. Amongst the
Chonos dried plants, you will see a fine specimen of the wild potato,
growing under a most opposite climate, and unquestionably a true wild
potato. It must be a distinct species from that of the Lower Cordilleras
one. Perhaps as with the banana, distinct species are now not to be
distinguished in their varieties produced by cultivation. I cannot copy
out the few remarks about the Chonos potato. With the specimens there is a
bundle of old papers and notebooks. Will you take care of them; in case I
should lose my notes, these might be useful. I do not send home any
insects because they must be troublesome to you, and now so little more of
the voyage remains unfinished I can well take charge of them. In two or
three days I set out for Coquimbo by land; the "Beagle" calls for me in the
beginning of June. So that I have six weeks more to enjoy geologising over
these curious mountains of Chili. There is at present a bloody revolution
in Peru. The Commodore has gone there, and in the hurry has carried our
letters with him; perhaps amongst them there will be one from you. I wish
I had the old Commodore here, I would shake some consideration for others
into his old body. From Coquimbo you will again hear from me.

Lima, July 12th, 1835.

This is the last letter which I shall ever write to you from the shores of
America, and for this reason I send it. In a few days time the "Beagle"
will sail for the Galapagos Islands. I look forward with joy and interest
to this, both as being somewhat nearer to England and for the sake of
having a good look at an active volcano. Although we have seen lava in
abundance, I have never yet beheld the crater. I sent by H.M.S. "Conway"
two large boxes of specimens. The "Conway" sailed the latter end of June.
With them were letters for you, since that time I have travelled by land
from Valparaiso to Copiapo and seen something more of the Cordilleras.
Some of my geological views have been, subsequently to the last letter,
altered. I believe the upper mass of strata is not so very modern as I
supposed. This last journey has explained to me much of the ancient
history of the Cordilleras. I feel sure they formerly consisted of a chain
of volcanoes from which enormous streams of lava were poured forth at the
bottom of the sea. These alternate with sedimentary beds to a vast
thickness; at a subsequent period these volcanoes must have formed islands,
from which have been produced strata of several thousand feet thick of
coarse conglomerate. (7/1. See "Geological Observations on South America"
(London, 1846), Chapter VII.: "Central Chile; Structure of the
Cordillera.") These islands were covered with fine trees; in the
conglomerate, I found one 15 feet in circumference perfectly silicified to
the very centre. The alternations of compact crystalline rocks (I cannot
doubt subaqueous lavas), and sedimentary beds, now upheaved fractured and
indurated, form the main range of the Andes. The formation was produced at
the time when ammonites, gryphites, oysters, Pecten, Mytilus, etc., etc.,
lived. In the central parts of Chili the structure of the lower beds is
rendered very obscure by the metamorphic action which has rendered even the
coarsest conglomerates porphyritic. The Cordilleras of the Andes so worthy
of admiration from the grandeur of their dimensions, rise in dignity when
it is considered that since the period of ammonites, they have formed a
marked feature in the geography of the globe. The geology of these
mountains pleased me in one respect; when reading Lyell, it had always
struck me that if the crust of the world goes on changing in a circle,
there ought to be somewhere found formations which, having the age of the
great European Secondary beds, should possess the structure of Tertiary
rocks or those formed amidst islands and in limited basins. Now the
alternations of lava and coarse sediment which form the upper parts of the
Andes, correspond exactly to what would accumulate under such
circumstances. In consequence of this, I can only very roughly separate
into three divisions the varying strata (perhaps 8,000 feet thick) which
compose these mountains. I am afraid you will tell me to learn my ABC to
know quartz from feldspar before I indulge in such speculations. I lately
got hold of a report on M. Dessalines D'Orbigny's labours in S. America
(7/2. "Voyage dans l'Amerique Meridionale, etc." (A. Dessalines
D'Orbigny).); I experienced rather a debasing degree of vexation to find he
has described the Geology of the Pampas, and that I have had some hard
riding for nothing, it was however gratifying that my conclusions are the
same, as far as I can collect, with his results. It is also capital that
the whole of Bolivia will be described. I hope to be able to connect his
geology of that country with mine of Chili. After leaving Copiapo, we
touched at Iquique. I visited but do not quite understand the position of
the nitrate of soda beds. Here in Peru, from the state of anarchy, I can
make no expedition.

I hear from home, that my brother is going to send me a box with books, and
a letter from you. It is very unfortunate that I cannot receive this
before we reach Sydney, even if it ever gets safely so far. I shall not
have another opportunity for many months of again writing to you. Will you
have the charity to send me one more letter (as soon as this reaches you)
directed to the C. of Good Hope. Your letters besides affording me the
greatest delight always give me a fresh stimulus for exertion. Excuse this
geological prosy letter, and farewell till you hear from me at Sydney, and
see me in the autumn of 1836.

[Shrewsbury, October 5th, 1836.]

My dear Uncle

The "Beagle" arrived at Falmouth on Sunday evening, and I reached home late
last night. My head is quite confused with so much delight, but I cannot
allow my sisters to tell you first how happy I am to see all my dear
friends again. I am obliged to return in three or four days to London,
where the "Beagle" will be paid off, and then I shall pay Shrewsbury a
longer visit. I am most anxious once again to see Maer, and all its
inhabitants, so that in the course of two or three weeks, I hope in person
to thank you, as being my first Lord of the Admiralty. (8/1. Readers of
the "Life and Letters" will remember that it was to Josiah Wedgwood that
Darwin owed the great opportunity of his life ("Life and Letters," Volume
I., page 59), and it was fitting that he should report himself to his
"first Lord of the Admiralty." The present letter clears up a small
obscurity to which Mr. Poulton has called attention ("Charles Darwin and
the Theory of Natural Selection," "Century" Series, 1896, page 25).
Writing to Fitz-Roy from Shrewsbury on October 6th, Darwin says, "I arrived
here yesterday morning at breakfast time." This refers to his arrival at
his father's house, after having slept at the inn. The date of his arrival
in Shrewsbury was, therefore, October 4th, as given in the "Life and
Letters," I., page 272.) The entries in his Diary are:--
October 2, 1831. Took leave of my home.
October 4, 1836. Reached Shrewsbury after absence of 5 years and 2 days.)
I am so very happy I hardly know what I am writing. Believe me your most
affectionate nephew,


Shrewsbury, Monday [November 12th, 1838].

My dear Lyell

I suppose you will be in Hart St. (9/1. Sir Charles Lyell lived at 16,
Hart Street, Bloomsbury.) to-morrow [or] the 14th. I write because I
cannot avoid wishing to be the first person to tell Mrs. Lyell and
yourself, that I have the very good, and shortly since [i.e. until lately]
very unexpected fortune of going to be married! The lady is my cousin Miss
Emma Wedgwood, the sister of Hensleigh Wedgwood, and of the elder brother
who married my sister, so we are connected by manifold ties, besides on my
part, by the most sincere love and hearty gratitude to her for accepting
such a one as myself.

I determined when last at Maer to try my chance, but I hardly expected such
good fortune would turn up for me. I shall be in town in the middle or
latter end of the ensuing week. (9/2. Mr. Darwin was married on January
29th, 1839 (see "Life and Letters," I., page 299). The present letter was
written the day after he had become engaged.) I fear you will say I might
very well have left my story untold till we met. But I deeply feel your
kindness and friendship towards me, which in truth I may say, has been one
chief source of happiness to me, ever since my return to England: so you
must excuse me. I am well sure that Mrs. Lyell, who has sympathy for every
one near her, will give me her hearty congratulations.

Believe me my dear Lyell
Yours most truly obliged

(PLATE: MRS. DARWIN. Walker and Cockerell, ph. sc.)

Sunday Night. Athenaeum. [January 20th, 1839.]

...I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my Maer visit,--I felt in
anticipation my future tranquil life: how I do hope you may be as happy as
I know I shall be: but it frightens me, as often as I think of what a
family you have been one of. I was thinking this morning how it came, that
I, who am fond of talking and am scarcely ever out of spirits, should so
entirely rest my notions of happiness on quietness, and a good deal of
solitude: but I believe the explanation is very simple and I mention it
because it will give you hopes, that I shall gradually grow less of a
brute, it is that during the five years of my voyage (and indeed I may add
these two last) which from the active manner in which they have been
passed, may be said to be the commencement of my real life, the whole of my
pleasure was derived from what passed in my mind, while admiring views by
myself, travelling across the wild deserts or glorious forests or pacing
the deck of the poor little "Beagle" at night. Excuse this much egotism,--
I give it you because I think you will humanize me, and soon teach me there
is greater happiness than building theories and accumulating facts in
silence and solitude. My own dearest Emma, I earnestly pray, you may never
regret the great, and I will add very good, deed, you are to perform on the
Tuesday: my own dear future wife, God bless you...The Lyells called on me
to-day after church; as Lyell was so full of geology he was obliged to
disgorge,--and I dine there on Tuesday for an especial confidence. I was
quite ashamed of myself to-day, for we talked for half an hour,
unsophisticated geology, with poor Mrs. Lyell sitting by, a monument of
patience. I want practice in ill-treatment the female sex,--I did not
observe Lyell had any compunction; I hope to harden my conscience in time:
few husbands seem to find it difficult to effect this. Since my return I
have taken several looks, as you will readily believe, into the drawing-
room; I suppose my taste [for] harmonious colours is already deteriorated,
for I declare the room begins to look less ugly. I take so much pleasure
in the house (10/1. No. 12, Upper Gower Street, is now No. 110, Gower
Street, and forms part of a block inhabited by Messrs. Shoolbred's
employes. We are indebted, for this information, to Mr. Wheatley, of the
Society of Arts.), I declare I am just like a great overgrown child with a
new toy; but then, not like a real child, I long to have a co-partner and

(10/2. The following passage is taken from the MS. copy of the
"Autobiography;" it was not published in the "Life and Letters" which
appeared in Mrs. Darwin's lifetime:--)

You all know your mother, and what a good mother she has ever been to all
of you. She has been my greatest blessing, and I can declare that in my
whole life I have never heard her utter one word I would rather have been
unsaid. She has never failed in kindest sympathy towards me, and has borne
with the utmost patience my frequent complaints of ill-health and
discomfort. I do not believe she has ever missed an opportunity of doing a
kind action to any one near her. I marvel at my good fortune that she, so
infinitely my superior in every single moral quality, consented to be my
wife. She has been my wise adviser and cheerful comforter throughout life,
which without her would have been during a very long period a miserable one
from ill-health. She has earned the love of every soul near her.

[July?, 1841?].

(11/1. Lyell started on his first visit to the United States in July,
1841, and was absent thirteen months. Darwin returned to London July 23rd,
1841, after a prolonged absence; he may, therefore, have missed seeing
Lyell. Assuming the date 1841 to be correct, it would seem that the plan
of living in the country was formed a year before it was actually carried

I have no doubt that your father did rightly in persuading you to stay [at
Shrewsbury], but we were much disappointed in not seeing you before our
start for a year's absence. I cannot tell you how often since your long
illness I have missed the friendly intercourse which we had so frequently
before, and on which I built more than ever after your marriage. It will
not happen easily that twice in one's life, even in the large world of
London, a congenial soul so occupied with precisely the same pursuits and
with an independence enabling him to pursue them will fall so nearly in my
way, and to have had it snatched from me with the prospect of your
residence somewhat far off is a privation I feel as a very great one. I
hope you will not, like Herschell, get far off from a railway.


(12/1. The following letter was written to his sister Catherine about two
months before Charles Darwin settled at Down:--)

Sunday [July 1842].

You must have been surprised at not having heard sooner about the house.
Emma and I only returned yesterday afternoon from sleeping there. I will
give you in detail, as my father would like, MY opinion on it--Emma's
slightly differs. Position:--about 1/4 of a mile from the small village of
Down in Kent--16 miles from St. Paul's--8 1/2 miles from station (with many
trains) which station is only 10 from London. This is bad, as the drive
from [i.e. on account of] the hills is long. I calculate we are two hours
going from London Bridge. Village about forty houses with old walnut trees
in the middle where stands an old flint church and the lanes meet.
Inhabitants very respectable--infant school--grown up people great
musicians--all touch their hats as in Wales and sit at their open doors in
the evening; no high road leads through the village. The little pot-house
where we slept is a grocer's shop, and the landlord is the carpenter--so
you may guess the style of the village. There are butcher and baker and
post-office. A carrier goes weekly to London and calls anywhere for
anything in London and takes anything anywhere. On the road [from London]
to the village, on a fine day the scenery is absolutely beautiful: from
close to our house the view is very distant and rather beautiful, but the
house being situated on a rather high tableland has somewhat of a desolate
air. There is a most beautiful old farm-house, with great thatched barns
and old stumps of oak trees, like that of Skelton, one field off. The
charm of the place to me is that almost every field is intersected (as alas
is ours) by one or more foot-paths. I never saw so many walks in any other
county. The country is extraordinarily rural and quiet with narrow lanes
and high hedges and hardly any ruts. It is really surprising to think
London is only 16 miles off. The house stands very badly, close to a tiny
lane and near another man's field. Our field is 15 acres and flat, looking
into flat-bottomed valleys on both sides, but no view from the drawing-
room, which faces due south, except on our flat field and bits of rather
ugly distant horizon. Close in front there are some old (very productive)
cherry trees, walnut trees, yew, Spanish chestnut, pear, old larch, Scotch
fir and silver fir and old mulberry trees, [which] make rather a pretty
group. They give the ground an old look, but from not flourishing much
they also give it rather a desolate look. There are quinces and medlars
and plums with plenty of fruit, and Morello cherries; but few apples. The
purple magnolia flowers against the house. There is a really fine beech in
view in our hedge. The kitchen garden is a detestable slip and the soil
looks wretched from the quantity of chalk flints, but I really believe it
is productive. The hedges grow well all round our field, and it is a noted
piece of hayland. This year the crop was bad, but was bought, as it stood,
for 2 pounds per acre--that is 30 pounds--the purchaser getting it in.
Last year it was sold for 45 pounds--no manure was put on in the interval.
Does not this sound well? Ask my father. Does the mulberry and magnolia
show it is not very cold in winter, which I fear is the case? Tell Susan
it is 9 miles from Knole Park and 6 from Westerham, at which places I hear
the scenery is beautiful. There are many very odd views round our house--
deepish flat-bottomed valley and nice farm-house, but big, white, ugly,
fallow fields;--much wheat grown here. House ugly, looks neither old nor
new--walls two feet thick--windows rather small--lower story rather low.
Capital study 18 x 18. Dining-room 21 x 18. Drawing-room can easily be
added to: is 21 x 15. Three stories, plenty of bedrooms. We could hold
the Hensleighs and you and Susan and Erasmus all together. House in good
repair. Mr. Cresy a few years ago laid out for the owner 1,500 pounds and
made a new roof. Water-pipes over house--two bath-rooms--pretty good
offices and good stable-yard, etc., and a cottage. I believe the price is
about 2,200 pounds, and I have no doubt I shall get it for one year on
lease first to try, so that I shall do nothing to the house at first (last
owner kept three cows, one horse, and one donkey, and sold some hay
annually from one field). I have no doubt if we complete the purchase I
shall at least save 1,000 pounds over Westcroft, or any other house we have
seen. Emma was at first a good deal disappointed, and at the country round
the house; the day was gloomy and cold with N.E. wind. She likes the
actual field and house better than I; the house is just situated as she
likes for retirement, not too near or too far from other houses, but she
thinks the country looks desolate. I think all chalk countries do, but I
am used to Cambridgeshire, which is ten times worse. Emma is rapidly
coming round. She was dreadfully bad with toothache and headache in the
evening and Friday, but in coming back yesterday she was so delighted with
the scenery for the first few miles from Down, that it has worked a great
change in her. We go there again the first fine day Emma is able, and we
then finally settle what to do.

(12/2. The following fragmentary "Account of Down" was found among Mr.
Darwin's papers after the publication of the "Life and Letters." It gives
the impression that he intended to write a natural history diary after the
manner of Gilbert White, but there is no evidence that this was actually
the case.)

1843. May 15th.--The first peculiarity which strikes a stranger
unaccustomed to a hilly chalk country is the valleys, with their steep
rounded bottoms--not furrowed with the smallest rivulet. On the road to
Down from Keston a mound has been thrown across a considerable valley, but
even against this mound there is no appearance of even a small pool of
water having collected after the heaviest rains. The water all percolates
straight downwards. Ascertain average depth of wells, inclination of
strata, and springs. Does the water from this country crop out in springs
in Holmsdale or in the valley of the Thames? Examine the fine springs in

The valleys on this platform sloping northward, but exceedingly even,
generally run north and south; their sides near the summits generally
become suddenly more abrupt, and are fringed with narrow strips, or, as
they are here called, "shaws" of wood, sometimes merely by hedgerows run
wild. The sudden steepness may generally be perceived, as just before
ascending to Cudham Wood, and at Green Hill, where one of the lanes crosses
these valleys. These valleys are in all probability ancient sea-bays, and
I have sometimes speculated whether this sudden steepening of the sides
does not mark the edges of vertical cliffs formed when these valleys were
filled with sea-water, as would naturally happen in strata such as the

In most countries the roads and footpaths ascend along the bottoms of
valleys, but here this is scarcely ever the case. All the villages and
most of the ancient houses are on the platforms or narrow strips of flat
land between the parallel valleys. Is this owing to the summits having
existed from the most ancient times as open downs and the valleys having
been filled up with brushwood? I have no evidence of this, but it is
certain that most of the farmhouses on the flat land are very ancient.
There is one peculiarity which would help to determine the footpaths to run
along the summits instead of the bottom of the valleys, in that these
latter in the middle are generally covered, even far more thickly than the
general surface, with broken flints. This bed of flints, which gradually
thins away on each side, can be seen from a long distance in a newly
ploughed or fallow field as a whitish band. Every stone which ever rolls
after heavy rain or from the kick of an animal, ever so little, all tend to
the bottom of the valleys; but whether this is sufficient to account for
their number I have sometimes doubted, and have been inclined to apply to
the case Lyell's theory of solution by rain-water, etc., etc.

The flat summit-land is covered with a bed of stiff red clay, from a few
feet in thickness to as much, I believe, as twenty feet: this [bed],
though lying immediately on the chalk, and abounding with great,
irregularly shaped, unrolled flints, often with the colour and appearance
of huge bones, which were originally embedded in the chalk, contains not a
particle of carbonate of lime. This bed of red clay lies on a very
irregular surface, and often descends into deep round wells, the origin of
which has been explained by Lyell. In these cavities are patches of sand
like sea-sand, and like the sand which alternates with the great beds of
small pebbles derived from the wear-and-tear of chalk-flints, which form
Keston, Hayes and Addington Commons. Near Down a rounded chalk-flint is a
rarity, though some few do occur; and I have not yet seen a stone of
distant origin, which makes a difference--at least to geological eyes--in
the very aspect of the country, compared with all the northern counties.

The chalk-flints decay externally, which, according to Berzelius ("Edin.
New Phil. Journal," late number), is owing to the flints containing a small
proportion of alkali; but, besides this external decay, the whole body is
affected by exposure of a few years, so that they will not break with clean
faces for building.

This bed of red clay, which renders the country very slippery in the winter
months from October to April, does not cover the sides of the valleys;
these, when ploughed, show the white chalk, which tint shades away lower in
the valley, as insensibly as a colour laid on by a painter's brush.

Nearly all the land is ploughed, and is often left fallow, which gives the
country a naked red look, or not unfrequently white, from a covering of
chalk laid on by the farmers. Nobody seems at all aware on what principle
fresh chalk laid on land abounding with lime does it any good. This,
however, is said to have been the practice of the country ever since the
period of the Romans, and at present the many white pits on the hill sides,
which so frequently afford a picturesque contrast with the overhanging yew
trees, are all quarried for this purpose.

The number of different kinds of bushes in the hedgerows, entwined by
traveller's joy and the bryonies, is conspicuous compared with the hedges
of the northern counties.

March 25th [1844?].--The first period of vegetation, and the banks are
clothed with pale-blue violets to an extent I have never seen equalled, and
with primroses. A few days later some of the copses were beautifully
enlivened by Ranunculus auricomus, wood anemones, and a white Stellaria.
Again, subsequently, large areas were brilliantly blue with bluebells. The
flowers are here very beautiful, and the number of flowers; [and] the
darkness of the blue of the common little Polygala almost equals it to an
alpine gentian.

There are large tracts of woodland, [cut down] about once every ten years;
some of these enclosures seem to be very ancient. On the south side of
Cudham Wood a beech hedge has grown to Brobdignagian size, with several of
the huge branches crossing each other and firmly grafted together.

Larks abound here, and their songs sound most agreeably on all sides;
nightingales are common. Judging from an odd cooing note, something like
the purring of a cat, doves are very common in the woods.

June 25th.--The sainfoin fields are now of the most beautiful pink, and
from the number of hive-bees frequenting them the humming noise is quite
extraordinary. This humming is rather deeper than the humming overhead,
which has been continuous and loud during all these last hot days over
almost every field. The labourers here say it is made by "air-bees," and
one man, seeing a wild bee in a flower different from the hive kind,
remarked: "That, no doubt, is an air-bee." This noise is considered as a
sign of settled fair weather.

CHAPTER 1.II.--EVOLUTION, 1844-1858.

(Chapter II./1. Since the publication of the "Life and Letters," Mr.
Huxley's obituary notice of Charles Darwin has appeared. (Chapter II./2.
"Proc. R. Soc." volume 44, 1888, and "Collected Essays (Darwiniana)," page
253, 1899.) This masterly paper is, in our opinion, the finest of the
great series of Darwinian essays which we owe to Mr. Huxley. We would
venture to recommend it to our readers as the best possible introduction to
these pages. There is, however, one small point in which we differ from
Mr. Huxley. In discussing the growth of Mr. Darwin's evolutionary views,
Mr. Huxley quotes from the autobiography (Chapter II./3. "Life and
Letters," I., page 82. Some account of the origin of his evolutionary
views is given in a letter to Jenyns (Blomefield), "Life and Letters," II.
page 34.) a passage in which the writer describes the deep impression made
on his mind by certain groups of facts observed in South America. Mr.
Huxley goes on: "The facts to which reference is here made were, without
doubt, eminently fitted to attract the attention of a philosophical
thinker; but, until the relations of the existing with the extinct species,
and of the species of the different geographical areas with one another,
were determined with some exactness, they afforded but an unsafe foundation
for speculation. It was not possible that this determination should have
been effected before the return of the "Beagle" to England; and thus the
date (Chapter II./4. The date in question is July 1837, when he "opened
first note-book on Transmutation of Species.') which Darwin (writing in
1837) assigns to the dawn of the new light which was rising in his mind,
becomes intelligible." This seems to us inconsistent with Darwin's own
statement that it was especially the character of the "species on Galapagos
Archipelago" which had impressed him. (Chapter II./5. See "Life and
Letters," I., page 276.) This must refer to the zoological specimens: no
doubt he was thinking of the birds, but these he had himself collected in
1835 (Chapter II./6. He wrote in his "Journal," page 394, "My attention
was first thoroughly aroused, by comparing together the numerous specimens
shot by myself and several other parties on board," etc.), and no accurate
determination of the forms was necessary to impress on him the remarkable
characteristic species of the different islands. We agree with Mr. Huxley
that 1837 is the date of the "new light which was rising in his mind."
That the dawn did not come sooner seems to us to be accounted for by the
need of time to produce so great a revolution in his conceptions. We do
not see that Mr. Huxley's supposition as to the effect of the determination
of species, etc., has much weight. Mr. Huxley quotes a letter from Darwin
to Zacharias, "But I did not become convinced that species were mutable
until, I think, two or three years [after 1837] had elapsed" (see Letter
278). This passage, which it must be remembered was written in 1877, is
all but irreconcilable with the direct evidence of the 1837 note-book. A
series of passages are quoted from it in the "Life and Letters," Volume
II., pages 5 et seq., and these it is impossible to read without feeling
that he was convinced of immutability. He had not yet attained to a clear
idea of Natural Selection, and therefore his views may not have had, even
to himself, the irresistible convincing power they afterwards gained; but
that he was, in the ordinary sense of the word, convinced of the truth of
the doctrine of evolution we cannot doubt. He thought it "almost useless"
to try to prove the truth of evolution until the cause of change was
discovered. And it is natural that in later life he should have felt that
conviction was wanting till that cause was made out. (Chapter II./7. See
"Charles Darwin, his Life told, etc." 1892, page 165.) For the purposes of
the present chapter the point is not very material. We know that in 1842
he wrote the first sketch of his theory, and that it was greatly amplified
in 1844. So that, at the date of the first letters of this chapter, we
know that he had a working hypothesis of evolution which did not differ in
essentials from that given in the "Origin of Species."

To realise the amount of work that was in progress during the period
covered by Chapter II., it should be remembered that during part of the
time--namely, from 1846 to 1854--he was largely occupied by his work on the
Cirripedes. (Chapter II./8. "Life and Letters," I. page 346.) This
research would have fully occupied a less methodical workman, and even to
those who saw him at work it seemed his whole occupation. Thus (to quote a
story of Lord Avebury's) one of Mr. Darwin's children is said to have
asked, in regard to a neighbour, "Then where does he do his barnacles?" as
though not merely his father, but all other men, must be occupied on that

Sir Joseph Hooker, to whom the first letter in this chapter is addressed,
was good enough to supply a note on the origin of his intimacy with Mr.
Darwin, and this is published in the "Life and Letters." (Chapter II./9.
Ibid., II., page 19. See also "Nature," 1899, June 22nd, page 187, where
some reminiscences are published, which formed part of Sir Joseph's speech
at the unveiling of Darwin's statue in the Oxford Museum.) The close
intercourse that sprang up between them was largely carried on by
correspondence, and Mr. Darwin's letters to Sir Joseph have supplied most
valuable biographical material. But it should not be forgotten that, quite
apart from this, science owes much to this memorable friendship, since
without Hooker's aid Darwin's great work would hardly have been carried out
on the botanical side. And Sir Joseph did far more than supply knowledge
and guidance in technical matters: Darwin owed to him a sympathetic and
inspiriting comradeship which cheered and refreshed him to the end of his

A sentence from a letter to Hooker written in 1845 shows, quite as well as
more serious utterances, how quickly the acquaintance grew into friendship.

"Farewell! What a good thing is community of tastes! I feel as if I had
known you for fifty years. Adios." And in illustration of the permanence
of the sympathetic bond between them, we quote a letter of 1881 written
forty-two years after the first meeting with Sir Joseph in Trafalgar Square
(see "Life and Letters," II., page 19). Mr. Darwin wrote: "Your letter
has cheered me, and the world does not look a quarter so black this morning
as it did when I wrote before. Your friendly words are worth their weight
in gold.")

Down, Thursday [January 11th, 1844].

My dear Sir

I must write to thank you for your last letter, and to tell you how much
all your views and facts interest me. I must be allowed to put my own
interpretation on what you say of "not being a good arranger of extended
views"--which is, that you do not indulge in the loose speculations so
easily started by every smatterer and wandering collector. I look at a
strong tendency to generalise as an entire evil.

What you say of Mr. Brown is humiliating; I had suspected it, but would not
allow myself to believe in such heresy. Fitz-Roy gave him a rap in his
preface (13/1. In the preface to the "Surveying Voyages of the 'Adventure'
and the 'Beagle,' 1826-30, forming Volume I of the work, which includes the
later voyage of the "Beagle," Captain Fitz-Roy wrote (March, 1839):
"Captain King took great pains in forming and preserving a botanical
collection, aided by a person embarked solely for that purpose. He placed
this collection in the British Museum, and was led to expect that a first-
rate botanist would have examined and described it; but he has been
disappointed." A reference to Robert Brown's dilatoriness over King's
collection occurs in the "Life and Letters," I., page 274, note.), and made
him very indignant, but it seems a much harder one would not have been
wasted. My cryptogamic collection was sent to Berkeley; it was not large.
I do not believe he has yet published an account, but he wrote to me some
year ago that he had described [the specimens] and mislaid all his
descriptions. Would it not be well for you to put yourself in
communication with him, as otherwise something will perhaps be twice
laboured over? My best (though poor) collection of the cryptogams was from
the Chonos Islands.

Would you kindly observe one little fact for me, whether any species of
plant, peculiar to any island, as Galapagos, St. Helena, or New Zealand,
where there are no large quadrupeds, have hooked seeds--such hooks as, if
observed here, would be thought with justness to be adapted to catch into
wool of animals.

Would you further oblige me some time by informing me (though I forget this
will certainly appear in your "Antarctic Flora") whether in islands like
St. Helena, Galapagos, and New Zealand, the number of families and genera
are large compared with the number of species, as happens in coral islands,
and as, I believe, in the extreme Arctic land. Certainly this is the case
with marine shells in extreme Arctic seas. Do you suppose the fewness of
species in proportion to number of large groups in coral islets is owing to
the chance of seeds from all orders getting drifted to such new spots, as I
have supposed. Did you collect sea-shells in Kerguelen-land? I should
like to know their character.

Your interesting letters tempt me to be very unreasonable in asking you
questions; but you must not give yourself any trouble about them, for I
know how fully and worthily you are employed. (13/2. The rest of the
letter has been previously published in "Life and Letters," II., page 23.)

Besides a general interest about the southern lands, I have been now ever
since my return engaged in a very presumptuous work, and I know no one
individual who would not say a very foolish one. I was so struck with the
distribution of the Galapagos organisms, etc., and with the character of
the American fossil mammifers, etc., that I determined to collect blindly
every sort of fact which could bear any way on what are species. I have
read heaps of agricultural and horticultural books, and have never ceased
collecting facts. At last gleams of light have come, and I am almost
convinced (quite contrary to the opinion I started with) that species are
not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable. Heaven forfend me from
Lamarck nonsense of a "tendency to progression," "adaptations from the slow
willing of animals," etc.! But the conclusions I am led to are not widely
different from his; though the means of change are wholly so. I think I
have found out (here's presumption!) the simple way by which species become
exquisitely adapted to various ends. You will now groan, and think to
yourself, "on what a man have I been wasting my time and writing to." I
should, five years ago, have thought so...(13/3. On the questions here
dealt with see the interesting letter to Jenyns in the "Life and Letters,"
II., page 34.)

[November] 1844.

...What a curious, wonderful case is that of the Lycopodium! (14/1. Sir
J.D. Hooker wrote, November 8, 1844: "I am firmly convinced (but not
enough to print it) that L. Selago varies in Van Diemen's Land into L.
varium. Two more different SPECIES (as they have hitherto been thought),
per se cannot be conceived, but nowhere else do they vary into one another,
nor does Selago vary at all in England.")...I suppose you would hardly have
expected them to be more varying than a phanerogamic plant. I trust you
will work the case out, and, even if unsupported, publish it, for you can
surely do this with due caution. I have heard of some analogous facts,
though on the smallest scale, in certain insects being more variable in one
district than in another, and I think the same holds with some land-shells.
By a strange chance I had noted to ask you in this letter an analogous
question, with respect to genera, in lieu of individual species,--that is,
whether you know of any case of a genus with most of its species being
variable (say Rubus) in one continent, having another set of species in
another continent non-variable, or not in so marked a manner. Mr. Herbert
(14/2. No doubt Dean Herbert, the horticulturist. See "Life and Letters,"
I., page 343.) incidentally mentioned in a letter to me that the heaths at
the Cape of Good Hope were very variable, whilst in Europe they are (?) not
so; but then the species here are few in comparison, so that the case, even
if true, is not a good one. In some genera of insects the variability
appears to be common in distant parts of the world. In shells, I hope
hereafter to get much light on this question through fossils. If you can
help me, I should be very much obliged: indeed, all your letters are most
useful to me.

MONDAY:--Now for your first long letter, and to me quite as interesting as
long. Several things are quite new to me in it--viz., for one, your belief
that there are more extra-tropical than intra-tropical species. I see that
my argument from the Arctic regions is false, and I should not have tried
to argue against you, had I not fancied that you thought that equability of
climate was the direct cause of the creation of a greater or lesser number
of species. I see you call our climate equable; I should have thought it
was the contrary. Anyhow, the term is vague, and in England will depend
upon whether a person compares it with the United States or Tierra del
Fuego. In my Journal (page 342) I see I state that in South Chiloe, at a
height of about 1,000 feet, the forests had a Fuegian aspect: I distinctly
recollect that at the sea-level in the middle of Chiloe the forest had
almost a tropical aspect. I should like much to hear, if you make out,
whether the N. or S. boundaries of a plant are the most restricted; I
should have expected that the S. would be, in the temperate regions, from
the number of antagonist species being greater. N.B. Humboldt, when in
London, told me of some river (14/3. The Obi (see "Flora Antarctica," page
211, note). Hooker writes: "Some of the most conspicuous trees attain
either of its banks, but do not cross them.") in N.E. Europe, on the
opposite banks of which the flora was, on the same soil and under same
climate, widely different!

I forget (14/4. The last paragraph is published in "Life and Letters,"
II., page 29.) my last letter, but it must have been a very silly one, as
it seems I gave my notion of the number of species being in great degree
governed by the degree to which the area had been often isolated and
divided. I must have been cracked to have written it, for I have no
evidence, without a person be willing to admit all my views, and then it
does follow.

(14/5. The remainder of the foregoing letter is published in the "Life and
Letters," II., page 29. It is interesting as giving his views on the
mutability of species. Thus he wrote: "With respect to books on this
subject, I do not know any systematical ones, except Lamarck's, which is
veritable rubbish; but there are plenty, as Lyell, Pritchard, etc., on the
view of the immutability." By "Pritchard" is no doubt intended James
Cowles "Prichard," author of the "Physical History of Mankind." Prof.
Poulton has given in his paper, "A remarkable Anticipation of Modern Views
on Evolution" (14/6. "Science Progress," Volume I., April 1897, page
278.), an interesting study of Prichard's work. He shows that Prichard was
in advance of his day in his views on the non-transmission of acquired
characters. Prof. Poulton also tries to show that Prichard was an
evolutionist. He allows that Prichard wrote with hesitation, and that in
the later editions of his book his views became weaker. But, even with
these qualifications, we think that Poulton has unintentionally exaggerated
the degree to which Prichard believed in evolution.

One of Prichard's strongest sentences is quoted by Poulton (loc. cit., page
16); it occurs in the "Physical History of Mankind," Ed. 2, Volume II.,
page 570:--

"Is it not probable that the varieties which spring up within the limits of
particular species are further adaptations of structure to the
circumstances under which the tribe is destined to exist? Varieties branch
out from the common form of a species, just as the forms of species deviate
from the common type of a genus. Why should the one class of phenomena be
without end or utility, a mere effect of contingency or chance, more than
the other?"

If this passage, and others similar to it, stood alone, we might agree with
Prof. Poulton; but this is impossible when we find in Volume I. of the same
edition, page 90, the following uncompromising statement of immutability:--

"The meaning attached to the term species, in natural history, is very
simple and obvious. It includes only one circumstance--namely, an original
distinctness and constant transmission of any character. A race of
animals, or plants, marked by any peculiarities of structure which have
always been constant and undeviating, constitutes a species."

On page 91, in speaking of the idea that the species which make up a genus
may have descended from a common form, he says:--

"There must, indeed, be some principle on which the phenomena of
resemblance, as well as those of diversity, may be explained; and the
reference of several forms to a common type seems calculated to suggest the
idea of some original affinity; but, as this is merely a conjecture, it
must be kept out of sight when our inquiries respect matters of fact only."

This view is again given in Volume II., page 569, where he asks whether we
should believe that "at the first production of a genus, when it first grew
into existence, some slight modification in the productive causes stamped
it originally with all these specific diversities? Or is it most probable
that the modification was subsequent to its origin, and that the genus at
its first creation was one and uniform, and afterwards became diversified
by the influence of external agents?" He concludes that "the former of
these suppositions is the conclusion to which we are led by all that can be
ascertained respecting the limits of species, and the extent of variation
under the influence of causes at present existing and operating."

In spite of the fact that Prichard did not carry his ideas to their logical
conclusion, it may perhaps excite surprise that Mr. Darwin should have
spoken of him as absolutely on the side of immutability.

We believe it to be partly accounted for (as Poulton suggests) by the fact
that Mr. Darwin possessed only the third edition (1836 and 1837) and the
fourth edition (1841-51). (14/7. The edition of 1841-51 consists of
reprints of the third edition and three additional volumes of various
dates. Volumes I. and II. are described in the title-page as the fourth
edition; Volumes III. and IV. as the third edition, and Volume V. has no
edition marked in the title.) In neither of these is the evolutionary
point of view so strong as in the second edition.

We have gone through all the passages marked by Mr. Darwin for future
reference in the third and fourth editions, and have been only able to find
the following, which occurs in the third edition (Volume I., 1836, page
242) (14/8. There is also (ed. 1837, Volume II., page 344) a vague
reference to Natural Selection, of which the last sentence is enclosed in
pencil in inverted commas, as though Mr. Darwin had intended to quote it:
"In other parts of Africa the xanthous variety [of man] often appears, but
does not multiply. Individuals thus characterised are like seeds which
perish in an uncongenial soil.")

"The variety in form, prevalent among all organised productions of nature,
is found to subsist between individual beings of whatever species, even
when they are offspring of the same parents. Another circumstance equally
remarkable is the tendency which exists in almost every tribe, whether of
animals or of plants, to transmit to their offspring and to perpetuate in
their race all individual peculiarities which may thus have taken their
rise. These two general facts in the economy of organised beings lay a
foundation for the existence of diversified races, originating from the
same primitive stock and within the limits of identical species."

On the following page (page 243) a passage (not marked by Mr. Darwin)
emphasises the limitation which Prichard ascribed to the results of
variation and inheritance:--

"Even those physiologists who contend for what is termed the indefinite
nature of species admit that they have limits at present and under ordinary
circumstances. Whatever diversities take place happen without breaking in
upon the characteristic type of the species. This is transmitted from
generation to generation: goats produce goats, and sheep, sheep."

The passage on page 242 occurs in the reprint of the 1836-7 edition which
forms part of the 1841-51 edition, but is not there marked by Mr. Darwin.
He notes at the end of Volume I. of the 1836-7 edition: "March, 1857. I
have not looked through all these [i.e. marked passages], but I have gone
through the later edition"; and a similar entry is in Volume II. of the
third edition. It is therefore easy to understand how he came to overlook
the passage on page 242 when he began the fuller statement of his species
theory which is referred to in the "Life and Letters" as the "unfinished
book." In the historical sketch prefixed to the "Origin of Species"
writers are named as precursors whose claims are less strong than
Prichard's, and it is certain that Mr. Darwin would have given an account
of him if he had thought of him as an evolutionist.

The two following passages will show that Mr. Darwin was, from his
knowledge of Prichard's books, justified in classing him among those who
did not believe in the mutability of species:

"The various tribes of organised beings were originally placed by the
Creator in certain regions, for which they are by their nature peculiarly
adapted. Each species had only one beginning in a single stock: probably
a single pair, as Linnaeus supposed, was first called into being in some
particular spot, and the progeny left to disperse themselves to as great a
distance from the original centre of their existence as the locomotive
powers bestowed on them, or their capability of bearing changes of climate
and other physical agencies, may have enabled them to wander." (14/9.
Prichard, third edition, 1836-7, Volume I., page 96.)

The second passage is annotated by Mr. Darwin with a shower of exclamation

"The meaning attached to the term SPECIES in natural history is very
definite and intelligible. It includes only the following conditions--
namely, separate origin and distinctness of race, evinced by the constant
transmission of some characteristic peculiarity of organisation. A race of
animals or of plants marked by any peculiar character which has always been
constant and undeviating constitutes a species; and two races are
considered as specifically different, if they are distinguished from each
other by some characteristic which one cannot be supposed to have acquired,
or the other to have lost through any known operation of physical causes;
for we are hence led to conclude that the tribes thus distinguished have
not descended from the same original stock." (14/10. Prichard, ed. 1836-
7, Volume I., page 106. This passage is almost identical with that quoted
from the second edition, Volume I., page 90. The latter part, from "and
two races...," occurs in the second edition, though not quoted above.)

As was his custom, Mr. Darwin pinned at the end of the first volume of the
1841-51 edition a piece of paper containing a list of the pages where
marked passages occur. This paper bears, written in pencil, "How like my
book all this will be!" The words appear to refer to Prichard's discussion
on the dispersal of animals and plants; they certainly do not refer to the
evolutionary views to be found in the book.)

Down [1844].

Thank you exceedingly for your long letter, and I am in truth ashamed of
the time and trouble you have taken for me; but I must some day write again
to you on the subject of your letter. I will only now observe that you
have extended my remark on the range of species of shells into the range of
genera or groups. Analogy from shells would only go so far, that if two or
three species...were found to range from America to India, they would be
found to extend through an unusual thickness of strata--say from the Upper
Cretaceous to its lowest bed, or the Neocomian. Or you may reverse it and
say those species which range throughout the whole Cretaceous, will have
wide ranges: viz., from America through Europe to India (this is one
actual case with shells in the Cretaceous period).

Down [1845].

I ought to have written sooner to say that I am very willing to subscribe 1
pound 1 shilling to the African man (though it be murder on a small scale),
and will send you a Post-office-order payable to Kew, if you will be so
good as to take charge of it. Thanks for your information about the
Antarctic Zoology; I got my numbers when in Town on Thursday: would it be
asking your publisher to take too much trouble to send your Botany ["Flora
Antarctica," by J.D. Hooker, 1844] to the Athenaeum Club? he might send two
or three numbers together. I am really ashamed to think of your having
given me such a valuable work; all I can say is that I appreciate your
present in two ways--as your gift, and for its great use to my species-
work. I am very glad to hear that you mean to attack this subject some
day. I wonder whether we shall ever be public combatants; anyhow, I
congratulate myself in a most unfair advantage of you, viz., in having
extracted more facts and views from you than from any one other person. I
daresay your explanation of polymorphism on volcanic islands may be the
right one; the reason I am curious about it is, the fact of the birds on
the Galapagos being in several instances very fine-run species--that is, in
comparing them, not so much one with another, as with their analogues from
the continent. I have somehow felt, like you, that an alpine form of a
plant is not a true variety; and yet I cannot admit that the simple fact of
the cause being assignable ought to prevent its being called a variety;
every variation must have some cause, so that the difference would rest on
our knowledge in being able or not to assign the cause. Do you consider
that a true variety should be produced by causes acting through the parent?
But even taking this definition, are you sure that alpine forms are not
inherited from one, two, or three generations? Now, would not this be a
curious and valuable experiment (16/1. For an account of work of this
character, see papers by G. Bonnier in the "Revue Generale," Volume II.,
1890; "Ann. Sc. Nat." Volume XX.; "Revue Generale," Volume VII.), viz., to
get seeds of some alpine plant, a little more hairy, etc., etc., than its
lowland fellow, and raise seedlings at Kew: if this has not been done,
could you not get it done? Have you anybody in Scotland from whom you
could get the seeds?

I have been interested by your remarks on Senecia and Gnaphalium: would it
not be worth while (I should be very curious to hear the result) to make a
short list of the generally considered variable or polymorphous genera, as
Rosa, Salix, Rubus, etc., etc., and reflect whether such genera are
generally mundane, and more especially whether they have distinct or
identical (or closely allied) species in their different and distant

Don't forget me, if you ever stumble on cases of the same species being
MORE or LESS variable in different countries.

With respect to the word "sterile" as used for male or polleniferous
flowers, it has always offended my ears dreadfully; on the same principle
that it would to hear a potent stallion, ram or bull called sterile,
because they did not bear, as well as beget, young.

With respect to your geological-map suggestion, I wish with all my heart
I could follow it; but just reflect on the number of measurements
requisite; why, at present it could not be done even in England, even
with the assumption of the land having simply risen any exact number of
feet. But subsidence in most cases has hopelessly complexed the
problem: see what Jordanhill-Smith (16/2. James Smith, of Jordan Hill,
author of a paper "On the Geology of Gibraltar" ("Quart. Journ. Geol.
Soc." Volume II., page 41, 1846).) says of the dance up and down, many
times, which Gibraltar has had all within the recent period. Such maps
as Lyell (16/3. "Principles of Geology," 1875, Volume I., Plate I, page
254.) has published of sea and land at the beginning of the Tertiary
period must be excessively inaccurate: it assumes that every part on
which Tertiary beds have not been deposited, must have then been dry
land,--a most doubtful assumption.

I have been amused by Chambers v. Hooker on the K. Cabbage. I see in the
"Explanations" (the spirit of which, though not the facts, ought to shame
Sedgwick) that "Vestiges" considers all land-animals and plants to have
passed from marine forms; so Chambers is quite in accordance. Did you hear
Forbes, when here, giving the rather curious evidence (from a similarity in
error) that Chambers must be the author of the "Vestiges": your case
strikes me as some confirmation. I have written an unreasonably long and
dull letter, so farewell. (16/4. "Explanations: A Sequel to the Vestiges
of the Natural History of Creation" was published in 1845, after the
appearance of the fourth edition of the "Vestiges," by way of reply to the
criticisms on the original book. The "K. cabbage" referred to at the
beginning of the paragraph is Pringlea antiscorbutica," the "Kerguelen
Cabbage" described by Sir J.D. Hooker in his "Flora Antarctica." What
Chambers wrote on this subject we have not discovered. The mention of
Sedgwick is a reference to his severe review of the "Vestiges" in the
"Edinburgh Review," 1845, volume 82, page 1. Darwin described it as
savouring "of the dogmatism of the pulpit" ("Life and Letters," I., page
344). Mr. Ireland's edition of the "Vestiges" (1844), in which Robert
Chambers was first authentically announced as the author, contains (page
xxix) an extract from a letter written by Chambers in 1860, in which the
following passage occurs, "The April number of the 'Edinburgh Review"'
(1860) makes all but a direct amende for the abuse it poured upon my work a
number of years ago." This is the well-known review by Owen, to which
references occur in the "Life and Letters," II., page 300. The amende to
the "Vestiges" is not so full as the author felt it to be; but it was
clearly in place in a paper intended to belittle the "Origin"; it also gave
the reviewer (page 511) an opportunity for a hit at Sedgwick and his 1845

Down. February 14th [1845].

I have taken my leisure in thanking you for your last letter and
discussion, to me very interesting, on the increase of species. Since your
letter, I have met with a very similar view in Richardson, who states that
the young are driven away by the old into unfavourable districts, and there
mostly perish. When one meets with such unexpected statistical returns on
the increase and decrease and proportion of deaths and births amongst
mankind, and in this well-known country of ours, one ought not to be in the
least surprised at one's ignorance, when, where, and how the endless
increase of our robins and sparrows is checked.

Thanks for your hints about terms of "mutation," etc.; I had some
suspicions that it was not quite correct, and yet I do not see my way to
arrive at any better terms. It will be years before I publish, so that I
shall have plenty of time to think of better words. Development would
perhaps do, only it is applied to the changes of an individual during its
growth. I am, however, very glad of your remark, and will ponder over it.

We are all well, wife and children three, and as flourishing as this
horrid, house-confining, tempestuous weather permits.

Down [1845].

I hope you are getting on well with your lectures, and that you have
enjoyed some pleasant walks during the late delightful weather. I write to
tell you (as perhaps you might have had fears on the subject) that your
books have arrived safely. I am exceedingly obliged to you for them, and
will take great care of them; they will take me some time to read

I send to-day the corrected MS. of the first number of my "Journal" (18/1.
In 1842 he had written to his sister: "Talking of money, I reaped the
other day all the profit which I shall ever get from my "Journal" ["Journal
of Researches, etc."] which consisted in paying Mr. Colburn 21 pounds 10
shillings for the copies which I presented to different people; 1,337
copies have been sold. This is a comfortable arrangement, is it not?" He
was proved wrong in his gloomy prophecy, as the second edition was
published by Mr. Murray in 1845.) in the Colonial Library, so that if you
chance to know of any gross mistake in the first 214 pages (if you have my
"Journal"), I should be obliged to you to tell me.

Do not answer this for form's sake; for you must be very busy. We have
just had the Lyells here, and you ought to have a wife to stop your working
too much, as Mrs. Lyell peremptorily stops Lyell.


(19/1. Sir J.D. Hooker's letters to Mr. Darwin seem to fix the date as
1845, while the reference to Forbes' paper indicates 1846.)

Down [1845-1846].

I am particularly obliged for your facts about solitary islands having
several species of peculiar genera; it knocks on the head some analogies of
mine; the point stupidly never occurred to me to ask about. I am amused at
your anathemas against variation and co.; whatever you may be pleased to
say, you will never be content with simple species, "as they are." I defy
you to steel your mind to technicalities, like so many of our brother
naturalists. I am much pleased that I thought of sending you Forbes'
article. (19/2. E. Forbes' celebrated paper "Memoirs of the Geological
Survey of Great Britain," Volume I., page 336, 1846. In Lyell's
"Principles," 7th Edition, 1847, page 676, he makes a temperate claim of
priority, as he had already done in a private letter of October 14th, 1846,
to Forbes ("Life of Sir Charles Lyell," 1881, Volume II., page 106) both as
regards the Sicilian flora and the barrier effect of mountain-chains. See
Letter 20 for a note on Forbes.) I confess I cannot make out the evidence
of his time-notions in distribution, and I cannot help suspecting that they
are rather vague. Lyell preceded Forbes in one class of speculation of
this kind: for instance, in his explaining the identity of the Sicily
Flora with that of South Italy, by its having been wholly upraised within
the recent period; and, so I believe, with mountain-chains separating
floras. I do not remember Humboldt's fact about the heath regions. Very
curious the case of the broom; I can tell you something analogous on a
small scale. My father, when he built his house, sowed many broom-seeds on
a wild bank, which did not come up, owing, as it was thought, to much earth
having been thrown over them. About thirty-five years afterwards, in
cutting a terrace, all this earth was thrown up, and now the bank is one
mass of broom. I see we were in some degree talking to cross-purposes;
when I said I did [not] much believe in hybridising to any extent, I did
not mean at all to exclude crossing. It has long been a hobby of mine to
see in how many flowers such crossing is probable; it was, I believe,
Knight's view, originally, that every plant must be occasionally crossed.
(19/3. See an article on "The Knight-Darwin law" by Francis Darwin in
"Nature," October 27th, 1898, page 630.) I find, however, plenty of
difficulty in showing even a vague probability of this; especially in the
Leguminosae, though their [structure?] is inimitably adapted to favour
crossing, I have never yet met with but one instance of a NATURAL MONGREL
(nor mule?) in this family.

I shall be particularly curious to hear some account of the appearance and
origin of the Ayrshire Irish Yew. And now for the main object of my
letter: it is to ask whether you would just run your eye over the proof of
my Galapagos chapter (19/4. In the second edition of the "Naturalist's
Voyage."), where I mention the plants, to see that I have made no blunders,
or spelt any of the scientific names wrongly. As I daresay you will so far
oblige me, will you let me know a few days before, when you leave Edinburgh
and how long you stay at Kinnordy, so that my letter might catch you. I am
not surprised at my collection from James Island differing from others, as
the damp upland district (where I slept two nights) is six miles from the
coast, and no naturalist except myself probably ever ascended to it.
Cuming had never even heard of it. Cuming tells me that he was on Charles,
James, and Albemarle Islands, and that he cannot remember from my
description the Scalesia, but thinks he could if he saw a specimen. I have
no idea of the origin of the distribution of the Galapagos shells, about
which you ask. I presume (after Forbes' excellent remarks on the
facilities by which embryo-shells are transported) that the Pacific shells
have been borne thither by currents; but the currents all run the other

(PLATE: EDWARD FORBES 1844? From a photograph by Hill & Adamson.)


(20/1. Edward Forbes was at work on his celebrated paper in the
"Geological Survey Memoirs" for 1846. We have not seen the letter of
Darwin's to which this is a reply, nor, indeed, any of his letters to
Forbes. The date of the letter is fixed by Forbes's lecture given at the
Royal Institution on February 27th, 1846 (according to L. Horner's
privately printed "Memoirs," II., page 94.))

Wednesday. 3, Southwark Street, Hyde Park. [1846].

Dear Darwin

To answer your very welcome letter, so far from being a waste of time, is a
gain, for it obliges me to make myself clear and understood on matters
which I have evidently put forward imperfectly and with obscurity. I have
devoted the whole of this week to working and writing out the flora
question, for I now feel strong enough to give my promised evening lecture
on it at the Royal Institution on Friday, and, moreover, wish to get it in
printable form for the Reports of our Survey. Therefore at no time can I
receive or answer objections with more benefit than now. From the hurry
and pressure which unfortunately attend all my movements and doings I
rarely have time to spare, in preparing for publication, to do more than
give brief and unsatisfactory abstracts, which I fear are often extremely

Now for your objections--which have sprung out of my own obscurities.

I do not argue in a circle about the Irish case, but treat the botanical
evidence of connection and the geological as distinct. The former only I
urged at Cambridge; the latter I have not yet publicly maintained.

My Cambridge argument (20/2. "On the Distribution of Endemic Plants," by
E. Forbes, "Brit. Assoc. Rep." 1845 (Cambridge), page 67.) was this: That
no known currents, whether of water or air, or ordinary means of transport
(20/3. Darwin's note on transportation (found with Forbes' letter):
"Forbes' arguments, from several Spanish plants in Ireland not being
transported, not sound, because sea-currents and air ditto and migration of
birds in SAME LINES. I have thought not-transportation the greatest
difficulty. Now we see how many seeds every plant and tree requires to be
regularly propagated in its own country, for we cannot think the great
number of seeds superfluous, and therefore how small is the chance of here
and there a solitary seedling being preserved in a well-stocked country."),
would account for the little group of Asturian plants--few as to species,
but playing a conspicuous part in the vegetation--giving a peculiar
botanical character to the south of Ireland; that, as I had produced
evidence of the other floras of our islands, i.e. the Germanic, the
Cretaceous, and the Devonian (these terms used topographically, not
geologically) having been acquired by migration over continuous land (the
glacial or alpine flora I except for the present--as ice-carriage might
have played a great part in its introduction)--I considered it most
probable, and maintained, that the introduction of that Irish flora was
also effected by the same means. I held also that the character of this
flora was more southern and more ancient than that of any of the others,
and that its fragmentary and limited state was probably due to the plants
composing it having (from their comparative hardiness--heaths, saxifrages,
etc.) survived the destroying influence of the glacial epoch.

My geological argument now is as follows: half the Mediterranean islands,
or more, are partly--in some cases (as Malta) wholly--composed of the
upheaved bed of the Miocene sea; so is a great part of the south of France
from Bordeaux to Montpellier; so is the west of Portugal; and we find the
corresponding beds with the same fossils (Pecten latissimus, etc.) in the
Azores. So general an upheaval seems to me to indicate the former
existence of a great post-Miocene land [in] the region of what is usually
called the Mediterranean flora. (Everywhere these Miocene islands, etc.,
bear a flora of true type.) If this land existed, it did not extend to
America, for the fossils of the Miocene of America are representative and
not identical. Where, then, was the edge or coast-line of it, Atlantic-
wards? Look at the form and constancy of the great fucus-bank, and
consider that it is a Sargassum bank, and that the Sargassum there is in an
abnormal condition, and that the species of this genus of fuci are
essentially ground-growers, and then see the probability of this bank
having originated on a line of ancient coast.

Now, having thus argued independently, first on my flora and second on the
geological evidences of land in the quarter required, I put the two
together to bear up my Irish case.

I cannot admit the Sargassum case to be parallel with that of Confervae or

I think I have evidence from the fossils of the boulder formations in
Ireland that if such Miocene land existed it must have been broken up or
partially broken up at the epoch of the glacial or boulder period.

All objections thankfully received.

Ever most sincerely,


Down. [1846].

I am much obliged for your note and kind intended present of your volume.
(21/1. No doubt the late Mr. Blomefield's "Observations in Natural
History." See "Life and Letters," II., page 31.) I feel sure I shall like
it, for all discussions and observations on what the world would call
trifling points in Natural History always appear to me very interesting.
In such foreign periodicals as I have seen, there are no such papers as
White, or Waterton, or some few other naturalists in Loudon's and
Charlesworth's Journal, would have written; and a great loss it has always
appeared to me. I should have much liked to have met you in London, but I
cannot leave home, as my wife is recovering from a rather sharp fever
attack, and I am myself slaving to finish my S. American Geology (21/2.
"Geological Observations in South America" (London), 1846.), of which,
thanks to all Plutonic powers, two-thirds are through the press, and then I
shall feel a comparatively free man. Have you any thoughts of Southampton?
(21/3. The British Association met at Southampton in 1846.) I have some
vague idea of going there, and should much enjoy meeting you.

Shrewsbury [end of February 1846].

I came here on account of my father's health, which has been sadly failing
of late, but to my great joy he has got surprisingly better...I had not
heard of your botanical appointment (22/1. Sir Joseph was appointed
Botanist to the Geological Survey in 1846.), and am very glad of it, more
especially as it will make you travel and give you change of work and
relaxation. Will you some time have to examine the Chalk and its junction
with London Clay and Greensand? If so our house would be a good central
place, and my horse would be at your disposal. Could you not spin a long
week out of this examination? it would in truth delight us, and you could
bring your papers (like Lyell) and work at odd times. Forbes has been
writing to me about his subsidence doctrines; I wish I had heard his full
details, but I have expressed to him in my ignorance my objections, which
rest merely on its too great hypothetical basis; I shall be curious, when I
meet him, to hear what he says. He is also speculating on the gulf-weed.
I confess I cannot appreciate his reasoning about his Miocene continent,
but I daresay it is from want of knowledge.

You allude to the Sicily flora not being peculiar, and this being caused by
its recent elevation (well established) in the main part: you will find
Lyell has put forward this very clearly and well. The Apennines (which I
was somewhere lately reading about) seems a very curious case.

I think Forbes ought to allude a little to Lyell's (22/2. See Letter 19.)
work on nearly the same subject as his speculations; not that I mean that
Forbes wishes to take the smallest credit from him or any man alive; no
man, as far as I see, likes so much to give credit to others, or more soars
above the petty craving for self-celebrity.

If you come to any more conclusions about polymorphism, I should be very
glad to hear the result: it is delightful to have many points fermenting
in one's brain, and your letters and conclusions always give one plenty of
this same fermentation. I wish I could even make any return for all your
facts, views, and suggestions.


(23/1. The following extract gives the germ of what developed into an
interesting discussion in the "Origin" (Edition I., page 147). Darwin
wrote, "I suspect also that some cases of compensation which have been
advanced and likewise some other facts, may be merged under a more general
principle: namely, that natural selection is continually trying to
economise in every part of the organism." He speaks of the general belief
of botanists in compensation, but does not quote any instances.)

[September 1846].

Have you ever thought of G. St. Hilaire's "loi de balancement" (23/2.
According to Darwin ("Variation of Animals and Plants," 2nd edition, II.,
page 335) the law of balancement was propounded by Goethe and Geoffroy
Saint-Hilaire (1772-1844) nearly at the same time, but he gives no
reference to the works of these authors. It appears, however, from his son
Isidore's "Vie, Travaux etc., d'Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire," Paris
1847, page 214, that the law was given in his "Philosophie Anatomique," of
which the first part was published in 1818. Darwin (ibid.) gives some
instances of the law holding good in plants.), as applied to plants? I am
well aware that some zoologists quite reject it, but it certainly appears
to me that it often holds good with animals. You are no doubt aware of the
kind of facts I refer to, such as great development of canines in the
carnivora apparently causing a diminution--a compensation or balancement--
in the small size of premolars, etc. I have incidentally noticed some
analogous remarks on plants, but have never seen it discussed by botanists.
Can you think of cases in any one species in genus, or genus in family,
with certain parts extra developed, and some adjoining parts reduced? In
varieties of the same species double flowers and large fruits seem
something of this--want of pollen and of seeds balancing with the increased
number of petals and development of fruit. I hope we shall see you here
this autumn.

(24/1. In this year (1847) Darwin wrote a short review of Waterhouse's
"Natural History of the Mammalia," of which the first volume had appeared.
It was published in "The Annals and Magazine of Natural History," Volume
XIX., page 53. The following sentence is the only one which shows even a
trace of evolution: "whether we view classification as a mere contrivance
to convey much information in a single word, or as something more than a
memoria technica, and as connected with the laws of creation, we cannot
doubt that where such important differences in the generative and cerebral
systems, as distinguish the Marsupiata from the Placentata, run through two
series of animals, they ought to be arranged under heads of equal value."

A characteristic remark occurs in reference to Geographical Distribution,
"that noble subject of which we as yet but dimly see the full bearing."

The following letter seems to be of sufficient interest to be published in
spite of the obscurities caused by the want of date. It seems to have been
written after 1847, in which year a dispute involving Dr. King and several
"arctic gentlemen" was carried on in the "Athenaeum." Mr. Darwin speaks of
"Natural History Instructions for the present expedition." This may
possibly refer to the "Admiralty Manual of Scientific Enquiry" (1849), for
it is clear, from the prefatory memorandum of the Lords of the Admiralty,
that they believed the manual would be of use in the forthcoming
expeditions in search of Sir John Franklin.)


(24/2. Mr. Cresy was, we believe, an architect: his friendship with Mr.
Darwin dates from the settlement at Down.)

Down [after 1847].

Although I have never particularly attended to the points in dispute
between Dr. (Richard) King and the other Arctic gentlemen, yet I have
carefully read all the articles in the "Athenaeum," and took from them
much the same impression as you convey in your letter, for which I thank
you. I believe that old sinner, Sir J. Barrow (24/3. Sir John Barrow,
(1764-1848): Secretary to the Admiralty. has been at the bottom of all
the money wasted over the naval expeditions. So strongly have I felt on
this subject, that, when I was appointed on a committee for Nat. Hist.
instructions for the present expedition, had I been able to attend I had
resolved to express my opinion on the little advantage, comparatively to
the expense, gained by them. There have been, I believe, from the
beginning eighteen expeditions; this strikes me as monstrous,
considering how little is known, for instance, on the interior of
Australia. The country has paid dear for Sir John's hobbyhorse. I have
very little doubt that Dr. King is quite right in the advantage of land
expeditions as far as geography is concerned; and that is now the chief
object. (24/4. This sentence would imply that Darwin thought it
hopeless to rescue Sir J. Franklin's expedition. If so, the letter must
be, at least, as late as 1850. If the eighteen expeditions mentioned
above are "search expeditions," it would also bring the date of the
letter to 1850.)

Down [March 26th, 1848].

My dear Owen

I do not know whether your MS. instructions are sent in; but even if they
are not sent in, I daresay what I am going to write will be absolutely
superfluous (25/1. The results of Mr. Darwin's experience given in the
above letter were embodied by Prof. Owen in the section "On the Use of the
Microscope on Board Ship," forming part of the article "Zoology" in the
"Manual of Scientific Enquiry, Prepared for the Use of Her Majesty's Navy"
(London, 1849).), but I have derived such infinitely great advantage from
my new simple microscope, in comparison with the one which I used on board
the "Beagle," and which was recommended to me by R. Brown ("Life and
Letters," I., page 145.), that I cannot forego the mere chance of advantage
of urging this on you. The leading point of difference consists simply in
having the stage for saucers very large and fixed. Mine will hold a saucer
three inches in inside diameter. I have never seen such a microscope as
mine, though Chevalier's (from whose plan many points of mine are taken),
of Paris, approaches it pretty closely. I fully appreciate the utter
ABSURDITY of my giving you advice about means of dissecting; but I have
appreciated myself the enormous disadvantage of having worked with a bad
instrument, though thought a few years since the best. Please to observe
that without you call especial attention to this point, those ignorant of
Natural History will be sure to get one of the fiddling instruments sold in
shops. If you thought fit, I would point out the differences, which, from
my experience, make a useful microscope for the kind of dissection of the
invertebrates which a person would be likely to attempt on board a vessel.
But pray again believe that I feel the absurdity of this letter, and I
write merely from the chance of yourself, possessing great skill and having
worked with good instruments, [not being] possibly fully aware what an
astonishing difference the kind of microscope makes for those who have not
been trained in skill for dissection under water. When next I come to town
(I was prevented last time by illness) I must call on you, and report, for
my own satisfaction, a really (I think) curious point I have made out in my
beloved barnacles. You cannot tell how much I enjoyed my talk with you

Ever, my dear Owen,
Yours sincerely,

P.S.--If I do not hear, I shall understand that my letter is superfluous.
Smith and Beck were so pleased with the simple microscope they made for me,
that they have made another as a model. If you are consulted by any young
naturalists, do recommend them to look at this. I really feel quite a
personal gratitude to this form of microscope, and quite a hatred to my old

Down [April 1st, 1848.]

Thank you for your note and giving me a chance of seeing you in town; but
it was out of my power to take advantage of it, for I had previously
arranged to go up to London on Monday. I should have much enjoyed seeing
you. Thanks also for your address (26/1. An introductory lecture
delivered in March 1848 at the first meeting of a Society "for giving
instructions to the working classes in Ipswich in various branches of
science, and more especially in natural history" ("Memoir of the Rev. J.S.
Henslow," by Leonard Jenyns, page 150.), which I like very much. The
anecdote about Whewell and the tides I had utterly forgotten; I believe it
is near enough to the truth. I rather demur to one sentence of yours--
viz., "However delightful any scientific pursuit may be, yet, if it should
be wholly unapplied, it is of no more use than building castles in the
air." Would not your hearers infer from this that the practical use of
each scientific discovery ought to be immediate and obvious to make it
worthy of admiration? What a beautiful instance chloroform is of a
discovery made from purely scientific researches, afterwards coming almost
by chance into practical use! For myself I would, however, take higher
ground, for I believe there exists, and I feel within me, an instinct for
truth, or knowledge or discovery, of something of the same nature as the
instinct of virtue, and that our having such an instinct is reason enough
for scientific researches without any practical results ever ensuing from
them. You will wonder what makes me run on so, but I have been working
very hard for the last eighteen months on the anatomy, etc., of the
Cirripedia (on which I shall publish a monograph), and some of my friends
laugh at me, and I fear the study of the Cirripedia will ever remain
"wholly unapplied," and yet I feel that such study is better than castle-

at Dr. Falconer's, Botanic Garden, Calcutta.
Down, May 10th, 1848.

I was indeed delighted to see your handwriting; but I felt almost sorry
when I beheld how long a letter you had written. I know that you are
indomitable in work, but remember how precious your time is, and do not
waste it on your friends, however much pleasure you may give them. Such a
letter would have cost me half-a-day's work. How capitally you seem going
on! I do envy you the sight of all the glorious vegetation. I am much
pleased and surprised that you have been able to observe so much in the
animal world. No doubt you keep a journal, and an excellent one it will
be, I am sure, when published. All these animal facts will tell capitally
in it. I can quite comprehend the difficulty you mention about not knowing
what is known zoologically in India; but facts observed, as you will
observe them, are none the worse for reiterating. Did you see Mr. Blyth in
Calcutta? He would be a capital man to tell you what is known about Indian
Zoology, at least in the Vertebrata. He is a very clever, odd, wild
fellow, who will never do what he could do, from not sticking to any one
subject. By the way, if you should see him at any time, try not to forget
to remember me very kindly to him; I liked all I saw of him. Your letter
was the very one to charm me, with all its facts for my Species-book, and
truly obliged I am for so kind a remembrance of me. Do not forget to make
enquiries about the origin, even if only traditionally known, of any
varieties of domestic quadrupeds, birds, silkworms, etc. Are there
domestic bees? if so hives ought to be brought home. Of all the facts you
mention, that of the wild [illegible], when breeding with the domestic,
producing offspring somewhat sterile, is the most surprising: surely they
must be different species. Most zoologists would absolutely disbelieve
such a statement, and consider the result as a proof that they were
distinct species. I do not go so far as that, but the case seems highly
improbable. Blyth has studied the Indian Ruminantia. I have been much
struck about what you say of lowland plants ascending mountains, but the
alpine not descending. How I do hope you will get up some mountains in
Borneo; how curious the result will be! By the way, I never heard from you
what affinity the Maldive flora has, which is cruel, as you tempted me by
making me guess. I sometimes groan over your Indian journey, when I think
over all your locked up riches. When shall I see a memoir on Insular
floras, and on the Pacific? What a grand subject Alpine floras of the
world (27/1. Mr. William Botting Hemsley, F.R.S., of the Royal Gardens,
Kew, is now engaged on a monograph of the high-level Alpine plants of the
world.) would be, as far as known; and then you have never given a coup
d'oeil on the similarity and dissimilarity of Arctic and Antarctic floras.
Well, thank heavens, when you do come back you will be nolens volens a
fixture. I am particularly glad you have been at the Coal; I have often
since you went gone on maundering on the subject, and I shall never rest
easy in Down churchyard without the problem be solved by some one before I
die. Talking of dying makes me tell you that my confounded stomach is much
the same; indeed, of late has been rather worse, but for the last year, I
think, I have been able to do more work. I have done nothing besides the
barnacles, except, indeed, a little theoretical paper on erratic boulders
(27/2. "On the Transportal of Erratic Boulders from a Lower to a Higher
Level" ("Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc." Volume IV., pages 315-23. 1848). In
this paper Darwin favours the view that the transport of boulders was
effected by coast-ice. An earlier paper entitled "Notes on the Effects
produced by the ancient Glaciers of Caernarvonshire, and on the Boulders
transported by floating Ice" ("Phil. Mag." 1842, page 352) is spoken of by
Sir Archibald Geikie as standing "almost at the top of the long list of
English contributions to the history of the Ice Age" ("Charles Darwin,"
"Nature" Series, page 23).), and Scientific Geological Instructions for the
Admiralty Volume (27/3. "A manual of Scientific Enquiry, prepared for the
use of Her Majesty's Navy, and adapted for Travellers in General." Edited
by Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart. Section VI.--Geology--by Charles Darwin.
London, 1849. See "Life and Letters," pages 328-9.), which cost me some
trouble. This work, which is edited by Sir J. Herschel, is a very good
job, inasmuch as the captains of men-of-war will now see that the Admiralty
cares for science, and so will favour naturalists on board. As for a man
who is not scientific by nature, I do not believe instructions will do him
any good; and if he be scientific and good for anything the instructions
will be superfluous. I do not know who does the Botany; Owen does the
Zoology, and I have sent him an account of my new simple microscope, which
I consider perfect, even better than yours by Chevalier. N.B. I have got a
1/8 inch object-glass, and it is grand. I have been getting on well with
my beloved Cirripedia, and get more skilful in dissection. I have worked
out the nervous system pretty well in several genera, and made out their
ears and nostrils (27/4. For the olfactory sacs see Darwin's "Monograph of
the Cirripedia," 1851, page 52.), which were quite unknown. I have lately
got a bisexual cirripede, the male being microscopically small and
parasitic within the sack of the female. I tell you this to boast of my
species theory, for the nearest closely allied genus to it is, as usual,
hermaphrodite, but I had observed some minute parasites adhering to it, and
these parasites I now can show are supplemental males, the male organs in
the hermaphrodite being unusually small, though perfect and containing
zoosperms: so we have almost a polygamous animal, simple females alone
being wanting. I never should have made this out, had not my species
theory convinced me, that an hermaphrodite species must pass into a
bisexual species by insensibly small stages; and here we have it, for the
male organs in the hermaphrodite are beginning to fail, and independent
males ready formed. But I can hardly explain what I mean, and you will
perhaps wish my barnacles and species theory al Diavolo together. But I
don't care what you say, my species theory is all gospel. We have had only
one party here: viz., of the Lyells, Forbes, Owen, and Ramsay, and we both
missed you and Falconer very much...I know more of your history than you
will suppose, for Miss Henslow most good-naturedly sent me a packet of your
letters, and she wrote me so nice a little note that it made me quite
proud. I have not heard of anything in the scientific line which would
interest you. Sir H. De la Beche (27/5. The Presidential Address
delivered by De la Beche before the Geological Society in 1848 ("Quart.
Journ. Geol. Soc." Volume IV., "Proceedings," page xxi, 1848).) gave a very
long and rather dull address; the most interesting part was from Sir J.
Ross. Mr. Beete Jukes figured in it very prominently: it really is a very
nice quality in Sir Henry, the manner in which he pushes forward his
subordinates. Jukes has since read what was considered a very valuable
paper. The man, not content with moustaches, now sports an entire beard,
and I am sure thinks himself like Jupiter tonans. There was a short time
since a not very creditable discussion at a meeting of the Royal Society,
where Owen fell foul of Mantell with fury and contempt about belemnites.
What wretched doings come from the order of fame; the love of truth alone
would never make one man attack another bitterly. My paper is full, so I
must wish you with all my heart farewell. Heaven grant that your health
may keep good.

The Lodge, Malvern, May 6th, 1849.

Your kind note has been forwarded to me here. You will be surprised to
hear that we all--children, servants, and all--have been here for nearly
two months. All last autumn and winter my health grew worse and worse:
incessant sickness, tremulous hands, and swimming head. I thought I was
going the way of all flesh. Having heard of much success in some cases
from the cold-water cure, I determined to give up all attempts to do
anything and come here and put myself under Dr. Gully. It has answered to
a considerable extent: my sickness much checked and considerable strength
gained. Dr. G., moreover (and I hear he rarely speaks confidently), tells
me he has little doubt but that he can cure me in the course of time--time,
however, it will take. I have experienced enough to feel sure that the
cold-water cure is a great and powerful agent and upsetter of all
constitutional habits. Talking of habits, the cruel wretch has made me
leave off snuff--that chief solace of life. We thank you most sincerely
for your prompt and early invitation to Hitcham for the British Association
for 1850 (28/1. The invitation was probably not for 1850, but for 1851,
when the Association met at Ipswich.): if I am made well and strong, most
gladly will I accept it; but as I have been hitherto, a drive every day of
half a dozen miles would be more than I could stand with attending any of
the sections. I intend going to Birmingham (28/2. The Association met at
Birmingham in 1849.) if able; indeed, I am bound to attempt it, for I am
honoured beyond all measure in being one of the Vice-Presidents. I am
uncommonly glad you will be there; I fear, however, we shall not have any
such charming trips as Nuneham and Dropmore. (28/3. In a letter to Hooker
(October 12th, 1849) Darwin speaks of "that heavenly day at Dropmore."
("Life and Letters," I., page 379.)) We shall stay here till at least June
1st, perhaps till July 1st; and I shall have to go on with the aqueous
treatment at home for several more months. One most singular effect of the
treatment is that it induces in most people, and eminently in my case, the
most complete stagnation of mind. I have ceased to think even of
barnacles! I heard some time since from Hooker...How capitally he seems to
have succeeded in all his enterprises! You must be very busy now. I
happened to be thinking the other day over the Gamlingay trip to the Lilies
of the Valley (28/4. The Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is
recorded from Gamlingay by Professor Babington in his "Flora of
Cambridgeshire," page 234. (London, 1860.)): ah, those were delightful
days when one had no such organ as a stomach, only a mouth and the
masticating appurtenances. I am very much surprised at what you say, that
men are beginning to work in earnest [at] Botany. What a loss it will be
for Natural History that you have ceased to reside all the year in

Down, September 1st [184-?].

I return you with very many thanks your valuable work. I am sure I have
not lost any slip or disarranged the loose numbers. I have been interested
by looking through the volumes, though I have not found quite so much as I
had thought possible about the varieties of the Indian domestic animals and
plants, and the attempts at introduction have been too recent for the
effects (if any) of climate to have been developed. I have, however, been
astonished and delighted at the evidence of the energetic attempts to do
good by such numbers of people, and most of them evidently not personally
interested in the result. Long may our rule flourish in India. I declare
all the labour shown in these transactions is enough by itself to make one
proud of one's countrymen...


(30/1. The first paragraph of this letter is published in the "Life and
Letters," I., page 372, as part of a series of letters to Strickland,
beginning at page 365, where a biographical note by Professor Newton is
also given. Professor Newton wrote: "In 1841 he brought the subject of
Natural History Nomenclature before the British Association, and prepared
the code of rules for Zoological Nomenclature, now known by his name--the
principles of which are very generally accepted." Mr. Darwin's reasons
against appending the describer's name to that of the species are given in
"Life and Letters," page 366. The present letter is of interest as giving
additional details in regard to Darwin's difficulties.)

Down, February 10th [1849].

I have again to thank you cordially for your letter. Your remarks shall
fructify to some extent, and I will try to be more faithful to rigid virtue
and priority; but as for calling Balanus "Lepas" (which I did not think of)
I cannot do it, my pen won't write it--it is impossible. I have great
hopes some of my difficulties will disappear, owing to wrong dates in
Agassiz and to my having to run several genera into one; for I have as yet
gone, in but few cases, to original sources. With respect to adopting my
own notions in my Cirripedia book, I should not like to do so without I
found others approved, and in some public way; nor indeed is it well
adapted, as I can never recognise a species without I have the original
specimen, which fortunately I have in many cases in the British Museum.
Thus far I mean to adopt my notion, in never putting mihi or Darwin after
my own species, and in the anatomical text giving no authors' names at all,
as the systematic part will serve for those who want to know the history of
the species as far as I can imperfectly work it out.

I have had a note from W. Thompson (30/2. Mr. Thompson is described in the
preface to the Lepadidae as "the distinguished Natural Historian of
Ireland.") this morning, and he tells me Ogleby has some scheme identical
almost with mine. I feel pretty sure there is a growing general aversion
to the appendage of author's name, except in cases where necessary. Now at
this moment I have seen specimens ticketed with a specific name and no
reference--such are hopelessly inconvenient; but I declare I would rather
(as saving time) have a reference to some second systematic work than to
the original author, for I have cases of this which hardly help me at all,
for I know not where to look amongst endless periodical foreign papers. On
the other hand, one can get hold of most systematic works and so follow up
the scent, and a species does not long lie buried exclusively in a paper.

I thank you sincerely for your very kind offer of occasionally assisting me
with your opinion, and I will not trespass much. I have a case, but [it is
one] about which I am almost sure; and so to save you writing, if I
conclude rightly, pray do not answer, and I shall understand silence as

Olfers in 1814 made Lepas aurita Linn. into the genus Conchoderma; [Oken]
in 1815 gave the name Branta to Lepas aurita and vittata, and by so doing
he alters essentially Olfers' generic definition. Oken was right (as it
turns out), and Lepas aurita and vittata must form together one genus.
(30/3. In the "Monograph on the Cirripedia" (Lepadidae) the names used are
Conchoderma aurita and virgata.) (I leave out of question a multitude of
subsequent synonyms.) Now I suppose I must retain Conchoderma of Olfers.
I cannot make out a precise rule in the "British Association Report" for
this. When a genus is cut into two I see that the old name is retained for
part and altered to it; so I suppose the definition may be enlarged to
receive another species--though the cases are somewhat different. I should
have had no doubt if Lepas aurita and vittata had been made into two
genera, for then when run together the oldest of the two would have been
retained. Certainly to put Conchoderma Olfers is not quite correct when
applied to the two species, for such was not Olfers' definition and
opinion. If I do not hear, I shall retain Conchoderma for the two

P.S.--Will you by silence give consent to the following?

Linnaeus gives no type to his genus Lepas, though L. balanus comes first.
Several oldish authors have used Lepas exclusively for the pedunculate
division, and the name has been given to the family and compounded in sub-
generic names. Now, this shows that old authors attached the name Lepas
more particularly to the pedunculate division. Now, if I were to use Lepas
for Anatifera (30/4. Anatifera and Anatifa were used as generic names for
what Linnaeus and Darwin called Lepas anatifera.) I should get rid of the
difficulty of the second edition of Hill and of the difficulty of Anatifera
vel Anatifa. Linnaeus's generic description is equally applicable to
Anatifera and Balanus, though the latter stands first. Must the mere
precedence rigorously outweigh the apparent opinion of many old
naturalists? As for using Lepas in place of Balanus, I cannot. Every one
will understand what is meant by Lepas Anatifera, so that convenience would
be wonderfully thus suited. If I do not hear, I shall understand I have
your consent.


(31/1. In the "Life and Letters," I., page 392, is a letter to Sir J.D.
Hooker from Mr. Darwin, to whom the former had dedicated his "Himalayan
Journals." Mr. Darwin there wrote: "Your letter, received this morning,
has interested me extremely, and I thank you sincerely for telling me your
old thoughts and aspirations." The following is the letter referred to,
which at our request Sir Joseph has allowed us to publish.)

Kew, March 1st, 1854.

Now that my book (31/2. "Himalayan Journals," 2 volumes. London, 1854.)
has been publicly acknowledged to be of some value, I feel bold to write to
you; for, to tell you the truth, I have never been without a misgiving that
the dedication might prove a very bad compliment, however kindly I knew you
would receive it. The idea of the dedication has been present to me from a
very early date: it was formed during the Antarctic voyage, out of love
for your own "Journal," and has never deserted me since; nor would it, I
think, had I never known more of you than by report and as the author of
the said "Naturalist's Journal." Short of the gratification I felt in
getting the book out, I know no greater than your kind, hearty acceptation
of the dedication; and, had the reviewers gibbeted me, the dedication would
alone have given me real pain. I have no wish to assume a stoical
indifference to public opinion, for I am well alive to it, and the critics
might have irritated me sorely, but they could never have caused me the
regret that the association of your name with a bad book of mine would

You will laugh when I tell you that, my book out, I feel past the meridian
of life! But you do not know how from my earliest childhood I nourished
and cherished the desire to make a creditable journey in a new country, and
write such a respectable account of its natural features as should give me
a niche amongst the scientific explorers of the globe I inhabit, and hand
my name down as a useful contributor of original matter. A combination of
most rare advantages has enabled me to gain as much of my object as
contents me, for I never wished to be greatest amongst you, nor did rivalry
ever enter my thoughts. No ulterior object has ever been present to me in
this pursuit. My ambition is fully gratified by the satisfactory
completion of my task, and I am now happy to go on jog-trot at Botany till
the end of my days--downhill, in one sense, all the way. I shall never
have such another object to work for, nor shall I feel the want of it...As
it is, the craving of thirty years is satisfied, and I now look back on
life in a way I never could previously. There never was a past hitherto to
me. The phantom was always in view; mayhap it is only a "ridiculus mus"
after all, but it is big enough for me...

(PLATE: T.H. HUXLEY, 1857. Maull & Polyblank photo., Walker & Cockerell
ph. sc.)

(32/1. The story of Huxley's life has been fully given in the interesting
biography edited by Mr. Leonard Huxley. (32/2. "Life and Letters of
Thomas Henry Huxley." London 1900.) Readers of this book and of the "Life
and Letters of Charles Darwin" gain an insight into the relationship
between this pair of friends to which any words of ours can add but little.
Darwin realised to the full the essential strength of Mr. Huxley's nature;
he knew, as all the world now knows, the delicate sense of honour of his
friend, and he was ever inclined to lean on his guidance in practical
matters, as on an elder brother. Of Mr. Huxley's dialectical and literary
skill he was an enthusiastic admirer, and he never forgot what his theories
owed to the fighting powers of his "general agent." (32/3. Ibid., I.,
page 171.) Huxley's estimate of Darwin is very interesting: he valued him
most highly for what was so strikingly characteristic of himself--the love
of truth. He spoke of finding in him "something bigger than ordinary
humanity--an unequalled simplicity and directness of purpose--a sublime
unselfishness." (32/4. Ibid., II., page 94. Huxley is speaking of
Gordon's death, and goes on: "Of all the people whom I have met with in my
life, he and Darwin are the two in whom I have found," etc.) The same
point of view comes out in Huxley's estimate of Darwin's mental power.
(32/5. Ibid., II., page 39.) "He had a clear, rapid intelligence, a great
memory, a vivid imagination, and what made his greatness was the strict
subordination of all these to his love of truth." This, as an analysis of
Darwin's mental equipment, seems to us incomplete, though we do not pretend
to mend it. We do not think it is possible to dissect and label the
complex qualities which go to make up that which we all recognise as
genius. But, if we may venture to criticise, we would say that Mr.
Huxley's words do not seem to cover that supreme power of seeing and
thinking what the rest of the world had overlooked, which was one of
Darwin's most striking characteristics. As throwing light on the quality
of their friendship, we give below a letter which has already appeared in
the "Life and Letters of T.H. Huxley," I., page 366. Mr. L. Huxley gives
an account of the breakdown in health which convinced Huxley's friends that
rest and relief from anxiety must be found for him. Mr. L. Huxley aptly
remarks of the letter, "It is difficult to say whether it does more honour
to him who sent it or to him who received it." (32/6. Huxley's "Life,"
I., page 366. Mr. Darwin left to Mr. Huxley a legacy of 1,000 pounds, "as
a slight memorial of my lifelong affection and respect for him."))

Down, April 23rd, 1873.

My dear Huxley

I have been asked by some of your friends (eighteen in number) to inform
you that they have placed, through Robarts, Lubbock & Co., the sum of 2,100
pounds to your account at your bankers. We have done this to enable you to
get such complete rest as you may require for the re-establishment of your
health; and in doing this we are convinced that we act for the public
interest, as well as in accordance with our most earnest desires. Let me
assure you that we are all your warm personal friends, and that there is
not a stranger or mere acquaintance amongst us. If you could have heard
what was said, or could have read what was, as I believe, our inmost
thoughts, you would know that we all feel towards you, as we should to an
honoured and much loved brother. I am sure that you will return this
feeling, and will therefore be glad to give us the opportunity of aiding
you in some degree, as this will be a happiness to us to the last day of
our lives. Let me add that our plan occurred to several of your friends at
nearly the same time and quite independently of one another.

My dear Huxley,
Your affectionate friend,


(33/1. The following letter is one of the earliest of the long series
addressed to Mr. Huxley.)

Down, April 23rd [1854].

My dear Sir

I have got out all the specimens, which I have thought could by any
possibility be of any use to you; but I have not looked at them, and know
not what state they are in, but should be much pleased if they are of the
smallest use to you. I enclose a catalogue of habitats: I thought my
notes would have turned out of more use. I have copied out such few points
as perhaps would not be apparent in preserved specimens. The bottle shall
go to Mr. Gray on Thursday next by our weekly carrier.

I am very much obliged for your paper on the Mollusca (33/2. The paper of
Huxley's is "On the Morphology of the Cephalous Mollusca, etc." ("Phil.
Trans. R. Soc." Volume 143, Part I., 1853, page 29.)); I have read it all
with much interest: but it would be ridiculous in me to make any remarks
on a subject on which I am so utterly ignorant; but I can see its high
importance. The discovery of the type or "idea" (33/3. Huxley defines his
use of the word "archetype" at page 50: "All that I mean is the conception
of a form embodying the most general propositions that can be affirmed
respecting the Cephalous Mollusca, standing in the same relation to them as
the diagram to a geometrical theorem, and like it, at once, imaginary and
true.") (in your sense, for I detest the word as used by Owen, Agassiz &
Co.) of each great class, I cannot doubt, is one of the very highest ends
of Natural History; and certainly most interesting to the worker-out.
Several of your remarks have interested me: I am, however, surprised at
what you say versus "anamorphism" (33/4. The passage referred to is at
page 63: "If, however, all Cephalous only modifications by
excess or defect of the parts of a definite archetype, then, I think, it
follows as a necessary consequence, that no anamorphism takes place in this
group. There is no progression from a lower to a higher type, but merely a
more or less complete evolution of one type." Huxley seems to use the term
anamorphism in a sense differing from that of some writers. Thus in
Jourdan's "Dictionnaire des Termes Usites dans les Sciences Naturelles,"
1834, it is defined as the production of an atypical form either by arrest
or excess of development.), I should have thought that the archetype in
imagination was always in some degree embryonic, and therefore capable [of]
and generally undergoing further development.

Is it not an extraordinary fact, the great difference in position of the
heart in different species of Cleodora? (33/5. A genus of Pteropods.) I
am a believer that when any part, usually constant, differs considerably in
different allied species that it will be found in some degree variable
within the limits of the same species. Thus, I should expect that if great
numbers of specimens of some of the species of Cleodora had been examined
with this object in view, the position of the heart in some of the species
would have been found variable. Can you aid me with any analogous facts?

I am very much pleased to hear that you have not given up the idea of
noticing my cirripedial volume. All that I have seen since confirms
everything of any importance stated in that volume--more especially I have
been able rigorously to confirm in an anomalous species, by the clearest
evidence, that the actual cellular contents of the ovarian tubes, by the
gland-like action of a modified portion of the continuous tube, passes into
the cementing stuff: in fact cirripedes make glue out of their own
unformed eggs! (33/6. On Darwin's mistake in this point see "Life and
Letters," III., page 2.)

Pray believe me,
Yours sincerely,

I told the above case to Milne Edwards, and I saw he did not place the
smallest belief in it.

Down, September 2nd, [1854].

My second volume on the everlasting barnacles is at last published (34/1.
"A Monograph of the Sub-class Cirripedia. II. The Balanidae, the
Verrucidae." Ray Society, 1854.), and I will do myself the pleasure of
sending you a copy to Jermyn Street next Thursday, as I have to send
another book then to Mr. Baily.

And now I want to ask you a favour--namely, to answer me two questions. As
you are so perfectly familiar with the doings, etc., of all Continental
naturalists, I want you to tell me a few names of those whom you think
would care for my volume. I do not mean in the light of puffing my book,
but I want not to send copies to those who from other studies, age, etc.,
would view it as waste paper. From assistance rendered me, I consider
myself bound to send copies to: (1) Bosquet of Maestricht, (2) Milne
Edwards, (3) Dana, (4) Agassiz, (5) Muller, (6) W. Dunker of Hesse Cassel.
Now I have five or six other copies to distribute, and will you be so very
kind as to help me? I had thought of Von Siebold, Loven, d'Orbigny,
Kolliker, Sars, Kroyer, etc., but I know hardly anything about any of them.

My second question, it is merely a chance whether you can answer,--it is
whether I can send these books or any of them (in some cases accompanied by
specimens), through the Royal Society: I have some vague idea of having
heard that the Royal Society did sometimes thus assist members.

I have just been reading your review of the "Vestiges" (34/2. In his
chapter on the "Reception of the Origin of Species" ("Life and Letters,"
II., pages 188-9), Mr. Huxley wrote: "and the only review I ever have
qualms of conscience about, on the ground of needless savagery, is one I
wrote on the 'Vestiges.'" The article is in the "British and Foreign
Medico-chirurgical Review," XIII., 1854, page 425. The "great man"
referred to below is Owen: see Huxley's review, page 439, and Huxley's
"Life." I., page 94.), and the way you handle a great Professor is really
exquisite and inimitable. I have been extremely interested in other parts,
and to my mind it is incomparably the best review I have read on the
"Vestiges"; but I cannot think but that you are rather hard on the poor
author. I must think that such a book, if it does no other good, spreads
the taste for Natural Science.

But I am perhaps no fair judge, for I am almost as unorthodox about species
as the "Vestiges" itself, though I hope not quite so unphilosophical. How
capitally you analyse his notion about law. I do not know when I have read
a review which interested me so much. By Heavens, how the blood must have
gushed into the capillaries when a certain great man (whom with all his
faults I cannot help liking) read it!

I am rather sorry you do not think more of Agassiz's embryological stages
(34/3. See "Origin," Edition VI., page 310: also Letter 40, Note.), for
though I saw how exceedingly weak the evidence was, I was led to hope in
its truth.

Down [1854].

With respect to "highness" and "lowness," my ideas are only eclectic and
not very clear. It appears to me that an unavoidable wish to compare all
animals with men, as supreme, causes some confusion; and I think that
nothing besides some such vague comparison is intended, or perhaps is even
possible, when the question is whether two kingdoms such as the Articulata
or Mollusca are the highest. Within the same kingdom I am inclined to
think that "highest" usually means that form which has undergone most
"morphological differentiation" from the common embryo or archetype of the
class; but then every now and then one is bothered (as Milne Edwards has
remarked) by "retrograde development," i.e., the mature animal having fewer
and less important organs than its own embryo. The specialisation of parts
to different functions, or "the division of physiological labour" (35/1. A
slip of the pen for "physiological division of labour.") of Milne Edwards
exactly agrees (and to my mind is the best definition, when it can be
applied) with what you state is your idea in regard to plants. I do not
think zoologists agree in any definite ideas on this subject; and my ideas
are not clearer than those of my brethren.

Down, July 2nd [1854].

I have had the house full of visitors, and when I talk I can do absolutely
nothing else; and since then I have been poorly enough, otherwise I should
have answered your letter long before this, for I enjoy extremely
discussing such points as those in your last note. But what a villain you
are to heap gratuitous insults on my ELASTIC theory: you might as well call
the virtue of a lady elastic, as the virtue of a theory accommodating in
its favours. Whatever you may say, I feel that my theory does give me some
advantages in discussing these points. But to business: I keep my notes
in such a way, viz., in bulk, that I cannot possibly lay my hand on any
reference; nor as far as the vegetable kingdom is concerned do I distinctly
remember having read any discussion on general highness or lowness,
excepting Schleiden (I fancy) on Compositae being highest. Ad. de Jussieu
(36/1. "Monographie de la Famille des Malpighiacees," by Adrien de
Jussieu, "Arch. du Museum." Volume III., page 1, 1843.), in "Arch. du
Museum," Tome 3, discusses the value of characters of degraded flowers in
the Malpighiaceae, but I doubt whether this at all concerns you. Mirbel
somewhere has discussed some such question.

Plants lie under an enormous disadvantage in respect to such discussions in
not passing through larval stages. I do not know whether you can
distinguish a plant low from non-development from one low from degradation,
which theoretically, at least, are very distinct. I must agree with Forbes
that a mollusc may be higher than one articulate animal and lower than
another; if one was asked which was highest as a whole, the Molluscan or
Articulate Kingdom, I should look to and compare the highest in each, and
not compare their archetypes (supposing them to be known, which they are

But there are, in my opinion, more difficult cases than any we have alluded
to, viz., that of fish--but my ideas are not clear enough, and I do not
suppose you would care to hear what I obscurely think on this subject. As
far as my elastic theory goes, all I care about is that very ancient
organisms (when different from existing) should tend to resemble the larval
or embryological stages of the existing.

I am glad to hear what you say about parallelism: I am an utter
disbeliever of any parallelism more than mere accident. It is very
strange, but I think Forbes is often rather fanciful; his "Polarity" (36/2.
See Letter 41, Note.) makes me sick--it is like "magnetism" turning a

If I can think of any one likely to take your "Illustrations" (36/3.
"Illustrations of Himalayan Plants from Drawings made by J.F. Cathcart."
Folio, 1855.), I will send the advertisement. If you want to make up some
definite number so as to go to press, I will put my name down with PLEASURE
(and I hope and believe that you will trust me in saying so), though I
should not in the course of nature subscribe to any horticultural work:--
act for me.

Down, [May] 29th, 1854.

I am really truly sorry to hear about your [health]. I entreat you to
write down your own case,--symptoms, and habits of life,--and then consider
your case as that of a stranger; and I put it to you, whether common sense
would not order you to take more regular exercise and work your brain less.
(N.B. Take a cold bath and walk before breakfast.) I am certain in the
long run you would not lose time. Till you have a thoroughly bad stomach,
you will not know the really great evil of it, morally, physically, and
every way. Do reflect and act resolutely. Remember your troubled heart-
action formerly plainly told how your constitution was tried. But I will
say no more--excepting that a man is mad to risk health, on which
everything, including his children's inherited health, depends. Do not
hate me for this lecture. Really I am not surprised at your having some
headache after Thursday evening, for it must have been no small exertion
making an abstract of all that was said after dinner. Your being so
engaged was a bore, for there were several things that I should have liked
to have talked over with you. It was certainly a first-rate dinner, and I
enjoyed it extremely, far more than I expected. Very far from disagreeing
with me, my London visits have just lately taken to suit my stomach
admirably; I begin to think that dissipation, high-living, with lots of
claret, is what I want, and what I had during the last visit. We are going
to act on this same principle, and in a very profligate manner have just
taken a pair of season-tickets to see the Queen open the Crystal Palace.
(37/1. Queen Victoria opened the Crystal Palace at Sydenham on June 10th,
1854.) How I wish there was any chance of your being there! The last
grand thing we were at together answered, I am sure, very well, and that
was the Duke's funeral.

Have you seen Forbes' introductory lecture (37/2. Edward Forbes was
appointed to a Professorship at Edinburgh in May, 1854.) in the "Scotsman"
(lent me by Horner)? it is really ADMIRABLY done, though without anything,
perhaps, very original, which could hardly be expected: it has given me
even a higher opinion than I before had, of the variety and polish of his
intellect. It is, indeed, an irreparable loss to London natural history
society. I wish, however, he would not praise so much that old brown dry
stick Jameson. Altogether, to my taste, it is much the best introductory
lecture I have ever read. I hear his anniversary address is very good.

Adios, my dear Hooker; do be wise and good, and be careful of your stomach,
within which, as I know full well, lie intellect, conscience, temper, and
the affections.

Down, December 2nd [1854].

You are a pretty fellow to talk of funking the returning thanks at the
dinner for the medal. (38/1. The Royal medal was given to Sir Joseph in
1854.) I heard that it was decidedly the best speech of the evening, given
"with perfect fluency, distinctness, and command of language," and that you
showed great self-possession: was the latter the proverbially desperate
courage of a coward? But you are a pretty fellow to be so desperately
afraid and then to make the crack speech. Many such an ordeal may you have
to go through! I do not know whether Sir William [Hooker] would be
contented with Lord Rosse's (38/2. President of the Royal Society 1848-
54.) speech on giving you the medal; but I am very much pleased with it,
and really the roll of what you have done was, I think, splendid. What a
great pity he half spoiled it by not having taken the trouble just to read
it over first. Poor Hofmann (38/3. August Wilhelm Hofmann, the other
medallist of 1854.) came off in this respect even worse. It is really
almost arrogant insolence against every one not an astronomer.

The next morning I was at a very pleasant breakfast party at Sir R.
Inglis's. (38/4. Sir Robert Inglis, President of the British Association
in 1847. Apparently Darwin was present at the afternoon meeting, but not
at the dinner.) I have received, with very many thanks, the aberrant
genera; but I have not had time to consider them, nor your remarks on
Australian botanical geography.


(39/1. The following letter shows Darwin's interest in the adjudication of
the Royal medals. The year 1855 was the last during which he served on the
Council of the Society. He had previously served in 1849-50.)

Down, March 31st, 1855.

I have thought and enquired much about Westwood, and I really think he
amply deserves the gold medal. But should you think of some one with
higher claim I am quite ready to give up. Indeed, I suppose without I get
some one to second it, I cannot propose him.

Will you be so kind as to read the enclosed, and return it to me? Should I
send it to Bell? That is, without you demur or convince me. I had thought
of Hancock, a higher class of labourer; but, as far as I can weigh, he has
not, as yet, done so much as Westwood. I may state that I read the whole
"Classification" (39/2. Possibly Westwood's "Introduction to the Modern
Classification of Insects" (1839).) before I was on the Council, and ever
thought on the subject of medals. I fear my remarks are rather lengthy,
but to do him justice I could not well shorten them. Pray tell me frankly
whether the enclosed is the right sort of thing, for though I was once on
the Council of the Royal, I never attended any meetings, owing to bad

With respect to the Copley medal (39/3. The Copley Medal was given to
Lyell in 1858.), I have a strong feeling that Lyell has a high claim, but
as he has had the Royal Medal I presume that it would be thought
objectionable to propose him; and as I intend (you not objecting and
converting me) to propose W. for the Royal, it would, of course, appear
intolerably presumptuous to propose for the Copley also.

Down, June 10th, 1855.

Shall you attend the Council of the Royal Society on Thursday next? I have
not been very well of late, and I doubt whether I can attend; and if I
could do anything (pray conceal the scandalous fact), I want to go to the
Crystal Palace to meet the Horners, Lyells, and a party. So I want to know
whether you will speak for me most strongly for Barrande. You know better
than I do his admirable labours on the development of trilobites, and his
most important work on his Lower or Primordial Zone. I enclose an old note
of Lyell's to show what he thinks. With respect to Dana, whom I also
proposed, you know well his merits. I can speak most highly of his
classificatory work on crustacea and his Geographical Distribution. His
Volcanic Geology is admirable, and he has done much good work on coral

If you attend, do not answer this; but if you cannot be at the Council,
please inform me, and I suppose I must, if I can, attend.

Thank you for your abstract of your lecture at the Royal Institution, which
interested me much, and rather grieved me, for I had hoped things had been
in a slight degree otherwise. (40/1. "On certain Zoological Arguments
commonly adduced in favour of the hypothesis of the Progressive Development
of Animal Life," Discourse, Friday, April 20, 1855: "Proceedings R.I."
(1855). Published also in "Huxley's Scientific Memoirs." The lecturer
dwelt chiefly on the argument of Agassiz, which he summarises as follows:
"Homocercal fishes have in their embryonic state heterocercal tails;
therefore heterocercality is, so far, a mark of an embryonic state as
compared with homocercality, and the earlier heterocercal fish are
embryonic as compared with the later homocercal." He shows that facts do
not support this view, and concludes generally "that there is no real
parallel between the successive forms assumed in the development of the
life of the individual at present and those which have appeared at
different epochs in the past.") I heard some time ago that before long I
might congratulate you on becoming a married man. (40/2. Mr. Huxley was
married July 21st, 1855.) From my own experience of some fifteen years, I
am very sure that there is nothing in this wide world which more deserves
congratulation, and most sincerely and heartily do I congratulate you, and
wish you many years of as much happiness as this world can afford.


(41/1. The following letter illustrates Darwin's work on aberrant genera.
In the "Origin," Edition I., page 429, he wrote: "The more aberrant any
form is, the greater must be the number of connecting forms which, on my
theory, have been exterminated and utterly lost. And we have some evidence
of aberrant forms having suffered severely from extinction, for they are
generally represented by extremely few species; and such species as do
occur are generally very distinct from each other, which again implies

Down, November 15th [1855?].

In Schoenherr's Catalogue of Curculionidae (41/2. "Genera et Species
Curculionidum." (C.J. Schoenherr: Paris, 1833-38.)), the 6,717 species
are on an average 10.17 to a genus. Waterhouse (who knows the group well,
and who has published on fewness of species in aberrant genera) has given
me a list of 62 aberrant genera, and these have on an average 7.6 species;
and if one single genus be removed (and which I cannot yet believe ought to
be considered aberrant), then the 61 aberrant genera would have only 4.91
species on an average. I tested these results in another way. I found in
Schoenherr 9 families, including only 11 genera, and these genera (9 of
which were in Waterhouse's list) I found included only 3.36 species on an

This last result led me to Lindley's "Vegetable Kingdom," in which I found
(excluding thallogens and acrogens) that the genera include each 10.46
species (how near by chance to the Curculionidae), and I find 21 orders
including single genera, and these 21 genera have on average 7.95 species;
but if Lindley is right that Erythroxylon (with its 75 species) ought to be
amongst the Malpighiads, then the average would be only 4.6 per genus.

But here comes, as it appears to me, an odd thing (I hope I shall not quite
weary you out). There are 29 other orders, each with 2 genera, and these
58 genera have on an average 15.07 species: this great number being owing
to the 10 genera in the Smilaceae, Salicaceae (with 220 species),
Begoniaceae, Balsaminaceae, Grossulariaceae, without which the remaining 48
genera have on an average only 5.91 species.

This case of the orders with only 2 genera, the genera notwithstanding
having 15.07 species each, seems to me very perplexing and upsets, almost,
the conclusion deducible from the orders with single genera.

I have gone higher, and tested the alliances with 1, 2, and 3 orders; and
in these cases I find both the genera few in each alliance, and the
species, less than the average of the whole kingdom, in each genus.

All this has amused me, but I daresay you will have a good sneer at me, and
tell me to stick to my barnacles. By the way, you agree with me that
sometimes one gets despondent--for instance, when theory and facts will not
harmonise; but what appears to me even worse, and makes me despair, is,
when I see from the same great class of facts, men like Barrande deduce
conclusions, such as his "Colonies" (41/3. Lyell briefly refers to
Barrande's Bohemian work in a letter (August 31st, 1856) to Fleming ("Life
of Sir Charles Lyell," II., page 225): "He explained to me on the spot his
remarkable discovery of a 'colony' of Upper Silurian fossils, 3,400 feet
deep, in the midst of the Lower Silurian group. This has made a great
noise, but I think I can explain away the supposed anomaly by, etc." (See
Letter 40, Note.) and his agreement with E. de Beaumont's lines of
Elevation, or such men as Forbes with his Polarity (41/4. Edward Forbes
"On the Manifestation of Polarity in the Distribution of Organised Beings
in Time" ("Edinburgh New Phil. Journal," Volume LVII., 1854, page 332).
The author points out that "the maximum development of generic types during
the Palaeozoic period was during its earlier epochs; that during the
Neozoic period towards its later periods." Thus the two periods of
activity are conceived to be at the two opposite poles of a sphere which in
some way represents for him the system of Nature.); I have not a doubt that
before many months are over I shall be longing for the most dishonest
species as being more honest than the honestest theories. One remark more.
If you feel any interest, or can get any one else to feel any interest on
the aberrant genera question, I should think the most interesting way would
be to take aberrant genera in any great natural family, and test the
average number of species to the genera in that family.

How I wish we lived near each other! I should so like a talk with you on
geographical distribution, taken in its greatest features. I have been
trying from land productions to take a very general view of the world, and
I should so like to see how far it agrees with plants.


(42/1. Mrs. Lyell is a daughter of the late Mr. Leonard Horner, and widow
of Lieut.-Col. Lyell, a brother of Sir Charles.)

Down, January 26th [1856].

I shall be very glad to be of any sort of use to you in regard to the
beetles. But first let me thank you for your kind note and offer of
specimens to my children. My boys are all butterfly hunters; and all young
and ardent lepidopterists despise, from the bottom of their souls,

The simplest plan for your end and for the good of entomology, I should
think, would be to offer the collection to Dr. J.E. Gray for the British
Museum on condition that a perfect set was made out for you. If the
collection was at all valuable, I should think he would be very glad to
have this done. Whether any third set would be worth making out would
depend on the value of the collection. I do not suppose that you expect
the insects to be named, for that would be a most serious labour. If you
do not approve of this scheme, I should think it very likely that Mr.
Waterhouse would think it worth his while to set a series for you,
retaining duplicates for himself; but I say this only on a venture. You
might trust Mr. Waterhouse implicitly, which I fear, as [illegible] goes,
is more than can be said for all entomologists. I presume, if you thought
of either scheme, Sir Charles Lyell could easily see the gentlemen and
arrange it; but, if not, I could do so when next I come to town, which,
however, will not be for three or four weeks.

With respect to giving your children a taste for Natural History, I will
venture one remark--viz., that giving them specimens in my opinion would
tend to destroy such taste. Youngsters must be themselves collectors to
acquire a taste; and if I had a collection of English lepidoptera, I would
be systematically most miserly, and not give my boys half a dozen
butterflies in the year. Your eldest has the brow of an observer, if there
be the least truth in phrenology. We are all better, but we have been of
late a poor household.

Down [1855].

I should have less scruple in troubling you if I had any confidence what my
work would turn out. Sometimes I think it will be good, at other times I
really feel as much ashamed of myself as the author of the "Vestiges" ought
to be of himself. I know well that your kindness and friendship would make
you do a great deal for me, but that is no reason that I should be
unreasonable. I cannot and ought not to forget that all your time is
employed in work certain to be valuable. It is superfluous in me to say
that I enjoy exceedingly writing to you, and that your answers are of the
greatest possible service to me. I return with many thanks the proof on
Aquilegia (43/1. This seems to refer to the discussion on the genus
Aquilegia in Hooker and Thomson's "Flora Indica," 1855, Volume I.,
Systematic Part, page 44. The authors' conclusion is that "all the
European and many of the Siberian forms generally recognised belong to one
very variable species." With regard to cirripedes, Mr. Darwin spoke of
"certain just perceptible differences which blend together and constitute
varieties and not species" ("Life and Letters," I., page 379).): it has
interested me much. It is exactly like my barnacles; but for my particular
purpose, most unfortunately, both Kolreuter and Gartner have worked chiefly
on A. vulgaris and canadensis and atro-purpurea, and these are just the
species that you seem not to have studied. N.B. Why do you not let me buy
the Indian Flora? You are too magnificent.

Now for a short ride on my chief (at present) hobbyhorse, viz. aberrant
genera. What you say under your remarks on Lepidodendron seems just the
case that I want, to give some sort of evidence of what we both believe in,
viz. how groups came to be anomalous or aberrant; and I think some sort of
proof is required, for I do not believe very many naturalists would at all
admit our view.

Thank you for the caution on large anomalous genera first catching
attention. I do not quite agree with your "grave objection to the whole
process," which is "that if you multiply the anomalous species by 100, and
divide the normal by the same, you will then reverse the names..." For, to
take an example, Ornithorhynchus and Echidna would not be less aberrant if
each had a dozen (I do not say 100, because we have no such cases in the
animal kingdom) species instead of one. What would really make these two
genera less anomalous would be the creation of many genera and sub-families
round and radiating from them on all sides. Thus if Australia were
destroyed, Didelphys in S. America would be wonderfully anomalous (this is
your case with Proteaceae), whereas now there are so many genera and little
sub-families of Marsupiata that the group cannot be called aberrant or
anomalous. Sagitta (and the earwig) is one of the most anomalous animals
in the world, and not a bit the less because there are a dozen species.
Now, my point (which, I think is a slightly new point of view) is, if it is
extinction which has made the genus anomalous, as a general rule the same
causes of extinction would allow the existence of only a few species in
such genera. Whenever we meet (which will be on the 23rd [at the] Club) I
shall much like to hear whether this strikes you as sound. I feel all the
time on the borders of a circle of truism. Of course I could not think of
such a request, but you might possibly:--if Bentham does not think the
whole subject rubbish, ask him some time to pick out the dozen most
anomalous genera in the Leguminosae, or any great order of which there is a
monograph by which I could calculate the ordinary percentage of species to
genera. I am the more anxious, as the more I enquire, the fewer are the
cases in which it can be done. It cannot be done in birds, or, I fear, in
mammifers. I doubt much whether in any other class of insects [other than

I saw your nice notice of poor Forbes in the "Gardeners' Chronicle," and I
see in the "Athenaeum" a notice of meeting on last Saturday of his friends.
Of course I shall wish to subscribe as soon as possible to any memorial...

I have just been testing practically what disuse does in reducing parts. I
have made [skeletons] of wild and tame duck (oh the smell of well-boiled,
high duck!), and I find the tame duck ought, according to scale of wild
prototype, to have its two wings 360 grains in weight; but it has only 317,
or 43 grains too little, or 1/7 of [its] own two wings too little in
weight. This seems rather interesting to me. (43/2. On the conclusions
drawn from these researches, see Mr. Platt Ball, "The Effects of Use and
Disuse" (Nature Series), 1890, page 55. With regard to his pigeons, Darwin
wrote, in November 1855: "I love them to that extent that I cannot bear to
kill and skeletonise them.")

P.S.--I do not know whether you will think this worth reading over. I have
worked it out since writing my letter, and tabulate the whole.

21 orders with 1 genus, having 7.95 species (or 4.6?).

29 orders with 2 genera, having 15.05 species on an average.

23 orders each with 3 genera, and these genera include on an average 8.2

20 orders each with 4 genera, and these genera include on an average 12.2

27 orders each with above 50 genera (altogether 4716 genera), and these
genera on an average have 9.97 species.

From this I conclude, whether there be many or few genera in an order, the
number of species in a genus is not much affected; but perhaps when [there
is] only one genus in an order it will be affected, and this will depend
whether the [genus] Erythroxylon be made a family of.

Down, April 8th [1856].

I have been particularly glad to get your splendid eloge of Lindley. His
name had been lately passing through my head, and I had hoped that Miers
would have proposed him for the Royal medal. I most entirely agree that
the Copley (44/1. The late Professor Lindley never attained the honour of
the Copley medal. The Royal medal was awarded to him in 1857.) is more
appropriate, and I daresay he would not have valued the Royal. From
skimming through many botanical books, and from often consulting the
"Vegetable Kingdom," I had (ignorant as I am) formed the highest opinion of
his claims as a botanist. If Sharpey will stick up strong for him, we
should have some chance; but the natural sciences are but feebly
represented in the Council. Sir P. Egerton, I daresay, would be strong for
him. You know Bell is out. Now, my only doubt is, and I hope that you
will consider this, that the natural sciences being weak on the Council,
and (I fancy) the most powerful man in the Council, Col. S[abine], being
strong against Lindley, whether we should have any chance of succeeding.
It would be so easy to name some eminent man whose name would be well-known
to all the physicists. Would Lindley hear of and dislike being proposed
for the Copley and not succeeding? Would it not be better on this view to
propose him for the Royal? Do think of this. Moreover, if Lindley is not
proposed for the Royal, I fear both Royal medals would go [to] physicists;
for I, for one, should not like to propose another zoologist, though
Hancock would be a very good man, and I fancy there would be a feeling
against medals to two botanists. But for whatever Lindley is proposed, I
will do my best. We will talk this over here.

Down, May 9th [1856].

...With respect to Huxley, I was on the point of speaking to Crawford and
Strezlecki (who will be on Committee of the Athenaeum) when I bethought me
of how Owen would look and what he would say. Cannot you fancy him, with
slow and gentle voice, asking "Will Mr. Crawford tell me what Mr. Huxley
has done, deserving this honour; I only know that he differs from, and
disputes the authority of Cuvier, Ehrenberg, and Agassiz as of no weight at
all." And when I began to tell Mr. Crawford what to say, I was puzzled,
and could refer him only to some excellent papers in the "Phil. Trans." for
which the medal had been awarded. But I doubt, with an opposing faction,
whether this would be considered enough, for I believe real scientific
merit is not thought enough, without the person is generally well known.
Now I want to hear what you deliberately think on this head: it would be
bad to get him proposed and then rejected; and Owen is very powerful.

Down [1856].

I have got the Lectures, and have read them. (46/1. The reference is
presumably to the Royal Institution Lectures given in 1854-56. Those which
we have seen--namely, those reprinted in the "Scientific Memoirs," Volume
I.--"On the Common Plan of Animal Form," page 281; "On certain Zoological
Arguments, etc." page 300; "On Natural History as Knowledge, Discipline,
and Power," page 305, do not seem to us to contain anything likely to
offend; but Falconer's attack in the "Ann. and Mag. of Nat. Hist." June
1856, on the last-named lecture, shows strong feeling. A reply by Mr.
Huxley appeared in the July number of the same Journal. The most heretical
discussion from a modern standpoint is at page 311, where he asks how it is
conceivable that the bright colours of butterflies and shells or the
elegant forms of Foraminifera can possibly be of service to their
possessors; and it is this which especially struck Darwin, judging by the
pencil notes on his copy of the Lecture.) Though I believe, as far as my
knowledge goes, that Huxley is right, yet I think his tone very much too
vehement, and I have ventured to say so in a note to Huxley. I had not
thought of these lectures in relation to the Athenaeum (46/2. Mr. Huxley
was in 1858 elected to the Athenaeum Club under Rule 2, which provides for
the annual election of "a certain number of persons of distinguished
eminence in science, literature, or the arts, or for public services."),
but I am inclined quite to agree with you, and that we had better pause
before anything is said...(N.B. I found Falconer very indignant at the
manner in which Huxley treated Cuvier in his Royal Institution lectures;
and I have gently told Huxley so.) I think we had better do nothing: to
try in earnest to get a great naturalist into the Athenaeum and fail, is
far worse than doing nothing.

How strange, funny, and disgraceful that nearly all (Faraday and Sir J.
Herschel at least exceptions) our great men are in quarrels in couplets; it
never struck me before...


(47/1. In the "Life and Letters," II., page 72, is given a letter (June
16th, 1856) to Lyell, in which Darwin exhales his indignation over the
"extensionists" who created continents ad libitum to suit the convenience
of their theories. On page 74 a fuller statement of his views is given in
a letter dated June 25th. We have not seen Lyell's reply to this, but his
reply to Darwin's letter of June 16th is extant, and is here printed for
the first time.)

53, Harley Street, London, June 17th, 1856.

I wonder you did not also mention D. Sharpe's paper (47/2. "On the Last
Elevation of the Alps, etc." ("Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc." Volume XII.,
1856, page 102.), just published, by which the Alps were submerged as far
as 9,000 feet of their present elevation above the sea in the Glacial
period and then since uplifted again. Without admitting this, you would
probably convey the alpine boulders to the Jura by marine currents, and if
so, make the Alps and Jura islands in the glacial sea. And would not the
Glacial theory, as now very generally understood, immerse as much of Europe
as I did in my original map of Europe, when I simply expressed all the area
which at some time or other had been under water since the commencement of
the Eocene period? I almost suspect the glacial submergence would exceed

But would not this be a measure of the movement in every other area,
northern (arctic), antarctic, or tropical, during an equal period--oceanic
or continental? For the conversion of sea into land would always equal the
turning of much land into sea.

But all this would be done in a fraction of the Pliocene period; the
Glacial shells are barely 1 per cent. extinct species. Multiply this by
the older Pliocene and Miocene epochs.

You also forget an author who, by means of atolls, contrived to submerge
archipelagoes (or continents?), the mountains of which must originally have
differed from each other in height 8,000 (or 10,000?) feet, so that they
all just rose to the surface at one level, or their sites are marked by
buoys of coral. I could never feel sure whether he meant this tremendous
catastrophe, all brought about by what Sedgwick called "Lyell's niggling
operations," to have been effected during the era of existing species of
corals. Perhaps you can tell me, for I am really curious to know...(47/3.
The author referred to is of course Darwin.)

Now, although there is nothing in my works to warrant the building up of
continents in the Atlantic and Pacific even since the Eocene period, yet,
as some of the rocks in the central Alps are in part Eocene, I begin to
think that all continents and oceans may be chiefly, if not all, post-
Eocene, and Dana's "Atlantic Ocean" of the Lower Silurian is childish (see
the Anniversary Address, 1856). (47/4. Probably Dana's Anniversary
Address to the "American Association for the Advancement of Science,"
published in the "Proceedings" 1856.) But how far you are at liberty to
call up continents from "the vasty deep" as often as you want to convey a
Helix from the United States to Europe in Miocene or Pliocene periods is a
question; for the ocean is getting deeper of late, and Haughton says the
mean depth is eleven miles! by his late paper on tides. (47/5. "On the
Depth of the Sea deducible from Tidal Observations" ("Proc. Irish Acad."
Volume VI., page 354, 1853-54).) I shall be surprised if this turns out
true by soundings.

I thought your mind was expanding so much in regard to time that you would
have been going ahead in regard to the possibility of mountain-chains being
created in a fraction of the period required to convert a swan into a
goose, or vice versa. Nine feet did the Rimutaka chain of New Zealand gain
in height in January, 1855, and a great earthquake has occurred in New
Zealand every seven years for half a century nearly. The "Washingtonia"
(Californian conifer) (47/6. Washingtonia, or Wellingtonia, better known
as Sequoia. Asa Gray, writing in 1872, states his belief that "no Sequoia
now alive can sensibly antedate the Christian era" ("Scientific Papers,"
II., page 144).) lately exhibited was four thousand years old, so that one
individual might see a chain of hills rise, and rise with it, much [more] a
species--and those islands which J. Hooker describes as covered with New
Zealand plants three hundred (?) miles to the N.E. (?) of New Zealand may
have been separated from the mainland two or three or four generations of
Washingtonia ago.

If the identity of the land-shells of all the hundreds of British Isles be
owing to their having been united since the Glacial period, and the
discordance, almost total, of the shells of Porto Santo and Madeira be
owing to their having been separated [during] all the newer and possibly
older Pliocene periods, then it gives us a conception of time which will
aid you much in your conversion of species, if immensity of time will do
all you require; for the Glacial period is thus shown, as we might have
anticipated, to be contemptible in duration or in distance from us, as
compared to the older Pliocene, let alone the Miocene, when our
contemporary species were, though in a minority, already beginning to

The littoral shells, according to MacAndrew, imply that Madeira and the
Canaries were once joined to the mainland of Europe or Africa, but that
those isles were disjoined so long ago that most of the species came in
since. In short, the marine shells tell the same story as the land shells.
Why do the plants of Porto Santo and Madeira agree so nearly? And why do
the shells which are the same as European or African species remain quite
unaltered, like the Crag species, which returned unchanged to the British
seas after being expelled from them by glacial cold, when two millions (?)
of years had elapsed, and after such migration to milder seas? Be so good
as to explain all this in your next letter.

Down, July 5th [1856].

I write this morning in great tribulation about Tristan d'Acunha. (48/1.
See "Flora Antarctica," page 216. Though Tristan d'Acunha is "only 1,000
miles distant from the Cape of Good Hope, and 3,000 from the Strait of
Magalhaens, the botany of this island is far more intimately allied to that
of Fuegia than Africa.") The more I reflect on your Antarctic flora the
more I am astounded. You give all the facts so clearly and fully, that it
is impossible to help speculating on the subject; but it drives me to
despair, for I cannot gulp down your continent; and not being able to do so
gives, in my eyes, the multiple creationists an awful triumph. It is a
wondrous case, and how strange that A. De Candolle should have ignored it;
which he certainly has, as it seems to me. I wrote Lyell a long geological
letter (48/2. "Life and Letters," II., page 74.) about continents, and I
have had a very long and interesting answer; but I cannot in the least
gather his opinion about all your continental extensionists; and I have
written again beseeching a verdict. (48/3. In the tenth edition of the
"Principles," 1872, Lyell added a chapter (Chapter XLI., page 406) on
insular floras and faunas in relation to the origin of species; he here
(page 410) gives his reasons against Forbes as an extensionist.) I asked
him to send to you my letter, for as it was well copied it would not be
troublesome to read; but whether worth reading I really do not know; I have
given in it the reasons which make me strongly opposed to continental

I was very glad to get your note some days ago: I wish you would think it
worth while, as you intend to have the Laburnum case translated, to write
to "Wien" (that unknown place) (48/4. There is a tradition that Darwin
once asked Hooker where "this place Wien is, where they publish so many
books."), and find out how the Laburnum has been behaving: it really ought
to be known.

The Entada is a beast. (48/5. The large seeds of Entada scandens are
occasionally floated across the Atlantic and cast on the shores of
Europe.); I have never differed from you about the growth of a plant in a
new island being a FAR harder trial than transportal, though certainly that
seems hard enough. Indeed I suspect I go even further than you in this
respect; but it is too long a story.

Thank you for the Aristolochia and Viscum cases: what species were they?
I ask, because oddly these two very genera I have seen advanced as
instances (I forget at present by whom, but by good men) in which the
agency of insects was absolutely necessary for impregnation. In our
British dioecious Viscum I suppose it must be necessary. Was there
anything to show that the stigma was ready for pollen in these two cases?
for it seems that there are many cases in which pollen is shed long before
the stigma is ready. As in our Viscum, insects carry, sufficiently
regularly for impregnation, pollen from flower to flower, I should think
that there must be occasional crosses even in an hermaphrodite Viscum. I
have never heard of bees and butterflies, only moths, producing fertile
eggs without copulation.

With respect to the Ray Society, I profited so enormously by its publishing
my Cirrepedia, that I cannot quite agree with you on confining it to
translations; I know not how else I could possibly have published.

I have just sent in my name for 20 pounds to the Linnaean Society, but I
must confess I have done it with heavy groans, whereas I daresay you gave
your 20 pounds like a light-hearted gentleman...

P.S. Wollaston speaks strongly about the intermediate grade between two
varieties in insects and mollusca being often rarer than the two varieties
themselves. This is obviously very important for me, and not easy to
explain. I believe I have had cases from you. But, if you believe in
this, I wish you would give me a sentence to quote from you on this head.
There must, I think, be a good deal of truth in it; otherwise there could
hardly be nearly distinct varieties under any species, for we should have
instead a blending series, as in brambles and willows.

July 13th, 1856.

What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful,
blundering, low, and horribly cruel works of nature! With respect to
crossing, from one sentence in your letter I think you misunderstand me. I
am very far from believing in hybrids: only in crossing of the same
species or of close varieties. These two or three last days I have been
observing wheat, and have convinced myself that L. Deslongchamps is in
error about impregnation taking place in closed flowers; i.e., of course, I
can judge only from external appearances. By the way, R. Brown once told
me that the use of the brush on stigma of grasses was unknown. Do you know
its use?...

You say most truly about multiple creations and my notions. If any one
case could be proved, I should be smashed; but as I am writing my book, I
try to take as much pains as possible to give the strongest cases opposed
to me, and often such conjectures as occur to me. I have been working your
books as the richest (and vilest) mine against me; and what hard work I
have had to get up your New Zealand Flora! As I have to quote you so
often, I should like to refer to Muller's case of the Australian Alps.
Where is it published? Is it a book? A correct reference would be enough
for me, though it is wrong even to quote without looking oneself. I should
like to see very much Forbes's sheets, which you refer to; but I must
confess (I hardly know why) I have got rather to mistrust poor dear Forbes.

There is wonderful ill logic in his famous and admirable memoir on
distribution, as it appears to me, now that I have got it up so as to give
the heads in a page. Depend on it, my saying is a true one--viz. that a
compiler is a great man, and an original man a commonplace man. Any fool
can generalise and speculate; but oh, my heavens, to get up at second hand
a New Zealand Flora, that is work...

And now I am going to beg almost as great a favour as a man can beg of
another: and I ask some five or six weeks before I want the favour done,
that it may appear less horrid. It is to read, but well copied out, my
pages (about forty!!) on Alpine floras and faunas, Arctic and Antarctic
floras and faunas, and the supposed cold mundane period. It would be
really an enormous advantage to me, as I am sure otherwise to make
botanical blunders. I would specify the few points on which I most want
your advice. But it is quite likely that you may object on the ground that
you might be publishing before me (I hope to publish in a year at
furthest), so that it would hamper and bother you; and secondly you may
object to the loss of time, for I daresay it would take an hour and a half
to read. It certainly would be of immense advantage to me; but of course
you must not think of doing it if it would interfere with your own work.

I do not consider this request in futuro as breaking my promise to give no
more trouble for some time.

From Lyell's letters, he is coming round at a railway pace on the
mutability of species, and authorises me to put some sentences on this head
in my preface.

I shall meet Lyell on Wednesday at Lord Stanhope's, and will ask him to
forward my letter to you; though, as my arguments have not struck him, they
cannot have force, and my head must be crotchety on the subject; but the
crotchets keep firmly there. I have given your opinion on continuous land,
I see, too strongly.

Down, July 18th [1856].

Very many thanks for your kindness in writing to me at such length, and I
am glad to say for your sake that I do not see that I shall have to beg any
further favours. What a range and what a variability in the Cyrena!
(50/1. A genus of Lamellibranchs ranging from the Lias to the present
day.) Your list of the ranges of the land and fresh-water shells certainly
is most striking and curious, and especially as the antiquity of four of
them is so clearly shown.

I have got Harvey's seaside book, and liked it; I was not particularly
struck with it, but I will re-read the first and last chapters.

I am growing as bad as the worst about species, and hardly have a vestige
of belief in the permanence of species left in me; and this confession will
make you think very lightly of me, but I cannot help it. Such has become
my honest conviction, though the difficulties and arguments against such
heresy are certainly most weighty.

November 10th [1856].

I know you like all cases of negative geological evidence being upset. I
fancied that I was a most unwilling believer in negative evidence; but yet
such negative evidence did seem to me so strong that in my "Fossil
Lepadidae" I have stated, giving reasons, that I did not believe there
could have existed any sessile cirripedes during the Secondary ages. Now,
the other day Bosquet of Maestricht sends me a perfect drawing of a perfect
Chthamalus (a recent genus) from the Chalk! (51/1. Chthamalus, a genus of
Cirripedia. ("A Monograph on the Sub-class Cirripedia," by Charles Darwin,
page 447. London, 1854.) A fossil species of this genus of Upper
Cretaceous age was named by Bosquet Chthamalus Darwini. See "Origin,"
Edition VI., page 284; also Zittel, "Traite de Paleontologie," Traduit par
Dr. C. Barrois, Volume II., page 540, figure 748. Paris, 1887.) Indeed,
it is stretching a point to make it specifically distinct from our living
British species. It is a genus not hitherto found in any Tertiary bed.

Down, July 9th, 1857.

I am extremely much obliged to you for having so fully entered on my point.
I knew I was on unsafe ground, but it proves far unsafer than I had
thought. I had thought that Brulle (52/1. This no doubt refers to A.
Brulle's paper in the "Comptes rendus" 1844, of which a translation is
given in the "Annals and Mag. of Natural History," 1844, page 484. In
speaking of the development of the Articulata, the author says "that the
appendages are manifested at an earlier period of the existence of an
Articulate animal the more complex its degree of organisation, and vice
versa that they make their appearance the later, the fewer the number of
transformations which it has to undergo.") had a wider basis for his
generalisation, for I made the extract several years ago, and I presume (I
state it as some excuse for myself) that I doubted it, for, differently
from my general habit, I have not extracted his grounds. It was meeting
with Barneoud's paper which made me think there might be truth in the
doctrine. (52/2. Apparently Barneoud "On the Organogeny of Irregular
Corollas," from the "Comptes rendus," 1847, as given in "Annals and Mag. of
Natural History," 1847, page 440. The paper chiefly deals with the fact
that in their earliest condition irregular flowers are regular. The view
attributed to Barneoud does not seem so definitely given in this paper as
in a previous one ("Ann. Sc. Nat." Bot., Tom. VI., page 268.) Your
instance of heart and brain of fish seems to me very good. It was a very
stupid blunder on my part not thinking of the posterior part of the time of
development. I shall, of course, not allude to this subject, which I
rather grieve about, as I wished it to be true; but, alas! a scientific man
ought to have no wishes, no affections--a mere heart of stone.

There is only one point in your letter which at present I cannot quite
follow you in: supposing that Barneoud's (I do not say Brulle's) remarks
were true and universal--i.e., that the petals which have to undergo the
greatest amount of development and modification begin to change the soonest
from the simple and common embryonic form of the petal--if this were a true
law, then I cannot but think that it would throw light on Milne Edwards'
proposition that the wider apart the classes of animals are, the sooner do
they diverge from the common embryonic plan--which common embryonic [plan]
may be compared with the similar petals in the early bud, the several
petals in one flower being compared to the distinct but similar embryos of
the different classes. I much wish that you would so far keep this in
mind, that whenever we meet I might hear how far you differ or concur in
this. I have always looked at Barneoud's and Brulle's proposition as only
in some degree analogous.

P.S. I see in my abstract of Milne Edwards' paper, he speaks of "the most
perfect and important organs" as being first developed, and I should have
thought that this was usually synonymous with the most developed or


(53/1. The following letter is chiefly of interest as showing the amount
and kind of work required for Darwin's conclusions on "large genera
varying," which occupy no more than two or three pages in the "Origin"
(Edition I., page 55). Some correspondence on the subject is given in the
"Life and Letters," II., pages 102-5.)

Down, August 22nd [1857].

Your handwriting always rejoices the cockles of my heart; though you have
no reason to be "overwhelmed with shame," as I did not expect to hear.

I write now chiefly to know whether you can tell me how to write to Hermann
Schlagenheit (is this spelt right?) (53/2. Schlagintweit.), for I believe
he is returned to England, and he has poultry skins for me from W. Elliot
of Madras.

I am very glad to hear that you have been tabulating some Floras about
varieties. Will you just tell me roughly the result? Do you not find it
takes much time? I am employing a laboriously careful schoolmaster, who
does the tabulating and dividing into two great cohorts, more carefully
than I can. This being so, I should be very glad some time to have Koch,
Webb's Canaries, and Ledebour, and Grisebach, but I do not know even where
Rumelia is. I shall work the British flora with three separate Floras; and
I intend dividing the varieties into two classes, as Asa Gray and Henslow
give the materials, and, further, A. Gray and H.C. Watson have marked for
me the forms, which they consider real species, but yet are very close to
others; and it will be curious to compare results. If it will all hold
good it is very important for me; for it explains, as I think, all
classification, i.e. the quasi-branching and sub-branching of forms, as if
from one root, big genera increasing and splitting up, etc., as you will
perceive. But then comes in, also, what I call a principle of divergence,
which I think I can explain, but which is too long, and perhaps you would
not care to hear. As you have been on this subject, you might like to hear
what very little is complete (for my schoolmaster has had three weeks'
holidays)--only three cases as yet, I see.

BABINGTON--British Flora.

593 species in genera of 5 and 593 (odd chance equal) in
upwards have in a thousand genera of 3 and downwards have
species presenting vars. in a thousand presenting vars.
134/1000.* 37/1000.

(*53/3. This sentence may be interpreted as follows: The number of
species which present varieties are 134 per thousand in genera of 5 species
and upwards. The result is obtained from tabulation of 593 species.)

HOOKER--New Zealand.

Genera with 4 species and With 3 species and downwards
upwards, 150/1000. 114/1000.

GODRON--Central France.

With 5 species and upwards With 3 species and downwards
160/1000. 105/1000.

I do not enter into details on omitting introduced plants and very varying
genera, as Rubus, Salix, Rosa, etc., which would make the result more in

I enjoyed seeing Henslow extremely, though I was a good way from well at
the time. Farewell, my dear Hooker: do not forget your visit here some

Down, November 14th [1857].

On Tuesday I will send off from London, whither I go on that day,
Ledebour's three remaining volumes, Grisebach and Cybele, i.e., all that I
have, and most truly am I obliged to you for them. I find the rule, as
yet, of the species varying most in the large genera universal, except in
Miquel's very brief and therefore imperfect list of the Holland flora,
which makes me very anxious to tabulate a fuller flora of Holland. I shall
remain in London till Friday morning, and if quite convenient to send me
two volumes of D.C. Prodromus, I could take them home and tabulate them. I
should think a volume with a large best known natural family, and a volume
with several small broken families would be best, always supposing that the
varieties are conspicuously marked in both. Have you the volume published
by Lowe on Madeira? If so and if any varieties are marked I should much
like to see it, to see if I can make out anything about habitats of vars.
in so small an area--a point on which I have become very curious. I fear
there is no chance of your possessing Forbes and Hancock "British Shells,"
a grand work, which I much wish to tabulate.

Very many thanks for seed of Adlumia cirrhosa, which I will carefully
observe. My notice in the G. Ch. on Kidney Beans (54.1 "On the Agency of
Bees in the Fertilisation of Papilionaceous Flowers" ("Gardeners'
Chronicle," 1857, page 725).) has brought me a curious letter from an
intelligent gardener, with a most remarkable lot of beans, crossed in a
marvellous manner IN THE FIRST GENERATION, like the peas sent to you by
Berkeley and like those experimentalised on by Gartner and by Wiegmann. It
is a very odd case; I shall sow these seeds and see what comes up. How
very odd that pollen of one form should affect the outer coats and size of
the bean produced by pure species!...

Down [1857?].

You know how I work subjects: namely, if I stumble on any general remark,
and if I find it confirmed in any other very distinct class, then I try to
find out whether it is true,--if it has any bearing on my work. The
following, perhaps, may be important to me. Dr. Wight remarks that
Cucurbitaceae (55/1. Wight, "Remarks on the Fruit of the Natural Order
Cucurbitaceae" ("Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist." VIII., page 261). R. Wight, F.R.S.
(1796-1872) was Superintendent of the Madras Botanic Garden.) is a very
isolated family, and has very diverging affinities. I find, strongly put
and illustrated, the very same remark in the genera of hymenoptera. Now,
it is not to me at first apparent why a very distinct and isolated group
should be apt to have more divergent affinities than a less isolated group.
I am aware that most genera have more affinities than in two ways, which
latter, perhaps, is the commonest case. I see how infinitely vague all
this is; but I should very much like to know what you and Mr. Bentham (if
he will read this), who have attended so much to the principles of
classification, think of this. Perhaps the best way would be to think of
half a dozen most isolated groups of plants, and then consider whether the
affinities point in an unusual number of directions. Very likely you may
think the whole question too vague to be worth consideration.

Down, April 8th [1857].

I now want to ask your opinion, and for facts on a point; and as I shall
often want to do this during the next year or two, so let me say, once for
all, that you must not take trouble out of mere good nature (of which
towards me you have a most abundant stock), but you must consider, in
regard to the trouble any question may take, whether you think it worth
while--as all loss of time so far lessens your original work--to give me
facts to be quoted on your authority in my work. Do not think I shall be
disappointed if you cannot spare time; for already I have profited
enormously from your judgment and knowledge. I earnestly beg you to act as
I suggest, and not take trouble solely out of good-nature.

My point is as follows: Harvey gives the case of Fucus varying remarkably,
and yet in same way under most different conditions. D. Don makes same
remark in regard to Juncus bufonius in England and India. Polygala
vulgaris has white, red, and blue flowers in Faroe, England, and I think
Herbert says in Zante. Now such cases seem to me very striking, as showing
how little relation some variations have to climatal conditions.

Do you think there are many such cases? Does Oxalis corniculata present
exactly the same varieties under very different climates?

How is it with any other British plants in New Zealand, or at the foot of
the Himalaya? Will you think over this and let me hear the result?

One other question: do you remember whether the introduced Sonchus in New
Zealand was less, equally, or more common than the aboriginal stock of the
same species, where both occurred together? I forget whether there is any
other case parallel with this curious one of the Sonchus...

I have been making good, though slow, progress with my book, for facts have
been falling nicely into groups, enlightening each other.

Moor Park, Farnham, Surrey [1857?].

Your letter has been forwarded to me here, where I am profiting by a few
weeks' rest and hydropathy. Your letter has interested and amused me much.
I am extremely glad you have taken up the Aphis (57/1. Professor Huxley's
paper on the organic reproduction of Aphis is in the "Trans. Linn. Soc."
XXII. (1858), page 193. Prof. Owen had treated the subject in his
introductory Hunterian lecture "On Parthenogenesis" (1849). His theory
cannot be fully given here. Briefly, he holds that parthenogenesis is due
to the inheritance of a "remnant of spermatic virtue": when the "spermatic
force" or "virtue" is exhausted fresh impregnation occurs. Huxley severely
criticises both Owen's facts and his theory.) question, but, for Heaven's
sake, do not come the mild Hindoo (whatever he may be) to Owen; your father
confessor trembles for you. I fancy Owen thinks much of this doctrine of
his; I never from the first believed it, and I cannot but think that the
same power is concerned in producing aphides without fertilisation, and
producing, for instance, nails on the amputated stump of a man's fingers,
or the new tail of a lizard. By the way, I saw somewhere during the last
week or so a statement of a man rearing from the same set of eggs winged
and wingless aphides, which seemed new to me. Does not some Yankee say
that the American viviparous aphides are winged? I am particularly glad
that you are ruminating on the act of fertilisation: it has long seemed to
me the most wonderful and curious of physiological problems. I have often
and often speculated for amusement on the subject, but quite fruitlessly.
Do you not think that the conjugation of the Diatomaceae will ultimately
throw light on the subject? But the other day I came to the conclusion
that some day we shall have cases of young being produced from spermatozoa
or pollen without an ovule. Approaching the subject from the side which
attracts me most, viz., inheritance, I have lately been inclined to
speculate, very crudely and indistinctly, that propagation by true
fertilisation will turn out to be a sort of mixture, and not true fusion,
of two distinct individuals, or rather of innumerable individuals, as each
parent has its parents and ancestors. I can understand on no other view
the way in which crossed forms go back to so large an extent to ancestral
forms. But all this, of course, is infinitely crude. I hope to be in
London in the course of this month, and there are two or three points
which, for my own sake, I want to discuss briefly with you.

Down, September 26th [1857].

Thanks for your very pleasant note. It amuses me to see what a bug-bear I
have made myself to you; when having written some very pungent and good
sentence it must be very disagreeable to have my face rise up like an ugly
ghost. (58/1. This probably refers to Darwin's wish to moderate a certain
pugnacity in Huxley.) I have always suspected Agassiz of superficiality
and wretched reasoning powers; but I think such men do immense good in
their way. See how he stirred up all Europe about glaciers. By the way,
Lyell has been at the glaciers, or rather their effects, and seems to have
done good work in testing and judging what others have done...

In regard to classification and all the endless disputes about the "Natural
System," which no two authors define in the same way, I believe it ought,
in accordance to my heterodox notions, to be simply genealogical. But as
we have no written pedigrees you will, perhaps, say this will not help
much; but I think it ultimately will, whenever heterodoxy becomes
orthodoxy, for it will clear away an immense amount of rubbish about the
value of characters, and will make the difference between analogy and
homology clear. The time will come, I believe, though I shall not live to
see it, when we shall have very fairly true genealogical trees of each
great kingdom of Nature.

Down, December 16th [1857].

In my opinion your Catalogue (59/1. It appears from a letter to Sir J.D.
Hooker (December 25th, 1857) that the reference is to the proofs of
Huxley's "Explanatory Preface to the Catalogue of the Palaeontological
Collection in the Museum of Practical Geology," by T.H. Huxley and R.
Etheridge, 1865. Mr. Huxley appends a note at page xlix: "It should be
noted that these pages were written before the appearance of Mr. Darwin's
book on 'The Origin of Species'--a work which has effected a revolution in
biological speculation.") is simply the very best resume, by far, on the
whole science of Natural History, which I have ever seen. I really have no
criticisms: I agree with every word. Your metaphors and explanations
strike me as admirable. In many parts it is curious how what you have
written agrees with what I have been writing, only with the melancholy
difference for me that you put everything in twice as striking a manner as
I do. I append, more for the sake of showing that I have attended to the
whole than for any other object, a few most trivial criticisms.

I was amused to meet with some of the arguments, which you advanced in talk
with me, on classification; and it pleases me, [that] my long proses were
so far not thrown away, as they led you to bring out here some good
sentences. But on classification (59/2. This probably refers to Mr.
Huxley's discussion on "Natural Classification," a subject hardly
susceptible of fruitful treatment except from an evolutionary standpoint.)
I am not quite sure that I yet wholly go with you, though I agree with
every word you have here said. The whole, I repeat, in my opinion is
admirable and excellent.

Down, February 28th [1858].

Hearty thanks for De Candolle received. I have put the big genera in hand.
Also many thanks for your valuable remarks on the affinities of the species
in great genera, which will be of much use to me in my chapter on
classification. Your opinion is what I had expected from what little I
knew, but I much wanted it confirmed, and many of your remarks were more or
less new to me and all of value.

You give a poor picture of the philosophy of Botany. From my ignorance, I
suppose, I can hardly persuade myself that things are quite as bad as you
make them,--you might have been writing remarks on Ornithology! I shall
meditate much on your remarks, which will also come in very useful when I
write and consider my tables of big and small genera. I grieve for myself
to say that Watson agrees with your view, but with much doubt. I gave him
no guide what your opinion was. I have written to A. Gray and to X., who--
i.e. the latter--on this point may be looked at as S. Smith's Foolometer.

I am now working several of the large local Floras, with leaving out
altogether all the smallest genera. When I have done this, and seen what
the sections of the largest genera say, and seen what the results are of
range and commonness of varying species, I must come to some definite
conclusion whether or not entirely to give up the ghost. I shall then show
how my theory points, how the facts stand, then state the nature of your
grievous assault and yield entirely or defend the case as far as I can

Again I thank you for your invaluable assistance. I have not felt the blow
[Hooker's criticisms] so much of late, as I have been beyond measure
interested on the constructive instinct of the hive-bee. Adios, you
terrible worrier of poor theorists!

Down [1858?]

Many thanks for Ledebour and still more for your letter, with its admirable
resume of all your objections. It is really most kind of you to take so
very much trouble about what seems to you, and probably is, mere vagaries.

I will earnestly try and be cautious. I will write out my tables and
conclusion, and (when well copied out) I hope you will be so kind as to
read it. I will then put it by and after some months look at it with fresh
eyes. I will briefly work in all your objections and Watson's. I labour
under a great difficulty from feeling sure that, with what very little
systematic work I have done, small genera were more interesting and
therefore more attracted my attention.

One of your remarks I do not see the bearing of under your point of view--
namely, that in monotypic genera "the variation and variability" are "much
more frequently noticed" than in polytypic genera. I hardly like to ask,
but this is the only one of your arguments of which I do not see the
bearing; and I certainly should be very glad to know. I believe I am the
slowest (perhaps the worst) thinker in England; and I now consequently
fully admit the full hostility of Urticaceae, which I will give in my

I will make no remarks on your objections, as I do hope you will read my
MS., which will not cost you much trouble when fairly copied out. From my
own experience, I hardly believe that the most sagacious observers, without
counting, could have predicted whether there were more or fewer recorded
varieties in large or small genera; for I found, when actually making the
list, that I could never strike a balance in my mind,--a good many
varieties occurring together, in small or in large genera, always threw me
off the balance...

P.S.--I have just thought that your remark about the much variation of
monotypic genera was to show me that even in these, the smallest genera,
there was much variability. If this be so, then do not answer; and I will
so understand it.

February 23rd [1858].

Will you think of some of the largest genera with which you are well
acquainted, and then suppose 4/5 of the species utterly destroyed and
unknown in the sections (as it were) as much as possible in the centre of
such great genera. Then would the remaining 1/5 of the species, forming a
few sections, be, according to the general practice of average good
Botanists, ranked as distinct genera? Of course they would in that case be
closely related genera. The question, in fact, is, are all the species in
a gigantic genus kept together in that genus, because they are really so
very closely similar as to be inseparable? or is it because no chasms or
boundaries can be drawn separating the many species? The question might
have been put for Orders.

Down, February 9th [1858].

I should be very much obliged for your opinion on the enclosed. You may
remember in the three first volumes tabulated, all orders went right except
Labiatae. By the way, if by any extraordinary chance you have not thrown
away the scrap of paper with former results, I wish you would return it,
for I have lost my copy, and I shall have all the division to do again; but
DO NOT hunt for it, for in any case I should have gone over the calculation

Now I have done the three other volumes. You will see that all species in
the six volumes together go right, and likewise all orders in the three
last volumes, except Verbenaceae. Is not Verbenaceae very closely allied
to Labiatae? If so, one would think that it was not mere chance, this
coincidence. The species in Labiatae and Verbenaceae together are between
1/5 and 1/6 of all the species (15,645), which I have now tabulated.

Now, bearing in mind the many local Floras which I have tabulated (belting
the whole northern hemisphere), and considering that they (and authors of
D.C. Prodromus) would probably take different degrees of care in recording
varieties, and the genera would be divided on different principles by
different men, etc., I am much surprised at the uniformity of the result,
and I am satisfied that there must be truth in the rule that the small
genera vary less than the large. What do you think? Hypothetically I can
conjecture how the Labiatae might fail--namely, if some small divisions of
the Order were now coming into importance in the world and varying much and
making species. This makes me want to know whether you could divide the
Labiatae into a few great natural divisions, and then I would tabulate them
separately as sub-orders. I see Lindley makes so many divisions that there
would not be enough in each for an average. I send the table of the
Labiatae for the chance of your being able to do this for me. You might
draw oblique lines including and separating both large and small genera. I
have also divided all the species into two equal masses, and my rule holds
good for all the species in a mass in the six volumes; but it fails in
several (four) large Orders--viz. Labiatae, Scrophulariaceae, Acanthaceae,
and Proteaceae. But, then, when the species are divided into two almost
exactly equal divisions, the divisions with large genera are so very few:
for instance, in Solanaceae, Solanum balances all others. In Labiatae
seven gigantic genera balance all others (viz. 113), and in Proteaceae five
genera balance all others. Now, according to my hypothetical notions, I am
far from supposing that all genera go on increasing forever, and therefore
I am not surprised at this result, when the division is so made that only a
very few genera are on one side. But, according to my notions, the
sections or sub-genera of the gigantic genera ought to obey my rule (i.e.,
supposing a gigantic genus had come to its maximum, whatever increase was
still going on ought to be going on in the larger sub-genera). Do you
think that the sections of the gigantic genera in D.C. Prodromus are
generally NATURAL: i.e. not founded on mere artificial characters? If you
think that they are generally made as natural as they can be, then I should
like very much to tabulate the sub-genera, considering them for the time as
good genera. In this case, and if you do not think me unreasonable to ask
it, I should be very glad of the loan of Volumes X., XI., XII., and XIV.,
which include Acanthaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Labiatae, and Proteaceae,--
that is, the orders which, when divided quite equally, do not accord with
my rule, and in which a very few genera balance all the others.

I have written you a tremendous long prose.

Down, June 8th [1858].

I am confined to the sofa with boils, so you must let me write in pencil.
You would laugh if you could know how much your note pleased me. I had the
firmest conviction that you would say all my MS. was bosh, and thank God,
you are one of the few men who dare speak the truth. Though I should not
have much cared about throwing away what you have seen, yet I have been
forced to confess to myself that all was much alike, and if you condemned
that you would condemn all my life's work, and that I confess made me a
little low; but I could have borne it, for I have the conviction that I
have honestly done my best. The discussion comes in at the end of the long
chapter on variation in a state of nature, so that I have discussed, as far
as I am able, what to call varieties. I will try to leave out all allusion
to genera coming in and out in this part, till when I discuss the
"Principle of Divergence," which, with "Natural Selection," is the keystone
of my book; and I have very great confidence it is sound. I would have
this discussion copied out, if I could really think it would not bore you
to read,--for, believe me, I value to the full every word of criticism from
you, and the advantage which I have derived from you cannot be told...

I am glad to hear that poor old Brown is dying so easily...

You will think it paltry, but as I was asked to pay for printing the
Diploma [from a Society of which he had been made an honorary member], I
did not like to refuse, so I send 1 pound. But I think it a shabby
proceeding. If a gentleman did me some service, though unasked to do it,
and then demanded payment, I should pay him, and think him a shabby dog;
and on this principle I send my 1 pound.

(65/1. The following four letters refer to an inquiry instituted in 1858
by the Trustees of the British Museum as to the disposal of the Natural
History Collections. The inquiry was one of the first steps towards the
establishment of the Cromwell Road Museum, which was effected in 1875.)

Down, June 19th [1858].

I have just received your note. Unfortunately I cannot attend at the
British Museum on Monday. I do not suppose my opinion on the subject of
your note can be of any value, as I have not much considered the subject,
or had the advantage of discussing it with other naturalists. But my
impression is, that there is much weight in what you say about not breaking
up the natural history collection of the British Museum. I think a
national collection ought to be in London. I can, however, see that some
weighty arguments might be advanced in favour of Kew, owing to the immense
value of Sir W. Hooker's collection and library; but these are private
property, and I am not aware that there is any certainty of their always
remaining at Kew. Had this been the case, I should have thought that the
botanical collection might have been removed there without endangering the
other branches of the collections. But I think it would be the greatest
evil which could possibly happen to natural science in this country if the
other collections were ever to be removed from the British Museum and


(66/1. The memorial referred to in the following letter was addressed on
November 18th to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was signed by Huxley,
Bentham, W.H. Harvey, Henfrey, Henslow, Lindley, Busk, Carpenter, and
Darwin. The memorial, which is accessible, as published in the "Gardeners'
Chronicle," November 27th, 1858, page 861, recommended, speaking generally,
the consolidation of the National Botanical collections at Kew.

In February, 1900, a Committee was appointed by the Lords Commissioners of
the Treasury "to consider the present arrangements under which botanical
work is done and collections maintained by the Trustees of the British
Museum, and under the First Commissioner of Works at Kew, respectively; and
to report what changes (if any) in those arrangements are necessary or
desirable in order to avoid duplication of work and collections at the two
institutions." The Committee published their report in March, 1901,
recommending an arrangement similar to that proposed in 1858.)

Down, October 23rd [1858].

The names which you give as supporting your memorial make me quite distrust
my own judgment; but, as I must say yea or nay, I am forced to say that I
doubt the wisdom of the movement, and am not willing at present to sign.
My reasons, perhaps of very little value, are as follows. The governing
classes are thoroughly unscientific, and the men of art and of archaeology
have much greater weight with Government than we have. If we make a move
to separate from the British Museum, I cannot but fear that we may go to
the dogs. I think we owe our position in large part to the hundreds of
thousands of people who visit the British Museum, attracted by the
heterogeneous mixture of objects. If we lost this support, as I think we
should--for a mere collection of animals does not seem very attractive to
the masses (judging from the Museum of the Zoological Society, formerly in
Leicester Square)--then I do not think we should get nearly so much aid
from Government. Therefore I should be inclined to stick to the mummies
and Assyrian gods as long as we could. If we knew that Government was
going to turn us out, then, and not till then, I should be inclined to make
an energetic move. If we were to separate, I do not believe that we should
have funds granted for the many books required for occasional reference:
each man must speak from his own experience. I have so repeatedly required
to see old Transactions and old Travels, etc., that I should regret
extremely, when at work at the British Museum, to be separated from the
entire library. The facilities for working at certain great classes--as
birds, large fossils, etc.--are no doubt as bad as possible, or rather
impossible, on the open days; but I have found the working rooms of the
Assistants very convenient for all other classes on all days.

In regard to the botanical collections, I am too ignorant to express any
opinion. The point seems to be how far botanists would object to travel to
Kew; but there are evidently many great advantages in the transportation.

If I had my own way, I would make the British Museum collection only a
typical one for display, which would be quite as amusing and far more
instructive to the populace (and I think to naturalists) than the present
enormous display of birds and mammals. I would save expense of stuffing,
and would keep all skins, except a few "typicals," in drawers. Thus much
room would be saved, and a little more space could be given to real
workers, who could work all day. Rooms fitted up with thousands of drawers
would cost very little. With this I should be contented. Until I had
pretty sure information that we were going to be turned out, I would not
stir in the matter. With such opponents as you name, I daresay I am quite
wrong; but this is my best, though doubtful, present judgment...

It seems to me dangerous even to hint at a new Scientific Museum--a popular
Museum, and to subsidise the Zoological Gardens; it would, I think,
frighten any Government.

Moor Park, Farnham, Surrey [October] 29th [1858].

As you say that you have good private information that Government does
intend to remove the collection from the British Museum, the case to me
individually is wholly changed; and as the memorial now stands, with such
expression at its head, I have no objection whatever to sign. I must
express a very strong opinion that it would be an immense evil to remove to
Kensington, not on account of the men of science so much as for the masses
in the whole eastern and central part of London. I further think it would
be a great evil to separate a typical collection (which I can by no means
look at as only popular) from the collection in full. Might not some
expression be added, even stronger than those now used, on the display
(which is a sort of vanity in the curators) of such a vast number of birds
and mammals, with such a loss of room. I am low at the conviction that
Government will never give money enough for a really good library.

I do not want to be crotchety, but I should hate signing without some
expression about the site being easily accessible to the populace of the
whole of London.

I repeat, as things now stand, I shall be proud to sign.

Down, November 3rd [1858].

I most entirely subscribe to all you say in your note. I have had some
correspondence with Hooker on the subject. As it seems certain that a
movement in the British Museum is generally anticipated, my main objection
is quite removed; and, as I have told Hooker, I have no objection whatever
to sign a memorial of the nature of the one he sent me or that now
returned. Both seem to me very good. I cannot help being fearful whether
Government will ever grant money enough for books. I can see many
advantages in not being under the unmotherly wing of art and archaeology,
and my only fear was that we were not strong enough to live without some
protection, so profound, I think, is the contempt for and ignorance of
Natural Science amongst the gentry of England. Hooker tells me that I
should be converted into favour of Kensington Gore if I heard all that
could be said in its favour; but I cannot yet help thinking so western a
locality a great misfortune. Has Lyell been consulted? His would be a
powerful name, and such names go for much with our ignorant Governors. You
seem to have taken much trouble in the business, and I honour you for it.

Down, November 9th [1858].

I am quite delighted to hear about the Copley and Lyell. (69/1. The
Copley Medal of the Royal Society was awarded to Lyell in 1858.) I have
grown hot with indignation many times thinking of the way the proposal was
met last year, according to your account of it. I am also very glad to
hear of Hancock (Albany Hancock received a Royal Medal in 1858.); it will
show the provincials are not neglected. Altogether the medals are capital.
I shall be proud and bound to help in any way about the eloge, which is
rather a heavy tax on proposers of medals, as I found about Richardson and
Westwood; but Lyell's case will be twenty times as difficult. I will begin
this very evening dotting down a few remarks on Lyell; though, no doubt,
most will be superfluous, and several would require deliberate
consideration. Anyhow, such notes may be a preliminary aid to you; I will
send them in a few days' time, and will do anything else you may wish...

P.S.--I have had a letter from Henslow this morning. He comes here on
[Thursday] 25th, and I shall be delighted to see him; but it stops my
coming to the Club, as I had arranged to do, and now I suppose I shall not
be in London till December 16th, if odds and ends do not compel me to come
sooner. Of course I have not said a word to Henslow of my change of plans.
I had looked forward with pleasure to a chat with you and others.

P.S. 2.--I worked all yesterday evening in thinking, and have written the
paper sent by this post this morning. Not one sentence would do, but it is
the sort of rough sketch which I should have drawn out if I had had to do
it. God knows whether it will at all aid you. It is miserably written,
with horridly bad metaphors, probably horrid bad grammar. It is my
deliberate impression, such as I should have written to any friend who had
asked me what I thought of Lyell's merits. I will do anything else which
you may wish, or that I can.

Down, December 30th [1858].

I have had this copied to save you trouble, as it was vilely written, and
is now vilely expressed.

Your letter has interested me greatly; but how inextricable are the
subjects which we are discussing! I do not think I said that I thought the
productions of Asia were HIGHER (70/1. On the use of the terms "higher"
and "lower" see Letters 35 and 36.) than those of Australia. I intend
carefully to avoid this expression (70/2. In a paper of pencilled notes
pinned into Darwin's copy of the "Vestiges" occur the words: "Never use
the word (sic) higher and lower."), for I do not think that any one has a
definite idea what is meant by higher, except in classes which can loosely
be compared with man. On our theory of Natural Selection, if the organisms
of any area belonging to the Eocene or Secondary periods were put into
competition with those now existing in the same area (or probably in any
part of the world) they (i.e. the old ones) would be beaten hollow and be
exterminated; if the theory be true, this must be so. In the same manner,
I believe, a greater number of the productions of Asia, the largest
territory in the world, would beat those of Australia, than conversely. So
it seems to be between Europe and North America, for I can hardly believe
in the difference of the stream of commerce causing so great a difference
in the proportions of immigrants. But this sort of highness (I wish I
could invent some expression, and must try to do so) is different from
highness in the common acceptation of the word. It might be connected with
degradation of organisation: thus the blind degraded worm-like snake
(Typhlops) might supplant the true earthworm. Here then would be
degradation in the class, but certainly increase in the scale of
organisation in the general inhabitants of the country. On the other hand,
it would be quite as easy to believe that true earthworms might beat out
the Typhlops. I do not see how this "competitive highness" can be tested
in any way by us. And this is a comfort to me when mentally comparing the
Silurian and Recent organisms. Not that I doubt a long course of
"competitive highness" will ultimately make the organisation higher in
every sense of the word; but it seems most difficult to test it. Look at
the Erigeron canadensis on the one hand and Anacharis (70/3. Anacharis
(Elodea canadensis) and Erigeron canadensis are both successful immigrants
from America.) on the other; these plants must have some advantage over
European productions, to spread as they have. Yet who could discover it?
Monkeys can co-exist with sloths and opossums, orders at the bottom of the
scale; and the opossums might well be beaten by placental insectivores,
coming from a country where there were no monkeys, etc. I should be sorry
to give up the view that an old and very large continuous territory would
generally produce organisms higher in the competitive sense than a smaller
territory. I may, of course, be quite wrong about the plants of Australia
(and your facts are, of course, quite new to me on their highness), but
when I read the accounts of the immense spreading of European plants in
Australia, and think of the wool and corn brought thence to Europe, and not
one plant naturalised, I can hardly avoid the suspicion that Europe beats
Australia in its productions. If many (i.e. more than one or two)
Australian plants are TRULY naturalised in India (N.B. Naturalisation on
Indian mountains hardly quite fair, as mountains are small islands in the
land) I must strike my colours. I should be glad to hear whether what I
have written very obscurely on this point produces ANY effect on you; for I
want to clear my mind, as perhaps I should put a sentence or two in my
abstract on this subject. (70/4. Abstract was Darwin's name for the
"Origin" during parts of 1858 and 1859.)

I have always been willing to strike my colours on former immense tracts of
land in oceans, if any case required it in an eminent degree. Perhaps
yours may be a case, but at present I greatly prefer land in the Antarctic
regions, where now there is only ice and snow, but which before the Glacial
period might well have been clothed by vegetation. You have thus to invent
far less land, and that more central; and aid is got by floating ice for
transporting seed.

I hope I shall not weary you by scribbling my notions at this length.
After writing last to you I began to think that the Malay Land might have
existed through part of the Glacial epoch. Why I at first doubted was from
the difference of existing mammals in different islands; but many are very
close, and some identical in the islands, and I am constantly deceiving
myself from thinking of the little change which the shells and plants,
whilst all co-existing in their own northern hemisphere, have undergone
since the Glacial epoch; but I am convinced that this is most false
reasoning, for the relations of organism to new organisms, when thrown
together, are by far the most important.

When you speak of plants having undergone more change since old geological
periods than animals, are you not rather comparing plants with higher
animals? Think how little some, indeed many, mollusca have changed.
Remember Silurian Nautilus, Lingula and other Brachiopods, and Nucula, and
amongst Echinoderms, the Silurian Asterias, etc.

What you say about lowness of brackish-water plants interests me. I
remember that they are apt to be social (i.e. many individuals in
comparison to specific forms), and I should be tempted to look at this as a
case of a very small area, and consequently of very few individuals in
comparison with those on the land or in pure fresh-water; and hence less
development (odious word!) than on land or fresh-water. But here comes in
your two-edged sword! I should like much to see any paper on plants of
brackish water or on the edge of the sea; but I suppose such has never been

Thanks about Nelumbium, for I think this was the very plant which from the
size of seed astonished me, and which A. De Candolle adduced as a
marvellous case of almost impossible transport. I now find to my surprise
that herons do feed sometimes on [illegible] fruit; and grebes on seeds of

Many thanks for offer of help about a grant for the Abstract; but I should
hope it would sell enough to pay expenses.

I am reading your letter and scribbling as I go on.

Your oak and chestnut case seems very curious; is it not the more so as
beeches have gone to, or come from the south? But I vehemently protest
against you or any one making such cases especial marvels, without you are
prepared to say why each species in any flora is twice or thrice, etc.,
rarer than each other species which grows in the same soil. The more I
think, the more evident is it to me how utterly ignorant we are of the
thousand contingencies on which range, frequency, and extinction of each
species depend.

I have sometimes thought, from Edentata (70/5. No doubt a slip of the pen
for Monotremata.) and Marsupialia, that Australia retains a remnant of the
former and ancient state of the fauna of the world, and I suppose that you
are coming to some such conclusion for plants; but is not the relation
between the Cape and Australia too special for such views? I infer from
your writings that the relation is too special between Fuegia and Australia
to allow us to look at the resemblances in certain plants as the relics of
mundane resemblances. On the other hand, [have] not the Sandwich Islands
in the Northern Hemisphere some odd relations to Australia? When we are
dead and gone what a noble subject will be Geographical Distribution!

You may say what you like, but you will never convince me that I do not owe
you ten times as much as you can owe me. Farewell, my dear Hooker. I am
sorry to hear that you are both unwell with influenza. Do not bother
yourself in answering anything in this, except your general impression on
the battle between N. and S.

CHAPTER 1.III.--Evolution, 1859-1863.

Down, April 6th, 1859.

I this morning received your pleasant and friendly note of November 30th.
The first part of my MS. is in Murray's hands to see if he likes to publish
it. There is no preface, but a short introduction, which must be read by
every one who reads my book. The second paragraph in the introduction
(71/1. "Origin of Species," Edition I., 1859, pages 1 and 2.) I have had
copied verbatim from my foul copy, and you will, I hope, think that I have
fairly noticed your paper in the "Linn. Journal." (71/2. "On the Tendency
of Species to form Varieties, and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and
Species by Natural Means of Selection." By Charles Darwin and Alfred
Russell Wallace. Communicated by Sir Charles Lyell and J.D. Hooker.
"Journ. Linn. Soc." Volume III., page 45, 1859. (Read July 1st, 1858.))
You must remember that I am now publishing only an abstract, and I give no
references. I shall, of course, allude to your paper on distribution
(71/3. "On the Law which has regulated the Introduction of New Species"
(A.R. Wallace). "Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist." Volume XVI., page 184, 1855. The
law alluded to is thus stated by Wallace: "Every species has come into
existence coincident both in space and time with a pre-existing closely
allied species" (loc. cit., page 186).); and I have added that I know from
correspondence that your explanation of your law is the same as that which
I offer. You are right, that I came to the conclusion that selection was
the principle of change from the study of domesticated productions; and
then, reading Malthus, I saw at once how to apply this principle.
Geographical distribution and geological relations of extinct to recent
inhabitants of South America first led me to the subject: especially the
case of the Galapagos Islands. I hope to go to press in the early part of
next month. It will be a small volume of about five hundred pages or so.
I will of course send you a copy. I forget whether I told you that Hooker,
who is our best British botanist and perhaps the best in the world, is a
full convert, and is now going immediately to publish his confession of
faith; and I expect daily to see proof-sheets. (71/4. "The Flora of
Australia, etc., an Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania." London
1859.) Huxley is changed, and believes in mutation of species: whether a
convert to us, I do not quite know. We shall live to see all the younger
men converts. My neighbour and an excellent naturalist, J. Lubbock, is an
enthusiastic convert. I see that you are doing great work in the
Archipelago; and most heartily do I sympathise with you. For God's sake
take care of your health. There have been few such noble labourers in the
cause of Natural Science as you are.

P.S. You cannot tell how I admire your spirit, in the manner in which you
have taken all that was done about publishing all our papers. I had
actually written a letter to you, stating that I would not publish anything
before you had published. I had not sent that letter to the post when I
received one from Lyell and Hooker, urging me to send some MS. to them, and
allow them to act as they thought fair and honestly to both of us; and I
did so.

(71/5. The following is the passage from the Introduction to the "Origin
of Species," referred to in the first paragraph of the above letter.)

"My work is now nearly finished; but as it will take me two or three years
more to complete it, and as my health is far from strong, I have been urged
to publish this Abstract. I have more especially been induced to do this,
as Mr. Wallace, who is now studying the Natural History of the Malay
Archipelago, has arrived at almost exactly the same general conclusions
that I have on the origin of species. Last year he sent to me a memoir on
this subject, with a request that I would forward it to Sir Charles Lyell,
who sent it to the Linnean Society, and it is published in the third volume
of the Journal of that Society. Sir C. Lyell and Dr. Hooker, who both knew
of my work--the latter having read my sketch of 1844--honoured me by
thinking it advisable to publish, with Mr. Wallace's excellent memoir, some
brief extracts from my manuscripts."

Down, May 3rd, 1859.

With respect to reversion, I have been raking up vague recollections of
vague facts; and the impression on my mind is rather more in favour of
reversion than it was when you were here.

In my abstract (72/1. "The Origin of Species.") I give only a paragraph on
the general case of reversion, though I enter in detail on some cases of
reversion of a special character. I have not as yet put all my facts on
this subject in mass, so can come to no definite conclusion. But as single
characters may revert, I must say that I see no improbability in several
reverting. As I do not believe any well-founded experiments or facts are
known, each must form his opinion from vague generalities. I think you
confound two rather distinct considerations; a variation arises from any
cause, and reversion is not opposed to this, but solely to its inheritance.
Not but what I believe what we must call perhaps a dozen distinct laws are
all struggling against each other in every variation which ever arises. To
give my impression, if I were forced to bet whether or not, after a hundred
generations of growth in a poor sandy soil, a cauliflower and red cabbage
would or would not revert to the same form, I must say I would rather stake
my money that they would. But in such a case the conditions of life are
changed (and here comes the question of direct influence of condition), and
there is to be no selection, the comparatively sudden effect of man's
selection are left to the free play of reversion.

In short, I dare not come to any conclusion without comparing all facts
which I have collected, and I do not think there are many.

Please do not say to any one that I thought my book on species would be
fairly popular and have a fairly remunerative sale (which was the height of
my ambition), for if it prove a dead failure it would make me the more

Down, June 5th [1859].

I thank you much for your letter. Had I seen the interest of my remark I
would have made many more measurements, though I did make several. I
stated the facts merely to give the general reader an idea of the thickness
of the walls. (73/1. The walls of bees' cells: see Letter 173.)

Especially if I had seen that the fact had any general bearing, I should
have stated that as far as I could measure, the walls are by no means
perfectly of the same thickness. Also I should have stated that the chief
difference is when the thickness of walls of the upper part of the hexagon
and of the pyramidal basal plates are contrasted. Will you oblige me by
looking with a strong lens at the bit of comb, brushing off with a knife
the upper thickened edges, and then compare, by eye alone, the thickness of
the walls there with the thickness of the basal plates, as seen in any
cross section. I should very much like to hear whether, even in this way,
the difference is not perceptible. It is generally thus perceptible by
comparing the thickness of the walls of the hexagon (if not taken very
close to the angle) near to the basal plates, where the comparison by eye
is of course easier. Your letter actually turned me sick with panic; from
not seeing any great importance [in the] fact, till I looked at my notes, I
did not remember that I made several measurements. I have now repeated the
same measurements, roughly with the same general results, but the
difference, I think, is hardly double.

I should not have mentioned the thickness of the basal plates at all, had I
not thought it would give an unfair notion of the thickness of the walls to
state the lesser measurements alone.


I had no thought that you would measure the thickness of the walls of the
cells; but if you will, and allow me to give your measurements, it will be
an immense advantage. As it is no trouble, I send more specimens. If you
measure, please observe that I measured the thickness of the walls of the
hexagonal prisms not very near the base; but from your very interesting
remarks the lower part of the walls ought to be measured.

Thank you for the suggestion about how bees judge of angles and distances.
I will keep it in mind. It is a complete perplexity to me, and yet
certainly insects can rudely somehow judge of distance. There are special
difficulties on account of the gradation in size between the worker-scells
and the larger drone-cells. I am trying to test the case practically by
getting combs of different species, and of our own bee from different
climates. I have lately had some from the W. Indies of our common bee, but
the cells SEEM certainly to be larger; but they have not yet been carefully
measured. I will keep your suggestion in mind whenever I return to
experiments on living bees; but that will not be soon.

As you have been considering my little discussion in relation to Lord
Brougham (74/1. Lord Brougham's paper on "The Mathematical Structure of
Bees' Cells," read before the National Institute of France in May, 1858.),
and as I have been more vituperated for this part than for almost any
other, I should like just to tell you how I think the case stands. The
discussion viewed by itself is worth little more than the paper on which it
is printed, except in so far as it contains three or four certainly new
facts. But to those who are inclined to believe the general truth of the
conclusion that species and their instincts are slowly modified by what I
call Natural Selection, I think my discussion nearly removes a very great
difficulty. I believe in its truth chiefly from the existence of the
Melipona, which makes a comb so intermediate in structure between that of
the humble and hive-bee, and especially from the new and curious fact of
the bees making smooth cups or saucers when they excavated in a thick piece
of wax, which saucers stood so close that hexagons were built on their
intersecting edges. And, lastly, because when they excavated on a thin
slip of wax, the excavation on both sides of similar smooth basins was
stopped, and flat planes left between the nearly opposed basins. If my
view were wholly false these cases would, I think, never have occurred.
Sedgwick and Co. may abuse me to their hearts' content, but I shall as yet
continue to think that mine is a rational explanation (as far as it goes)
of their method of work.

Down, December 1st [1859].

Some months ago you were so kind as to say you would measure the thickness
of the walls of the basal and side plates of the cell of the bee. Could
you find time to do so soon? Why I want it soon, is that I have lately
heard from Murray that he sold at his sale far more copies than he has of
the "Origin of Species," and that I must immediately prepare a new edition,
which I am now correcting. By the way, I hear from Murray that all the
attacks heaped on my book do not seem to have at all injured the sale,
which will make poor dear old Sedgwick groan. If the basal plates and
walls do differ considerably in thickness, as they certainly did in the one
or two cells which I measured without particular care (as I never thought
the point of any importance), will you tell me the bearing of the fact as
simply as you can, for the chance of one so stupid as I am in geometry
being able to understand?

Would the greater thickness of the basal plates and of the rim of the
hexagons be a good adaptation to carry the vertical weight of the cells
filled with honey and supporting clusters of living bees?

Will you endeavour to screw out time and grant me this favour?

P.S. If the result of your measurement of the thickness of the walls turns
out at all what I have asserted, would it not be worth while to write a
little bit of a paper on the subject of your former note; and "pluck" the
bees if they deserve this degradation? Many mathematicians seem to have
thought the subject worthy of attention. When the cells are full of honey
and hang vertically they have to support a great weight. Can the thicker
basal plates be a contrivance to give strength to the whole comb, with less
consumption of wax, than if all the sides of the hexagons were thickened?

This crude notion formerly crossed my mind; but of course it is beyond me
even to conjecture how the case would be.

A mathematician, Mr. Wright, has been writing on the geometry of bee-cells
in the United States in consequence of my book; but I can hardly understand
his paper. (75/1. Chauncey Wright, "Remarks on the Architecture of Bees"
("Amer. Acad. Proc." IV., 1857-60, page 432.)


(76/1. The date of this letter is unfortunately doubtful, otherwise it
would prove that at an early date he was acquainted with Erasmus Darwin's
views on evolution, a fact which has not always been recognised. We can
hardly doubt that it was written in 1859, for at this time Mr. Huxley was
collecting facts about breeding for his lecture given at the Royal
Institution on February 10th, 1860, on "Species and Races and their
Origin." See "Life and Letters," II., page 281.)

Down [June?] 9 [1859?].

If on the 11th you have half an hour to spare, you might like to see a very
good show of pigeons, and the enclosed card will admit you.

The history of error is quite unimportant, but it is curious to observe how
exactly and accurately my grandfather (in "Zoonomia," Volume I., page 504,
1794) gives Lamarck's theory. I will quote one sentence. Speaking of
birds' beaks, he says: "All which seem to have been gradually produced
during many generations by the perpetual endeavour of the creatures to
supply the want of food, and to have been delivered to their posterity with
constant improvement of them for the purposes required." Lamarck published
"Hist. Zoolog." in 1809. The "Zoonomia" was translated into many

Down, 28 [June 1859].

It is not worth while troubling you, but my conscience is uneasy at having
forgotten to thank you for your "Etna" (77/1. "On the Structure of Lavas
which have been consolidated on Steep Slopes, with remarks on the Mode of
Origin of Mount Etna, and on the Theory of 'Craters of Elevation'" ("Phil.
Trans. R. Soc." Volume CXLVIII., 1858, page 703).), which seems to me a
magnificent contribution to volcanic geology, and I should think you might
now rest on your oars in this department.

As soon as ever I can get a copy of my book (77/2. "The Origin of
Species," London, 1859.) ready, in some six weeks' or two months' time, it
shall be sent you; and if you approve of it, even to a moderate extent, it
will be the highest satisfaction which I shall ever receive for an amount
of labour which no one will ever appreciate.


(78/1. The reference in the following letter is to the proofs of Hooker's
"Australian Flora.")

Down, 28 [July 1859].

The returned sheet is chiefly that which I received in MS. Parts seem to
me (though perhaps it may be forgetfulness) much improved, and I retain my
former impression that the whole discussion on the Australian flora is
admirably good and original. I know you will understand and not object to
my thus expressing my opinion (for one must form one) so presumptuously. I
have no criticisms, except perhaps I should like you somewhere to say, when
you refer to me, that you refer only to the notice in the "Linnean
Journal;" not that, on my deliberate word of honour, I expect that you will
think more favourably of the whole than of the suggestion in the "Journal."
I am far more than satisfied at what you say of my work; yet it would be as
well to avoid the appearance of your remarks being a criticism on my fuller

I am very sorry to hear you are so hard-worked. I also get on very slowly,
and have hardly as yet finished half my volume...I returned on last Tuesday
from a week's hydropathy.

Take warning by me, and do not work too hard. For God's sake, think of

It is dreadfully uphill work with me getting my confounded volume finished.

I wish you well through all your labours. Adios.

Down, November 29th [1859].

This shall be such an extraordinary note as you have never received from
me, for it shall not contain one single question or request. I thank you
for your impression on my views. Every criticism from a good man is of
value to me. What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work
will be grievously hypothetical, and large parts by no means worthy of
being called induction, my commonest error being probably induction from
too few facts. I had not thought of your objection of my using the term
"natural selection" as an agent. I use it much as a geologist does the
word denudation--for an agent, expressing the result of several combined
actions. I will take care to explain, not merely by inference, what I mean
by the term; for I must use it, otherwise I should incessantly have to
expand it into some such (here miserably expressed) formula as the
following: "The tendency to the preservation (owing to the severe struggle
for life to which all organic beings at some time or generation are
exposed) of any, the slightest, variation in any part, which is of the
slightest use or favourable to the life of the individual which has thus
varied; together with the tendency to its inheritance." Any variation,
which was of no use whatever to the individual, would not be preserved by
this process of "natural selection." But I will not weary you by going on,
as I do not suppose I could make my meaning clearer without large
expansion. I will only add one other sentence: several varieties of sheep
have been turned out together on the Cumberland mountains, and one
particular breed is found to succeed so much better than all the others
that it fairly starves the others to death. I should here say that natural
selection picks out this breed, and would tend to improve it, or
aboriginally to have formed it...

You speak of species not having any material base to rest on, but is this
any greater hardship than deciding what deserves to be called a variety,
and be designated by a Greek letter? When I was at systematic work, I know
I longed to have no other difficulty (great enough) than deciding whether
the form was distinct enough to deserve a name, and not to be haunted with
undefined and unanswerable questions whether it was a true species. What a
jump it is from a well-marked variety, produced by natural cause, to a
species produced by the separate act of the hand of God! But I am running
on foolishly. By the way, I met the other day Phillips, the
palaeontologist, and he asked me, "How do you define a species?" I
answered, "I cannot." Whereupon he said, "at last I have found out the
only true definition,--any form which has ever had a specific name!"...

Ilkley, October 31st [1859].

That you may not misunderstand how far I go with Pallas and his many
disciples I should like to add that, though I believe that our domestic
dogs have descended from several wild forms, and though I must think that
the sterility, which they would probably have evinced, if crossed before
being domesticated, has been eliminated, yet I go but a very little way
with Pallas & Co. in their belief in the importance of the crossing and
blending of the aboriginal stocks. (80/1. "With our domesticated animals,
the various races when crossed together are quite fertile; yet in many
cases they are descended from two or more wild species. From this fact we
must conclude either that the aboriginal parent-species at first produced
perfectly fertile hybrids, or that the hybrids subsequently reared under
domestication became quite fertile. This latter alternative, which was
first propounded by Pallas, seems by far the most probable, and can,
indeed, hardly be doubted" ("Origin of Species," Edition VI., page 240).)
You will see this briefly put in the first chapter. Generally, with
respect to crossing, the effects may be diametrically opposite. If you
cross two very distinct races, you may make (not that I believe such has
often been made) a third and new intermediate race; but if you cross two
exceedingly close races, or two slightly different individuals of the same
race, then in fact you annul and obliterate the difference. In this latter
way I believe crossing is all-important, and now for twenty years I have
been working at flowers and insects under this point of view. I do not
like Hooker's terms, centripetal and centrifugal (80/2. Hooker's
"Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania," pages viii. and ix.): they
remind me of Forbes' bad term of Polarity. (80/3. Forbes, "On the
Manifestation of Polarity in the Distribution of Organised Beings in
Time."--"R. Institution Proc." I., 1851-54.)

I daresay selection by man would generally work quicker than Natural
Selection; but the important distinction between them is, that man can
scarcely select except external and visible characters, and secondly, he
selects for his own good; whereas under nature, characters of all kinds are
selected exclusively for each creature's own good, and are well exercised;
but you will find all this in Chapter IV.

Although the hound, greyhound, and bull-dog may possibly have descended
from three distinct stocks, I am convinced that their present great amount
of difference is mainly due to the same causes which have made the breeds
of pigeons so different from each other, though these breeds of pigeons
have all descended from one wild stock; so that the Pallasian doctrine I
look at as but of quite secondary importance.

In my bigger book I have explained my meaning fully; whether I have in the
Abstract I cannot remember.

[December 5th, 1859.]

I forget whether you take in the "Times;" for the chance of your not doing
so, I send the enclosed rich letter. (81/1. See the "Times," December 1st
and December 5th, 1859: two letters signed "Senex," dealing with "Works of
Art in the Drift.") It is, I am sure, by Fitz-Roy...It is a pity he did
not add his theory of the extinction of Mastodon, etc., from the door of
the Ark being made too small. (81/2. A postscript to this letter, here
omitted, is published in the "Life and Letters," II., page 240.)

42, Rutland Gate, London, S.W., December 9th, 1859.

Pray let me add a word of congratulation on the completion of your
wonderful volume, to those which I am sure you will have received from
every side. I have laid it down in the full enjoyment of a feeling that
one rarely experiences after boyish days, of having been initiated into an
entirely new province of knowledge, which, nevertheless, connects itself
with other things in a thousand ways. I hear you are engaged on a second
edition. There is a trivial error in page 68, about rhinoceroses (82/1.
Down (loc. cit.) says that neither the elephant nor the rhinoceros is
destroyed by beasts of prey. Mr. Galton wrote that the wild dogs hunt the
young rhinoceros and "exhaust them to death; they pursue them all day long,
tearing at their ears, the only part their teeth can fasten on." The
reference to the rhinoceros is omitted in later editions of the "Origin."),
which I thought I might as well point out, and have taken advantage of the
same opportunity to scrawl down half a dozen other notes, which may, or may
not, be worthless to you.

(83/1. The three next letters refer to Huxley's lecture on Evolution,
given at the Royal Institution on February 10th, 1860, of which the
peroration is given in "Life and Letters," II., page 282, together with
some letters on the subject.)

November 25th [1859].

I rejoice beyond measure at the lecture. I shall be at home in a
fortnight, when I could send you splendid folio coloured drawings of
pigeons. Would this be in time? If not, I think I could write to my
servants and have them sent to you. If I do NOT hear I shall understand
that about fifteen or sixteen days will be in time.

I have had a kind yet slashing letter against me from poor dear old
Sedgwick, "who has laughed till his sides ached at my book."

Phillips is cautious, but decidedly, I fear, hostile. Hurrah for the
Lecture--it is grand!

Down, December 13th [1859].

I have got fine large drawings (84/1. For Mr. Huxley's R.I. lecture.) of
the Pouter, Carrier, and Tumbler; I have only drawings in books of
Fantails, Barbs, and Scanderoon Runts. If you had them, you would have a
grand display of extremes of diversity. Will they pay at the Royal
Institution for copying on a large size drawings of these birds? I could
lend skulls of a Carrier and a Tumbler (to show the great difference) for
the same purpose, but it would not probably be worth while.

I have been looking at my MS. What you want I believe is about hybridism
and breeding. The chapter on hybridism is in a pretty good state--about
150 folio pages with notes and references on the back. My first chapter on
breeding is in too bad and imperfect a state to send; but my discussion on
pigeons (in about 100 folio pages) is in a pretty good state. I am
perfectly convinced that you would never have patience to read such
volumes of MS. I speak now in the palace of truth, and pray do you: if
you think you would read them I will send them willingly up by my servant,
or bring them myself next week. But I have no copy, and I never could
possibly replace them; and without you really thought that you would use
them, I had rather not risk them. But I repeat I will willingly bring
them, if you think you would have the vast patience to use them. Please
let me hear on this subject, and whether I shall send the book with small
drawings of three other breeds or skulls. I have heard a rumour that Busk
is on our side in regard to species. Is this so? It would be very good.

Down, December 16th [1859].

I thank you for your very pleasant and amusing note and invitation to
dinner, which I am sorry to say I cannot accept. I shall come up (stomach
willing) on Thursday for Phil. Club dinner, and return on Saturday, and I
am engaged to my brother for Friday. But I should very much like to call
at the Museum on Friday or Saturday morning and see you. Would you let me
have one line either here or at 57, Queen Anne Street, to say at what hour
you generally come to the Museum, and whether you will be probably there on
Friday or Saturday? Even if you are at the Club, it will be a mere chance
if we sit near each other.

I will bring up the articles on Thursday afternoon, and leave them under
charge of the porter at the Museum. They will consist of large drawings of
a Pouter, a Carrier, and rather smaller drawings of some sub-varieties
(which breed nearly true) of short-faced Tumblers. Also a small drawing of
Scanderoon, a kind of Runt, and a very remarkable breed. Also a book with
very moderately good drawings of Fantail and Barb, but I very much doubt
whether worth the trouble of enlarging.

Also a box (for Heaven's sake, take care!) with a skull of Carrier and
short-faced Tumbler; also lower jaws (largest size) of Runt, middle size of
Rock-pigeon, and the broad one of Barb. The form of ramus of jaw differs
curiously in these jaws.

Also MS. of hybridism and pigeons, which will just weary you to death. I
will call myself for or send a servant for the MS. and bones whenever you
have done with them; but do not hurry.

You have hit on the exact plan, which, on the advice of Lyell, Murray,
etc., I mean to follow--viz., bring out separate volumes in detail--and I
shall begin with domestic productions; but I am determined to try and
[work] very slowly, so that, if possible, I may keep in a somewhat better
state of health. I had not thought of illustrations; that is capital
advice. Farewell, my good and admirable agent for the promulgation of
damnable heresies!

Down, December 23rd [1859].

I must have the pleasure of thanking you for your extremely kind letter. I
am very much pleased that you approve of my book, and that you are going to
pay me the extraordinary compliment of reading it twice. I fear that it is
tough reading, but it is beyond my powers to make the subject clearer.
Lyell would have done it admirably.

You must enjoy being a gentlemen at your ease, and I hear that you have
returned with ardour to work at the Geological Society. We hope in the
course of the winter to persuade Mrs. Horner and yourself and daughters to
pay us a visit. Ilkley did me extraordinary good during the latter part of
my stay and during my first week at home; but I have gone back latterly to
my bad ways, and fear I shall never be decently well and strong.

P.S.--When any of your party write to Mildenhall I should be much obliged
if you would say to Bunbury that I hope he will not forget, whenever he
reads my book, his promise to let me know what he thinks about it; for his
knowledge is so great and accurate that every one must value his opinions
highly. I shall be quite contented if his belief in the immutability of
species is at all staggered.


(87/1. In the "Origin of Species" a section of Chapter X. is devoted to
"The succession of the same types within the same areas, during the late
Tertiary period" (Edition I., page 339). Mr. Darwin wrote as follows:
"Mr. Clift many years ago showed that the fossil mammals from the
Australian caves were closely allied to the living marsupials of that
continent." After citing other instances illustrating the same agreement
between fossil and recent types, Mr. Darwin continues: "I was so much
impressed with these facts that I strongly insisted, in 1839 and 1845, on
this 'law of the succession of types,' on 'this wonderful relationship in
the same continent between the dead and the living.' Professor Owen has
subsequently extended the same generalisation to the mammals of the Old

Down, [December] 27th [1859].

Owen wrote to me to ask for the reference to Clift. As my own notes for
the late chapters are all in chaos, I bethought me who was the most
trustworthy man of all others to look for references, and I answered
myself, "Of course Lyell." In the ["Principles of Geology"], edition of
1833, Volume III., chapter xi., page 144, you will find the reference to
Clift in the "Edinburgh New Phil Journal," No. XX., page 394. (87/2. The
correct reference to Clift's "Report" on fossil bones from New Holland is
"Edinburgh New Phil. Journal," 1831, page 394.) You will also find that
you were greatly struck with the fact itself (87/3. This refers to the
discovery of recent and fossil species of animals in an Australian cave-
breccia. Mr. Clift is quoted as having identified one of the bones, which
was much larger than the rest, as that of a hippopotamus.), which I had
quite forgotten. I copied the passage, and sent it to Owen. Why I gave in
some detail references to my own work is that Owen (not the first occasion
with respect to myself and others) quietly ignores my having ever
generalised on the subject, and makes a great fuss on more than one
occasion at having discovered the law of succession. In fact, this law,
with the Galapagos distribution, first turned my mind on the origin of
species. My own references are [to the "Naturalist's Voyage"]:

Large 8vo, Murray,
Edition 1839 Edition 1845

Page 210 Page 173 On succession.

Page 153 Pages 131-32 On splitting up of old
geographical provinces.

Long before Owen published I had in MS. worked out the succession of types
in the Old World (as I remember telling Sedgwick, who of course disbelieved

Since receiving your last letter on Hooker, I have read his introduction as
far as page xxiv (87/4. "On the Flora of Australia, etc.; being an
Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania": London, 1859.), where the
Australian flora begins, and this latter part I liked most in the proofs.
It is a magnificent essay. I doubt slightly about some assertions, or
rather should have liked more facts--as, for instance, in regard to species
varying most on the confines of their range. Naturally I doubt a little
his remarks about divergence (87/5. "Variation is effected by graduated
changes; and the tendency of varieties, both in nature and under
cultivation, when further varying, is rather to depart more and more widely
from the original type than to revert to it." On the margin Darwin wrote:
"Without selection doubtful" (loc. cit., page viii).), and about domestic
races being produced under nature without selection. It would take much to
persuade me that a Pouter Pigeon, or a Carrier, etc., could have been
produced by the mere laws of variation without long continued selection,
though each little enlargement of crop and beak are due to variation. I
demur greatly to his comparison of the products of sinking and rising
islands (87/6. "I venture to anticipate that a study of the vegetation of
the islands with reference to the peculiarities of the generic types on the
one hand, and of the geological conditions (whether as rising or sinking)
on the other, may, in the present state of our knowledge, advance other
subjects of distribution and variation considerably" (loc. cit., page
xv).); in the Indian Ocean he compares exclusively many rising volcanic and
sinking coral islands. The latter have a most peculiar soil, and are
excessively small in area, and are tenanted by very few species; moreover,
such low coral islands have probably been often, during their subsidence,
utterly submerged, and restocked by plants from other islands. In the
Pacific Ocean the floras of all the best cases are unknown. The comparison
ought to have been exclusively between rising and fringed volcanic islands,
and sinking and encircled volcanic islands. I have read Naudin (87/7.
Naudin, "Revue Horticole," 1852?.), and Hooker agrees that he does not even
touch on my views.

[1859 or 1860.]

I have had another talk with Bentham, who is greatly agitated by your book:
evidently the stern, keen intellect is aroused, and he finds that it is too
late to halt between two opinions. How it will go we shall see. I am
intensely interested in what we shall come to, and never broach the subject
to him. I finished the geological evidence chapters yesterday; they are
very fine and very striking, but I cannot see they are such forcible
objections as you still hold them to be. I would say that you still in
your secret soul underrate the imperfection of the Geological Record,
though no language can be stronger or arguments fairer and sounder against
it. Of course I am influenced by Botany, and the conviction that we have
not in a fossilised condition a fraction of the plants that have existed,
and that not a fraction of those we have are recognisable specifically. I
never saw so clearly put the fact that it is not intermediates between
existing species we want, but between these and the unknown tertium quid.

You certainly make a hobby of Natural Selection, and probably ride it too
hard; that is a necessity of your case. If the improvement of the
creation-by-variation doctrine is conceivable, it will be by unburthening
your theory of Natural Selection, which at first sight seems overstrained--
i.e., to account for too much. I think, too, that some of your
difficulties which you override by Natural Selection may give way before
other explanations. But, oh Lord! how little we do know and have known to
be so advanced in knowledge by one theory. If we thought ourselves knowing
dogs before you revealed Natural Selection, what d--d ignorant ones we must
surely be now we do know that law.

I hear you may be at the Club on Thursday. I hope so. Huxley will not be
there, so do not come on that ground.

January 1st [1860].

I write one line merely to thank you for your pleasant note, and to say
that I will keep your secret. I will shake my head as mysteriously as Lord
Burleigh. Several persons have asked me who wrote that "most remarkable
article" in the "Times." (89/1. The "Times," December 26th, 1859, page 8.
The opening paragraphs were by one of the staff of the "Times." See "Life
and Letters," II., page 255, for Mr. Huxley's interesting account of his
share in the matter.) As a cat may look at a king, so I have said that I
strongly suspected you. X was so sharp that the first sentence revealed
the authorship. The Z's (God save the mark) thought it was Owen's! You
may rely on it that it has made a deep impression, and I am heartily glad
that the subject and I owe you this further obligation. But for God's
sake, take care of your health; remember that the brain takes years to
rest, whilst the muscles take only hours. There is poor Dana, to whom I
used to preach by letter, writes to me that my prophecies are come true:
he is in Florence quite done up, can read nothing and write nothing, and
cannot talk for half an hour. I noticed the "naughty sentence" (89/2. Mr.
Huxley, after speaking of the rudimental teeth of the whale, of rudimental
jaws in insects which never bite, and rudimental eyes in blind animals,
goes on: "And we would remind those who, ignorant of the facts, must be
moved by authority, that no one has asserted the incompetence of the
doctrine of final causes, in its application to physiology and anatomy,
more strongly than our own eminent anatomist, Professor Owen, who, speaking
of such cases, says ("On the Nature of Limbs," pages 39, 40), 'I think it
will be obvious that the principle of final adaptations fails to satisfy
all the conditions of the problem.'"--"The Times," December 26th, 1859.)
about Owen, though my wife saw its bearing first. Farewell you best and
worst of men!

That sentence about the bird and the fish dinners charmed us. Lyell wrote
to me--style like yours.

Have you seen the slashing article of December 26th in the "Daily News,"
against my stealing from my "master," the author of the "Vestiges?"


How I should like to know whether Milne Edwards has 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 opinion.


(91/1. The date of this letter is doubtful; but as it evidently refers to
the 2nd edition of the "Origin," which appeared on January 7th, 1860, we
believe that December 9th, 1859, is right. The letter of Sedgwick's is
doubtless that given in the "Life and Letters," II., page 247; it is there
dated December 24th, 1859, but from other evidence it was probably written
on November 24th)

[December?] 9th [1859].

I send Sedgwick's letter; it is terribly muddled, and really the first page
seems almost childish.

I am sadly over-worked, so will not write to you. I have worked in a
number of your invaluable corrections--indeed, all as far as time permits.
I infer from a letter from Huxley that Ramsay (91/2. See a letter to
Huxley, November 27th, 1859, "Life and Letters," II., page 282.) is a
convert, and I am extremely glad to get pure geologists, as they will be
very few. Many thanks for your very pleasant note. What pleasure you have
given me. I believe I should have been miserable had it not been for you
and a few others, for I hear threatening of attacks which I daresay will be
severe enough. But I am sure that I can now bear them.


(92/1. The point here discussed is one to which Mr. Huxley attached great,
in our opinion too great, importance.)

Down, January 11th [1860?].

I fully agree that the difficulty is great, and might be made much of by a
mere advocate. Will you oblige me by reading again slowly from pages 267
to 272. (92/2. The reference is to the "Origin," Edition I.: the section
on "The Fertility of Varieties when crossed, and of their Mongrel
Offspring" occupies pages 267-72.) I may add to what is there said, that
it seems to me quite hopeless to attempt to explain why varieties are not
sterile, until we know the precise cause of sterility in species.

Reflect for a moment on how small and on what very peculiar causes the
unequal reciprocity of fertility in the same two species must depend.
Reflect on the curious case of species more fertile with foreign pollen
than their own. Reflect on many cases which could be given, and shall be
given in my larger book (independently of hybridity) of very slight changes
of conditions causing one species to be quite sterile and not affecting a
closely allied species. How profoundly ignorant we are on the intimate
relation between conditions of life and impaired fertility in pure species!

The only point which I might add to my short discussion on this subject, is
that I think it probable that the want of adaptation to uniform conditions
of life in our domestic varieties has played an important part in
preventing their acquiring sterility when crossed. For the want of
uniformity, and changes in the conditions of life, seem the only cause of
the elimination of sterility (when crossed) under domestication. (92/3.
The meaning which we attach to this obscure sentence is as follows:
Species in a state of nature are closely adapted to definite conditions of
life, so that the sexual constitution of species A is attuned, as it were,
to a condition different from that to which B is attuned, and this leads to
sterility. But domestic varieties are not strictly adapted by Natural
Selection to definite conditions, and thus have less specialised sexual
constitutions.) This elimination, though admitted by many authors, rests
on very slight evidence, yet I think is very probably true, as may be
inferred from the case of dogs. Under nature it seems improbable that the
differences in the reproductive constitution, on which the sterility of any
two species when crossed depends, can be acquired directly by Natural
Selection; for it is of no advantage to the species. Such differences in
reproductive constitution must stand in correlation with some other
differences; but how impossible to conjecture what these are! Reflect on
the case of the variations of Verbascum, which differ in no other respect
whatever besides the fluctuating element of the colour of the flower, and
yet it is impossible to resist Gartner's evidence, that this difference in
the colour does affect the mutual fertility of the varieties.

The whole case seems to me far too mysterious to rest (92/4. The word
"rest" seems to be used in place of "to serve as a foundation for.") a
valid attack on the theory of modification of species, though, as you say,
it offers excellent ground for a mere advocate.

I am surprised, considering how ignorant we are on very many points, [that]
more weak parts in my book have not as yet been pointed out to me. No
doubt many will be. H.C. Watson founds his objection in MS. on there being
no limit to infinite diversification of species: I have answered this, I
think, satisfactorily, and have sent attack and answer to Lyell and Hooker.
If this seems to you a good objection, I would send papers to you. Andrew
Murray "disposes of" the whole theory by an ingenious difficulty from the
distribution of blind cave insects (92/5. See "Life and Letters, Volume
II., page 265. The reference here is to Murray's address before the
Botanical Society, Edinburgh. Mr. Darwin seems to have read Murray's views
only in a separate copy reprinted from the "Proc. R. Soc. Edin." There is
some confusion about the date of the paper; the separate copy is dated
January 16th, while in the volume of the "Proc. R. Soc." it is February
20th. In the "Life and Letters," II., page 261 it is erroneously stated
that these are two different papers.); but it can, I think, be fairly

Down, [February] 2nd [1860].

I have had this morning a letter from old Bronn (93/1. See "Life and
Letters, II., page 277.) (who, to my astonishment, seems slightly staggered
by Natural Selection), and he says a publisher in Stuttgart is willing to
publish a translation, and that he, Bronn, will to a certain extent
superintend. Have you written to Kolliker? if not, perhaps I had better
close with this proposal--what do you think? If you have written, I must
wait, and in this case will you kindly let me hear as soon as you hear from

My poor dear friend, you will curse the day when you took up the "general
agency" line; but really after this I will not give you any more trouble.

Do not forget the three tickets for us for your lecture, and the ticket for
Baily, the poulterer.

Old Bronn has published in the "Year-book for Mineralogy" a notice of the
"Origin" (93/2. "Neues Jahrb. fur Min." 1860, page 112.); and says he has
himself published elsewhere a foreboding of the theory!

Down, February 14th [1860].

I succeeded in persuading myself for twenty-four hours that Huxley's
lecture was a success. (94/1. At the Royal Institution. See "Life and
Letters," II., page 282.) Parts were eloquent and good, and all very bold;
and I heard strangers say, "What a good lecture!" I told Huxley so; but I
demurred much to the time wasted in introductory remarks, especially to his
making it appear that sterility was a clear and manifest distinction of
species, and to his not having even alluded to the more important parts of
the subject. He said that he had much more written out, but time failed.
After conversation with others and more reflection, I must confess that as
an exposition of the doctrine the lecture seems to me an entire failure. I
thank God I did not think so when I saw Huxley; for he spoke so kindly and
magnificently of me, that I could hardly have endured to say what I now
think. He gave no just idea of Natural Selection. I have always looked at
the doctrine of Natural Selection as an hypothesis, which, if it explained
several large classes of facts, would deserve to be ranked as a theory
deserving acceptance; and this, of course, is my own opinion. But, as
Huxley has never alluded to my explanation of classification, morphology,
embryology, etc., I thought he was thoroughly dissatisfied with all this
part of my book. But to my joy I find it is not so, and that he agrees
with my manner of looking at the subject; only that he rates higher than I
do the necessity of Natural Selection being shown to be a vera causa always
in action. He tells me he is writing a long review in the "Westminster."
It was really provoking how he wasted time over the idea of a species as
exemplified in the horse, and over Sir J. Hall's old experiment on marble.
Murchison was very civil to me over my book after the lecture, in which he
was disappointed. I have quite made up my mind to a savage onslaught; but
with Lyell, you, and Huxley, I feel confident we are right, and in the long
run shall prevail. I do not think Asa Gray has quite done you justice in
the beginning of the review of me. (94/2. "Review of Darwin's Theory on
the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection," by "A.G." ("Amer.
Jour. Sci." Volume XXIX., page 153, 1860). In a letter to Asa Gray on
February 18th, 1860, Darwin writes: "Your review seems to me admirable; by
far the best which I have read." ("Life and Letters," II., 1887, page
286.) The review seemed to me very good, but I read it very hastily.

Down, [February] 18th [1860].

I send by this post Asa Gray, which seems to me very good, with the stamp
of originality on it. Also Bronn's "Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie." (95/1.
See Letter 93.)

The united intellect of my family has vainly tried to make it out. I never
tried such confoundedly hard german; nor does it seem worth the labour. He
sticks to Priestley's Green Matter, and seems to think that till it can be
shown how life arises it is no good showing how the forms of life arise.
This seems to me about as logical (comparing very great things with little)
as to say it was no use in Newton showing the laws of attraction of gravity
and the consequent movement of the planets, because he could not show what
the attraction of gravity is.

The expression "Wahl der Lebens-Weise" (95/2. "Die fruchtbarste und
allgemeinste Ursache der Varietaten-Bildung ist jedoch die Wahl der Lebens-
Weise" (loc. cit., page 112).) makes me doubt whether B. understands what I
mean by Natural Selection, as I have told him. He says (if I understand
him) that you ought to be on the same side with me.

P.S. Sunday afternoon.--I have kept back this to thank you for your letter,
with much news, received this morning. My conscience is uneasy at the time
you waste in amusing and interesting me. I was very curious to hear about
Phillips. The review in the "Annals" is, as I was convinced, by Wollaston,
for I have had a very cordial letter from him this morning. (95/3. A
bibliographical Notice "On the Origin of Species by means of Natural
Selection; or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life."
("Annals and Mag." Volume V., pages 132-43, 1860). The notice is not
signed. Referring to the article, in a letter to Lyell, February 15th,
1860, Darwin writes: "I am perfectly convinced...that the review in the
"Annals" is by Wollaston; no one else in the world would have used so many
parentheses" ("Life and Letters," II., page 284).)

I send by this post an attack in the "Gardeners' Chronicle" by Harvey (a
first-rate botanist, as you probably know). (95/4. In the "Gardeners'
Chronicle" of February 18th, 1860, W.H. Harvey described a case of
monstrosity in Begonia frigida, which he argued was hostile to the theory
of Natural Selection. The passage about Harvey's attack was published in
the "Life and Letters," II., page 275.) 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 [to this], that I
have been too cautious in not admitting great and sudden variations. Here
again comes in the mischief of my abstract. In fuller MS. I have discussed
the parallel case of a normal fish like a monstrous gold-fish.

I end my discussion by doubting, because all cases of monstrosities which
resemble normal structures which I could find were not in allied groups.
Trees like Aspicarpa (95/5. Aspicarpa, an American genus of Malpighiaceae,
is quoted in the "Origin" (Edition VI., page 367) as an illustration of
Linnaeus' aphorism that the characters do not give the genus, but the genus
gives the characters. During several years' cultivation in France
Aspicarpa produced only degraded flowers, which differed in many of the
most important points of structure from the proper type of the order; but
it was recognised by M. Richard that the genus should be retained among the
Malpighiaceae. "This case," adds Darwin, "well illustrates the spirit of
our classification."), with flowers of two kinds (in the "Origin"), led me
also to speculate on the same subject; but I could find only one doubtfully
analogous case of species having flowers like the degraded or monstrous
flowers. Harvey does not see that if only a few (as he supposes) of the
seedlings inherited being monstrosities, Natural Selection would be
necessary to select and preserve them. You had better return the
"Gardeners' Chronicle," etc., to my brother's. The case of Begonia (95/6.
Harvey's criticism was answered by Sir J.D. Hooker in the following number
of the "Gardeners' Chronicle" (February 25th, 1860, page 170).) in itself
is very curious; I am tempted to answer the notice, but I will refrain, for
there would be no end to answers.

With respect to your objection of a multitude of still living simple forms,
I have not discussed it anywhere in the "Origin," though I have often
thought it over. What you say about progress being only occasional and
retrogression not uncommon, I agree to; only that in the animal kingdom I
greatly doubt about retrogression being common. I have always put it to
myself--What advantage can we see in an infusory animal, or an intestinal
worm, or coral polypus, or earthworm being highly developed? If no
advantage, they would not become highly developed: not but what all these
animals have very complex structures (except infusoria), and they may well
be higher than the animals which occupied similar places in the economy of
nature before the Silurian epoch. There is a blind snake with the
appearances and, in some respects, habits of earthworms; but this blind
snake does not tend, as far as we can see, to replace and drive out worms.
I think I must in a future edition discuss a few more such points, and will
introduce this and H.C. Watson's objection about the infinite number of
species and the general rise in organisation. But there is a directly
opposite objection to yours which is very difficult to answer--viz. how at
the first start of life, when there were only the simplest organisms, how
did any complication of organisation profit them? I can only answer that
we have not facts enough to guide any speculation on the subject.

With respect to Lepidosiren, Ganoid fishes, perhaps Ornithorhynchus, I
suspect, as stated in the "Origin," (95/7. "Origin of Species" (Edition
VI.), page 83.), that they have been preserved, from inhabiting fresh-water
and isolated parts of the world, in which there has been less competition
and less rapid progress in Natural Selection, owing to the fewness of
individuals which can inhabit small areas; and where there are few
individuals variation at most must be slower. There are several allusions
to this notion in the "Origin," as under Amblyopsis, the blind cave-fish
(95/8. "Origin," page 112.), and under Heer (95/9. "Origin," page 83.)
about Madeira plants resembling the fossil and extinct plants of Europe.

Down, March 5th [1860?].

I am much obliged for your long and interesting letter. You have indeed
good right to speak confidently about the habits of wild birds and animals;
for I should think no one beside yourself has ever sported in Spitzbergen
and Southern Africa. It is very curious and interesting that you should
have arrived at the conclusion that so-called "Natural Selection" had been
efficient in giving their peculiar colours to our grouse. I shall probably
use your authority on the similar habits of our grouse and the Norwegian

I am particularly obliged for your very curious fact of the effect produced
by the introduction of the lowland grouse on the wildness of the grouse in
your neighbourhood. It is a very striking instance of what crossing will
do in affecting the character of a breed. Have you ever seen it stated in
any sporting work that game has become wilder in this country? I wish I
could get any sort of proof of the fact, for your explanation seems to me
equally ingenious and probable. I have myself witnessed in South America a
nearly parallel [case] with that which you mention in regard to the
reindeer in Spitzbergen, with the Cervus campestris of La Plata. It feared
neither man nor the sound of shot of a rifle, but was terrified at the
sight of a man on horseback; every one in that country always riding. As
you are so great a sportsman, perhaps you will kindly look to one very
trifling point for me, as my neighbours here think it too absurd to notice
--namely, whether the feet of birds are dirty, whether a few grains of dirt
do not adhere occasionally to their feet. I especially want to know how
this is in the case of birds like herons and waders, which stalk in the
mud. You will guess that this relates to dispersal of seeds, which is one
of my greatest difficulties. My health is very indifferent, and I am
seldom able to attend the scientific meetings, but I sincerely hope that I
may some time have the pleasure of meeting you.

Pray accept my cordial thanks for your very kind letter.

Down, March 21st [1860].

I thank you very sincerely for your letter, and am much pleased that you go
a little way with me. You will think it presumptuous, but I am well
convinced from my own mental experience that if you keep the subject at all
before your mind you will ultimately go further. The present volume is a
mere abstract, and there are great omissions. One main one, which I have
rectified in the foreign editions, is an explanation (which has satisfied
Lyell, who made the same objection with you) why many forms do not progress
or advance (and I quite agree about some retrograding). I have also a MS.
discussion on beauty; but do you really suppose that for instance
Diatomaceae were created beautiful that man, after millions of generations,
should admire them through the microscope? (97/1. Thwaites (1811-82)
published several papers on the Diatomaceae ("On Conjugation in the
Diatomaceae," "Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist." Volume XX., 1847, pages 9-11, 343-
4; "Further Observations on the Diatomaceae," loc. cit., 1848, page 161).
See "Life and Letters" II., page 292.) I should attribute most of such
structures to quite unknown laws of growth; and mere repetition of parts is
to our eyes one main element of beauty. When any structure is of use (and
I can show what curiously minute particulars are often of highest use), I
can see with my prejudiced eyes no limit to the perfection of the
coadaptations which could be effected by Natural Selection. I rather doubt
whether you see how far, as it seems to me, the argument for homology and
embryology may be carried. I do not look at this as mere analogy. I would
as soon believe that fossil shells were mere mockeries of real shells as
that the same bones in the foot of a dog and wing of a bat, or the similar
embryo of mammal and bird, had not a direct signification, and that the
signification can be unity of descent or nothing. But I venture to repeat
how much pleased I am that you go some little way with me. I find a number
of naturalists do the same, and as their halting-places are various, and I
must think arbitrary, I believe they will all go further. As for changing
at once one's opinion, I would not value the opinion of a man who could do
so; it must be a slow process. (97/2. Darwin wrote to Woodward in regard
to the "Origin": "It may be a vain and silly thing to say, but I believe
my book must be read twice carefully to be fully understood. You will
perhaps think it by no means worth the labour.") Thank you for telling me
about the Lantana (97/3. An exotic species of Lantana (Verbenaceae) grows
vigorously in Ceylon, and is described as frequently making its appearance
after the firing of the low-country forests (see H.H.W. Pearson, "The
Botany of the Ceylon Patanas," "Journal Linn. Soc." Volume XXXIV., page
317, 1899). No doubt Thwaites' letter to Darwin referred to the spreading
of the introduced Lantana, comparable to that of the cardoon in La Plata
and of other plants mentioned by Darwin in the "Origin of Species" (Edition
VI., page 51).), and I should at any time be most grateful for any
information which you think would be of use to me. I hope that you will
publish a list of all naturalised plants in Ceylon, as far as known,
carefully distinguishing those confined to cultivated soils alone. I feel
sure that this most important subject has been greatly undervalued.


(98/1. The reference here is to the review on the "Origin of Species"
generally believed to be by the late Sir R. Owen, and published in the
April number of the "Edinburgh Review," 1860. Owen's biographer is silent
on the subject, and prints, without comment, the following passage in an
undated letter from Sedgwick to Owen: "Do you know who was the author of
the article in the "Edinburgh" on the subject of Darwin's theory? On the
whole, I think it very good. I once suspected that you must have had a
hand in it, and I then abandoned that thought. I have not read it with any
care" (Owen's "Life," Volume II., page 96).

April 9th [1860].

I never saw such an amount of misrepresentation. At page 530 (98/2.
"Lasting and fruitful conclusions have, indeed, hitherto been based only on
the possession of knowledge; now we are called upon to accept an hypothesis
on the plea of want of knowledge. The geological record, it is averred, is
so imperfect!"--"Edinburgh Review," CXI., 1860, page 530.) he says we are
called on to accept the hypothesis on the plea of ignorance, whereas I
think I could not have made it clearer that I admit the imperfection of the
Geological Record as a great difficulty.

The quotation (98/3. "We are appealed to, or at least 'the young and
rising naturalists with plastic minds,* [On the Nature of the Limbs, page
482] are adjured." It will be seen that the inverted comma after
"naturalists" is omitted; the asterisk referring, in a footnote (here
placed in square brackets), to page 482 of the "Origin," seems to have been
incorrectly assumed by Mr. Darwin to show the close of the quotation.--
Ibid., page 512.) on page 512 of the "Review" about "young and rising
naturalists with plastic minds," attributed to "nature of limbs," is a
false quotation, as I do not use the words "plastic minds."

At page 501 (98/4. The passage ("Origin," Edition I., page 483) begins,
"But do they really believe...," and shows clearly that the author
considers such a belief all but impossible.) the quotation is garbled, for
I only ask whether naturalists believe about elemental atoms flashing,
etc., and he changes it into that I state that they do believe.

At page 500 (98/5. "All who have brought the transmutation speculation to
the test of observed facts and ascertained powers in organic life, and have
published the results, usually adverse to such speculations, are set down
by Mr. Darwin as 'curiously illustrating the blindness of preconceived
opinion.'" The passage in the "Origin," page 482, begins by expressing
surprise at the point of view of some naturalists: "They admit that a
multitude of forms, which till lately they themselves thought were special
creations,...have been produced by variation, but they refuse to extend the
same view to other and very slightly different forms...They admit variation
as a vera causa in one case, they arbitrarily reject it in another, without
assigning any distinction in the two cases. The day will come when this
will be given as a curious illustration of the blindness of preconceived
opinion.") it is very false to say that I imply by "blindness of
preconceived opinion" the simple belief of creation. And so on in other
cases. But I beg pardon for troubling you. I am heartily sorry that in
your unselfish endeavours to spread what you believe to be truth, you
should have incurred so brutal an attack. (98/6. The "Edinburgh"
Reviewer, referring to Huxley's Royal Institution Lecture given February
10th, 1860, "On Species and Races and their Origin," says (page 521), "We
gazed with amazement at the audacity of the dispenser of the hour's
intellectual amusement, who, availing himself of the technical ignorance of
the majority of his auditors, sought to blind them as to the frail
foundations of 'natural selection' by such illustrations as the subjoined":
And then follows a critique of the lecturer's comparison of the supposed
descent of the horse from the Palaeothere with that of various kinds of
domestic pigeons from the Rock-pigeon.) And now I will not think any more
of this false and malignant attack.

Down, April 13th [1860].

I thank you very sincerely for your two kind notes. The next time you
write to your father I beg you to give him from me my best thanks, but I am
sorry that he should have had the trouble of writing when ill. I have been
much interested by the facts given by him. If you think he would in the
least care to hear the result of an artificial cross of two sweet peas, you
can send the enclosed; if it will only trouble him, tear it up. There
seems to be so much parallelism in the kind of variation from my
experiment, which was certainly a cross, and what Mr. Masters has observed,
that I cannot help suspecting that his peas were crossed by bees, which I
have seen well dusted with the pollen of the sweet pea; but then I wish
this, and how hard it is to prevent one's wish biassing one's judgment!

I was struck with your remark about the Compositae, etc. I do not see that
it bears much against me, and whether it does or not is of course of not
the slightest importance. Although I fully agree that no definition can be
drawn between monstrosities and slight variations (such as my theory
requires), yet I suspect there is some distinction. Some facts lead me to
think that monstrosities supervene generally at an early age; and after
attending to the subject I have great doubts whether species in a state of
nature ever become modified by such sudden jumps as would result from the
Natural Selection of monstrosities. You cannot do me a greater service
than by pointing out errors. I sincerely hope that your work on
monstrosities (99/1. "Vegetable Teratology," London, 1869 (Ray Soc.).)
will soon appear, for I am sure it will be highly instructive.

Now for your notes, for which let me again thank you.

1. Your conclusion about parts developed (99/2. See "Origin of Species,"
Edition I., page 153, on the variability of parts "developed in an
extraordinary manner in any one species, compared with the other species of
the same genus." See "Life and Letters," II., pages 97, 98, also Letter
33.) not being extra variable agrees with Hooker's. You will see that I
have stated that the rule apparently does not hold with plants, though it
ought, if true, to hold good with them.

2. I cannot now remember in what work I saw the statement about Peloria
affecting the axis, but I know it was one which I thought might be trusted.
I consulted also Dr. Falconer, and I think that he agreed to the truth of
it; but I cannot now tell where to look for my notes. I had been much
struck with finding a Laburnum tree with the terminal flowers alone in each
raceme peloric, though not perfectly regular. The Pelargonium case in the
"Origin" seems to point in the same direction. (99/3. "Origin of Species,"
Edition I., page 145.)

3. Thanks for the correction about furze: I found the seedlings just
sprouting, and was so much surprised and their appearance that I sent them
to Hooker; but I never plainly asked myself whether they were cotyledons or
first leaves. (99/4. The trifoliate leaves of furze seedlings are not
cotyledons, but early leaves: see Lubbock's "Seedlings," I., page 410.)

4. That is a curious fact about the seeds of the furze, the more curious
as I found with Leguminosae that immersion in plain cold water for a very
few days killed some kinds.

If at any time anything should occur to you illustrating or opposing my
notions, and you have leisure to inform me, I should be truly grateful, for
I can plainly see that you have wealth of knowledge.

With respect to advancement or retrogression in organisation in
monstrosities of the Compositae, etc., do you not find it very difficult to
define which is which?

Anyhow, most botanists seem to differ as widely as possible on this head.

Down, May 8th [1860].

Very many thanks about the Elodea, which case interests me much. I wrote
to Mr. Marshall (100/1. W. Marshall was the author of "Anacharis
alsinastrum, a new water-weed": four letters to the "Cambridge Independent
Press," reprinted as a pamphlet, 1852.) at Ely, and in due time he says he
will send me whatever information he can procure.

Owen is indeed very spiteful. (100/2. Owen was believed to be the author
of the article in the "Edinburgh Review," April, 1860. See Letter 98.) He
misrepresents and alters what I say very unfairly. But I think his conduct
towards Hooker most ungenerous: viz., to allude to his essay (Australian
Flora), and not to notice the magnificent results on geographical
distribution. The Londoners say he is mad with envy because my book has
been talked about; what a strange man to be envious of a naturalist like
myself, immeasurably his inferior! From one conversation with him I really
suspect he goes at the bottom of his hidden soul as far as I do.

I wonder whether Sedgwick noticed in the "Edinburgh Review" about the
"Sacerdotal revilers,"--so the revilers are tearing each other to pieces.
I suppose Sedgwick will be very fierce against me at the Philosophical
Society. (100/3. The meeting of the "Cambridge Phil. Soc." was held on
May 7th, 1860, and fully reported in the "Cambridge Chronicle," May 19th.
Sedgwick is reported to have said that "Darwin's theory is not inductive--
is not based on a series of acknowledged facts, leading to a general
conclusion evolved, logically out of the facts...The only facts he pretends
to adduce, as true elements of proof, are the varieties produced by
domestication and the artifices of crossbreeding." Sedgwick went on to
speak of the vexatious multiplication of supposed species, and adds, "In
this respect Darwin's theory may help to simplify our classifications, and
thereby do good service to modern science. But he has not undermined any
grand truth in the constancy of natural laws, and the continuity of true
species.") Judging from his notice in the "Spectator," (100/4. March
24th, 1860; see "Life and Letters," II., page 297.) he will misrepresent
me, but it will certainly be unintentionally done. In a letter to me, and
in the above notice, he talks much about my departing from the spirit of
inductive philosophy. I wish, if you ever talk on the subject to him, you
would ask him whether it was not allowable (and a great step) to invent the
undulatory theory of light, i.e. hypothetical undulations, in a
hypothetical substance, the ether. And if this be so, why may I not invent
the hypothesis of Natural Selection (which from the analogy of domestic
productions, and from what we know of the struggle for existence and of the
variability of organic beings, is, in some very slight degree, in itself
probable) and try whether this hypothesis of Natural Selection does not
explain (as I think it does) a large number of facts in geographical
distribution--geological succession, classification, morphology,
embryology, etc. I should really much like to know why such an hypothesis
as the undulation of the ether may be invented, and why I may not invent
(not that I did invent it, for I was led to it by studying domestic
varieties) any hypothesis, such as Natural Selection.

Pray forgive me and my pen for running away with me, and scribbling on at
such length.

I can perfectly understand Sedgwick (100/5. See "Life and Letters," II.,
page 247; the letter is there dated December 24th, but must, we think, have
been written in November at latest.) or any one saying that Natural
Selection does not explain large classes of facts; but that is very
different from saying that I depart from right principles of scientific

Down, May 14th [1860].

I have been greatly interested by your letter to Hooker, and I must thank
you from my heart for so generously defending me, as far as you could,
against my powerful attackers. Nothing which persons say hurts me for
long, for I have an entire conviction that I have not been influenced by
bad feelings in the conclusions at which I have arrived. Nor have I
published my conclusions without long deliberation, and they were arrived
at after far more study than the public will ever know of, or believe in.
I am certain to have erred in many points, but I do not believe so much as
Sedgwick and Co. think.

Is there any Abstract or Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
published? (101/1. Henslow's remarks are not given in the above-mentioned
report in the "Cambridge Chronicle.") If so, and you could get me a copy,
I should like to have one.

Believe me, my dear Henslow, I feel grateful to you on this occasion, and
for the multitude of kindnesses you have done me from my earliest days at

Down, May 22nd [1860].

Hooker has sent me a letter of Thwaites (102/1. See Letter 97.), of
Ceylon, who makes exactly the same objections which you did at first about
the necessity of all forms advancing, and therefore the difficulty of
simple forms still existing. There was no worse omission than this in my
book, and I had the discussion all ready.

I am extremely glad to hear that you intend adding new arguments about the
imperfection of the Geological Record. I always feel this acutely, and am
surprised that such men as Ramsay and Jukes do not feel it more.

I quite agree on insufficient evidence about mummy wheat. (102/2. See
notes appended to a letter to Lyell, September 1843 (Botany).

When you can spare it, I should like (but out of mere curiosity) to see
Binney on Coal marine marshes.

I once made Hooker very savage by saying that I believed the Coal plants
grew in the sea, like mangroves. (102/3. See "Life and Letters," I., page


(103/1. This letter is of interest as containing a strong expression upon
the overwhelming importance of selection.)

Down [1860].

Many thanks for Harvey's letter (103/2. W.H. Harvey had been corresponding
with Sir J.D. Hooker on the "Origin of Species."), which I will keep a
little longer and then return. I will write to him and try to make clear
from analogy of domestic productions the part which I believe selection has
played. I have been reworking my pigeons and other domestic animals, and I
am sure that any one is right in saying that selection is the efficient
cause, though, as you truly say, variation is the base of all. Why I do
not believe so much as you do in physical agencies is that I see in almost
every organism (though far more clearly in animals than in plants)
adaptation, and this except in rare instances, must, I should think, be due
to selection.

Do not forget the Pyrola when in flower. (103/3. In a letter to Hooker,
May 22nd, 1860, Darwin wrote: "Have you Pyrola at Kew? if so, for heaven's
sake observe the curvature of the pistil towards the gangway to the
nectary." The fact of the stigma in insect-visited flowers being so placed
that the visitor must touch it on its way to the nectar, was a point which
early attracted Darwin's attention and strongly impressed him.) My blessed
little Scaevola has come into flower, and I will try artificial
fertilisation on it.

I have looked over Harvey's letter, and have assumed (I hope rightly) that
he could not object to knowing that you had forwarded it to me.

Down, June 8th [1860].

I have to thank you for two notes, one through Hooker, and one with some
letters to be posted, which was done. I anticipated your request by making
a few remarks on Owen's review. (104/1. "The Edinburgh Review," April,
1860.) Hooker is so weary of reviews that I do not think you will get any
hints from him. I have lately had many more "kicks than halfpence." A
review in the last Dublin "Nat. Hist. Review" is the most unfair thing
which has appeared,--one mass of misrepresentation. It is evidently by
Haughton, the geologist, chemist and mathematician. It shows immeasurable
conceit and contempt of all who are not mathematicians. He discusses bees'
cells, and puts a series which I have never alluded to, and wholly ignores
the intermediate comb of Melipona, which alone led me to my notions. The
article is a curiosity of unfairness and arrogance; but, as he sneers at
Malthus, I am content, for it is clear he cannot reason. He is a friend of
Harvey, with whom I have had some correspondence. Your article has
clearly, as he admits, influenced him. He admits to a certain extent
Natural Selection, yet I am sure does not understand me. It is strange
that very few do, and I am become quite convinced that I must be an
extremely bad explainer. To recur for a moment to Owen: he grossly
misrepresents and is very unfair to Huxley. You say that you think the
article must be by a pupil of Owen; but no one fact tells so strongly
against Owen, considering his former position at the College of Surgeons,
as that he has never reared one pupil or follower. In the number just out
of "Fraser's Magazine" (104/2. See "Life and Letters," II., page 314.)
there is an article or review on Lamarck and me by W. Hopkins, the
mathematician, who, like Haughton, despises the reasoning power of all
naturalists. Personally he is extremely kind towards me; but he evidently
in the following number means to blow me into atoms. He does not in the
least appreciate the difference in my views and Lamarck's, as explaining
adaptation, the principle of divergence, the increase of dominant groups,
and the almost necessary extinction of the less dominant and smaller
groups, etc.

Down, June 17th [1860].

One word more upon the Deification (105/1. "If we confound 'Variation' or
'Natural Selection' with such creational laws, we deify secondary causes or
immeasurably exaggerate their influence" (Lyell, "The Geological Evidences
of the Antiquity of Man, with Remarks on Theories on the Origin of Species
by Variation," page 469, London, 1863). See Letter 131.) of Natural
Selection: attributing so much weight to it does not exclude still more
general laws, i.e. the ordering of the whole universe. I have said that
Natural Selection is to the structure of organised beings what the human
architect is to a building. The very existence of the human architect
shows the existence of more general laws; but no one, in giving credit for
a building to the human architect, thinks it necessary to refer to the laws
by which man has appeared.

No astronomer, in showing how the movements of planets are due to gravity,
thinks it necessary to say that the law of gravity was designed that the
planets should pursue the courses which they pursue. I cannot believe that
there is a bit more interference by the Creator in the construction of each
species than in the course of the planets. It is only owing to Paley and
Co., I believe, that this more special interference is thought necessary
with living bodies. But we shall never agree, so do not trouble yourself
to answer.

I should think your remarks were very just about mathematicians not being
better enabled to judge of probabilities than other men of common-sense.

I have just got more returns about the gestation of hounds. The period
differs at least from sixty-one to seventy-four days, just as I expected.

I was thinking of sending the "Gardeners' Chronicle" to you, on account of
a paper by me on the fertilisation of orchids by insects (105/2.
"Fertilisation of British Orchids by Insect Agency." This article in the
"Gardeners' Chronicle" of June 9th, 1860, page 528, begins with a request
that observations should be made on the manner of fertilisation in the bee-
and in the fly-orchis.), as it involves a curious point, and as you cared
about my paper on kidney beans; but as you are so busy, I will not.

Down [June?] 20th [1860].

I send Blyth (106/1. See Letter 27.); it is a dreadful handwriting; the
passage is on page 4. In a former note he told me he feared there was
hardly a chance of getting money for the Chinese expedition, and spoke of
your kindness.

Many thanks for your long and interesting letter. I wonder at, admire, and
thank you for your patience in writing so much. I rather demur to
Deinosaurus not having "free will," as surely we have. I demur also to
your putting Huxley's "force and matter" in the same category with Natural
Selection. The latter may, of course, be quite a false view; but surely it
is not getting beyond our depth to first causes.

It is truly very remarkable that the gestation of hounds (106/2. In a
letter written to Lyell on June 25th, 1860, the following paragraph occurs:
"You need not believe one word of what I said about gestation of dogs.
Since writing to you I have had more correspondence with the master of
hounds, and I see his [record?] is worth nothing. It may, of course, be
correct, but cannot be trusted. I find also different statements about the
wolf: in fact, I am all abroad.") should vary so much, while that of man
does not. It may be from multiple origin. The eggs from the Musk and the
common duck take an intermediate period in hatching; but I should rather
look at it as one of the ten thousand cases which we cannot explain--
namely, when one part or function varies in one species and not in another.

Hooker has told me nothing about his explanation of few Arctic forms; I
knew the fact before. I had speculated on what I presume, from what you
say, is his explanation (106/3. "Outlines of the Distribution of Arctic
Plants," J.D. Hooker, "Trans. Linn. Soc." Volume XXIII., page 251, 1862.
[read June 21st, 1860.] In this paper Hooker draws attention to the
exceptional character of the Greenland flora; but as regards the paucity of
its species and in its much greater resemblance to the floras of Arctic
Europe than to those of Arctic America, he considers it difficult to
account for these facts, "unless we admit Mr. Darwin's hypotheses" (see
"Origin," Edition VI., 1872, Chapter XII., page 330) of a southern
migration due to the cold of the glacial period and the subsequent return
of the northern types during the succeeding warmer period. Many of the
Greenland species, being confined to the peninsula, "would, as it were, be
driven into the sea--that is exterminated" (Hooker, op. cit., pages 253-
4).); but there must have been at all times an Arctic region. I found the
speculation got too complex, as it seemed to me, to be worth following out.

I have been doing some more interesting work with orchids. Talk of
adaptation in woodpeckers (106/4. "Can a more striking instance of
adaptation be given than that of a woodpecker for climbing trees and
seizing insects in the chinks of the bark?" (Origin of Species," Edition
HAVE I., page 141).), some of the orchids beat it.

I showed the case to Elizabeth Wedgwood, and her remark was, "Now you have
upset your own book, for you won't persuade me that this could be effected
by Natural Selection."

July 20th [1860].

Many thanks for your pleasant letter. I agree to every word you say about
"Fraser" and the "Quarterly." (107/1. Bishop Wilberforce's review of the
"Origin" in the "Quarterly Review," July, 1860, was republished in his
"Collected Essays," 1874. See "Life and Letters, II., page 182, and II.,
page 324, where some quotations from the review are given. For Hopkins'
review in "Fraser's Magazine," June, 1860, see "Life and Letters," II.,
314.) I have had some really admirable letters from Hopkins. I do not
suppose he has ever troubled his head about geographical distribution,
classification, morphologies, etc., and it is only those who have that will
feel any relief in having some sort of rational explanation of such facts.
Is it not grand the way in which the Bishop asserts that all such facts are
explained by ideas in God's mind? The "Quarterly" is uncommonly clever;
and I chuckled much at the way my grandfather and self are quizzed. I
could here and there see Owen's hand. By the way, how comes it that you
were not attacked? Does Owen begin to find it more prudent to leave you
alone? I would give five shillings to know what tremendous blunder the
Bishop made; for I see that a page has been cancelled and a new page gummed

I am indeed most thoroughly contented with the progress of opinion. From
all that I hear from several quarters, it seems that Oxford did the subject
great good. (107/2. An account of the meeting of the British Association
at Oxford in 1860 is given in the "Life and Letters," II., page 320, and a
fuller account in the one-volume "Life of Charles Darwin," 1892, page 236.
See also the "Life and Letters of T.H. Huxley," Volume I., page 179, and
the amusing account of the meeting in Mr. Tuckwell's "Reminiscences of
Oxford," London, 1900, page 50.) It is of enormous importance the showing
the world that a few first-rate men are not afraid of expressing their
opinion. I see daily more and more plainly that my unaided book would have
done absolutely nothing. Asa Gray is fighting admirably in the United
States. He is thorough master of the subject, which cannot be said by any
means of such men as even Hopkins.

I have been thinking over what you allude to about a natural history
review. (107/3. In the "Life and Letters of T.H. Huxley," Volume I., page
209, some account of the founding of the "Natural History Review" is given
in a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker of July 17th, 1860. On August 2nd Mr.
Huxley added: "Darwin wrote me a very kind expostulation about it, telling
me I ought not to waste myself on other than original work. In reply,
however, I assured him that I MUST waste myself willy-nilly, and that the
'Review' was only a save-all.") I suppose you mean really a REVIEW and not
journal for original communications in Natural History. Of the latter
there is now superabundance. With respect to a good review, there can be
no doubt of its value and utility; nevertheless, if not too late, I hope
you will consider deliberately before you decide. Remember what a deal of
work you have on your shoulders, and though you can do much, yet there is a
limit to even the hardest worker's power of working. I should deeply
regret to see you sacrificing much time which could be given to original
research. I fear, to one who can review as well as you do, there would be
the same temptation to waste time, as there notoriously is for those who
can speak well.

A review is only temporary; your work should be perennial. I know well
that you may say that unless good men will review there will be no good
reviews. And this is true. Would you not do more good by an occasional
review in some well-established review, than by giving up much time to the
editing, or largely aiding, if not editing, a review which from being
confined to one subject would not have a very large circulation? But I
must return to the chief idea which strikes me--viz., that it would lessen
the amount of original and perennial work which you could do. Reflect how
few men there are in England who can do original work in the several lines
in which you are excellently fitted. Lyell, I remember, on analogous
grounds many years ago resolved he would write no more reviews. I am an
old slowcoach, and your scheme makes me tremble. God knows in one sense I
am about the last man in England who ought to throw cold water on any
review in which you would be concerned, as I have so immensely profited by
your labours in this line.

With respect to reviewing myself, I never tried: any work of that kind
stops me doing anything else, as I cannot possibly work at odds and ends of
time. I have, moreover, an insane hatred of stopping my regular current of
work. I have now materials for a little paper or two, but I know I shall
never work them up. So I will not promise to help; though not to help, if
I could, would make me feel very ungrateful to you. You have no idea
during how short a time daily I am able to work. If I had any regular
duties, like you and Hooker, I should do absolutely nothing in science.

I am heartily glad to hear that you are better; but how such labour as
volunteer-soldiering (all honour to you) does not kill you, I cannot

For God's sake remember that your field of labour is original research in
the highest and most difficult branches of Natural History. Not that I
wish to underrate the importance of clever and solid reviews.

Sudbrook Park, Richmond, Thursday [July, 1860].

I must send you a line to say what a good fellow you are to send me so long
an account of the Oxford doings. I have read it twice, and sent it to my
wife, and when I get home shall read it again: it has so much interested
me. But how durst you attack a live bishop in that fashion? I am quite
ashamed of you! Have you no reverence for fine lawn sleeves? By Jove, you
seem to have done it well. If any one were to ridicule any belief of the
bishop's, would he not blandly shrug his shoulders and be inexpressibly
shocked? I am very, very sorry to hear that you are not well; but am not
surprised after all your self-imposed labour. I hope you will soon have an
outing, and that will do you real good.

I am glad to hear about J. Lubbock, whom I hope to see soon, and shall tell
him what you have said. Have you read Hopkins in the last "Fraser?"--well
put, in good spirit, except soul discussion bad, as I have told him;
nothing actually new, takes the weak points alone, and leaves out all other

I heard from Asa Gray yesterday; he goes on fighting like a Trojan.

God bless you!--get well, be idle, and always reverence a bishop.

Down, July 30th [1860].

I received several weeks ago your note telling me that you could not visit
England, which I sincerely regretted, as I should most heartily have liked
to have made your personal acquaintance. You gave me an improved, but not
very good, account of your health. I should at some time be grateful for a
line to tell me how you are. We have had a miserable summer, owing to a
terribly long and severe illness of my eldest girl, who improves slightly
but is still in a precarious condition. I have been able to do nothing in
science of late. My kind friend Asa Gray often writes to me and tells me
of the warm discussions on the "Origin of Species" in the United States.
Whenever you are strong enough to read it, I know you will be dead against
me, but I know equally well that your opposition will be liberal and
philosophical. And this is a good deal more than I can say of all my
opponents in this country. I have not yet seen Agassiz's attack (109/1.
"Silliman's Journal," July, 1860. A passage from Agassiz's review is given
by Mr. Huxley in Darwin's "Life and Letters," II., page 184.), but I hope
to find it at home when I return in a few days, for I have been for several
weeks away from home on my daughter's account. Prof. Silliman sent me an
extremely kind message by Asa Gray that your Journal would be open to a
reply by me. I cannot decide till I see it, but on principle I have
resolved to avoid answering anything, as it consumes much time, often
temper, and I have said my say in the "Origin." No one person understands
my views and has defended them so well as A. Gray, though he does not by
any means go all the way with me. There was much discussion on the subject
at the British Association at Oxford, and I had many defenders, and my side
seems (for I was not there) almost to have got the best of the battle.
Your correspondent and my neighbour, J. Lubbock, goes on working at such
spare time as he has. This is an egotistical note, but I have not seen a
naturalist for months. Most sincerely and deeply do I hope that this note
may find you almost recovered.


(110/1. See Letter 95, note. This letter was written in reply to a long
one from W.H. Harvey, dated August 24th, 1860. Harvey had already
published a serio-comic squib and a review, to which references are given
in the "Life and Letters," II., pages 314 and 375; but apparently he had
not before this time completed the reading of the "Origin.")

[August, 1860.]

I have read your long letter with much interest, and I thank you for your
great liberality in sending it me. But, on reflection, I do not wish to
attempt answering any part, except to you privately. Anything said by
myself in defence would have no weight; it is best to be defended by
others, or not at all. Parts of your letter seem to me, if I may be
permitted to say so, very acute and original, and I feel it a great
compliment your giving up so much time to my book. But, on the whole, I am
disappointed; not from your not concurring with me, for I never expected
that, and, indeed, in your remarks on Chapters XII. and XIII., you go much
further with me (though a little way) than I ever anticipated, and am much
pleased at the result. But on the whole I am disappointed, because it
seems to me that you do not understand what I mean by Natural Selection, as
shown at page 11 (110/2. Harvey speaks of the perpetuation or selection of
the useful, pre-supposing "a vigilant and intelligent agent," which is very
much like saying that an intelligent agent is needed to see that the small
stones pass through the meshes of a sieve and the big ones remain behind.)
of your letter and by several of your remarks. As my book has failed to
explain my meaning, it would be hopeless to attempt it in a letter. You
speak in the early part of your letter, and at page 9, as if I had said
that Natural Selection was the sole agency of modification, whereas I have
over and over again, ad nauseam, directly said, and by order of precedence
implied (what seems to me obvious) that selection can do nothing without
previous variability (see pages 80, 108, 127, 468, 469, etc.), "nothing can
be effected unless favourable variations occur." I consider Natural
Selection as of such high importance, because it accumulates successive
variations in any profitable direction, and thus adapts each new being to
its complex conditions of life. The term "selection," I see, deceives many
persons, though I see no more reason why it should than elective affinity,
as used by the old chemists. If I had to rewrite my book, I would use
"natural preservation" or "naturally preserved." I should think you would
as soon take an emetic as re-read any part of my book; but if you did, and
were to erase selection and selected, and insert preservation and
preserved, possibly the subject would be clearer. As you are not singular
in misunderstanding my book, I should long before this have concluded that
my brains were in a haze had I not found by published reviews, and
especially by correspondence, that Lyell, Hooker, Asa Gray, H.C. Watson,
Huxley, and Carpenter, and many others, perfectly comprehend what I mean.
The upshot of your remarks at page 11 is that my explanation, etc., and the
whole doctrine of Natural Selection, are mere empty words, signifying the
"order of nature." As the above-named clear-headed men, who do comprehend
my views, all go a certain length with me, and certainly do not think it
all moonshine, I should venture to suggest a little further reflection on
your part. I do not mean by this to imply that the opinion of these men is
worth much as showing that I am right, but merely as some evidence that I
have clearer ideas than you think, otherwise these same men must be even
more muddle-headed than I am; for they have no temptation to deceive
themselves. In the forthcoming September (110/3. "American Journal of
Science and Arts," September 1860, "Design versus Necessity," reprinted in
Asa Gray's "Darwiniana," 1876, page 62.) number of the "American Journal of
Science" there is an interesting and short theological article (by Asa
Gray), which gives incidentally with admirable clearness the theory of
Natural Selection, and therefore might be worth your reading. I think that
the theological part would interest you.

You object to all my illustrations. They are all necessarily conjectural,
and may be all false; but they were the best I could give. The bear case
(110/4. "Origin of Species," Edition I., page 184. See Letter 120.) has
been well laughed at, and disingenuously distorted by some into my saying
that a bear could be converted into a whale. As it offended persons, I
struck it out in the second edition; but I still maintain that there is no
especial difficulty in a bear's mouth being enlarged to any degree useful
to its changing habits,--no more difficulty than man has found in
increasing the crop of the pigeon, by continued selection, until it is
literally as big as the whole rest of the body. If this had not been
known, how absurd it would have appeared to say that the crop of a bird
might be increased till it became like a balloon!

With respect to the ostrich, I believe that the wings have been reduced,
and are not in course of development, because the whole structure of a bird
is essentially formed for flight; and the ostrich is essentially a bird.
You will see at page 182 of the "Origin" a somewhat analogous discussion.
At page 450 of the second edition I have pointed out the essential
distinction between a nascent and rudimentary organ. If you prefer the
more complex view that the progenitor of the ostrich lost its wings, and
that the present ostrich is regaining them, I have nothing to say in

With respect to trees on islands, I collected some cases, but took the main
facts from Alph. De Candolle, and thought they might be trusted. My
explanation may be grossly wrong; but I am not convinced it is so, and I do
not see the full force of your argument of certain herbaceous orders having
been developed into trees in certain rare cases on continents. The case
seems to me to turn altogether on the question whether generally herbaceous
orders more frequently afford trees and bushes on islands than on
continents, relatively to their areas. (110/5. In the "Origin," Edition
I., page 392, the author points out that in the presence of competing trees
an herbaceous plant would have little chance of becoming arborescent; but
on an island, with only other herbaceous plants as competitors, it might
gain an advantage by overtopping its fellows, and become tree-like. Harvey
writes: "What you say (page 392) of insular trees belonging to orders
which elsewhere include only herbaceous species seems to me to be
unsupported by sufficient evidence. You cite no particular trees, and I
may therefore be wrong in guessing that the orders you allude to are
Scrophularineae and Compositae; and the insular trees the Antarctic
Veronicas and the arborescent Compositae of St. Helena, Tasmania, etc. But
in South Africa Halleria (Scrophularineae) is often as large and woody as
an apple tree; and there are several South African arborescent Compositae
(Senecio and Oldenburgia). Besides, in Tasmania at least, the arborescent
Composites are not found competing with herbaceous plants alone, and
growing taller and taller by overtopping them...; for the most arborescent
of them all (Eurybia argophylla, the Musk tree) Eucalyptus
forests. And so of the South African Halleria, which is a tree among
trees. What the conditions of the arborescent Gerania of the Sandwich
Islands may be I am unable to say...I cannot remember any other instances,
nor can I accept your explanation in any other of the cases I have cited.")

In page 4 of your letter you say you give up many book-species as separate
creations: I give up all, and you infer that our difference is only in
degree and not in kind. I dissent from this; for I give a distinct reason
how far I go in giving up species. I look at all forms, which resemble
each other homologically or embryologically, as certainly descended from
the same species.

You hit me hard and fairly (110/6. Harvey writes: "You ask--were all the
infinitely numerous kinds of animals and plants created as eggs or seed, or
as full grown? To this it is sufficient to reply, was your primordial
organism, or were your four or five progenitors created as egg, seed, or
full grown? Neither theory attempts to solve this riddle, nor yet the
riddle of the Omphalos." The latter point, which Mr. Darwin refuses to
give up, is at page 483 of the "Origin," "and, in the case of mammals, were
they created bearing the false marks of nourishment from the mother's
womb?" In the third edition of the "Origin," 1861, page 517, the author
adds, after the last-cited passage: "Undoubtedly these same questions
cannot be answered by those who, under the present state of science,
believe in the creation of a few aboriginal forms, or of some one form of
life. In the sixth edition, probably with a view to the umbilicus, he
writes (page 423): "Undoubtedly some of these same questions," etc., etc.
From notes in Mr. Darwin's copy of the second edition it is clear that the
change in the third edition was chiefly due to Harvey's letter. See Letter
115.) about my question (page 483, "Origin") about creation of eggs or
young, etc., (but not about mammals with the mark of the umbilical cord),
yet I still have an illogical sort of feeling that there is less difficulty
in imagining the creation of an asexual cell, increasing by simple

Page 5 of your letter: I agree to every word about the antiquity of the
world, and never saw the case put by any one more strongly or more ably.
It makes, however, no more impression on me as an objection than does the
astronomer when he puts on a few hundred million miles to the distance of
the fixed stars. To compare very small things with great, Lingula, etc.,
remaining nearly unaltered from the Silurian epoch to the present day, is
like the dovecote pigeons still being identical with wild Rock-pigeons,
whereas its "fancy" offspring have been immensely modified, and are still
being modified, by means of artificial selection.

You put the difficulty of the first modification of the first protozoon
admirably. I assure you that immediately after the first edition was
published this occurred to me, and I thought of inserting it in the second
edition. I did not, because we know not in the least what the first germ
of life was, nor have we any fact at all to guide us in our speculations on
the kind of change which its offspring underwent. I dissent quite from
what you say of the myriads of years it would take to people the world with
such imagined protozoon. In how very short a time Ehrenberg calculated
that a single infusorium might make a cube of rock! A single cube on
geometrical progression would make the solid globe in (I suppose) under a
century. From what little I know, I cannot help thinking that you
underrate the effects of the physical conditions of life on these low
organisms. But I fully admit that I can give no sort of answer to your
objections; yet I must add that it would be marvellous if any man ever
could, assuming for the moment that my theory is true. You beg the
question, I think, in saying that Protococcus would be doomed to eternal
similarity. Nor can you know that the first germ resembled a Protococcus
or any other now living form.

Page 12 of your letter: There is nothing in my theory necessitating in
each case progression of organisation, though Natural Selection tends in
this line, and has generally thus acted. An animal, if it become fitted by
selection to live the life, for instance, of a parasite, will generally
become degraded. I have much regretted that I did not make this part of
the subject clearer. I left out this and many other subjects, which I now
see ought to have been introduced. I have inserted a discussion on this
subject in the foreign editions. (110/7. In the third Edition a
discussion on this point is added in Chapter IV.) In no case will any
organic being tend to retrograde, unless such retrogradation be an
advantage to its varying offspring; and it is difficult to see how going
back to the structure of the unknown supposed original protozoon could ever
be an advantage.

Page 13 of your letter: I have been more glad to read your discussion on
"dominant" forms than any part of your letter. (110/8. Harvey writes:
"Viewing organic nature in its widest aspect, I think it is unquestionable
that the truly dominant races are not those of high, but those of low
organisation"; and goes on to quote the potato disease, etc. In the third
edition of the "Origin," page 56, a discussion is introduced defining the
author's use of the term "dominant.") I can now see that I have not been
cautious enough in confining my definition and meaning. I cannot say that
you have altered my views. If Botrytis [Phytophthora] had exterminated the
wild potato, a low form would have conquered a high; but I cannot remember
that I have ever said (I am sure I never thought) that a low form would
never conquer a high. I have expressly alluded to parasites half
exterminating game-animals, and to the struggle for life being sometimes
between forms as different as possible: for instance, between grasshoppers
and herbivorous quadrupeds. Under the many conditions of life which this
world affords, any group which is numerous in individuals and species and
is widely distributed, may properly be called dominant. I never dreamed of
considering that any one group, under all conditions and throughout the
world, would be predominant. How could vertebrata be predominant under the
conditions of life in which parasitic worms live? What good would their
perfected senses and their intellect serve under such conditions? When I
have spoken of dominant forms, it has been in relation to the
multiplication of new specific forms, and the dominance of any one species
has been relative generally to other members of the same group, or at least
to beings exposed to similar conditions and coming into competition. But I
daresay that I have not in the "Origin" made myself clear, and space has
rendered it impossible. But I thank you most sincerely for your valuable
remarks, though I do not agree with them.

About sudden jumps: I have no objection to them--they would aid me in some
cases. All I can say is, that I went into the subject, and found no
evidence to make me believe in jumps; and a good deal pointing in the other
direction. You will find it difficult (page 14 of your letter) to make a
marked line of separation between fertile and infertile crosses. I do not
see how the apparently sudden change (for the suddenness of change in a
chrysalis is of course largely only apparent) in larvae during their
development throws any light on the subject.

I wish I could have made this letter better worth sending to you. I have
had it copied to save you at least the intolerable trouble of reading my
bad handwriting. Again I thank you for your great liberality and kindness
in sending me your criticisms, and I heartily wish we were a little nearer
in accord; but we must remain content to be as wide asunder as the poles,
but without, thank God, any malice or other ill-feeling.


(111/1. Dr. Asa Gray's articles in the "Atlantic Monthly," July, August,
and October, 1860, were published in England as a pamphlet, and form
Chapter III. in his "Darwiniana" (1876). See "Life and Letters," II., page
338. The article referred to in the present letter is that in the August

Down, September 10th [1860].

I send by this post a review by Asa Gray, so good that I should like you to
see it; I must beg for its return. I want to ask, also, your opinion about
getting it reprinted in England. I thought of sending it to the Editor of
the "Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist." in which two hostile reviews have
appeared (although I suppose the "Annals" have a very poor circulation),
and asking them in the spirit of fair play to print this, with Asa Gray's
name, which I will take the responsibility of adding. Also, as it is long,
I would offer to pay expenses.

It is very good, in addition, as bringing in Pictet so largely. (111/2.
Pictet (1809-72) wrote a "perfectly fair" review opposed to the "Origin."
See "Life and Letters," II., page 297.) Tell me briefly what you think.

What an astonishing expedition this is of Hooker's to Syria! God knows
whether it is wise.

How are you and all yours? I hope you are not working too hard. For
Heaven's sake, think that you may become such a beast as I am. How goes on
the "Nat. Hist. Review?" Talking of reviews, I damned with a good grace
the review in the "Athenaeum" (111/3. Review of "The Glaciers of the Alps"
("Athenaeum," September 1, 1860, page 280).) on Tyndall with a mean, scurvy
allusion to you. It is disgraceful about Tyndall,--in fact, doubting his

I am very tired, and hate nearly the whole world. So good-night, and take
care of your digestion, which means brain.

15, Marine Parade, Eastbourne, 26th [September 1860].

It has just occurred to me that I took no notice of your questions on
extinction in St. Helena. I am nearly sure that Hooker has information on
the extinction of plants (112/1. "Principles of Geology," Volume II.
(Edition X., 1868), page 453. Facts are quoted from Hooker illustrating
the extermination of plants in St. Helena.), but I cannot remember where I
have seen it. One may confidently assume that many insects were

By the way, I heard lately from Wollaston, who told me that he had just
received eminently Madeira and Canary Island insect forms from the Cape of
Good Hope, to which trifling distance, if he is logical, he will have to
extend his Atlantis! I have just received your letter, and am very much
pleased that you approve. But I am utterly disgusted and ashamed about the
dingo. I cannot think how I could have misunderstood the paper so grossly.
I hope I have not blundered likewise in its co-existence with extinct
species: what horrid blundering! I am grieved to hear that you think I
must work in the notes in the text; but you are so much better a judge that
I will obey. I am sorry that you had the trouble of returning the Dog MS.,
which I suppose I shall receive to-morrow.

I mean to give good woodcuts of all the chief races of pigeons. (112/2.
"The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication," 1868.)

Except the C. oenas (112/3. The Columba oenas of Europe roosts on trees
and builds its nest in holes, either in trees or the ground ("Var. of
Animals," Volume I., page 183).) (which is partly, indeed almost entirely,
a wood pigeon), there is no other rock pigeon with which our domestic
pigeon would cross--that is, if several exceedingly close geographical
races of C. livia, which hardly any ornithologist looks at as true species,
be all grouped under C. livia. (112/4. Columba livia, the Rock-pigeon.
"We may conclude with confidence that all the domestic races,
notwithstanding their great amount of difference, are descended from the
Columba livia, including under this name certain wild races" (op. cit.,
Volume I., page 223).)

I am writing higgledy-piggledy, as I re-read your letter. I thought that
my letter had been much wilder than yours. I quite feel the comfort of
writing when one may "alter one's speculations the day after." It is
beyond my knowledge to weigh ranks of birds and monotremes; in the
respiratory and circulatory system and muscular energy I believe birds are
ahead of all mammals.

I knew that you must have known about New Guinea; but in writing to you I
never make myself civil!

After treating some half-dozen or dozen domestic animals in the same manner
as I treat dogs, I intended to have a chapter of conclusions. But Heaven
knows when I shall finish: I get on very slowly. You would be surprised
how long it took me to pick out what seemed useful about dogs out of
multitudes of details.

I see the force of your remark about more isolated races of man in old
times, and therefore more in number. It seems to me difficult to weigh
probabilities. Perhaps so, if you refer to very slight differences in the
races: to make great differences much time would be required, and then,
even at the earliest period I should have expected one race to have spread,
conquered, and exterminated the others.

With respect to Falconer's series of Elephants (112/5. In 1837 Dr.
Falconer and Sir Proby Cautley collected a large number of fossil remains
from the Siwalik Hills. Falconer and Cautley, "Fauna Antiqua Sivalensis,"
1845-49.), I think the case could be answered better than I have done in
the "Origin," page 334. (112/6. "Origin of Species," Edition I., page
334. "It is no real objection to the truth of the statement that the fauna
of each period as a whole is nearly intermediate in character between the
preceding and succeeding faunas, that certain genera offer exceptions to
the rule. For instance, mastodons and elephants, when arranged by Dr.
Falconer in two series, first according to their mutual affinities and then
according to their periods of existence, do not accord in arrangement. The
species extreme in character are not the oldest, or the most recent; nor
are those which are intermediate in character intermediate in age. But
supposing for an instant, in this and other such cases, that the record of
the first appearance and disappearance of the species was perfect, we have
no reason to believe that forms successively produced necessarily endure
for corresponding lengths of time. A very ancient form might occasionally
last much longer than a form elsewhere subsequently produced, especially in
the case of terrestrial productions inhabiting separated districts" (pages
334-5). The same words occur in the later edition of the "Origin" (Edition
VI., page 306.) All these new discoveries show how imperfect the
discovered series is, which Falconer thought years ago was nearly perfect.

I will send to-day or to-morrow two articles by Asa Gray. The longer one
(now not finally corrected) will come out in the October "Atlantic
Monthly," and they can be got at Trubner's. Hearty thanks for all your

Do not hurry over Asa Gray. He strikes me as one of the best reasoners and
writers I ever read. He knows my book as well as I do myself.

15, Marine Parade, Eastbourne, October 3rd [1860].

Your last letter has interested me much in many ways.

I enclose a letter of Wyman's which touches on brains. Wyman is mistaken
in supposing that I did not know that the Cave-rat was an American form; I
made special enquiries. He does not know that the eye of the Tucotuco was
carefully dissected.

With respect to reviews by A. Gray. I thought of sending the Dialogue to
the "Saturday Review" in a week's time or so, as they have lately discussed
Design. (113/1. "Discussion between two Readers of Darwin's Treatise on
the Origin of Species, upon its Natural Theology" ("Amer. Journ. Sci."
Volume XXX, page 226, 1860). Reprinted in "Darwiniana," 1876, page 62.
The article begins with the following question: "First Reader--Is Darwin's
theory atheistic or pantheistic? Or does it tend to atheism or pantheism?"
The discussion is closed by the Second Reader, who thus sums up his views:
"Wherefore we may insist that, for all that yet appears, the argument for
design, as presented by the natural theologians, is just as good now, if we
accept Darwin's theory, as it was before the theory was promulgated; and
that the sceptical juryman, who was about to join the other eleven in an
unanimous verdict in favour of design, finds no good excuse for keeping the
Court longer waiting.") I have sent the second, or August, "Atlantic"
article to the "Annals and Mag. of Nat. History." (113/2. "Annals and
Mag. Nat. Hist." Volume VI., pages 373-86, 1860. (From the "Atlantic
Monthly," August, 1860.)) The copy which you have I want to send to
Pictet, as I told A. Gray I would, thinking from what he said he would like
this to be done. I doubt whether it would be possible to get the October
number reprinted in this country; so that I am in no hurry at all for this.

I had a letter a few weeks ago from Symonds on the imperfection of the
Geological Record, less clear and forcible than I expected. I answered him
at length and very civilly, though I could hardly make out what he was
driving at. He spoke about you in a way which it did me good to read.

I am extremely glad that you like A. Gray's reviews. How generous and
unselfish he has been in all his labour! Are you not struck by his
metaphors and similes? I have told him he is a poet and not a lawyer.

I should altogether doubt on turtles being converted into land tortoises on
any one island. Remember how closely similar tortoises are on all
continents, as well as islands; they must have all descended from one
ancient progenitor, including the gigantic tortoise of the Himalaya.

I think you must be cautious in not running the convenient doctrine that
only one species out of very many ever varies. Reflect on such cases as
the fauna and flora of Europe, North America, and Japan, which are so
similar, and yet which have a great majority of their species either
specifically distinct, or forming well-marked races. We must in such cases
incline to the belief that a multitude of species were once identically the
same in all the three countries when under a warmer climate and more in
connection; and have varied in all the three countries. I am inclined to
believe that almost every species (as we see with nearly all our domestic
productions) varies sufficiently for Natural Selection to pick out and
accumulate new specific differences, under new organic and inorganic
conditions of life, whenever a place is open in the polity of nature. But
looking to a long lapse of time and to the whole world, or to large parts
of the world, I believe only one or a few species of each large genus
ultimately becomes victorious, and leaves modified descendants. To give an
imaginary instance: the jay has become modified in the three countries
into (I believe) three or four species; but the jay genus is not,
apparently, so dominant a group as the crows; and in the long run probably
all the jays will be exterminated and be replaced perhaps by some modified

I merely give this illustration to show what seems to me probable.

But oh! what work there is before we shall understand the genealogy of
organic beings!

With respect to the Apteryx, I know not enough of anatomy; but ask Dr. F.
whether the clavicle, etc., do not give attachment to some of the muscles
of respiration. If my views are at all correct, the wing of the Apteryx
(113/3. "Origin of Species," Edition VI., page 140.) cannot be (page 452
of the "Origin") a nascent organ, as these wings are useless. I dare not
trust to memory, but I know I found the whole sternum always reduced in
size in all the fancy and confined pigeons relatively to the same bones in
the wild Rock-pigeon: the keel was generally still further reduced
relatively to the reduced length of the sternum; but in some breeds it was
in a most anomalous manner more prominent. I have got a lot of facts on
the reduction of the organs of flight in the pigeon, which took me weeks to
work out, and which Huxley thought curious.

I am utterly ashamed, and groan over my handwriting. It was "Natural
Preservation." Natural persecution is what the author ought to suffer. It
rejoices me that you do not object to the term. Hooker made the same
remark that it ought to have been "Variation and Natural Selection." Yet
with domestic productions, when selection is spoken of, variation is always
implied. But I entirely agree with your and Hooker's remark.

Have you begun regularly to write your book on the antiquity of man?
(113/4. Published in 1863.)

I do NOT agree with your remark that I make Natural Selection do too much
work. You will perhaps reply that every man rides his hobby-horse to
death; and that I am in the galloping state.

15, Marine Parade, Eastbourne, Friday 5th [October, 1860].

I have two notes to thank you for, and I return Wollaston. It has always
seemed to me rather strange that Forbes, Wollaston and Co. should argue,
from the presence of allied, and not identical species in islands, for the
former continuity of land.

They argue, I suppose, from the species being allied in different regions
of the same continent, though specifically distinct. But I think one might
on the creative doctrine argue with equal force in a directly reverse
manner, and say that, as species are so often markedly distinct, yet
allied, on islands, all our continents existed as islands first, and their
inhabitants were first created on these islands, and since became mingled
together, so as not to be so distinct as they now generally are on islands.

Down, October 5th [1860].

I ought to apologise for troubling you, but I have at last carefully read
your excellent criticisms on my book. (115/1. Bronn added critical
remarks to his German translation of the "Origin": see "Life and Letters,"
II., page 279.) I agree with much of them, and wholly with your final
sentence. The objections and difficulties which may be urged against my
view are indeed heavy enough almost to break my back, but it is not yet
broken! You put very well and very fairly that I can in no one instance
explain the course of modification in any particular instance. I could
make some sort of answer to your case of the two rats; and might I not turn
round and ask him who believes in the separate creation of each species,
why one rat has a longer tail or shorter ears than another? I presume that
most people would say that these characters were of some use, or stood in
some connection with other parts; and if so, Natural Selection would act on
them. But as you put the case, it tells well against me. You argue most
justly against my question, whether the many species were created as eggs
(115/2. See Letter 110.) or as mature, etc. I certainly had no right to
ask that question. I fully agree that there might have been as well a
hundred thousand creations as eight or ten, or only one. But then, on the
view of eight or ten creations (i.e. as many as there are distinct types of
structure) we can on my view understand the homological and embryological
resemblance of all the organisms of each type, and on this ground almost
alone I disbelieve in the innumerable acts of creation. There are only two
points on which I think you have misunderstood me. I refer only to one
Glacial period as affecting the distribution of organic beings; I did not
wish even to allude to the doubtful evidence of glacial action in the
Permian and Carboniferous periods. Secondly, I do not believe that the
process of development has always been carried on at the same rate in all
different parts of the world. Australia is opposed to such belief. The
nearly contemporaneous equal development in past periods I attribute to the
slow migration of the higher and more dominant forms over the whole world,
and not to independent acts of development in different parts. Lastly,
permit me to add that I cannot see the force of your objection, that
nothing is effected until the origin of life is explained: surely it is
worth while to attempt to follow out the action of electricity, though we
know not what electricity is.

If you should at any time do me the favour of writing to me, I should be
very much obliged if you would inform me whether you have yourself examined
Brehm's subspecies of birds; for I have looked through some of his
writings, but have never met an ornithologist who believed in his
[illegible]. Are these subspecies really characteristic of certain
different regions of Germany?

Should you write, I should much like to know how the German edition sells.

October 26th [1860].

Many thanks for your note and for all the trouble about the seeds, which
will be most useful to me next spring. On my return home I will send the
shillings. (116/1. Shillings for the little girls in Henslow's parish who
collected seeds for Darwin.) I concluded that Dr. Bree had blundered about
the Celts. I care not for his dull, unvarying abuse of me, and singular
misrepresentation. But at page 244 he in fact doubts my deliberate word,
and that is the act of a man who has not the soul of a gentleman in him.
Kingsley is "the celebrated author and divine" (116/2. "Species not
Transmutable," by C.R. Bree. After quoting from the "Origin," Edition II.,
page 481, the words in which a celebrated author and divine confesses that
"he has gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of
the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms, etc.," Dr. Bree
goes on: "I think we ought to have had the name of this divine given with
this remarkable statement. I confess that I have not yet fully made up my
mind that any divine could have ever penned lines so fatal to the truths he
is called upon to teach.") whose striking sentence I give in the second
edition with his permission. I did not choose to ask him to let me use his
name, and as he did not volunteer, I had of course no choice. (116/3. We
are indebted to Mr. G.W. Prothero for calling our attention to the
following striking passage from the works of a divine of this period:--
"Just a similar scepticism has been evinced by nearly all the first
physiologists of the day, who have joined in rejecting the development
theories of Lamarck and the 'Vestiges'...Yet it is now acknowledged under
the high sanction of the name of Owen that 'creation' is only another name
for our ignorance of the mode of production...while a work has now appeared
by a naturalist of the most acknowledged authority, Mr. Darwin's masterly
volume on the 'Origin of Species,' by the law of 'natural selection,' which
now substantiates on undeniable grounds the very principle so long
denounced by the first naturalists--the origination of new species by
natural causes: a work which must soon bring about an entire revolution of
opinion in favour of the grand principle of the self-evolving powers of
nature."--Prof. Baden Powell's "Study of the Evidences of Christianity,"
"Essays and Reviews," 7th edition, 1861 (pages 138, 139).)

Dr. Freke has sent me his paper, which is far beyond my scope--something
like the capital quiz in the "Anti-Jacobin" on my grandfather, which was
quoted in the "Quarterly Review."


(117/1. The following letter was published in Professor Meldola's
presidential address to the Entomological Society, 1897, and to him we are
indebted for a copy.)

15, Marine Parade, Eastbourne, October 27th [1860].

As I am away from home on account of my daughter's health, I do not know
your address, and fly this at random, and it is of very little consequence
if it never reaches you.

I have just been reading the greater part of your "Geological Gossip," and
have found part very interesting; but I want to express my admiration at
the clear and correct manner in which you have given a sketch of Natural
Selection. You will think this very slight praise; but I declare that the
majority of readers seem utterly incapable of comprehending my long
argument. Some of the reviewers, who have servilely stuck to my
illustrations and almost to my words, have been correct, but
extraordinarily few others have succeeded. I can see plainly, by your new
illustrations and manner and order of putting the case, that you thoroughly
comprehend the subject. I assure you this is most gratifying to me, and it
is the sole way in which the public can be indoctrinated. I am often in
despair in making the generality of NATURALISTS even comprehend me.
Intelligent men who are not naturalists and have not a bigoted idea of the
term species, show more clearness of mind. I think that you have done the
subject a real service, and I sincerely thank you. No doubt there will be
much error found in my book, but I have great confidence that the main view
will be, in time, found correct; for I find, without exception, that those
naturalists who went at first one inch with me now go a foot or yard with

This note obviously requires no answer.

Down, November 22nd [1860].

I thank you sincerely for writing to me and for your very interesting
letter. Your name has for very long been familiar to me, and I have heard
of your zealous exertions in the cause of Natural History. But I did not
know that you had worked with high philosophical questions before your
mind. I have an old belief that a good observer really means a good
theorist (118/1. For an opposite opinion, see Letter 13.), and I fully
expect to find your observations most valuable. I am very sorry to hear
that your health is shattered; but I trust under a healthy climate it may
be restored. I can sympathise with you fully on this score, for I have had
bad health for many years, and fear I shall ever remain a confirmed
invalid. I am delighted to hear that you, with all your large practical
knowledge of Natural History, anticipated me in many respects and concur
with me. As you say, I have been thoroughly well attacked and reviled
(especially by entomologists--Westwood, Wollaston, and A. Murray have all
reviewed and sneered at me to their hearts' content), but I care nothing
about their attacks; several really good judges go a long way with me, and
I observe that all those who go some little way tend to go somewhat
further. What a fine philosophical mind your friend Mr. Wallace has, and
he has acted, in relation to me, like a true man with a noble spirit. I
see by your letter that you have grappled with several of the most
difficult problems, as it seems to me, in Natural History--such as the
distinctions between the different kinds of varieties, representative
species, etc. Perhaps I shall find some facts in your paper on
intermediate varieties in intermediate regions, on which subject I have
found remarkably little information. I cannot tell you how glad I am to
hear that you have attended to the curious point of equatorial
refrigeration. I quite agree that it must have been small; yet the more I
go into that question the more convinced I feel that there was during the
Glacial period some migration from north to south. The sketch in the
"Origin" gives a very meagre account of my fuller MS. essay on this

I shall be particularly obliged for a copy of your paper when published
(118/2. Probably a paper by Bates entitled "Contributions to an Insect
Fauna of the Amazon Valley" ("Trans. Entomol. Soc." Volume V., page 335,
1858-61).); and if any suggestions occur to me (not that you require any)
or questions, I will write and ask.

I have at once to prepare a new edition of the "Origin," (118/3. Third
Edition, March, 1861.), and I will do myself the pleasure of sending you a
copy; but it will be only very slightly altered.

Cases of neuter ants, divided into castes, with intermediate gradations
(which I imagine are rare) interest me much. See "Origin" on the driver-
ant, page 241 (please look at the passage.)


(119/1. This refers to the first number of the new series of the "Natural
History Review," 1861, a periodical which Huxley was largely instrumental
in founding, and of which he was an editor (see Letter 107). The first
series was published in Dublin, and ran to seven volumes between 1854 and
1860. The new series came to an end in 1865.)

Down, January, 3rd [1861].

I have just finished No. 1 of the "Natural History Review," and must
congratulate you, as chiefly concerned, on its excellence. The whole seems
to me admirable,--so admirable that it is impossible that other numbers
should be so good, but it would be foolish to expect it. I am rather a
croaker, and I do rather fear that the merit of the articles will be above
the run of common readers and subscribers. I have been much interested by
your brain article. (119/2. The "Brain article" of Huxley bore the title
"On the Zoological Relations of Man with the Lower Animals," and appeared
in No. 1, January 1861, page 67. It was Mr. Huxley's vindication of the
unqualified contradiction given by him at the Oxford meeting of the British
Association to Professor Owen's assertions as to the difference between the
brains of man and the higher apes. The sentence omitted by Owen in his
lecture before the University of Cambridge was a footnote on the close
structural resemblance between Homo and Pithecus, which occurs in his paper
on the characters of the class Mammalia in the "Linn. Soc. Journal," Volume
II., 1857, page 20. According to Huxley the lecture, or "Essay on the
Classification of the Mammalia," was, with this omission, a reprint of the
Linnean paper. In "Man's Place in Nature," page 110, note, Huxley remarks:
"Surely it is a little singular that the 'anatomist,' who finds it
'difficult' to 'determine the difference' between Homo and Pithecus, should
yet range them, on anatomical grounds, in distinct sub-classes.") What a
complete and awful smasher (and done like a "buttered angel") it is for
Owen! What a humbug he is to have left out the sentence in the lecture
before the orthodox Cambridge dons! I like Lubbock's paper very much: how
well he writes. (119/3. Sir John Lubbock's paper was a review of Leydig
on the Daphniidae. M'Donnell's was "On the Homologies of the Electric
Organ of the Torpedo," afterwards used in the "Origin" (see Edition VI.,
page 150).) M'Donnell, of course, pleases me greatly. But I am very
curious to know who wrote the Protozoa article: I shall hear, if it be not
a secret, from Lubbock. It strikes me as very good, and, by Jove, how Owen
is shown up--"this great and sound reasoner"! By the way, this reminds me
of a passage which I have just observed in Owen's address at Leeds, which a
clever reviewer might turn into good fun. He defines (page xc) and further
on amplifies his definition that creation means "a process he knows not
what." And in a previous sentence he says facts shake his confidence that
the Apteryx in New Zealand and Red Grouse in England are "distinct
creations." So that he has no confidence that these birds were produced by
"processes he knows not what!" To what miserable inconsistencies and
rubbish this truckling to opposite opinions leads the great generaliser!
(119/4. In the "Historical Sketch," which forms part of the later editions
of the "Origin," Mr. Darwin made use of Owen's Leeds Address in the manner
sketched above. See "Origin," Edition VI., page xvii.)

Farewell: I heartily rejoice in the clear merit of this number. I hope
Mrs. Huxley goes on well. Etty keeps much the same, but has not got up to
the same pitch as when you were here. Farewell.

Down, February 25th [1861].

I am extremely much obliged for your very kind present of your beautiful
work, "Seasons with the Sea-Horses;" and I have no doubt that I shall find
much interesting from so careful and acute an observer as yourself.
(120/1. "Seasons with the Sea-Horses; or, Sporting Adventures in the
Northern Seas." London, 1861. Mr. Lamont (loc. cit., page 273) writes:
"The polar bear seems to me to be nothing more than a variety of the bears
inhabiting Northern Europe, Asia, and America; and it surely requires no
very great stretch of the imagination to suppose that this variety was
originally created, not as we see him now, but by individuals of Ursus
arctos in Siberia, who, finding their means of subsistence running short,
and pressed by hunger, ventured on the ice and caught some seals. These
individuals would find that they could make a subsistence in this way, and
would take up their residence on the shore and gradually take to a life on
the ice...Then it stands to reason that those individuals who might happen
to be palest in colour would have the best chance of succeeding in
surprising seals...The process of Natural Selection would do the rest, and
Ursus arctos would in the course of a few thousands, or a few millions of
years, be transformed into the variety at present known as Ursus
maritimus." The author adds the following footnote (op. cit., page 275):
"It will be obvious to any one that I follow Mr. Darwin in these remarks;
and, although the substance of this chapter was written in Spitzbergen,
before "The Origin of Species" was published, I do not claim any
originality for my views; and I also cheerfully acknowledge that, but for
the publication of that work in connection with the name of so
distinguished a naturalist, I never would have ventured to give to the
world my own humble opinions on the subject.")

P.S. I have just been cutting the leaves of your book, and have been very
much pleased and surprised at your note about what you wrote in
Spitzbergen. As you thought it out independently, it is no wonder that you
so clearly understand Natural Selection, which so few of my reviewers do or
pretend not to do.

I never expected to see any one so heroically bold as to defend my bear
illustration. (120/2. "In North America the black bear was seen by Hearne
swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, almost like a
whale, insects in the water."--"Origin," Edition VI., page 141. See Letter
110.) But a man who has done all that you have done must be bold! It is
laughable how often I have been attacked and misrepresented about this
bear. I am much pleased with your remarks, and thank you cordially for
coming to the rescue.


(121/1. Mr. Darwin's letters to Mr. Tegetmeier, taken as a whole, give a
striking picture of the amount of assistance which Darwin received from him
during many years. Some citations from these letters given in "Life and
Letters," II., pages 52, 53, show how freely and generously Mr. Tegetmeier
gave his help, and how much his co-operation was valued.

The following letter is given as an example of the questions on which
Darwin sought Mr. Tegetmeier's opinion and guidance.)

Down, March 22 [1861].

I ought to have answered your last note sooner; but I have been very busy.
How wonderfully successful you have been in breeding Pouters! You have a
good right to be proud of your accuracy of eye and judgment. I am in the
thick of poultry, having just commenced, and shall be truly grateful for
the skulls, if you can send them by any conveyance to the Nag's Head next

You ask about vermilion wax: positively it was not in the state of comb,
but in solid bits and cakes, which were thrown with other rubbish not far
from my hives. You can make any use of the fact you like. Combs could be
concentrically and variously coloured and dates recorded by giving for a
few days wax darkly coloured with vermilion and indigo, and I daresay other
substances. You ask about my crossed fowls, and this leads me to make a
proposition to you, which I hope cannot be offensive to you. I trust you
know me too well to think that I would propose anything objectionable to
the best of my judgment. The case is this: for my object of treating
poultry I must give a sketch of several breeds, with remarks on various
points. I do not feel strong on the subject. Now, when my MS. is fairly
copied in an excellent handwriting, would you read it over, which would
take you at most an hour or two, and make comments in pencil on it; and
accept, like a barrister, a fee, we will say, of a couple of guineas. This
would be a great assistance to me, specially if you would allow me to put a
note, stating that you, a distinguished judge and fancier, had read it
over. I would state that you doubted or concurred, as each case might be,
of course striking out what you were sure was incorrect. There would be
little new in my MS. to you; but if by chance you used any of my facts or
conclusions before I published, I should wish you to state that they were
on my authority; otherwise I shall be accused of stealing from you. There
will be little new, except that perhaps I have consulted some out-of-the-
way books, and have corresponded with some good authorities. Tell me
frankly what you think of this; but unless you will oblige me by accepting
remuneration, I cannot and will not give you such trouble. I have little
doubt that several points will arise which will require investigation, as I
care for many points disregarded by fanciers; and according to any time
thus spent, you will, I trust, allow me to make remuneration. I hope that
you will grant me this favour. There is one assistance which I will now
venture to beg of you--viz., to get me, if you can, another specimen of an
old white Angora rabbit. I want it dead for the skeleton; and not knocked
on the head. Secondly, I see in the "Cottage Gardener" (March 19th, page
375) there are impure half-lops with one ear quite upright and shorter than
the other lopped ear. I much want a dead one. Baker cannot get one.
Baily is looking out; but I want two specimens. Can you assist me, if you
meet any rabbit-fancier? I have had rabbits with one ear more lopped than
the other; but I want one with one ear quite upright and shorter, and the
other quite long and lopped.

Down, March 26th [1861].

I have read your papers with extreme interest, and I have carefully read
every word of them. (122/1. "Contributions to an Insect Fauna of the
Amazon Valley." (Read March 5th and November 24th, 1860). "Entomological
Soc. Trans." V., pages 223 and 335).) They seem to me to be far richer in
facts of variation, and especially on the distribution of varieties and
subspecies, than anything which I have read. Hereafter I shall re-read
them, and hope in my future work to profit by them and make use of them.
The amount of variation has much surprised me. The analogous variation of
distinct species in the same regions strikes me as particularly curious.
The greater variability of the female sex is new to me. Your Guiana case
seems in some degree analogous, as far as plants are concerned, with the
modern plains of La Plata, which seem to have been colonised from the
north, but the species have been hardly modified. (122/2. Mr. Bates (page
349) gives reason to believe that the Guiana region should be considered "a
perfectly independent province," and that it has formed a centre "whence
radiated the species which now people the low lands on its borders.")

Would you kindly answer me two or three questions if in your power? When
species A becomes modified in another region into a well-marked form C,
but is connected with it by one (or more) gradational forms B inhabiting an
intermediate region; does this form B generally exist in equal numbers with
A and C, OR INHABIT AN EQUALLY LARGE AREA? The probability is that you
cannot answer this question, though one of your cases seems to bear on

You will, I think, be glad to hear that I now often hear of naturalists
accepting my views more or less fully; but some are curiously cautious in
running the risk of any small odium in expressing their belief.

Down, April 4th [1861].

I have been unwell, so have delayed thanking you for your admirable letter.
I hope you will not think me presumptuous in saying how much I have been
struck with your varied knowledge, and with the decisive manner in which
you bring it to bear on each point,--a rare and most high quality, as far
as my experience goes. I earnestly hope you will find time to publish
largely: before the Linnean Society you might bring boldly out your views
on species. Have you ever thought of publishing your travels, and working
in them the less abstruse parts of your Natural History? I believe it
would sell, and be a very valuable contribution to Natural History. You
must also have seen a good deal of the natives. I know well it would be
quite unreasonable to ask for any further information from you; but I will
just mention that I am now, and shall be for a long time, writing on
domestic varieties of all animals. Any facts would be useful, especially
any showing that savages take any care in breeding their animals, or in
rejecting the bad and preserving the good; or any fancies which they may
have that one coloured or marked dog, etc., is better than another. I have
already collected much on this head, but am greedy for facts. You will at
once see their bearing on variation under domestication.

Hardly anything in your letter has pleased me more than about sexual
selection. In my larger MS. (and indeed in the "Origin" with respect to
the tuft of hairs on the breast of the cock-turkey) I have guarded myself
against going too far; but I did not at all know that male and female
butterflies haunted rather different sites. If I had to cut up myself in a
review I would have [worried?] and quizzed sexual selection; therefore,
though I am fully convinced that it is largely true, you may imagine how
pleased I am at what you say on your belief. This part of your letter to
me is a quintessence of richness. The fact about butterflies attracted by
coloured sepals is another good fact, worth its weight in gold. It would
have delighted the heart of old Christian C. Sprengel--now many years in
his grave.

I am glad to hear that you have specially attended to "mimetic" analogies--
a most curious subject; I hope you publish on it. I have for a long time
wished to know whether what Dr. Collingwood asserts is true--that the most
striking cases generally occur between insects inhabiting the same country.

Down, April 20th [1861].

I hope that you will permit me to thank you for sending me a copy of your
paper in "The Geologist" (124/1. In a letter to Hooker (April 23rd?, 1861)
Darwin refers to Hutton's review as "very original," and adds that Hutton
is "one of the very few who see that the change of species cannot be
directly proved..." ("Life and Letters," II., page 362). The review
appeared in "The Geologist" (afterwards known as "The Geological Magazine")
for 1861, pages 132-6 and 183-8. A letter on "Difficulties of Darwinism"
is published in the same volume of "The Geologist," page 286.), and at the
same time to express my opinion that you have done the subject a real
service by the highly original, striking, and condensed manner with which
you have put the case. I am actually weary of telling people that I do not
pretend to adduce direct evidence of one species changing into another, but
that I believe that this view in the main is correct, because so many
phenomena can be thus grouped together and explained. But it is generally
of no use; I cannot make persons see this. I generally throw in their
teeth the universally admitted theory of the undulation of light,--neither
the undulation nor the very existence of ether being proved, yet admitted
because the view explains so much. You are one of the very few who have
seen this, and have now put it most forcibly and clearly. I am much
pleased to see how carefully you have read my book, and, what is far more
important, reflected on so many points with an independent spirit. As I am
deeply interested in the subject (and I hope not exclusively under a
personal point of view) I could not resist venturing to thank you for the
right good service which you have done.

I need hardly say that this note requires no answer.


(125/1. Parts of this letter are published in "Life and Letters," II.,
page 362.)

Down, [April] 23rd, [1861].

I have been much interested by Bentham's paper in the "Natural History
Review," but it would not, of course, from familiarity, strike you as it
did me. (125/2. This refers to Bentham's paper "On the Species and Genera
of Plants, etc." "Nat. Hist. Review," April, 1861, page 133, which is
founded on, or extracted from, a paper read before the Linn. Soc., November
15th, 1858. It had been originally set down to be read on July 1st, 1858,
but gave way to the papers of Darwin and Wallace. Mr. Bentham has
described ("Life and Letters," II., page 294) how he reluctantly cancelled
the parts urging "original fixity" of specific type, and the remainder
seems not to have been published except in the above-quoted paper in the
"Nat. Hist. Review.") 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. 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." (125/3. See
"Nat. Hist. Review," 1861, page 206. The paper is "On the Brain of the
Orang Utang," and forms part of the bitter controversy of this period to
which reference occurs in letters to Huxley and elsewhere in these volumes.
Rolleston's work is quoted by Huxley ("Man's Place in Nature," page 117) as
part of the crushing refutation of Owen's position. Mr. Huxley's letter
referred to above is no doubt that in the "Athenaeum," April 13th, 1861,
page 498; it is certainly severe, but to those who know Mr. Huxley's
"Succinct History of the Controversy," etc. ("Man's Place in Nature," page
113), it will not seem too severe.) I had a dim perception of the truth of
your profound remark--that he wrote in fear and trembling "of God, man, and
monkeys," but I would alter it into "God, man, Owen, and monkeys."
Huxley's letter was truculent, and I see that every one thinks it too
truculent; but in simple truth I am become quite demoniacal about Owen--
worse than Huxley; and I told Huxley that I should put myself under his
care to be rendered milder. But I mean to try and get more angelic in my
feelings; yet I never shall forget his cordial shake of the hand, when he
was writing as spitefully as he possibly could against me. But I have
always thought that you have more cause than I to be demoniacally inclined
towards him. Bell told me that Owen says that the editor mutilated his
article in the "Edinburgh Review" (125/4. This is the only instance, with
which we are acquainted, of Owen's acknowledging the authorship of the
"Edinburgh Review" article.), and Bell seemed to think it was rendered more
spiteful by the Editor; perhaps the opposite view is as probable. Oh,
dear! this does not look like becoming more angelic in my temper!

I had a splendid long talk with Lyell (you may guess how splendid, for he
was many times on his knees, with elbows on the sofa) (125/5. Mr. Darwin
often spoke of Sir Charles Lyell's tendency to take curious attitudes when
excited.) on his work in France: he seems to have done capital work in
making out the age of the celt-bearing beds, but the case gets more and
more complicated. All, however, tends to greater and greater antiquity of
man. The shingle beds seem to be estuary deposits. 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. Farewell, with sincere
sympathy, my old friend.

P.S.--We are very much obliged for "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 "Gardeners'
Chronicle," both of which are intolerably dull, but I have taken them in
for so many years that I cannot give them up. The "Cottage Gardener," for
my purpose, is now far better than the "Gardeners' Chronicle."

Down, April 25 [1861].

I received this morning your "Unite de l'Espece Humaine" [published in
1861], and most sincerely do I thank you for this your very kind present.
I had heard of and been recommended to read your articles, but, not knowing
that they were separately published, did not know how to get them. So your
present is most acceptable, and I am very anxious to see your views on the
whole subject of species and variation; and I am certain to derive much
benefit from your work. In cutting the pages I observe that you have most
kindly mentioned my work several times. My views spread slowly in England
and America; and I am much surprised to find them most commonly accepted by
geologists, next by botanists, and least by zoologists. I am much pleased
that the younger and middle-aged geologists are coming round, for the
arguments from Geology have always seemed strongest against me. Not one of
the older geologists (except Lyell) has been even shaken in his views of
the eternal immutability of species. But so many of the younger men are
turning round with zeal that I look to the future with some confidence. I
am now at work on "Variation under Domestication," but make slow progress--
it is such tedious work comparing skeletons.

With very sincere thanks for the kind sympathy which you have always shown
me, and with much respect,...

P.S.--I have lately read M. Naudin's paper (126/1. Naudin's paper ("Revue
Horticole," 1852) is mentioned in the "Historical Sketch" prefixed to the
later editions of the "Origin" (Edition VI., page xix). Naudin insisted
that species are formed in a manner analogous to the production of
varieties by cultivators, i.e., by selection, "but he does not show how
selection acts under nature." In the "Life and Letters," II., page 246,
Darwin, speaking of Naudin's work, says: "Decaisne seems to think he gives
my whole theory."), but it does not seem to me to anticipate me, as he does
not show how selection could be applied under nature; but an obscure writer
(126/2. The obscure writer is Patrick Matthew (see the "Historical Sketch"
in the "Origin.") on forest trees, in 1830, in Scotland, most expressly and
clearly anticipated my views--though he put the case so briefly that no
single person ever noticed the scattered passages in his book.


(127/1. The following letter was in reply to one from Mr. Hindmarsh, to
whom Mr. Darwin had written asking for information on the average number of
animals killed each year in the Chillingham herd. The object of the
request was to obtain information which might throw light on the rate of
increase of the cattle relatively to those on the pampas of South America.
Mr. Hindmarsh had contributed a paper "On the Wild Cattle of Chillingham
Park" to the "Annals and Mag. Nat. Hist." Volume II., page 274, 1839.)

Down, May 12th [1861].

I thank you sincerely for your prompt and great kindness, and return the
letter, which I have been very glad to see and have had copied. The
increase is more rapid than I anticipated, but it seems rather conjectural;
I had hoped that in so interesting a case some exact record had been kept.
The number of births, or of calves reared till they followed their mothers,
would perhaps have been the best datum. From Mr. Hardy's letter I infer
that ten must be annually born to make up the deaths from various causes.
In Paraguay, Azara states that in a herd of 4,000, from 1,000 to 1,300 are
reared; but then, though they do not kill calves, but castrate the young
bulls, no doubt the oxen would be killed earlier than the cows, so that the
herd would contain probably more of the female sex than the herd at
Chillingham. There is not apparently any record whether more young bulls
are killed than cows. I am surprised that Lord Tankerville does not have
an exact record kept of deaths and sexes and births: after a dozen years
it would be an interesting statistical record to the naturalist and



(128/1. The death of Professor Henslow (who was Sir J.D. Hooker's father-
in-law) occurred on May 16th, 1861.)

Down, May 24th [1861].

Thanks for your two notes. I am glad that the burial is over, and
sincerely sympathise and can most fully understand your feelings at your

I grieve to think how little I saw of Henslow for many years. With respect
to a biography of Henslow, I cannot help feeling rather doubtful, on the
principle that a biography could not do him justice. His letters were
generally written in a hurry, and I fear he did not keep any journal or
diary. If there were any vivid materials to describe his life as parish
priest, and manner of managing the poor, it would be very good.

I am never very sanguine on literary projects. I cannot help fearing his
Life might turn out flat. There can hardly be marked incidents to
describe. I sincerely hope that I take a wrong and gloomy view, but I
cannot help fearing--I would rather see no Life than one that would
interest very few. It will be a pleasure and duty in me to consider what I
can recollect; but at present I can think of scarcely anything. The
equability and perfection of Henslow's whole character, I should think,
would make it very difficult for any one to pourtray him. I have been
thinking about Henslow all day a good deal, but the more I think the less I
can think of to write down. It is quite a new style for me to set about,
but I will continue to think what I could say to give any, however
imperfect, notion of him in the old Cambridge days.

Pray give my kindest remembrances to L. Jenyns (128/2. The Rev. Leonard
Jenyns (afterwards Blomefield) undertook the "Life" of Henslow, to which
Darwin contributed a characteristic and delightful sketch. See Letter
17.), who is often associated with my recollection of those old happy days.


(129/1. It was in reply to the following letter that Darwin wrote to
Fawcett: "You could not possibly have told me anything which would have
given me more satisfaction than what you say about Mr. Mill's opinion.
Until your review appeared I began to think that perhaps I did not
understand at all how to reason scientifically." ("Life of Henry Fawcett,"
by Leslie Stephen, 1885, page 100.)

Bodenham, Salisbury, July 16th [1861].

I feel that I ought not to have so long delayed writing to thank you for
your very kind letter to me about my article on your book in "Macmillan's

I was particularly anxious to point out that the method of investigation
pursued was in every respect philosophically correct. I was spending an
evening last week with my friend Mr. John Stuart Mill, and I am sure you
will be pleased to hear from such an authority that he considers that your
reasoning throughout is in the most exact accordance with the strict
principles of logic. He also says the method of investigation you have
followed is the only one proper to such a subject.

It is easy for an antagonistic reviewer, when he finds it difficult to
answer your arguments, to attempt to dispose of the whole matter by
uttering some such commonplace as "This is not a Baconian induction."

I expect shortly to be spending a few days in your neighbourhood, and if I
should not be intruding upon you, I should esteem it a great favour if you
will allow me to call on you, and have half an hour's conversation with

As far as I am personally concerned, I am sure I ought to be grateful to
you, for since my accident nothing has given me so much pleasure as the
perusal of your book. Such studies are now a great resource to me.

2, Hesketh Terrace, Torquay [August 2nd, 1861].

I declare that you read the reviews on the "Origin" more carefully than I
do. I agree with all your remarks. The point of correlation struck me as
well put, and on varieties growing together; but I have already begun to
put things in train for information on this latter head, on which Bronn
also enlarges. With respect to sexuality, I have often speculated on it,
and have always concluded that we are too ignorant to speculate: no
physiologist can conjecture why the two elements go to form a new being,
and, more than that, why nature strives at uniting the two elements from
two individuals. What I am now working at in my orchids is an admirable
illustration of the law. I should certainly conclude that all sexuality
had descended from one prototype. Do you not underrate the degree of
lowness of organisation in which sexuality occurs--viz., in Hydra, and
still lower in some of the one-celled free confervae which "conjugate,"
which good judges (Thwaites) believe is the simplest form of true sexual
generation? (130/1. See Letter 97.) But the whole case is a mystery.

There is another point on which I have occasionally wished to say a few
words. I believe you think with Asa Gray that I have not allowed enough
for the stream of variation having been guided by a higher power. I have
had lately a good deal of correspondence on this head. Herschel, in his
"Physical Geography" (130/2. "Physical Geography of the Globe," by Sir
John F.W. Herschel, Edinburgh, 1861. On page 12 Herschel writes of the
revelations of Geology pointing to successive submersions and
reconstructions of the continents and fresh races of animals and plants.
He refers to a "great law of change" which has not operated either by a
gradually progressing variation of species, nor by a sudden and total
abolition of one race...The following footnote on page 12 of the "Physical
Geography" was added in January, 1861: "This was written previous to the
publication of Mr. Darwin's work on the "Origin of Species," a work which,
whatever its merit or ingenuity, we cannot, however, consider as having
disproved the view taken in the text. We can no more accept the principle
of arbitrary and casual variation and natural selection as a sufficient
account, per se, of the past and present organic world, than we can receive
the Laputan method of composing books (pushed a outrance) as a sufficient
one of Shakespeare and the "Principia." Equally in either case an
intelligence, guided by a purpose, must be continually in action to bias
the directions of the steps of change--to regulate their amount, to limit
their divergence, and to continue them in a definite course. We do not
believe that Mr. Darwin means to deny the necessity of such intelligent
direction. But it does not, so far as we can see, enter into the formula
of this law, and without it we are unable to conceive how far the law can
have led to the results. On the other hand, we do not mean to deny that
such intelligence may act according to a law (that is to say, on a
preconceived and definite plan). Such law, stated in words, would be no
other than the actual observed law of organic succession; a one more
general, taking that form when applied to our own planet, and including all
the links of the chain which have disappeared. BUT THE ONE LAW IS A
FORM A PART OF ITS ENUNCIATION. Granting this, and with some demur as to
the genesis of man, we are far from disposed to repudiate the view taken of
this mysterious subject in Mr. Darwin's book." The sentence in italics is
no doubt the one referred to in the letter to Lyell. See Letter 243.), has
a sentence with respect to the "Origin," something to the effect that the
higher law of Providential Arrangement should always be stated. But
astronomers do not state that God directs the course of each comet and
planet. The view that each variation has been providentially arranged
seems to me to make Natural Selection entirely superfluous, and indeed
takes the whole case of the appearance of new species out of the range of
science. But what makes me most object to Asa Gray's view is the study of
the extreme variability of domestic animals. He who does not suppose that
each variation in the pigeon was providentially caused, by accumulating
which variations, man made a Fantail, cannot, I think, logically argue that
the tail of the woodpecker was formed by variations providentially
ordained. It seems to me that variations in the domestic and wild
conditions are due to unknown causes, and are without purpose, and in so
far accidental; and that they become purposeful only when they are selected
by man for his pleasure, or by what we call Natural Selection in the
struggle for life, and under changing conditions. I do not wish to say
that God did not foresee everything which would ensue; but here comes very
nearly the same sort of wretched imbroglio as between freewill and
preordained necessity. I doubt whether I have made what I think clear; but
certainly A. Gray's notion of the courses of variation having been led like
a stream of water by gravity, seems to me to smash the whole affair. It
reminds me of a Spaniard whom I told I was trying to make out how the
Cordillera was formed; and he answered me that it was useless, for "God
made them." It may be said that God foresaw how they would be made. I
wonder whether Herschel would say that you ought always to give the higher
providential law, and declare that God had ordered all certain changes of
level, that certain mountains should arise. I must think that such views
of Asa Gray and Herschel merely show that the subject in their minds is in
Comte's theological stage of science...

Of course I do not want any answer to my quasi-theological discussion, but
only for you to think of my notions, if you understand them.

I hope to Heaven your long and great labours on your new edition are
drawing to a close.

Torquay, [August 13th, 1861].

Very many thanks for the orchids, which have proved extremely useful to me
in two ways I did not anticipate, but were too monstrous (yet of some use)
for my special purpose.

When you come to "Deification" (131/1. See Letter 105, note.), ask
yourself honestly whether what you are thinking applies to the endless
variations of domestic productions, which man accumulates for his mere
fancy or use. No doubt these are all caused by some unknown law, but I
cannot believe they were ordained for any purpose, and if not so ordained
under domesticity, I can see no reason to believe that they were ordained
in a state of nature. Of course it may be said, when you kick a stone, or
a leaf falls from a tree, that it was ordained, before the foundations of
the world were laid, exactly where that stone or leaf should lie. In this
sense the subject has no interest for me.

Once again, many thanks for the orchids; you must let me repay you what you
paid the collector.


(132/1. The first paragraph probably refers to the proof-sheets of Lyell's
"Antiquity of Man," but the passage referred to seems not to occur in the

Torquay, August 21st [1861].

...I have really no criticism, except a trifling one in pencil near the
end, which I have inserted on account of dominant and important species
generally varying most. You speak of "their views" rather as if you were a
thousand miles away from such wretches, but your concluding paragraph shows
that you are one of the wretches.

I am pleased that you approve of Hutton's review. (132/2. "Some Remarks
on Mr. Darwin's Theory," by F.W. Hutton. "Geologist," Volume IV., page 132
(1861). See Letter 124.) It seemed to me to take a more philosophical
view of the manner of judging the question than any other review. The
sentence you quote from it seems very true, but I do not agree with the
theological conclusion. I think he quotes from Asa Gray, certainly not
from me; but I have neither A. Gray nor "Origin" with me. Indeed, I have
over and over again said in the "Origin" that Natural Selection does
nothing without variability; I have given a whole chapter on laws, and used
the strongest language how ignorant we are on these laws. But I agree that
I have somehow (Hooker says it is owing to my title) not made the great and
manifest importance of previous variability plain enough. Breeders
constantly speak of Selection as the one great means of improvement; but of
course they imply individual differences, and this I should have thought
would have been obvious to all in Natural Selection; but it has not been

I have just said that I cannot agree with "which variations are the effects
of an unknown law, ordained and guided without doubt by an intelligent
cause on a preconceived and definite plan." Will you honestly tell me (and
I should be really much obliged) whether you believe that the shape of my
nose (eheu!) was ordained and "guided by an intelligent cause?" (132/3.
It should be remembered that the shape of his nose nearly determined Fitz-
Roy to reject Darwin as naturalist to H.M.S. "Beagle" ("Life and Letters,"
I., page 60).) By the selection of analogous and less differences fanciers
make almost generic differences in their pigeons; and can you see any good
reason why the Natural Selection of analogous individual differences should
not make new species? If you say that God ordained that at some time and
place a dozen slight variations should arise, and that one of them alone
should be preserved in the struggle for life and the other eleven should
perish in the first or few first generations, then the saying seems to me
mere verbiage. It comes to merely saying that everything that is, is

Let me add another sentence. Why should you or I speak of variation as
having been ordained and guided, more than does an astronomer, in
discussing the fall of a meteoric stone? He would simply say that it was
drawn to our earth by the attraction of gravity, having been displaced in
its course by the action of some quite unknown laws. Would you have him
say that its fall at some particular place and time was "ordained and
guided without doubt by an intelligent cause on a preconceived and definite
plan"? Would you not call this theological pedantry or display? I believe
it is not pedantry in the case of species, simply because their formation
has hitherto been viewed as beyond law; in fact, this branch of science is
still with most people under its theological phase of development. The
conclusion which I always come to after thinking of such questions is that
they are beyond the human intellect; and the less one thinks on them the
better. You may say, Then why trouble me? But I should very much like to
know clearly what you think.


(133/1. The following letter was published in the "Life" of Mr. Fawcett
(1885); we are indebted to Mrs. Fawcett and Messrs. Smith & Elder for
permission to reprint it. See Letter 129.)

September 18th [1861].

I wondered who had so kindly sent me the newspaper (133/2. The newspaper
sent was the "Manchester Examiner" for September 9th, 1861, containing a
report of Mr. Fawcett's address given before Section D of the British
Association, "On the method of Mr. Darwin in his treatise on the origin of
species," in which the speaker showed that the "method of investigation
pursued by Mr. Darwin in his treatise on the origin of species is in strict
accordance with the principles of logic." The "A" of the letter (as
published in Fawcett's Life) is the late Professor Williamson, who is
reported to have said that "while he would not say that Mr. Darwin's book
had caused him a loss of reputation, he was sure that it had not caused a
gain." The reference to "B" is explained by the report of the late Dr.
Lankester's speech in which he said, "The facts brought forward in support
of the hypothesis had a very different value indeed from that of the
hypothesis...A great naturalist, who was still a friend of Mr. Darwin, once
said to him (Dr. Lankester), 'The mistake is, that Darwin has dealt with
origin. Why did he not put his facts before us, and let them rest?'"
Another speaker, the Rt. Hon. J.R. Napier, remarked: "I am going to speak
closely to the question. If the hypothesis is put forward to contradict
facts, and the averments are contrary to the Word of God, I say that it is
not a logical argument." At this point the chairman, Professor Babington,
wisely interfered, on the ground that the meeting was a scientific one.),
which I was very glad to see; and now I have to thank you sincerely for
allowing me to see your MS. It seems to me very good and sound; though I
am certainly not an impartial judge. You will have done good service in
calling the attention of scientific men to means and laws of
philosophising. As far as I could judge by the papers, your opponents were
unworthy of you. How miserably A. talked of my reputation, as if that had
anything to do with it!...How profoundly ignorant B must be of the very
soul of observation! About thirty years ago there was much talk that
geologists ought only to observe and not theorise; and I well remember some
one saying that at this rate a man might as well go into a gravel-pit and
count the pebbles and describe the colours. How odd it is that anyone
should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it
is to be of any service!

I have returned only lately from a two months' visit to Torquay, which did
my health at the time good; but I am one of those miserable creatures who
are never comfortable for twenty-four hours; and it is clear to me that I
ought to be exterminated. I have been rather idle of late, or, speaking
more strictly, working at some miscellaneous papers, which, however, have
some direct bearing on the subject of species; yet I feel guilty at having
neglected my larger book. But, to me, observing is much better sport than
writing. I fear that I shall have wearied you with this long note.

Pray believe that I feel sincerely grateful that you have taken up the
cudgels in defence of the line of argument in the "Origin;" you will have
benefited the subject.

Many are so fearful of speaking out. A German naturalist came here the
other day; and he tells me that there are many in Germany on our side, but
that all seem fearful of speaking out, and waiting for some one to speak,
and then many will follow. The naturalists seem as timid as young ladies
should be, about their scientific reputation. There is much discussion on
the subject on the Continent, even in quiet Holland; and I had a pamphlet
from Moscow the other day by a man who sticks up famously for the
imperfection of the "Geological Record," but complains that I have sadly
understated the variability of the old fossilised animals! But I must not
run on.

Down, September 25th [1861].

Now for a few words on science. Many thanks for facts on neuters. You
cannot tell how I rejoice that you do not think what I have said on the
subject absurd. Only two persons have even noticed it to me--viz., the
bitter sneer of Owen in the "Edinburgh Review" (134/1. "Edinburgh Review,"
April, 1860, page 525.), and my good friend and supporter, Sir C. Lyell,
who could only screw up courage to say, "Well, you have manfully faced the

What a wonderful case of Volucella of which I had never heard. (134/2.
Volucella is a fly--one of the Syrphidae--supposed to supply a case of
mimicry; this was doubtless the point of interest with Bates. Dr. Sharp
says ["Insects," Part II. (in the Camb. Nat. Hist. series), 1899, page
500]: "It was formerly assumed that the Volucella larvae lived on the
larvae of the bees, and that the parent flies were providentially endowed
with a bee-like appearance that they might obtain entrance into the bees'
nests without being detected." Dr. Sharp goes on to say that what little
is known on the subject supports the belief that the "presence of the
Volucella in the nests is advantageous to both fly and bee.") I had no
idea such a case occurred in nature; I must get and see specimens in
British Museum. I hope and suppose you will give a good deal of Natural
History in your Travels; every one cares about ants--more notice has been
taken about slave-ants in the "Origin" than of any other passage.

I fully expect to delight in your Travels. Keep to simple style, as in
your excellent letters,--but I beg pardon, I am again advising.

What a capital paper yours will be on mimetic resemblances! You will make
quite a new subject of it. I had thought of such cases as a difficulty;
and once, when corresponding with Dr. Collingwood, I thought of your
explanation; but I drove it from my mind, for I felt that I had not
knowledge to judge one way or the other. Dr C., I think, states that the
mimetic forms inhabit the same country, but I did not know whether to
believe him. What wonderful cases yours seem to be! Could you not give a
few woodcuts in your Travels to illustrate this? I am tired with a hard
day's work, so no more, except to give my sincere thanks and hearty wishes
for the success of your Travels.

Down, March 18th [1862].

Your letter discusses lots of interesting subjects, and I am very glad you
have sent for your letter to Bates. (135/1. Published in Mr. Clodd's
memoir of Bates in the "Naturalist on the Amazons," 1892, page l.) What do
you mean by "individual plants"? (135/2. In a letter to Mr. Darwin dated
March 17th, 1862, Sir J.D. Hooker had discussed a supposed difference
between animals and plants, "inasmuch as the individual animal is certainly
changed materially by external conditions, the latter (I think) never,
except in such a coarse way as stunting or enlarging--e.g. no increase of
cold on the spot, or change of individual plant from hot to cold, will
induce said individual plant to get more woolly covering; but I suppose a
series of cold seasons would bring about such a change in an individual
quadruped, just as rowing will harden hands, etc.") I fancied a bud lived
only a year, and you could hardly expect any change in that time; but if
you call a tree or plant an individual, you have sporting buds. Perhaps
you mean that the whole tree does not change. Tulips, in "breaking,"
change. Fruit seems certainly affected by the stock. I think I have
(135/3. See note, Letter 16.) got cases of slight change in alpine plants
transplanted. All these subjects have rather gone out of my head owing to
orchids, but I shall soon have to enter on them in earnest when I come
again to my volume on variation under domestication.

...In the lifetime of an animal you would, I think, find it very difficult
to show effects of external condition on animals more than shade and light,
good and bad soil, produce on a plant.

You speak of "an inherent tendency to vary wholly independent of physical
conditions"! This is a very simple way of putting the case (as Dr. Prosper
Lucas also puts it) (135/4. Prosper Lucas, the author of "Traite
philosophique et physiologique de l'heredite naturelle dans les etats de
sante et de maladie du systeme nerveux": 2 volumes, Paris, 1847-50.): but
two great classes of facts make me think that all variability is due to
change in the conditions of life: firstly, that there is more variability
and more monstrosities (and these graduate into each other) under unnatural
domestic conditions than under nature; and, secondly, that changed
conditions affect in an especial manner the reproductive organs--those
organs which are to produce a new being. But why one seedling out of
thousands presents some new character transcends the wildest powers of
conjecture. It was in this sense that I spoke of "climate," etc., possibly
producing without selection a hooked seed, or any not great variation.
(135/5. This statement probably occurs in a letter, and not in Darwin's
published works.)

I have for years and years been fighting with myself not to attribute too
much to Natural Selection--to attribute something to direct action of
conditions; and perhaps I have too much conquered my tendency to lay hardly
any stress on conditions of life.

I am not shaken about "saltus" (135/6. Sir Joseph had written, March 17th,
1862: "Huxley is rather disposed to think you have overlooked saltus, but
I am not sure that he is right--saltus quoad individuals is not saltus
quoad species--as I pointed out in the Begonia case, though perhaps that
was rather special pleading in the present state of science." For the
Begonia case, see "Life and Letters," II., page 275, also letter 110, page
166.), I did not write without going pretty carefully into all the cases of
normal structure in animals resembling monstrosities which appear per

26th [March, 1862].

Thanks also for your own (136/1. See note in Letter 135.) and Bates'
letter now returned. They are both excellent; you have, I think, said all
that can be said against direct effects of conditions, and capitally put.
But I still stick to my own and Bates' side. Nevertheless I am pleased to
attribute little to conditions, and I wish I had done what you suggest--
started on the fundamental principle of variation being an innate
principle, and afterwards made a few remarks showing that hereafter,
perhaps, this principle would be explicable. Whenever my book on poultry,
pigeons, ducks, and rabbits is published, with all the measurements and
weighings of bones, I think you will see that "use and disuse" at least
have some effect. I do not believe in perfect reversion. I rather demur
to your doctrine of "centrifugal variation." (136/2. The "doctrine of
centrifugal variation" is given in Sir J.D. Hooker's "Introductory Essay to
the Flora of Tasmania" (Part III. of the Botany of the Antarctic
Expedition), 1859, page viii. In paragraph 10 the author writes: "The
tendency of varieties, both in nature and under rather to
depart more and more widely from the original type than to revert to it."
In Sir Joseph's letter to Bates (loc. cit., page lii) he wrote: "Darwin
also believes in some reversion to type which is opposed to my view of
variation." It may be noted in this connection that Mr. Galton has shown
reason to believe in a centripetal tendency in variation (to use Hooker's
phraseology) which is not identical with the reversion of cultivated plants
to their ancestors, the case to which Hooker apparently refers. See
"Natural Inheritance," by F. Galton, 1889.) I suppose you do not agree
with or do not remember my doctrine of the good of diversification (136/3.
Darwin usually used the word "divergence" in this connection.); this seems
to me amply to account for variation being centrifugal--if you forget it,
look at this discussion (page 117 of 3rd edition), it was the best point
which, according to my notions, I made out, and it has always pleased me.
It is really curiously satisfactory to me to see so able a man as Bates
(and yourself) believing more fully in Natural Selection than I think I
even do myself. (136/4. This refers to a very interesting passage in
Hooker's letter to Bates (loc. cit., page liii): "I am sure that with you,
as with me, the more you think the less occasion you will see for anything
but time and natural selection to effect change; and that this view is the
simplest and clearest in the present state of science is one advantage, at
any rate. Indeed, I think that it is, in the present state of the inquiry,
the legitimate position to take up; it is time enough to bother our heads
with the secondary cause when there is some evidence of it or some demand
for it--at present I do not see one or the other, and so feel inclined to
renounce any other for the present.") By the way, I always boast to you,
and so I think Owen will be wrong that my book will be forgotten in ten
years, for a French edition is now going through the press and a second
German edition wanted. Your long letter to Bates has set my head working,
and makes me repent of the nine months spent on orchids; though I know not
why I should not have amused myself on them as well as slaving on bones of
ducks and pigeons, etc. The orchids have been splendid sport, though at
present I am fearfully sick of them.

I enclose a waste copy of woodcut of Mormodes ignea; I wish you had a plant
at Kew, for I am sure its wonderful mechanism and structure would amuse
you. Is it not curious the way the labellum sits on the top of the
column?--here insects alight and are beautifully shot, when they touch a
certain sensitive point, by the pollinia.

How kindly you have helped me in my work! Farewell, my dear old fellow.

Down, May 4th [1862].

Hearty thanks for your most interesting letter and three very valuable
extracts. I am very glad that you have been looking at the South Temperate
insects. I wish that the materials in the British Museum had been richer;
but I should think the case of the South American Carabi, supported by some
other case, would be worth a paper. To us who theorise I am sure the case
is very important. Do the South American Carabi differ more from the other
species than do, for instance, the Siberian and European and North American
and Himalayan (if the genus exists there)? If they do, I entirely agree
with you that the difference would be too great to account for by the
recent Glacial period. I agree, also, with you in utterly rejecting an
independent origin for these Carabi. There is a difficulty, as far as I
know, in our ignorance whether insects change quickly in time; you could
judge of this by knowing how far closely allied coleoptera generally have
much restricted ranges, for this almost implies rapid change. What a
curious case is offered by land-shells, which become modified in every sub-
district, and have yet retained the same general structure from very remote
geological periods! When working at the Glacial period, I remember feeling
much surprised how few birds, no mammals, and very few sea-mollusca seemed
to have crossed, or deeply entered, the inter-tropical regions during the
cold period. Insects, from all you say, seem to come under the same
category. Plants seem to migrate more readily than animals. Do not
underrate the length of Glacial period: Forbes used to argue that it was
equivalent to the whole of the Pleistocene period in the warmer latitudes.
I believe, with you, that we shall be driven to an older Glacial period.

I am very sorry to hear about the British Museum; it would be hopeless to
contend against any one supported by Owen. Perhaps another chance might
occur before very long. How would it be to speak to Owen as soon as your
own mind is made up? From what I have heard, since talking to you, I fear
the strongest personal interest with a Minister is requisite for a pension.

Farewell, and may success attend the acerrimo pro-pugnatori.

P.S. I deeply wish you could find some situation in which you could give
your time to science; it would be a great thing for science and for

Down, July 11th [1862].

I thank you cordially for so kindly and promptly answering my questions. I
will quote some of your remarks. The case seems to me of some importance
with reference to my heretical notions, for it shows how larvae might be
modified. I shall not publish, I daresay, for a year, for much time is
expended in experiments. If within this time you should acquire any fresh
information on the similarity of the moths of distinct races, and would
allow me to quote any facts on your authority, I should feel very grateful.

I thank you for your great kindness with respect to the translation of the
"Origin;" it is very liberal in you, as we differ to a considerable degree.
I have been atrociously abused by my religious countrymen; but as I live an
independent life in the country, it does not in the least hurt me in any
way, except indeed when the abuse comes from an old friend like Professor
Owen, who abuses me and then advances the doctrine that all birds are
probably descended from one parent.

I wish the translator (138/1. Mdlle. Royer, who translated the first
French edition of the "Origin.') had known more of Natural History; she
must be a clever but singular lady, but I never heard of her till she
proposed to translate my book.

Down, July 23rd [1862].

I received several days ago two large packets, but have as yet read only
your letter; for we have been in fearful distress, and I could attend to
nothing. Our poor boy had the rare case of second rash and sore throat...;
and, as if this was not enough, a most serious attack of erysipelas, with
typhoid symptoms. I despaired of his life; but this evening he has eaten
one mouthful, and I think has passed the crisis. He has lived on port wine
every three-quarters of an hour, day and night. This evening, to our
astonishment, he asked whether his stamps were safe, and I told him of one
sent by you, and that he should see it to-morrow. He answered, "I should
awfully like to see it now"; so with difficulty he opened his eyelids and
glanced at it, and, with a sigh of satisfaction, said, "All right."
Children are one's greatest happiness, but often and often a still greater
misery. A man of science ought to have none--perhaps not a wife; for then
there would be nothing in this wide world worth caring for, and a man might
(whether he could is another question) work away like a Trojan. I hope in
a few days to get my brains in order, and then I will pick out all your
orchid letters, and return them in hopes of your making use of them...

Of all the carpenters for knocking the right nail on the head, you are the
very best; no one else has perceived that my chief interest in my orchid
book has been that it was a "flank movement" on the enemy. I live in such
solitude that I hear nothing, and have no idea to what you allude about
Bentham and the orchids and species. But I must enquire.

By the way, one of my chief enemies (the sole one who has annoyed me),
namely Owen, I hear has been lecturing on birds; and admits that all have
descended from one, and advances as his own idea that the oceanic wingless
birds have lost their wings by gradual disuse. He never alludes to me, or
only with bitter sneers, and coupled with Buffon and the "Vestiges."

Well, it has been an amusement to me this first evening, scribbling as
egotistically as usual about myself and my doings; so you must forgive me,
as I know well your kind heart will do. I have managed to skim the
newspaper, but had not heart to read all the bloody details. Good God!
What will the end be? Perhaps we are too despondent here; but I must think
you are too hopeful on your side of the water. I never believed the
"canards" of the army of the Potomac having capitulated. My good dear wife
and self are come to wish for peace at any price. Good night, my good
friend. I will scribble on no more.

One more word. I should like to hear what you think about what I say in
the last chapter of the orchid book on the meaning and cause of the endless
diversity of means for the same general purpose. It bears on design, that
endless question. Good night, good night!

1, Carlton Terrace, Southampton, August 22nd [1862].

You say that the Bishop and Owen will be down on you (140/1. This refers
to the "Antiquity of Man," which was published in 1863.): 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.
(140/2. The first paragraph of this letter was published in "Life and
Letters," II., pages 387, 388.) 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. What an unblushing man he
must be to lecture thus after abusing me so, and never to have openly
retracted, or alluded to my book!

Cliff Cottage, Bournemouth, September 5th [1862].

Many thanks for your pleasant note in return for all my stupid trouble. I
did not fully appreciate your insect-diving case (141/1. "On two Aquatic
Hymenoptera, one of which uses its Wings in Swimming." By John Lubbock.
"Trans. Linn. Soc." Volume XXIV., 1864, pages 135-42.) [Read May 7th,
1863.] In this paper Lubbock describes a new species of Polynema--P.
natans--which swims by means of its wings, and is capable of living under
water for several hours; the other species, referred to a new genus
Prestwichia, lives under water, holds its wings motionless and uses its
legs as oars.) before your last note, nor had I any idea that the fact was
new, though new to me. It is really very interesting. Of course you will
publish an account of it. You will then say whether the insect can fly
well through the air. (141/2. In describing the habits of Polynema,
Lubbock writes, "I was unfortunately unable to ascertain whether they could
fly" (loc. cit., page 137).) My wife asked, "How did he find that it
stayed four hours under water without breathing?" I answered at once:
"Mrs. Lubbock sat four hours watching." I wonder whether I am right.

I long to be at home and at steady work, and I hope we may be in another
month. I fear it is hopeless my coming to you, for I am squashier than
ever, but hope two shower-baths a day will give me a little strength, so
that you will, I hope, come to us. It is an age since I have seen you or
any scientific friend.

I heard from Lyell the other day in the Isle of Wight, and from Hooker in
Scotland. About Huxley I know nothing, but I hope his book progresses, for
I shall be very curious to see it. (141/3. "Man's Place in Nature."
London, 1863.)

I do nothing here except occasionally look at a few flowers, and there are
very few here, for the country is wonderfully barren.

See what it is to be well trained. Horace said to me yesterday, "If every
one would kill adders they would come to sting less." I answered: "Of
course they would, for there would be fewer." He replied indignantly: "I
did not mean that; but the timid adders which run away would be saved, and
in time would never sting at all." Natural selection of cowards!


(142/1. This refers to the MS. of Falconer's paper "On the American Fossil
Elephant of the Regions bordering the Gulf of Mexico (E. Columbi, Falc.),"
published in the "Natural History Review," January, 1863, page 43. The
section dealing with the bearing of his facts on Darwin's views is at page
77. He insists strongly (page 78) on the "persistence and uniformity of
the characters of the molar teeth in the earliest known mammoth, and his
most modern successor." Nevertheless, he adds that the "inferences I draw
from these facts are not opposed to one of the leading propositions of
Darwin's theory." These admissions were the more satisfactory since, as
Falconer points out (page 77), "I have been included by him in the category
of those who have vehemently maintained the persistence of specific

21, Park Crescent, Portland Place, N.W., September 24th [1862].

Do not be frightened at the enclosure. I wish to set myself right by you
before I go to press. I am bringing out a heavy memoir on elephants--an
omnium gatherum affair, with observations on the fossil and recent species.
One section is devoted to the persistence in time of the specific
characters of the mammoth. I trace him from before the Glacial period,
through it and after it, unchangeable and unchanged as far as the organs of
digestion (teeth) and locomotion are concerned. Now, the Glacial period
was no joke: it would have made ducks and drakes of your dear pigeons and

With all my shortcomings, I have such a sincere and affectionate regard for
you and such admiration of your work, that I should be pained to find that
I had expressed my honest convictions in a way that would be open to any
objection by you. The reasoning may be very stupid, but I believe that the
observation is sound. Will you, therefore, look over the few pages which I
have sent, and tell me whether you find any flaw, or whether you think I
should change the form of expression? You have been so unhandsomely and
uncandidly dealt with by a friend of yours and mine that I should be sorry
to find myself in the position of an opponent to you, and more particularly
with the chance of making a fool of myself.

I met your brother yesterday, who tells me you are coming to town. I hope
you will give me a hail. I long for a jaw with you, and have much to speak
to you about.

You will have seen the eclaircissement about the Eocene monkeys of England.
By a touch of the conjuring wand they have been metamorphosed--a la Darwin
--into Hyracotherian pigs. (142/2. "On the Hyracotherian Character of the
Lower Molars of the supposed Macacus from the Eocene Sand of Kyson,
Suffolk." "Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist." Volume X., 1862, page 240. In this note
Owen stated that the teeth which he had named Macacus ("Ann. Mag." 1840,
page 191) most probably belonged to Hyracotherium cuniculus. See "A
Catalogue of British Fossil Vertebrata," A.S. Woodward and C.D. Sherborn,
1890, under Hyracotherium, page 356; also Zittel's "Handbuch der
Palaeontologie" Abth. I., Bd. IV., Leipzig, 1891-93, page 703.) Would you
believe it? This even is a gross blunder. They are not pigs.

Down, October 1st [1862].

On my return home yesterday I found your letter and MS., which I have read
with extreme interest. Your note and every word in your paper are
expressed with the same kind feeling which I have experienced from you ever
since I have had the happiness of knowing you. I value scientific praise,
but I value incomparably higher such kind feeling as yours. There is not a
single word in your paper to which I could possibly object: I should be
mad to do so; its only fault is perhaps its too great kindness. Your case
seems the most striking one which I have met with of the persistence of
specific characters. It is very much the more striking as it relates to
the molar teeth, which differ so much in the species of the genus, and in
which consequently I should have expected variation. As I read on I felt
not a little dumbfounded, and thought to myself that whenever I came to
this subject I should have to be savage against myself; and I wondered how
savage you would be. I trembled a little. My only hope was that something
could be made out of the bog N. American forms, which you rank as a
geographical race; and possibly hereafter out of the Sicilian species.
Guess, then, my satisfaction when I found that you yourself made a loophole
(143/1. This perhaps refers to a passage ("N.H. Review," 1863, page 79) in
which Falconer allows the existence of intermediate forms along certain
possible lines of descent. Falconer's reference to the Sicilian elephants
is in a note on page 78; the bog-elephant is mentioned on page 79.), which
I never, of course, could have guessed at; and imagine my still greater
satisfaction at your expressing yourself as an unbeliever in the eternal
immutability of species. Your final remarks on my work are too generous,
but have given me not a little pleasure. As for criticisms, I have only
small ones. When you speak of "moderate range of variation" I cannot but
think that you ought to remind your readers (though I daresay previously
done) what the amount is, including the case of the American bog-mammoth.
You speak of these animals as having been exposed to a vast range of
climatal changes from before to after the Glacial period. I should have
thought, from analogy of sea-shells, that by migration (or local extinction
when migration not possible) these animals might and would have kept under
nearly the same climate.

A rather more important consideration, as it seems to me, is that the whole
proboscidean group may, I presume, be looked at as verging towards
extinction: anyhow, the extinction has been complete as far as Europe and
America are concerned. Numerous considerations and facts have led me in
the "Origin" to conclude that it is the flourishing or dominant members of
each order which generally give rise to new races, sub-species, and
species; and under this point of view I am not at all surprised at the
constancy of your species. This leads me to remark that the sentence at
the bottom of page [80] is not applicable to my views (143/2. See Falconer
at the bottom of page 80: it is the old difficulty--how can variability
co-exist with persistence of type? In our copy of the letter the passage
is given as occurring on page 60, a slip of the pen for page 80.), though
quite applicable to those who attribute modification to the direct action
of the conditions of life. An elephant might be more individually variable
than any known quadruped (from the effects of the conditions of life or
other innate unknown causes), but if these variations did not aid the
animal in better resisting all hostile influences, and therefore making it
increase in numbers, there would be no tendency to the preservation and
accumulation of such variations--i.e. to the formation of a new race. As
the proboscidean group seems to be from utterly unknown causes a failing
group in many parts of the world, I should not have anticipated the
formation of new races.

You make important remarks versus Natural Selection, and you will perhaps
be surprised that I do to a large extent agree with you. I could show you
many passages, written as strongly as I could in the "Origin," declaring
that Natural Selection can do nothing without previous variability; and I
have tried to put equally strongly that variability is governed by many
laws, mostly quite unknown. My title deceives people, and I wish I had
made it rather different. Your phyllotaxis (143/3. Falconer, page 80:
"The law of nearly as constant in its manifestation as any
of the physical laws connected with the material world.") will serve as
example, for I quite agree that the spiral arrangement of a certain number
of whorls of leaves (however that may have primordially arisen, and whether
quite as invariable as you state), governs the limits of variability, and
therefore governs what Natural Selection can do. Let me explain how it
arose that I laid so much stress on Natural Selection, and I still think
justly. I came to think from geographical distribution, etc., etc., that
species probably change; but for years I was stopped dead by my utter
incapability of seeing how every part of each creature (a woodpecker or
swallow, for instance) had become adapted to its conditions of life. This
seemed to me, and does still seem, the problem to solve; and I think
Natural Selection solves it, as artificial selection solves the adaptation
of domestic races for man's use. But I suspect that you mean something
further,--that there is some unknown law of evolution by which species
necessarily change; and if this be so, I cannot agree. This, however, is
too large a question even for so unreasonably long a letter as this.
Nevertheless, just to explain by mere valueless conjectures how I imagine
the teeth of your elephants change, I should look at the change as
indirectly resulting from changes in the form of the jaws, or from the
development of tusks, or in the case of the primigenius even from
correlation with the woolly covering; in all cases Natural Selection
checking the variation. If, indeed, an elephant would succeed better by
feeding on some new kinds of food, then any variation of any kind in the
teeth which favoured their grinding power would be preserved. Now, I can
fancy you holding up your hands and crying out what bosh! To return to
your concluding sentence: far from being surprised, I look at it as
absolutely certain that very much in the "Origin" will be proved rubbish;
but I expect and hope that the framework will stand. (143/4. Falconer,
page 80: "He [Darwin] has laid the foundations of a great edifice: but he
need not be surprised if, in the progress of erection, the superstructure
is altered by his successors...")

I had hoped to have called on you on Monday evening, but was quite knocked
up. I saw Lyell yesterday morning. He was very curious about your views,
and as I had to write to him this morning I could not help telling him a
few words on your views. I suppose you are tired of the "Origin," and will
never read it again; otherwise I should like you to have the third edition,
and would gladly send it rather than you should look at the first or second
edition. With cordial thanks for your generous kindness.

Royal Gardens, Kew, November 7th, 1862.

I am greatly relieved by your letter this morning about my Arctic essay,
for I had been conjuring up some egregious blunder (like the granitic
plains of Patagonia).. Certes, after what you have told me of Dawson, he
will not like the letter I wrote to him days ago, in which I told him that
it was impossible to entertain a strong opinion against the Darwinian
hypothesis without its giving rise to a mental twist when viewing matters
in which that hypothesis was or might be involved. I told him I felt that
this was so with me when I opposed you, and that all minds are subject to
such obliquities!--the Lord help me, and this to an LL.D. and Principal of
a College! I proceeded to discuss his Geology with the effrontery of a
novice; and, thank God, I urged the very argument of your letter about
evidence of subsidence--viz., not all submerged at once, and glacial action
being subaerial and not oceanic. Your letter hence was a relief, for I
felt I was hardly strong enough to have launched out as I did to a
professed geologist.

(144/1. [On the subject of the above letter, see one of earlier date by
Sir J.D. Hooker (November 2nd, 1862) given in the present work (Letter 354)
with Darwin's reply (Letter 355).])

Down, November 14th [1862].

I have read your paper (145/1. "On the disputed Affinity of the Mammalian
Genus Plagiaulax, from the Purbeck beds."--"Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc."
Volume XVIII., page 348, 1862.) with extreme interest, and I thank you for
sending it, though I should certainly have carefully read it, or anything
with your name, in the Journal. It seems to me a masterpiece of close
reasoning: although, of course, not a judge of such subjects, I cannot
feel any doubt that it is conclusive. Will Owen answer you? I expect that
from his arrogant view of his own position he will not answer. Your paper
is dreadfully severe on him, but perfectly courteous, and polished as the
finest dagger. How kind you are towards me: your first sentence (145/2.
"One of the most accurate observers and original thinkers of our time has
discoursed with emphatic eloquence on the Imperfection of the Geological
Record.") has pleased me more than perhaps it ought to do, if I had any
modesty in my composition. By the way, after reading the first whole
paragraph, I re-read it, not for matter, but for style; and then it
suddenly occurred to me that a certain man once said to me, when I urged
him to publish some of his miscellaneous wealth of knowledge, "Oh, he could
not write,--he hated it," etc. You false man, never say that to me again.
Your incidental remark on the remarkable specialisation of Plagiaulax
(145/3. "If Plagiaulax be regarded through the medium of the view
advocated with such power by Darwin, through what a number of intermediate
forms must not the genus have passed before it attained the specialised
condition in which the fossils come before us!") (which has stuck in my
gizzard ever since I read your first paper) as bearing on the number of
preceding forms, is quite new to me, and, of course, is in accordance to my
notions a most impressive argument. I was also glad to be reminded of
teeth of camel and tarsal bones. (145/4. Op. cit. page 353. A reference
to Cuvier's instance "of the secret relation between the upper canine-
shaped incisors of the camel and the bones of the tarsus.") Descent from
an intermediate form, Ahem!

Well, all I can say is that I have not been for a long time more interested
with a paper than with yours. It gives me a demoniacal chuckle to think of
Owen's pleasant countenance when he reads it.

I have not been in London since the end of September; when I do come I will
beat up your quarters if I possibly can; but I do not know what has come
over me. I am worse than ever in bearing any excitement. Even talking of
an evening for less than two hours has twice recently brought on such
violent vomiting and trembling that I dread coming up to London. I hear
that you came out strong at Cambridge (145/5. Prof. Owen, in a
communication to the British Association at Cambridge (1862) "On a tooth of
Mastodon from the Tertiary marls, near Shanghai," brought forward the case
of the Australian Mastodon as a proof of the remarkable geographical
distribution of the Proboscidia. In a subsequent discussion he frankly
abandoned it, in consequence of the doubts then urged regarding its
authenticity. (See footnote, page 101, in Falconer's paper "On the
American Fossil Elephant," "Nat. Hist. Review," 1863.)), and am heartily
glad you attacked the Australian Mastodon. I never did or could believe in
him. I wish you would read my little Primula paper in the "Linnean
Journal," Volume VI. Botany (No. 22), page 77 (I have no copy which I can
spare), as I think there is a good chance that you may have observed
similar cases. This is my real hobby-horse at present. I have re-tested
this summer the functional difference of the two forms in Primula, and find
all strictly accurate. If you should know of any cases analogous, pray
inform me. Farewell, my good and kind friend.


(146/1. The following letter is interesting in connection with a letter
addressed to Sir J.D. Hooker, March 26th, 1862, No. 136, where the value of
Natural Selection is stated more strongly by Sir Joseph than by Darwin. It
is unfortunate that Sir Joseph's letter, to which this is a reply, has not
been found.)

Down, November 20th [1862].

Your last letter has interested me to an extraordinary degree, and your
truly parsonic advice, "some other wise and discreet person," etc., etc.,
amused us not a little. I will put a concrete case to show what I think A.
Gray believes about crossing and what I believe. If 1,000 pigeons were
bred together in a cage for 10,000 years their number not being allowed to
increase by chance killing, then from mutual intercrossing no varieties
would arise; but, if each pigeon were a self-fertilising hermaphrodite, a
multitude of varieties would arise. This, I believe, is the common effect
of crossing, viz., the obliteration of incipient varieties. I do not deny
that when two marked varieties have been produced, their crossing will
produce a third or more intermediate varieties. Possibly, or probably,
with domestic varieties, with a strong tendency to vary, the act of
crossing tends to give rise to new characters; and thus a third or more
races, not strictly intermediate, may be produced. But there is heavy
evidence against new characters arising from crossing wild forms; only
intermediate races are then produced. Now, do you agree thus far? if not,
it is no use arguing; we must come to swearing, and I am convinced I can
swear harder than you, therefore I am right. Q.E.D.

If the number of 1,000 pigeons were prevented increasing not by chance
killing, but by, say, all the shorter-beaked birds being killed, then the
WHOLE body would come to have longer beaks. Do you agree?

Thirdly, if 1,000 pigeons were kept in a hot country, and another 1,000 in
a cold country, and fed on different food, and confined in different-size
aviary, and kept constant in number by chance killing, then I should expect
as rather probable that after 10,000 years the two bodies would differ
slightly in size, colour, and perhaps other trifling characters; this I
should call the direct action of physical conditions. By this action I
wish to imply that the innate vital forces are somehow led to act rather
differently in the two cases, just as heat will allow or cause two elements
to combine, which otherwise would not have combined. I should be
especially obliged if you would tell me what you think on this head.

But the part of your letter which fairly pitched me head over heels with
astonishment, is that where you state that every single difference which we
see might have occurred without any selection. I do and have always fully
agreed; but you have got right round the subject, and viewed it from an
entirely opposite and new side, and when you took me there I was astounded.
When I say I agree, I must make the proviso, that under your view, as now,
each form long remains adapted to certain fixed conditions, and that the
conditions of life are in the long run changeable; and second, which is
more important, that each individual form is a self-fertilising
hermaphrodite, so that each hair-breadth variation is not lost by
intercrossing. Your manner of putting the case would be even more striking
than it is if the mind could grapple with such numbers--it is grappling
with eternity--think of each of a thousand seeds bringing forth its plant,
and then each a thousand. A globe stretching to the furthest fixed star
would very soon be covered. I cannot even grapple with the idea, even with
races of dogs, cattle, pigeons, or fowls; and here all admit and see the
accurate strictness of your illustration.

Such men as you and Lyell thinking that I make too much of a Deus of
Natural Selection is a conclusive argument against me. Yet I hardly know
how I could have put in, in all parts of my book, stronger sentences. The
title, as you once pointed out, might have been better. No one ever
objects to agriculturalists using the strongest language about their
selection, yet every breeder knows that he does not produce the
modification which he selects. My enormous difficulty for years was to
understand adaptation, and this made me, I cannot but think, rightly,
insist so much on Natural Selection. God forgive me for writing at such
length; but you cannot tell how much your letter has interested me, and how
important it is for me with my present book in hand to try and get clear
ideas. Do think a bit about what is meant by direct action of physical
conditions. I do not mean whether they act; my facts will throw some light
on this. I am collecting all cases of bud-variations, in contradistinction
to seed-variations (do you like this term, for what some gardeners call
"sports"?); these eliminate all effects of crossing. Pray remember how
much I value your opinion as the clearest and most original I ever get.

I see plainly that Welwitschia (146/2. Sir Joseph's great paper on
Welwitschia mirabilis was published in the "Linn. Soc. Trans." 1863.) will
be a case of Barnacles.

I have another plant to beg, but I write on separate paper as more
convenient for you to keep. I meant to have said before, as an excuse for
asking for so much from Kew, that I have now lost TWO seasons, by accursed
nurserymen not having right plants, and sending me the wrong instead of
saying that they did not possess.

Down, 24th [November, 1862].

I have just received enclosed for you, and I have thought that you would
like to read the latter half of A. Gray's letter to me, as it is political
and nearly as mad as ever in our English eyes. You will see how the loss
of the power of bullying is in fact the sore loss to the men of the North
from disunion.

I return with thanks Bates' letter, which I was glad to see. It was very
good of you writing to him, for he is evidently a man who wants
encouragement. I have now finished his paper (but have read nothing else
in the volume); it seems to me admirable. To my mind the act of
segregation of varieties into species was never so plainly brought forward,
and there are heaps of capital miscellaneous observations.

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. (147/1.
This paragraph was published in "Life and Letters," II., page 390. It is
not clear why a belief in "direct action" should diminish the glory of
Natural Selection, since the changes so produced must, like any other
variations, pass through the ordeal of the survival of the fittest. On the
whole question of direct action see Mr. Adam Sedgwick's "Presidential
Address to the Zoological Section of the British Association," 1899.)

Down, November 25th [1862?].

I should think it was not necessary to get a written agreement. (148/1.
Mr. Bates' book, "A Naturalist on the Amazons," was published in 1863.) I
have never had one from Murray. I suppose you have a letter with terms; if
not, I should think you had better ask for one to prevent
misunderstandings. I think Sir C. Lyell told me he had not any formal
agreements. I am heartily glad to hear that your book is progressing.
Could you find me some place, even a footnote (though these are in nine
cases out of ten objectionable), where you could state, as fully as your
materials permit, all the facts about similar varieties pairing,--at a
guess how many you caught, and how many now in your collection? I look at
this fact as very important; if not in your book, put it somewhere else, or
let me have cases.

I entirely agree with you on the enormous advantage of thoroughly studying
one group.

I really have no criticism to make. (148/2. Mr. Bates' paper on mimetic
butterflies was read before the Linnean Society, November 21st, 1861, and
published in the "Linn. Soc. Trans." XXIII., 1862, page 495, under the
title of "Contributions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazon Valley.") Style
seems to me very good and clear; but I much regret that in the title or
opening passage you did not blow a loud trumpet about what you were going
to show. Perhaps the paper would have been better more divided into
sections with headings. Perhaps you might have given somewhere rather more
of a summary on the progress of segregation of varieties, and not referred
your readers to the descriptive part, excepting such readers as wanted
minute detail. But these are trifles: I consider your paper as a most
admirable production in every way. Whenever I come to variation under
natural conditions (my head for months has been exclusively occupied with
domestic varieties), I shall have to study and re-study your paper, and no
doubt shall then have to plague you with questions. I am heartily glad to
hear that you are well. I have been compelled to write in a hurry; so
excuse me.

Down, December 7th [1862].

I was on the point of adding to an order to Williams & Norgate for your
Lectures (149/1. "A Course of Six Lectures to Working Men," published in
six pamphlets by Hardwicke, and later as a book. See Letter 156.) when
they arrived, and much obliged I am. I have read them with interest, and
they seem to me very good for this purpose and capitally written, as is
everything which you write. I suppose every book nowadays requires some
pushing, so that if you do not wish these lectures to be extensively
circulated, I suppose they will not; otherwise I should think they would do
good and spread a taste for the natural sciences. Anyhow, I have liked
them; but I get more and more, I am sorry to say, to care for nothing but
Natural History; and chiefly, as you once said, for the mere species
question. I think I liked No. III. the best of all. I have often said and
thought that the process of scientific discovery was identical with
everyday thought, only with more care; but I never succeeded in putting the
case to myself with one-tenth of the clearness with which you have done. I
think your second geological section will puzzle your non-scientific
readers; anyhow, it has puzzled me, and with the strong middle line, which
must represent either a line of stratification or some great mineralogical
change, I cannot conceive how your statement can hold good.

I am very glad to hear of your "three-year-old" vigour [?]; but I fear,
with all your multifarious work, that your book on Man will necessarily be
delayed. You bad man; you say not a word about Mrs. Huxley, of whom my
wife and self are always truly anxious to hear.

P.S. I see in the "Cornhill Magazine" a notice of a work by Cohn, which
apparently is important, on the contractile tissue of plants. (149/2.
"Ueber contractile Gewebe im Pflanzenreiche." "Abhand. der Schlesischen
Gesellschaft fur vaterlandische Cultur," Heft I., 1861.) You ought to have
it reviewed. I have ordered it, and must try and make out, if I can, some
of the accursed german, for I am much interested in the subject, and
experimented a little on it this summer, and came to the conclusion that
plants must contain some substance most closely analogous to the supposed
diffused nervous matter in the lower animals; or as, I presume, it would be
more accurate to say with Cohn, that they have contractile tissue.

Lecture VI., page 151, line 7 from top--wetting FEET or bodies? (Miss
Henrietta Darwin's criticism.) (149/3. Lecture VI., page 151: Lamarck
"said, for example, that the short-legged birds, which live on fish, had
been converted into the long-legged waders by desiring to get the fish
without wetting their feet."

Their criticisms on Lectures IV. and VI. are on a separate piece of undated
paper, and must belong to a letter of later date; only three lectures were
published by December 7th, 1862.)

Lecture IV., page 89--Atavism.

You here and there use atavism = inheritance. Duchesne, who, I believe,
invented the word, in his Strawberry book confined it, as every one has
since done, to resemblance to grandfather or more remote ancestor, in
contradistinction to resemblance to parents.


(150/1. The following is the first of a series of letters addressed to the
late John Scott, of which the major part is given in our Botanical
chapters. We have been tempted to give this correspondence fully not only
because of its intrinsic scientific interest, but also because they are
almost the only letters which show Darwin in personal relation with a
younger man engaged in research under his supervision.)


To the best of my judgment, no subject is so important in relation to
theoretical natural science, in several respects, and likewise in itself
deserving investigation, as the effects of changed or unnatural conditions,
or of changed structure on the reproductive system. Under this point of
view the relation of well-marked but undoubted varieties in fertilising
each other requires far more experiments than have been tried. See in the
"Origin" the brief abstract of Gartner on Verbascum and Zea. Mr. W.
Crocker, lately foreman at Kew and a very good observer, is going at my
suggestion to work varieties of hollyhock. (150/2. Altheae species.
These experiments seem not to have been carried out.) The climate would be
too cold, I suppose, for varieties of tobacco. I began on cabbages, but
immediately stopped from early shedding of their pollen causing too much
trouble. Your knowledge would suggest some [plants]. On the same
principle it would be well to test peloric flowers with their own pollen,
and with pollen of regular flowers, and try pollen of peloric on regular
flowers--seeds being counted in each case. I have now got one seedling
from many crosses of a peloric Pelargonium by peloric pollen; I have two or
three seedlings from a peloric flower by pollen of regular flower. I have
ordered a peloric Antirrhinum (150/3. See "Variation of Animals and
Plants," Edition I., Volume II., page 70.) and the peloric Gloxinia, but I
much fear I shall never have time to try them. The Passiflora cases are
truly wonderful, like the Crinum cases (see "Origin"). (150/4. "Origin,"
Edition VI., page 238.) I have read in a German paper that some varieties
of potatoes (name not given) cannot be fertilised by [their] own pollen,
but can by pollen of other varieties: well worth trying. Again, fertility
of any monster flower, which is pretty regularly produced; I have got the
wonderful Begonia frigida (150/5. The species on which Sir J.D. Hooker
wrote in the "Gardeners' Chronicle," February 25th, 1860. See "Life and
Letters," II., page 275.) from Kew, but doubt whether I have heat to set
its seeds. If an unmodified Celosia could be got, it would be well to test
with the modified cockscomb. There is a variation of columbine [Aquilegia]
with simple petals without nectaries, etc., etc. I never could think what
to try; but if one could get hold of a long-cultivated plant which crossed
with a distinct species and yielded a very small number of seeds, then it
would be highly good to test comparatively the wild parent-form and its
varying offspring with this third species: for instance, if a polyanthus
would cross with some species of Primula, then to try a wild cowslip with
it. I believe hardly any primulas have ever been crossed. If we knew and
could get the parent of the carnation (150/6. Dianthus caryophyllus,
garden variety.), it would be very good for this end. Any member of the
Lythraceae raised from seed ought to be well looked after for dimorphism.
I have wonderful facts, the result of experiment, on Lythrum salicaria.

Down, December 11th [1862].

I have read your paper with much interest. (151/1. "On the Nature and
Peculiarities of the Fern-spore." "Bot. Soc. Edin." Read June 12th,
1862.) You ask for remarks on the matter, which is alone really important.
Shall you think me impertinent (I am sure I do not mean to be so) if I
hazard a remark on the style, which is of more importance than some think?
In my opinion (whether or no worth much) your paper would have been much
better if written more simply and less elaborated--more like your letters.
It is a golden rule always to use, if possible, a short old Saxon word.
Such a sentence as "so purely dependent is the incipient plant on the
specific morphological tendency" does not sound to my ears like good
mother-English--it wants translating. Here and there you might, I think,
have condensed some sentences. I go on the plan of thinking every single
word which can be omitted without actual loss of sense as a decided gain.
Now perhaps you will think me a meddling intruder: anyhow, it is the
advice of an old hackneyed writer who sincerely wishes you well. Your
remark on the two sexes counteracting variability in product of the one is
new to me. (151/2. Scott (op. cit., page 214): "The reproductive organs
of phoenogams, as is well-known, are always products of two morphologically
distinct organs, the stamens producing the pollen, the carpels producing
the ovules...The embryo being in this case the modified resultant of two
originally distinct organs, there will necessarily be a greater tendency to
efface any individual peculiarities of these than would have been the case
had the embryo been the product of a single organ." A different idea seems
to have occurred to Mr. Darwin, for in an undated letter to Scott he wrote:
"I hardly know what to say on your view of male and female organs and
variability. I must think more over it. But I was amused by finding the
other day in my portfolio devoted to bud-variation a slip of paper dated
June, 1860, with some such words as these, 'May not permanence of grafted
buds be due to the two sexual elements derived from different parts not
having come into play?' I had utterly forgotten, when I read your paper
that any analogous notion had ever passed through my mind--nor can I now
remember, but the slip shows me that it had." It is interesting that
Huxley also came to a conclusion differing from Scott's; and, curiously
enough, Darwin confused the two views, for he wrote to Scott (December
19th): "By an odd chance, reading last night some short lectures just
published by Prof. Huxley, I find your observation, independently arrived
at by him, on the confluence of the two sexes causing variability."
Professor Huxley's remarks are in his "Lectures to Working Men on our
Knowledge, etc." No. 4, page 90: "And, indeed, I think that a certain
amount of variation from the primitive stock is the necessary result of the
method of sexual propagation itself; for inasmuch as the thing propagated
proceeds from two organisms of different sexes and different makes and
temperaments, and, as the offspring is to be either of one sex or the
other, it is quite clear that it cannot be an exact diagonal of the two, or
it would be of no sex at all; it cannot be an exact intermediate form
between that of each of its parents--it must deviate to one side or the
other.") But I cannot avoid thinking that there is something unknown and
deeper in seminal generation. Reflect on the long succession of
embryological changes in every animal. Does a bud ever produce cotyledons
or embryonic leaves? I have been much interested by your remark on
inheritance at corresponding ages; I hope you will, as you say, continue to
attend to this. Is it true that female Primula plants always produce
females by parthenogenesis? (151/3. It seems probable that Darwin here
means vegetative reproduction.) If you can answer this I should be glad;
it bears on my Primula work. I thought on the subject, but gave up
investigating what had been observed, because the female bee by
parthenogenesis produces males alone. Your paper has told me much that in
my ignorance was quite new to me. Thanks about P. scotica. If any
important criticisms are made on the Primula to the Botanical Society, I
should be glad to hear them. If you think fit, you may state that I
repeated the crossing experiments on P. sinensis and cowslip with the same
result this spring as last year--indeed, with rather more marked difference
in fertility of the two crosses. In fact, had I then proved the Linum
case, I would not have wasted time in repetition. I am determined I will
at once publish on Linum...

I was right to be cautious in supposing you in error about Siphocampylus
(no flowers were enclosed). I hope that you will make out whether the
pistil presents two definite lengths; I shall be astounded if it does. I
do not fully understand your objections to Natural Selection; if I do, I
presume they would apply with full force to, for instance, birds. Reflect
on modification of Arab-Turk horse into our English racehorse. I have had
the satisfaction to tell my publisher to send my "Journal" and "Origin" to
your address. I suspect, with your fertile mind, you will find it far
better to experiment on your own choice; but if, on reflection, you would
like to try some which interest me, I should be truly delighted, and in
this case would write in some detail. If you have the means to repeat
Gartner's experiments on variations of Verbascum or on maize (see the
"Origin"), such experiments would be pre-eminently important. I could
never get variations of Verbascum. I could suggest an experiment on
potatoes analogous with the case of Passiflora; even the case of
Passiflora, often as it has been repeated, might be with advantage
repeated. I have worked like a slave (having counted about nine thousand
seeds) on Melastoma, on the meaning of the two sets of very different
stamens, and as yet have been shamefully beaten, and I now cry for aid. I
could suggest what I believe a very good scheme (at least, Dr. Hooker
thought so) for systematic degeneration of culinary plants, and so find out
their origin; but this would be laborious and the work of years.

Down, 12th [December, 1862].

My good old Friend--

How kind you have been to give me so much of your time! Your letter is of
real use, and has been and shall be well considered. I am much pleased to
find that we do not differ as much as I feared. I begin my book with
saying that my chief object is to show the inordinate scale of variation; I
have especially studied all sorts of variations of the individual. On
crossing I cannot change; the more I think, the more reason I have to
believe that my conclusion would be agreed to by all practised breeders. I
also greatly doubt about variability and domestication being at all
necessarily correlative, but I have touched on this in "Origin." Plants
being identical under very different conditions has always seemed to me a
very heavy argument against what I call direct action. I think perhaps I
will take the case of 1,000 pigeons (152/1. See Letter 146.) to sum up my
volume; I will not discuss other points, but, as I have said, I shall recur
to your letter. But I must just say that if sterility be allowed to come
into play, if long-beaked be in the least degree sterile with short-beaked,
my whole case is altered. By the way, my notions on hybridity are becoming
considerably altered by my dimorphic work. I am now strongly inclined to
believe that sterility is at first a selected quality to keep incipient
species distinct. If you have looked at Lythrum you will see how pollen
can be modified merely to favour crossing; with equal readiness it could be
modified to prevent crossing.

It is this which makes me so much interested with dimorphism, etc. (152/2.
This gives a narrow impression of Darwin's interest in dimorphism. The
importance of his work was (briefly put) the proof that sterility has no
necessary connection with specific difference, but depends on sexual
differentiation independent of racial differences. See "Life and Letters,"
III., page 296. His point of view that sterility is a selected quality is
again given in a letter to Huxley ("Life and Letters," II., page 384), but
was not upheld in his later writings (see "Origin of Species," Edition VI.,
page 245). The idea of sterility being a selected quality is interesting
in connection with Romanes' theory of physiological selection. (See
Letters 209-214.))

One word more. When you pitched me head over heels by your new way of
looking at the back side of variation, I received assurance and strength by
considering monsters--due to law: horribly strange as they are, the
monsters were alive till at least when born. They differ at least as much
from the parent as any one mammal from another.

I have just finished a long, weary chapter on simple facts of variation of
cultivated plants, and am now refreshing myself with a paper on Linum for
the Linnean Society.


(153/1. The following letter also bears on the question of the artificial
production of sterility.)

Down, 27th [December, 1862].

The present plan is to try whether any existing breeds happen to have
acquired accidentally any degree of sterility; but to this point hereafter.
The enclosed MS. will show what I have done and know on the subject.
Please at some future time carefully return the MS. to me. If I were going
to try again, I would prefer Turbit with Carrier or Dragon.

I will suggest an analogous experiment, which I have had for two years in
my experimental book with "be sure and try," but which, as my health gets
yearly weaker and weaker and my other work increases, I suppose I shall
never try. Permit me to add that if 5 pounds would cover the expenses of
the experiment, I should be delighted to give it, and you could publish the
result if there be any result. I crossed the Spanish cock (your bird) and
white Silk hen and got plenty of eggs and chickens; but two of them seemed
to be quite sterile. I was then sadly overdone with work, but have ever
since much reproached myself that I did not preserve and carefully test the
procreative power of these hens. Now, if you are inclined to get a Spanish
cock and a couple of white Silk hens, I shall be most grateful to hear
whether the offspring breed well: they will prove, I think, not hardy; if
they should prove sterile, which I can hardly believe, they will anyhow do
for the pot. If you do try this, how would it do to put a Silk cock to
your curious silky Cochin hen, so as to get a big silk breed; it would be
curious if you could get silky fowl with bright colours. I believe a Silk
hen crossed by any other breed never gives silky feathers. A cross from
Silk cock and Cochin Silk hen ought to give silky feathers and probably
bright colours.

I have been led lately from experiments (not published) on dimorphism to
reflect much on sterility from hybridism, and partially to change the
opinion given in "Origin." I have now letters out enquiring on the
following point, implied in the experiment, which seems to me well worth
trying, but too laborious ever to be attempted. I would ask every pigeon
and fowl fancier whether they have ever observed, in the same breed, a cock
A paired to a hen B which did not produce young. Then I would get cock A
and match it to a hen of its nearest blood; and hen B to its nearest blood.
I would then match the offspring of A (viz., a, b, c, d, e) to the
offspring of B (viz., f, g, h, i, j), and all those children which were
fertile together should be destroyed until I found one--say a, which was
not quite fertile with--say, i. Then a and i should be preserved and
paired with their parents A and B, so as to try and get two families which
would not unite together; but the members WITHIN each family being fertile
together. This would probably be quite hopeless; but he who could effect
this would, I believe, solve the problem of sterility from hybridism. If
you should ever hear of individual fowls or pigeons which are sterile
together, I should be very grateful to hear of the case. It is a parallel
case to those recorded of a man not impotent long living with a woman who
remained childless; the husband died, and the woman married again and had
plenty of children. Apparently (by no means certainly) this first man and
woman were dissimilar in their sexual organisation. I conceive it possible
that their offspring (if both had married again and both had children)
would be sexually dissimilar, like their parents, or sterile together.
Pray forgive my dreadful writing; I have been very unwell all day, and have
no strength to re-write this scrawl. I am working slowly on, and I suppose
in three or four months shall be ready.

I am sure I do not know whether any human being could understand or read
this shameful scrawl.

Down, December, 28th [1862].

I return enclosed: if you write, thank Mr. Kingsley for thinking of
letting me see the sound sense of an Eastern potentate. (154/1.
Kingsley's letter to Huxley, dated December 20th, 1862, contains a story or
parable of a heathen Khan in Tartary who was visited by a pair of
proselytising Moollahs. The first Moollah said: "Oh! Khan, worship my
God. He is so wise that he made all things." But Moollah No. 2 won the
day by pointing out that his God is "so wise that he makes all things make
themselves.") All that I said about the little book (154/2. The six
"Lectures to Working Men," published in six pamphlets and in book-form in
1863. Mr. Huxley considered that Mr. Darwin's argument required the
production by man's selection of breeds which should be mutually infertile,
and thus resemble distinct species physiologically as well as
morphologically.) is strictly my opinion; it is in every way excellent, and
cannot fail to do good the wider it is circulated. Whether it is worth
your while to give up time to it is another question for you alone to
decide; that it will do good for the subject is beyond all question. I do
not think a dunce exists who could not understand it, and that is a bold
saying after the extent to which I have been misunderstood. I did not
understand what you required about sterility: assuredly the facts given do
not go nearly so far. We differ so much that it is no use arguing. To get
the degree of sterility you expect in recently formed varieties seems to me
simply hopeless. It seems to me almost like those naturalists who declare
they will never believe that one species turns into another till they see
every stage in process.

I have heard from Tegetmeier, and have given him the result of my crosses
of the birds which he proposes to try, and have told him how alone I think
the experiment could be tried with the faintest hope of success--namely, to
get, if possible, a case of two birds which when paired were unproductive,
yet neither impotent. For instance, I had this morning a letter with a
case of a Hereford heifer, which seemed to be, after repeated trials,
sterile with one particular and far from impotent bull, but not with
another bull. But it is too long a story--it is to attempt to make two
strains, both fertile, and yet sterile when one of one strain is crossed
with one of the other strain. But the difficulty...would be beyond
calculation. As far as I see, Tegetmeier's plan would simply test whether
two existing breeds are now in any slight degree sterile; which has already
been largely tested: not that I dispute the good of re-testing.


(155/1. The original letter is dated "December 10th," but this must, we
think, be a slip of the pen for January 10th. It contains a reference to
No. VI. of the "Lectures to Working Men" which, as Mr. Leonard Huxley is
good enough to inform us, was not delivered until December 15th, and
therefore could not have been seen by Mr. Darwin on December 10th. The
change of date makes comprehensible the reference to Falconer's paper "On
the American Fossil Elephant of the Regions bordering the Gulf of Mexico
(E. Columbi, Falc.)," which appeared in the January number of the "Natural
History Review." It is true that he had seen advanced sheets of Falconer's
paper ("Life and Letters," II., page 389), but the reference here is to the
complete paper.

In the present volume we have thought it right to give some expression to
the attitude of Darwin towards Owen. Professor Owen's biographer has
clearly felt the difficulty of making a statement on Owen's attitude
towards Darwinism, and has ("Life of Sir Richard Owen," Volume II., page
92) been driven to adopt the severe indictment contained in the "Origin of
Species," Edition VI., page xviii. Darwin was by no means alone in his
distrust of Owen; and to omit altogether a reference to the conduct which
led up to the isolation of Owen among his former friends and colleagues
would be to omit a part of the history of science of the day. And since we
cannot omit to notice Darwin's point of view, it seems right to give the
facts of a typical case illustrating the feeling with which he regarded
Owen. This is all the more necessary since the recently published
biography of Sir R. Owen gives no hint, as far as we are aware, of even a
difference of opinion with other scientific men.

The account which Falconer gives in the above-mentioned paper in the "Nat.
Hist. Review" (January, 1863) would be amusing if the matter were less
serious. In 1857 Falconer described ("Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc." XIII.) a
new species of fossil elephant from America, to which he gave the name
Elephas Columbi, a designation which was recognised and adopted by
Continental writers. In 1858 (Brit. Assoc. Leeds) Owen made use of the
name "Elephas texianus," Blake" for the species which Falconer had
previously named E. Columbi, but without referring to Falconer's
determination; he gave no authority, "thus by the established usage in
zoology producing it as his own." In 1861 Owen in his Palaeontology, 2nd
edition, 1861, describes the elephant as E. texianus, Blake. To Mr.
Blake's name is appended an asterisk which refers to a footnote to
Bollaert's "Antiquities of S. America," 2nd edition. According to Falconer
(page 46) no second edition of Bollaert had appeared at the time of writing
(August, 1862), and in the first edition (1860) he was "unable to detect
the occurrence of the name even, of E. texianus, anywhere throughout the
volume"; though Bollaert mentions the fact that he had deposited, in the
British Museum, the tooth of a fossil elephant from Texas.

In November, 1861, Blake wrote a paper in the "Geologist" in which the new
elephant no longer bears his own name as authority, but is described as
"Elephas texianus, Owen, E. Columbi, Falconer." Finally, in another paper
the name of Owen is dropped and the elephant is once more his own. As
Falconer remarks, "the usage of science does not countenance such
accommodating arrangements, when the result is to prejudice a prior right."

It may be said, no doubt, that the question who first described a given
species is a petty one; but this view has a double edge, and applies most
strongly to those who neglect the just claims of their predecessors.

Down, January 5th [1863].

I finished your Elephant paper last night, and you must let me express my
admiration at it. (155/2. "On the American Fossil Elephant of the Regions
bordering the Gulf of Mexico (E. Columbi, Falc.), etc." "Nat. Hist. Rev."
1863, page 81. (Cf. Letter to Lyell. "Life and Letters," II., page 389;
also "Origin," Edition VI., page 306.) See Letter 143.) All the points
strike me as admirably worked out, and very many most interesting. I was
particularly struck with your remarks on the character of the ancient
Mammalian Fauna of N. America (155/3. Falconer, page 62. This passage is
marked in Darwin's copy.); it agrees with all I fancied was the case,
namely a temporary irruption of S. American forms into N. America, and
conversely, I chuckled a little over the specimen of M. Andium "hesitating"
between the two groups. (155/4. In speaking of the characters of Mastodon
Andium, Falconer refers to a former paper by himself ("Quart. Journ. Geol.
Soc." Volume XIII. 1857, page 313), in which he called attention "to the
exceptional character of certain specimens of M. Andium, as if hesitating
between [the groups] Tetralophodon and Trilophodon" (ibid., page 100).) I
have been assured by Mr. Wallace that abundant Mastodon remains have been
found at Timor, and that is rather close to Australia. I rejoice that you
have smashed that case. (155/5. In the paper in the "Nat. Hist. Review"
(loc. cit.) Falconer writes: "It seems more probable that some
unintentional error has got mixed up with the history of this remarkable
fossil; and until further confirmatory evidence is adduced, of an
unimpeachable character, faith cannot be reposed in the reality of the
asserted Australian Mastodon" (page 101).) It is indeed a grand paper. I
will say nothing more about your allusions to me, except that they have
pleased me quite as much in print as in MS. You must have worked very
hard; the labour must have been extreme, but I do hope that you will have
health and strength to go on. You would laugh if you could see how
indignant all Owen's mean conduct about E. Columbi made me. (155/6. See
Letter 157.) I did not get to sleep till past 3 o'clock. How well you
lash him, firmly and severely, with unruffled temper, as if you were
performing a simple duty. The case is come to such a pass, that I think
every man of science is bound to show his feelings by some overt act, and I
shall watch for a fitting opportunity.

P.S.--I have kept back for a day the enclosed owing to the arrival of your
most interesting letter. I knew it was a mere chance whether you could
inform me on the points required; but no one other person has so often
responded to my miscellaneous queries. I believe I have now in my
greenhouse L. trigynum (155/7. Linum trigynum.), which came up from seed
purchased as L. flavum, from which it is wholly different in foliage. I
have just sent in a paper on Dimorphism of Linum to the Linnean Society
(155/8. "On the Existence of the Forms, and on their reciprocal Sexual
Relation, in several species of the genus Linum.--"Journ. Linn. Soc."
Volume VII., page 69, 1864.), and so I do not doubt your memory is right
about L. trigynum: the functional difference in the two forms of Linum is
really wonderful. I assure you I quite long to see you and a few others in
London; it is not so much the eczema which has taken the epidermis a dozen
times clean off; but I have been knocked up of late with extraordinary
facility, and when I shall be able to come up I know not. I particularly
wish to hear about the wondrous bird: the case has delighted me, because
no group is so isolated as Birds. I much wish to hear when we meet which
digits are developed; when examining birds two or three years ago, I
distinctly remember writing to Lyell that some day a fossil bird would be
found with the end of wing cloven, i.e. the bastard-wing and other part,
both well developed. Thanks for Von Martius, returned by this post, which
I was glad to see. Poor old Wagner (Probably Johann Andreas Wagner, author
of "Zur Feststellung des Artbegriffes, mit besonderer Bezugnahme auf die
Ansichten von Nathusius, Darwin, Is. Geoffroy and Agassiz," "Munchen
Sitzungsb." (1861), page 301, and of numerous papers on zoological and
palaeozoological subjects.) always attacked me in a proper spirit, and sent
me two or three little brochures, and I thanked him cordially. The Germans
seem much stirred up on the subject. I received by the same post almost a
little volume on the "Origin."

I cannot work above a couple of hours daily, and this plays the deuce with

P.S. 2nd.--I have worked like a slave and been baffled like a slave in
trying to make out the meaning of two very different sets of stamens in
some Melastomaceae. (155/9. Several letters on the Melastomaceae occur in
our Botanical section.) I must tell you one fact. I counted 9,000 seeds,
one by one, from my artificially fertilised pods. There is something very
odd, but I am as yet beaten. Plants from two pollens grow at different
rates! Now, what I want to know is, whether in individuals of the same
species, growing together, you have ever noticed any difference in the
position of the pistil or in the size and colour of the stamens?

Down, December 18th [1862].

I have read Nos. IV, and V. (156/1. "On our Knowledge of the Causes of
the Phenomena of Organic Nature," being six Lectures to Working Men
delivered at the Museum of Practical Geology by Prof. Huxley, 1863. These
lectures, which were given once a week from November 10th, 1862, onwards,
were printed from the notes of Mr. J.A. Mays, a shorthand writer, who asked
permission to publish them on his own account; Mr. Huxley stating in a
prefatory "Notice" that he had no leisure to revise the lectures.) They
are simply perfect. They ought to be largely advertised; but it is very
good in me to say so, for I threw down No. IV. with this reflection, "What
is the good of writing a thundering big book, when everything is in this
green little book, so despicable for its size?" In the name of all that is
good and bad, I may as well shut up shop altogether. You put capitally and
most simply and clearly the relation of animals and plants to each other at
page 122.

Be careful about Fantails: their tail-feathers are fixed in a radiating
position, but they can depress and elevate them. I remember in a pigeon-
book seeing withering contempt expressed at some naturalist for not knowing
this important point! Page 111 (156/2. The reference is to the original
little green paper books in which the lectures first appeared; the paging
in the bound volume dated 1863 is slightly different. The passage here is,
"...If you couple a male and female hybrid...the result is that in ninety-
nine cases out of a hundred you will get no offspring at all." Darwin
maintains elsewhere that Huxley, from not knowing the botanical evidence,
made too much of this point. See "Life and Letters," II., page 384.) seems
a little too strong--viz., ninety-nine out of a hundred, unless you except

Page 118: You say the answer to varieties when crossed being at all
sterile is "absolutely a negative." (156/3. Huxley, page 112: "Can we
find any approximation to this [sterility of hybrids] in the different
races known to be produced by selective breeding from a common stock? Up
to the present time the answer to that question is absolutely a negative
one.") Do you mean to say that Gartner lied, after experiments by the
hundred (and he a hostile witness), when he showed that this was the case
with Verbascum and with maize (and here you have selected races): does
Kolreuter lie when he speaks about the varieties of tobacco? My God, is
not the case difficult enough, without its being, as I must think, falsely
made more difficult? I believe it is my own fault--my d--d candour: I
ought to have made ten times more fuss about these most careful
experiments. I did put it stronger in the third edition of the "Origin."
If you have a new edition, do consider your second geological section: I
do not dispute the truth of your statement; but I maintain that in almost
every case the gravel would graduate into the mud; that there would not be
a hard, straight line between the mass of gravel and mud; that the gravel,
in crawling inland, would be separated from the underlying beds by oblique
lines of stratification. A nice idea of the difficulty of Geology your
section would give to a working man! Do show your section to Ramsay, and
tell him what I say; and if he thinks it a fair section for a beginner I am
shut up, and "will for ever hold my tongue." Good-night.

Down, [January] 10th [1863].

You will be weary of notes from me about the little book of yours. It is
lucky for me that I expressed, before reading No. VI. (157/1. "Lectures to
Working Men," No. VI., is a critical examination of the position of the
"Origin of Species" in relation to the complete theory of the "causes of
the phenomena of organic nature."), my opinion of its absolute excellence,
and of its being well worth wide distribution and worth correction (not
that I see where you could improve), if you thought it worth your valuable
time. Had I read No. VI., even a rudiment of modesty would, or ought to,
have stopped me saying so much. Though I have been well abused, yet I have
had so much praise, that I have become a gourmand, both as to capacity and
taste; and I really did not think that mortal man could have tickled my
palate in the exquisite manner with which you have done the job. So I am
an old ass, and nothing more need be said about this. I agree entirely
with all your reservations about accepting the doctrine, and you might have
gone further with further safety and truth. Of course I do not wholly
agree about sterility. I hate beyond all things finding myself in
disagreement with any capable judge, when the premises are the same; and
yet this will occasionally happen. Thinking over my former letter to you,
I fancied (but I now doubt) that I had partly found out the cause of our
disagreement, and I attributed it to your naturally thinking most about
animals, with which the sterility of the hybrids is much more conspicuous
than the lessened fertility of the first cross. Indeed, this could hardly
be ascertained with mammals, except by comparing the products of [their]
whole life; and, as far as I know, this has only been ascertained in the
case of the horse and ass, which do produce fewer offspring in [their]
lifetime than in pure breeding. In plants the test of first cross seems as
fair as test of sterility of hybrids. And this latter test applies, I will
maintain to the death, to the crossing of varieties of Verbascum, and
varieties, selected varieties, of Zea. (157/2. See Letter 156.) You will
say Go to the Devil and hold your tongue. No, I will not hold my tongue;
for I must add that after going, for my present book, all through domestic
animals, I have come to the conclusion that there are almost certainly
several cases of two or three or more species blended together and now
perfectly fertile together. Hence I conclude that there must be something
in domestication,--perhaps the less stable conditions, the very cause which
induces so much variability,--which eliminates the natural sterility of
species when crossed. If so, we can see how unlikely that sterility should
arise between domestic races. Now I will hold my tongue. Page 143: ought
not "Sanscrit" to be "Aryan"? What a capital number the last "Natural
History Review" is! That is a grand paper by Falconer. I cannot say how
indignant Owen's conduct about E. Columbi has made me. I believe I hate
him more than you do, even perhaps more than good old Falconer does. But I
have bubbled over to one or two correspondents on this head, and will say
no more. I have sent Lubbock a little review of Bates' paper in "Linn.
Transact." (157/3. The unsigned review of Mr. Bates' work on mimetic
butterflies appeared in the "Nat. Hist. Review" (1863), page 219.) which L.
seems to think will do for your "Review." Do inaugurate a great
improvement, and have pages cut, like the Yankees do; I will heap blessings
on your head. Do not waste your time in answering this.

Down, January 23rd [1863].

I have no criticism, except one sentence not perfectly smooth. I think
your introductory remarks very striking, interesting, and novel. (158/1.
"On the Development of Chloeon (Ephemera) dimidiatum, Part I. By John
Lubbock. "Trans. Linn. Soc." Volume XXIV., pages 61-78, 1864 [Read January
15th, 1863].) They interested me the more, because the vaguest thoughts of
the same kind had passed through my head; but I had no idea that they could
be so well developed, nor did I know of exceptions. Sitaris and Meloe
(158/2. Sitaris and Meloe, two genera of coleopterous insects, are
referred to by Lubbock (op. cit., pages 63-64) as "perhaps...the most
remarkable cases...among the Coleoptera" of curious and complicated
metamorphoses.) seem very good. You have put the whole case of
metamorphosis in a new light; I dare say what you remark about poverty of
fresh-water is very true. (158/3. "We cannot but be struck by the poverty
of the fresh-water fauna when compared with that of the ocean" (op. cit.,
page 64).) I think you might write a memoir on fresh-water productions. I
suggest that the key-note is that land-productions are higher and have
advantage in general over marine; and consequently land-productions have
generally been modified into fresh-water productions, instead of marine
productions being directly changed into fresh-water productions, as at
first seems more probable, as the chance of immigration is always open from
sea to rivers and ponds.

My talk with you did me a deal of good, and I enjoyed it much.

Down, January 13th [1863].

I send a very imperfect answer to [your] question, which I have written on
foreign paper to save you copying, and you can send when you write to
Thomson in Calcutta. Hereafter I shall be able to answer better your
question about qualities induced in individuals being inherited; gout in
man--loss of wool in sheep (which begins in the first generation and takes
two or three to complete); probably obesity (for it is rare with poor);
probably obesity and early maturity in short-horn cattle, etc., etc.

Down, January 14th [1863].

I thank you most sincerely for sending me your Memoir. (160/1. Etude sur
l'Espece a l'occasion d'une revision de la Famille des Cupuliferes.
"Biblioth. Univ. (Arch. des Sc. Phys. et Nat.)," Novembre 1862.) I have
read it with the liveliest interest, as is natural for me; but you have the
art of making subjects, which might be dry, run easily. I have been fairly
astonished at the amount of individual variability in the oaks. I never
saw before the subject in any department of nature worked out so carefully.
What labour it must have cost you! You spoke in one letter of advancing
years; but I am very sure that no one would have suspected that you felt
this. I have been interested with every part; though I am so unfortunate
as to differ from most of my contemporaries in thinking that the vast
continental extensions (160/2. See Letters 47, 48.) of Forbes, Heer, and
others are not only advanced without sufficient evidence, but are opposed
to much weighty evidence. You refer to my work in the kindest and most
generous spirit. I am fully satisfied at the length in belief to which you
go, and not at all surprised at the prudent reservations which you make. I
remember well how many years it cost me to go round from old beliefs. It
is encouraging to me to observe that everyone who has gone an inch with me,
after a period goes a few more inches or even feet. But the great point,
as it seems to me, is to give up the immutability of specific forms; as
long as they are thought immutable, there can be no real progress in
"Epiontology." (160/3. See De Candolle, loc. cit., page 67: he defines
"Epiontologie" as the study of the distribution and succession of organised
beings from their origin up to the present time. At present Epiontology is
divided into geography and palaeontology, "mais cette division trop inegale
et a limites bien vagues disparaitra probablement.") It matters very
little to any one except myself, whether I am a little more or less wrong
on this or that point; in fact, I am sure to be proved wrong in many
points. But the subject will have, I am convinced, a grand future.
Considering that birds are the most isolated group in the animal kingdom,
what a splendid case is this Solenhofen bird-creature with its long tail
and fingers to its wings! I have lately been daily and hourly using and
quoting your "Geographical Botany" in my book on "Variation under

Down, February 16th [1863].

Absence from home and consequent idleness are the causes that I have not
sooner thanked you for your very kind present of your Lectures. (161/1.
"On the Germs and Vestiges of Disease," (London) 1861.) Your reasoning
seems quite satisfactory (though the subject is rather beyond my limit of
thought and knowledge) on the V.M.F. not being "a given quantity." (161/2.
"It has been too common to consider the force exhibited in the operations
of life (the V.M.F.) as a given quantity, to which no accessions can be
made, but which is apportioned to each living being in quantity sufficient
for its necessities, according to some hidden law" (op. cit., page 41.)
And I can see that the conditions of life must play a most important part
in allowing this quantity to increase, as in the budding of a tree, etc.
How far these conditions act on "the forms of organic life" (page 46) I do
not see clearly. In fact, no part of my subject has so completely puzzled
me as to determine what effect to attribute to (what I vaguely call) the
direct action of the conditions of life. I shall before long come to this
subject, and must endeavour to come to some conclusion when I have got the
mass of collected facts in some sort of order in my mind. My present
impression is that I have underrated this action in the "Origin." I have
no doubt when I go through your volume I shall find other points of
interest and value to me. I have already stumbled on one case (about which
I want to consult Mr. Paget)--namely, on the re-growth of supernumerary
digits. (161/3. See Letters 178, 270.) You refer to "White on
Regeneration, etc., 1785." I have been to the libraries of the Royal and
the Linnean Societies, and to the British Museum, where the librarians got
out your volume and made a special hunt, and could discover no trace of
such a book. Will you grant me the favour of giving me any clue, where I
could see the book? Have you it? if so, and the case is given briefly,
would you have the great kindness to copy it? I much want to know all
particulars. One case has been given me, but with hardly minute enough
details, of a supernumerary little finger which has already been twice cut
off, and now the operation will soon have to be done for the third time. I
am extremely much obliged for the genealogical table; the fact of the two
cousins not, as far as yet appears, transmitting the peculiarity is
extraordinary, and must be given by me.

[February 17th, 1863.]

The same post that brought the enclosed brought Dana's pamphlet on the same
subject. (162/1. The pamphlet referred to was published in "Silliman's
Journal," Volume XXV., 1863, pages 65 and 71, also in the "Annals and
Magazine of Natural History," Volume XI., pages 207-14, 1863: "On the
Higher Subdivisions in the Classification of Mammals." In this paper Dana
maintains the view that "Man's title to a position by himself, separate
from the other mammals in classification, appears to be fixed on structural
as well as physical grounds" (page 210). His description is as follows:--

I. ARCHONTIA (vel DIPODA) Man (alone).

Quadrumana. Cheiroptera.
Carnivora. Insectivora.
Herbivora. Rodentia.
Mutilata. Bruta (Edentata).


The whole seems to me utterly wild. If there had not been the foregone
wish to separate men, I can never believe that Dana or any one would have
relied on so small a distinction as grown man not using fore-limbs for
locomotion, seeing that monkeys use their limbs in all other respects for
the same purpose as man. To carry on analogous principles (for they are
not identical, in crustacea the cephalic limbs are brought close to mouth)
from crustacea to the classification of mammals seems to me madness. Who
would dream of making a fundamental distinction in birds, from fore-limbs
not being used at all in [some] birds, or used as fins in the penguin, and
for flight in other birds?

I get on slowly with your grand work, for I am overwhelmed with odds and
ends and letters.


(163/1. The following extract refers to Owen's paper in the "Linn. Soc.
Journal," June, 1857, in which the classification of the Mammalia by
cerebral characters was proposed. In spite of the fact that men and apes
are placed in distinct Sub-Classes, Owen speaks (in the foot-note of which
Huxley made such telling effect) of the determination of the difference
between Homo and Pithecus as the anatomist's difficulty. (See Letter

July 5th, 1857.

What a capital number of the "Linnean Journal!" Owen's is a grand paper;
but I cannot swallow Man making a division as distinct from a chimpanzee as
an Ornithorhynchus from a horse; I wonder what a chimpanzee would say to
this? (163/2. According to Owen the sub-class Archencephala contains only
the genus Homo: the Gyrencephala contains both chimpanzee and horse, the
Lyencephala contains Ornithorhynchus.)

Down [February?] 26th, 1863.

I have just finished with very great interest "Man's Place." (164/1.
"Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature," 1863 (preface dated January 1863).)
I never fail to admire the clearness and condensed vigour of your style, as
one calls it, but really of your thought. I have no criticisms; nor is it
likely that I could have. But I think you could have added some
interesting matter on the character or disposition of the young ourangs
which have been kept in France and England. I should have thought you
might have enlarged a little on the later embryological changes in man and
on his rudimentary structure, tail as compared with tail of higher monkeys,
intermaxillary bone, false ribs, and I daresay other points, such as
muscles of ears, etc., etc. I was very much struck with admiration at the
opening pages of Part II. (and oh! what a delicious sneer, as good as a
dessert, at page 106) (164/2. Huxley, op. cit., page 106. After saying
that "there is but one hypothesis regarding the origin of species of
animals in general which has any scientific existence--that propounded by
Mr. Darwin," and after a few words on Lamarck, he goes on: "And though I
have heard of the announcement of a formula touching 'the ordained
continuous becoming of organic forms,' it is obvious that it is the first
duty of a hypothesis to be intelligible, and that a qua-qua-versal
proposition of this kind, which may be read backwards or forwards, or
sideways, with exactly the same amount of significance, does not really
exist, though it may seem to do so." The "formula" in question is
Owen's.): but my admiration is unbounded at pages 109 to 112. I declare I
never in my life read anything grander. Bacon himself could not have
charged a few paragraphs with more condensed and cutting sense than you
have done. It is truly grand. I regret extremely that you could not, or
did not, end your book (not that I mean to say a word against the
Geological History) with these pages. With a book, as with a fine day, one
likes it to end with a glorious sunset. I congratulate you on its
publication; but do not be disappointed if it does not sell largely: parts
are highly scientific, and I have often remarked that the best books
frequently do not get soon appreciated: certainly large sale is no proof
of the highest merit. But I hope it may be widely distributed; and I am
rejoiced to see in your note to Miss Rhadamanthus (164/3. This refers to
Mr. Darwin's daughter (now Mrs. Litchfield), whom Mr. Huxley used to laugh
at for the severity of her criticisms.) that a second thousand is called
for of the little book. What a letter that is of Owen's in the "Athenaeum"
(164/4. A letter by Owen in the "Athenaeum," February 21st, 1863, replying
to strictures on his treatment of the brain question, which had appeared in
Lyell's "Antiquity of Man."); how cleverly he will utterly muddle and
confound the public. Indeed he quite muddled me, till I read again your
"concise statement" (164/5. This refers to a section (pages 113-18) in
"Man's Place in Nature," headed "A succinct History of the Controversy
respecting the Cerebral Structure of Man and the Apes." Huxley follows the
question from Owen's attempt to classify the mammalia by cerebral
characters, published by the "Linn. Soc." in 1857, up to his revival of the
subject at the Cambridge meeting of the British Association in 1862. It is
a tremendous indictment of Owen, and seems to us to conclude not
unfittingly with a citation from Huxley's article in the "Medical Times,"
October 11th, 1862. Huxley here points out that special investigations
have been made into the question at issue "during the last two years" by
Allen Thomson, Rolleston, Marshall, Flower, Schroeder van der Kolk and
Vrolik, and that "all these able and conscientious observers" have
testified to the accuracy of his statements, "while not a single anatomist,
great or small, has supported Professor Owen." He sums up the case once
more, and concludes: "The question has thus become one of personal
veracity. For myself I will accept no other issue than this, grave as it
is, to the present controversy.") (which is capitally clear), and then I
saw that my suspicion was true that he has entirely changed his ground to
size of Brain. How candid he shows himself to have taken the slipped
Brain! (164/6. Owen in the "Athenaeum," February 21st, 1863, admits that
in the brain which he used in illustration of his statements "the cerebral
hemispheres had glided forward and apart behind so as to expose a portion
of the cerebellum.") I am intensely curious to see whether Lyell will
answer. (164/7. Lyell's answer was in the "Athenaeum" March 7th, 1863.)
Lyell has been, I fear, rather rash to enter on a subject on which he of
course knows nothing by himself. By heavens, Owen will shake himself, when
he sees what an antagonist he has made for himself in you. With hearty
admiration, Farewell.

I am fearfully disappointed at Lyell's excessive caution (164/8. In the
"Antiquity of Man": see "Life and Letters," III., page 8.) in expressing
any judgment on Species or [on the] origin of Man.

Down, March 6th, 1863.

I thank you for your criticisms on the "Origin," and which I have not time
to discuss; but I cannot help doubting, from your expression of an
"INNATE...selective principle," whether you fully comprehend what is meant
by Natural Selection. Certainly when you speak of weaker (i.e. less well
adapted) forms crossing with the stronger, you take a widely different view
from what I do on the struggle for existence; for such weaker forms could
not exist except by the rarest chance. With respect to utility, reflect
that 99/100ths part of the structure of each being is due to inheritance of
formerly useful structures. Pray read what I have said on "correlation."
Orchids ought to show us how ignorant we are of what is useful. No doubt
hundreds of cases could be advanced of which no explanation could be
offered; but I must stop. Your letter has interested me much. I am very
far from strong, and have great fear that I must stop all work for a couple
of months for entire rest, and leave home. It will be ruin to all my work.

Down, April 23rd [1863].

The more I think of Falconer's letter (166/1. Published in the "Athenaeum"
April 4th, 1863, page 459. The writer asserts that Lyell did not make it
clear that certain material made use of in the "Antiquity of Man" was
supplied by the original work of Mr. Prestwich and himself. (See "Life and
Letters," III., page 19.)) the more grieved I am; he and Prestwich (the
latter at least must owe much to the "Principles") assume an absurdly
unwarrantable position with respect to Lyell. It is too bad to treat an
old hero in science thus. I can see from a note from Falconer (about a
wonderful fossil Brazilian Mammal, well called Meso- or Typo-therium) that
he expects no sympathy from me. He will end, I hope, by being sorry.
Lyell lays himself open to a slap by saying that he would come to show his
original observations, and then not distinctly doing so; he had better only
have laid claim, on this one point of man, to verification and compilation.

Altogether, I much like Lyell's letter. But all this squabbling will
greatly sink scientific men. I have seen a sneer already in the "Times."

At Rev. C. Langton, Hartfield, Tunbridge Wells, April 30th [1863].

You will have received before this the note which I addressed to Leicester,
after finishing Volume I., and you will have received copies of my little
review (167/1. "Nat. Hist. Review," 1863, page 219. A review of Bates'
paper on Mimetic Butterflies.) of your paper...I have now finished Volume
II., and my opinion remains the same--that you have written a truly
admirable work (167/2. "The Naturalist on the Amazons," 1863.), with
capital original remarks, first-rate descriptions, and the whole in a style
which could not be improved. My family are now reading the book, and
admire it extremely; and, as my wife remarks, it has so strong an air of
truthfulness. I had a letter from a person the other day, unknown to you,
full of praise of the book. I do hope it may get extensively heard of and
circulated; but to a certain extent this, I think, always depends on

I suppose the clicking noise of surprise made by the Indian is that which
the end of the tongue, applied to the palate of the mouth and suddenly
withdrawn, makes?

I have not written since receiving your note of April 20th, in which you
confided in me and told me your prospects. I heartily wish they were
better, and especially more certain; but with your abilities and powers of
writing it will be strange if you cannot add what little you require for
your income. I am glad that you have got a retired and semi-rural
situation. What a grand ending you give to your book, contrasting
civilisation and wild life! I quite regret that I have finished it: every
evening it was a real treat to me to have my half-hour in the grand
Amazonian forest, and picture to myself your vivid descriptions. There are
heaps of facts of value to me in a natural history point of view. It was a
great misfortune that you were prevented giving the discussion on species.
But you will, I hope, be able to give your views and facts somewhere else.

Down, May 15th [1863].

Your letter received this morning interested me more than even most of your
letters, and that is saying a good deal. I must scribble a little on
several points. About Lyell and species--you put the whole case, I do
believe, when you say that he is "half-hearted and whole-headed." (168/1.
Darwin's disappointment with the cautious point of view taken up by Lyell
in the "Antiquity of Man" is illustrated in the "Life and Letters," III.,
pages 11, 13. See also Letter 164, page 239.) I wrote to A. Gray that,
when I saw such men as Lyell and he refuse to judge, it put me in despair,
and that I sometimes thought I should prefer that Lyell had judged against
modification of species rather than profess inability to decide; and I left
him to apply this to himself. I am heartily rejoiced to hear that you
intend to try to bring L. and F. (168/2. Falconer claimed that Lyell had
not "done justice to the part he took in resuscitating the cave question."
See "Life and Letters," III., page 14.) together again; but had you not
better wait till they are a little cooled? You will do Science a real good
service. Falconer never forgave Lyell for taking the Purbeck bones from
him and handing them over to Owen.

With respect to island floras, if I understand rightly, we differ almost
solely how plants first got there. I suppose that at long intervals, from
as far back as later Tertiary periods to the present time, plants
occasionally arrived (in some cases, perhaps, aided by different currents
from existing currents and by former islands), and that these old arrivals
have survived little modified on the islands, but have become greatly
modified or become extinct on the continent. If I understand, you believe
that all islands were formerly united to continents, and then received all
their plants and none since; and that on the islands they have undergone
less extinction and modification than on the continent. The number of
animal forms on islands, very closely allied to those on continents, with a
few extremely distinct and anomalous, does not seem to me well to harmonise
with your supposed view of all having formerly arrived or rather having
been left together on the island.

Down, May 31st [1863?].

I was very glad to receive your review (169/1. The review on De Candolle's
work on the Oaks (A. Gray's "Scientific Papers," I., page 130).) of De
Candolle a week ago. It seems to me excellent, and you speak out, I think,
more plainly in favour of derivation of species than hitherto, though
doubtfully about Natural Selection. Grant the first, I am easy about the
second. Do you not consider such cases as all the orchids next thing to a
demonstration against Heer's view of species arising suddenly by
monstrosities?--it is impossible to imagine so many co-adaptations being
formed all by a chance blow. Of course creationists would cut the enigma.

June 27th [1863?]

What are you doing now? I have never yet got hold of the "Edinburgh
Review," in which I hear you are well abused. By the way, I heard lately
from Asa Gray that Wyman was delighted at "Man's Place." (170/1.
"Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature," by T.H. Huxley, 1863.) I wonder
who it is who pitches weakly, but virulently into you, in the
"Anthropological Review." How quiet Owen seems! I do at last begin to
believe that he will ultimately fall in public estimation. What nonsense
he wrote in the "Athenaeum" (170/2. "Athenaeum," March 28th, 1863. See
"Life and Letters," III., page 17.) on Heterogeny! I saw in his Aye-Aye
(170/3. See Owen in the "Trans. Zool. Soc." Volume V. The sentence
referred to seems to be the following (page 95): "We know of no changes in
progress in the Island of Madagascar, necessitating a special quest of
wood-boring larvae by small quadrupeds of the Lemurine or Sciurine types of
organisation.') paper (I think) that he sneers at the manner in which he
supposes that we should account for the structure of its limbs; and asks
how we know that certain insects had increased in the Madagascar forests.
Would it not be a good rebuff to ask him how he knows there were trees at
all on the leafless plains of La Plata for his Mylodons to tear down? But
I must stop, for if I once begin about [him] there will be no end. I was
disappointed in the part about species in Lyell. (170/4. Lyell's
"Antiquity of Man." See "Life and Letters," III., page 11.) You and
Hooker are the only two bold men. I have had a bad spring and summer,
almost constantly very unwell; but I am crawling on in my book on
"Variation under Domestication.")

Down, August 14th [1863].

Have you seen Bentham's remarks on species in his address to the Linnean
Society? (171/1. Presidential address before the Linnean Society by G.
Bentham ("Journ. Proc. Linn. Soc." Volume VII., page xi., 1864).) they have
pleased me more than anything I have read for some time. I have no news,
for I have not seen a soul for months, and have had a bad spring and
summer, but have managed to do a good deal of work. Emma is threatening me
to take me to Malvern, and perhaps I shall be compelled, but it is a horrid
waste of time; you must have enjoyed North Wales, I should think, it is to
me a most glorious country...

If you have not read Bates' book (171/2. Henry Walter Bates, "The
Naturalist on the River Amazons," 2 volumes, London, 1863. In a letter to
Bates, April 18th, 1863, Darwin writes, "It is the best work of natural
history travels ever published in England" ("Life and Letters," II., page
381.), I think it would interest you. He is second only to Humboldt in
describing a tropical forest. (171/3. Quoted in "Life and Letters," II.,
page 381.). Talking of reading, I have never got the "Edinburgh" (171/4.
The "Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man," by Sir Charles Lyell,
and works by other authors reviewed in the "Edinburgh Review." Volume
CXVIII., July 1863. The writer sums up his criticism as follows:
"Glancing at the work of Sir Charles Lyell as a whole, it leaves the
impression on our minds that we have been reading an ingenious academical
thesis, rather than a work of demonstration by an original writer...There
is no argument in it, and only a few facts which have not been stated
elsewhere by Sir C. Lyell himself or by others" (loc. cit., page 294).), in
which, I suppose, you are cut up.

December 26th [1863].

Thank you for telling me about the Pliocene mammal, which is very
remarkable; but has not Owen stated that the Pliocene badger is identical
with the recent? Such a case does indeed well show the stupendous duration
of the same form. I have not heard of Suess' pamphlet (172/1. Probably
Suess's paper "Ueber die Verschiedenheit und die Aufeinanderfolge der
tertiaren Land-faunen in der Niederung von Wien." "Sitz.-Ber. Wien Akad."
XLVII., page 306, 1863.), and should much like to learn the title, if it
can be procured; but I am on different subjects just at present. I should
rather like to see it rendered highly probable that the process of
formation of a new species was short compared to its duration--that is, if
the process was allowed to be slow and long; the idea is new to me. Heer's
view that new species are suddenly formed like monsters, I feel a
conviction from many reasons is false.

CHAPTER 1.IV.--EVOLUTION, 1864-1869.

Down, January 1st, 1864.

I am still unable to write otherwise than by dictation. In a letter
received two or three weeks ago from Asa Gray he writes: "I read lately
with gusto Wallace's expose of the Dublin man on Bees' cells, etc."
(173/1. "Remarks on the Rev. S. Haughton's paper on the Bee's Cell and on
the Origin of Species" ("Ann. and Mag. Nat. Hist." XII., 1863, page 303).
Prof. Haughton's paper was read before the Natural History Society of
Dublin, November 21st, 1862, and reprinted in the "Ann. and Mag. Nat.
Hist." XI., 1863, page 415. See Letters 73, 74, 75.) Now, though I cannot
read at present, I much want to know where this is published, that I may
procure a copy. Further on, Asa Gray says (after speaking of Agassiz's
paper on Glaciers in the "Atlantic Magazine" and his recent book entitled
"Method of Study"): "Pray set Wallace upon these articles." So Asa Gray
seems to think much of your powers of reviewing, and I mention this as it
assuredly is laudari a laudato. I hope you are hard at work, and if you
are inclined to tell me, I should much like to know what you are doing. It
will be many months, I fear, before I shall do anything.

Down, March 27th [1864?].

I had heard that your work was to be translated, and I heard it with
pleasure; but I can take no share of credit, for I am not an active, only
an honorary member of the Society. Since writing I have finished with
extreme interest to the end your admirable work on metamorphosis. (174/1.
Probably "Metamorphoses of Man and the Lower Animals." Translated by H.
Lawson, 1864.) How well you are acquainted with the works of English
naturalists, and how generously you bestow honour on them! Mr. Lubbock is
my neighbour, and I have known him since he was a little boy; he is in
every way a thoroughly good man; as is my friend Huxley. It gave me real
pleasure to see you notice their works as you have done.

Down, April 11th [1864].

I am very much obliged for your present of your "Comp. Anatomy." (175/1.
"Lectures on the Elements of Comparative Anatomy," 1864.) When strong
enough I am sure I shall read it with greatest interest. I could not
resist the last chapter, of which I have read a part, and have been much
interested about the "inspired idiot." (175/2. In reference to Oken (op.
cit., page 282) Huxley says: "I must confess I never read his works
without thinking of the epithet of 'inspired idiot' applied to our own
Goldsmith.") If Owen wrote the article "Oken" (175/3. The article on Oken
in the eighth edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" is signed "R.O.":
Huxley wrote to Darwin (April 18th, 1864), "There is not the smallest
question that Owen wrote both the article 'Oken' and the 'Archetype' Book"
(Huxley's "Life," I., page 250). Mr. Huxley's statements amount to this:
(1) Prof. Owen accuses Goethe of having in 1820 appropriated Oken's theory
of the skull, and of having given an apocryphal account of how the idea
occurred to himself in 1790. (2) in the same article, page 502, Owen
stated it to be questionable whether the discoverer of the true theory of
the segmental constitution of the skull (i.e. himself) was excited to his
labours, or "in any way influenced by the a priori guesses of Oken." On
this Huxley writes, page 288: "But if he himself had not been in any way
influenced by Oken, and if the 'Programm' [of Oken] is a mere mass of 'a
priori guesses,' how comes it that only three years before Mr. Owen could
write thus? 'Oken, ce genie profond et penetrant, fut le premier qui
entrevit la verite, guide par l'heureuse idee de l'arrangement des os
craniens en segments, comme ceux du rachis, appeles vertebres...'" Later
on Owen wrote: "Cela servira pour exemple d'une examen scrupuleux des
faits, d'une appreciation philosophique de leurs relations et analogies,
etc." (From "Principes d'Osteologie comparee, ou Recherches sur
l'Archetype," etc., pages 155, 1855). (3) Finally Huxley says, page 289,
plainly: "The fact is that, so far from not having been 'in any way
influenced' by Oken, Prof. Owen's own contributions to this question are
the merest Okenism, remanie.") and the French work on the Archetype (points
you do not put quite clearly), he never did a baser act...You are so good a
Christian that you will hardly understand how I chuckle over this bit of
baseness. I hope you keep well and hearty; I honour your wisdom at giving
up at present Society for Science. But, on the other hand, I feel it in
myself possible to get to care too much for Natural Science and too little
for other things. I am getting better, I almost dare to hope permanently;
for my sickness is decidedly less--for twenty-seven days consecutively I
was sick many times daily, and lately I was five days free. I long to do a
little work again. The magnificent (by far the most magnificent, and too
magnificent) compliment which you paid me at the end of your "Origin of
Species" (175/4. A title applied to the "Lectures to Working Men," that
"green little book" referred to in Letter 156. Speaking of Mr. Darwin's
work he says (page 156): "I believe that if you strip it of its
theoretical part, it still remains one of the greatest encyclopaedias of
biological doctrine that any one man ever brought forth; and I believe
that, if you take it as the embodiment of an hypothesis, it is destined to
be the guide of biological and psychological speculation for the next three
or four generations.') I have met with reprinted from you two or three
times lately.

Down, June 30th, 1864.

(175A.1. The preceding letter contains a reference to the prolonged period
of ill-health which Darwin suffered in 1863 and 1864, and in this
connection the present letter is of interest.

The Copley Medal was given to him in 1864.)

I had not heard a word about the Copley Medal. Please give Falconer my
cordial thanks for his interest about me. I enclose the list of everything
published by me except a few unimportant papers. Ask Falconer not to
mention that I sent the list, as some one might say I had been canvassing,
which is an odious imputation. The origin of the Voyage in the "Beagle"
was that Fitz-Roy generously offered to give up half his cabin to any one
who would volunteer to go as naturalist. Beaufort wrote to Cambridge, and
I volunteered. Fitz-Roy never persuaded me to give up the voyage on
account of sickness, nor did I ever think of doing so, though I suffered
considerably; but I do not believe it was the cause of my subsequent ill-
health, which has lost me so many years, and therefore I should not think
the sea-sickness was worth notice. It would save you trouble to forward
this with my kindest remembrances to Falconer.

(176/1. The following letter was the beginning of a correspondence with
Mr. B.D. Walsh, whom C.V. Riley describes as "one of the ablest and most
thorough entomologists of our time.")

Rock Island, Illinois, U.S., April 29th, 1864.

(176/2. The words in square brackets are restorations of parts torn off
the original letter.)

More than thirty years ago I was introduced to you at your rooms in
Christ's College by A.W. Grisebach, and had the pleasure of seeing your
noble collection of British Coleoptera. Some years afterwards I became a
Fellow of Trinity, and finally gave up my Fellowship rather than go into
Orders, and came to this country. For the last five or six years I have
been paying considerable attention to the insect fauna of the U.S., some of
the fruits of which you will see in the enclosed pamphlets. Allow me to
take this opportunity of thanking you for the publication of your "Origin
of Species," which I read three years ago by the advice of a botanical
friend, though I had a strong prejudice against what I supposed then to be
your views. The first perusal staggered me, the second convinced me, and
the oftener I read it the more convinced I am of the general soundness of
your theory.

As you have called upon naturalists that believe in your views to give
public testimony of their convictions, I have directed your attention on
the outside of one or two of my pamphlets to the particular passages in
which [I] have done so. You will please accept these papers from me in
token of my respect and admiration.

As you may see from the latest of these papers, I [have] recently made the
remarkable discover that there [are the] so-called "three sexes" not only
in social insects but [also in the] strictly solitary genus Cynips.

When is your great work to make its appearance? [I should be] much pleased
to receive a few lines from you.

Down, October 21st [1864].

Ill-health has prevented me from sooner thanking you for your very kind
letter and several memoirs.

I have been very much pleased to see how boldly and clearly you speak out
on the modification of species. I thank you for giving me the pages of
reference; but they were superfluous, for I found so many original and
profound remarks that I have carefully looked through all the papers. I
hope that your discovery about the Cynips (177/1. "On Dimorphism in the
hymenopterous genus Cynips," "Proc. Entom. Soc. Philadelphia," March, 1864.
Mr. Walsh's view is that Cynips quercus aciculata is a dimorphous form of
Cynips q. spongifica, and occurs only as a female. Cynips q. spongifica
also produces spongifica females and males from other galls at a different
time of year.) will hold good, for it is a remarkable one, and I for one
have often marvelled what could be the meaning of the case. I will lend
your paper to my neighbour Mr. Lubbock, who I know is much interested in
the subject. Incidentally I shall profit by your remarks on galls. If you
have time I think a rather hopeless experiment would be worth trying;
anyhow, I should have tried it had my health permitted. It is to insert a
minute grain of some organic substance, together with the poison from bees,
sand-wasps, ichneumons, adders, and even alkaloid poisons into the tissues
of fitting plants for the chance of monstrous growths being produced.
(177/2. See "Life and Letters," III., page 346, for an account of
experiments attempted in this direction by Mr. Darwin in 1880. On the
effects of injuring plant-tissues, see Massart, "La Cicatrisation, etc." in
Tome LVII. of the "Memoires Couronnes" of the Brussels Academy.)

My health has long been poor, and I have lately suffered from a long
illness which has interrupted all work, but I am now recommencing a volume
in connection with the "Origin."

P.S.--If you write again I should very much like to hear what your life in
your new country is.

What can be the meaning or use of the great diversity of the external
generative organs in your cases, in Bombus, and the phytophagous

What can there be in the act of copulation necessitating such complex and
diversified apparatus?

Down, July 11th, 1864.

I am truly obliged for all the trouble which you have taken for me, and for
your very interesting note. I had only vaguely heard it said that frogs
had a rudiment of a sixth toe; had I known that such great men had looked
to the point I should not have dreamed of looking myself. The rudiment
sent to you was from a full-grown frog; so that if these bones are the two
cuneiforms they must, I should think, be considered to be in a rudimentary
condition. This afternoon my gardener brought in some tadpoles with the
hind-legs alone developed, and I looked at the rudiment. At this age it
certainly looks extremely like a digit, for the extremity is enlarged like
that of the adjoining real toe, and the transverse articulation seems
similar. I am sorry that the case is doubtful, for if these batrachians
had six toes, I certainly think it would have thrown light on the truly
extraordinary strength of inheritance in polydactylism in so many animals,
and especially on the power of regeneration in amputated supernumerary
digits. (178/1. In the first edition of "Variation under Domestication"
the view here given is upheld, but in the second edition (Volume I., page
459) Darwin withdrew his belief that the development of supernumerary
digits in man is "a case of reversion to a lowly-organised progenitor
provided with more than five digits." See Letters 161, 270.)

Down [October 22nd, 1864].

The Lyells have been here, and were extremely pleasant, but I saw them only
occasionally for ten minutes, and when they went I had an awful day [of
illness]; but I am now slowly getting up to my former standard. I shall
soon be confined to a living grave, and a fearful evil it is.

I suppose you have read Tyndall. (179/1. Probably Tyndall "On the
Conformation of the Alps" ("Phil. Mag." 1864, page 255).) I have now come
round again to Ramsay's view, (179/2. "Phil. Mag." 1864, page 293.) for
the third or fourth time; but Lyell says when I read his discussion in the
"Elements," I shall recant for the fifth time. (179/3. This refers to a
discussion on the "Connection of the predominance of Lakes with Glacial
Action" ("Elements," Edition VI., pages 168-74). Lyell adheres to the
views expressed in the "Antiquity of Man" (1863) against Ramsay's theory of
the origin of lake basins by ice action.) What a capital writer Tyndall

In your last note you ask what the Bardfield oxlip is. It is P. elatior of
Jacq., which certainly looks, when growing, to common eyes different from
the common oxlip. I will fight you to the death that as primrose and
cowslip are different in appearance (not to mention odour, habitat and
range), and as I can now show that, when they cross, the intermediate
offspring are sterile like ordinary hybrids, they must be called as good
species as a man and a gorilla.

I agree that if Scott's red cowslip grew wild or spread itself and did not
vary [into] common cowslip (and we have absolutely no proof of primrose or
cowslip varying into each other), and as it will not cross with the
cowslip, it would be a perfectly good species. The power of remaining for
a good long period constant I look at as the essence of a species, combined
with an appreciable amount of difference; and no one can say there is not
this amount of difference between primrose and oxlip.

(PLATE: HUGH FALCONER, 1844. From a photograph by Hill & Adamson.)


(180/1. Falconer had proposed Darwin for the Copley Medal of the Royal
Society (which was awarded to him in 1864), but being detained abroad, he
gave his reasons for supporting Darwin for this honour in a letter to
Sharpey, the Secretary of the Royal Society. A copy of the letter here
printed seems to have been given to Erasmus Darwin, and by him shown to his
brother Charles.)

Montauban, October 25th, 1864.

Busk and myself have made every effort to be back in London by the 27th
inst., but we have been persecuted by mishaps--through the breakdown of
trains, diligences, etc., so that we have been sadly put out in our
reckoning--and have lost some of the main objects that brought us round by
this part of France--none of which were idle or unimportant.

Busk started yesterday for Paris from Bruniquel, to make sure of being
present at the meeting of the Royal Council on Thursday. He will tell you
that there were strong reasons for me remaining behind him. But as I
seconded the proposal of Mr. Darwin for the Copley Medal, in default of my
presence at the first meeting, I beg that you will express my great regrets
to the President and Council at not being there, and that I am very
reluctantly detained. I shall certainly be in London (D.V.) by the second
meeting on the 3rd proximo. Meanwhile I solicit the favour of being heard,
through you, respecting the grounds upon which I seconded Mr. Darwin's
nomination for the Copley Medal.

Referring to the classified list which I drew up of Mr. Darwin's scientific
labours, ranging through the wide field of (1) Geology, (2) Physical
Geography, (3) Zoology, (4) physiological Botany, (5) genetic Biology, and
to the power with which he has investigated whatever subject he has taken
up,--Nullum quod tetigit non ornavit,--I am of opinion that Mr. Darwin is
not only one of the most eminent naturalists of his day, but that hereafter
he will be regarded as one of the great naturalists of all countries and of
all time. His early work on the structure and distribution of coral reefs
constitutes an era in the investigation of the subject. As a monographic
labour, it may be compared with Dr. Wells' "Essay upon Dew," as original,
exhaustive, and complete--containing the closest observation with large and
important generalisations.

Among the zoologists his monographs upon the Balanidae and Lepadidae,
Fossil and Recent, in the Palaeontographical and Ray Societies'
publications, are held to be models of their kind.

In physiological Botany, his recent researches upon the dimorphism of the
genital organs in certain plants, embodied in his papers in the "Linnean
Journal," on Primula, Linum, and Lythrum, are of the highest order of
importance. They open a new mine of observation upon a field which had
been barely struck upon before. The same remark applies to his researches
on the structure and various adaptations of the orchideous flower to a
definite object connected with impregnation of the plants through the
agency of insects with foreign pollen. There has not yet been time for
their due influence being felt in the advancement of the science. But in
either subject they constitute an advance per saltum. I need not dwell
upon the value of his geological researches, which won for him one of the
earlier awards of the Wollaston Medal from the Geological Society, the best
of judges on the point.

And lastly, Mr. Darwin's great essay on the "Origin of Species" by Natural
Selection. This solemn and mysterious subject had been either so lightly
or so grotesquely treated before, that it was hardly regarded as being
within the bounds of legitimate philosophical investigation. Mr. Darwin,
after twenty years of the closest study and research, published his views,
and it is sufficient to say that they instantly fixed the attention of
mankind throughout the civilised world. That the efforts of a single mind
should have arrived at success on a subject of such vast scope, and
encompassed with such difficulties, was more than could have been
reasonably expected, and I am far from thinking that Charles Darwin has
made out all his case. But he has treated it with such power and in such a
philosophical and truth-seeking spirit, and illustrated it with such an
amount of original and collated observation as fairly to have brought the
subject within the bounds of rational scientific research. I consider this
great essay on genetic Biology to constitute a strong additional claim on
behalf of Mr. Darwin for the Copley Medal. (180/2. The following letter
(December 3rd, 1864), from Mr. Huxley to Sir J.D. Hooker, is reprinted, by
the kind permission of Mr. L. Huxley, from his father's "Life," I., page
255. Sabine's address (from the "Reader") is given in the "Life and
Letters," III., page 28. In the "Proceedings of the Royal Society" the
offending sentence is slightly modified. It is said, in Huxley's "Life"
(loc. cit., note), that the sentence which follows it was introduced to
mitigate the effect:--

"I wish you had been at the anniversary meeting and dinner, because the
latter was very pleasant, and the former, to me, very disagreeable. My
distrust of Sabine is, as you know, chronic; and I went determined to keep
careful watch on his address, lest some crafty phrase injurious to Darwin
should be introduced. My suspicions were justified, the only part of the
address [relating] to Darwin written by Sabine himself containing the
following passage:

"'Speaking generally and collectively, we have expressly omitted it
[Darwin's theory] from the grounds of our award.'

"Of course this would be interpreted by everybody as meaning that after due
discussion, the council had formally resolved not only to exclude Darwin's
theory from the grounds of the award, but to give public notice through the
president that they had done so, and, furthermore, that Darwin's friends
had been base enough to accept an honour for him on the understanding that
in receiving it he should be publicly insulted!

"I felt that this would never do, and therefore, when the resolution for
printing the address was moved, I made a speech, which I took care to keep
perfectly cool and temperate, disavowing all intention of interfering with
the liberty of the president to say what he pleased, but exercising my
constitutional right of requiring the minutes of council making the award
to be read, in order that the Society might be informed whether the
conditions implied by Sabine had been imposed or not.

"The resolution was read, and of course nothing of the kind appeared.
Sabine didn't exactly like it, I believe. Both Busk and Falconer
remonstrated against the passage to him, and I hope it will be withdrawn
when the address is printed. If not, there will be an awful row, and I for
one will show no mercy.")

In forming an estimate of the value and extent of Mr. Darwin's researches,
due regard ought to be had to the circumstances under which they have been
carried out--a pressure of unremitting disease, which has latterly left him
not more than one or two hours of the day which he could call his own.

Down, November 4th [1864].

What a good kind friend you are! I know well that this medal must have
cost you a deal of trouble. It is a very great honour to me, but I declare
the knowledge that you and a few other friends have interested themselves
on the subject is the real cream of the enjoyment to me; indeed, it is to
me worth far more than many medals. So accept my true and cordial thanks.
I hope that I may yet have strength to do a little more work in Natural
Science, shaky and old though I be. I have chuckled and triumphed over
your postscript about poor M. Brulle and his young pupils (181/1. The
following is the postscript in a letter from Falconer to Darwin November
3rd [1864]: "I returned last night from Spain via France. On Monday I was
at Dijon, where, while in the Museum, M. Brulle, Professor of Zoology,
asked me what was my frank opinion of Charles Darwin's doctrine? He told
me in despair that he could not get his pupils to listen to anything from
him except a la Darwin! He, poor man, could not comprehend it, and was
still unconvinced, but that all young Frenchmen would hear or believe
nothing else.") About a week ago I had a nearly similar account from
Germany, and at the same time I heard of some splendid converts in such men
as Leuckart, Gegenbauer, etc. You may say what you like about yourself,
but I look at a man who treats natural history in the same spirit with
which you do, exactly as good, for what I believe to be the truth, as a

Down, November 8th [1864].

Your remark on the relation of the award of the medal and the present
outburst of bigotry had not occurred to me. It seems very true, and makes
me the more gratified to receive it. General Sabine (182/1. See "Life and
Letters," III., page 28.) wrote to me and asked me to attend at the
anniversary, but I told him it was really impossible. I have never been
able to conjecture the cause; but I find that on my good days, when I can
write for a couple of hours, that anything which stirs me up like talking
for half or even a quarter of an hour, generally quite prostrates me,
sometimes even for a long time afterwards. I believe attending the
anniversary would possibly make me seriously ill. I should enjoy attending
and shaking you and a few of my other friends by the hand, but it would be
folly even if I did not break down at the time. I told Sabine that I did
not know who had proposed and seconded me for the medal, but that I
presumed it was you, or Hooker or Busk, and that I felt sure, if you
attended, you would receive the medal for me; and that if none of you
attended, that Lyell or Huxley would receive it for me. Will you receive
it, and it could be left at my brother's?

Again accept my cordial and enduring thanks for all your kindness and

Down, December 4th [1864].

I have been greatly interested by your account of your American life. What
an extraordinary and self-contained life you have led! and what vigour of
mind you must possess to follow science with so much ardour after all that
you have undergone! I am very much obliged to you for your pamphlet on
Geographical Distribution, on Agassiz, etc. (183/1. Mr. Walsh's paper "On
certain Entomological Speculations of the New England School of
Entomologists" was published in the "Proc. Entomolog. Soc. of
Philadelphia," September 1864, page 207.) I am delighted at the manner in
which you have bearded this lion in his den. I agree most entirely with
all that you have written. What I meant when I wrote to Agassiz to thank
him for a bundle of his publications, was exactly what you suppose.
(183/2. Namely, that Mr. Darwin, having been abused as an atheist, etc.,
by other writers, probably felt grateful to a writer who was willing to
allow him "a spirit as reverential as his own." ("Methods of Study,"
Preface, page iv.) I confess, however, I did not fully perceive how he had
misstated my views; but I only skimmed through his "Methods of Study," and
thought it a very poor book. I am so much accustomed to be utterly
misrepresented that it hardly excites my attention. But you really have
hit the nail on the head capitally. All the younger good naturalists whom
I know think of Agassiz as you do; but he did grand service about glaciers
and fish. About the succession of forms, Pictet has given up his whole
views, and no geologist now agrees with Agassiz. I am glad that you have
attacked Dana's wild notions; [though] I have a great respect for Dana...If
you have an opportunity, read in "Trans. Linn. Soc." Bates on "Mimetic
Lepidoptera of Amazons." I was delighted with his paper.

I have got a notice of your views about the female Cynips inserted in the
"Natural History Review" (183/3. "Nat. Hist. Review," January 1865, page
139. A notice by "J.L." (probably Lord Avebury) on Walsh's paper "On
Dimorphism in the Hymenopterous Genus Cynips," in the "Proc. Entomolog.
Soc. of Philadelphia," March, 1864.): whether the notice will be
favourable, I do not know, but anyhow it will call attention to your

As you allude in your paper to the believers in change of species, you will
be glad to hear that very many of the very best men are coming round in
Germany. I have lately heard of Hackel, Gegenbauer, F. Muller, Leuckart,
Claparede, Alex. Braun, Schleiden, etc. So it is, I hear, with the younger

Down, January 19th [1865].

It is working hours, but I am trying to take a day's holiday, for I
finished and despatched yesterday my Climbing paper. For the last ten days
I have done nothing but correct refractory sentences, and I loathe the
whole subject like tartar emetic. By the way, I am convinced that you want
a holiday, and I think so because you took the devil's name in vain so
often in your last note. Can you come here for Sunday? You know how I
should like it, and you will be quiet and dull enough here to get plenty of
rest. I have been thinking with regret about what you said in one of your
later notes, about having neglected to make notes on the gradation of
character in your genera; but would it be too late? Surely if you looked
over names in series the facts would come back, and you might surely write
a fine paper "On the gradation of important characters in the genera of
plants." As for unimportant characters, I have made their perfect
gradation a very prominent point with respect to the means of climbing, in
my paper. I begin to think that one of the commonest means of transition
is the same individual plant having the same part in different states:
thus Corydalis claviculata, if you look to one leaf, may be called a
tendril-bearer; if you look to another leaf it may be called a leaf-
climber. Now I am sure I remember some cases with plants in which
important parts such as the position of the ovule differ: differences in
the spire of leaves on lateral and terminal branches, etc.

There was not much in last "Natural History Review" which interested me
except colonial floras (184/1. "Nat. Hist. Review," 1865, page 46. A
review of Grisebach's "Flora of the British West Indian Islands" and
Thwaites' "Enumeratio Plantarum Zeylaniae." The point referred to is given
at page 57: "More than half the Flowering Plants belong to eleven Orders
in the case of the West Indies, and to ten in that of Ceylon, whilst with
but one exception the Ceylon Orders are the same as the West Indian." The
reviewer speculates on the meaning of the fact "in relation to the
hypothesis of an intertropical cold epoch, such as Mr. Darwin demands for
the migration of the Northern Flora to the Southern hemisphere.") and the
report on the sexuality of cryptogams. I suppose the former was by Oliver;
how extremely curious is the fact of similarity of Orders in the Tropics!
I feel a conviction that it is somehow connected with Glacial destruction,
but I cannot "wriggle" comfortably at all on the subject. I am nearly sure
that Dana makes out that the greatest number of crustacean forms inhabit
warmer temperate regions.

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" again [my] "Origin" views; but he says now after
repeated reading of the book he is a convert! But how funny men's minds
are! he says he is chiefly converted because my books make the Birth of
Christ, Redemption by Grace, etc., plain to him!

Down, February 9th [1865].

I quite agree how humiliating the slow progress of man is, but every one
has his own pet horror, and this slow progress or even personal
annihilation sinks in my mind into insignificance compared with the idea or
rather I presume certainty of the sun some day cooling and we all freezing.
To think of the progress of millions of years, with every continent
swarming with good and enlightened men, all ending in this, and with
probably no fresh start until this our planetary system has been again
converted into red-hot gas. Sic transit gloria mundi, with a vengeance...

Down, March 27th [1865].

I have been much interested by your letter. I received your former paper
on Phytophagic variety (186/1. For "Phytophagic Varieties and Phytophagic
Species" see "Proc. Entomolog. Soc. Philadelphia," November 1864, page 403,
also December 1865. The part on gradation is summarised at pages 427, 428.
Walsh shows that a complete gradation exists between species which are
absolutely unaffected by change of food and cases where "difference of food
is accompanied by marked and constant differences, either colorational, or
structural, or both, in the larva, pupa and imago states."), most of which
was new to me. I have since received your paper on willow-galls; this has
been very opportune, as I wanted to learn a little about galls. There was
much in this paper which has interested me extremely, on gradations, etc.,
and on your "unity of coloration." (186/2. "Unity of coloration": this
expression does not seem to occur in the paper of November 1864, but is
discussed at length in that of December 1865, page 209.) This latter
subject is nearly new to me, though I collected many years ago some such
cases with birds; but what struck me most was when a bird genus inhabits
two continents, the two sections sometimes display a somewhat different
type of colouring. I should like to hear whether this does not occur with
widely ranging insect-genera? You may like to hear that Wichura (186/3.
Max Wichura's "Die Bastarde befruchtung im Pflanzenreich, etc:" Breslau
1865. A translation appeared in the "Bibliotheque Universelle," xxiii.,
page 129: Geneva 1865.) has lately published a book which has quite
convinced me that in Europe there is a multitude of spontaneous hybrid
willows. Would it not be very interesting to know how the gall-makers
behaved with respect to these hybrids? Do you think it likely that the
ancestor of Cecidomyia acquired its poison like gnats (which suck men) for
no especial purpose (at least not for gall-making)? Such notions make me
wish that some one would try the experiments suggested in my former letter.
Is it not probable that guest-flies were aboriginally gall-makers, and bear
the same relation to them which Apathus probably does to Bombus? (186/4.
Apathus (= Psithyrus) lives in the nests of Bombus. These insects are said
to be so like humble bees that "they were not distinguished from them by
the early entomologists:" Dr. Sharp in "Cambridge Nat. Hist. (Insects,"
Part II.), page 59.) With respect to dimorphism, you may like to hear that
Dr. Hooker tells me that a dioecious parasitic plant allied to Rafflesia
has its two sexes parasitic on two distinct species of the same genus of
plants; so look out for some such case in the two forms of Cynips. I have
posted to you copies of my papers on dimorphism. Leersia (186/5. Leersia
oryzoides was for a long time thought to produce only cleistogamic and
therefore autogamous flowers. See "Variation of Animals and Plants,"
Edition II., Volume II., page 69.) does behave in a state of nature in the
provoking manner described by me. With respect to Wagner's curious
discovery my opinion is worth nothing; no doubt it is a great anomaly, but
it does not appear to me nearly so incredible as to you. Remember how
allied forms in the Hydrozoa differ in their so-called alternate
generations; I follow those naturalists who look at all such cases as forms
of gemmation; and a multitude of organisms have this power or traces of
this power at all ages from the germ to maturity. With respect to
Agassiz's views, there were many, and there are still not a few, who
believe that the same species is created on many spots. I wrote to Bates,
and he will send you his mimetic paper; and I dare say others: he is a
first-rate man.

Your case of the wingless insects near the Rocky Mountains is extremely
curious. I am sure I have heard of some such case in the Old World: I
think on the Caucasus. Would not my argument about wingless insular
insects perhaps apply to truly Alpine insects? for would it not be
destruction to them to be blown from their proper home? I should like to
write on many points at greater length to you, but I have no strength to

Down, September 22nd [1865].

I am much obliged for your extract (187/1. Mr. Wallace had sent Darwin a
note about a tufted cock-blackbird, which transmitted the character to some
of its offspring.); I never heard of such a case, though such a variation
is perhaps the most likely of any to occur in a state of nature, and to be
inherited, inasmuch as all domesticated birds present races with a tuft or
with reversed feathers on their heads. I have sometimes thought that the
progenitor of the whole class must have been a crested animal.

Do you make any progress with your journal of travels? I am the more
anxious that you should do so as I have lately read with much interest some
papers by you on the ourang-outan, etc., in the "Annals," of which I have
lately been reading the later volumes. I have always thought that journals
of this nature do considerable good by advancing the taste for Natural
History: I know in my own case that nothing ever stimulated my zeal so
much as reading Humboldt's "Personal Narrative." I have not yet received
the last part of the "Linnean Transactions," but your paper (187/2.
Probably on the variability and distribution of the butterflies of the
Malayan region: "Linn. Soc. Trans." XXV., 1866.) at present will be rather
beyond my strength, for though somewhat better, I can as yet do hardly
anything but lie on the sofa and be read aloud to. By the way, have you
read Tylor and Lecky? (187/3. Tylor, "Early History of Mankind;" Lecky's
"Rationalism.") Both these books have interested me much. I suppose you
have read Lubbock. (187/4. Lubbock, "Prehistoric Times," page 479:
"...the theory of Natural Selection, which with characteristic
unselfishness he ascribes unreservedly to Mr. Darwin.") In the last
chapter there is a note about you in which I most cordially concur. I see
you were at the British Association but I have heard nothing of it except
what I have picked up in the "Reader." I have heard a rumour that the
"Reader" is sold to the Anthropological Society. If you do not begrudge
the trouble of another note (for my sole channel of news through Hooker is
closed by his illness) I should much like to hear whether the "Reader" is
thus sold. I should be very sorry for it, as the paper would thus become
sectional in its tendency. If you write, tell me what you are doing
yourself. The only news which I have about the "Origin" is that Fritz
Muller published a few months ago a remarkable book (187/5. "Fur Darwin.")
in its favour, and secondly that a second French edition is just coming

Down, January 11th [1866].

I received your interesting letter of November 5th some little time ago,
and despatched immediately a copy of my "Journal of Researches." I fear
you will think me troublesome in my offer; but have you the second German
edition of the "Origin?" which is a translation, with additions, of the
third English edition, and is, I think, considerably improved compared with
the first edition. I have some spare copies which are of no use to me, and
it would be a pleasure to me to send you one, if it would be of any use to
you. You would never require to re-read the book, but you might wish to
refer to some passage. I am particularly obliged for your photograph, for
one likes to have a picture in one's mind of any one about whom one is
interested. I have received and read with interest your paper on the
sponge with horny spicula. (188/1. "Ueber Darwinella aurea, einen Schwamm
mit sternformigen Hornnadeln."--"Archiv. Mikrosk. Anat." I., page 57,
1866.) Owing to ill-health, and being busy when formerly well, I have for
some years neglected periodical scientific literature, and have lately been
reading up, and have thus read translations of several of your papers;
amongst which I have been particularly glad to read and see the drawings of
the metamorphoses of Peneus. (188/2. "On the Metamorphoses of the Prawns,"
by Dr. Fritz Muller.--"Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist." Volume XIV., page 104 (with
plate), 1864. Translated by W.S. Dallas from "Wiegmann's Archiv," 1863
(see also "Facts and Arguments for Darwin," passim, translated by W.S.
Dallas: London, 1869).) This seems to me the most interesting discovery
in embryology which has been made for years.

I am much obliged to you for telling me a little of your plans for the
future; what a strange, but to my taste interesting life you will lead when
you retire to your estate on the Itajahy!

You refer in your letter to the facts which Agassiz is collecting, against
our views, on the Amazons. Though he has done so much for science, he
seems to me so wild and paradoxical in all his views that I cannot regard
his opinions as of any value.

Down, January 22nd, 1866.

I thank you for your paper on pigeons (189/1. "On the Pigeons of the Malay
Archipelago" (The "Ibis," October, 1865). Mr. Wallace points out (page
366) that "the most striking superabundance of pigeons, as well as of
parrots, is confined to the Australo-Malayan sub-region in which...the
forest-haunting and fruit-eating mammals, such as monkeys and squirrels,
are totally absent." He points out also that monkeys are "exceedingly
destructive to eggs and young birds."), which interested me, as everything
that you write does. Who would ever have dreamed that monkeys influenced
the distribution of pigeons and parrots! But I have had a still higher
satisfaction, for I finished your paper yesterday in the "Linnean
Transactions." (189/2. "Linn. Soc. Trans." XXV.: a paper on the
geographical distribution and variability of the Malayan Papilionidae.) It
is admirably done. I cannot conceive that the most firm believer in
species could read it without being staggered. Such papers will make many
more converts among naturalists than long-winded books such as I shall
write if I have strength. I have been particularly struck with your
remarks on dimorphism; but I cannot quite understand one point (page 22),
(189/3. The passage referred to in this letter as needing further
explanation is the following: "The last six cases of mimicry are
especially instructive, because they seem to indicate one of the processes
by which dimorphic forms have been produced. When, as in these cases, one
sex differs much from the other, and varies greatly itself, it may happen
that individual variations will occasionally occur, having a distant
resemblance to groups which are the objects of mimicry, and which it is
therefore advantageous to resemble. Such a variety will have a better
chance of preservation; the individuals possessing it will be multiplied;
and their accidental likeness to the favoured group will be rendered
permanent by hereditary transmission, and each successive variation which
increases the resemblance being preserved, and all variations departing
from the favoured type having less chance of preservation, there will in
time result those singular cases of two or more isolated and fixed forms
bound together by that intimate relationship which constitutes them the
sexes of a single species. The reason why the females are more subject to
this kind of modification than the males is, probably, that their slower
flight, when laden with eggs, and their exposure to attack while in the act
of depositing their eggs upon leaves, render it especially advantageous for
them to have some additional protection. This they at once obtain by
acquiring a resemblance to other species which, from whatever cause, enjoy
a comparative immunity from persecution." Mr. Wallace has been good enough
to give us the following note on the above passage: "The above quotation
deals solely with the question of how certain females of the polymorphic
species (Papilio Memnon, P. Pammon, and others) have been so modified as to
mimic species of a quite distinct section of the genus; but it does not
attempt to explain why or how the other very variable types of female
arose, and this was Darwin's difficulty. As the letter I wrote in reply is
lost, and as it is rather difficult to explain the matter clearly without
reference to the coloured figures, I must go into some little detail, and
give now what was probably the explanation I gave at the time. The male of
Papilio Memnon is a large black butterfly with the nervures towards the
margins of the wings bordered with bluish gray dots. It is a forest
insect, and the very dark colour renders it conspicuous; but it is a strong
flier, and thus survives. To the female, however, this conspicuous mass of
colour would be dangerous, owing to her slower flight, and the necessity
for continually resting while depositing her eggs on the leaves of the
food-plant of the larva. She has accordingly acquired lighter and more
varied tints. The marginal gray-dotted stripes of the male have become of
a brownish ash and much wider on the fore wings, while the margin of the
hind wings is yellowish, with a more defined spot near the anal angle.
This is the form most nearly like the male, but it is comparatively rare,
the more common being much lighter in colour, the bluish gray of the hind
wings being often entirely replaced by a broad band of yellowish white.
The anal angle is orange-yellow, and there is a bright red spot at the base
of the fore wings. Between these two extremes there is every possible
variation. Now, it is quite certain that this varying mixture of brown,
black, white, yellow, and red is far less conspicuous amid the ever-
changing hues of the forest with their glints of sunshine everywhere
penetrating so as to form strong contrasts and patches of light and shade.
Hence ALL the females--one at one time and one at another--get SOME
protection, and that is sufficient to enable them to live long enough to
lay their eggs, when their work is finished. Still, under bad conditions
they only just managed to survive, and as the colouring of some of these
varying females very much resembled that of the protected butterflies of
the P. coon group (perhaps at a time when the tails of the latter were not
fully developed) any rudiments of a prolongation of the wing into a tail
added to the protective resemblance, and was therefore preserved. The
woodcuts of some of these forms in my "Malay Archipelago" (i., page 200)
will enable those who have this book at hand better to understand the
foregoing explanation."), and should be grateful for an explanation, for I
want fully to understand you. How can one female form be selected and the
intermediate forms die out, without also the other extreme form also dying
out from not having the advantages of the first selected form? for, as I
understand, both female forms occur on the same island. I quite agree with
your distinction between dimorphic forms and varieties; but I doubt whether
your criterion of dimorphic forms not producing intermediate offspring will
suffice, for I know of a good many varieties which must be so called that
will not blend or intermix, but produce offspring quite like either parent.

I have been particularly struck with your remarks on geographical
distribution in Celebes. It is impossible that anything could be better
put, and would give a cold shudder to the immutable naturalists.

And now I am going to ask a question which you will not like. How does
your journal get on? It will be a shame if you do not popularise your

Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, July 2nd, 1866.

I have been so repeatedly struck by the utter inability of numbers of
intelligent persons to see clearly, or at all, the self-acting and
necessary effects of Natural Selection, that I am led to conclude that the
term itself, and your mode of illustrating it, however clear and beautiful
to many of us, are yet not the best adapted to impress it on the general
naturalist public. The two last cases of the misunderstanding are: (1)
the article on "Darwin and his Teachings" in the last "Quarterly Journal of
Science," which, though very well written and on the whole appreciative,
yet concludes with a charge of something like blindness, in your not seeing
that Natural Selection requires the constant watching of an intelligent
"chooser," like man's selection to which you so often compare it; and (2)
in Janet's recent work on the "Materialism of the Present Day," reviewed in
last Saturday's "Reader," by an extract from which I see that he considers
your weak point to be that you do not see that "thought and direction are
essential to the action of Natural Selection." The same objection has been
made a score of times by your chief opponents, and I have heard it as often
stated myself in conversation. Now, I think this arises almost entirely
from your choice of the term "Natural Selection" and so constantly
comparing it in its effects to Man's Selection, and also your so frequently
personifying nature as "selecting," as "preferring," as "seeking only the
good of the species," etc., etc. To the few this is as clear as daylight,
and beautifully suggestive, but to many it is evidently a stumbling-block.
I wish, therefore, to suggest to you the possibility of entirely avoiding
this source of misconception in your great work (if not now too late), and
also in any future editions of the "Origin," and I think it may be done
without difficulty and very effectually by adopting Spencer's term (which
he generally uses in preference to Natural Selection)--viz., "survival of
the fittest."

This term is the plain expression of the fact; Natural Selection is a
metaphorical expression of it, and to a certain degree indirect and
incorrect, since, even personifying Nature, she does not so much select
special variations as exterminate the most unfavourable ones.

Combined with the enormous multiplying powers of all organisms, and the
"struggle for existence" leading to the constant destruction of by far the
largest proportion--facts which no one of your opponents, as far as I am
aware, has denied or misunderstood--"the survival of the fittest" rather
than of those who were less fit could not possibly be denied or
misunderstood. Neither would it be possible to say that to ensure the
"survival of the fittest" any intelligent chooser was necessary; whereas
when you say Natural Selection acts so as to choose those that are fittest,
it IS misunderstood, and apparently always will be. Referring to your
book, I find such expressions as "Man selects only for his own good; Nature
only for that of the being which she tends." This, it seems, will always
be misunderstood; but if you had said "Man selects only for his own good;
Nature, by the inevitable 'survival of the fittest,' only for that of the
being she tends," it would have been less liable to be so.

I find you use the term "Natural Selection" in two senses: (1) for the
simple preservation of favourable and rejection of unfavourable variations,
in which case it is equivalent to "survival of the fittest"; and (2) for
the effect or change produced by this preservation, as when you say, "To
sum up the circumstances favourable or unfavourable to Natural Selection,"
and again, "Isolation, also, is an important element in the process of
Natural Selection." Here it is not merely "survival of the fittest," but
change produced by survival of the fittest, that is meant. On looking over
your fourth chapter, I find that these alterations of terms can be in most
cases easily made, while in some cases the addition of "or survival of the
fittest" after "Natural Selection" would be best; and in others, less
likely to be misunderstood, the original term may stand alone.

I could not venture to propose to any other person so great an alteration
of terms, but you, I am sure, will give it an impartial consideration, and
if you really think the change will produce a better understanding of your
work, will not hesitate to adopt it.

It is evidently also necessary not to personify "Nature" too much--though I
am very apt to do it myself--since people will not understand that all such
phrases are metaphors. Natural Selection is, when understood, so necessary
and self-evident a principle, that it is a pity it should be in any way
obscured; and it therefore seems to me that the free use of "survival of
the fittest," which is a compact and accurate definition of it, would tend
much to its being more widely accepted, and prevent it being so much
misrepresented and misunderstood.

There is another objection made by Janet which is also a very common one.
It is that the chances are almost infinite against the particular kind of
variation required being coincident with each change of external
conditions, to enable an animal to become modified by Natural Selection in
harmony with such changed conditions; especially when we consider that, to
have produced the almost infinite modifications of organic beings, this
coincidence must have taken place an almost infinite number of times.

Now, it seems to me that you have yourself led to this objection being
made, by so often stating the case too strongly against yourself. For
example, at the commencement of Chapter IV. you ask if it is "improbable
that useful variations should sometimes occur in the course of thousands of
generations"; and a little further on you say, "unless profitable
variations do occur, Natural Selection can do nothing." Now, such
expressions have given your opponents the advantage of assuming that
favourable variations are rare accidents, or may even for long periods
never occur at all, and thus Janet's argument would appear to many to have
great force. I think it would be better to do away with all such
qualifying expressions, and constantly maintain (what I certainly believe
to be the fact) that variations of every kind are always occurring in every
part of every species, and therefore that favourable variations are always
ready when wanted. You have, I am sure, abundant materials to prove this;
and it is, I believe, the grand fact that renders modification and
adaptation to conditions almost always possible. I would put the burthen
of proof on my opponents to show that any one organ, structure, or faculty
does not vary, even during one generation, among all the individuals of a
species; and also to show any mode or way in which any such organ, etc.,
does not vary. I would ask them to give any reason for supposing that any
organ, etc., is ever absolutely identical at any one time in all the
individuals of a species, and if not then it is always varying, and there
are always materials which, from the simple fact that "the fittest
survive," will tend to the modification of the race into harmony with
changed conditions.

I hope these remarks may be intelligible to you, and that you will be so
kind as to let me know what you think of them.

I have not heard for some time how you are getting on. I hope you are
still improving in health, and that you will now be able to get on with
your great work, for which so many thousands are looking with interest.


(191/1. From "Life and Letters," III., page 45.)

Down, July 5th [1866].

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." 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 this misstatement of my views. As for M. Janet, he is a metaphysician,
and such gentlemen are so acute that I think they often misunderstand
common folk. Your criticism on the double sense 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, as 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.

Down, October 9th [1866].

One line to say that I have received your note and the proofs safely, and
will read them with the greatest pleasure; but I am certain I shall not be
able to send any criticism on the astronomical chapter (192/1. "Principles
of Geology," by Sir Charles Lyell; Edition X., London, 1867. Chapter XIII.
deals with "Vicissitudes in Climate how far influenced by Astronomical
Causes."), as I am as ignorant as a pig on this head. I shall require some
days to read what has been sent. I have just read Chapter IX. (192/2.
Chapter IX., "Theory of the Progressive Development of Organic Life at
Successive Geological Periods."), and like it extremely; it all seems to me
very clear, cautious, and sagacious. You do not allude to one very
striking point enough, or at all--viz., the classes having been formerly
less differentiated than they now are; and this specialisation of classes
must, we may conclude, fit them for different general habits of life as
well as the specialisation of particular organs.

Page 162 (192/3. On page 163 Lyell refers to the absence of Cetacea in
Secondary rocks, and expresses the opinion that their absence "is a
negative fact of great significance, which seems more than any other to
render it highly improbable that we shall ever find air-breathers of the
highest class in any of the Primary strata, or in any of the older members
of the Secondary series.") I rather demur to your argument from Cetacea:
as they are such greatly modified mammals, they ought to have come in
rather later in the series. You will think me rather impudent, but the
discussion at the end of Chapter IX. on man (192/4. Loc. cit., pages 167-
73, "Introduction of Man, to what extent a Change of the System."), who
thinks so much of his fine self, seems to me too long, or rather
superfluous, and too orthodox, except for the beneficed clergy.


(193/1. The following letter refers to the 4th edition of the "Origin,"
1866, which was translated by Professor Carus, and formed the 3rd German
edition. Carus continued to translate Darwin's books, and a strong bond of
friendship grew up between author and translator (see "Life and Letters,"
III., page 48). Nageli's pamphlet was first noticed in the 5th English

Down, November 21st, 1866.

...With respect to a note on Nageli (193/2. "Entstehung und Begriff der
Naturhistorischen Art," an Address given before the Royal Academy of
Sciences at Munich, March 28th, 1865. See "Life and Letters," III., page
50, for Mr. Darwin's letter to the late Prof. Nageli.) I find on
consideration it would be too long; for so good a pamphlet ought to be
discussed at full length or not at all. He makes a mistake in supposing
that I say that useful characters are always constant. His view about
distinct species converging and acquiring the same identical structure is
by implication answered in the discussion which I have given on the endless
diversity of means for gaining the same end.

The most important point, as it seems to me, in the pamphlet is that on the
morphological characters of plants, and I find I could not answer this
without going into much detail.

The answer would be, as it seems to me, that important morphological
characters, such as the position of the ovules and the relative position of
the stamens to the ovarium (hypogynous, perigynous, etc.) are sometimes
variable in the same species, as I incidentally mention when treating of
the ray-florets in the Compositae and Umbelliferae; and I do not see how
Nageli could maintain that differences in such characters prove an inherent
tendency towards perfection. I see that I have forgotten to say that you
have my fullest consent to append any discussion which you may think fit to
the new edition. As for myself I cannot believe in spontaneous generation,
and though I expect that at some future time the principle of life will be
rendered intelligible, at present it seems to me beyond the confines of

Down, December 22nd [1866?].

I suppose that you have received Hackel's book (194/1. "Generelle
Morphologie," 1866.) some time ago, as I have done. Whenever you have had
time to read through some of it, enough to judge by, I shall be very
curious to hear your judgment. I have been able to read a page or two here
and there, and have been interested and instructed by parts. But my vague
impression is that too much space is given to methodical details, and I can
find hardly any facts or detailed new views. The number of new words, to a
man like myself, weak in his Greek, is something dreadful. He seems to
have a passion for defining, I daresay very well, and for coining new
words. From my very vague notions on the book, and from its immense size,
I should fear a translation was out of the question. I see he often quotes
both of us with praise. I am sure I should like the book much, if I could
read it straight off instead of groaning and swearing at each sentence. I
have not yet had time to read your Physiology (194/2. "Lessons in
Elementary Physiology," 1866.) book, except one chapter; but I have just
re-read your book on "Man's Place, etc.," and I think I admire it more this
second time even than the first. I doubt whether you will ever have time,
but if ever you have, do read the chapter on hybridism in the new edition
of the "Origin" (194/3. Fourth Edition (1866).), for I am very anxious to
make you think less seriously on that difficulty. I have improved the
chapter a good deal, I think, and have come to more definite views. Asa
Gray and Fritz Muller (the latter especially) think that the new facts on
illegitimate offspring of dimorphic plants, throw much indirect light on
the subject. Now that I have worked up domestic animals, I am convinced of
the truth of the Pallasian (194/4. See Letter 80.) view of loss of
sterility under domestication, and this seems to me to explain much. But I
had no intention, when I began this note, of running on at such length on
hybridism; but you have been Objector-General on this head.


(195/1. For another letter of Mr. Darwin's to him see "Life and Letters,"
III., page 57.)

Down, December 23rd [1866?].

I do not know whether you will forgive a stranger addressing you. My name
may possibly be known to you. I am now writing a book on the variation of
animals and plants under domestication; and there is one little piece of
information which it is more likely that you could give me than any man in
the world, if you can spare half an hour from your professional labours,
and are inclined to be so kind. I am collecting all accounts of what some
call "sports," that is, of what I shall call "bud-variations," i.e. a moss-
rose suddenly appearing on a Provence rose--a nectarine on a peach, etc.
Now, what I want to know, and which is not likely to be recorded in print,
is whether very slight differences, too slight to be worth propagating,
thus appear suddenly by buds. As every one knows, in raising seedlings you
may have every gradation from individuals identical with the parent, to
slight varieties, to strongly marked varieties. Now, does this occur with
buds or do only rather strongly marked varieties thus appear at rare
intervals of time by buds? (195/2. Mr. Rivers could not give a decided
answer, but he did not remember to have seen slight bud-variations. The
question is discussed in "Variation under Domestication," Edition II.,
Volume I., page 443.) I should be most grateful for information. I may
add that if you have observed in your enormous experience any remarkable
"bud-variations," and could spare time to inform me, and allow me to quote
them on your authority, it would be the greatest favour. I feel sure that
these "bud-variations" are most interesting to any one endeavouring to make
out what little can be made out on the obscure subject of variation.

Down, January 7th [1867?].

I thank you much for your letter and the parcel of shoots. The case of the
yellow plum is a treasure, and is now safely recorded on your authority in
its proper place, in contrast with A. Knight's case of the yellow magnum
bonum sporting into red. (196/1. See "Variation under Domestication,"
Edition II., Volume I., page 399.) I could see no difference in the
shoots, except that those of the yellow were thicker, and I presume that
this is merely accidental: as you do not mention it, I further presume
that there are no further differences in leaves or flowers of the two
plums. I am very glad to hear about the yellow ash, and that you yourself
have seen the jessamine case. I must confess that I hardly fully believed
in it; but now I do, and very surprising it is.

In an old French book, published in Amsterdam in 1786 (I think), there is
an account, apparently authentic and attested by the writer as an eye-
witness, of hyacinth bulbs of two colours being cut in two and grafted, and
they sent up single stalks with differently coloured flowers on the two
sides, and some flowers parti-coloured. I once thought of offering 5
pounds reward in the "Cottage Gardener" for such a plant; but perhaps it
would seem too foolish. No instructions are given when to perform the
operation; I have tried two or three times, and utterly failed. I find
that I have a grand list of "bud-variations," and to-morrow shall work up
such cases as I have about rose-sports, which seem very numerous, and which
I see you state to occur comparatively frequently.

When a person is very good-natured he gets much pestered--a discovery which
I daresay you have made, or anyhow will soon make; for I do want very much
to know whether you have sown seed of any moss-roses, and whether the
seedlings were moss-roses. (196/2. Moss-roses can be raised from seed
("Variation under Domestication," Edition II., Volume I., page 405.) Has a
common rose produced by SEED a moss-rose?

If any light comes to you about very slight changes in the buds, pray have
the kindness to illuminate me. I have cases of seven or eight varieties of
the peach which have produced by "bud-variation" nectarines, and yet only
one single case (in France) of a peach producing another closely similar
peach (but later in ripening). How strange it is that a great change in
the peach should occur not rarely and slighter changes apparently very
rarely! How strange that no case seems recorded of new apples or pears or
apricots by "bud-variation"! How ignorant we are! But with the many good
observers now living our children's children will be less ignorant, and
that is a comfort.

Down, January 7th [1867].

Very many thanks for your letter, which has told me exactly what I wanted
to know. I shall give up all thoughts of trying to get the book (197/1.
Hackel's "Generelle Morphologie," 1866. See "Life and Letters," III.,
pages 67, 68.) translated, for I am well convinced that it would be
hopeless without too great an outlay. I much regret this, as I should
think the work would be useful, and I am sure it would be to me, as I shall
never be able to wade through more than here and there a page of the
original. To all people I cannot but think that the number of new terms
would be a great evil. I must write to him. I suppose you know his
address, but in case you do not, it is "to care of Signor Nicolaus Krohn,
Madeira." I have sent the MS. of my big book (197/2. "The Variation of
Animals and Plants under Domestication," 1868.), and horridly, disgustingly
big it will be, to the printers, but I do not suppose it will be published,
owing to Murray's idea on seasons, till next November. I am thinking of a
chapter on Man, as there has lately been so much said on Natural Selection
in relation to man. I have not seen the Duke's (or Dukelet's? how can you
speak so of a living real Duke?) book, but must get it from Mudie, as you
say he attacks us. (197/3. "The Reign of Law" (1867), by the late Duke of
Argyll. See "Life and Letters," III., page 65.)

P.S.--Nature never made species mutually sterile by selection, nor will

Down, January 8th [1867].

I received some weeks ago your great work (198/1. "Generelle Morphologie,"
1866.); I have read several parts, but I am too poor a German scholar and
the book is too large for me to read it all. I cannot tell you how much I
regret this, for I am sure that nearly the whole would interest me greatly,
and I have already found several parts very useful, such as the discussion
on cells and on the different forms of reproduction. I feel sure, after
considering the subject deliberately and after consulting with Huxley, that
it would be hopeless to endeavour to get a publisher to print an English
translation; the work is too profound and too long for our English
countrymen. The number of new terms would also, I am sure, tell much
against its sale; and, indeed, I wish for my own sake that you had printed
a glossary of all the new terms which you use. I fully expect that your
book will be highly successful in Germany, and the manner in which you
often refer to me in your text, and your dedication and the title, I shall
always look at as one of the greatest honours conferred on me during my
life. (198/2. As regards the dedication and title this seems a strong
expression. The title is "Generelle Morphologie der Organismen.
Allgemeine Grundzuge der organischen Formen-Wissenschaft mechanisch
begrundet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie." The
dedication of the second volume is "Den Begrundern der Descendenz-Theorie,
den denkenden Naturforschern, Charles Darwin, Wolfgang Goethe, Jean Lamarck
widmet diese Grundzuge der Allgemeinen Entwickelungsgeschichte in
vorzuglicher Verehrung, der Verfasser.")

I sincerely hope that you have had a prosperous expedition, and have met
with many new and interesting animals. If you have spare time I should
much like to hear what you have been doing and observing. As for myself, I
have sent the MS. of my book on domestic animals, etc., to the printers.
It turns out to be much too large; it will not be published, I suppose,
until next November. I find that we have discussed several of the same
subjects, and I think we agree on most points fairly well. I have lately
heard several times from Fritz Muller, but he seems now chiefly to be
working on plants. I often think of your visit to this house, which I
enjoyed extremely, and it will ever be to me a real pleasure to remember
our acquaintance. From what I heard in London I think you made many
friends there. Shall you return through England? If so, and you can spare
the time, we shall all be delighted to see you here again.

Down, January 11th [1867?].

How rich and valuable a letter you have most kindly sent me! The case of
Baronne Prevost (199/1. See "Variation under Domestication," Edition II.,
Volume I., page 406. Mr. Rivers had a new French rose with a delicate
smooth stem, pale glaucous leaves and striped flesh-coloured flowers; on
branches thus characterised there appeared "the famous old rose called
'Baronne Prevost,'" with its stout thorny stem and uniform rich-coloured
double flowers.), with its different shoots, foliage, spines, and flowers,
will be grand to quote. I am extremely glad to hear about the seedling
moss-roses. That case of a seedling like a Scotch rose, unless you are
sure that no Scotch rose grew near (and it is unlikely that you can
remember), must, one would think, have been a cross.

I have little compunction for being so troublesome--not more than a grand
Inquisitor has in torturing a heretic--for am I not doing a real good
public service in screwing crumbs of knowledge out of your wealth of

P.S. Since the above was written I have read your paper in the "Gardeners'
Chronicle": it is admirable, and will, I know, be a treasure to me. I did
not at all know how strictly the character of so many flowers is inherited.

On my honour, when I began this note I had no thought of troubling you with
a question; but you mention one point so interesting, and which I have had
occasion to notice, that I must supplicate for a few more facts to quote on
your authority. You say that you have one or two seedling peaches (199/2.
"On raising Peaches, Nectarines, and other Fruits from Seed." By Thomas
Rivers, Sawbridgeworth.--"Gard. Chron." 1866, page 731.) approaching very
nearly to thick-fleshed almonds (I know about A. Knight and the Italian
hybrid cases). Now, did any almond grow near your mother peach? But
especially I want to know whether you remember what shape the stone was,
whether flattened like that of an almond; this, botanically, seems the most
important distinction. I earnestly wish to quote this. Was the flesh at
all sweet?

Forgive if you can.

Have you kept these seedling peaches? if you would give me next summer a
fruit, I want to have it engraved.

May 22nd [1867].

You are so kind as to offer to lend me Maillet's (200/1. For De Maillet
see Mr. Huxley's review on "The Origin of Species" in the "Westminster
Review," 1860, reprinted in "Lay Sermons," 1870, page 314. De Maillet's
evolutionary views were published after his death in 1748 under the name of
Telliamed (De Maillet spelt backwards).) work, which I have often heard of,
but never seen. I should like to have a look at it, and would return it to
you in a short time. I am bound to read it, as my former friend and
present bitter enemy Owen generally ranks me and Maillet as a pair of equal

Down, April 4th [1867].

You have done me a very great service in sending me the pages of the
"Farmer." I do not know whether you wish it returned; but I will keep it
unless I hear that you want it. Old I. Anderson-Henry passes a magnificent
but rather absurd eulogium on me; but the point of such extreme value in my
eyes is Mr. Traill's (201/1. Mr. Traill's results are given at page 420 of
"Animals and Plants," Edition II., Volume I. In the "Life and Letters of
G.J. Romanes," 1896, an interesting correspondence is published with Mr.
Darwin on this subject. The plan of the experiments suggested to Romanes
was to raise seedlings from graft-hybrids: if the seminal offspring of
plants hybridised by grafting should show the hybrid character, it would be
striking evidence in favour of pangenesis. The experiment, however, did
not succeed.) statement that he made a mottled mongrel by cutting eyes
through and joining two kinds of potatoes. (201/2. For an account of
similar experiments now in progress, see a "Note on some Grafting
Experiments" by R. Biffen in the "Annals of Botany," Volume XVI., page 174,
1902.) I have written to him for full information, and then I will set to
work on a similar trial. It would prove, I think, to demonstration that
propagation by buds and by the sexual elements are essentially the same
process, as pangenesis in the most solemn manner declares to be the case.

Down, June 12th [1867?].

We come up on Saturday, the 15th, for a week. I want much to see you for a
short time to talk about my youngest boy and the School of Mines. I know
it is rather unreasonable, but you must let me come a little after 10
o'clock on Sunday morning, the 16th. If in any way inconvenient, send me a
line to "6, Queen Anne Street W.,"; but if I do not hear, I will (stomacho
volente) call, but I will not stay very long and spoil your whole morning
as a holiday. Will you turn two or three times in your mind this question:
what I called "pangenesis" means that each cell throws off an atom of its
contents or a gemmule, and that these aggregated form the true ovule or
bud, etc.? Now I want to know whether I could not invent a better word.
"Cyttarogenesis" (202/1. From kuttaros, a bee's-cell: cytogenesis would
be a natural form of the word from kutos.)--i.e. cell-genesis--is more true
and expressive, but long. "Atomogenesis" sounds rather better, I think,
but an "atom" is an object which cannot be divided; and the term might
refer to the origin of atoms of inorganic matter. I believe I like
"pangenesis" best, though so indefinite; and though my wife says it sounds
wicked, like pantheism; but I am so familiar now with this word, that I
cannot judge. I supplicate you to help me.

Down, October, 12th and 13th [1867].

I ordered the journal (203/1. "Quarterly Journal of Science," October,
1867, page 472. A review of the Duke of Argyll's "Reign of Law.") a long
time ago, but by some oversight received it only yesterday, and read it.
You will think my praise not worth having, from being so indiscriminate;
but if I am to speak the truth, I must say I admire every word. You have
just touched on the points which I particularly wished to see noticed. I
am glad you had the courage to take up Angraecum (203/2. Angraecum
sesquipedale, a Madagascan orchid, with a whiplike nectary, 11 to 12 inches
in length, which, according to Darwin ("Fertilisation of Orchids," Edition
II., page 163), is adapted to the visits of a moth with a proboscis of
corresponding length. He points out that there is no difficulty in
believing in the existence of such a moth as F. Muller has described
("Nature," 1873, page 223)--a Brazilian sphinx-moth with a trunk of 10 to
11 inches in length. Moreover, Forbes has given evidence to show that such
an insect does exist in Madagascar ("Nature," VIII., 1873, page 121). The
case of Angraecum was put forward by the Duke of Argyll as being
necessarily due to the personal contrivance of the Deity. Mr. Wallace
(page 476) shows that both proboscis and nectary might be increased in
length by means of Natural Selection. It may be added that Hermann Muller
has shown good grounds for believing that mutual specialisation of this
kind is beneficial both to insect and plant.) after the Duke's attack; for
I believe the principle in this case may be widely applied. I like the
figure, but I wish the artist had drawn a better sphinx. With respect to
beauty, your remarks on hideous objects and on flowers not being made
beautiful except when of practical use to them, strike me as very good. On
this one point of beauty I can hardly think that the Duke was quite candid.
I have used in the concluding paragraph of my present book precisely the
same argument as you have, even bringing in the bull-dog (203/3.
"Variation of Animals and Plants," Edition I., Volume II., page 431: "Did
He cause the frame and mental qualities of the dog to vary in order that a
breed might be formed of indomitable ferocity, with jaws fitted to pin down
the bull for man's brutal sport?"), with respect to variations not having
been specially ordained. Your metaphor of the river (203/4. See Wallace,
op. cit., pages 477-8. He imagines an observer examining a great river-
system, and finding everywhere adaptations which reveal the design of the
Creator. "He would see special adaptation to the wants of man in broad,
quiet, navigable rivers, through fertile alluvial plains that would support
a large population, while the rocky streams and mountain torrents were
confined to those sterile regions suitable only for a small population of
shepherds and herdsmen.') is new to me, and admirable; but your other
metaphor, in which you compare classification and complex machines, does
not seem to me quite appropriate, though I cannot point out what seems
deficient. The point which seems to me strong is that all naturalists
admit that there is a natural classification, and it is this which descent
explains. I wish you had insisted a little more against the "North
British" (203/5. At page 485 Mr. Wallace deals with Fleeming Jenkin's
review in the "North British Review," 1867. The review strives to show
that there are strict limits to variation, since the most rigorous and
long-continued selection does not indefinitely increase such a quality as
the fleetness of a racehorse. On this Mr. Wallace remarks that "this
argument fails to meet the real question," which is, not whether indefinite
change is possible, "but whether such differences as do occur in nature
could have been produced by the accumulation of variations by selection.")
on the reviewer assuming that each variation which appears is a strongly
marked one; though by implication you have made this very plain. Nothing
in your whole article has struck me more than your view with respect to the
limit of fleetness in the racehorse and other such cases: I shall try and
quote you on this head in the proof of my concluding chapter. I quite
missed this explanation, though in the case of wheat I hit upon something
analogous. I am glad you praise the Duke's book, for I was much struck
with it. The part about flight seemed to me at first very good; but as the
wing is articulated by a ball-and-socket joint, I suspect the Duke would
find it very difficult to give any reason against the belief that the wing
strikes the air more or less obliquely. I have been very glad to see your
article and the drawing of the butterfly in "Science Gossip." By the way,
I cannot but think that you push protection too far in some cases, as with
the stripes on the tiger. I have also this morning read an excellent
abstract in the "Gardeners' Chronicle" of your paper on nests. (203/6. An
abstract of a paper on "Birds' Nests and Plumage," read before the British
Association: see "Gard. Chron." 1867, page 1047.) I was not by any means
fully converted by your letter, but I think now I am so; and I hope it will
be published somewhere in extenso. It strikes me as a capital
generalisation, and appears to me even more original than it did at

I have finished Volume I. of my book ["Variation of Animals and Plants"],
and I hope the whole will be out by the end of November. If you have the
patience to read it through, which is very doubtful, you will find, I
think, a large accumulation of facts which will be of service to you in
future papers; and they could not be put to better use, for you certainly
are a master in the noble art of reasoning.

Down, October 3rd [no date].

I know you have no time for speculative correspondence; and I did not in
the least expect an answer to my last. But I am very glad to have had it,
for in my eclectic work the opinions of the few good men are of great value
to me.

I knew, of course, of the Cuvierian view of classification (204/1. Cuvier
proved that "animals cannot be arranged in a single series, but that there
are several distinct plans of organisation to be observed among them, no
one of which, in its highest and most complicated modification, leads to
any of the others" (Huxley's "Darwiniana," page 215).); but I think that
most naturalists look for something further, and search for "the natural
system,"--"for the plan on which the Creator has worked," etc., etc. It is
this further element which I believe to be simply genealogical.

But I should be very glad to have your answer (either when we meet or by
note) to the following case, taken by itself, and not allowing yourself to
look any further than to the point in question. Grant all races of man
descended from one race--grant that all the structure of each race of man
were perfectly known--grant that a perfect table of the descent of each
race was perfectly known--grant all this, and then do you not think that
most would prefer as the best classification, a genealogical one, even if
it did occasionally put one race not quite so near to another, as it would
have stood, if collocated by structure alone? Generally, we may safely
presume, that the resemblance of races and their pedigrees would go

I should like to hear what you would say on this purely theoretical case.

It might be asked why is development so all-potent in classification, as I
fully admit it is? I believe it is because it depends on, and best
betrays, genealogical descent; but this is too large a point to enter on.

Down, December 7th [1867].

I send by this post the article in the Victorian Institute with respect to
frogs' spawn. If you remember in your boyhood having ever tried to take a
small portion out of the water, you will remember that it is most
difficult. I believe all the birds in the world might alight every day on
the spawn of batrachians, and never transport a single ovum. With respect
to the young of molluscs, undoubtedly if the bird to which they were
attached alighted on the sea, they would be instantly killed; but a land-
bird would, I should think, never alight except under dire necessity from
fatigue. This, however, has been observed near Heligoland (205/1.
Instances are recorded by Gatke in his "Heligoland as an Ornithological
Observatory" (translated by Rudolph Rosenstock, Edinburgh, 1895) of land-
birds, such as thrushes, buntings, finches, etc., resting for a short time
on the surface of the water. The author describes observations made by
himself about two miles west of Heligoland (page 129).); and land-birds,
after resting for a time on the tranquil sea, have been seen to rise and
continue their flight. I cannot give you the reference about Heligoland
without much searching. This alighting on the sea may aid you in your
unexpected difficulty of the too-easy diffusion of land-molluscs by the
agency of birds. I much enjoyed my morning's talk with you.

Down, January 5th [1868].

I thank you for your letter, which has quite delighted me. I sincerely
congratulate you on your success in making a graft-hybrid (206/1. Prof.
Hildebrand's paper is in the "Bot. Zeitung," 1868: the substance is given
in "Variation of Animals and Plants," Edition II., Volume I., page 420.),
for I believe it to be a most important observation. I trust that you will
publish full details on this subject and on the direct action of pollen
(206/2. See Prof. Hildebrand, "Bot. Zeitung," 1868, and "Variation of
Animals and Plants," Edition II., Volume I., page 430. A yellow-grained
maize was fertilised with pollen from a brown-grained one; the result was
that ears were produced bearing both yellow and dark-coloured grains.): I
hope that you will be so kind as to send me a copy of your paper. If I had
succeeded in making a graft-hybrid of the potato, I had intended to raise
seedlings from the graft-hybrid and from the two parent-forms (excluding
insects) and carefully compare the offspring. This, however, would be
difficult on account of the sterility and variability of the potato. When
in the course of a few months you receive my second volume (206/3. This
sentence may be paraphrased--"When you receive my book and read the second
volume."), you will see why I think these two subjects so important. They
have led me to form a hypothesis on the various forms of reproduction,
development, inheritance, etc., which hypothesis, I believe, will
ultimately be accepted, though how it will be now received I am very

Once again I congratulate you on your success.

Down, January 6th [1868].

Many thanks about names of plants, synonyms, and male flowers--all that I

I have been glad to see Watson's letter, and am sorry he is a renegade
about Natural Selection. It is, as you say, characteristic, with the final
fling at you.

His difficulty about the difference between the two genera of St. Helena
Umbellifers is exactly the same as what Nageli has urged in an able
pamphlet (207/1. "Ueber Entstehung und Begriff der naturhist. Art."
"Sitz. der K. Bayer. Akad. Der Wiss. zu Munchen," 1865. Some of Nageli's
points are discussed in the "Origin," Edition V., page 151.), and who in
consequence maintains that there is some unknown innate tendency to
progression in all organisms. I said in a letter to him that of course I
could not in the least explain such cases; but that they did not seem to me
of overwhelming force, as long as we are quite ignorant of the meaning of
such structures, whether they are of any service to the plants, or
inevitable consequences of modifications in other parts.

I cannot understand what Watson means by the "counter-balance in nature" to
divergent variation. There is the counterbalance of crossing, of which my
present work daily leads me to see more and more the efficiency; but I
suppose he means something very different. Further, I believe variation to
be divergent solely because diversified forms can best subsist. But you
will think me a bore.

I enclose half a letter from F. Muller (which please return) for the chance
of your liking to see it; though I have doubted much about sending it, as
you are so overworked. I imagine the Solanum-like flower is curious.

I heard yesterday to my joy that Dr. Hildebrand has been experimenting on
the direct action of pollen on the mother-plant with success. He has also
succeeded in making a true graft-hybrid between two varieties of potatoes,
in which I failed. I look at this as splendid for pangenesis, as being
strong evidence that bud-reproduction and seminal reproduction do not
essentially differ.

My book is horribly delayed, owing to the accursed index-maker. (207/2.
Darwin thoroughly appreciated the good work put into the index of "The
Variation of Animals and Plants.") I have almost forgotten it!

Down, January 30th [1868].

Most sincere thanks for your kind congratulations. I never received a note
from you in my life without pleasure; but whether this will be so after you
have read pangenesis (208/1. In Volume II. of "Animals and Plants, 1868.),
I am very doubtful. Oh Lord, what a blowing up I may receive! I write now
partly to say that you must not think of looking at my book till the
summer, when I hope you will read pangenesis, for I care for your opinion
on such a subject more than for that of any other man in Europe. You are
so terribly sharp-sighted and so confoundedly honest! But to the day of my
death I will always maintain that you have been too sharp-sighted on
hybridism; and the chapter on the subject in my book I should like you to
read: not that, as I fear, it will produce any good effect, and be hanged
to you.

I rejoice that your children are all pretty well. Give Mrs. Huxley the
enclosed (208/2. Queries on Expression.), and ask her to look out when one
of her children is struggling and just going to burst out crying. A dear
young lady near here plagued a very young child for my sake, till it cried,
and saw the eyebrows for a second or two beautifully oblique, just before
the torrent of tears began.

The sympathy of all our friends about George's success (it is the young
Herald) (208/3. His son George was Second Wrangler in 1868; as a boy he
was an enthusiast in heraldry.) has been a wonderful pleasure to us.
George has not slaved himself, which makes his success the more
satisfactory. Farewell, my dear Huxley, and do not kill yourself with

(209/1. The following group of letters deals with the problem of the
causes of the sterility of hybrids. Mr. Darwin's final view is given in
the "Origin," sixth edition (page 384, edition 1900). He acknowledges that
it would be advantageous to two incipient species, if by physiological
isolation due to mutual sterility, they could be kept from blending: but
he continues, "After mature reflection it seems to me that this could not
have been effected through Natural Selection." And finally he concludes
(page 386):--

"But it would be superfluous to discuss this question in detail; for with
plants we have conclusive evidence that the sterility of crossed species
must be due to some principle quite independent of Natural Selection. Both
Gartner and Kolreuter have proved that in genera including numerous
species, a series can be formed from species which when crossed yield fewer
and fewer seeds, to species which never produce a single seed, but yet are
affected by the pollen of certain other species, for the germen swells. It
is here manifestly impossible to select the more sterile individuals, which
have already ceased to yield seeds; so that this acme of sterility, when
the germen alone is affected, cannot have been gained through selection;
and from the laws governing the various grades of sterility being so
uniform throughout the animal and vegetable kingdoms, we may infer that the
cause, whatever it may be, is the same or nearly the same in all cases."

Mr. Wallace, on the other hand, still adheres to his view: see his
"Darwinism," 1889, page 174, and for a more recent statement see page 292,
note 1, Letter 211, and page 299.

The discussion of 1868 began with a letter from Mr. Wallace, written
towards the end of February, giving his opinion on the "Variation of
Animals and Plants;" the discussion on the sterility of hybrids is at page
185, Volume II., of the first edition.)

February 1868.

The only parts I have yet met with where I somewhat differ from your views,
are in the chapter on the causes of variability, in which I think several
of your arguments are unsound: but this is too long a subject to go into
now. Also, I do not see your objection to sterility between allied species
having been aided by Natural Selection. It appears to me that, given a
differentiation of a species into two forms, each of which was adapted to a
special sphere of existence, every slight degree of sterility would be a
positive advantage, not to the individuals who were sterile, but to each
form. If you work it out, and suppose the two incipient species a...b to
be divided into two groups, one of which contains those which are fertile
when the two are crossed, the other being slightly sterile, you will find
that the latter will certainly supplant the former in the struggle for
existence; remembering that you have shown that in such a cross the
offspring would be more vigorous than the pure breed, and therefore would
certainly soon supplant them, and as these would not be so well adapted to
any special sphere of existence as the pure species a and b, they would
certainly in their turn give way to a and b.

February 27th [1868].

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. Two of my grown-up children who are acute
reasoners have two or three times at intervals tried to prove me wrong; and
when your letter came they had another try, but ended by coming back to my
side. I do not quite understand your case, and we think that a word or two
is misplaced. I wish some time you would consider the case under the
following point of view. If sterility is caused or accumulated through
Natural Selection, then, 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 the sterility of the individuals of 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. (210/1. This letter appeared in "Life and Letters,"
III., page 80.)

March 1st, 1868.

I beg to enclose what appears to me a demonstration on your own principles,
that Natural Selection could produce sterility of hybrids. If it does not
convince you, I shall be glad if you will point out where the fallacy lies.
I have taken the two cases of a slight sterility overcoming perfect
fertility, and of a perfect sterility overcoming a partial fertility,--the
beginning and end of the process. You admit that variations in fertility
and sterility occur, and I think you will also admit that if I demonstrate
that a considerable amount of sterility would be advantageous to a variety,
that is sufficient proof that the slightest variation in that direction
would be useful also, and would go on accumulating.

1. Let there be a species which has varied into two forms, each adapted to
existing conditions (211/1. "Existing conditions," means of course new
conditions which have now come into existence. And the "two" being both
better adapted than the parent form, means that they are better adapted
each to a special environment in the same area--as one to damp, another to
dry places; one to woods, another to open grounds, etc., etc., as Darwin
had already explained. A.R.W. (1899).) better than the parent form, which
they supplant.

2. If these two forms, which are supposed to co-exist in the same
district, do not intercross, Natural Selection will accumulate favourable
variations, till they become sufficiently well adapted to their conditions
of life and form two allied species.

3. But if these two forms freely intercross with each other and produce
hybrids which are also quite fertile inter se, then the formation of the
two distinct races or species will be retarded or perhaps entirely
prevented; for the offspring of the crossed unions will be more vigorous
owing to the cross, although less adapted to their conditions of life than
either of the pure breeds. (211/2. After "pure breeds," add "because less
specialised." A.R.W. (1899).)

4. Now let a partial sterility of some individuals of these two forms
arise when they intercross; and as this would probably be due to some
special conditions of life, we may fairly suppose it to arise in some
definite portion of the area occupied by the two forms.

5. The result is that in this area hybrids will not increase so rapidly as
before; and as by the terms of the problem the two pure forms are better
suited to the conditions of life than the hybrids, they will tend to
supplant the latter altogether whenever the struggle for existence becomes

6. We may fairly suppose, also, that as soon as any sterility appears
under natural conditions, it will be accompanied by some disinclination to
cross-unions; and this will further diminish the production of hybrids.

7. In the other part of the area, however, where hybridism occurs
unchecked, hybrids of various degrees will soon far outnumber the parent or
pure form.

8. The first result, then, of a partial sterility of crosses appearing in
one part of the area occupied by the two forms, will be, that the GREAT
MAJORITY of the individuals will there consist of the pure forms only,
while in the rest of the area these will be in a minority,--which is the
same as saying, that the new sterile or physiological variety of the two
forms will be better suited to the conditions of existence than the
remaining portion which has not varied physiologically.

9. But when the struggle for existence becomes severe, that variety which
is best adapted to the conditions of existence always supplants that which
is imperfectly adapted; therefore by Natural Selection the sterile
varieties of the two forms will become established as the only ones.

10. Now let a fresh series of variations in the amount of sterility and in
the disinclination to crossed unions occur,--also in certain parts of the
area: exactly the same result must recur, and the progeny of this new
physiological variety again in time occupy the whole area.

11. There is yet another consideration that supports this view. It seems
probable that the variations in amount of sterility would to some extent
concur with and perhaps depend upon the structural variations; so that just
in proportion as the two forms diverged and became better adapted to the
conditions of existence, their sterility would increase. If this were the
case, then Natural Selection would act with double strength, and those
varieties which were better adapted to survive both structurally and
physiologically, would certainly do so. (211/3. The preceding eleven
paragraphs are substantially but not verbally identical with the statement
of the argument in Mr. Wallace's "Darwinism," 1889. Pages 179, 180, note

12. Let us now consider the more difficult case of two allied species A,
B, in the same area, half the individuals of each (As, Bs) being absolutely
sterile, the other half (Af, Bf) being partially fertile: will As, Bs
ultimately exterminate Af, Bf?

13. To avoid complication, it must be granted, that between As and Bs no
cross-unions take place, while between Af and Bf cross-unions are as
frequent as direct unions, though much less fertile. We must also leave
out of consideration crosses between As and Af, Bs and Bf, with their
various approaches to sterility, as I believe they will not affect the
final result, although they will greatly complicate the problem.

14. In the first generation there will result: 1st, The pure progeny of
As and Bs; 2nd, The pure progeny of Af and of Bf; and 3rd, The hybrid
progeny of Af, Bf.

15. Supposing that, in ordinary years, the increased constitutional vigour
of the hybrids exactly counterbalances their imperfect adaptations to
conditions, there will be in the second generation, besides these three
classes, hybrids of the second degree between the first hybrids and Af and
Bf respectively. In succeeding generations there will be hybrids of all
degrees, varying between the first hybrids and the almost pure types of Af
and Bf.

16. Now, if at first the number of individuals of As, Bs, Af and Bf were
equal, and year after year the total number continues stationary, I think
it can be proved that, while half will be the pure progeny of As and Bs,
the other half will become more and more hybridised, until the whole will
be hybrids of various degrees.

17. Now, this hybrid and somewhat intermediate race cannot be so well
adapted to the conditions of life as the two pure species, which have been
formed by the minute adaptation to conditions through Natural Selection;
therefore, in a severe struggle for existence, the hybrids must succumb,
especially as, by hypothesis, their fertility would not be so great as that
of the two pure species.

18. If we were to take into consideration the unions of As with Af and Bs
with Bf, the results would become very complicated, but it must still lead
to there being a number of pure forms entirely derived from As and Bs, and
of hybrid forms mainly derived from Af and Bf; and the result of the
struggle of these two sets of individuals cannot be doubtful.

19. If these arguments are sound, it follows that sterility may be
accumulated and increased, and finally made complete by Natural Selection,
whether the sterile varieties originate together in a definite portion of
the area occupied by the two species, or occur scattered over the whole
area. (211/4. The first part of this discussion should be considered
alone, as it is both more simple and more important. I now believe that
the utility, and therefore the cause of sterility between species, is
during the process of differentiation. When species are fully formed, the
occasional occurrence of hybrids is of comparatively small importance, and
can never be a danger to the existence of the species. A.R.W. (1899).)

P.S.--In answer to the objection as to the unequal sterility of reciprocal
crosses ("Variation, etc." Volume II., page 186) I reply that, as far as it
went, the sterility of one cross would be advantageous even if the other
cross was fertile: and just as characters now co-ordinated may have been
separately accumulated by Natural Selection, so the reciprocal crosses may
have become sterile one at a time.

4, Chester Place, March 17th, 1868.

(212/1. Mr. Darwin had already written a short note to Mr. Wallace
expressing a general dissent from his view.)

I do not feel that I shall grapple with the sterility argument till my
return home; I have tried once or twice, and it has made my stomach feel as
if it had been placed in a vice. Your paper has driven three of my
children half mad--one sat up till 12 o'clock over it. My second son, the
mathematician, thinks that you have omitted one almost inevitable deduction
which apparently would modify the result. He has written out what he
thinks, but I have not tried fully to understand him. I suppose that you
do not care enough about the subject to like to see what he has written.

Hurstpierpoint, March, 24th [1868].

I return your son's notes with my notes on them. Without going into any
details, is not this a strong general argument?

1. A species varies occasionally in two directions, but owing to their
free intercrossing the varieties never increase.

2. A change of conditions occurs which threatens the existence of the
species; but the two varieties are adapted to the changing conditions, and
if accumulated will form two new species adapted to the new conditions.

3. Free crossing, however, renders this impossible, and so the species is
in danger of extinction.

4. If sterility would be induced, then the pure races would increase more
rapidly, and replace the old species.

5. It is admitted that partial sterility between varieties does
occasionally occur. It is admitted [that] the degree of this sterility
varies; is it not probable that Natural Selection can accumulate these
variations, and thus save the species? If Natural Selection can NOT do
this, how do species ever arise, except when a variety is isolated?

Closely allied species in distinct countries being sterile is no
difficulty; for either they diverged from a common ancestor in contact, and
Natural Selection increased the sterility, or they were isolated, and have
varied since: in which case they have been for ages influenced by distinct
conditions which may well produce sterility.

If the difficulty of grafting was as great as the difficulty of crossing,
and as regular, I admit it would be a most serious objection. But it is
not. I believe many distinct species can be grafted, while others less
distinct cannot. The regularity with which natural species are sterile
together, even when very much alike, I think is an argument in favour of
the sterility having been generally produced by Natural Selection for the
good of the species.

The other difficulty, of unequal sterility of reciprocal crosses, seems
none to me; for it is a step to more complete sterility, and as such would
be increased by selection.

Down, April 6th [1868].

I have been considering the terrible problem. Let me first say that no man
could have more earnestly wished for the success of Natural Selection in
regard to sterility than I did; and when I considered a general statement
(as in your last note) I always felt sure it could be worked out, but
always failed in detail. The cause being, as I believe, that Natural
Selection cannot effect what is not good for the individual, including in
this term a social community. It would take a volume to discuss all the
points, and nothing is so humiliating to me as to agree with a man like you
(or Hooker) on the premises and disagree about the result.

I agree with my son's argument and not with the rejoinder. The cause of
our difference, I think, is that I look at the number of offspring as an
important element (all circumstances remaining the same) in keeping up the
average number of individuals within any area. I do not believe that the
amount of food by any means is the sole determining cause of number.
Lessened fertility is equivalent to a new source of destruction. I believe
if in one district a species produced from any cause fewer young, the
deficiency would be supplied from surrounding districts. This applies to
your Paragraph 5. (213/1. See Letter 211.) If the species produced fewer
young from any cause in every district, it would become extinct unless its
fertility were augmented through Natural Selection (see H. Spencer).

I demur to probability and almost to possibility of Paragraph 1., as you
start with two forms within the same area, which are not mutually sterile,
and which yet have supplanted the parent-form.

(Paragraph 6.) I know of no ghost of a fact supporting belief that
disinclination to cross accompanies sterility. It cannot hold with plants,
or the lower fixed aquatic animals. I saw clearly what an immense aid this
would be, but gave it up. Disinclination to cross seems to have been
independently acquired, probably by Natural Selection; and I do not see why
it would not have sufficed to have prevented incipient species from
blending to have simply increased sexual disinclination to cross.

(Paragraph 11.) I demur to a certain extent to amount of sterility and
structural dissimilarity necessarily going together, except indirectly and
by no means strictly. Look at vars. of pigeons, fowls, and cabbages.

I overlooked the advantage of the half-sterility of reciprocal crosses;
yet, perhaps from novelty, I do not feel inclined to admit probability of
Natural Selection having done its work so queerly.

I will not discuss the second case of utter sterility, but your assumptions
in Paragraph 13 seem to me much too complicated. I cannot believe so
universal an attribute as utter sterility between remote species was
acquired in so complex a manner. I do not agree with your rejoinder on
grafting: I fully admit that it is not so closely restricted as crossing,
but this does not seem to me to weaken the case as one of analogy. The
incapacity of grafting is likewise an invariable attribute of plants
sufficiently remote from each other, and sometimes of plants pretty closely

The difficulty of increasing the sterility through Natural Selection of two
already sterile species seems to me best brought home by considering an
actual case. The cowslip and primrose are moderately sterile, yet
occasionally produce hybrids. Now these hybrids, two or three or a dozen
in a whole parish, occupy ground which might have been occupied by either
pure species, and no doubt the latter suffer to this small extent. But can
you conceive that any individual plants of the primrose and cowslip which
happened to be mutually rather more sterile (i.e. which, when crossed,
yielded a few less seed) than usual, would profit to such a degree as to
increase in number to the ultimate exclusion of the present primrose and
cowslip? I cannot.

My son, I am sorry to say, cannot see the full force of your rejoinder in
regard to second head of continually augmented sterility. You speak in
this rejoinder, and in Paragraph 5, of all the individuals becoming in some
slight degree sterile in certain districts: if you were to admit that by
continued exposure to these same conditions the sterility would inevitably
increase, there would be no need of Natural Selection. But I suspect that
the sterility is not caused so much by any particular conditions as by long
habituation to conditions of any kind. To speak according to pangenesis,
the gemmules of hybrids are not injured, for hybrids propagate freely by
buds; but their reproductive organs are somehow affected, so that they
cannot accumulate the proper gemmules, in nearly the same manner as the
reproductive organs of a pure species become affected when exposed to
unnatural conditions.

This is a very ill-expressed and ill-written letter. Do not answer it,
unless the spirit urges you. Life is too short for so long a discussion.
We shall, I greatly fear, never agree.

Hurstpierpoint, [April?] 8th, 1868.

I am sorry you should have given yourself the trouble to answer my ideas on
sterility. If you are not convinced, I have little doubt but that I am
wrong; and, in fact, I was only half convinced by my own arguments, and I
now think there is about an even chance that Natural Selection may or may
not be able to accumulate sterility. If my first proposition is modified
to the existence of a species and a variety in the same area, it will do
just as well for my argument. Such certainly do exist. They are fertile
together, and yet each maintains itself tolerably distinct. How can this
be, if there is no disinclination to crossing?

My belief certainly is that number of offspring is not so important an
element in keeping up population of a species as supply of food and other
favourable conditions; because the numbers of a species constantly vary
greatly in different parts of its own area, whereas the average number of
offspring is not a very variable element.

However, I will say no more, but leave the problem as insoluble, only
fearing that it will become a formidable weapon in the hands of the enemies
of Natural Selection.


(215/1. The following extract from a letter to Sir Joseph Hooker (dated
April 3rd, 1868) refers to his Presidential Address for the approaching
meeting of the British Association at Norwich.

Some account of Sir Joseph's success is given in the "Life and Letters,"
III., page 100, also in Huxley's "Life," Volume I., page 297, where Huxley
writes to Darwin:--

"We had a capital meeting at Norwich, and dear old Hooker came out in great
force, as he always does in emergencies. The only fault was the terrible
'Darwinismus' which spread over the section and crept out when you least
expected it, even in Fergusson's lecture on 'Buddhist Temples.' You will
have the rare happiness to see your ideas triumphant during your lifetime.

"P.S.--I am going into opposition; I can't stand it.")

Down, April 3rd [1868].

I have been thinking over your Presidential Address; I declare I made
myself quite uncomfortable by fancying I had to do it, and feeling myself
utterly dumbfounded.

But I do not believe that you will find it so difficult. When you come to
Down I shall be very curious to hear what your ideas are on the subject.

Could you make anything out of a history of the great steps in the progress
of Botany, as representing the whole of Natural History? Heaven protect
you! I suppose there are men to whom such a job would not be so awful as
it appears to me...If you had time, you ought to read an article by W.
Bagehot in the April number of the "Fortnightly" (215/2. "Physic and
Politics," "Fortnightly Review," Volume III., page 452, 1868.), applying
Natural Selection to early or prehistoric politics, and, indeed, to late
politics,--this you know is your view.

9, St. Mark's Crescent, N.W., August 16th [1868].

I ought to have written before to thank you for the copies of your papers
on Primula and on "Cross-unions of Dimorphic Plants, etc." The latter is
particularly interesting and the conclusion most important; but I think it
makes the difficulty of how these forms, with their varying degrees of
sterility, originated, greater than ever. If "natural selection" could not
accumulate varying degrees of sterility for the plant's benefit, then how
did sterility ever come to be associated with one cross of a trimorphic
plant rather than another? The difficulty seems to be increased by the
consideration that the advantage of a cross with a distinct individual is
gained just as well by illegitimate as by legitimate unions. By what
means, then, did illegitimate unions ever become sterile? It would seem a
far simpler way for each plant's pollen to have acquired a prepotency on
another individual's stigma over that of the same individual, without the
extraordinary complication of three differences of structure and eighteen
different unions with varying degrees of sterility!

However, the fact remains an excellent answer to the statement that
sterility of hybrids proves the absolute distinctness of the parents.

I have been reading with great pleasure Mr. Bentham's last admirable
address (216/1. "Proc. Linn. Soc." 1867-8, page lvii.), in which he so
well replies to the gross misstatements of the "Athenaeum;" and also says
award in favour of pangenesis. I think we may now congratulate you on
having made a valuable convert, whose opinions on the subject, coming so
late and being evidently so well considered, will have much weight.

I am going to Norwich on Tuesday to hear Dr. Hooker, who I hope will boldly
promulgate "Darwinism" in his address. (216/2. Sir Joseph Hooker's
Presidential Address at the British Association Meeting.) Shall we have
the pleasure of seeing you there?

I am engaged in negociations about my book.

Hoping you are well and getting on with your next volumes.

(216/3. We are permitted by Mr. Wallace to append the following note as to
his more recent views on the question of Natural Selection and sterility:--

"When writing my "Darwinism," and coming again to the consideration of this
problem of the effect of Natural Selection in accumulating variations in
the amount of sterility between varieties or incipient species twenty years
later, I became more convinced, than I was when discussing with Darwin, of
the substantial accuracy of my argument. Recently a correspondent who is
both a naturalist and a mathematician has pointed out to me a slight error
in my calculation at page 183 (which does not, however, materially affect
the result), disproving the 'physiological selection' of the late Dr.
Romanes, but he can see no fallacy in my argument as to the power of
Natural Selection to increase sterility between incipient species, nor, so
far as I am aware, has any one shown such fallacy to exist.

"On the other points on which I differed from Mr. Darwin in the foregoing
discussion--the effect of high fertility on population of a species, etc.--
I still hold the views I then expressed, but it would be out of place to
attempt to justify them here."

A.R.W. (1899).)

Down, October 4th [1867].

With respect to the points in your note, I may sometimes have expressed
myself with ambiguity. At the end of Chapter XXIII., where I say that
marked races are not often (you omit "often") produced by changed
conditions (217/1. "Hence, although it must be admitted that new
conditions of life do sometimes definitely affect organic beings, it may be
doubted whether well-marked races have often been produced by the direct
action of changed conditions without the aid of selection either by man or
nature." ("Animals and Plants," Volume II., page 292, 1868.)), I intended
to refer to the direct action of such conditions in causing variation, and
not as leading to the preservation or destruction of certain forms. There
is as wide a difference in these two respects as between voluntary
selection by man and the causes which induce variability. I have somewhere
in my book referred to the close connection between Natural Selection and
the action of external conditions in the sense which you specify in your
note. And in this sense all Natural Selection may be said to depend on
changed conditions. In the "Origin" I think I have underrated (and from
the cause which you mention) the effects of the direct action of external
conditions in producing varieties; but I hope in Chapter XXIII. I have
struck as fair a balance as our knowledge permits.

It is wonderful to me that you have patience to read my slips, and I cannot
but regret, as they are so imperfect; they must, I think, give you a wrong
impression, and had I sternly refused, you would perhaps have thought
better of my book. Every single slip is greatly altered, and I hope

With respect to the human ovule, I cannot find dimensions given, though I
have often seen the statement. My impression is that it would be just or
barely visible if placed on a clear piece of glass. Huxley could answer
your question at once.

I have not been well of late, and have made slow progress, but I think my
book will be finished by the middle of November.

[End of February, 1868]

I am in the second volume of your book, and I have been astonished at the
immense number of interesting facts you have brought together. I read the
chapter on pangenesis first, for I could not wait. I can hardly tell you
how much I admire it. 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. You have now fairly beaten Spencer on his own
ground, for he really offered no solution of the difficulties of the
problem. The incomprehensible minuteness and vast numbers of the
physiological germs or atoms (which themselves must be compounded of
numbers of Spencer's physiological units) is the only difficulty; but that
is only on a par with the difficulties in all conceptions of matter, space,
motion, force, etc.

As I understood Spencer, his physiological units were identical throughout
each species, but slightly different in each different species; but no
attempt was made to show how the identical form of the parent or ancestors
came to be built up of such units.

Down, February 27th [1868].

You cannot well imagine how much I have been pleased by what you say about
pangenesis. None of my friends will speak out, except to a certain extent
Sir H. Holland, who found it very tough reading, but admits that some view
"closely akin to it" will have to be admitted. 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 feelings--
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 footnote refer to something quite distinct, as you seem to
have perceived. (219/1. This letter is published in "Life and Letters,"
III., page 79.)

Hurstpierpoint, March 1st, 1868.

...Sir C. Lyell spoke to me as if he has greatly admired pangenesis. I am
very glad H. Spencer at once acknowledges that his view was something quite
distinct from yours. Although, as you know, I am a great admirer of his, I
feel how completely his view failed to go to the root of the matter, as
yours does. His explained nothing, though he was evidently struggling hard
to find an explanation. Yours, as far as I can see, explains everything in
growth and reproduction--though, of course, the mystery of life and
consciousness remains as great as ever.

Parts of the chapter on pangenesis I found hard reading, and have not quite
mastered yet, and there are also throughout the discussions in Volume II.
many bits of hard reading, on minute points which we, who have not worked
experimentally at cultivation and crossing, as you have done, can hardly
see the importance of, or their bearing on the general question.

If I am asked, I may perhaps write an article on the book for some
periodical, and, if so, shall do what I can to make "Pangenesis"

(220/1. In "Nature," May 25th, 1871, page 69, appeared a letter on
pangenesis from Mr. A.C. Ranyard, dealing with the difficulty that the
"sexual elements produced upon the scion" have not been shown to be
affected by the stock. Mr. Darwin, in an annotated copy of this letter,
disputes the accuracy of the statement, but adds: "THE BEST OBJECTION YET
RAISED." He seems not to have used Mr. Ranyard's remarks in the 2nd
edition of the "Variation of Animals and Plants," 1875.)

Down, May 21st [1868].

I know that you have been overworking yourself, and that makes you think
that you are doing nothing in science. If this is the case (which I do not
believe), your intellect has all run to letter-writing, for I never in all
my life received a pleasanter one than your last. It greatly amused us
all. How dreadfully severe you are on the Duke (221/1. The late Duke of
Argyll, whose "Reign of Law" Sir J.D. Hooker had been reading.): I really
think too severe, but then I am no fair judge, for a Duke, in my eyes, is
no common mortal, and not to be judged by common rules! I pity you from
the bottom of my soul about the address (221/2. Sir Joseph was President
of the British Association at Norwich in 1868: see "Life and Letters,"
III., page 100. The reference to "Insular Floras" is to Sir Joseph's
lecture at the Nottingham meeting of the British Association in 1866: see
"Life and Letters," III., page 47.): it makes my flesh creep; but when I
pitied you to Huxley, he would not join at all, and would only say that you
did and delivered your Insular Flora lecture so admirably in every way that
he would not bestow any pity on you. He felt certain that you would keep
your head high up. Nevertheless, I wish to God it was all over for your
sake. I think, from several long talks, that Huxley will give an excellent
and original lecture on Geograph. Distrib. of birds. I have been working
very hard--too hard of late--on Sexual Selection, which turns out a
gigantic subject; and almost every day new subjects turn up requiring
investigation and leading to endless letters and searches through books. I
am bothered, also, with heaps of foolish letters on all sorts of subjects,
but I am much interested in my subject, and sometimes see gleams of light.
All my other letters have prevented me indulging myself in writing to you;
but I suddenly found the locust grass (221/3. No doubt the plants raised
from seeds taken from locust dung sent by Mr. Weale from South Africa. The
case is mentioned in the fifth edition of the "Origin," published in 1869,
page 439.) yesterday in flower, and had to despatch it at once. I suppose
some of your assistants will be able to make the genus out without great
trouble. I have done little in experiment of late, but I find that
mignonette is absolutely sterile with pollen from the same plant. Any one
who saw stamen after stamen bending upwards and shedding pollen over the
stigmas of the same flower would declare that the structure was an
admirable contrivance for self-fertilisation. How utterly mysterious it is
that there should be some difference in ovules and contents of pollen-
grains (for the tubes penetrate own stigma) causing fertilisation when
these are taken from any two distinct plants, and invariably leading to
impotence when taken from the same plant! By Jove, even Pan. (221/4.
Pangenesis.) won't explain this. It is a comfort to me to think that you
will be surely haunted on your death-bed for not honouring the great god
Pan. I am quite delighted at what you say about my book, and about
Bentham; when writing it, I was much interested in some parts, but latterly
I thought quite as poorly of it as even the "Athenaeum." It ought to be
read abroad for the sake of the booksellers, for five editions have come or
are coming out abroad! I am ashamed to say that I have read only the
organic part of Lyell, and I admire all that I have read as much as you.
It is a comfort to know that possibly when one is seventy years old one's
brain may be good for work. It drives me mad, and I know it does you too,
that one has no time for reading anything beyond what must be read: my
room is encumbered with unread books. I agree about Wallace's wonderful
cleverness, but he is not cautious enough in my opinion. I find I must
(and I always distrust myself when I differ from him) separate rather
widely from him all about birds' nests and protection; he is riding that
hobby to death. I never read anything so miserable as Andrew Murray's
criticism on Wallace in the last number of his Journal. (221/5. See
"Journal of Travel and Natural History," Volume I., No. 3, page 137,
London, 1868, for Andrew Murray's "Reply to Mr. Wallace's Theory of Birds'
Nests," which appeared in the same volume, page 73. The "Journal" came to
an end after the publication of one volume for 1867-8.) I believe this
Journal will die, and I shall not cry: what a contrast with the old
"Natural History Review."

Freshwater, Isle of Wight, July 28th [1868].

I am glad to hear that you are going (222/1. In his Presidential Address
at Norwich.) to touch on the statement that the belief in Natural Selection
is passing away. I do not suppose that even the "Athenaeum" would pretend
that the belief in the common descent of species is passing away, and this
is the more important point. This now almost universal belief in the
evolution (somehow) of species, I think may be fairly attributed in large
part to the "Origin." It would be well for you to look at the short
Introduction of Owen's "Anat. of Invertebrates," and see how fully he
admits the descent of species.

Of the "Origin," four English editions, one or two American, two French,
two German, one Dutch, one Italian, and several (as I was told) Russian
editions. The translations of my book on "Variation under Domestication"
are the results of the "Origin;" and of these two English, one American,
one German, one French, one Italian, and one Russian have appeared, or will
soon appear. Ernst Hackel wrote to me a week or two ago, that new
discussions and reviews of the "Origin" are continually still coming out in
Germany, where the interest on the subject certainly does not diminish. I
have seen some of these discussions, and they are good ones. I apprehend
that the interest on the subject has not died out in North America, from
observing in Professor and Mrs. Agassiz's Book on Brazil how exceedingly
anxious he is to destroy me. In regard to this country, every one can
judge for himself, but you would not say interest was dying out if you were
to look at the last number of the "Anthropological Review," in which I am
incessantly sneered at. I think Lyell's "Principles" will produce a
considerable effect. I hope I have given you the sort of information which
you want. My head is rather unsteady, which makes my handwriting worse
than usual.

If you argue about the non-acceptance of Natural Selection, it seems to me
a very striking fact that the Newtonian theory of gravitation, which seems
to every one now so certain and plain, was rejected by a man so
extraordinarily able as Leibnitz. The truth will not penetrate a
preoccupied mind.

Wallace (222/2. Wallace, "Westminster Review," July, 1867. The article
begins: "There is no more convincing proof of the truth of a comprehensive
theory, than its power of absorbing and finding a place for new facts, and
its capability of interpreting phenomena, which had been previously looked
upon as unaccountable anomalies..." Mr. Wallace illustrates his statement
that "a false theory will never stand this test," by Edward Forbes'
"polarity" speculations (see page 84 of the present volume) and Macleay's
"Circular" and "Quinarian System" published in his "Horae Entomologicae,"
1821, and developed by Swainson in the natural history volumes of
"Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia." Mr. Wallace says that a "considerable
number of well-known naturalists either spoke approvingly of it, or
advocated similar principles, and for a good many years it was decidedly in
the ascendant...yet it quite died out in a few short years, its very
existence is now a matter of history, and so rapid was its fall
that...Swainson, perhaps, lived to be the last man who believed in it.
Such is the course of a false theory. That of a true one is very
different, as may be well seen by the progress of opinion on the subject of
Natural Selection."

Here, (page 3) follows a passage on the overwhelming importance of Natural
Selection, underlined with apparent approval in Mr. Darwin's copy of the
review.), in the "Westminster Review," in an article on Protection has a
good passage, contrasting the success of Natural Selection and its growth
with the comprehension of new classes of facts (222/3. This rather obscure
phrase may be rendered: "its power of growth by the absorption of new
facts."), with false theories, such as the Quinarian Theory, and that of
Polarity, by poor Forbes, both of which were promulgated with high
advantages and the first temporarily accepted.


(223/1. The following is printed from a draft letter inscribed by Mr.
Darwin "Against organs having been formed by direct action of medium in
distinct organisms. Chiefly luminous and electric organs and thorns." The
draft is carelessly written, and all but illegible.)

August 7th, 1868.

If you mean that in distinct animals, parts or organs, such for instance as
the luminous organs of insects or the electric organs of fishes, are wholly
the result of the external and internal conditions to which the organs have
been subjected, in so direct and inevitable a manner that they could be
developed whether of use or not to their possessor, I cannot admit [your
view]. I could almost as soon admit that the whole structure of, for
instance, a woodpecker, had thus originated; and that there should be so
close a relation between structure and external circumstances which cannot
directly affect the structure seems to me to [be] inadmissible. Such
organs as those above specified seem to me much too complex and generally
too well co-ordinated with the whole organisation, for the admission that
they result from conditions independently of Natural Selection. The
impression which I have taken, studying nature, is strong, that in all
cases, if we could collect all the forms which have ever lived, we should
have a close gradation from some most simple beginning. If similar
conditions sufficed, without the aid of Natural Selection, to give similar
parts or organs, independently of blood relationship, I doubt much whether
we should have that striking harmony between the affinities, embryological
development, geographical distribution, and geological succession of all
allied organisms. We should be much more puzzled than we now are how to
class, in a natural method, many forms. It is puzzling enough to
distinguish between resemblance due to descent and to adaptation; but
(fortunately for naturalists), owing to the strong power of inheritance,
and to excessively complex causes and laws of variability, when the same
end or object has been gained, somewhat different parts have generally been
modified, and modified in a different manner, so that the resemblances due
to descent and adaptation can commonly be distinguished. I should just
like to add, that we may understand each other, how I suppose the luminous
organs of insects, for instance, to have been developed; but I depend on
conjectures, for so few luminous insects exist that we have no means of
judging, by the preservation to the present day of slightly modified forms,
of the probable gradations through which the organs have passed. Moreover,
we do not know of what use these organs are. We see that the tissues of
many animals, [as] certain centipedes in England, are liable, under unknown
conditions of food, temperature, etc., to become occasionally luminous;
just like the [illegible]: such luminosity having been advantageous to
certain insects, the tissues, I suppose, become specialised for this
purpose in an intensified degree; in certain insects in one part, in other
insects in other parts of the body. Hence I believe that if all extinct
insect-forms could be collected, we should have gradations from the
Elateridae, with their highly and constantly luminous thoraxes, and from
the Lampyridae, with their highly luminous abdomens, to some ancient
insects occasionally luminous like the centipede.

I do not know, but suppose that the microscopical structure of the luminous
organs in the most different insects is nearly the same; and I should
attribute to inheritance from a common progenitor, the similarity of the
tissues, which under similar conditions, allowed them to vary in the same
manner, and thus, through Natural Selection for the same general purpose,
to arrive at the same result. Mutatis mutandis, I should apply the same
doctrine to the electric organs of fishes; but here I have to make, in my
own mind, the violent assumption that some ancient fish was slightly
electrical without having any special organs for the purpose. It has been
stated on evidence, not trustworthy, that certain reptiles are electrical.
It is, moreover, possible that the so-called electric organs, whilst in a
condition not highly developed, may have subserved some distinct function:
at least, I think, Matteucci could detect no pure electricity in certain
fishes provided with the proper organs. In one of your letters you alluded
to nails, claws, hoofs, etc. From their perfect coadaptation with the
whole rest of the organisation, I cannot admit that they would have been
formed by the direct action of the conditions of life. H. Spencer's view
that they were first developed from indurated skin, the result of pressure
on the extremities, seems to me probable.

In regard to thorns and spines I suppose that stunted and [illegible]
hardened processes were primarily left by the abortion of various
appendages, but I must believe that their extreme sharpness and hardness is
the result of fluctuating variability and "the survival of the fittest."
The precise form, curvature and colour of the thorns I freely admit to be
the result of the laws of growth of each particular plant, or of their
conditions, internal and external. It would be an astounding fact if any
varying plant suddenly produced, without the aid of reversion or selection,
perfect thorns. That Natural Selection would tend to produce the most
formidable thorns will be admitted by every one who has observed the
distribution in South America and Africa (vide Livingstone) of thorn-
bearing plants, for they always appear where the bushes grow isolated and
are exposed to the attacks of mammals. Even in England it has been noticed
that all spine-bearing and sting-bearing plants are palatable to
quadrupeds, when the thorns are crushed. With respect to the Malayan
climbing Palm, what I meant to express is that the admirable hooks were
perhaps not first developed for climbing; but having been developed for
protection were subsequently used, and perhaps further modified for

Down, September 8th [1868].

About the "Pall Mall." (224/1. "Pall Mall Gazette," August 22nd, 1868.
In an article headed "Dr. Hooker on Religion and Science," and referring to
the British Association address, the writer objects to any supposed
opposition between religion and science. "Religion," he says, "is your
opinion upon one set of subjects, science your opinion upon another set of
subjects." But he forgets that on one side we have opinions assumed to be
revealed truths; and this is a condition which either results in the
further opinion that those who bring forward irreconcilable facts are more
or less wicked, or in a change of front on the religious side, by which
theological opinion "shifts its ground to meet the requirements of every
new fact that science establishes, and every old error that science
exposes" (Dr. Hooker as quoted by the "Pall Mall"). If theologians had
been in the habit of recognising that, in the words of the "Pall Mall"
writer, "Science is a general name for human knowledge in its most definite
and general shape, whatever may be the object of that knowledge," probably
Sir Joseph Hooker's remarks would never have been made.) I do not agree
that the article was at all right; it struck me as monstrous (and answered
on the spot by the "Morning Advertiser") that religion did not attack
science. When, however, I say not at all right, I am not sure whether it
would not be wisest for scientific men quite to ignore the whole subject of
religion. Goldwin Smith, who has been lunching here, coming with the
Nortons (son of Professor Norton and friend of Asa Gray), who have taken
for four months Keston Rectory, was strongly of opinion it was a mistake.
Several persons have spoken strongly to me as very much admiring your
address. For chance of you caring to see yourself in a French dress, I
send a journal; also with a weak article by Agassiz on Geographical
Distribution. Berkeley has sent me his address (224/2. The Rev. M.J.
Berkeley was President of Section D at Norwich in 1868.), so I have had a
fair excuse for writing to him. I differ from you: I could hardly bear to
shake hands with the "Sugar of Lead" (224/3. "You know Mrs. Carlyle said
that Owen's sweetness reminded her of sugar of lead." (Huxley to Tyndall,
May 13th, 1887: Huxley's "Life," II., page 167.), which I never heard
before: it is capital. I am so very glad you will come here with Asa
Gray, as if I am bad he will not be dull. We shall ask the Nortons to come
to dinner. On Saturday, Wallace (and probably Mrs. W.), J. Jenner Weir (a
very good man), and Blyth, and I fear not Bates, are coming to stay the
Sunday. The thought makes me rather nervous; but I shall enjoy it
immensely if it does not kill me. How I wish it was possible for you to be

Down, September 7th, 1868.

I am very much obliged to you for having sent me your address (225/1.
Address to Section D of the British Association. ("Brit. Assoc. Report,"
Norwich meeting, 1868, page 83.))...for I thus gain a fair excuse for
troubling you with this note to thank you for your most kind and extremely
honourable notice of my works.

When I tell you that ever since I was an undergraduate at Cambridge I have
felt towards you the most unfeigned respect, from all that I continually
heard from poor dear Henslow and others of your great knowledge and
original researches, you will believe me when I say that I have rarely in
my life been more gratified than by reading your address; though I feel
that you speak much too strongly of what I have done. Your notice of
pangenesis (225/3. "It would be unpardonable to finish these somewhat
desultory remarks without adverting to one of the most interesting subjects
of the day,--the Darwinian doctrine of pangenesis...Like everything which
comes from the pen of a writer whom I have no hesitation, so far as my
judgment goes, in considering as by far the greatest observer of our age,
whatever may be thought of his theories when carried out to their extreme
results, the subject demands a careful and impartial consideration."
(Berkeley, page 86.)) has particularly pleased me, for it has been
generally neglected or disliked by my friends; yet I fully expect that it
will some day be more successful. I believe I quite agree with you in the
manner in which the cast-off atoms or so-called gemmules probably act
(225/4. "Assuming the general truth of the theory that molecules endowed
with certain attributes are cast off by the component cells of such
infinitesimal minuteness as to be capable of circulating with the fluids,
and in the end to be present in the unimpregnated embryo-cell and seems to me far more probable that they should be capable
under favourable circumstances of exercising an influence analogous to that
which is exercised by the contents of the pollen-tube or spermatozoid on
the embryo-sac or ovum, than that these particles should be themselves
developed into cells" (Berkeley, page 87).): I have never supposed that
they were developed into free cells, but that they penetrated other nascent
cells and modified their subsequent development. This process I have
actually compared with ordinary fertilisation. The cells thus modified, I
suppose cast off in their turn modified gemmules, which again combine with
other nascent cells, and so on. But I must not trouble you any further.

Down, October 22nd, 1868.

I am very much obliged for your kind letter, and I have waited for a week
before answering it in hopes of receiving the "kleine Schrift" (226/1. The
"kleine Schrift" is "Ueber die Berechtigung der Darwin'schen Theorie,"
Leipzig, 1868. The "Anhang" is "Ueber den Einfluss der Wanderung und
raumlichen Isolirung auf die Artbilding.") to which you allude; but I fear
it is lost, which I am much surprised at, as I have seldom failed to
receive anything sent by the post.

As I do not know the title, and cannot order a copy, I should be very much
obliged if you can spare another.

I am delighted that you, with whose name I am familiar, should approve of
my work. I entirely agree with what you say about each species varying
according to its own peculiar laws; but at the same time it must, I think,
be admitted that the variations of most species have in the lapse of ages
been extremely diversified, for I do not see how it can be otherwise
explained that so many forms have acquired analogous structures for the
same general object, independently of descent. I am very glad to hear that
you have been arguing against Nageli's law of perfectibility, which seems
to me superfluous. Others hold similar views, but none of them define what
this "perfection" is which cannot be gradually attained through Natural
Selection. I thought M. Wagner's first pamphlet (226/2. Wagner's first
essay, "Die Darwin'sche Theorie und das Migrationsgesetz," 1868, is a
separately published pamphlet of 62 pages. In the preface the author
states that it is a fuller version of a paper read before the Royal Academy
of Science at Munich in March 1868. We are not able to say which of
Wagner's writings is referred to as the second pamphlet; his second well-
known essay, "Ueber den Einfluss der Geogr. Isolirung," etc., is of later
date, viz., 1870.) (for I have not yet had time to read the second) very
good and interesting; but I think that he greatly overrates the necessity
for emigration and isolation. I doubt whether he has reflected on what
must occur when his forms colonise a new country, unless they vary during
the very first generation; nor does he attach, I think, sufficient weight
to the cases of what I have called unconscious selection by man: in these
cases races are modified by the preservation of the best and the
destruction of the worst, without any isolation.

I sympathise with you most sincerely on the state of your eyesight: it is
indeed the most fearful evil which can happen to any one who, like
yourself, is earnestly attached to the pursuit of natural knowledge.

Down, March 18th [1869].

Since I wrote a few days ago and sent off three copies of your book, I have
read the English translation (227/1. "Facts and Arguments for Darwin."
See "Life and Letters," III., page 37.), and cannot deny myself the
pleasure of once again expressing to you my warm admiration. I might, but
will not, repeat my thanks for the very honourable manner in which you
often mention my name; but I can truly say that I look at the publication
of your essay as one of the greatest honours ever conferred on me. Nothing
can be more profound and striking than your observations on development and
classification. I am very glad that you have added your justification in
regard to the metamorphoses of insects; for your conclusion now seems in
the highest degree probable. (227/2. See "Facts and Arguments for
Darwin," page 119 (note), where F. Muller gives his reasons for the belief
that the "complete metamorphosis" of insects was not a character of the
form from which insects have sprung: his argument largely depends on
considerations drawn from the study of the neuroptera.) I have re-read
many parts, especially that on cirripedes, with the liveliest interest. I
had almost forgotten your discussion on the retrograde development of the
Rhizocephala. What an admirable illustration it affords of my whole
doctrine! A man must indeed be a bigot in favour of separate acts of
creation if he is not staggered after reading your essay; but I fear that
it is too deep for English readers, except for a select few.

March 27th [1869].

I have lately (i.e., in new edition of the "Origin") (228/1. Fifth
edition, 1869, pages 150-57.) been moderating my zeal, and attributing much
more to mere useless variability. I did think I would send you the sheet,
but I daresay you would not care to see it, in which I discuss Nageli's
Essay on Natural Selection not affecting characters of no functional
importance, and which yet are of high classificatory importance. Hooker is
pretty well satisfied with what I have said on this head.

Caerdeon, Barmouth, North Wales, July 24th [1869].

We shall be at home this day week, taking two days on the journey, and
right glad I shall be. The whole has been a failure to me, but much
enjoyment to the young...My wife has ailed a good deal nearly all the time;
so that I loathe the place, with all its beauty. I was glad to hear what
you thought of F. Muller, and I agree wholly with you. Your letter came at
the nick of time, for I was writing on the very day to Muller, and I passed
on your approbation of Chaps. X. and XI. Some time I should like to borrow
the "Transactions of the New Zealand Institute," so as to read Colenso's
article. (229/1. Colenso, "On the Maori Races of New Zealand." "N.Z.
Inst. Trans." 1868, Pt. 3.) You must read Huxley v. Comte (229/2. "The
Scientific Aspects of Positivism." "Fortnightly Review," 1869, page 652,
and "Lay Sermons," 1870, page 162. This was a reply to Mr. Congreve's
article, "Mr. Huxley on M. Comte," published in the April number of the
"Fortnightly," page 407, which had been written in criticism of Huxley's
article in the February number of the "Fortnightly," page 128, "On the
Physical Basis of Life."); he never wrote anything so clever before, and
has smashed everybody right and left in grand style. I had a vague wish to
read Comte, and so had George, but he has entirely cured us of any such
vain wish.

There is another article (229/3. "North British Review," Volume 50, 1869:
"Geological Time," page 406. The papers reviewed are Sir William Thomson,
"Trans. R. Soc. Edin." 1862; "Phil. Mag." 1863; Thomson and Tait, "Natural
Philosophy," Volume I., App. D; Sir W. Thomson, "Proc. R. Soc. Edin." 1865;
"Trans. Geol. Soc. Glasgow," 1868 and 1869; "Macmillan's Mag." 1862; Prof.
Huxley, Presidential Address, "Geol. Soc. London," February, 1869; Dr.
Hooker, Presidential Address, "Brit. Assoc." Norwich, 1868. Also the
review on the "Origin" in the "North British Review," 1867, by Fleeming
Jenkin, and an article in the "Pall Mall Gazette," May 3rd, 1869. The
author treats the last-named with contempt as the work of an anonymous
journalist, apparently unconscious of his own similar position.) just come
out in last "North British," by some great mathematician, which is
admirably done; he has a severe fling at you (229/4. The author of the
"North British" article appears to us, at page 408, to misunderstand or
misinterpret Sir J.D. Hooker's parable on "underpinning." See "Life and
Letters," III., page 101 (note). Sir Joseph is attacked with quite
unnecessary vehemence on another point at page 413.), but the article is
directed against Huxley and for Thomson. This review shows me--not that I
required being shown--how devilish a clever fellow Huxley is, for the
reviewer cannot help admiring his abilities. There are some good specimens
of mathematical arrogance in the review, and incidentally he shows how
often astronomers have arrived at conclusions which are now seen to be
mistaken; so that geologists might truly answer that we must be slow in
admitting your conclusions. Nevertheless, all uniformitarians had better
at once cry "peccavi,"--not but what I feel a conviction that the world
will be found rather older than Thomson makes it, and far older than the
reviewer makes it. I am glad I have faced and admitted the difficulty in
the last edition of the "Origin," of which I suppose you received,
according to order, a copy.

Down, August 7th [1869].

There never was such a good man as you for telling me things which I like
to hear. I am not at all surprised that Hallett has found some varieties
of wheat could not be improved in certain desirable qualities as quickly as
at first. All experience shows this with animals; but it would, I think,
be rash to assume, judging from actual experience, that a little more
improvement could not be got in the course of a century, and theoretically
very improbable that after a few thousands [of years] rest there would not
be a start in the same line of variation. What astonishes me as against
experience, and what I cannot believe, is that varieties already improved
or modified do not vary in other respects. I think he must have
generalised from two or three spontaneously fixed varieties. Even in
seedlings from the same capsule some vary much more than others; so it is
with sub-varieties and varieties. (230/1. In a letter of August 13th,
1869, Sir J.D. Hooker wrote correcting Mr. Darwin's impression: "I did not
mean to imply that Hallett affirmed that all variation stopped--far from
it: he maintained the contrary, but if I understand him aright, he soon
arrives at a point beyond which any further accumulation in the direction
sought is so small and so slow that practically a fixity of type (not
absolute fixity, however) is the result.")

It is a grand fact about Anoplotherium (230/2. This perhaps refers to the
existence of Anoplotherium in the S. American Eocene formation: it is one
of the points in which the fauna of S. America resembles Europe rather than
N. America. (See Wallace "Geographical Distribution," I., page 148.)), and
shows how even terrestrial quadrupeds had time formerly to spread to very
distinct regions. At each epoch the world tends to get peopled pretty
uniformly, which is a blessing for Geology.

The article in "N. British Review" (230/3. See Letter 229.) is well worth
reading scientifically; George D. and Erasmus were delighted with it. How
the author does hit! It was a euphuism to speak of a fling at you: it was
a kick. He is very unfair to Huxley, and accuses him of "quibbling," etc.;
yet the author cannot help admiring him extremely. I know I felt very
small when I finished the article. You will be amused to observe that
geologists have all been misled by Playfair, who was misled by two of the
greatest mathematicians! And there are other such cases; so we could turn
round and show your reviewer how cautious geologists ought to be in
trusting mathematicians.

There is another excellent original article, I feel sure by McClennan, on
Primeval Man, well worth reading.

I do not quite agree about Sabine: he is unlike every other soldier or
sailor I ever heard of if he would not put his second leg into the tomb
with more satisfaction as K.C.B. than as a simple man. I quite agree that
the Government ought to have made him long ago, but what does the
Government know or care for Science? So much for your splenditious letter.

Down, August 14th [1869?]

I write one line to tell you that you are a real good man to propose coming
here for a Sunday after Exeter. Do keep to this good intention...I am sure
Exeter and your other visit will do you good. I often wonder how you stand
all your multifarious work.

I quite agree about the folly of the endless subscriptions for dead men;
but Faraday is an exception, and if you will pay three guineas for me, it
will save me some trouble; but it will be best to enclose a cheque, which,
as you will see, must be endorsed. If you read the "North British Review,"
you will like to know that George has convinced me, from correspondence in
style, and spirit, that the article is by Tait, the co-worker with Thomson.

I was much surprised at the leaves of Drosophyllum being always rolled
backwards at their tips, but did not know that it was a unique character.

(PLATE: SIR J.D. HOOKER, 1870? From a photograph by Wallich.)

Down, November 13th [1869].

I heard yesterday from a relation who had seen in a newspaper that you were
C.B. I must write one line to say "Hurrah," though I wish it had been
K.C.B., as it assuredly ought to have been; but I suppose they look at
K.C.B. before C.B. as a dukedom before an earldom.

We had a very successful week in London, and I was unusually well and saw a
good many persons, which, when well, is a great pleasure to me. I had a
jolly talk with Huxley, amongst others. And now I am at the same work as
before, and shall be for another two months--namely, putting ugly sentences
rather straighter; and I am sick of the work, and, as the subject is all on
sexual selection, I am weary of everlasting males and females, cocks and

It is a shame to bother you, but I should like some time to hear about the
C.B. affair.

I have read one or two interesting brochures lately--viz., Stirling the
Hegelian versus Huxley and protoplasm; Tylor in "Journal of Royal
Institute" on the survivals of old thought in modern civilisation.

Farewell. I am as dull as a duck, both male and female.

To Dr. Hooker, C.B., F.R.S.
Dr. Hooker, K.C.B.
(This looks better).

P.S. I hear a good account of Bentham's last address (232/1. Presidential
Address, chiefly on Geographical Distribution, delivered before the "Linn.
Soc." May 24th, 1869.), which I am now going to read.

I find that I have blundered about Bentham's address. Lyell was speaking
about one that I read some months ago; but I read half of it again last
night, and shall finish it. Some passages are either new or were not
studied enough by me before. It strikes me as admirable, as it did on the
first reading, though I differ in some few points.

Such an address is worth its weight in gold, I should think, in making
converts to our views. Lyell tells me that Bunbury has been wonderfully
impressed with it, and he never before thought anything of our views on

P.S. (2). I have just read, and like very much, your review of Schimper.
(232/2. A review of Schimper's "Traite de Paleontologie Vegetale," the
first portion of which was published in 1869. "Nature," November 11th,
1869, page 48.)

Down, November 19th [1869].

Thank you much for telling me all about the C.B., for I much wished to
hear. It pleases me extremely that the Government have done this much; and
as the K.C.B.'s are limited in number (which I did not know), I excuse it.
I will not mention what you have told me to any one, as it would be
Murchisonian. But what a shame it is to use this expression, for I fully
believe that Murchison would take any trouble to get any token of honour
for any man of science.

I like all scientific periodicals, including poor "Scientific Opinion," and
I think higher than you do of "Nature." Lord, what a rhapsody that was of
Goethe, but how well translated; it seemed to me, as I told Huxley, as if
written by the maddest English scholar. It is poetry, and can I say
anything more severe? The last number of the "Academy" was splendid, and I
hope it will soon come out fortnightly. I wish "Nature" would search more
carefully all foreign journals and transactions.

I am now reading a German thick pamphlet (233/1. "Die Abhangigheit der
Pflanzengestalt von Klima und Boden. Ein Beitrag zur Lehre von der
Enstehung und Verbreitung der Arten, etc." Festschrift zur 43 Versammlung
Deutscher Naturforscher und Aertze in Innsbruck (Innsbruck, 1869).) by
Kerner on Tubocytisus; if you come across it, look at the map of the
distribution of the eighteen quasi-species, and at the genealogical tree.
If the latter, as the author says, was constructed solely from the
affinities of the forms, then the distribution is wonderfully interesting;
we may see the very steps of the formation of a species. If you study the
genealogical tree and map, you will almost understand the book. The two
old parent connecting links just keep alive in two or three areas; then we
have four widely extended species, their descendants; and from them little
groups of newer descendants inhabiting rather small areas...

Down, November 20th, 1869.

Dear Sir,

I am glad that you are a candidate for the Chair of Physiology in Paris.
As you are aware from my published works, I have always considered your
investigations on the production of monstrosities as full of interest. No
subject is at the present time more important, as far as my judgment goes,
than the ascertaining by experiment how far structure can be modified by
the direct action of changed conditions; and you have thrown much light on
this subject.

I observe that several naturalists in various parts of Europe have lately
maintained that it is now of the highest interest for science to endeavour
to lessen, as far as possible, our profound ignorance on the cause of each
individual variation; and, as Is. Geoffroy St. Hilaire long ago remarked,
monstrosities cannot be separated by any distinct line from slighter

With my best wishes for your success in obtaining the Professorship, and
with sincere respect.

I have the honour to remain, dear sir,
Yours faithfully,

CHAPTER 1.V.--EVOLUTION, 1870-1882.

Down, March 17th [1870].

It is my decided opinion that you ought to send an account to some
scientific society, and I think to the Royal Society. (235/1. Mr. Jenner
Weir's case is given in "Animals and Plants," Edition II., Volume I., page
435, and does not appear to have been published elsewhere. The facts are
briefly that a horse, the offspring of a mare of Lord Mostyn's, which had
previously borne a foal by a quagga, showed a number of quagga-like
characters, such as stripes, low-growing mane, and elongated hoofs. The
passage in "Animals and Plants," to which he directs Mr. Weir's attention
in reference to Carpenter's objection, is in Edition I., Volume I., page
405: "It is a most improbable hypothesis that the mere blood of one
individual should affect the reproductive organs of another individual in
such a manner as to modify the subsequent offspring. The analogy from the
direct action of foreign pollen on the ovarium and seed-coats of the mother
plant strongly supports the belief that the male element acts directly on
the reproductive organs of the female, wonderful as is this action, and not
through the intervention of the crossed embryo." For references to Mr.
Galton's experiments on transfusion of blood, see Letter 273.) I would
communicate it if you so decide. You might give as a preliminary reason
the publication in the "Transactions" of the celebrated Morton case and the
pig case by Mr. Giles. You might also allude to the evident physiological
importance of such facts as bearing on the theory of generation. Whether
it would be prudent to allude to despised pangenesis I cannot say, but I
fully believe pangenesis will have its successful day. Pray ascertain
carefully the colour of the dam and sire. See about duns in my book
["Animals and Plants"], Volume I., page 55. The extension of the mane and
form of hoofs are grand new facts. Is the hair of your horse at all curly?
for [an] observed case [is] given by me (Volume II., page 325) from Azara
of correlation of forms of hoof with curly hairs. See also in my book
(Volume I., page 55; Volume II., page 41) how exceedingly rare stripes are
on the faces of horses in England. Give the age of your horse.

You are aware that Dr. Carpenter and others have tried to account for the
effects of a first impregnation from the influence of the blood of the
crossed embryo; but with physiologists who believe that the reproductive
elements are actually formed by the reproductive glands, this view is
inconsistent. Pray look at what I have said in "Domestic Animals" (Volume
I., pages 402-5) against this doctrine. It seems to me more probable that
the gemmules affect the ovaria alone. I remember formerly speculating,
like you, on the assertion that wives grow like their husbands; but how
impossible to eliminate effects of imitation and same habits of life, etc.
Your letter has interested me profoundly.

P.S.--Since publishing I have heard of additional cases--a very good one in
regard to Westphalian pigs crossed by English boar, and all subsequent
offspring affected, given in "Illust. Landwirth-Zeitung," 1868, page 143.

I have shown that mules are often striped, though neither parent may be
striped,--due to ancient reversion. Now, Fritz Muller writes to me from S.
Brazil: "I have been assured, by persons who certainly never had heard of
Lord Morton's mare, that mares which have borne hybrids to an ass are
particularly liable to produce afterwards striped ass-colts." So a
previous fertilisation apparently gives to the subsequent offspring a
tendency to certain characters, as well as characters actually possessed by
the first male.

In the reprint (not called a second edition) of my "Domestic Animals" I
give a good additional case of subsequent progeny of hairless dog being
hairy from effects of first impregnation.

P.S. 2nd. The suggestion, no doubt, is superfluous, but you ought, I
think, to measure extension of mane beyond a line joining front or back of
ears, and compare with horse. Also the measure (and give comparison with
horse), length, breadth, and depth of hoofs.

Down, July 12th [1870].

Your conclusion that all speculation about preordination is idle waste of
time is the only wise one; but how difficult it is not to speculate! My
theology is a simple muddle; I cannot look at the universe as the result of
blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design or indeed of
design of any kind, in the details. As for each variation that has ever
occurred having been preordained for a special end, I can no more believe
in it than that the spot on which each drop of rain falls has been
specially ordained.

Spontaneous generation seems almost as great a puzzle as preordination. I
cannot persuade myself that such a multiplicity of organisms can have been
produced, like crystals, in Bastian's (236/1. On September 2nd, 1872, Mr.
Darwin wrote to Mr. Wallace, in reference to the latter's review of "The
Beginnings of Life," by H.C. Bastian (1872), in "Nature," 1872, pages 284-
99: "At present I should prefer any mad hypothesis, such as that every
disintegrated molecule of the lowest forms can reproduce the parent-form;
and that these molecules are universally distributed, and that they do not
lose their vital power until heated to such a temperature that they
decompose like dead organic particles.") solutions of the same kind. I am
astonished that, as yet, I have met with no allusion to Wyman's positive
statement (236/2. "Observations and Experiments on Living Organisms in
Heated Water," by Jeffries Wyman, Prof. of Anatomy, Harvard Coll. ("Amer.
Journ. Sci." XLIV., 1867, page 152.) Solutions of organic matter in
hermetically sealed flasks were immersed in boiling water for various
periods. "No infusoria of any kind appeared if the boiling was prolonged
beyond a period of five hours.") that if the solutions are boiled for five
hours no organisms appear; yet, if my memory serves me, the solutions when
opened to air immediately became stocked. Against all evidence, I cannot
avoid suspecting that organic particles (my "gemmules" from the separate
cells of the lower creatures!) will keep alive and afterwards multiply
under proper conditions.

What an interesting problem it is.

Down, July 15th [1870].

It is very long since I have heard from you, and I am much obliged for your
letter. It is good news that you are going to bring out a new edition of
your Poultry book (237/1. "The Poultry Book," 1872.), and you are quite at
liberty to use all my materials. Thanks for the curious case of the wild
duck variation: I have heard of other instances of a tendency to vary in
one out of a large litter or family. I have too many things in hand at
present to profit by your offer of the loan of the American Poultry book.

Pray keep firm to your idea of working out the subject of analogous
variations (237/2. "By this term I mean that similar characters
occasionally make their appearance in the several varieties or races
descended from the same species, and more rarely in the offspring of widely
distinct species" ("Animals and Plants," II., Edition II., page 340).) with
pigeons; I really think you might thus make a novel and valuable
contribution to science. I can, however, quite understand how much your
time must be occupied with the never-ending, always-beginning editorial

I keep much as usual, and crawl on with my work.

Down, September 27th [1870].

Yours was a splendid letter, and I was very curious to hear something about
the Liverpool meeting (238/1. Mr. Huxley was President of the British
Association at Liverpool in 1870. His Presidential Address on "Biogenesis
and Abiogenesis" is reprinted in his collected Essays, VIII., page 229.
Some account of the meeting is given in Huxley's "Life and Letters," Volume
I., pages 332, 336.), which I much wished to be successful for Huxley's
sake. I am surprised that you think his address would not have been clear
to the public; it seemed to me as clear as water. The general line of his
argument might have been answered by the case of spontaneous combustion:
tens of thousands of cases of things having been seen to be set on fire
would be no true argument against any one who maintained that flames
sometimes spontaneously burst forth. I am delighted at the apotheosis of
Sir Roderick; I can fancy what neat and appropriate speeches he would make
to each nobleman as he entered the gates of heaven. You ask what I think
about Tyndall's lecture (238/2. Tyndall's lecture was "On the Scientific
Uses of the Imagination."): it seemed to me grand and very interesting,
though I could not from ignorance quite follow some parts, and I longed to
tell him how immensely it would have been improved if all the first part
had been made very much less egotistical. George independently arrived at
the same conclusion, and liked all the latter part extremely. He thought
the first part not only egotistical, but rather clap-trap.

How well Tyndall puts the "as if" manner of philosophising, and shows that
it is justifiable. Some of those confounded Frenchmen have lately been
pitching into me for using this form of proof or argument.

I have just read Rolleston's address in "Nature" (238/3. Presidential
Address to the Biological Section, British Association, 1870. "Nature,"
September 22nd, 1870, page 423. Rolleston referred to the vitality of
seeds in soil, a subject on which Darwin made occasional observations. See
"Life and Letters," II., page 65.): his style is quite unparalleled! I
see he quotes you about seed, so yesterday I went and observed more
carefully the case given in the enclosed paper, which perhaps you might
like to read and burn.

How true and good what you say about Lyell. He is always the same; Dohrn
was here yesterday, and was remarking that no one stood higher in the
public estimation of Germany than Lyell.

I am truly and profoundly glad that you are thinking of some general work
on Geographical Distribution, or so forth; I hope to God that your
incessant occupations may not interrupt this intention. As for my book, I
shall not have done the accursed proofs till the end of November (238/4.
The proofs of the "Descent of Man" were finished on January 15th, 1871.):
good Lord, what a muddled head I have got on my wretched old shoulders.

Down, September 29th, 1870.

I am very much obliged for your kind letter and present of your beautiful
volume. (239/1. "Die Thierzucht," 1868.) Your work is not new to me, for
I heard it so highly spoken of that I procured a copy of the first edition.
It was a great gratification to me to find a man who had long studied with
a philosophical spirit our domesticated animals, and who was highly
competent to judge, agreeing to a large extent with my views. I regretted
much that I had not known your work when I published my last volumes.

I am surprised and pleased to hear that science is not quite forgotten
under the present exciting state of affairs. Every one whom I know in
England is an enthusiastic wisher for the full and complete success of

P.S. I will give one of my two copies of your work to some public
scientific library in London.

Down, March 24th [1871].

Mr. Darwin presents his compliments to the Editor, and would be greatly
obliged if he would address and post the enclosed letter to the author of
the two admirable reviews of the "Descent of Man." (240/1. The notices of
the "Descent of Man," published in the "Pall Mall Gazette" of March 20th
and 21st, 1871, were by Mr. John Morley. We are indebted to the Editor of
the "Pall Mall Gazette" for kindly allowing us to consult his file of the

Down, March 24th, 1871.

From the spirit of your review in the "Pall Mall Gazette" of my last book,
which has given me great pleasure, I have thought that you would perhaps
inform me on one point, withholding, if you please, your name.

You say that my phraseology on beauty is "loose scientifically, and
philosophically most misleading." (241/1. "Mr. Darwin's work is one of
those rare and capital achievements of intellect which effect a grave
modification throughout all the highest departments of the realm of
opinion...There is throughout the description and examination of Sexual
Selection a way of speaking of beauty, which seems to us to be highly
unphilosophical, because it assumes a certain theory of beauty, which the
most competent modern thinkers are too far from accepting, to allow its
assumption to be quite judicious...Why should we only find the aesthetic
quality in birds wonderful, when it happens to coincide with our own? In
other words, why attribute to them conscious aesthetic qualities at all?
There is no more positive reason for attributing aesthetic consciousness to
the Argus pheasant than there is for attributing to bees geometric
consciousness of the hexagonal prisms and rhombic plates of the hive which
they so marvellously construct. Hence the phraseology which Mr. Darwin
employs in this part of the subject, though not affecting the degree of
probability which may belong to this theory, seems to us to be very loose
scientifically, and philosophically most misleading."--"Pall Mall
Gazette.") This is not at all improbable, as it is almost a lifetime since
I attended to the philosophy of aesthetics, and did not then think that I
should ever make use of my conclusions. Can you refer me to any one or two
books (for my power of reading is not great) which would illumine me? or
can you explain in one or two sentences how I err? Perhaps it would be
best for me to explain what I mean by the sense of beauty in its lowest
stage of development, and which can only apply to animals. When an intense
colour, or two tints in harmony, or a recurrent and symmetrical figure
please the eye, or a single sweet note pleases the ear, I call this a sense
of beauty; and with this meaning I have spoken (though I now see in not a
sufficiently guarded manner) of a taste for the beautiful being the same in
mankind (for all savages admire bits of bright cloth, beads, plumes, etc.)
and in the lower animals. If the blue and yellow plumage of a macaw
(241/2. "What man deems the horrible contrasts of yellow and blue attract
the macaw, while ball-and-socket-plumage attracts the Argus pheasant"--
"Pall Mall Gazette," March 21st, 1871, page 1075.) pleases the eye of this
bird, I should say that it had a sense of beauty, although its taste was
bad according to our standard. Now, will you have the kindness to tell me
how I can learn to see the error of my ways? Of course I recognise, as
indeed I have remarked in my book, that the sense of beauty in the case of
scenery, pictures, etc., is something infinitely complex, depending on
varied associations and culture of the mind. From a very interesting
review in the "Spectator," and from your and Wallace's review, I perceive
that I have made a great oversight in not having said what little I could
on the acquisition of the sense for the beautiful by man and the lower
animals. It would indeed be an immense advantage to an author if he could
read such criticisms as yours before publishing. At page 11 of your review
you accidentally misquote my words placed by you within inverted commas,
from my Volume II., page 354: I say that "man cannot endure any great
change," and the omitted words "any great" make all the difference in the
discussion. (241/3. "Mr. Darwin tells us, and gives us excellent reasons
for thinking, that 'the men of each race prefer what they are accustomed to
behold; they cannot endure change.' Yet is there not an inconsistency
between this fact and the other that one race differs from another exactly
because novelties presented themselves, and were eagerly seized and

Permit me to add a few other remarks. I believe your criticism is quite
just about my deficient historic spirit, for I am aware of my ignorance in
this line. (241/4. "In the historic spirit, however, Mr. Darwin must
fairly be pronounced deficient. When, for instance, he speaks of the
'great sin of slavery' having been general among primitive nations, he
forgets that, though to hold a slave would be a sinful degradation to a
European to-day, the practice of turning prisoners of war into slaves,
instead of butchering them, was not a sin at all, but marked a decided
improvement in human manners.") On the other hand, if you should ever be
led to read again Chapter III., and especially Chapter V., I think you will
find that I am not amenable to all your strictures; though I felt that I
was walking on a path unknown to me and full of pitfalls; but I had the
advantage of previous discussions by able men. I tried to say most
emphatically that a great philosopher, law-giver, etc., did far more for
the progress of mankind by his writings or his example than by leaving a
numerous offspring. I have endeavoured to show how the struggle for
existence between tribe and tribe depends on an advance in the moral and
intellectual qualities of the members, and not merely on their capacity of
obtaining food. When I speak of the necessity of a struggle for existence
in order that mankind should advance still higher in the scale, I do not
refer to the MOST, but "to the MORE highly gifted men" being successful in
the battle for life; I referred to my supposition of the men in any country
being divided into two equal bodies--viz., the more and the less highly
gifted, and to the former on an average succeeding best.

But I have much cause to apologise for the length of this ill-expressed
letter. My sole excuse is the extraordinary interest which I have felt in
your review, and the pleasure which I have experienced in observing the
points which have attracted your attention. I must say one word more.
Having kept the subject of sexual selection in my mind for very many years,
and having become more and more satisfied with it, I feel great confidence
that as soon as the notion is rendered familiar to others, it will be
accepted, at least to a much greater extent than at present. With sincere
respect and thanks...

Down, April 14th [1871].

As this note requires no answer, I do not scruple to write a few lines to
say how faithful and full a resume you have given of my notions on the
moral sense in the "Pall Mall," and to make a few extenuating or
explanatory remarks. (242/1. "What is called the question of the moral
sense is really two: how the moral faculty is acquired, and how it is
regulated. Why do we obey conscience or feel pain in disobeying it? And
why does conscience prescribe one kind of action and condemn another kind?
To put it more technically, there is the question of the subjective
existence of conscience, and there is the question of its objective
prescriptions. First, why do I think it obligatory to do my duty? Second,
why do I think it my duty to do this and not do that? Although, however,
the second question ought to be treated independently, for reasons which we
shall presently suggest, the historical answer to it, or the various
grounds on which men have identified certain sorts of conduct with duty,
rather than conduct of the opposite sorts, throws light on the other
question of the conditions of growth of the idea of duty as a sovereign and
imperial director. Mr. Darwin seems to us not to have perfectly recognised
the logical separation between the two sides of the moral sense question.
For example, he says (i. 97) that 'philosophers of the derivative school of
morals formerly assumed that the foundation of morality lay in a form of
Selfishness; but more recently in the Greatest Happiness principle.' But
Mr. Mill, to whom Mr. Darwin refers, has expressly shown that the Greatest
Happiness principle is a STANDARD, and not a FOUNDATION, and that its
validity as a standard of right and wrong action is just as tenable by one
who believes the moral sense to be innate, as by one who holds that it is
acquired. He says distinctly that the social feelings of mankind form 'the
natural basis of sentiment for utilitarian morality.' So far from holding
the Greatest Happiness principle to be the foundation of morality, he would
describe it as the forming principle of the superstructure of which the
social feelings of mankind are the foundation. Between Mr. Darwin and
utilitarians, as utilitarians, there is no such quarrel as he would appear
to suppose. The narrowest utilitarian could say little more than Mr.
Darwin says (ii. 393): 'As all men desire their own happiness, praise or
blame is bestowed on actions and motives according as they tend to this
end; and, as happiness is an essential part of the general good, the
Greatest Happiness principle INDIRECTLY serves as a NEARLY safe standard of
right and wrong.' It is perhaps not impertinent to suspect that the
faltering adverbs which we have printed in italics indicate no more than
the reluctance of a half-conscious convert to pure utilitarianism. In
another place (i. 98) he admits that 'as all wish for happiness, the
Greatest Happiness principle will have become a most important secondary
guide and object, the social instincts, including sympathy, always serving
as the primary impulse and guide.' This is just what Mr. Mill says, only
instead of calling the principle a secondary guide, he would call it a
standard, to distinguish it from the social impulse, in which, as much as
Mr. Darwin, he recognises the base and foundation."--"Pall Mall Gazette,"
April 12th, 1871.) How the mistake which I have made in speaking of
greatest happiness as the foundation of morals arose, is utterly
unintelligible to me: any time during the last several years I should have
laughed such an idea to scorn. Mr. Lecky never made a greater blunder, and
your kindness has made you let me off too easily. (242/2. In the first
edition of the "Descent of Man," I., page 97, Mr. Lecky is quoted as one of
those who assumed that the "foundation of morality lay in a form of
selfishness; but more recently in the 'greatest happiness' principle." Mr.
Lecky's name is omitted in this connection in the second edition, page 120.
In this edition Mr. Darwin makes it clearer that he attaches most
importance to the social instinct as the "primary impulse and guide.")
With respect to Mr. Mill, nothing would have pleased me more than to have
relied on his great authority with respect to the social instincts, but the
sentence which I quote at [Volume I.] page 71 ("if, as is my own belief,
the moral feelings are not innate, but acquired, they are not for that
reason less natural") seems to me somewhat contradictory with the other
words which I quote, so that I did not know what to think; more especially
as he says so very little about the social instincts. When I speak of
intellectual activity as the secondary basis of conscience, I meant in my
own mind secondary in period of development; but no one could be expected
to understand so great an ellipse. With reference to your last sentence,
do you not think that man might have retrograded in his parental, marriage,
and other instincts without having retrograded in his social instincts? and
I do not think that there is any evidence that man ever existed as a non-
social animal. I must add that I have been very glad to read your remarks
on the supposed case of the hive-bee: it affords an amusing contrast with
what Miss Cobbe has written in the "Theological Review." (242/3. Mr.
Darwin says ("Descent of Man" Edition I., Volume I., page 73; Edition II.,
page 99), "that if men lived like bees our unmarried females would think it
a sacred duty to kill their brothers." Miss Cobbe remarks on this "that
the principles of social duty would be reversed" ("Theological Review,"
April 1872). Mr. Morley, on the other hand, says of Darwin's assertion,
that it is "as reassuring as the most absolute of moralists could desire.
For it is tantamount to saying that the foundations of morality, the
distinctions of right and wrong, are deeply laid in the very conditions of
social existence; that there is in face of these conditions a positive and
definite difference between the moral and the immoral, the virtuous and the
vicious, the right and the wrong, in the actions of individuals partaking
of that social existence.") Undoubtedly the great principle of acting for
the good of all the members of the same community, and therefore the good
of the species, would still have held sovereign sway.


(243/1. Sir Joseph Hooker wrote (August 5th, 1871) to Darwin about Lord
Kelvin's Presidential Address at the Edinburgh meeting of the British
Association: "It seems to me to be very able indeed; and what a good
notion it gives of the gigantic achievement of mathematicians and
physicists!--it really made one giddy to read of them. I do not think
Huxley will thank him for his reference to him as a positive unbeliever in
spontaneous generation--these mathematicians do not seem to me to
distinguish between un-belief and a-belief. I know no other name for the
state of mind that is produced under the term scepticism. I had no idea
before that pure Mathematics had achieved such wonders in practical
science. The total absence of any allusion to Tyndall's labours, even when
comets are his theme, seems strange to me.")

Haredene, Albury, Guildford, August 6th [1871].

I have read with greatest interest Thomson's address; but you say so
EXACTLY AND FULLY all that I think, that you have taken all the words from
my mouth; even about Tyndall. It is a gain that so wonderful a man, though
no naturalist, should become a convert to evolution; Huxley, it seems,
remarked in his speech to this effect. I should like to know what he means
about design,--I cannot in the least understand, for I presume he does not
believe in special interpositions. (243/2. See "British Association
Report," page cv. Lord Kelvin speaks very doubtfully of evolution. After
quoting the concluding passage of the "Origin," he goes on, "I have omitted
two sentences...describing briefly the hypothesis of 'the origin of species
by Natural Selection,' because I have always felt that this hypothesis does
not contain the true theory of evolution, IF EVOLUTION THERE HAS BEEN in
biology" (the italics are not in the original). Lord Kelvin then describes
as a "most valuable and instructive criticism," Sir John Herschel's remark
that the doctrine of Natural Selection is "too like the Laputan method of
making books, and that it did not sufficiently take into account a
continually guiding and controlling intelligence." But it should be
remembered that it was in this address of Lord Kelvin's that he suggested
the possibility of "seed-bearing meteoric stones moving about through
space" inoculating the earth with living organisms; and if he assumes that
the whole population of the globe is to be traced back to these "moss-grown
fragments from the ruins of another world," it is obvious that he believes
in a form of evolution, and one in which a controlling intelligence is not
very obvious, at all events not in the initial and all-important stage.)
Herschel's was a good sneer. It made me put in the simile about Raphael's
Madonna, when describing in the "Descent of Man" the manner of formation of
the wondrous ball-and-socket ornaments, and I will swear to the truth of
this case. (243/3. See "Descent of Man," II., page 141. Darwin says that
no one will attribute the shading of the "eyes" on the wings of the Argus
pheasant to the "fortuitous concourse of atoms of colouring-matter." He
goes on to say that the development of the ball-and-socket effect by means
of Natural Selection seems at first as incredible as that "one of Raphael's
Madonnas should have been formed by the selection of chance daubs of
paint." The remark of Herschel's, quoted in "Life and Letters," II., page
241, that the "Origin" illustrates the "law of higgledy-piggledy," is
probably a conversational variant of the Laputan comparison which gave rise
to the passage in the "Descent of Man" (see Letter 130).)

You know the oak-leaved variety of the common honeysuckle; I could not
persuade a lady that this was not the result of the honeysuckle climbing up
a young oak tree! Is this not like the Viola case?

Haredene, Albury, Guildford, August 12th [1871].

I hope the proof-sheets having been sent here will not inconvenience you.
I have read them with infinite satisfaction, and the whole discussion
strikes me as admirable. I have no books here, and wish much I could see a
plate of Campodea. (244/1. "On the Origin of Insects." By Sir John
Lubbock, Bart. "Journ. Linn. Soc. (Zoology)," Volume XI., 1873, pages 422-
6. (Read November 2nd, 1871.) In the concluding paragraph the author
writes, "If these views are correct the genus Campodea [a beetle] must be
regarded as a form of remarkable interest, since it is the living
representative of a primaeval type from which not only the Collembola and
Thysanura, but the other great orders of insects, have all derived their
origin." (See also "Brit. Assoc. Report," 1872, page 125--Address by Sir
John Lubbock; and for a figure of Campodea see "Nature," Volume VII., 1873,
page 447.) I never reflected much on the difficulty which you indicate,
and on which you throw so much light. (244/2. The difficulty alluded to
is explained by the first sentence of Lord Avebury's paper. "The
Metamorphoses of this group (Insects) have always seemed to me one of the
greatest difficulties of the Darwinian theory...I feel great difficulty in
conceiving by what natural process an insect with a suctorial mouth, like
that of a gnat or butterfly, could be developed from a powerfully
mandibulate type like the orthoptera, or even from the neuroptera...A clue
to the difficulty may, I think, be found in the distinction between the
developmental and adaptive changes to which I called the attention of the
Society in a previous memoir."

The distinction between developmental and adaptive changes is mentioned,
but not discussed, in the paper "On the Origin of Insects" (loc. cit., page
422); in a former paper, "On the Development of Chloeon (Ephemera)
dimidiatum ("Trans. Linn. Soc." XXV. page 477, 1866), this question is
dealt with at length.) I have only a few trifling remarks to make. At
page 44 I wish you had enlarged a little on what you have said of the
distinction between developmental and adaptive changes; for I cannot quite
remember the point, and others will perhaps be in the same predicament. I
think I always saw that the larva and the adult might be separately
modified to any extent. Bearing in mind what strange changes of function
parts undergo, with the intermediate state of use (244/3. This slightly
obscure phrase may be paraphrased, "the gradational stages being of service
to the organism."), it seems to me that you speak rather too boldly on the
impossibility of a mandibulate insect being converted into a sucking insect
(244/4. "There are, however, peculiar difficulties in those cases in
which, as among the lepidoptera, the same species is mandibulate as a larva
and suctorial as an embryo" (Lubbock, "Origin of Insects," page 423).); not
that I in the least doubt the value of your explanation.

Cirripedes passing through what I have called a pupal state (244/5.
"Hence, the larva in this, its last stage, cannot eat; it may be called a
"locomotive Pupa;" its whole organisation is apparently adapted for the one
great end of finding a proper site for its attachment and final
metamorphosis." ("A Monograph on the Sub-Class Cirripedia." By Charles
Darwin. London, Ray Soc., 1851.)) so far as their mouths are concerned,
rather supports what you say at page 52.

At page 40 your remarks on the Argus pheasant (244/6. There is no mention
of the Argus pheasant in the published paper.) (though I have not the least
objection to them) do not seem to me very appropriate as being related to
the mental faculties. If you can spare me these proof-sheets when done
with, I shall be obliged, as I shall be correcting a new edition of the
"Origin" when I return home, though this subject is too large for me to
enter on. I thank you sincerely for the great interest which your
discussion has given me.


(245/1. The following letter refers to Mivart's "Genesis of Species.")

Down, September 16th [1871].

I am preparing a new and cheap edition of the "Origin," and shall introduce
a new chapter on gradation, and on the uses of initial commencements of
useful structures; for this, I observe, has produced the greatest effect on
most persons. Every one of his [Mivart's] cases, as it seems to me, can be
answered in a fairly satisfactory manner. He is very unfair, and never
says what he must have known could be said on my side. He ignores the
effect of use, and what I have said in all my later books and editions on
the direct effects of the conditions of life and so-called spontaneous
variation. I send you by this post a very clever, but ill-written review
from N. America by a friend of Asa Gray, which I have republished. (245/2.
Chauncey Wright in the "North American Review," Volume CXIII., reprinted by
Darwin and published as a pamphlet (see "Life and Letters," III., page

I am glad to hear about Huxley. You never read such strong letters Mivart
wrote to me about respect towards me, begging that I would call on him,
etc., etc.; yet in the "Q. Review" (245/3. See "Quarterly Review," July
1871; also "Life and Letters," III., page 147.) he shows the greatest scorn
and animosity towards me, and with uncommon cleverness says all that is
most disagreeable. He makes me the most arrogant, odious beast that ever
lived. I cannot understand him; I suppose that accursed religious bigotry
is at the root of it. Of course he is quite at liberty to scorn and hate
me, but why take such trouble to express something more than friendship?
It has mortified me a good deal.

Down, October 4th [1871].

I am quite delighted that you think so highly of Huxley's article. (246/1.
A review of Wallace's "Natural Selection," of Mivart's "Genesis of
Species," and of the "Quarterly Review" article on the "Descent of Man"
(July, 1871), published in the "Contemporary Review" (1871), and in
Huxley's "Collected Essays," II., page 120.) I was afraid of saying all I
thought about it, as nothing is so likely as to make anything appear flat.
I thought of, and quite agreed with, your former saying that Huxley makes
one feel quite infantile in intellect. He always thus acts on me. I
exactly agree with what you say on the several points in the article, and I
piled climax on climax of admiration in my letter to him. I am not so good
a Christian as you think me, for I did enjoy my revenge on Mivart. He
(i.e. Mivart) has just written to me as cool as a cucumber, hoping my
health is better, etc. My head, by the way, plagues me terribly, and I
have it light and rocking half the day. Farewell, dear old friend--my best
of friends.


(247/1. Mr. Fiske, who is perhaps best known in England as the author of
"Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy," had sent to Mr. Darwin some reports of the
lectures given at Harvard University. The point referred to in the
postscript in Mr. Darwin's letter is explained by the following extract
from Mr. Fiske's work: "I have endeavoured to show that the transition
from animality (or bestiality, stripping the word of its bad connotations)
to humanity must have been mainly determined by the prolongation of infancy
or immaturity which is consequent upon a high development of intelligence,
and which must have necessitated the gradual grouping together of pithecoid
men into more or less definite families." (See "Descent," I., page 13, on
the prolonged infancy of the anthropoid apes.))

Down, November 9th, 1871.

I am greatly obliged to you for having sent me, through my son, your
lectures, and for the very honourable manner in which you allude to my
works. The lectures seem to me to be written with much force, clearness,
and originality. You show also a truly extraordinary amount of knowledge
of all that has been published on the subject. The type in many parts is
so small that, except to young eyes, it is very difficult to read.
Therefore I wish that you would reflect on their separate publication,
though so much has been published on the subject that the public may
possibly have had enough. I hope that this may be your intention, for I do
not think I have ever seen the general argument more forcibly put so as to
convert unbelievers.

It has surprised and pleased me to see that you and others have detected
the falseness of much of Mr. Mivart's reasoning. I wish I had read your
lectures a month or two ago, as I have been preparing a new edition of the
"Origin," in which I answer some special points, and I believe I should
have found your lectures useful; but my MS. is now in the printer's hands,
and I have not strength or time to make any more additions.

P.S.--By an odd coincidence, since the above was written I have received
your very obliging letter of October 23rd. I did notice the point to which
you refer, and will hereafter reflect more over it. I was indeed on the
point of putting in a sentence to somewhat of the same effect in the new
edition of the "Origin," in relation to the query--Why have not apes
advanced in intellect as much as man? but I omitted it on account of the
asserted prolonged infancy of the orang. I am also a little doubtful about
the distinction between gregariousness and sociability.

...When you come to England I shall have much pleasure in making your
acquaintance; but my health is habitually so weak that I have very small
power of conversing with my friends as much as I wish. Let me again thank
you for your letter. To believe that I have at all influenced the minds of
able men is the greatest satisfaction I am capable of receiving.

Down, December 27th, 1871.

I thank you for your very interesting letter, which it has given me much
pleasure to receive. I never heard of anything so odd as the Prior in the
Holy Catholic Church believing in our ape-like progenitors. I much hope
that the Jesuits will not dislodge him.

What a wonderfully active man you are! and I rejoice that you have been so
successful in your work on sponges. (248/1. "Die Kalkschwamme: eine
Monographie; 3 volumes: Berlin, 1872. H.J. Clark published a paper "On
the Spongiae Ciliatae as Infusoria flagellata" in the "Mem. Boston Nat.
Hist. Soc." Volume I., Part iii., 1866. See Hackel, op. cit., Volume I.,
page 24.) Your book with sixty plates will be magnificent. I shall be
glad to learn what you think of Clark's view of sponges being flagellate
infusorians; some observers in this country believe in him. I am glad you
are going fully to consider inheritance, which is an all-important subject
for us. I do not know whether you have ever read my chapter on pangenesis.
My ideas have been almost universally despised, and I suppose that I was
foolish to publish them; yet I must still think that there is some truth in
them. Anyhow, they have aided me much in making me clearly understand the
facts of inheritance.

I have had bad health this last summer, and during two months was able to
do nothing; but I have now almost finished a next edition of the "Origin,"
which Victor Carus is translating. (248/2. See "Life and Letters," III.,
page 49.) There is not much new in it, except one chapter in which I have
answered, I hope satisfactorily, Mr. Mivart's supposed difficulty on the
incipient development of useful structures. I have also given my reasons
for quite disbelieving in great and sudden modifications. I am preparing
an essay on expression in man and the lower animals. It has little
importance, but has interested me. I doubt whether my strength will last
for much more serious work. I hope, however, to publish next summer the
results of my long-continued experiments on the wonderful advantages
derived from crossing. I shall continue to work as long as I can, but it
does not much signify when I stop, as there are so many good men fully as
capable, perhaps more capable, than myself of carrying on our work; and of
these you rank as the first.

With cordial good wishes for your success in all your work and for your

Down, April 15th [1872].

Very many thanks for your kind consideration. The correspondence was in
the "Athenaeum." I got some mathematician to make the calculation, and he
blundered and caused me much shame. I send scrap of proofs from last
edition of the "Origin," with the calculation corrected. What grand work
you did at Naples! I can clearly see that you will some day become our
first star in Natural History.

(249/1. Here follows the extract from the "Origin," sixth edition, page
51: "The elephant is reckoned the slowest breeder of all known animals,
and I have taken some pains to estimate its probable minimum rate of
natural increase. It will be safest to assume that it begins breeding when
thirty years old, and goes on breeding till ninety years old, bringing
forth six young in the interval, and surviving till one hundred years old;
if this be so, after a period of from 740 to 750 years, there would be
nearly nineteen million elephants alive, descended from the first pair."
In the fifth edition, page 75, the passage runs: "If this be so, at the
end of the fifth century, there would be alive fifteen million elephants,
descended from the first pair" (see "Athenaeum," June 5, July 3, 17, 24,

Down, May 10th [1872].

I received yesterday morning your present of that work to which I, for one,
as well as so many others, owe a debt of gratitude never to be forgotten.
I have read with the greatest interest all the special additions; and I
wish with all my heart that I had the strength and time to read again every
word of the whole book. (250/1. "Principles of Geology," Edition XII.,
1875.) I do not agree with all your criticisms on Natural Selection, nor
do I suppose that you would expect me to do so. We must be content to
differ on several points. I differ must about your difficulty (page 496)
(250/2. In Chapter XLIII. Lyell treats of "Man considered with reference
to his Origin and Geographical Distribution." He criticizes the view that
Natural Selection is capable of bringing about any amount of change
provided a series of minute transitional steps can be pointed out. "But in
reality," he writes, "it cannot be said that we obtain any insight into the
nature of the forces by which a higher grade of organisation or instinct is
evolved out of a lower one by becoming acquainted with a series of
gradational forms or states, each having a very close affinity with the
other."..."It is when there is a change from an inferior being to one of
superior grade, from a humbler organism to one endowed with new and more
exalted attributes, that we are made to feel that, to explain the
difficulty, we must obtain some knowledge of those laws of variation of
which Mr. Darwin grants that we are at present profoundly ignorant" (op.
cit., pages 496-97).) on a higher grade of organisation being evolved out
of lower ones. Is not a very clever man a grade above a very dull one? and
would not the accumulation of a large number of slight differences of this
kind lead to a great difference in the grade of organisation? And I
suppose that you will admit that the difference in the brain of a clever
and dull man is not much more wonderful than the difference in the length
of the nose of any two men. Of course, there remains the impossibility of
explaining at present why one man has a longer nose than another. But it
is foolish of me to trouble you with these remarks, which have probably
often passed through your mind. The end of this chapter (XLIII.) strikes
me as admirably and grandly written. I wish you joy at having completed
your gigantic undertaking, and remain, my dear Lyell,

Your ever faithful and now very old pupil,

Sevenoaks, October 9th [1872].

I have just received your note, forwarded to me from my home. I thank you
very truly for your intended present, and I am sure that your book will
interest me greatly. I am delighted that you have taken up the very
difficult and most interesting subject of the habits of insects, on which
Englishmen have done so little. How incomparably more valuable are such
researches than the mere description of a thousand species! I daresay you
have thought of experimenting on the mental powers of the spiders by fixing
their trap-doors open in different ways and at different angles, and
observing what they will do.

We have been here some days, and intend staying some weeks; for I was quite
worn out with work, and cannot be idle at home.

I sincerely hope that your health is not worse.


(252/1. The correspondence with Professor Hyatt, of Boston, U.S.,
originated in the reference to his and Professor Cope's theories of
acceleration and retardation, inserted in the sixth edition of the
"Origin," page 149.

Mr. Darwin, on receiving from Mr. Hyatt a copy of his "Fossil Cephalopods
of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Embryology," from the "Bull. Mus.
Comp. Zool." Harvard, Volume III., 1872, wrote as follows (252/2. Part of
this letter was published in "Life and Letters," III., page 154.):--)

October 10th, 1872.

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in having sent me your
valuable memoir on the embryology of the extinct cephalopods. The work
must have been one of immense labour, and the results are extremely
interesting. 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 cephalopods, with remarks on the subject. (252/3. The paper seems
to be "On the Parallelism between the Different Stages of Life in the
Individual and those in the Entire Group of the Molluscous Order
Tetrabranchiata," from the "Boston. Soc. Nat. Hist. Mem." I., 1866-69, page
193. On the back of the paper is written, "I cannot avoid thinking this
paper fanciful.") 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...As the case stands, the law of acceleration
and retardation seems to me to be a simple [?] statement of facts; but the
statement, if fully established, would no doubt be an important step in our
knowledge. But I had better say nothing more on the subject, otherwise I
shall perhaps blunder again. I assure you that I regret much that I have
fallen into two such grave errors.


(253/1. Mr. Hyatt replied in a long letter, of which only a small part is
here given.

Cannstadt bei Stuttgart, November 1872.

The letter with which you have honoured me, bearing the date of October
10th, has just reached here after a voyage to America and back.

I have long had it in mind to write you upon the subject of which you
speak, but have been prevented by a very natural feeling of distrust in the
worthiness and truth of the views which I had to present.

There is certainly no occasion to apologise for not having quoted my paper.
The law of acceleration and retardation of development was therein used to
explain the appearance of other phenomena, and might, as it did in nearly
all cases, easily escape notice.

My relations with Prof. Cope are of the most friendly character; and
although fortunate in publishing a few months ahead, I consider that this
gives me no right to claim anything beyond such an amount of participation
in the discovery, if it may be so called, as the thoroughness and worth of
my work entitles me to...

The collections which I have studied, it will be remembered, are fossils
collected without special reference to the very minute subdivisions, such
as the subdivisions of the Lower or Middle Lias as made by the German
authors, especially Quenstedt and Oppel, but pretty well defined for the
larger divisions in which the species are also well defined. The condition
of the collections as regards names, etc., was chaotic, localities alone,
with some few exceptions, accurate. To put this in order they were first
arranged according to their adult characteristics. This proving
unsatisfactory, I determined to test thoroughly the theory of evolution by
following out the developmental history of each species and placing them
within their formations, Middle or Upper Lias, Oolite or so, according to
the extent to which they represented each other's characteristics. Thus an
adult of simple structure being taken as the starting-point which we will
call a, another species which was a in its young stage and became b in the
adult was placed above it in the zoological series. By this process I
presently found that a, then a b and a b c, c representing the adult stage,
were very often found; but that practically after passing these two or
three stages it did not often happen that a species was found which was a b
c in the young and then became d in the adult. But on the other hand I
very frequently found one which, while it was a in the young, skipped the
stages b and c and became d while still quite young. Then sometimes,
though more rarely, a species would be found belonging to the same series,
which would be a in the young and with a very faint and fleeting
resemblance to d at a later stage, pass immediately while still quite young
to the more advanced characteristics represented by e, and hold these as
its specific characteristics until old age destroyed them. This skipping
is the highest exemplification, or rather manifestation, of acceleration in
development. In alluding to the history of diseases and inheritance of
characteristics, you in your "Origin of Species" allude to the ordinary
manifestation of acceleration, when you speak of the tendency of diseases
or characteristics to appear at younger periods in the life of the child
than of its parents. This, according to my observations, is a law, or
rather mode, of development, which is applicable to all characteristics,
and in this way it is possible to explain why the young of later-occurring
animals are like the adult stages of those which preceded them in time. If
I am not mistaken you have intimated something of this sort also in your
first edition, but I have not been able to find it lately. Of course this
is a very normal condition of affairs when a series can be followed in this
way, beginning with species a, then going through species a b to a b c,
then a b d or a c d, and then a d e or simply a e, as it sometimes comes.
Very often the acceleration takes place in two closely connected series,


in which one series goes on very regularly, while another lateral offshoot
of a becomes d in the adult. This is an actual case which can be plainly
shown with the specimens in hand, and has been verified in the collections
here. Retardation is entirely Prof. Cope's idea, but I think also easily
traceable. It is the opponent of acceleration, so to speak, or the
opposite or negative of that mode of development. Thus series may occur in
which, either in size or characteristics, they return to former
characteristics; but a better discussion of this point you will find in the
little treatise which I send by the same mail as this letter, "On
Reversions among the Ammonites."

Down, December 4th, 1872.

I thank you sincerely for your most interesting letter. You refer much too
modestly to your own knowledge and judgment, as you are much better fitted
to throw light on your own difficult problems than I am.

It has quite annoyed me that I do not clearly understand yours and Prof.
Cope's views (254/1. Prof. Cope's views may be gathered from his "Origin
of the Fittest" 1887; in this book (page 41) is reprinted his "Origin of
Genera" from the "Proc. Philadelph. Acad. Nat. Soc." 1868, which was
published separately by the author in 1869, and which we believe to be his
first publication on the subject. In the preface to the "Origin of the
Fittest," page vi, he sums up the chief points in the "Origin of Genera"
under seven heads, of which the following are the most important:--"First,
that development of new characters has been accomplished by an ACCELERATION
or RETARDATION in the growth of the parts changed...Second, that of EXACT
PARALLELISM between the adult of one individual or set of individuals, and
a transitional stage of one or more other individuals. This doctrine is
distinct from that of an exact parallelism, which had already been stated
by von Baer." The last point is less definitely stated by Hyatt in his
letter of December 4th, 1872. "I am thus perpetually led to look upon a
series very much as upon an individual, and think that I have found that in
many instances these afford parallel changes." See also "Lamarck the
Founder of Evolution, by A.S. Packard: New York, 1901.) and the fault lies
in some slight degree, I think, with Prof. Cope, who does not write very
clearly. I think I now understand the terms "acceleration" and
"retardation"; but will you grudge the trouble of telling me, by the aid of
the following illustration, whether I do understand rightly? When a fresh-
water decapod crustacean is born with an almost mature structure, and
therefore does not pass, like other decapods, through the Zoea stage, is
this not a case of acceleration? Again, if an imaginary decapod retained,
when adult, many Zoea characters, would this not be a case of retardation?
If these illustrations are correct, I can perceive why I have been so dull
in understanding your views. I looked for something else, being familiar
with such cases, and classing them in my own mind as simply due to the
obliteration of certain larval or embryonic stages. This obliteration I
imagined resulted sometimes entirely from that law of inheritance to which
you allude; but that it in many cases was aided by Natural Selection, as I
inferred from such cases occurring so frequently in terrestrial and fresh-
water members of groups, which retain their several embryonic stages in the
sea, as long as fitting conditions are present.

Another cause of my misunderstanding was the assumption that in your series


the differences between the successive species, expressed by the terminal
letter, was due to acceleration: now, if I understand rightly, this is not
the case; and such characters must have been independently acquired by some

The two newest and most interesting points in your letter (and in, as far
as I think, your former paper) seem to me to be about senile
characteristics in one species appearing in succeeding species during
maturity; and secondly about certain degraded characters appearing in the
last species of a series. You ask for my opinion: I can only send the
conjectured impressions which have occurred to me and which are not worth
writing. (It ought to be known whether the senile character appears before
or after the period of active reproduction.) I should be inclined to
attribute the character in both your cases to the laws of growth and
descent, secondarily to Natural Selection. It has been an error on my
part, and a misfortune to me, that I did not largely discuss what I mean by
laws of growth at an early period in some of my books. I have said
something on this head in two new chapters in the last edition of the
"Origin." I should be happy to send you a copy of this edition, if you do
not possess it and care to have it. A man in extreme old age differs much
from a young man, and I presume every one would account for this by failing
powers of growth. On the other hand the skulls of some mammals go on
altering during maturity into advancing years; as do the horns of the stag,
the tail-feathers of some birds, the size of fishes etc.; and all such
differences I should attribute simply to the laws of growth, as long as
full vigour was retained. Endless other changes of structure in successive
species may, I believe, be accounted for by various complex laws of growth.
Now, any change of character thus induced with advancing years in the
individual might easily be inherited at an earlier age than that at which
it first supervened, and thus become characteristic of the mature species;
or again, such changes would be apt to follow from variation, independently
of inheritance, under proper conditions. Therefore I should expect that
characters of this kind would often appear in later-formed species without
the aid of Natural Selection, or with its aid if the characters were of any
advantage. The longer I live, the more I become convinced how ignorant we
are of the extent to which all sorts of structures are serviceable to each
species. But that characters supervening during maturity in one species
should appear so regularly, as you state to be the case, in succeeding
species, seems to me very surprising and inexplicable.

With respect to degradation in species towards the close of a series, I
have nothing to say, except that before I arrived at the end of your
letter, it occurred to me that the earlier and simpler ammonites must have
been well adapted to their conditions, and that when the species were
verging towards extinction (owing probably to the presence of some more
successful competitors) they would naturally become re-adapted to simpler
conditions. Before I had read your final remarks I thought also that
unfavourable conditions might cause, through the law of growth, aided
perhaps by reversion, degradation of character. No doubt many new laws
remain to be discovered. Permit me to add that I have never been so
foolish as to imagine that I have succeeded in doing more than to lay down
some of the broad outlines of the origin of species.

After long reflection I cannot avoid the conviction that no innate tendency
to progressive development exists, as is now held by so many able
naturalists, and perhaps by yourself. It is curious how seldom writers
define what they mean by progressive development; but this is a point which
I have briefly discussed in the "Origin." I earnestly hope that you may
visit Hilgendorf's famous deposit. Have you seen Weismann's pamphlet
"Einfluss der Isolirung," Leipzig, 1872? He makes splendid use of
Hilgendorf's admirable observations. (254/2. Hilgendorf, "Monatsb. K.
Akad." Berlin, 1866. For a semi-popular account of Hilgendorf's and
Hyatt's work on this subject, see Romanes' "Darwin and after Darwin," I.,
page 201.) I have no strength to spare, being much out of health;
otherwise I would have endeavoured to have made this letter better worth
sending. I most sincerely wish you success in your valuable and difficult

I have received, and thank you, for your three pamphlets. As far as I can
judge, your views seem very probable; but what a fearfully intricate
subject is this of the succession of ammonites. (254/3. See various
papers in the publications of the "Boston Soc. Nat. Hist." and in the
"Bulletin of the Harvard Museum of Comp. Zoology.")

Cannstadt bei Stuttgart, December 8th, 1872.

The quickness and earnestness of your reply to my letter gives me the
greatest encouragement, and I am much delighted at the unexpected interest
which your questions and comments display. What you say about Prof. Cope's
style has been often before said to me, and I have remarked in his writings
an unsatisfactory treatment of our common theory. This, I think, perhaps
is largely due to the complete absorption of his mind in the contemplation
of his subject: this seems to lead him to be careless about the methods in
which it may be best explained. He has, however, a more extended knowledge
than I have, and has in many ways a more powerful grasp of the subject, and
for that very reason, perhaps, is liable to run into extremes. You ask
about the skipping of the Zoea stage in fresh-water decapods: is this an
illustration of acceleration? It most assuredly is, if acceleration means
anything at all. Again, another and more general illustration would be,
if, among the marine decapods, a series could be formed in which the Zoea
stage became less and less important in the development, and was relegated
to younger and younger stages of the development, and finally disappeared
in those to which you refer. This is the usual way in which the
accelerated mode of development manifests itself; though near the lowest or
earliest occurring species it is also to be looked for. Perhaps this to
which you allude is an illustration somewhat similar to the one which I
have spoken of in my series,


which like "a d" comes from the earliest of a series, though I should think
from the entire skipping of the Zoea stage that it must be, like "a e," the
result of a long line of ancestors. In fact, the essential point of our
theory is, that characteristics are ever inherited by the young at earlier
periods than they are assumed in due course of growth by the parents, and
that this must eventually lead to the extinction or skipping of these
characteristics altogether...

Such considerations as these and the fact that near the heads of series or
near the latest members of series, and not at the beginning, were usually
found the accelerated types, which skipped lower characteristics and
developed very suddenly to a higher and more complex standpoint in
structure, led both Cope and [myself] into what may be a great error. I
see that it has led you at least into the difficulty of which you very
rightly complain, and which, I am sorry to see, has cost you some of your
valuable time. We presumed that because characteristics were perpetually
inherited at earlier stages, that this very concentration of the developed
characteristics made room for the production of differences in the adult
descendants of any given pair. Further, that in the room thus made other
different characteristics must be produced, and that these would
necessarily appear earlier in proportion as the species was more or less
accelerated, and be greater or less in the same proportion. Finally, that
in the most accelerated, such as "a c" or "a d," the difference would be so
great as to constitute distinct genera. Cope and I have differed very
much, while he acknowledged the action of the accumulated mode of
development only when generic characteristics or greater differences were
produced, I saw the same mode of development to be applicable in all cases
and to all characteristics, even to diseases. So far the facts bore us
out, but when we assumed that the adult differences were the result of the
accelerated mode of development, we were perhaps upon rather insecure
ground. It is evidently this assumption which has led you to misunderstand
the theory. Cope founded his belief, that the adult characteristics were
also the result of acceleration, if I rightly remember it, mainly upon the
class of facts spoken of above in man where a sudden change into two organs
may produce entirely new and unexpected differences in the whole
organisation, and upon the changes which acceleration appeared to produce
in the development of each succeeding species. Your difficulty in
understanding the theory and the observations you have made show me at once
what my own difficulties have been, but of these I will not speak at
present, as my letter is spinning itself out to a fearful length.

(255/1. After speaking of Cope's comparison of acceleration and
retardation in evolution to the force of gravity in physical matters Mr.
Hyatt goes on:--)

Now it [acceleration] seems to me to explain less and less the origin of
adult progressive characteristics or simply differences, and perhaps now I
shall get on faster with my work.

Down, December 14th [1872].

(256/1. In reply to the above letter (255) from Mr. Hyatt.)

Notwithstanding the kind consideration shown in your last sentence, I must
thank you for your interesting and clearly expressed letter. I have
directed my publisher to send you a copy of the last edition of the
"Origin," and you can, if you like, paste in the "From the Author" on next
page. In relation to yours and Professor Cope's view on "acceleration"
causing a development of new characters, it would, I think, be well if you
were to compare the decapods which pass and do not pass through the Zoea
stage, and the one group which does (according to Fritz Muller) pass
through to the still earlier Nauplius stages, and see if they present any
marked differences. You will, I believe, find that this is not the case.
I wish it were, for I have often been perplexed at the omission of
embryonic stages as well as the acquirement of peculiar stages appearing to
produce no special result in the mature form.

(256/2. The remainder of this letter is missing, and the whole of the last
sentence is somewhat uncertainly deciphered. (Note by Mr. Hyatt.))

Down, February 13th, 1877.

I thank you for your very kind, long, and interesting letter. The case is
so wonderful and difficult that I dare not express any opinion on it. Of
course, I regret that Hilgendorf has been proved to be so greatly in error
(257/1. This refers to a controversy with Sandberger, who had attacked
Hilgendorf in the "Verh. der phys.-med. Ges. zu Wurzburg," Bd. V., and in
the "Jahrb. der Malakol. Ges." Bd. I., to which Hilgendorf replied in the
"Zeitschr. d. Deutschen geolog. Ges." Jahrb. 1877. Hyatt's name occurs in
Hilgendorf's pages, but we find no reference to any paper of this date; his
well-known paper is in the "Boston. Soc. Nat. Hist." 1880. In a letter to
Darwin (May 23rd, 1881) Hyatt regrets that he had no opportunity of a third
visit to Steinheim, and goes on: "I should then have done greater justice
to Hilgendorf, for whom I have such a high respect."), but it is some
selfish comfort to me that I always felt so much misgiving that I never
quoted his paper. (257/2. In the fifth edition of the "Origin" (page
362), however, Darwin speaks of the graduated forms of Planorbis
multiformis, described by Hilgendorf from certain beds in Switzerland, by
which we presume he meant the Steinheim beds in Wurtemberg.) The
variability of these shells is quite astonishing, and seems to exceed that
of Rubus or Hieracium amongst plants. The result which surprises me most
is that the same form should be developed from various and different
progenitors. This seems to show how potent are the conditions of life,
irrespectively of the variations being in any way beneficial.

The production of a species out of a chaos of varying forms reminds me of
Nageli's conclusion, as deduced from the study of Hieracium, that this is
the common mode in which species arise. But I still continue to doubt much
on this head, and cling to the belief expressed in the first edition of the
"Origin," that protean or polymorphic species are those which are now
varying in such a manner that the variations are neither advantageous nor
disadvantageous. I am glad to hear of the Brunswick deposit, as I feel
sure that the careful study of such cases is highly important. I hope that
the Smithsonian Institution will publish your memoir.

Down, January 18th [1873].

It was very good of you to give up so much of your time to write to me your
last interesting letter. The evidence seems good about the tameness of the
alpine butterflies, and the fact seems to me very surprising, for each
butterfly can hardly have acquired its experience during its own short
life. Will you be so good as to thank M. Humbert for his note, which I
have been glad to read. I formerly received from a man, not a naturalist,
staying at Cannes a similar account, but doubted about believing it. The
case, however, does not answer my query--viz., whether butterflies are
attracted by bright colours, independently of the supposed presence of

I must own that I have great difficulty in believing that any temporary
condition of the parents can affect the offspring. If it last long enough
to affect the health or structure of the parents, I can quite believe the
offspring would be modified. But how mysterious a subject is that of
generation! Although my hypothesis of pangenesis has been reviled on all
sides, yet I must still look at generation under this point of view; and it
makes me very averse to believe in an emotion having any effect on the
offspring. Allow me to add one word about blushing and shyness: I
intended only to say the habit was primordially acquired by attention to
the face, and not that each shy man now attended to his personal

Down, June 28th, 1873.

I write a line to wish you good-bye, as I hear you are off on Wednesday,
and to thank you for the Dionoea, but I cannot make the little creature
grow well. I have this day read Bentham's last address, and must express
my admiration of it. (259/1. Presidential address to the Linnean Society,
read May 24th, 1873.) Perhaps I ought not to do so, as he fairly crushes
me with honour.

I am delighted to see how exactly I agree with him on affinities, and
especially on extinct forms as illustrated by his flat-topped tree.
(259/2. See page 15 of separate copy: "We should then have the present
races represented by the countless branchlets forming the flat-topped
summit" of a genealogical tree, in which "all we can do is to map out the
summit as it were from a bird's-eye view, and under each cluster, or
cluster of clusters, to place as the common trunk an imaginary type of a
genus, order, or class according to the depth to which we would go.") My
recent work leads me to differ from him on one point--viz., on the
separation of the sexes. (259/3. On the question of sexuality, see page
10 of Bentham's address. On the back of Mr. Darwin's copy he has written:
"As long as lowest organisms free--sexes separated: as soon as they become
attached, to prevent sterility sexes united--reseparated as means of
fertilisation, adapted [?] for distant [?] organisms,--in the case of
animals by their senses and voluntary movements,--with plants the aid of
insects and wind, the latter always existed, and long retained." The two
words marked [?] are doubtful. The introduction of freedom or
attachedness, as a factor in the problem also occurs in "Cross and Self-
fertilisation," page 462. I strongly suspect that sexes were primordially
in distinct individuals; then became commonly united in the same
individual, and then in a host of animals and some few plants became again
separated. Do ask Bentham to send a copy of his address to "Dr. H. Muller,
Lippstadt, Prussia," as I am sure it will please him GREATLY.

...When in France write me a line and tell me how you get on, and how
Huxley is; but do not do so if you feel idle, and writing bothers you.


(260/1. This letter, with others from Darwin to Meldola, is published in
"Charles Darwin and the Theory of Natural Selection," by E.B. Poulton,
pages 199 et seq., London, 1896.)

Southampton, August 13th, 1873.

I am much obliged for your present, which no doubt I shall find at Down on
my return home. I am sorry to say that I cannot answer your question; nor
do I believe that you could find it anywhere even approximately answered.
It is very difficult or impossible to define what is meant by a large
variation. Such graduate into monstrosities or generally injurious
variations. I do not myself believe that these are often or ever taken
advantage of under nature. It is a common occurrence that abrupt and
considerable variations are transmitted in an unaltered state, or not at
all transmitted, to the offspring, or to some of them. So it is with
tailless or hornless animals, and with sudden and great changes of colour
in flowers. I wish I could have given you any answer.


I must have the pleasure of thanking you for your kindness in sending me
your essay on the Brachiopoda. (261/1. "The Brachiopoda, a Division of
Annelida," "Amer. Assoc. Proc." Volume XIX., page 272, 1870, and "Annals
and Mag. Nat. Hist." Volume VI., page 267, 1870.) I have just read it with
the greatest interest, and you seem to me (though I am not a competent
judge) to make out with remarkable clearness an extremely strong case.
What a wonderful change it is to an old naturalist to have to look at these
"shells" as "worms"; but, as you truly say, as far as external appearance
is concerned, the case is not more wonderful than that of cirripedes. I
have also been particularly interested by your remarks on the Geological
Record, and on the lower and older forms in each great class not having
been probably protected by calcareous valves or a shell.

P.S.--Your woodcut of Lingula is most skilfully introduced to compel one to
see its likeness to an annelid.


(262/1. Mr. Spencer's book "The Study of Sociology," 1873, was published
in the "Contemporary Review" in instalments between May 1872 and October

October 31st [1873].

I am glad to receive to-day an advertisement of your book. I have been
wonderfully interested by the articles in the "Contemporary." Those were
splendid hits about the Prince of Wales and Gladstone. (262/2. See "The
Study of Sociology," page 392. Mr. Gladstone, in protest against some
words of Mr. Spencer, had said that the appearance of great men "in great
crises of human history" were events so striking "that men would be liable
to term them providential in a pre-scientific age." On this Mr. Spencer
remarks that "in common with the ancient Greek Mr. Gladstone regards as
irreligious any explanation of Nature which dispenses with immediate Divine
superintendence." And as an instance of the partnership "between the ideas
of natural causation and of providential interference," he instances a case
where a prince "gained popularity by outliving certain abnormal changes in
his blood," and where "on the occasion of his recovery providential aid and
natural causation were unitedly recognised by a thanksgiving to God and a
baronetcy to the doctor." The passage on Toryism is on page 395, where Mr.
Spencer, with his accustomed tolerance, writes: "The desirable thing is
that a growth of ideas and feelings tending to produce modification shall
be joined with a continuance of ideas and feelings tending to preserve
stability." And from this point of view he concludes it to be very
desirable that "one in Mr. Gladstone's position should think as he does."
The matter is further discussed in the notes to Chapter XVI., page 423.) I
never before read a good defence of Toryism. In one place (but I cannot
for the life of me recollect where or what it exactly was) I thought that
you would have profited by my principle (i.e. if you do not reject it)
given in my "Descent of Man," that new characters which appear late in life
are those which are transmitted to the same sex alone. I have advanced
some pretty strong evidence, and the principle is of great importance in
relation to secondary sexual likenesses. (262/3. This refers to Mr.
Spencer's discussion of the evolution of the mental traits characteristic
of women. At page 377 he points out the importance of the limitation of
heredity by sex in this relation. A striking generalisation on this
question is given in the "Descent of Man," Edition I., Volume II., page
285: that when the adult male differs from the adult female, he differs in
the same way from the young of both sexes. Can this law be applied in the
case in which the adult female possesses characters not possessed by the
male: for instance, the high degree of intuitive power of reading the
mental states of others and of concealing her own--characters which Mr.
Spencer shows to be accounted for by the relations between the husband and
wife in a state of savagery. If so, the man should resemble "the young of
both sexes" in the absence of these special qualities. This seems to be
the case with some masculine characteristics, and childishness of man is
not without recognition among women: for instance, by Dolly Winthrop in
"Silas Marner," who is content with bread for herself, but bakes cake for
children and men, whose "stomichs are made so comical, they want a change--
they do, I know, God help 'em.") I have applied it to man and woman, and
possibly it was here that I thought that you would have profited by the
doctrine. I fear that this note will be almost illegible, but I am very


(263/1. This is, we believe, the first letter addressed by the late Mr.
Romanes to Mr. Darwin. It was put away with another on the same subject,
and inscribed "Romanes on Abortion, with my answer (very important)." Mr.
Darwin's answer given below is printed from his rough draft, which is in
places barely decipherable. On the subject of these letters consult
Romanes, "Darwin and after Darwin," Volume II., page 99, 1895.)

Dunskaith, Parkhill, Ross-shire, July 10th, 1874.

Knowing that you do not dissuade the more attentive of your readers from
communicating directly to yourself any ideas they may have upon subjects
connected with your writings, I take the liberty of sending the enclosed
copy of a letter, which I have recently addressed to Mr. Herbert Spencer.
You will perceive that the subject dealt with is the same as that to which
a letter of mine in last week's "Nature" [July 2nd, page 164] refers--viz.,
"Disuse as a Reducing Cause in Species." In submitting this more detailed
exposition of my views to your consideration, I should like to state again
what I stated in "Nature" some weeks ago, viz., that in propounding the
cessation of selection as a reducing cause, I do not suppose that I am
suggesting anything which has not occurred to you already. Not only is
this principle embodied in the theory set forth in the article on
Rudimentary Organs ("Nature," Volume IX.); but it is more than once hinted
at in the "Origin," in the passages where rudimentary organs are said to be
more variable than others, because no longer under the restraining
influence of Natural Selection. And still more distinctly is this
principle recognised in page 120.

Thus, in sending you the enclosed letter, I do not imagine that I am
bringing any novel suggestions under your notice. As I see that you have
already applied the principle in question to the case of artificially-bred
structures, I cannot but infer that you have pondered it in connection with
naturally-bred structures. What objection, however, you can have seen to
this principle in this latter connection, I am unable to divine; and so I
think the best course for me to pursue is the one I adopt--viz., to send
you my considerations in full.

In the absence of express information, the most natural inference is that
the reason you refuse to entertain the principle in question, is because
you show the backward tendency of indiscriminate variability [to be]
inadequate to contend with the conservative tendency of long inheritance.
The converse of this is expressed in the words "That the struggle between
Natural Selection on the one hand, and the tendency to reversion and
variability on the other hand, will in the course of time cease; and that
the most abnormally developed organs may be made constant, I see no reason
to doubt" ("Origin," page 121). Certainly not, if, as I doubt not, the
word "constant" is intended to bear a relative signification; but to say
that constancy can ever become absolute--i.e., that any term of inheritance
could secure to an organ a total immunity from the smallest amount of
spontaneous variability--to say this would be unwarrantable. Suppose, for
instance, that for some reason or other a further increase in the size of a
bat's wing should now suddenly become highly beneficial to that animal: we
can scarcely suppose that variations would not be forthcoming for Natural
Selection to seize upon (unless the limit of possible size has now been
reached, which is an altogether distinct matter). And if we suppose that
minute variations on the side of increase are thus even now occasionally
taking place, much more is it probable that similar variations on the side
of decrease are now taking place--i.e., that if the conservative influence
of Natural Selection were removed for a long period of time, more
variations would ensue below the present size of bat's wings, than above
it. To this it may be added, that when the influence of "speedy selection"
is removed, it seems in itself highly probable that the structure would,
for this reason, become more variable, for the only reason why it ever
ceased to be variable (i.e., after attaining its maximum size), was because
of the influence of selection constantly destroying those individuals in
which a tendency to vary occurred. When, therefore, this force
antagonistic to variability was removed, it seems highly probable that the
latter principle would again begin to assert itself, and this in a
cumulative manner. Those individuals in which a tendency to vary occurred
being no longer cut off, they would have as good a chance of leaving
progeny to inherit their fluctuating disposition as would their more
inflexible companions.

July 16th, 1874.

I am much obliged for your kind and long communication, which I have read
with great interest, as well as your articles in "Nature." The subject
seems to me as important and interesting as it is difficult. I am much out
of health, and working very hard on a very different subject, so thus I
cannot give your remarks the attention which they deserve. I will,
however, keep your letter for some later time, when I may again take up the
subject. Your letter makes it clearer to me than it ever was before, how a
part or organ which has already begun from any cause to decrease, will go
on decreasing through so-called spontaneous variability, with
intercrossing; for under such circumstances it is very unlikely that there
should be variation in the direction of increase beyond the average size,
and no reason why there should not be variations of decrease. I think this
expresses your view. I had intended this summer subjecting plants to
[illegible] conditions, and observing the effects on variation; but the
work would be very laborious, yet I am inclined to think it will be
hereafter worth the labour.

Down, October 9th, 1874.

I am glad that you are attending to the colours of dioecious flowers; but
it is well to remember that their colours may be as unimportant to them as
those of a gall, or, indeed, as the colour of an amethyst or ruby is to
these gems. Some thirty years ago I began to investigate the little purple
flowers in the centre of the umbels of the carrot. I suppose my memory is
wrong, but it tells me that these flowers are female, and I think that I
once got a seed from one of them; but my memory may be quite wrong. I hope
that you will continue your interesting researches.

Down, February 3rd, 1875.

I received this morning a copy of your work "Contra Wigand," either from
yourself or from your publisher, and I am greatly obliged for it. (266/1.
Jager's "In Sachen Darwins insbesondere contra Wigand" (Stuttgart, 1874) is
directed against A. Wigand's "Der Darwinismus und die Naturforschung
Newtons und Cuviers" (Brunswick, 1874).) I had, however, before bought a
copy, and have sent the new one to our best library, that of the Royal
Society. As I am a very poor german scholar, I have as yet read only about
forty pages; but these have interested me in the highest degree. Your
remarks on fixed and variable species deserve the greatest attention; but I
am not at present quite convinced that there are such independent of the
conditions to which they are subjected. I think you have done great
service to the principle of evolution, which we both support, by publishing
this work. I am the more glad to read it as I had not time to read
Wigand's great and tedious volume.

Down, March 13th, 1875.

I write to-day so that there shall be no delay this time in thanking you
for your interesting and long letter received this morning. I am sure that
you will excuse brevity when I tell you that I am half-killing myself in
trying to get a book ready for the press. (267/1. The MS. of
"Insectivorous Plants" was got ready for press in March, 1875. Darwin
seems to have been more than usually oppressed by the work.) I quite agree
with what you say about advantages of various degrees of importance being
co-selected (267/2. Mr. Chauncey Wright wrote (February 24th, 1875): "The
inquiry as to which of several real uses is the one through which Natural
Selection has acted...has for several years seemed to me a somewhat less
important question than it seemed formerly, and still appears to most
thinkers on the subject...The uses of the rattling of the rattlesnake as a
protection by warning its enemies and as a sexual call are not rival uses;
neither are the high-reaching and the far-seeing uses of the giraffe's neck
'rivals.'"), and aided by the effects of use, etc. The subject seems to me
well worth further development. I do not think I have anywhere noticed the
use of the eyebrows, but have long known that they protected the eyes from
sweat. During the voyage of the "Beagle" one of the men ascended a lofty
hill during a very hot day. He had small eyebrows, and his eyes became
fearfully inflamed from the sweat running into them. The Portuguese
inhabitants were familiar with this evil. I think you allude to the
transverse furrows on the forehead as a protection against sweat; but
remember that these incessantly appear on the foreheads of baboons.

P.S.--I have been greatly pleased by the notices in the "Nation."

Down, May 1st, 1875.

I did not receive your essay for some days after your very kind letter, and
I read german so slowly that I have only just finished it. (268/1.
"Studien zur Descendenz-Theorie" I. "Ueber den Saison-Dimorphismus," 1875.
The fact was previously known that two forms of the genus Vanessa which had
been considered to be distinct species are only SEASONAL forms of the same
species--one appearing in spring, the other in summer. This remarkable
relationship forms the subject of the essay.) Your work has interested me
greatly, and your conclusions seem well established. I have long felt much
curiosity about season-dimorphism, but never could form any theory on the
subject. Undoubtedly your view is very important, as bearing on the
general question of variability. When I wrote the "Origin" I could not
find any facts which proved the direct action of climate and other external
conditions. I long ago thought that the time would soon come when the
causes of variation would be fully discussed, and no one has done so much
as you in this important subject. The recent evidence of the difference
between birds of the same species in the N. and S. United States well shows
the power of climate. The two sexes of some few birds are there
differently modified by climate, and I have introduced this fact in the
last edition of my "Descent of Man." (268/2. "Descent of Man," Edition
II. (in one volume), page 423. Allen showed that many species of birds are
more strongly coloured in the south of the United States, and that
sometimes one sex is more affected than the other. It is this last point
that bears on Weismann's remarks (loc. cit., pages 44, 45) on Pieris napi.
The males of the alpine-boreal form bryoniae hardly differ from those of
the German form (var. vernalis), while the females are strikingly
different. Thus the character of secondary sexual differences is
determined by climate.) I am, therefore, fully prepared to admit the
justness of your criticism on sexual selection of lepidoptera; but
considering the display of their beauty, I am not yet inclined to think
that I am altogether in error.

What you say about reversion (268/3. For instance, the fact that reversion
to the primary winter-form may be produced by the disturbing effect of high
temperature (page 7).) being excited by various causes, agrees with what I
concluded with respect to the remarkable effects of crossing two breeds:
namely, that anything which disturbs the constitution leads to reversion,
or, as I put the case under my hypothesis of pangenesis, gives a good
chance of latent gemmules developing. Your essay, in my opinion, is an
admirable one, and I thank you for the interest which it has afforded me.

P.S. I find that there are several points, which I have forgotten. Mr.
Jenner Weir has not published anything more about caterpillars, but I have
written to him, asking him whether he has tried any more experiments, and
will keep back this letter till I receive his answer. Mr. Riley of the
United States supports Mr. Weir, and you will find reference to him and
other papers at page 426 of the new and much-corrected edition of my
"Descent of Man." As I have a duplicate copy of Volume I. (I believe
Volume II. is not yet published in german) I send it to you by this post.
Mr. Belt, in his travels in Nicaragua, gives several striking cases of
conspicuously coloured animals (but not caterpillars) which are distasteful
to birds of prey: he is an excellent observer, and his book, "The
Naturalist in Nicaragua," very interesting.

I am very much obliged for your photograph, which I am particularly glad to
possess, and I send mine in return.

I see you allude to Hilgendorf's statements, which I was sorry to see
disputed by some good German observer. Mr. Hyatt, an excellent
palaeontologist of the United States, visited the place, and likewise
assured me that Hilgendorf was quite mistaken. (268/4. See Letters 252-

I am grieved to hear that your eyesight still continues bad, but anyhow it
has forced your excellent work in your last essay.

May 4th. Here is what Mr. Weir says:--

"In reply to your inquiry of Saturday, I regret that I have little to add
to my two communications to the 'Entomological Society Transactions.'

"I repeated the experiments with gaudy caterpillars for years, and always
with the same results: not on a single occasion did I find richly
coloured, conspicuous larvae eaten by birds. It was more remarkable to
observe that the birds paid not the slightest attention to gaudy
caterpillars, not even when in motion,--the experiments so thoroughly
satisfied my mind that I have now given up making them."


(269/1. The late Mr. Lawson Tait wrote to Mr. Darwin (June 2nd, 1875): "I
am watching a lot of my mice from whom I removed the tails at birth, and I
am coming to the conclusion that the essential use of the tail there is as
a recording organ--that is, they record in their memories the corners they
turn and the height of the holes they pass through by touching them with
their tails." Mr. Darwin was interested in the idea because "some German
sneered at Natural Selection and instanced the tails of mice.")

June 11th, 1875.

It has just occurred to me to look at the "Origin of Species" (Edition VI.,
page 170), and it is certain that Bronn, in the appended chapter to his
translation of my book into german, did advance ears and tail of various
species of mice as a difficulty opposed to Natural Selection. I answered
with respect to ears by alluding to Schobl's curious paper (I forget when
published) (269/2. J. Schobl, "Das aussere Ohr der Mause als wichtiges
Tastorgan." "Archiv. Mik. Anat." VII., 1871, page 260.) on the hairs of
the ears being sensitive and provided with nerves. I presume he made fine
sections: if you are accustomed to such histological work, would it not be
worth while to examine hairs of tail of mice? At page 189 I quote Henslow
(confirmed by Gunther) on Mus messorius (and other species?) using tail as
prehensile organ.

Dr. Kane in his account of the second Grinnell Expedition says that the
Esquimaux in severe weather carry a fox-tail tied to the neck, which they
use as a respirator by holding the tip of the tail between their teeth.
(269/3. The fact is stated in Volume II., page 24, of E.K. Kane's "Arctic
Explorations: The Second Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John
Franklin." Philadelphia, 1856.)

He says also that he found a frozen fox curled up with his nose buried in
his tail.

N.B. It is just possible that the latter fact is stated by M'Clintock, not
by Dr. Kane.

(269/4. The final passage is a postscript by Mr. W.E. Darwin bearing on
Mr. Lawson Tait's idea of the respirator function of the fox's tail.)

Down, July 12th, 1875.

I am correcting a second edition of "Variation under Domestication," and
find that I must do it pretty fully. Therefore I give a short abstract of
potato graft-hybrids, and I want to know whether I did not send you a
reference about beet. Did you look to this, and can you tell me anything
about it?

I hope with all my heart that you are getting on pretty well with your

I have been led to think a good deal on the subject, and am convinced of
its high importance, though it will take years of hammering before
physiologists will admit that the sexual organs only collect the generative

The edition will be published in November, and then you will see all that I
have collected, but I believe that you gave all the more important cases.
The case of vine in "Gardeners' Chronicle," which I sent you, I think may
only be a bud-variation not due to grafting. I have heard indirectly of
your splendid success with nerves of medusae. We have been at Abinger Hall
for a month for rest, which I much required, and I saw there the cut-leaved
vine which seems splendid for graft hybridism.

Down, November 7th, 1875.

I have read your essay with much curiosity and interest, but you probably
have no idea how excessively difficult it is to understand. (271/1. "A
Theory of Heredity" ("Journal of the Anthropological Institute," 1875). In
this paper Mr. Galton admits that the hypothesis of organic units "must lie
at the foundation of the science of heredity," and proceeds to show in what
respect his conception differs from the hypothesis of pangenesis. The copy
of Mr. Galton's paper, which Darwin numbered in correspondence with the
criticisms in his letter, is not available, and we are therefore only able
to guess at some of the points referred to.) I cannot fully grasp, only
here and there conjecture, what are the points on which we differ. I
daresay this is chiefly due to muddy-headedness on my part, but I do not
think wholly so. Your many terms, not defined, "developed germs,"
"fertile," and "sterile germs" (the word "germ" itself from association
misleading to me) "stirp," "sept," "residue," etc., etc., quite confounded
me. If I ask myself how you derive, and where you place the innumerable
gemmules contained within the spermatozoa formed by a male animal during
its whole life, I cannot answer myself. Unless you can make several parts
clearer I believe (though I hope I am altogether wrong) that only a few
will endeavour or succeed in fathoming your meaning. I have marked a few
passages with numbers, and here make a few remarks and express my opinion,
as you desire it, not that I suppose it will be of any use to you.

1. If this implies that many parts are not modified by use and disuse
during the life of the individual, I differ widely from you, as every year
I come to attribute more and more to such agency. (271/2. This seems to
refer to page 329 of Mr. Galton's paper. The passage must have been
hastily read, and has been quite misunderstood. Mr. Galton has never
expressed the view attributed to him.)

2. This seems rather bold, as sexuality has not been detected in some of
the lowest forms, though I daresay it may hereafter be. (271/3. Mr.
Galton, op. cit., pages 332-3: "There are not of a necessity two sexes,
because swarms of creatures of the simplest organisations mainly multiply
by some process of self-division.")

3. If gemmules (to use my own term) were often deficient in buds, I cannot
but think that bud-variations would be commoner than they are in a state of
nature; nor does it seem that bud-variations often exhibit deficiencies
which might be accounted for by the absence of the proper gemmules. I take
a very different view of the meaning or cause of sexuality. (271/4. Mr.
Galton's idea is that in a bud or other asexually produced part, the germs
(i.e. gemmules) may not be completely representative of the whole organism,
and if reproduction is continued asexually "at each successive stage there
is always a chance of some one or more of the various species of germs...
dying out" (page 333). Mr. Galton supposes, in sexual reproduction, where
two parents contribute germs to the embryo the chance of deficiency of any
of the necessary germs is greatly diminished. Darwin's "very different
view of the meaning or cause of sexuality" is no doubt that given in "Cross
and Self Fertilisation"--i.e., that sexuality is equivalent to changed
conditions, that the parents are not representative of different sexes, but
of different conditions of life.)

4. I have ordered "Fraser's Magazine" (271/5. "The History of Twins," by
F. Galton, "Fraser's Magazine," November, 1875, republished with additions
in the "Journal of the Anthropological Institute," 1875. Mr. Galton
explains the striking dissimilarity of twins which is sometimes met with by
supposing that the offspring in this case divide the available gemmules
between them in such a way that each is the complement of the other. Thus,
to put the case in an exaggerated way, similar twins would each have half
the gemmules A, B, C,...Z., etc, whereas, in the case of dissimilar twins,
one would have all the gemmules A, B, C, D,...M, and the other would have
N...Z.), and am curious to learn how twins from a single ovum are
distinguished from twins from two ova. Nothing seems to me more curious
than the similarity and dissimilarity of twins.

5. Awfully difficult to understand.

6. I have given almost the same notion.

7. I hope that all this will be altered. I have received new and
additional cases, so that I have now not a shadow of doubt.

8. Such cases can hardly be spoken of as very rare, as you would say if
you had received half the number of cases I have.

(271/6. We are unable to determine to what paragraphs 5, 6, 7, 8 refer.)

I am very sorry to differ so much from you, but I have thought that you
would desire my open opinion. Frank is away, otherwise he should have
copied my scrawl.

I have got a good stock of pods of sweet peas, but the autumn has been
frightfully bad; perhaps we may still get a few more to ripen.

Down, November 12th [1875].

Many thanks for your "Biology," which I have read. (272/1. "A Course of
Practical Instruction in Elementary Biology," by T.H. Huxley and H.N.
Martin, 1875. For an account of the book see "Life and Letters of T.H.
Huxley," Volume I., page 380.) It was a real stroke of genius to think of
such a plan. Lord, how I wish I had gone through such a course!

December 18th [1875].

George has been explaining our differences. I have admitted in the new
edition (273/1. In the second edition (1875) of the "Variation of Animals
and Plants," Volume II., page 350, reference is made to Mr. Galton's
transfusion experiments, "Proc. R. Soc." XIX., page 393; also to Mr.
Galton's letter to "Nature," April 27th, 1871, page 502. This is a curious
mistake; the letter in "Nature," April 27th, 1871, is by Darwin himself,
and refers chiefly to the question whether gemmules may be supposed to be
in the blood. Mr. Galton's letter is in "Nature," May 4th, 1871, Volume
IV., page 5. See Letter 235.) (before seeing your essay) that perhaps the
gemmules are largely multiplied in the reproductive organs; but this does
not make me doubt that each unit of the whole system also sends forth its
gemmules. You will no doubt have thought of the following objection to
your views, and I should like to hear what your answer is. If two plants
are crossed, it often, or rather generally, happens that every part of
stem, leaf, even to the hairs, and flowers of the hybrid are intermediate
in character; and this hybrid will produce by buds millions on millions of
other buds all exactly reproducing the intermediate character. I cannot
doubt that every unit of the hybrid is hybridised and sends forth
hybridised gemmules. Here we have nothing to do with the reproductive
organs. There can hardly be a doubt from what we know that the same thing
would occur with all those animals which are capable of budding, and some
of these (as the compound Ascidians) are sufficiently complex and highly

March 25th, 1876.

(274/1. The reference is to the theory put forward in the first edition of
"Variation of Animals and Plants," II., page 15, that the asserted tendency
to regeneration after the amputation of supernumerary digits in man is a
return to the recuperative powers characteristic of a "lowly organised
progenitor provided with more than five digits." Darwin's recantation is
at Volume I., page 459 of the second edition.)

Since reading your first article (274/2. Lawson Tait wrote two notices on
"The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication" in the
"Spectator" of March 4th, 1876, page 312, and March 25th, page 406.), Dr.
Rudinger has written to me and sent me an essay, in which he gives the
results of the MOST EXTENSIVE inquiries from all eminent surgeons in
Germany, and all are unanimous about non-growth of extra digits after
amputation. They explain some apparent cases, as Paget did to me. By the
way, I struck out of my second edition a quotation from Sir J. Simpson
about re-growth in the womb, as Paget demurred, and as I could not say how
a rudiment of a limb due to any cause could be distinguished from an
imperfect re-growth. Two or three days ago I had another letter from
Germany from a good naturalist, Dr. Kollmann (274/3. Dr. Kollmann was
Secretary of the Anthropologische Gesellschaft of Munich, in which Society
took place the discussion referred to in "Variation of Animals and Plants,"
I., 459, as originating Darwin's doubts on the whole question. The fresh
evidence adduced by Kollmann as to the normal occurrence of a rudimentary
sixth digit in Batrachians is Borus' paper, "Die sechste Zehe der Anuren"
in "Morpholog. Jahrbuch," Bd. I., page 435. On this subject see Letter
178.), saying he was sorry that I had given up atavism and extra digits,
and telling me of new and good evidence of rudiments of a rudimentary sixth
digit in Batrachians (which I had myself seen, but given up owing to
Gegenbaur's views); but, with re-growth failing me, I could not uphold my
old notion.


(275/1. Mr. Romanes' reply to this letter is printed in his "Life and
Letters," page 93, where by an oversight it is dated 1880-81.)

H. Wedgwood, Esq., Hopedene, Dorking, May 29th [1876].

As you are interested in pangenesis, and will some day, I hope, convert an
"airy nothing" into a substantial theory, I send by this post an essay by
Hackel (275/2. "Die Perigenesis der Plastidule oder die Wellenzeugung der
Lebenstheilchen," 79 pages. Berlin, 1876.) attacking Pan. and substituting
a molecular hypothesis. If I understand his views rightly, he would say
that with a bird which strengthened its wings by use, the formative
protoplasm of the strengthened parts became changed, and its molecular
vibrations consequently changed, and that these vibrations are transmitted
throughout the whole frame of the bird, and affect the sexual elements in
such a manner that the wings of the offspring are developed in a like
strengthened manner. I imagine he would say, in cases like those of Lord
Morton's mare (275/3. A nearly pure-bred Arabian chestnut mare bore a
hybrid to a quagga, and subsequently produced two striped colts by a black
Arabian horse: see "Animals and Plants," I., page 403. The case was
originally described in the "Philosophical Transactions," 1821, page 20.
For an account of recent work bearing on this question, see article on
"Zebras, Horses, and Hybrids," in the "Quarterly Review," October 1899.
See Letter 235.), that the vibrations from the protoplasm, or "plasson," of
the seminal fluid of the zebra set plasson vibrating in the mare; and that
these vibrations continued until the hair of the second colt was formed,
and which consequently became barred like that of a zebra. How he explains
reversion to a remote ancestor, I know not. Perhaps I have misunderstood
him, though I have skimmed the whole with some care. He lays much stress
on inheritance being a form of unconscious memory, but how far this is part
of his molecular vibration, I do not understand. His views make nothing
clearer to me; but this may be my fault. No one, I presume, would doubt
about molecular movements of some kind. His essay is clever and striking.
If you read it (but you must not on my account), I should much like to hear
your judgment, and you can return it at any time. The blue lines are
Hackel's to call my attention.

We have come here for rest for me, which I have much needed; and shall
remain here for about ten days more, and then home to work, which is my
sole pleasure in life. I hope your splendid Medusa work and your
experiments on pangenesis are going on well. I heard from my son Frank
yesterday that he was feverish with a cold, and could not dine with the
physiologists, which I am very sorry for, as I should have heard what they
think about the new Bill. I see that you are one of the secretaries to
this young Society.

Down, November 22nd [1876].

It is very kind of you to send me the Japanese books, which are extremely
curious and amusing. My son Frank is away, but I am sure he will be much
obliged for the two papers which you have sent him.

Thanks, also, for your interesting note. It is a pity that Peripatus
(276/1. Moseley "On the Structure and Development of Peripatus capensis"
("Phil. Trans. R. Soc." Volume 164, page 757, 1874). "When suddenly
handled or irritated, they (i.e. Peripatus) shoot out fine threads of a
remarkably viscid and tenacious milky fluid... projected from the tips of
the oral papillae" (page 759).) is so stupid as to spit out the viscid
matter at the wrong end of its body; it would have been beautiful thus to
have explained the origin of the spider's web.


(277/1. The following letter refers to a book, "Toledoth Adam," written by
a learned Jew with the object of convincing his co-religionists of the
truth of the theory of evolution. The translation we owe to the late Henry
Bradshaw, University Librarian at Cambridge. The book is unfortunately no
longer to be found in Mr. Darwin's library.)


To the Lord, the Prince, who "stands for an ensign of the people" (Isa. xi.
10), the Investigator of the generation, the "bright son of the morning"
(Isa. xiv. 12), Charles Darwin, may he live long!

"From the rising of the sun and from the west" (Isa. xlv. 6) all the
nations know concerning the Torah (Theory) (277/2. Lit., instruction. The
Torah is the Pentateuch, strictly speaking, the source of all knowledge.)
which has "proceeded from thee for a light of the people" (Isa. li. 4), and
the nations "hear and say, It is truth" (Isa. xliii. 9). But with "the
portion of my people" (Jer. x. 16), Jacob, "the lot of my inheritance"
(Deut. xxxii. 9), it is not so. This nation, "the ancient people" (Isa.
xliv. 7), which "remembers the former things and considers the things of
old (Isa. xliii. 18), "knows not, neither doth it understand" (Psalm
lxxxii. 5), that by thy Torah (instruction or theory) thou hast thrown
light upon their Torah (the Law), and that the eyes of the Hebrews (277/3.
One letter in this word changed would make the word "blind," which is what
Isaiah uses in the passage alluded to.) "can now see out of obscurity and
out of darkness" (Isa. xxix. 18). Therefore "I arose" (Judges v. 7) and
wrote this book, "Toledoth Adam" ("the generations of man," Gen. v. 1), to
teach the children of my people, the seed of Jacob, the Torah (instruction)
which thou hast given for an inheritance to all the nations of the earth.

And I have "proceeded to do a marvellous work among this people, even a
marvellous work and a wonder" (Isa. xxix. 14), enabling them now to read in
the Torah of Moses our teacher, "plainly and giving the sense" (Neh. viii.
8), that which thou hast given in thy Torahs (works of instruction). And
when my people perceive that thy view has by no means "gone astray" (Num.
v. 12, 19, etc.) from the Torah of God, they will hold thy name in the
highest reverence, and "will at the same time glorify the God of Israel"
(Isa. xxix. 23).

"The vision of all this" (Isa. xxix. 11) thou shalt see, O Prince of
Wisdom, in this book, "which goeth before me" (Gen. xxxii. 21); and
whatever thy large understanding finds to criticise in it, come, "write it
in a table and note it in a book" (Isa. xxx. 8); and allow me to name my
work with thy name, which is glorified and greatly revered by

Thy servant,
Naphtali Hallevi [i.e. the Levite].

Dated here in the city of Radom, in the province of Poland, in the month of
Nisan in the year 636, according to the lesser computation (i.e. A.M.
[5]636 = A.D. 1876).


When I was on board the "Beagle" I believed in the permanence of species,
but, as far as I can remember, vague doubts occasionally flitted across my
mind. On my return home in the autumn of 1836 I immediately began to
prepare my journal for publication, and then saw how many facts indicated
the common descent of species (278/1. "The facts to which reference is
here made were, without doubt, eminently fitted to attract the attention of
a philosophical thinker; but until the relations of the existing with the
extinct species and of the species of the different geographical areas,
with one another were determined with some exactness, they afforded but an
unsafe foundation for speculation. It was not possible that this
determination should have been effected before the return of the "Beagle"
to England; and thus the date which Darwin (writing in 1837) assigns to the
dawn of the new light which was rising in his mind becomes intelligible."--
From "Darwiniana," Essays by Thomas H. Huxley, London, 1893; pages 274-5.),
so that in July, 1837, I opened a notebook to record any facts which might
bear on the question; but I did not become convinced that species were
mutable until, I think, two or three years had elapsed. (278/2. On this
last point see page 38.)


(279/1. The following letter refers to MS. notes by Romanes, which we have
not seen. Darwin's remarks on it are, however, sufficiently clear.)

My address will be "Bassett, Southampton," June 11th [1877].

I have received the crossing paper which you were so kind as to send me.
It is very clear, and I quite agree with it; but the point in question has
not been a difficulty to me, as I have never believed in a new form
originating from a single variation. What I have called unconscious
selection by man illustrates, as it seems to me, the same principle as
yours, within the same area. Man purchases the individual animals or
plants which seem to him the best in any respect--some more so, and some
less so--and, without any matching or pairing, the breed in the course of
time is surely altered. The absence in numerous instances of intermediate
or blending forms, in the border country between two closely allied
geographical races or close species, seemed to me a greater difficulty when
I discussed the subject in the "Origin."

With respect to your illustration, it formerly drove me half mad to attempt
to account for the increase or diminution of the productiveness of an
organism; but I cannot call to mind where my difficulty lay. (279/2. See
Letters 209-16.) Natural Selection always applies, as I think, to each
individual and its offspring, such as its seeds, eggs, which are formed by
the mother, and which are protected in various ways. (279/3. It was in
regard to this point that Romanes had sent the MS. to Darwin. In a letter
of June 16th he writes: "It was with reference to the possibility of
Natural Selection acting on organic types as distinguished from
individuals,--a possibility which you once told me did not seem at all
clear.") There does not seem any difficulty in understanding how the
productiveness of an organism might be increased; but it was, as far as I
can remember, in reducing productiveness that I was most puzzled. But why
I scribble about this I know not.

I have read your review of Mr. Allen's book (279/4. See "Nature" (June
7th, 1877, page 98), a review of Grant Allen's "Physiological
Aesthetics."), and it makes me more doubtful, even, than I was before
whether he has really thrown much light on the subject.

I am glad to hear that some physiologists take the same view as I did about
your giving too much credit to H. Spencer--though, heaven knows, this is a
rare fault. (279/5. The reference is to Romanes' lecture on Medusa, given
at the Royal Institution, May 25th. (See "Nature," XVI., pages 231, 269,
289.) It appears from a letter of Romanes (June 6th) that it was the
abstract in the "Times" that gave the impression referred to. References
to Mr. Spencer's theories of nerve-genesis occur in "Nature," pages 232,
271, 289.)

The more I think of your medusa-nerve-work the more splendid it seems to

Down, August 3rd, 1877.

I must have the pleasure of thanking you for your long and interesting
letter. The cause and means of the transition from an hermaphrodite to a
unisexual condition seems to me a very perplexing problem, and I shall be
extremely glad to read your remarks on Smilax, whenever I receive the essay
which you kindly say that you will send me. (280/1. "Monographiae
Phanerogamarum," Volume I. In his treatment of the Smilaceae, De Candolle
distinguishes:--Heterosmilax which has dioecious flowers without a trace of
aborted stamens or pistils, Smilax with sterile stamens in the female
flowers, and Rhipogonum with hermaphrodite flowers.) There is much justice
in your criticisms (280/2. The passage criticised by De Candolle is in
"Forms of Flowers" (page 7): "It is a natural inference that their
corollas have been increased in size for this special purpose." De
Candolle goes on to give an account of the "recherche linguistique," which,
with characteristic fairness, he undertook to ascertain whether the word
"purpose" differs in meaning from the corresponding French word "but.") on
my use of the terms object, end, purpose; but those who believe that organs
have been gradually modified for Natural Selection for a special purpose
may, I think, use the above terms correctly, though no conscious being has
intervened. I have found much difficulty in my occasional attempts to
avoid these terms, but I might perhaps have always spoken of a beneficial
or serviceable effect. My son Francis will be interested by hearing about
Smilax. He has dispatched to you a copy of his paper on the glands of
Dipsacus (280/3. "Quart. Journ. Mic. Sci." 1877.), and I hope that you
will find time to read it, for the case seems to me a new and highly
remarkable one. We are now hard at work on an attempt to make out the
function or use of the bloom or waxy secretion on the leaves and fruit of
many plants; but I doubt greatly whether our experiments will tell us much.
(280/4. "As it is we have made out clearly that with some plants (chiefly
succulent) the bloom checks evaporation--with some certainly prevents
attacks of insects; with some sea-shore plants prevents injury from salt-
water, and I believe, with a few prevents injury from pure water resting on
the leaves." (See letter to Sir W. Thiselton-Dyer, "Life and Letters,"
III., page 341. A paper on the same subject by Francis Darwin was
published in the "Journ. Linn. Soc." XXII.)) If you have any decided
opinion whether plants with conspicuously glaucous leaves are more frequent
in hot than in temperate or cold, in dry than in damp countries, I should
be grateful if you would add to your many kindnesses by informing me. Pray
give my kind remembrances to your son, and tell him that my son has been
trying on a large scale the effects of feeding Drosera with meat, and the
results are most striking and far more favourable than I anticipated.


(281/1. Published in the "Life and Letters" of Romanes, page 66.)

Down, Saturday Night [1877].

I have just finished your lecture (281/2. "The Scientific Evidence of
Organic Evolution: a Discourse" (delivered before the Philosophical
Society of Ross-shire), Inverness, 1877. It was reprinted in the
"Fortnightly Review," and was afterwards worked up into a book under the
above title.); it is an admirable scientific argument, and most powerful.
I wish that it could be sown broadcast throughout the land. Your courage
is marvellous, and I wonder that you were not stoned on the spot--and in
Scotland! Do please tell me how it was received in the Lecture Hall.
About man being made like a monkey (page 37 (281/3. "And if you reject the
natural explanation of hereditary descent, you can only suppose that the
Deity, in creating man, took the most scrupulous pains to make him in the
image of the ape" ("Discourse," page 37).)) is quite new to me, and the
argument in an earlier place (page 8 (281/4. At page 8 of the "Discourse"
the speaker referred to the law "which Sir William Hamilton called the Law
of Parsimony--or the law which forbids us to assume the operation of higher
causes when lower ones are found sufficient to explain the desired
effects," as constituting the "only logical barrier between Science and
Superstition.")) on the law of parsimony admirably put. Yes, page 21
(281/5. "Discourse," page 21. If we accept the doctrines of individual
creations and ideal types, we must believe that the Deity acted "with no
other apparent motive than to suggest to us, by every one of the observable
facts, that the ideal types are nothing other than the bonds of a lineal
descent.") is new to me. All strike me as very clear, and, considering
small space, you have chosen your lines of reasoning excellently.

The few last pages are awfully powerful, in my opinion.

Sunday Morning.--The above was written last night in the enthusiasm of the
moment, and now--this dark, dismal Sunday morning--I fully agree with what
I said.

I am very sorry to hear about the failures in the graft experiments, and
not from your own fault or ill-luck. Trollope in one of his novels gives
as a maxim of constant use by a brickmaker--"It is dogged as does it"
(281/6. "Tell 'ee what, Master Crawley;--and yer reverence mustn't think as
I means to be preaching; there ain't nowt a man can't bear if he'll only be
dogged. You go whome, Master Crawley, and think o' that, and may be it'll
do ye a good yet. It's dogged as does it. It ain't thinking about it."
(Giles Hoggett, the old Brickmaker, in "The Last Chronicle of Barset,"
Volume II., 1867, page 188.))--and I have often and often thought that this
is the motto for every scientific worker. I am sure it is yours--if you do
not give up pangenesis with wicked imprecations.

By the way, G. Jager has brought out in "Kosmos" a chemical sort of
pangenesis bearing chiefly on inheritance. (281/7. Several papers by
Jager on "Inheritance" were published in the first volume of "Kosmos,"

I cannot conceive why I have not offered my garden for your experiments. I
would attend to the plants, as far as mere care goes, with pleasure; but
Down is an awkward place to reach.

Would it be worth while to try if the "Fortnightly" would republish it
[i.e. the lecture]?


(282/1. In 1877 the honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on Mr. Darwin
by the University of Cambridge. At the dinner given on the occasion by the
Philosophical Society, Mr. Huxley responded to the toast of the evening
with the speech of which an authorised version is given by Mr. L. Huxley in
the "Life and Letters" of his father (Volume I., page 479). Mr. Huxley
said, "But whether the that doctrine [of evolution] be true or whether it
be false, I wish to express the deliberate opinion, that from Aristotle's
great summary of the biological knowledge of his time down to the present
day, there is nothing comparable to the "Origin of Species," as a connected
survey of the phenomena of life permeated and vivified by a central idea."

In the first part of the speech there was a brilliant sentence which he
described as a touch of the whip "tied round with ribbons," and this was
perhaps a little hard on the supporters of evolution in the University.
Mr. Huxley said "Instead of offering her honours when they ran a chance of
being crushed beneath the accumulated marks of approbation of the whole
civilised world, the University has waited until the trophy was finished,
and has crowned the edifice with the delicate wreath of academic

Down, Monday night, November 19th [1877].

I cannot rest easy without telling you more gravely than I did when we met
for five minutes near the Museum, how deeply I have felt the many generous
things (as far as Frank could remember them) which you said about me at the
dinner. Frank came early next morning boiling over with enthusiasm about
your speech. You have indeed always been to me a most generous friend, but
I know, alas, too well how greatly you overestimate me. Forgive me for
bothering you with these few lines.

(282/2. The following extract from a letter (February 10th, 1878) to his
old schoolfellow, Mr. J. Price, gives a characteristic remark about the
honorary degree.)

"I am very much obliged for your kind congratulations about the LL.D. Why
the Senate conferred it on me I know not in the least. I was astonished to
hear that the R. Prof. of Divinity and several other great Dons attended,
and several such men have subscribed, as I am informed, for the picture for
the University to commemorate the honour conferred on me."


(283/1. We have not discovered to what prize the following letter to the
late Sir W. Bowman (the well known surgeon) refers.)

Down, February 22nd, 1878.

I received your letter this morning, and it was quite impossible that you
should receive an answer by 4 p.m. to-day. But this does not signify in
the least, for your proposal seems to me a very good one, and I most
entirely agree with you that it is far better to suggest some special
question rather than to have a general discussion compiled from books. The
rule that the Essay must be "illustrative of the wisdom and beneficence of
the Almighty" would confine the subjects to be proposed. With respect to
the Vegetable Kingdom, I could suggest two or three subjects about which,
as it seems to me, information is much required; but these subjects would
require a long course of experiment, and unfortunately there is hardly any
one in this country who seems inclined to devote himself to experiments.


(284/1. Mr. Torbitt was engaged in trying to produce by methodical
selection and cross-fertilisation a fungus-proof race of the potato. The
plan is fully described in the "Life and Letters," III., page 348. The
following letter is given in additional illustration of the keen interest
Mr. Darwin took in the project.)

Down, Monday, March 4th, 1878.

I have nothing good to report. Mr. Caird called upon me yesterday; both he
and Mr. Farrer (284/2. The late Lord Farrer.) have been most energetic and
obliging. There is no use in thinking about the Agricultural Society. Mr.
Caird has seen several persons on the subject, especially Mr. Carruthers,
Botanist to the Society. He (Mr. Carruthers) thinks the attempt hopeless,
but advances in a long memorandum sent to Mr. Caird, reasons which I am
convinced are not sound. He specifies two points, however, which are well
worthy of your consideration--namely, that a variety should be tested three
years before its soundness can be trusted; and especially it should be
grown under a damp climate. Mr. Carruthers' opinion on this head is
valuable because he was employed by the Society in judging the varieties
sent in for the prize offered a year or two ago. If I had strength to get
up a memorial to Government, I believe that I could succeed; for Sir J.
Hooker writes that he believes you are on the right path; but I do not know
to whom else to apply whose judgment would have weight with Government, and
I really have not strength to discuss the matter and convert persons.

At Mr. Farrer's request, when we hoped the Agricultural Society might
undertake it, I wrote to him a long letter giving him my opinion on the
subject; and this letter Mr. Caird took with him yesterday, and will
consider with Mr. Farrer whether any application can be made to Government.

I am, however, far from sanguine. I shall see Mr. Farrer this evening, and
will do what I can. When I receive back my letter I will send it to you
for your perusal.

After much reflection it seems to me that your best plan will be, if we
fail to get Government aid, to go on during the present year, on a reduced
scale, in raising new cross-fertilised varieties, and next year, if you are
able, testing the power of endurance of only the most promising kind. If
it were possible it would be very advisable for you to get some grown on
the wet western side of Ireland. If you succeed in procuring a fungus-
proof variety you may rely on it that its merits would soon become known
locally and it would afterwards spread rapidly far and wide. Mr. Caird
gave me a striking instance of such a case in Scotland. I return home to-
morrow morning.

I have the pleasure to enclose a cheque for 100 pounds. If you receive a
Government grant, I ought to be repaid.

P.S. If I were in your place I would not expend any labour or money in
publishing what you have already done, or in sending seeds or tubers to any
one. I would work quietly on till some sure results were obtained. And
these would be so valuable that your work in this case would soon be known.
I would also endeavour to pass as severe a judgment as possible on the
state of the tubers and plants.

Down, June 1st, 1878.

I have at last found time to read [the] first chapter of your "Dolomit
Riffe" (285/1. "Dolomitriffe Sudtirols und Venetiens." Wien, 1878.), 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. (285/2. Published in "Life and Letters,"
III., pages 234, 235.)

Nevertheless, I saw dimly that each bed in a formation could contain only
the organisms proper to a certain depth, and to other there existing
conditions, and that all the intermediate forms between one marine species
and another could rarely be preserved in the same place and bed. Oppel,
Neumayr, and yourself will confer a lasting and admirable service on the
noble science of Geology, if you can spread your views so as to be
generally known and accepted.

With respect to the continental and oceanic periods common to the whole
northern hemisphere, to which you refer, I have sometimes speculated that
the present distribution of the land and sea over the world may have
formerly been very different to what it now is; and that new genera and
families may have been developed on the shores of isolated tracts in the
south, and afterwards spread to the north.

Down, June 27th, 1878.

I am heartily glad to hear of your intended marriage. A good wife is the
supreme blessing in this life, and I hope and believe from what you say
that you will be as happy as I have been in this respect. May your future
geological work be as valuable as that which you have already done; and
more than this need not be wished for any man. The practical teaching of
Geology seems an excellent idea.

Many thanks for Neumayr, (286/1. Probably a paper on "Die Congerien und
Paludinenschichten Slavoniens und deren Fauna. Ein Beitrag zur Descendenz-
Theorie," "Wien. Geol. Abhandl." VII. (Heft 3), 1874-82.), but I have
already received and read a copy of the same, or at least of a very similar
essay, and admirably good it seemed to me.

This essay, and one by Mojsisovics (286/2. See note to Letter 285.), which
I have lately read, show what Palaeontology in the future will do for the
classification and sequence of formations. It delighted me to see so
inverted an order of proceeding--viz., the assuming the descent of species
as certain, and then taking the changes of closely allied forms as the
standard of geological time. My health is better than it was a few years
ago, but I never pass a day without much discomfort and the sense of
extreme fatigue.

(286/3. We owe to Professor Judd the following interesting recollections
of Mr. Darwin, written about 1883:--

"On this last occasion, when I congratulated him on his seeming better
condition of health, he told me of the cause for anxiety which he had in
the state of his heart. Indeed, I cannot help feeling that he had a kind
of presentiment that his end was approaching. When I left him, he insisted
on conducting me to the door, and there was that in his tone and manner
which seemed to convey to me the sad intelligence that it was not merely a
temporary farewell, though he himself was perfectly cheerful and happy.

"It is impossible for me adequately to express the impression made upon my
mind by my various conversations with Mr. Darwin. His extreme modesty led
him to form the lowest estimate of his own labours, and a correspondingly
extravagant idea of the value of the work done by others. His deference to
the arguments and suggestions of men greatly his juniors, and his
unaffected sympathy in their pursuits, was most marked and characteristic;
indeed, he, the great master of science, used to speak, and I am sure felt,
as though he were appealing to superior authority for information in all
his conversations. It was only when a question was fully discussed with
him that one became conscious of the fund of information he could bring to
its elucidation, and the breadth of thought with which he had grasped it.
Of his gentle, loving nature, of which I had so many proofs, I need not
write; no one could be with him, even for a few minutes, without being
deeply impressed by his grateful kindliness and goodness.")

Down, August 15th, 1878.

I thank you very sincerely for your kind and interesting letter. It would
be false in me to pretend that I care very much about my election to the
Institute, but the sympathy of some few of my friends has gratified me

I am extremely glad to hear that you are going to publish a work on the
more ancient fossil plants; and I thank you beforehand for the volume which
you kindly say that you will send me. I earnestly hope that you will give,
at least incidentally, the results at which you have arrived with respect
to the more recent Tertiary plants; for the close gradation of such forms
seems to me a fact of paramount importance for the principle of evolution.
Your cases are like those on the gradation in the genus Equus, recently
discovered by Marsh in North America.


(288/1. The following letter was published in "Nature," March 5th, 1891,
Volume XLIII., page 415, together with a note from the late Duke of Argyll,
in which he stated that the letter had been written to him by Mr. Darwin in
reply to the question, "why it was that he did assume the unity of mankind
as descended from a single pair." The Duke added that in the reply Mr.
Darwin "does not repudiate this interpretation of his theory, but simply
proceeds to explain and to defend the doctrine." On a former occasion the
Duke of Argyll had "alluded as a fact to the circumstance that Charles
Darwin assumed mankind to have arisen at one place, and therefore in a
single pair." The letter from Darwin was published in answer to some
scientific friends, who doubted the fact and asked for the reference on
which the statement was based.)

Down, September 23rd, 1878.

The problem which you state so clearly is a very interesting one, on which
I have often speculated. As far as I can judge, the improbability is
extreme that the same well-characterised species should be produced in two
distinct countries, or at two distinct times. It is certain that the same
variation may arise in two distinct places, as with albinism or with the
nectarine on peach-trees. But the evidence seems to me overwhelming that a
well-marked species is the product, not of a single or of a few variations,
but of a long series of modifications, each modification resulting chiefly
from adaptation to infinitely complex conditions (including the inhabitants
of the same country), with more or less inheritance of all the preceding
modifications. Moreover, as variability depends more on the nature of the
organism than on that of the environment, the variations will tend to
differ at each successive stage of descent. Now it seems to me improbable
in the highest degree that a species should ever have been exposed in two
places to infinitely complex relations of exactly the same nature during a
long series of modifications. An illustration will perhaps make what I
have said clearer, though it applies only to the less important factors of
inheritance and variability, and not to adaptation--viz., the improbability
of two men being born in two countries identical in body and mind. If,
however, it be assumed that a species at each successive stage of its
modification was surrounded in two distinct countries or times, by exactly
the same assemblage of plants and animals, and by the same physical
conditions, then I can see no theoretical difficulty [in] such a species
giving birth to the new form in the two countries. If you will look to the
sixth edition of my "Origin," at page 100, you will find a somewhat
analogous discussion, perhaps more intelligible than this letter.


(289/1. The following letter ("Nature," Volume XLIII., page 535)
criticises the interpretation given by the Duke to Mr. Darwin's letter.)

Royal Gardens, Kew, March 27th [1891].

In "Nature" of March 5th (page 415), the Duke of Argyll has printed a very
interesting letter of Mr. Darwin's, from which he drew the inference that
the writer "assumed mankind to have a single pair." I do not
think myself that the letter bears this interpretation. But the point in
its most general aspect is a very important one, and is often found to
present some difficulty to students of Mr. Darwin's writings.

Quite recently I have found by accident, amongst the papers of the late Mr.
Bentham at Kew, a letter of friendly criticism from Mr. Darwin upon the
presidential address which Mr. Bentham delivered to the Linnean Society on
May 24th, 1869. This letter, I think, has been overlooked and not
published previously. In it Mr. Darwin expresses himself with regard to
the multiple origin of races and some other points in very explicit
language. Prof. Meldola, to whom I mentioned in conversation the existence
of the letter, urged me strongly to print it. This, therefore, I now do,
with the addition of a few explanatory notes.

Down, November 25th, 1869.

(290/1. The notes to this letter are by Sir W. Thiselton-Dyer, and
appeared in "Nature," loc. cit.)

I was greatly interested by your address, which I have now read thrice, and
which I believe will have much influence on all who read it. But you are
mistaken in thinking that I ever said you were wrong on any point. All
that I meant was that on certain points, and these very doubtful points, I
was inclined to differ from you. And now, on further considering the point
on which some two or three months ago I felt most inclined to differ--viz.,
on isolation--I find I differ very little. What I have to say is really
not worth saying, but as I should be very sorry not to do whatever you
asked, I will scribble down the slightly dissentient thoughts which have
occurred to me. It would be an endless job to specify the points in which
you have interested me; but I may just mention the relation of the extreme
western flora of Europe (some such very vague thoughts have crossed my
mind, relating to the Glacial period) with South Africa, and your remarks
on the contrast of passive and active distribution.

Page lxx.--I think the contingency of a rising island, not as yet fully
stocked with plants, ought always to be kept in mind when speaking of

Page lxxiv.--I have met with nothing which makes me in the least doubt that
large genera present a greater number of varieties relatively to their size
than do small genera. (290/2. Bentham thought "degree of variability...
like other constitutional characters, in the first place an individual one,
which...may become more or less hereditary, and therefore specific; and
thence, but in a very faint degree, generic." He seems to mean to argue
against the conclusion which Sir Joseph Hooker had quoted from Mr. Darwin
that "species of large genera are more variable than those of small." [On
large genera varying, see Letter 53.]) Hooker was convinced by my data,
never as yet published in full, only abstracted in the "Origin."

Page lxxviii.--I dispute whether a new race or species is necessarily, or
even generally, descended from a single or pair of parents. The whole body
of individuals, I believe, become altered together--like our race-horses,
and like all domestic breeds which are changed through "unconscious
selection" by man. (290/3. Bentham had said: "We must also admit that
every race has probably been the offspring of one parent or pair of
parents, and consequently originated in one spot." The Duke of Argyll
inverts the proposition.)

When such great lengths of time are considered as are necessary to change a
specific form, I greatly doubt whether more or less rapid powers of
multiplication have more than the most insignificant weight. These powers,
I think, are related to greater or less destruction in early life.

Page lxxix.--I still think you rather underrate the importance of
isolation. I have come to think it very important from various grounds;
the anomalous and quasi-extinct forms on islands, etc., etc., etc.

With respect to areas with numerous "individually durable" forms, can it be
said that they generally present a "broken" surface with "impassable
barriers"? This, no doubt, is true in certain cases, as Teneriffe. But
does this hold with South-West Australia or the Cape? I much doubt. I
have been accustomed to look at the cause of so many forms as being partly
an arid or dry climate (as De Candolle insists) which indirectly leads to
diversified [?] conditions; and, secondly, to isolation from the rest of
the world during a very long period, so that other more dominant forms have
not entered, and there has been ample time for much specification and
adaptation of character.

Page lxxx.--I suppose you think that the Restiaceae, Proteaceae (290/4. It
is doubtful whether Bentham did think so. In his 1870 address he says: "I
cannot resist the opinion that all presumptive evidence is against European
Proteaceae, and that all direct evidence in their favour has broken down
upon cross-examination."), etc., etc., once extended over the world,
leaving fragments in the south.

You in several places speak of distribution of plants as if exclusively
governed by soil and climate. I know that you do not mean this, but I
regret whenever a chance is omitted of pointing out that the struggle with
other plants (and hostile animals) is far more important.

I told you that I had nothing worth saying, but I have given you my

How detestable are the Roman numerals! why should not the President's
addresses, which are often, and I am sure in this case, worth more than all
the rest of the number, be paged with Christian figures?


(291/1. "This letter was in reply to a suggestion that in his preface Mr.
Darwin should point out by references to "The Origin of Species" and his
other writings how far he had already traced out the path which Weismann
went over. The suggestion was made because in a great many of the
continental writings upon the theory of descent, many of the points which
had been clearly foreshadowed, and in some cases even explicitly stated by
Darwin, had been rediscovered and published as though original. In the
notes to my edition of Weismann I have endeavoured to do Darwin full
justice.--R.M." See Letter 310.)

4, Bryanston Street, November 26th, 1878.

I am very sorry to say that I cannot agree to your suggestion. An author
is never a fit judge of his own work, and I should dislike extremely
pointing out when and how Weismann's conclusions and work agreed with my
own. I feel sure that I ought not to do this, and it would be to me an
intolerable task. Nor does it seem to me the proper office of the preface,
which is to show what the book contains, and that the contents appear to me
valuable. But I can see no objection for you, if you think fit, to write
an introduction with remarks or criticisms of any kind. Of course, I would
be glad to advise you on any point as far as lay in my power, but as a
whole I could have nothing to do with it, on the grounds above specified,
that an author cannot and ought not to attempt to judge his own works, or
compare them with others. I am sorry to refuse to do anything which you

Down, January 18th, 1879.

I have just finished your present of the Life of Hume (292/1. "Hume" in
Mr. Morley's "English Men of Letters" series. Of the biographical part of
this book Mr. Huxley wrote, in a letter to Mr. Skelton, January 1879 ("Life
of T.H. Huxley," II., page 7): "It is the nearest approach to a work of
fiction of which I have yet been guilty."), and must thank you for the
great pleasure which it has given me. Your discussions are, as it seems to
me, clear to a quite marvellous degree, and many of the little interspersed
flashes of wit are delightful. I particularly enjoyed the pithy judgment
in about five words on Comte. (292/2. Possibly the passage referred to is
on page 52.) Notwithstanding the clearness of every sentence, the subjects
are in part so difficult that I found them stiff reading. I fear,
therefore, that it will be too stiff for the general public; but I heartily
hope that this will prove to be a mistake, and in this case the
intelligence of the public will be greatly exalted in my eyes. The writing
of this book must have been awfully hard work, I should think.

Down, March 4th [1879].

I thank you cordially for your letter. Your facts and discussion on the
loss of the hairs on the legs of the caddis-flies seem to me the most
important and interesting thing which I have read for a very long time. I
hope that you will not disapprove, but I have sent your letter to "Nature"
(293/1. Fritz Muller, "On a Frog having Eggs on its Back--On the Abortion
of the Hairs on the Legs of certain Caddis-Flies, etc.": Muller's letter
and one from Charles Darwin were published in "Nature," Volume XIX., page
462, 1879.), with a few prefatory remarks, pointing out to the general
reader the importance of your view, and stating that I have been puzzled
for many years on this very point. If, as I am inclined to believe, your
view can be widely extended, it will be a capital gain to the doctrine of
evolution. I see by your various papers that you are working away
energetically, and, wherever you look, you seem to discover something quite
new and extremely interesting. Your brother also continues to do fine work
on the fertilisation of flowers and allied subjects.

I have little or nothing to tell you about myself. I go slowly crawling on
with my present subject--the various and complicated movements of plants.
I have not been very well of late, and am tired to-day, so will write no
more. With the most cordial sympathy in all your work, etc.

Down, April 19th, 1879.

Many thanks for the book. (294/1. Ernst Hackel's "Freedom in Science and
Teaching," with a prefatory note by T.H. Huxley, 1879. Professor Hackel
has recently published (without permission) a letter in which Mr. Darwin
comments severely on Virchow. It is difficult to say which would have
pained Mr. Darwin more--the affront to a colleague, or the breach of
confidence in a friend.) I have read only the preface...It is capital, and
I enjoyed the tremendous rap on the knuckles which you gave Virchow at the
close. What a pleasure it must be to write as you can do!

Down, October 21st, 1879.

Although you are so kind as to tell me not to write, I must just thank you
for the proofs of your paper, which has interested me greatly. (295/1.
See "The Shell Mounds of Omori" in the "Memoirs of the Science Department
of the Univ. of Tokio," Volume I., Part I., 1879. The ridges on Arca are
mentioned at page 25. In "Nature," April 15th, 1880, Mr. Darwin published
a letter by Mr. Morse relating to the review of the above paper, which
appeared in "Nature," XXI., page 350. Mr. Darwin introduces Mr. Morse's
letter with some prefatory remarks. The correspondence is republished in
the "American Naturalist," September, 1880.) The increase in the number of
ridges in the three species of Arca seems to be a very noteworthy fact, as
does the increase of size in so many, yet not all, the species. What a
constant state of fluctuation the whole organic world seems to be in! It
is interesting to hear that everywhere the first change apparently is in
the proportional numbers of the species. I was much struck with the fact
in the upraised shells of Coquimbo, in Chili, as mentioned in my
"Geological Observations on South America."

Of all the wonders in the world, the progress of Japan, in which you have
been aiding, seems to me about the most wonderful.

Down, January 5th 1880.

As this note requires no sort of answer, you must allow me to express my
lively admiration of your paper in the "Nineteenth Century." (296/1.
"Nineteenth Century," January 1880, page 93, "On the Origin of Species and
Genera.") You certainly are a master in the difficult art of clear
exposition. It is impossible to urge too often that the selection from a
single varying individual or of a single varying organ will not suffice.
You have worked in capitally Allen's admirable researches. (296/2. J.A.
Allen, "On the Mammals and Winter Birds of East Florida, etc." ("Bull.
Mus. Comp. Zoolog. Harvard," Volume II.) As usual, you delight to honour
me more than I deserve. When I have written about the extreme slowness of
Natural Selection (296/3. Mr. Wallace makes a calculation based on Allen's
results as to the very short period in which the formation of a race of
birds differing 10 to 20 per cent. from the average in length of wing and
strength of beak might conceivably be effected. He thinks that the
slowness of the action of Natural Selection really depends on the slowness
of the changes naturally occurring in the physical conditions, etc.) (in
which I hope I may be wrong), I have chiefly had in my mind the effects of
intercrossing. I subscribe to almost everything you say excepting the last
short sentence. (296/4. The passage in question is as follows: "I have
also attempted to show that the causes which have produced the separate
species of one genus, of one family, or perhaps of one order, from a common
ancestor, are not necessarily the same as those which have produced the
separate orders, classes, and sub-kingdoms from more remote common
ancestors. That all have been alike produced by 'descent with
modification' from a few primitive types, the whole body of evidence
clearly indicates; but while individual variation with Natural Selection is
proved to be adequate for the production of the former, we have no proof
and hardly any evidence that it is adequate to initiate those important
divergences of type which characterise the latter." In this passage stress
should be laid (as Mr. Wallace points out to us) on the word PROOF. He by
no means asserts that the causes which have produced the species of a genus
are inadequate to produce greater differences. His object is rather to
urge the difference between proof and probability.)


(297/1. A letter to M. Fabre is given in "Life and Letters," III., page
220, in which the suggestion is made of rotating the insect before a
"homing" experiment occurs.)

Down, February 20th, 1880.

I thank you for your kind letter, and am delighted that you will try the
experiment of rotation. It is very curious that such a belief should be
held about cats in your country (297/2. M. Fabre had written from
Serignan, Vaucluse: "Parmi la population des paysans de mon village,
l'habitude est de faire tourner dans un sac le chat que l'on se propose de
porter ailleurs, et dont on veut empecher le retour. J'ignore si cette
pratique obtient du succes."), I never heard of anything of the kind in
England. I was led, as I believe, to think of the experiment from having
read in Wrangel's "Travels in Siberia" (297/3. Admiral Ferdinand Petrovich
von Wrangell, "Le Nord de la Siberie, Voyage parmi les Peuplades de la
Russie asiatique, etc." Paris, 1843.) of the wonderful power which the
Samoyedes possess of keeping their direction in a fog whilst travelling in
a tortuous line through broken ice. With respect to cats, I have seen an
account that in Belgium there is a society which gives prizes to the cat
which can soonest find its way home, and for this purpose they are carried
to distant parts of the city.

Here would be a capital opportunity for trying rotation.

I am extremely glad to hear that your book will probably be translated into

P.S.--I shall be much pleased to hear the result of your experiments.

Down, January 21st, 1881.

I am much obliged for your very interesting letter. Your results appear to
me highly important, as they eliminate one means by which animals might
perhaps recognise direction; and this, from what has been said about
savages, and from our own consciousness, seemed the most probable means.
If you think it worth while, you can of course mention my name in relation
to this subject.

Should you succeed in eliminating a sense of the magnetic currents of the
earth, you would leave the field of investigation quite open. I suppose
that even those who still believe that each species was separately created
would admit that certain animals possess some sense by which they perceive
direction, and which they use instinctively. On mentioning the subject to
my son George, who is a mathematician and knows something about magnetism,
he suggested making a very thin needle into a magnet; then breaking it into
very short pieces, which would still be magnetic, and fastening one of
these pieces with some cement on the thorax of the insect to be
experimented on.

He believes that such a little magnet, from its close proximity to the
nervous system of the insect, would affect it more than would the
terrestrial currents.

I have received your essay on Halictus (298/1. "Sur les Moeurs et la
Parthenogese des Halictes" ("Ann. Sc. Nat." IX., 1879-80).), which I am
sure that I shall read with much interest.


(299/1. On April 9th, 1880, Mr. Huxley lectured at the Royal Institution
on "The Coming of Age of the Origin of Species." The lecture was published
in "Nature" and in Huxley's "Collected Essays," Volume II., page 227.
Darwin's letter to Huxley on the subject is given in "Life and Letters,"
III., page 240; in Huxley's reply of May 10th ("Life and Letters of T.H.
Huxley," II., page 12) he writes: "I hope you do not imagine because I had
nothing to say about 'Natural Selection' that I am at all weak of faith on
that article...But the first thing seems to me to be to drive the fact of
evolution into people's heads; when that is once safe, the rest will come

Down, May 11th, 1880.

I had no intention to make you write to me, or expectation of your doing
so; but your note has been so far "cheerier" (299/2. "You are the
cheeriest letter-writer I know": Huxley to Darwin. See Huxley's "Life,"
II., page 12.) to me than mine could have been to you, that I must and will
write again. I saw your motive for not alluding to Natural Selection, and
quite agreed in my mind in its wisdom. But at the same time it occurred to
me that you might be giving it up, and that anyhow you could not safely
allude to it without various "provisos" too long to give in a lecture. If
I think continuously on some half-dozen structures of which we can at
present see no use, I can persuade myself that Natural Selection is of
quite subordinate importance. On the other hand, when I reflect on the
innumerable structures, especially in plants, which twenty years ago would
have been called simply "morphological" and useless, and which are now
known to be highly important, I can persuade myself that every structure
may have been developed through Natural Selection. It is really curious
how many out of a list of structures which Bronn enumerated, as not
possibly due to Natural Selection because of no functional importance, can
now be shown to be highly important. Lobed leaves was, I believe, one
case, and only two or three days ago Frank showed me how they act in a
manner quite sufficiently important to account for the lobing of any large
leaf. I am particularly delighted at what you say about domestic dogs,
jackals, and wolves, because from mere indirect evidence I arrived in
"Varieties of Domestic Animals" at exactly the same conclusion (299/3. Mr.
Darwin's view was that domestic dogs descend from more than one wild
species.) with respect to the domestic dogs of Europe and North America.
See how important in another way this conclusion is; for no one can doubt
that large and small dogs are perfectly fertile together, and produce
fertile mongrels; and how well this supports the Pallasian doctrine (299/4.
See Letter 80.) that domestication eliminates the sterility almost
universal between forms slowly developed in a state of nature.

I humbly beg your pardon for bothering you with so long a note; but it is
your own fault.

Plants are splendid for making one believe in Natural Selection, as will
and consciousness are excluded. I have lately been experimenting on such a
curious structure for bursting open the seed-coats: I declare one might as
well say that a pair of scissors or nutcrackers had been developed through
external conditions as the structure in question. (299/5. The peg or heel
in Cucurbita: see "Power of Movement in Plants" page 102.)

Down, November 5th, 1880.

On reading over your excellent review (300/1. See "Nature," November 4th,
1880, page 1, a review of Volume I. of the publications of the
"Challenger," to which Sir Wyville Thomson contributed a General
Introduction.) with the sentence quoted from Sir Wyville Thomson, it seemed
to me advisable, considering the nature of the publication, to notice
"extreme variation" and another point. Now, will you read the enclosed,
and if you approve, post it soon. If you disapprove, throw it in the fire,
and thus add one more to the thousand kindnesses which you have done me.
Do not write: I shall see result in next week's "Nature." Please observe
that in the foul copy I had added a final sentence which I do not at first
copy, as it seemed to me inferentially too contemptuous; but I have now
pinned it to the back, and you can send it or not, as you think best,--that
is, if you think any part worth sending. My request will not cost you much
trouble--i.e. to read two pages, for I know that you can decide at once. I
heartily enjoyed my talk with you on Sunday morning.

P.S.--If my manuscript appears too flat, too contemptuous, too spiteful, or
too anything, I earnestly beseech you to throw it into the fire.


(301/1. "Nature," November 11th, 1880, page 32.)

Down, November 5th, 1880.

Sir Wyville Thomson and Natural Selection.

I am sorry to find that Sir Wyville Thomson does not understand the
principle of Natural Selection, as explained by Mr. Wallace and myself. If
he had done so, he could not have written the following sentence 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." This is a standard of criticism not uncommonly reached by
theologians and metaphysicians, when they write on scientific subjects, but
is something new as coming from a naturalist. Professor Huxley demurs to
it in the last number of "Nature"; but he does not touch on the expression
of extreme variation, nor on that of evolution being guided only by Natural
Selection. Can Sir Wyville Thomson name any one who has said that the
evolution of species depends only on Natural Selection? As far as concerns
myself, I believe that no one has brought forward so many observations on
the effects of the use and disuse of parts, as I have done in my "Variation
of Animals and Plants under Domestication"; and these observations were
made for this special object. I have likewise there adduced a considerable
body of facts, showing the direct action of external conditions on
organisms; though no doubt since my books were published much has been
learnt on this head. If Sir Wyville Thomson were to visit the yard of a
breeder, and saw all his cattle or sheep almost absolutely true--that is,
closely similar, he would exclaim: "Sir, I see here no extreme variation;
nor can I find any support to the belief that you have followed the
principle of selection in the breeding of your animals." From what I
formerly saw of breeders, I have no doubt that the man thus rebuked would
have smiled and said not a word. If he had afterwards told the story to
other breeders, I greatly fear that they would have used emphatic but
irreverent language about naturalists.

(301/2. The following is the passage omitted by the advice of Huxley: see
his "Life and Letters," II., page 14:--

"Perhaps it would have been wiser on my part to have remained quite silent,
like the breeder; for, as Prof. Sedgwick remarked many years ago, in
reference to the poor old Dean of York, who was never weary of inveighing
against geologists, a man who talks about what he does not in the least
understand, is invulnerable.")


(302/1. Part of this letter has been published in Mr. C. Barber's note on
"Graft-Hybrids of the Sugar-Cane," in "The Sugar-Cane," November 1896.)

Down, January 1st, 1881.

I send the MS., but as far as I can judge by just skimming it, it will be
of no use to you. It seems to bear on transitional forms. I feel sure
that I have other and better cases, but I cannot remember where to look.

I should have written to you in a few days on the following case. The
Baron de Villa Franca wrote to me from Brazil about two years ago,
describing new varieties of sugar-cane which he had raised by planting two
old varieties in apposition. I believe (but my memory is very faulty) that
I wrote that I could not believe in such a result, and attributed the new
varieties to the soil, etc. I believe that I did not understand what he
meant by apposition. Yesterday a packet of MS. arrived from the Brazilian
Legation, with a letter in French from Dr. Glass, Director of the Botanic
Gardens, describing fully how he first attempted grafting varieties of
sugar-cane in various ways, and always failed, and then split stems of two
varieties, bound them together and planted them, and then raised some new
and very valuable varieties, which, like crossed plants, seem to grow with
extra vigour, are constant, and apparently partake of the character of the
two varieties. The Baron also sends me an attested copy from a number of
Brazilian cultivators of the success of the plan of raising new varieties.
I am not sure whether the Brazilian Legation wishes me to return the
document, but if I do not hear in three or four days that they must be
returned, they shall be sent to you, for they seem to me well deserving
your consideration.

Perhaps if I had been contented with my hyacinth bulbs being merely bound
together without any true adhesion or rather growth together, I should have
succeeded like the old Dutchman.

There is a deal of superfluous verbiage in the documents, but I have marked
with pencil where the important part begins. The attestations are in
duplicate. Now, after reading them will you give me your opinion whether
the main parts are worthy of publication in "Nature": I am inclined to
think so, and it is good to encourage science in out-of-the-way parts of
the world.

Keep this note till you receive the documents or hear from me. I wonder
whether two varieties of wheat could be similarly treated? No, I suppose
not--from the want of lateral buds. I was extremely interested by your
abstract on suicide.

Down, February 6th, 1881.

Owing to all sorts of work, I have only just now finished reading your
"Natural Conditions of Existence." (303/1. Semper's "Natural Conditions
of Existence as they affect Animal Life" (International Science Series),
1881.) Although a book of small size, it contains an astonishing amount of
matter, and I have been particularly struck with the originality with which
you treat so many subjects, and at your scrupulous accuracy. In far the
greater number of points I quite follow you in your conclusions, but I
differ on some, and I suppose that no two men in the world would fully
agree on so many different subjects. I have been interested on so many
points, I can hardly say on which most. Perhaps as much on Geographical
Distribution as on any other, especially in relation to M. Wagner. (No!
no! about parasites interested me even more.) How strange that Wagner
should have thought that I meant by struggle for existence, struggle for
food. It is curious that he should not have thought of the endless
adaptations for the dispersal of seeds and the fertilisation of flowers.

Again I was much interested about Branchipus and Artemia. (303/2. The
reference is to Schmankewitsch's experiments, page 158: he kept Artemia
salina in salt-water, gradually diluted with fresh-water until it became
practically free from salt; the crustaceans gradually changed in the course
of generations, until they acquired the characters of the genus
Branchipus.) When I read imperfectly some years ago the original paper I
could not avoid thinking that some special explanation would hereafter be
found for so curious a case. I speculated whether a species very liable to
repeated and great changes of conditions, might not acquire a fluctuating
condition ready to be adapted to either conditions. With respect to Arctic
animals being white (page 116 of your book) it might perhaps be worth your
looking at what I say from Pallas' and my own observations in the "Descent
of Man" (later editions) Chapter VIII., page 229, and Chapter XVIII., page

I quite agree with what I gather to be your judgment, viz., that the direct
action of the conditions of life on organisms, or the cause of their
variability, is the most important of all subjects for the future. For
some few years I have been thinking of commencing a set of experiments on
plants, for they almost invariably vary when cultivated. I fancy that I
see my way with the aid of continued self-fertilisation. But I am too old,
and have not strength enough. Nevertheless the hope occasionally revives.

Finally let me thank you for the very kind manner in which you often refer
to my works, and for the even still kinder manner in which you disagree
with me.

With cordial thanks for the pleasure and instruction which I have derived
from your book, etc.

Down, February 13th, 1881.

I received a week or two ago the work which you and Prof. Marion have been
so kind as to send me. (304/1. Probably "L'Evolution du Regne vegetal,"
I. "Cryptogames," Saporta & Marion, Paris, 1881.) When it arrived I was
much engaged, and this must be my excuse for not having sooner thanked you
for it, and it will likewise account for my having as yet read only the

But I now look forward with great pleasure to reading the whole
immediately. If I then have any remarks worth sending, which is not very
probable, I will write again. I am greatly pleased to see how boldly you
express your belief in evolution, in the preface. I have sometimes thought
that some of your countrymen have been a little timid in publishing their
belief on this head, and have thus failed in aiding a good cause.

Down, May 5th, 1881.

In the first edition of the "Origin," after the sentence ending with the
words "...insects in the water," I added the following sentence:--

"Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects were constant,
and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in the country, I
can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered by Natural
Selection more and more aquatic in their structures and habits, with larger
and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous as a whale."
(305/1. See Letters 110 and 120.)

This sentence was omitted in the subsequent editions, owing to the advice
of Prof. Owen, as it was liable to be misinterpreted; but I have always
regretted that I followed this advice, for I still think the view quite

Down, May 8th, 1881.

I am much obliged for your kind gift of "The Genesis, etc." (306/1. "The
Genesis of the Tertiary Species of Planorbis," in the "Boston Soc. Nat.
Hist. Anniversary Mem." 1880.), which I shall be glad to read, as the case
has always seemed to me a very curious one. It is all the kinder in you to
send me this book, as I am aware that you think that I have done nothing to
advance the good cause of the Descent-theory. (306/2. The above caused me
to write a letter expressing a feeling of regret and humiliation, which I
hope is still preserved, for certainly such a feeling, caused undoubtedly
by my writings, which dealt too exclusively with disagreements upon special
points, needed a strong denial. I have used the Darwinian theory in many
cases, especially in explaining the preservation of differences; and have
denied its application only in the preservation of fixed and hereditary
characteristics, which have become essentially homologous similarities.
(Note by Prof. Hyatt.))

(306/3. We have ventured to quote the passage from Prof. Hyatt's reply,
dated May 23rd, 1881:--

"You would think I was insincere, if I wrote you what I really felt with
regard to what you have done for the theory of Descent. Perhaps this essay
will lead you to a more correct view than you now have of my estimate, if I
can be said to have any claim to make an estimate of your work in this
direction. You will not take offence, however, if I tell you that your
strongest supporters can hardly give you greater esteem and honour. I have
striven to get a just idea of your theory, but no doubt have failed to
convey this in my publications as it ought to be done."

We find other equally strong and genuine expressions of respect in Prof.
Hyatt's letters.)


(307/1. Mr. Graham's book, the "Creed of Science," is referred to in "Life
and Letters," I., page 315, where an interesting letter to the author is
printed. With regard to chance, Darwin wrote: "You have expressed my
inward conviction, though far more clearly and vividly than I could have
done, that the universe is not the result of chance.")

Down, August 28th, 1881.

I have been much interested by your letter, and am glad that you like Mr.
Graham's book...(307/2. In Lord Farrer's letter of August 27th he refers
to the old difficulty, in relation to design, of the existence of evil.)

Everything which I read now soon goes out of my head, and I had forgotten
that he implies that my views explain the universe; but it is a most
monstrous exaggeration. The more one thinks the more one feels the
hopeless immensity of man's ignorance. Though it does make one proud to
see what science has achieved during the last half-century. This has been
brought vividly before my mind by having just read most of the proofs of
Lubbock's Address for York (307/3. Lord Avebury was President of the
British Association in 1881.), in which he will attempt to review the
progress of all branches of science for the last fifty years.

I entirely agree with what you say about "chance," except in relation to
the variations of organic beings having been designed; and I imagine that
Mr. Graham must have used "chance" in relation only to purpose in the
origination of species. This is the only way I have used the word chance,
as I have attempted to explain in the last two pages of my "Variation under

On the other hand, if we consider the whole universe, the mind refuses to
look at it as the outcome of chance--that is, without design or purpose.
The whole question seems to me insoluble, for I cannot put much or any
faith in the so-called intuitions of the human mind, which have been
developed, as I cannot doubt, from such a mind as animals possess; and what
would their convictions or intuitions be worth? There are a good many
points on which I cannot quite follow Mr. Graham.

With respect to your last discussion, I dare say it contains very much
truth; but I cannot see, as far as happiness is concerned, that it can
apply to the infinite sufferings of animals--not only those of the body,
but those of the mind--as when a mother loses her offspring or a male his
female. If the view does not apply to animals, will it suffice for man?
But you may well complain of this long and badly-expressed note in my
dreadfully bad handwriting.

The death of my brother Erasmus is a very heavy loss to all of us in this
family. He was so kind-hearted and affectionate. Nor have I ever known
any one more pleasant. It was always a very great pleasure to talk with
him on any subject whatever, and this I shall never do again. The
clearness of his mind always seemed to me admirable. He was not, I think,
a happy man, and for many years did not value life, though never
complaining. I am so glad that he escaped very severe suffering during his
last few days. I shall never see such a man again.

Forgive me for scribbling this way, my dear Farrer.


(308/1. Romanes had reviewed Roux's "Struggle of Parts in the Organism" in
"Nature," September 20th, 1881, page 505. This led to an attack by the
Duke of Argyll (October 20th, page 581), followed by a reply by Romanes
(October 27th, page 604), a rejoinder by the Duke (November 3rd, page 6),
and finally by the letter of Romanes (November 10th, page 29) to which
Darwin refers. The Duke's "flourish" is at page 7: "I wish Mr. Darwin's
disciples would imitate a little of the dignified reticence of their
master. He walks with a patient and a stately step along the paths of
conscientious observation, etc., etc.")

Down, November 12th, 1881.

I must write to say how very much I admire your letter in the last
"Nature." I subscribe to every word that you say, and it could not be
expressed more clearly or vigorously. After the Duke's last letter and
flourish about me I thought it paltry not to say that I agreed with what
you had said. But after writing two folio pages I find I could not say
what I wished to say without taking up too much space; and what I had
written did not please me at all, so I tore it up, and now by all the gods
I rejoice that I did so, for you have put the case incomparably better than
I had done or could do.

Moreover, I hate controversy, and it wastes much time, at least with a man
who, like myself, can work for only a short time in a day. How in the
world you get through all your work astonishes me.

Now do not make me feel guilty by answering this letter, and losing some of
your time.

You ought not to swear at Roux's book, which has led you into this
controversy, for I am sure that your last letter was well worth writing--
not that it will produce any effect on the Duke.


(309/1. On December 27th, 1881, Mr. Jenner Weir wrote to Mr. Darwin:
"After some hesitation in lieu of a Christmas card, I venture to give you
the return of some observations on mules made in Spain during the last two
years...It is a fact that the sire has the prepotency in the offspring, as
has been observed by most writers on that subject, including yourself. The
mule is more ass-like, and the hinny more horse-like, both in the
respective lengths of the ears and the shape of the tail; but one point I
have observed which I do not remember to have met with, and that is that
the coat of the mule resembles that of its dam the mare, and that of the
hinny its dam the ass, so that in this respect the prepotency of the sexes
is reversed." The hermaphroditism in lepidoptera, referred to below, is
said by Mr. Weir to occur notably in the case of the hybrids of Smerinthus

Down, December 29th, 1881.

I thank you for your "Christmas card," and heartily return your good
wishes. What you say about the coats of mules is new to me, as is the
statement about hermaphroditism in hybrid moths. This latter fact seems to
me particularly curious; and to make a very wild hypothesis, I should be
inclined to account for it by reversion to the primordial condition of the
two sexes being united, for I think it certain that hybridism does lead to

I keep fairly well, but have not much strength, and feel very old.

Down, February 2nd, 1882.

I am very sorry that I can add nothing to my very brief notice, without
reading again Weismann's work and getting up the whole subject by reading
my own and other books, and for so much labour I have not strength. I have
now been working at other subjects for some years, and when a man grows as
old as I am, it is a great wrench to his brain to go back to old and half-
forgotten subjects. You would not readily believe how often I am asked
questions of all kinds, and quite lately I have had to give up much time to
do a work, not at all concerning myself, but which I did not like to
refuse. I must, however, somewhere draw the line, or my life will be a
misery to me.

I have read your preface, and it seems to me excellent. (310/1. "Studies
in the Theory of Descent." By A. Weismann. Translated and Edited by
Raphael Meldola; with a Prefatory Notice by C. Darwin and a Translator's
Preface. See Letter 291.) I am sorry in many ways, including the honour
of England as a scientific country, that your translation has as yet sold
badly. Does the publisher or do you lose by it? If the publisher, though
I shall be sorry for him, yet it is in the way of business; but if you
yourself lose by it, I earnestly beg you to allow me to subscribe a trifle,
viz., ten guineas, towards the expense of this work, which you have
undertaken on public grounds.

Down, February 8th, 1882.

In the succession of the older Formations the species and genera of
trilobites do change, and then they all die out. To any one who believes
that geologists know the dawn of life (i.e., formations contemporaneous
with the first appearance of living creatures on the earth) no doubt the
sudden appearance of perfect trilobites and other organisms in the oldest
known life-bearing strata would be fatal to evolution. But I for one, and
many others, utterly reject any such belief. Already three or four piles
of unconformable strata are known beneath the Cambrian; and these are
generally in a crystalline condition, and may once have been charged with
organic remains.

With regard to animals and plants, the locomotive spores of some algae,
furnished with cilia, would have been ranked with animals if it had not
been known that they developed into algae.

Down, February 16th, 1882.

I must thank you for the gift of your Art Primer, which I have read with
much pleasure. Parts were too technical for me who could never draw a
line, but I was greatly interested by the whole of the first part. I wish
that you could explain why certain curved lines and symmetrical figures
give pleasure. But will not your brother artists scorn you for showing
yourself so good an evolutionist? Perhaps they will say that allowance
must be made for him, as he has allied himself to so dreadful a man as
Huxley. This reminds me that I have just been reading the last volume of
essays. By good luck I had not read that on Priestley (312/1. "Science
and Culture, and other Essays": London, 1881. The fifth Essay is on
Joseph Priestley (page 94).), and it strikes me as the most splendid essay
which I ever read. That on automatism (312/2. Essay IX. (page 199) is
entitled "On the Hypothesis that Animals are Automata, and its history.")
is wonderfully interesting: more is the pity, say I, for if I were as well
armed as Huxley I would challenge him to a duel on this subject. But I am
a deal too wise to do anything of the kind, for he would run me through the
body half a dozen times with his sharp and polished rapier before I knew
where I was. I did not intend to have scribbled all this nonsense, but
only to have thanked you for your present.

Everybody whom I have seen and who has seen your picture of me is delighted
with it. I shall be proud some day to see myself suspended at the Linnean
Society. (312/3. The portrait painted by Mr. Collier hangs in the
meeting-room of the Linnean Society.)


Down, Tuesday [December 12th, 1843].

I am very much obliged to you for your interesting letter. I have long
been very anxious, even for as short a sketch as you have kindly sent me of
the botanical geography of the southern hemisphere. I shall be most
curious to see your results in detail. From my entire ignorance of Botany,
I am sorry to say that I cannot answer any of the questions which you ask
me. I think I mention in my "Journal" that I found my old friend the
southern beech (I cannot say positively which species), on the mountain-
top, in southern parts of Chiloe and at level of sea in lat. 45 deg, in
Chonos Archipelago. Would not the southern end of Chiloe make a good
division for you? I presume, from the collection of Brydges and Anderson,
Chiloe is pretty well-known, and southward begins a terra incognita. I
collected a few plants amongst the Chonos Islands. The beech being found
here and peat being found here, and general appearance of landscape,
connects the Chonos Islands and T. del Fuego. I saw the Alerce (313/1.
"Alerse" is the local name of a South American timber, described in Capt.
King's "Voyages of the 'Adventure' and 'Beagle,'" page 281, and rather
doubtfully identified with Thuja tetragona, Hook. ("Flora Antarctica,"
page 350.)) on mountains of Chiloe (on the mainland it grows to an enormous
size, and I always believed Alerce and Araucaria imbricata to be
identical), but I am ashamed to say I absolutely forget all about its
appearance. I saw some Juniper-like bush in T. del Fuego, but can tell you
no more about it, as I presume that you have seen Capt. King's collection
in Mr. Brown's possession, provisionally for the British Museum. I fear
you will be much disappointed in my few plants: an ignorant person cannot
collect; and I, moreover, lost one, the first, and best set of the Alpine
plants. On the other hand, I hope the Galapagos plants (313/2. See "Life
and Letters," II., pages 20, 21, for Sir J.D. Hooker's notes on the
beginning of his friendship with Mr. Darwin, and for the latter's letter on
the Galapagos plants being placed in Hooker's hands.) (judging from
Henslow's remarks) will turn out more interesting than you expect. Pray be
careful to observe, if I ever mark the individual islands of the Galapagos
Islands, for the reasons you will see in my "Journal." Menzies and Cumming
were there, and there are some plants (I think Mr. Bentham told me) at the
Horticultural Society and at the British Museum. I believe I collected no
plants at Ascension, thinking it well-known.

Is not the similarity of plants of Kerguelen Land and southern S. America
very curious? Is there any instance in the northern hemisphere of plants
being similar at such great distances? With thanks for your letter and for
your having undertaken my small collection of plants,

Believe me, my dear Sir,
Yours very truly,

Do remember my prayer, and write as well for botanical ignoramuses as for
great botanists. There is a paper of Carmichael (313/3. "Some Account of
the Island of Tristan da Cunha and of its Natural Productions."--"Linn.
Soc. Trans." XII., 1818, page 483.) on Tristan d'Acunha, which from the
want of general remarks and comparison, I found [torn out] to me a dead
letter.--I presume you will include this island in your views of the
southern hemisphere.

P.S.--I have been looking at my poor miserable attempt at botanical-
landscape-remarks, and I see that I state that the species of beech which
is least common in T. del Fuego is common in the forest of Central Chiloe.
But I will enclose for you this one page of my rough journal.

Down, March 31st (1844).

I have been a shameful time in returning your documents, but I have been
very busy scientifically, and unscientifically in planting. I have been
exceedingly interested in the details about the Galapagos Islands. I need
not say that I collected blindly, and did not attempt to make complete
series, but just took everything in flower blindly. The flora of the
summits and bases of the islands appear wholly different; it may aid you in
observing whether the different islands have representative species filling
the same places in the economy of nature, to know that I collected plants
from the lower and dry region in all the islands, i.e., in the Chatham,
Charles, James, and Albemarle (the least on the latter); and that I was
able to ascend into the high and damp region only in James and Charles<