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LONDON: XI. -5.4"^ 







IZth July, 1892. 
Dbae Holland, 

This book is associated in my mind with St. Moritz 
(where I worked at it), and therefore with you. 

I inscribe your name on it, not only in token of 
my remembrance of your many acts of friendship, but 
also as a sign of my respect for one who lives a difficult 
life well. 

Yours gratefully, 

Fbanois Dabwiw, 

" For myself I found that I was fitted for nothing bo well 
as for the study of Truth; ... as being gifted by nature 
with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, 
slowness to assert, readiness to reconsider, carefulness to 
dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither 
affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates 
every kind of imposture. So I thought my nature had a 
kind of familiarity and relationship with Truth." — Baoon. 
(Proem to the Interpretatio Naturse.) 



In preparing this volume, which is practically an abbre- 
viation of the Life and Letters (1887), my aim has been to 
retain as far as possible the personal parts of those volumes. 
To render this feasible, large numbers of the more purely 
scientific letters are omitted, or represented by the citation of 
a few sentences.* In certain periods of my father's life the 
scientific and the personal elements run a parallel course, 
rising and falling together in their degree of interest. Thus 
the writing of the Origin of Species^ and its publication, appeal 
equally to the reader who follows my father's career from 
interest in the man, and to the naturalist who desires to know 
something of this turning point in the history of Biology. 
This part of the story has therefore been told with nearly the 
full amount of available detail. 

In arranging my material I have followed a roughly 
chronological sequence, but the character and variety of my 
father's researches make a strictly chronological order an 
impossibility. It was his habit to work more or less simul- 
taneously at several subjects. Experimental work was often 
carried on as a refreshment or variety, while books entailing 
reasoning and the marshalling of large bodies of facts were 

* I have not thought it necessary to indicate all the omissioiis in the 
abbreviated letters. 


being written. Moreover many of his researches were dropped 
only to be resumed after years had elapsed. Thns a chrono- 
logical record of his work would be a patchwork, from which 
it would be difficult to disentangle the history of any given 
subject. The Table of Contents will show how I have tried 
to avoid this result. It will be seen, for instance, that after 
Chapter VIII. a break occurs; the story turns back from 
1854 to 1831 in order that the Evolutionary chapters which 
follow may tell a continuous story. In the same way the 
Botanical Work which occupied so much of my father's time 
during "the latter par t of his life is tr eated separately in 
^Chapters XVI. and XVIL 

With regard to Chapter IV., in which I have attempted to 
give an account of my father's manner of working, I may be 
allowed to say that I acted as his assistant during the last 
eight years of his life, and had therefore an opportunity of 
knowing something of his habits and methods. 

My acknowledgments are gladly made to the publishers 
of the Century MagazinCy who have courteously given me 
the use of one of their illustrations for the heading of 
Chapter IV. 



August, 1892. 


It is pleasure to me to acknowledge the kindness of Messrs. 
Elliott & Fry in allowing me to reproduce the fine photograph 
which appears as the frontispiece to the present issue. 


Wychfield, Cambridge, 
April, 1902. 



I. — The Darwins ....... 1_ 

II. — Autobiography .' 5 J 

III. — Religion .63 

IV. — Reminiscences . CC6 

V. — Cambridge Life — The Appointment to the Beagle: --, 

1828-1831 ^IQ^ 

VI.— The Voyage: 1831-1836 ... . m 

VII.— London and Cambridge: 1836-1842. . , • (i^O^ 

VIII.— Life at Down : 1842-1854 150 

IX.— The Foundations of the Origin of Species : 1831-1844 J165 
X.— The Growth of the Origin of Species : 1843-1858 . C_17^ 
XI. — The Writing of the Origin of SpecieSj June 1858, to 

November 1859 185 

XII. — The Pubhcation of the Origin of Species, October to 

December 1859 206 

XIII. — The Origin of Species — Reviews and Criticisms — Ad- ^ -^^ 

hesions and Attacks : 1860 C223 

XIV.— The Spread of Evolution: 1861-1871 . . .245 
XV. — Miscellanea — Revival of Geological Work — The Vivi- 
section Question — Honours ..... 281.. 

XVI.— The Fertilisation of Flowers ^1297' 

XVII. — Climbing Plants — Power of Movement in Plants — . _ 

Insectivorous Plants— Kew Index of Plant Names . i31^ 

XVIII.— Conclusion *'^*826 ' 




T.— The Funeral in Westminster Abbey. . . , 329 
11.— Portraits .331 

lKD£X , , 333 

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4. 1^1 

i^ 1 ^ 'i 




Charles Robert Darwin was the second son of Dr. Robert 
"Waring Darwin, of Shrewsbury, where he was born on 
February 12, 1809. Dr. Darwin was a son of Erasmus 
Darwin, sometimes described as a poet, but more deservedly 
known as physician and naturalist. Charles Darwin's mother 
was Susannah, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, the well-known 
potter of Etruria, in Staffordshire. 

If such speculations are permissible, we may hazard the 
guess that Charles Darwin inherited his sweetness of disposi- 
tion from the Wedgwood side, while the character of his genius 
came rather from the Darwin grandfather.* 

Robert Waring Darwin was a man of well-marked character. 
He had no pretensions to being a man of science, no tendency 
to generalise his knowledge, and though a successful physician 
he was guided more by intuition and everyday observation than 
by a deep knowledge of his subject. His chief mental charac- 
teristics were his keen powers of observation, and his know- 
ledge of men, qualities which led him to " read the characters 
and even the thoughts of those whom he saw even for a short 
time." It is not therefore surprising that his help should have 
been sought, not merely in illness, but in cases of family 
trouble and sorrow. This was largely the case, and his wise 
sympathy, no less than his medical skill, obtained for him a 
strong influence over the lives of a large number of people. 
He was a man of a quick, vivid temperament, with a lively 
interest in even the smaller details in the lives of those with 

* See Charles Darwin's biographical sketch of his grandfather, pre- 
fixed to Ernst Krause's Erasmm Darwin. (Translated from the German 
by W. S. Dallas, 1878.) Also IVIiss Meteyard's Life of Josiah Wedgwood. 



whom lie came in contact. He was fond of society, and enter- 
tained a good deal, and with his large practice and many 
friends, the life at Shrewsbury must have been a stirring and 
varied one — very different in this respect to the later home of 
his son at Down.* 

We have a miniature of his wife, Susannah, with a remarkably 
sweet and happy face, bearing some resemblance to the portrait 
of her father painted by Sir Joshua Eeynolds ; a countenance 
expressive of the gentle and sympathetic nature which Miss 
Meteyard ascribes to her.f She died July 15, 1817, thirty-two 
years before her husband, whose death occurred on Novem- 
ber ISj 1848. Dr. Darwin lived before his marriage for two or 
three years on St. John's Hill, afterwards at the Crescent, 
where his eldest daughter Marianne was born, lastly at the 
"Mount," in the part of Shrewsbury known as Frankwell, 
where the other children were bom. This house was built by 
Dr. Darwin about 1800, it is now in the possession of Mr. 
Spencer Phillips, and has undergone but little alteration. It 
is a large, plain, square, red-brick house, of which the most 
attractive feature is the pretty green-house, opening out of the 

The house is charmingly placed, on the top of a steep bank 
leading down to the Severn. The terraced bank is traversed 
by a long walk, leading from end to end, still called " the 
Doctor's Walk." At one point in this walk grows a Spanish 
chestnut, the branches of which bend back parallel to them- 
selves in a curious manner, and this was Charles Darwin's 
favourite tree as a boy, where he and his sister Catharine had 
each their special seat. 

The Doctor took great pleasure in his garden, planting it 
with ornamental trees and shrubs, and being especially suc- 
cessful with fruit trees ; and this love of plants was, I think, 
the only taste kindred to natural history which he possessed. 

Charles Darwin had the strongest feeling of love and respect 
for his father's memory. His recollection of everything that 
was connected with him was peculiarly distinct, and he epoke 
of him frequently, generally prefacing an anecdote with some 
such phrase as, " My father, who was the wisest man I ever 
knew," &c. It was astonishing how clearly he remembered his 
father's opinions, so that he was able to quote some maxim or 
hint of his in many cases of illness. As a rule he put small 

* The above passage is, by permission of Messrs. Smith & Elder, taken 
from my article Cliarles Darivin, in the Dictionary of National Biography. 
t A Ch-mip of Englishmen, by Miss Meteyard, 1871. 

Oh. L] the DARWINS. 3 

faith in doctors, and thus his unlimited belief in Dr. Darwin's 
medical instinct and methods of treatment was all the more 

His reverence for him was boundless, and most touching. 
He would have wished to judge everything else in the world 
dispassionately, but anything his father had said was received 
with almost implicit faith. His daughter, Mrs. Litchfield, 
remembers him saying that he hoped none of his sons would 
ever believe anything because he said it, unless they were 
themselves convinced of its truth — a feeling in striking contrast 
with his own manner of faith. 

A visit which Charles Darwin made to Shrewsbury in 1869 
left on the mind of the daughter who accompanied him a strong 
impression of his love for his old home. The tenant of the 
Mouut at the time, showed them over the house, and with mis- 
taken hospitality remained with the party during the whole 
visit. As they were leaving, Charles Darwin said, with a 
pathetic look of regret, " If I could have been left alone in 
that green-house for five minutes, I know I should have been 
able to see my father in his wheel-chair as vividly as if he had 
been there before me." 

Perhaps this incident shows what I think is the truth, that 
the memory of his father he loved the best, was that of him as 
an old man. Mrs. Litchfield has noted down a few words 
which illustrate well his feeling towards his father. She 
describes him as saying with the most tender respect, " I think 
my father was a little unjust to me when I was young ; but 
afterwards, I am thankful to think I became a prime favourite 
with him." She has a vivid recollection of the expression of 
happy reverie that accompanied these words, as if ho were 
reviewing the whole relation, and the remembrance left a deep 
sense of peace and gratitude. 

Dr. Darwin had six children, of whom none are now living : 
Marianne, married Dr. Henry Parker ; Caroline, married Josiah 
Wedgwood ; Erasmus Alvey ; Susan, died unmarried ; Charles 
Eobert ; Catharine, married Rev. Charles Langton. 

The elder son, Erasmus, was bom in 1801, and died un- 
married at the age of seventy-seven. 

His name, not known to the general public, may be remem- 
bered from a few words of description occurring in Carlyle's 
Bnniniscences (vol. ii. p. 208). A truer and more sympathetic 
sketch of his charat-ter, by his cousin, Miss Julia Wedgwood, 
was published in the Spectator, September 3, 1881. 

There was something pathetic in Charles Darwin's affection 
for his brother Erasmus, as if he always recollected his solitary 

^ 2 


life, and the toucting patience and sweetness of his nature. 
He often spoke of him as " Poor old Ras," or ** Poor dear old 
Philos." I imagine Philos (Philosopher) was a relic of the 
days when they worked at chemistry in the tool-house at 
Shrewsbury — a time of which he always preserved a pleasant 
memory. Erasmus was rather more than four years older than 
Charles Darwin, so that they were not long together at Cam- 
bridge, but previously at Edinburgh they shared the same 
lodgings, and after the Voyage they lived for a time together 
in Erasmus' house in Great Marlborough Street. In later 
years Erasmus Darwin came to Down occasionally, or joined 
his brother's family in a summer holiday. But gradually it 
came about that he could not, through ill health, make up his 
mind to leave London, and thus they only saw each other when 
Charles Darwin went for a week at a time to his brother's house 
in Queen Anne Street. 

This brief sketch of the family to which Charles Darwin 
belonged may perhaps suffice to introduce the reader to the 
autobiographical chapter which follows. 

( fi ) 



[My father's antobiograpliical recollections, given in the pretent 
chapter, wore written for his children, — and written without any thought 
that they would ever bo published. To many this may seem an 
impossibility ; but those who knew my father will understand how it was 
not only possible, but natural. Tho autobiography bears the heading, 
Recollections of the Development of my Mind and CJiaracter^ and ends with 
the following note: — "Aug. 3, 1876. This sketch of my life was beg^u 
about May 28th at Hopedene,* and since then I have written for nearly 
an hour on most afternoons." It will easily be understootl that, in a 
narrative of a personal and intimate kind written for his wife and 
children, passages should occur which must here be omitted ; and I have 
not thought it necessary to indicate where such omissions are made. It 
has been found necessary to make a few corrections of obvious verbal 
slips, but the number of such alterations has been kept down to the 
minimum. — F. D.] 

A German Editor having written to me for an account of the 
development of my mind and character with some sketch of 
my autobiography, I have thought that tho attempt would 
amuse me, and might possibly interest my children or their 
children. I know that it would have interested me greatly to 
have read even so short and dull a sketch of the mind of my 
grandfather, written by himself, and what he thought and did, 
and how he worked. I have attempted to write the following 
account of myself, as if I were a dead man in another world 
looking back at my own life. Nor have I found this difficult, 
for life is nearly over with me. I have taken no pains about 
my style of writing. 

I was born at Shrewsbury on February 12th, 1809, and my 
earliest recollection goes back only to when I was a few months 
over four years old, when we went to near Abergele for sea- 
bathing, and I recollect some events and places there with some 
little distinctness. 

My mother died in July 1817, when I was a little over eight 
years old, and it is odd that I can remember hardly anything 
ftbout her except her deathbed, her black velvet gown, and her 

* The late Mr. Hensleigh "Wedgwood's house in Surrey. 


curiously constructed work-table. In the spring of this same 
year I was sent to a day-school in Shrewsbury, where I stayed 
a year. I have been told that I was much slower in learning 
than my younger sister Catherine, and I^ believe that I was in 
many ways a naughty boy. 

By the time I went to this day-school* my taste for natural 
history, and more especially for collecting, was well developed. 
I tried to make out the names of plants, and collected all 
sorts of things, shells, seals, franks, coins, and minerals. The 
passion for collecting which leads a man to be a systematic 
naturalist, a virtuoso, or a miser, was very strong in me, and 
was clearly innate, as none of my sisters or brother ever had 
this taste. 

One little event during this year has fixed itself very firmly 
in my mind, and I hope that it has done so from my conscience 
having been afterwards sorely troubled by it ; it is curious as 
showing that apparently I was interested at this early age in 
the variability of plants I I told another little boy (I believe 
it was Leighton,f who afterwards became a well-known lichen- 
ologist and botanist), that I could produce variously coloured 
polyanthuses and primroses by watering them with certain 
coloured fluids, which was of course a monstrous fable, and had 
never been tried by me. I may here also confess that as a 
little boy I was much given to inventing deliberate falsehoods, 
and this was always done for the sake of causing excitement. For 
instance, I once gathered much valuable fruit from my father's 
trees and hid it in the shrubbery, and then ran in breathless 
haste to spread the news that I had discovered a hoard of 
stolen fruit.J 

I must have been a very simple little fellow when I first 
wont to the school. A boy of the name of Garnett took me 

♦ Kept by Rev. Q. Case, minister of the Unitarian Chapel in the High 
Street. Mrs. Darwin was a Unitarian and attended Mr. Case's chapel, 
and my father as a little boy went there with his elder sisters. But both 
he and his brother were christened and intended to belong to the Church 
of England ; and after his early boyhood he seems usually to have gone 
to church and not to Mr. Case's. It appears (St. Jameses Gazette^ 
December 15, 1883) that a mural tablet has been erected to his memory in 
the chapel, which is now known as the " Free Christian Church." — F. D. 

t Rev. W. A. Leighton remembers his bringing a flower to school and 
saying that his mother had taught him how by looking at the inside of 
the blossom the name of the plant could be discovered. Mr. Leighton 
goes on, " This greatly roused my attention and curiosity, and I inquired 
of him repeatedly how this could bo done?" — but his lesson waa 
naturally enough not transmissible. — F. D. 

X His father wisely treated this tendency not by making crimes of the 
fibs, but by makiog light of the discoveries. — F. D. 

Cn. II.] BOYHOOD. 7 

into a cake shop one day, and bought some cakes for which he 
did not pay, as tbo shopman trusted him. When we came out 
1 asked him why he did not pay for them, and he instantly 
answered, " Why, do you not know that my uncle left a great 
sum of money to the town on condition that every tradesman 
should give whatever was wanted without payment to any one 
who wore his old hat and moved [it] in a particular manner ? " 
and he then showed me how it was moved. He then went into 
another shop where he was trusted, and asked for some small 
article, moving his hat in the proper manner, and of course 
obtained it without payment. When we came out he said, 
" Now if you like to go by yourself into that cake-shop (how 
well I remember its exact position), I will lend you my hat, and 
you can get whatever you like if you move the hat on your 
head properly." I gladly accepted the generous offer, and 
went in and anked for some cakes, moved the old hat, and was 
walking out of the shop, when the shopman made a rush at 
me, so i dropped the cakes and ran for dear life, and was 
astonished by being greeted with shouts of laughter by my 
false friend Garnett. 

I can say in my own favour that I was as a boy humane, but 
I owed this entirely to the instruction and example of my 
sisters. I doubt indeed whether humanity is a natural or innate 
quality. I was very fond of collecting eggs, but I never took 
more than a single egg out of a bird's nest, except on one 
single occasion, when I took all, not for their value, but from a 
sort of bravado. 

I had a strong taste for angling, and would sit for any 
number of hours on the bank of a river or pond watching 
the float ; when at Maer* I was told that I could kill the 
worms with salt and water, and from that day I never spitted 
a living worm, though at the expense probably of some loss of 

Once as a very little boy whilst at the dt^y school, or before 
that time, I acted cruelly, for I beat a puppy, I believe, simply 
from enjoying the sense of power ; but the beating could not 
have been severe, for the puppy did not howl, of which I feel 
sure as the spot was near the house. This act lay heavily on 
my conscience, as is shown by my remembering the exact spot 
where the crime was committed. It probably lay all the 
heavier from my love of dogs being then, and for a long time 
afterwards, a passion. Dogs seemed to know this, for I was 
an adept in robbing their love from their masters. 

♦ The house of his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood, the younger. 


I remember clearly only one other incident during this year 
whilst at Mr. Case's daily school, — namely, the burial of a 
dragoon soldier ; and it is surprising how clearly I can still 
see the horse with the man's empty boots and carbine sus- 
pended to the saddle, and the firing over the grave. This 
scene deeply stirred whatever poetic fancy there was in me.* 

In the summer of 1818 I went to Dr. Butler's great school in 
Shrewsbury, and remained there for seven years till Mid- 
summer 1825, when I was sixteen years old. I boarded at this 
school, so that I had the great advantage of living the life of a 
true schoolboy ; but as the distance was hardly more than a 
mile to my home, I very often ran there in the longer intervals 
between the callings over and before locking up at niglit. 
This, I think, was in many ways advantageous to me by 
keeping up home affections and interests. I remember in the 
early part of my school life that I often had to run very quickly 
to be in time, and from being a fleet runner was generally 
successful ; but when in doubt I prayed earnestly to God to 
help me, and I well remember that I attributed my success to 
the prayers and not to my quick running, and marvelled how 
generally I was aided. 

I have heard my father and elder sister say that I had, as a 
very young boy, a strong taste for long solitary walks ; but 
what I thought about I know not. I often became quite 
absorbed, and once, whilst returning to school on the summit 
of the old fortifications round Shrewsbury, which had been 
converted into a public foot-path with no parapet on one side, 
I walked off and fell to the ground, but the height was only 
seven or eight feet. Nevertheless, the number of thoughts 
which passed through my mind during this very short, but 
sudden and wholly unexpected fall, was astonishing, and seem 
hardly compatible with what physiologists have, I believe, 
proved about each thought requiring quite an appreciable 
amount of time. 

Nothing could have been worse for the development of my 
mind than Dr. 'Butler's school, as it was strictly classical, 
nothing else being taught, except a little ancient geography 
and history. The school as a means of education to me was 

* It is curious that another Shrewsbury boy should have been impressed 
by tbis military funeral ; Mr. Gretton, in his Memory's Harhhack, says that 
the scene is so strongly impressed on his mind that he could " walk 
straight to the spot in St. Chad's churchyard wliere the poor fellow was 
buried." The soldier was an Inniskilling Dragoon, and the officer in 
command bad been recently wounded at Waterloo, where his corps did 
good service against the French Cuirassiers. 

Ch. II.] BOYHOOD. 9 

simply a blank. During my whole life I have been singularly 
incapable of mastering any language. Especial attention was 
paid to verse-making, and this I could never do well. I had 
many friends, and got together a good collection of old verses, 
which by patching together, sometimes aided by other boys, I 
could work into any subject. Much attention was paid to 
learning by heart the lessons of the previous day ; this I could 
effect with great facility, learning forty or fifty lines of Virgil 
or Homer, whilst I was in morning chapel ; but this exercise 
was utterly useless, for every verse was forgotten in forty-eight 
hours. I was not idle, and with the exception of versification, 
generally worked conscientiously at my classics, not using 
cribs. The sole pleasure I ever received from such studies, 
was from some of the odes of Horace, which I admired 

When I left the school I was for my ago neither high nor low 
in it ; and I believe that I was considered by all my masters 
and by my father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the 
common standard in intellect. To my deep mortification my 
father once said to me, '* You care for nothing but shooting, 
dogs, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself 
and all your family." But my father, who was the kindest 
man I ever knew, and whose memory I love with all my heart, 
must have been angry and somewhat unjust when he used such 

Looking back as well as I can at my character during my 
school life, the only qualities which at this period promised 
well for the future, were, that I had strong and diversified 
tastes, much zeal for whatever interested me, and a keen 
pleasure in understanding any complex subject or thing, I 
was taught Euclid by a private tutor, and I distinctly remem- 
ber the intense satisfaction which the clear geometrical proofs 
gave me. I remember with equal distinctness the delight 
which my uncle (the father of Francis Gal ton) gave me by 
explaining the principle of the vernier of a bftrometer, With 
respect to diversified tastes, independently of science, I was 
fond of reading various books, and I used to sit for hours 
reading the historical plays of Shakespeare, generally in an old 
window in the thick walls of the school. I read also other 
poetry, such as Thomson's Seasons^ and the recently pub- 
lished poems of Byron and Scott. I mention this because later 
in life I wholly lost, to my great regret, all pleasure from 
poetry of any kind, including Shakespeare. In connection 
with pleasure from poetry, I may add that in 1822 a vivid 
delight in scenery was fiist awakened in my mind, during a 


riding tour oa the borders of Wales, and this has lasted longer 
than any other aBsthetic pleasure. 

Early in my school-days a boy had a copy of the Wonders 
of the World, which I often read, and disputed with other 
boys about the veracity of some of the statements ; and I 
believe that this book first gave me a wish to travel in remote 
countries, which was ultimately fulfilled by the voyage of the 
Beagle. In the latter part of my school life I became 
passionately fond of shooting ; I do not believe that any one 
could have shown more zeal for the most holy cause than I did 
for shooting birds. How well I remember killing my first 
snipe, and my excitement was so great that I had much difii- 
culty in reloading my gun from the trembling of my hands. 
This taste long continued, and I became a very good shot. 
"When at Cambridge I used to practice throwing up my gun to 
my shoulder before a looking glass to see that I threw it up 
straight. Another and better plan was to get a friend to wave 
about a lighted candle, and then to fire at it with a cap on the 
nipple, and if the aim was accurate the little puff of air would 
blow out the candle. The explosion of the cap caused a sharp 
crack, and I was told that the tutor of the college remarked, 
" What an extraordinary thing it is, Mr. Darwin seems to spend 
hours in cracking a horse- whip in his room, for I often hear the 
crack when I pass under his windows." 

I had many friends amongst the schoolboys, whom I loved 
dearly, and I think that my disposition was then very 

With respect to science, I continued collecting minerals 
with much zeal, but quite unscientifically— all that I cared 
about was a new-named mineral, and I hardly attempted to 
classify them. I must have observed insects with some little 
care, for when ten years old (1819) I went for three weeks to 
Plas Edwards on the sea-coast in Wales, I was very much 
interested and surprised at seeing a large black and scarlet 
Hemipterous insect, many moths (Zygoena), and a Cicindela, 
which are not found in Shropshire. I almost made up my 
mind to begin collecting all the insects which I could find 
dead, for on consulting my sister, I concluded that it was not 
right to kill insects for the sake of making a collection. From 
reading White's Selhorne, I took much pleasure in watching 
the habits of birds, and even made notes on the subject. In 
my simplicity, I remember wondering why every gentleman did 
not become an ornithologist. 

Towards the close of my school life, my brother worked hard 
at chemistry, and made a fair laboratory with proper apparatus 

Cn. n.] EDINBUBGH. 11 

in the tool-house in the garden, and I was allowed to aid him 
as a servant in most of his experiments. He made all the gases 
and many compounds, and I read with care several books on 
chemistry, such as Henry and Parkes' Chemical Catechism, 
The subject interested mo greatly, and we often used to go on 
working tiU rather late at night. This was the best part of 
my education at school, for it showed me practically the mean- 
ing of experimental science. The fact that we worked at 
chemistry somehow got known at school, and as it was an 
unprecedented fact, I was nicknamed " Gas." I was also once 
publicly rebuked by the head-master. Dr. Butler, for thus 
wasting my time on such useless subjects ; and he called me 
very unjustly a " poco curaute," and as I did not understand 
what he meant, it seemed to me a fearful reproach. 

As I was doing no good at school, my ffUher wisely took me 
away at a rather earlier age than usual, and sent mo (October 
1825) to Edinburgh* University with my brother, where I 
stayed for two years or sessions. My brother was completing 
his medical studies, though I do not believe he ever really 
intended to practise, and I was sent there to commence them. 
But soon after this period I became convinced from various 
small circumstances that my father would leave me property 
enough to subsist on with some comfort, though I never 
imagined that I should be so rich a man as I am ; but my 
belief was sufficient to check any strenuous effort to learn 

The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and 
these were intolerably dull, with the exception of those on 
chemistry by Hope ; but to my mind there are no advantages 
and many disadvantages in lectures compared with reading. 
Dr. Duncan's lectures on Materia Medica at 8 o'clock on a 
winter's morning are something fearful to remember. Dr. 
Munro made his lectures on human anatomy as dull as he was 
himself, and the subject disgusted me. It has proved one of 
the greatest evils in my life that I was not urged to practise 
dissection, for I should soon have got over my disgust, and the 
practice would have been invaluable for all my future work. 
This has been an irremediable evil, as well as my incapacity 
to draw. I also attended regularly the clinical wards in the 

♦ He lodged at Mrs. Mackay's, 11, Lothian Street. What little the 
records of Edinburgh University can reveal has been published in the 
Edinburgh Weekly Dispatch, May 22, 188S ; and in the St. James's Gazette, 
Febmary 16, 1888. From the latter journal it appears that he and hig 
Lruther Erasmus made more use of the library than was usual among the 
students of their time. 


hospital. Some of the cases distressed me a good deal, and I 
still have vivid pictures before me of some of them ; but I was 
not so foolish as to allow this to lessen my attendance. I 
cannot understand why this part of my medical course did not 
interest me in a greater degree ; for during the summer before 
coming to Edinburgh, I began attending some of the poor 
people, chiefly children and women in Shrewsbury : I wrote 
down as full an account as I could of the case with all the 
symptoms, and read them aloud to my father, who suggested 
further inquiries and advised me what medicines to give, which 
I made up myself. At one time I had at least a dozen 
patients, and I felt a keen interest in the work.* My father, 
who was by far the best judge of character whom I ever knew, 
declared that I should make a successful physician, — meaning 
by this, one who would get many patients. He maintained 
that the chief element of success was exciting confidence ; 
but what he saw in me which convinced him that I should 
create confidence I know not. I also attended on two occasions 
the operating tlieatre in the hospital at Edinburgh, and saw two 
very bad operations, one on a child, but I rushed away before 
they were completed. Nor did I ever attend again, for hardly 
any inducement would have been strong enough to make me do 
so ; this being long before the blessed days of chloroform. The 
two cases fairly haunted me for many a long year. 

My brother stayed only one year at the University, so that 
during the second year I was left to my own resources ; and 
this was an advantage, for I became well acquainted with several 
young men fond of natural science. One of these was 
Ains worth, who afterwards published his travels in Assyria ; 
he was a Wernerian geologist, and knew a little about many 
subjects. Dr. Coldstreamf was a very dififerent young man, 
prim, formal, highly religious, and most kind-hearted ; he 
afterwards published some good zoological articles. A third 
young man was Hardie, who would, I think, have made a good 
botanist, but died early in India. Lastly, Dr. Grant, my 
senior by several years, but how I became acquainted with him 
I cannot remember; he published some first-rate zoological 
papers, but after coming to London as Professor in University 
College, he did nothing more in science, a fact which has 
always been inexplicable to me. I knew him well ; he was 
dry and formal in manner, with much enthusiasm beneath this 

♦ I have heard him call to mind the pride he felt at the results of the 
successful treatment of a whole family with tartar emetic— F. D. 

t Dr. Coldstream died September 17, 1863 ; see Crown 16mo. Book 
Tract. No. 19 of the Religious Tract Society (no date). 


outer crust. He one day, when we were walking together, 
burst forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on 
evolution. I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I 
can judge, without any effect on my mind. I had previously 
read the Zoonomia of my grandfather, in which similar 
views are maintained, but without producing any effect on me. 
Nevertheless it is probable that the hearing rather early in 
life such views maintained and praised may have favoured 
my upholding them under a different form in my Origin of 
Species. At this time I admired greatly the Zoonomia; but 
on reading it a second time after an interval of ten or fifteen 
years, I was much disappointed ; the proportion of speculation 
being so large to the facts given. 

Drs. Grant and Coldstream attended much to marine 
Zoology, and I often accompanied the former to collect animals 
in the tidal pools, which I dissected as well as I could. I 
also became friends with some of the Newhaven fishermen, 
and sometimes accompanied them when they trawled for 
oysters, and thus got many specimens. But from not having 
had any regular practice in dissection, and from possessing 
only a wretched microscope, my attempts were very poor. 
Nevertheless I made one interesting little discovery, and read, 
about the beginning of the year 1826, a short paper on the 
subject before the Plinian Society. This was that the so- 
called ova of Flustra had the power of independent movement 
by means of cilia, and were in fact larvaB. In another short 
paper, I showed that the little globular bodies which had been 
supposed to be the young etate of Fucua loreua were the egg- 
cases of the worm-like Pontohdella muricata. 

The Plinian Society* was encouraged and, I believe, 
founded by Professor Jameson: it consisted of students, and 
met in an underground room in the University for the sake 
of reading papers on natural science and discussing them. I 
used regularly to attend, and the meetings had a good effect 
on me in stimulating my zeal and giving me new congenial 
acquaintances. One evening a poor young man got up, and 
after stammering for a prodigious length of time, blushing 
crimson, he at last slowly got out the words, " Mr. President, 
I have forgotten what I was going to say." The poor fellow 
looked quite overwhelmed, and all the members were so sur- 
prised that no one could think of a word to say to cover his 
confusion. The papers which were read to our little society 
were not printed, so that I had not the satisfaction of seeing 

* The society was founded in 1823, and expired about 1848 (Edinburgh 
Wee1:ly Digpatch, May 22, 1888). 


my paper in print ; but I believe Dr. Grant noticed my small 
discovery in his excellent memoir on Flustra. 

I was also a member of the Eoyal Medical Society, and 
attended pretty regularly ; but as the subjects were exclusively 
medical, I did not much care about them. Much rubbish was 
talked there, but there were some good speakers, of whom the 
best was the [late] Sir J. Kay-Shuttleworth. Dr. Grant took 
me occasionally to the meetings of the Wernerian Society, 
where various papers on natural history were read, discussed, 
and afterwards published in the Transactions. I heard 
Audubon deliver there some interesting discourses on the 
habits of N. American birds, sneering somewhat unjustly at 
Waterton. By the way, a negro lived in Edinburgh, who had 
travelled with Waterton, and gained his livelihood by stuffing 
birds, which he did excellently : he gave me lessons for pay- 
ment, and I used often to sit with him, for he was a very 
pleasant and intelligent man. 

Mr. Leonard Horner also took me once to a meeting of the 
Eoyal Society of Edinburgh, where I saw Sir Walter Scott in 
the chair as President, and he apologised to the meeting as 
not feeling fitted for such a position. I looked at him and at 
the whole scene with some awe and reverence, and I think it 
was owing to this visit during my youth, and to my having 
attended the Royal Medical Society, that I felt the honour of 
being elected a few years ago an honorary member of both 
these Societies, more than any other similar honour. If I had 
been told at that time that I should one day have been thus 
honoured, I declare that I should have thought it as ridiculous 
and improbable, as if I had been told that I should be elected 
King of England. 

During my second year at Edinburgh I attended Jameson's 
lectures on Geology and Zoology, but they were incredibly 
dull. The sole elfeot they produced on me was the deter- 
mination never as long as I lived to read a book on Geology, 
or in any way to study the science. Yet I feel sure that I was 
prepared for a philosophical treatment of the subject ; for an 
old Mr. Cotton, in Shropshire, who know a good deal about 
rocks, had pointed out to me two or three years previously a 
"well-known large erratic boulder in the town of Shrewsbury, 
called the " bell-stone ;" he told me that there was no rock 
of the same kind nearer than Cumberland or Scotland, and he 
solemnly assured me that the world would come to an end 
before any one would be able to explain how this stone came 
where it now lay. This produced a deep impression on me, 
and I meditated over this wonderful stone. So that I felt the 

Ch. n.] EDINBUKGH. 15 

keenest doligbt wlion I first read of the action of icebergs in 
transpoFtiiig boulders, and I gloried in the progress of Geology. 
Ec^ually striking is the fact that I, though now only sixty- 
seven years old, heard the Professor, in a field lecture at 
Salisbury Craigs, discoursing on a trap-dyke, with amygda- 
loidal margins and the strata indurated on each side, with 
volcanic rocks all around us, say that it was a fissure filled 
with sediment from above, adding with a sneer that there were 
men who maintained that it had been injected from beneath in 
a molten condition. "When I think of this lecture, I do not 
wonder that I determined ncvor to attend to Geology. 

From attending Jameson's lectures, I became acquainted with 
the curator of the museum, Mr. MacgiUivray, who afterwards 
published a large and excellent book on the birds of Scotland. 
I had much interesting natural-history talk with him, and he 
was very kind to me. He gave me some rare shells, for I at 
that time collected marine moUusca, but with no great zeal. 

My summer vacations during these two years were wholly 
given up to amusements, though I always had some book in 
hand, which I read with interest. During the summer of 
182G, I took a long walking tour with two friends with knap- 
sacks on our backs through North Wales. We walked thirty 
miles most days, including one day the ascent of Snowdon. 
I also went with my sister a riding tour in North Wales, a 
servant with saddle-bags carrying our clothes. The autumns 
were devoted to shooting, chiefly at Mr. Owen's, at Woodhouse, 
and at my Uncle Jos's,* at Maer. My zeal was so great that 
I used to place my shooting-boots open by my bed-side when I 
went to bed, so as not to Jose half a minute in putting them 
on in the morning ; and on one occasion I reached a distant 
part of the Maer estate, on the 20th of August for black- 
game shooting, before I could see : I then toiled on with the 
gamekeeper the whole day through thick heath and young 
Scotch firs. 

I kept an exact record of every bird which I shot throughout 
the whole season. One day when shooting at Woodhouse with 
Captain Owen, the eldest son, and Major Hill, his cousin, after- 
wards Lord Berwick, both of whom I liked very much, I 
thought myself shamefully used, for every time after I had fired 
and Qiought that I had killed a bird, one of the two acted as if 
loadiug his gun, and cried out, " You must not count that bird, 
for I fired at the same time," and the gamekeeper, perceiving 
the joke, backed them up. After some hours they told me the 

♦ Joaiah Wedgwood, the son of the founder of the Etruria Works, 


joke, but it was no joke to me, for I had sliot a large number of 
birds, but did not know how many, and could not add them to 
my list, which I used to do by making a knot in a piece of 
string tied to a button-hole. This my wicked friends had 

How I did enjoy shooting I but I think that I must have been 
half-consciously ashamed of my zeal, for I tried to persuade 
myself that shooting was almost an intellectual employment ; 
it required so much skill to judge where to find most game and 
to hunt the dogs well. 

One of my autumnal visits to Maer in 1827 was memorable 
from meeting there Sir J. Mackintosh, who was the best con- 
verser I ever listened to. I heard afterwards with a glow of 
pride that he had said, " There is something in that young man 
that interests me." This must have been chiefly due to his 
perceiving that I listened with much interest to everything 
which he said, for I was as ignorant as a pig about his subjects 
of history, politics, and moral philosophy. To hear of praise 
from an eminent person, though no doubt apt or certain to 
excite vanity, is, I think, good for a young man, as it helps to 
keep him in the right course. 

My visits to Maer during these two or three succeeding years 
were quite delightful, independently of the autumnal shootiDg. 
Life there was perfectly free ; the country was very pleasant 
for walking or riding ; and in the evening there was much very 
agreeable conversation, not so personal as it generally is in 
large family parties, together with music. In the summer the 
whole family used often to sit on the steps of the old portico 
with the flower-garden in front, and with the steep wooded bank 
opposite the house reflected in the lake, with here and there a 
fish rising or a water-bird paddling about. Nothing has left a 
more vivid picture on my mind than these evenings at Maer. I 
was also attached to and greatly revered my Uncle Jos ; he was 
silent and reserved, so as to be a rather awful man ; but he 
sometimes talked openly with me. He was the very type of an 
upright man, with the clearest judgment. I do not believe that 
any power on earth could have made him swerve an inch from 
what he considered the right course. I used to apply to him in 
my mind the well-known ode of Horace, now forgotten by me, 
in which the words " nee vultus tyranni, &c.," * coma in. 

Justum et tenacem propositi virum 
Non civium ardor prava jubentinm, 
Non vultus iDstantis tyranni 
Mente quatit eolidfi,. 

Cn. n.] CAMBRIDGE. 17 

Cambridge, 1828-1831. — After having spent two sessions in 
Edinburgh, my father perceived, or he heard from my sisters, 
that I did not like the thought of being a phj'sician, so he 
proposed that I should become a clergyman. Ho was very 
properly vehement against my turning into an idle sporting 
man, which then seemed my probable destination. I asked for 
some time to consider, as from what little I had heard or 
thought on the subject I had scruples about declaring my 
belief in all the dogmas of the Church of England ; though 
otherwise I liked the thought of being a country clergymun. 
Accordingly I read with great care Pearson on the Creed, and a 
few other books on divinity ; and as I did not then in the least 
doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I 
soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted. 

Considering how fiercely I have been attacked by the 
orthodox, it seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a 
clergyman. Nor was this intention and my father's wish ever 
formally given up, but died a natural death when, on leaving 
Cambridge, I joined the Beagle as naturalist. If the phren- 
ologists are to be trusted, I was well fitted in one respect to be 
a clergyman. A few years ago the secretaries of a German 
psychological society asked me eaniestly by letter for a photo- 
graph of myself; and some time afterwards I received the pro- 
ceedings of one of the meetings, in which it seemed that the 
shape of my head had been the subject of a public discus- 
sion, and one of the speakers declared that I had the bump of 
reverence developed enough for ten priests. 

As it was decided that I should be a clergyman, it was 
necessary that I should go to one of the English universities 
and take a degree ; but as I had never opened a classical book 
since leaving school, I found to my dismay, that in tho two 
intervening years, I had actually forgotten, incredible as it may 
appear, almost everything which I had learnt, even to some few 
of the Greek letters. I did not therefore proceed to Cambridge 
at tho usual time in October, but worked with a private tutor 
in Shrewsbury, and went to Cambridge after the Christmas 
vacation, early in 1828. I soon recovered my school standard 
of knowlCi-lge, and could translate easy Greek books, such as 
Homer and the Greek Testament, with moderate facility. 

During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time 
was wasted, as far as the academical studies were concerned, as 
completely as at Edinburgh and at school. I attempted 
mathematics, and even went during the summer of 1828 with a 
private tutor to Barmouth, but I got on very slowly. The 
work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to 


gee any meaning in the early steps in algebra. This impatience 
was very foolish, and in after years 1 have deeply regretted 
that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand some- 
thing of the great leading principles of mathematics, for men 
thus endowed seem to have an extra sense. But I do not 
believe that I should ever have succeeded beyond a very low- 
grade. With respect to Classics I did nothing except attend a 
few compulsory college lectures, and the attendance was almost 
nominal. In my second year I had to work for a month or two 
to pass the Little-Go, which I did easily. Again, in my last 
year I worked with some earnestness for my final degree of 
B.A., and brushed up my Classics, together with a little 
Algebra and Euclid, which latter gave me much pleasure, as it 
did at school. In order to pass the B.A. examination, it was 
also necessary to get up Paley's Evidences of CJiristianity, and his 
Moral Philosophy. This was done in a thorough manner, and I 
am convinced that I could have written out the whole of the 
Evidences with perfect correctness, but not of course in the 
clear language of Paley. The logic of this book and, as I may 
add, of his Natural Theology^ gave me as much delight as did 
Euclid. The careful study of these works, without attempting 
to learn any part by rote, was the only part of the academical 
course which, as I then fe]t, and as I still believe, was of the 
least use to me in the education of my mind. I did not at that 
time trouble myself about Paley 's premises ; and taking these 
on trust, I was charmed and convinced by the long line of 
argumentation. By answering well the examination questions 
in Paley, by doing Euclid well, and by not failing miserably 
in Classics, I gained a good place among the 61 ttoXXoI or 
crowd of men who do not go in for honours. Oddly enough, I 
cannot remember how high I stood, and my memory fluctuates 
between the fifth, tenth, or twelfth, name on the list.* 

Public lectures on several branches were given in the 
University, attendance being quite voluntary ; but I was so 
sickened with lectures at Edinburgh that I did not even attend 
Sedgwick's eloquent and interesting lectures. Had I done so 
I should probably have become a geologist earlier than I did. 
I attended, however, Henslow's lectures on Botany, and liked 
them much for their extreme clearness, and the admirable 
illustrations ; but I did not study botany. Henslow used to 
take his pupils, including several of the older members of the 
University, field excursions, on foot or in coaches, to distant 
places, or in a barge down the river, and lectured on the 

• Tenth in the list of January 1831. 


rarer plants and animals wHch were observed. Those 
excursions were delightful. 

Although, as we shall presently see, there were some 
redeeming features in my life at Cambridge, my time was sadly 
wasted there, and worse than wasted. From my passion for 
shooting and for hunting, and, when this failed, for riding 
across country, I got into a sporting set, including some dissi- 
pated low-minded yoimg men. We used often to dine together 
in the evening, though these dinners often included men of a 
higher stamp, and we sometimes drank too much, with jolly 
singing and playing at cards afterwards. I know that I ought 
to feel ashamed of days and evenings thus spent, but as some of 
my friends were very pleasant, and we were all in the highest 
spirits, I cannot help looking back to these times with much 

But I am glad to think that I had many other friends of a 
widely different natui'e. I was very intimate with Whitley,f 
who was afterwards Senior Wrangler, and we used continually 
to take long walks together. He inoculated me with a taste for 
pictures and good en^^'ravings, of which I bought some. I fre- 
quently went to the Fitzwilliam Gallery, and my taste must 
have been fairly good, for I certainly admired the best pictures, 
which I discussed with the old curator. I read also with 
much interest Sir Joshua Reynolds' book. This taste, though 
not natural to me, lasted for several years, and many of the 
pictures in the National Gallery in London gave mo much 
pleasure ; that of Sebastian del Piombo exciting in me a sense 
of sublimity. 

I also got into a musical set, I believe by means of my warm- 
hearted friend, Herbert,! who took a high wrangler's degree. 
From associating with these men, and hearing them play, I ac- 
quired a strong taste for music, and used very often to time my 
walks so as to hear on week days the anthem in King's C^dlege 
Chapel. This gave me intense pleasui'e, so that my backbone 
would sometimes shiver. I am sure that there was no affecta- 
tion or mere imitation in this taste, for I used generally to 
go by myself to King's College, and I sometimes hired the 
chorister boys to siug in my rooms. Nevertheless I am so 
utterly destitute of an ear, that I cannot perceive a discord, or 

* I gather from some of my father's contemporaries that he has 
exaggerated the Bacchanalian nature of these parties. — F. D. 

t Rev. C. Whitley, Hon. Canon of Durham, formerly Reader in Natural 
Philosophy in Durham University. 

X The late John Maurice Herbert, County Court Judge of Cardiff and 
the Monmouth Circuit. 

G 2 


keep time and hum a tune correctly ; and it is a mystery how I 
could possibly have derived pleasure from music. 

My musical friends soon perceived my state, and sometimes 
amused themselves by making me pass an examination, which 
consisted in ascertaining how many tunes I could recognise, 
when they were played rather more quickly or slowly than 
usual. * God save the King,* when thus played, was a sore 
puzzle. There was another man with almost as bad an ear as 
I had, and strange to say he played a little on the flute. Ouce 
I had the triumph of beating him in one of our musical 

But no pursuit at Cambridge was followed with nearly so 
much eagerness or gave me so much pleasure as collecting 
beetles. It was the mere passion for collecting, for I did not 
dissect them, and rarely compared their external characters 
with published descriptions, but got them named anyhow. I 
will give a proof of my zeal : one day, on tearing off some old 
bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand ; then 
I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so 
that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my 
mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which 
burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, 
which was lost, as was the third one. 

I was very successful in collecting, and invented two new 
methods ; I employed a labourer to scrape, during the winter, 
moss off old trees and place it in a large bag, and likewise to 
collect the rubbish at the bottom of the barges in which reeds 
are brought from the fens, and thus I got some very rare 
species. No poet ever felt more delighted at seeing his first 
poem published than I did at seeing, in Stephens' Illustrations 
of British Insects, the magic words, " captured by C. Darwin, 
Esq." I was introduced to entomology by my second cousin, 
W. Darwin Fox, a clever and most pleasant man, who was 
then at Christ's College, and with whom I became extremely 
intimate. Afterwards I became well acquainted, and went out 
collectiDg, with Albert Way of Trinity, who in after years 
became a well-known archaeologist ; also with H. Thompson,* 
of the same College, afterwards a leading agriculturist, chair- 
man of a great railway, and Member of Parliament. It seems, 
therefore, that a taste for collecting beetles is some indication 
of future success in life I 

I am surprised what an indelible impression many of the 
beetles which I caught at Cambridge have left on my mind. I 

* Afterwards Sir H. Thompson, first baronet. 

Ch. 1L] CAMBRIDGE. 21 

can remember tLe exact appearance of certain posts, old trees 
and banks wliere I made a good capture. The pretty Panagsenh 
crux-major was a treasure in those days, and here at Down I 
saw a beetle running across a walk, and on picking it up 
instantly perceived that it differed slightly from P. crux-majory 
and it turned oirt to bo P. quadripunciatus, which is only a 
variety or closely allied species, differing from it very slightly 
in outline. I had never seen in those old days Licinus alive, 
which to an uneducated eye hardly differs from many of the 
black Carabidous beetles ; but my sons found here a specimen, 
and I instantly recognised that it was new to me ; yet I had 
not looked at a British beetle for the last twenty years. 

I have not yet mentioned a circimistance which influenced my 
whole career more than any other. This was my friendship 
with Professor Henslow. Before coming up to Cambridge, I 
had heard of him from my brother as a man who knew every 
branch of science, and I was accordingly prepared to reverence 
him. He kept open house once every week * when all under- 
graduates and some older members of the University, who wero 
attached to science, used to meet in the evening. I soon got, 
through Fox, an invitation, and went there regularly. Before 
long I became well acquainted with Henslow, and diu'ing tho 
latter half of my time at Cambridge took long walks with him 
on most days ; so that I was called by some of the dons " the 
man who walks Avith Henslow ; " and in the evening I was very 
often asked to join his family dinner. His knowledge was 
great in botany, entomology, chemistry, mineralogy, and geo- 
logy. His strongest taste was to draw conclusions from long- 
continued minute observations. His judgment was excellent, 
and his whole mind well-balanced ; but I do not suppose that 
any one would say that he possessed much original genius. 

He was deeply religious, and so orthodox, that he told me 
one day he should be grieved if a single word of the Thirty-nino 
Articles were altered. His moral qualities were in every way 
admirable. He was free from every tinge of vanity or other 
petty feeling ; and I never saw a man who thought so little 
about himself or his own concerns. His temper was imperturb- 
ably good, with the most winning and coui'teous manners ; yet, 
as I have seen, he could be roused by any bad action to the 
warmest indignation and prompt action. 

* The Cambridge Bay Cluh, which in 1887 attained its fiftieth annivcr- 
Bary, is the direct descendant of these meetings, having been founded to 
fill' the blank caused by the discontinuance, in 1836, of Henslow's Friday 
evenings. See Professor Babington's pamphlet, The Camhrulge Jiay 
avJb, 1887. 


I once saw in his company 'in the streets of Cambridge 
almost as horrid a scene as could have been witnessed during 
the French Revolution. Two body-snatchers had been arrested, 
and whilst being taken to prison had been torn from the 
constable by a crowd of the roughest men, who dra-gged them 
by their legs along the muddy and stony road. They were 
covered from head to foot with mud, and their faces were 
bleeding either fi'om having been kicked or from the stones ; 
they looked like corpses, but the crowd was so dense that I 
got only a few momentary glimpses of the wretched creatures. 
Never in my life have I seen such wrath painted on a man's 
face as was shown by Henslow at this horrid scene. He tried 
repeatedly to penetrate the mob ; but it was simply impossible. 
He then rushed away to the mayor, telling me not to follow 
him, but to get more policemen. I forget the issue, except 
that the two men were got into the prison without being killed. 

Henslow's benevolence was unbounded, as he proved by his 
many excellent schemes for his poor parishioners, when in 
after years he held the living of Hitcham. My intimacy with 
such a man ought to have been, and I hope was, an inestimable 
benefit. I cannot resist mentioning a trifling incident, which 
showed his kind consideration. Whilst examining some poUen- 
graina on a damp surface, I saw the tubes exsorted, and in- 
stantly rusbed off to communicate my surprising discovery to 
him. Now I do not suppose any other professor of botany 
could have helped laughing at my coming in such a hurry to 
make such a communication. But he agreed how interesting 
the phenomenon was, and explained its meaning, but made me 
clearly understand how well it was known ; so I left him not 
in the least mortified, but well pleased at having discovered for 
myself so remarkable a fact, but determined not to be in such 
a hurry again to commimicato my discoveries. 

Dr. "Whewell was one of the older and distinguished men 
wlio sometimes visited Henslow, and on several occasions I 
walked home with him at night. Next to Sir J. Mackintosh 
he was the best converser on grave subjects to whom I ever 
listened. Leonard Jenyns,* who afterwards published some 
good essays in Natural History, often stayed with Henslow, 
who was his brother-in-law. 1 visited him at his parsonage 
on the borders of the Fens [Swaffham Bulbeck], and had many 

* Mr. Jenyns (now Blomefiekl) described the fish for the Zoology of the 
Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle; and is author of a long series of papers, chiefly 
Zoological. In 1887 he printed, for private circulation, an autobiographical 
sketch, Chapters in my Life, and subtsequently some (undated) addenda. 
The well-known Soame Jenyns was coiisiti to Mr. Jenyns' father. ' 


a good walk and talk with him about Natural History. I 
became also acquainted with several other men older than me, 
who did not care much about science, but were friends of 
Henslow. One was a Scotchman, brother of Sir Alexander 
Eamsay, and tutor of Jesus College ; he was a delightful man, 
but did not live for many years. Another was Mr. Dawes, 
afterwards Dean of Hereford, and famous for his success in 
the education of the poor. These men and others of the samo 
standing, together with Henslow, used sometimes to take 
distant excursions into the country, which I was allowed to 
join, and they were most agreeable. 

Looking back, I infer that there must have been something in 
me a little superior to the common run of youths, otherwise 
the above-mentioned men, so much older than me and higher 
in academical position, would never have allowed me to asso- 
ciate with them. Certainly I was not aware of any such 
superiority, and I remember one of my sporting friends, Turner, 
who saw me at work with my beetles, saying that I should 
some day be a Fellow of the Koyal Society, and the notion 
seemed to me preposterous. 

During my last year at Cambridge, I read with care and 
profound intcicst Humboldt's Personal Narrative. This work, 
and Sir J. Herschers Introduction to the Study of Natural Philo' 
sophy^ stirred up in me a burning zeal to add even the most 
humble contribution to the noble structure of Natural Science. 
No one or a dozen other books influenced me nearly so much 
as these two. I copied out from Himiboldt long passages 
about Teueriffe, and read them aloud on one of the above- 
mentioned excursions, to (I think) Henslow, Eamsay, and 
Dawes, for on a previous occasion I had talked about the 
glories of Teneriffe, and some of the party declared they would 
endeavour to go there ; but I think they were only half in 
earnest. I was, however, quite in earnest, and got an intro- 
duction to a merchant in London to enquire about ships ; but 
the scheme was, of course, knocked on the head by the voyage 
of the Beagle. 

My summer vacations were given up to collecting beetles, to 
some reading, and short tours. In the autumn my whole time 
was devoted to shooting, chiefly at Woodhouse and Maer, and 
sometimes with young Eyton of Eyton. Upon the whole the 
three years which 1 spent at Cambridge were the most joyful 
in my happy life ; for I was then in excellent health, and 
almost always in high spirits. 

As I had at first come up to Cambridge at Christmas, I was 
forced to keep two terms after passing my final examination, at 


the commencement of 1831 ; and Henslow then persuaded me 
to begin the study of geology. Therefore on my return to 
Shropshire I examined sections, and coloured a map of parts 
round Shrewsbury. Professor Sedgwick intended to visit 
North Wales in the beginning of August to pursue his famous 
geological investigations amongst the older rocks, and Henslow 
asked him to allow me to accompany him.* Accordingly he 
came and slept at my father's house. 

A short conversation with him during this evening produced 
a strong impression on my mind. Whilst examining an old 
gravel-pit near Shrewsbury, a labourer told me that he had found 
in it a large worn tropical Volute shell, such as may be seen 
on chimney-pieces of cottages ; and as he would not sell the 
shell, I was convinced that he had really found it in the pit. I 
told Sedgwick of the fact, and he at once said (no doubt truly) 
that it must have been thrown away by some one into the pit ; 
but then added, if really embedded there it would be the 
greatest misfortime to geology, as it would overthrow all that 
we know about the superficial deposits of the Midland Counties. 
These gravel-beds belong in fact to the glacial period, and in 
after years I found in them broken arctic shells. But I was 
then utterly astonished at Sedgwick not being delighted at so 
wonderful a fact as a tropical shell being found near the surface 
in the middle of England. Nothing before had ever made me 
thoroughly realise, though I had read various scientific books, 
that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or 
conclusions may be drawn from them. 

Next morning we started for Llangollen, Conway, Bangor, and 
Capel Curig. This tour was of decided use in teaching me a 
little how to make out the geology of a country. Sedgwick 
often sent me on a line parallel to his, telling me to bring back 
Bpecimens of the rocks and to mark the stratification on a map. 
I have little doubt that he did this for my good, as I was too 
ignorant to have aided him. On this tour I had a striking 
instance how easy it is to overlook phenomena, however con- 
spicious, before they have been observed by any one. We 
Bpent many hours in Cwm Idwal, examining all the rocks with 
extreme care, as Sedgwick was anxious to find fossils in them ; 

* In connection with this tour my father used to tell a story about 
Sedgwick : they had started from their inn one morning, and had walked 
a mile or two, when Sedgwick suddenly stopped, and vowed that he would 
return, being certain " that damned scoundrel " (the waiter) had not given 
the chambermaid the sixpence intrusted to hira for the purpose. He was 
ultimately persuaded to give up the project, seeing that there was no 
reason for suspecting the waiter of perfidy. — F. D. 

Ch. IL] voyage. ' 26 

but neither of us saw a trace of the wonderful glacial pheno- 
mena all around us; we did not notice the plainly scored 
rocks, the perched boulders, the lateral and terminal moraines. 
Yet these phenomena are so conspicuous that, as I declared in 
a paper published many years afterwards in the PhilosojpMcal 
Magazine,'* a house burnt down by firo did not tell its story 
more plainly than did this valley. If it had still been filled 
by a glacier, the phenomena would have been loss distinct than 
they now are. 

At Capel Curig I left Sedgwick and went in a straight 
line by compass and map across the mountains to Barmouth, 
never following any track unless it coincided with my course. 
I thus came on some strange wild places, and enjoyed much 
this manner of travelling. I visited Barmouth to see some 
Cambridge friends who were reading there, and thence returned 
to Shrewsbury and to Maer for shooting ; for at that time I 
should have thought myself mad to give up the first days of 
partridge-shooting for geology or any other science. 

Voyage of the * Beagle ' ; from December 27, 1831, <o Ochher 2, 


On returning homo from my short geological tour in North 
Wales, I found a letter from Henslow, informing me that 
Captain Fitz-Roy was willing to give up part of his own cabin 
to any young man who would volimteer to go with him without 
pay as naturalist to the Voyage of the Beagle. I have given, 
as I believe, in my MS. Journal an account of all tho circum- 
stances which then occurred ; I will here only say that I was 
instantly eager to accept the offer, but my father strongly 
objected, adding the words, fortunate for me, " If you can find 
any man of common-sense who advises you to go I will give 
my consent." So I wrote that evening and refused the offer. On 
the next morning I went to Maer to be ready for September 1st, 
and whilst out shooting, my uncle | sent for me, offering to 
di'ive me over to Shrewsbury and talk with my father, as my 
uncle thought it would be wise in me to accept the offer. My 
father always maintained that [my uncle] was one of the most 
sensible men in the world, and he at once consented in the 
kindest manner. I had been rather extravagant at Cambridge, 
and to console my father, said, " that T should be deuced clever 
to spend more than my allowance whilst on board the Beagle ; " 
but he answered with a smile, " But they tell me you are very 

♦ Fhdlosophical Magazine^ 1842. f Josiah Wedgwood. 


Next day I started for Cambridge to see Henslow, and thence 
to London to see Fitz-Eoy, and all was soon arranged. After- 
wards, on becoming very intimate with Fitz-Roy, I beard that 
I had run a very narrow risk of being rejected on account of 
the shape of my nose I He was an ardent disciple of Lavater, 
and was convinced that he could judge of a man's character by 
the outline of his features ; and he doubted whether any one 
with my nose could possess sufficient energy and determination 
for the voyage. But I think he was afterwards well satisfied 
that my nose had spoken falsely. 

Fitz-Roy's character was a singular one, with very many 
noble features : he was devoted to his duty, generous to a fault, 
bold, determined, and indomitably energetic, and an ardent 
friend to all under his sway. He would undertake any sort of 
trouble to assist those whom ho thought deserved assistance. 
He was a handsome man, strikingly like a gentleman, with 
highly-courteous manners, which resembled those of his maternal 
uncle, the famous Lord Castlereagh, as I was told by tho 
Minister at Rio. Nevertheless he must have inherited much 
in his appearance from Charles II., for Dr. Wallich gave me 
a collection of photographs which ho had made, and I was 
struck with the resemblance of one to Fitz-Roy; and on 
looking at the name, I found it Ch. E. Sobieski Stuart, Count 
d'Albanie,* a descendant of the same monarch. 

Fitz-Roy's temper was a most unfortunate one. It was 
usually worst in the early morning, and with his eagle eye he 
could generally detect something amiss about the ship, and 
was then unsparing in his blame. He was very kind to me, 
but was a man very difficult to livo with on the intimate terras 
which necessarily followed from our messing by ourselves in 
the same cabin. We had several quarrels ; for instance, early 
in the voyage at Bahia, in Brazil, he defended and praised 
slavery, which I abominated, and told me that he had just 
visited a great slave-owner, who had called up many of his 
slaves and asked them whether they were happy, and whether 
they wished to be free, and all answered " No." I then asked 
him, perhaps with a sneer, whether he thought that the answer 
of slaves in the presence of their master was worth anything ? 
This made him excessively angry, and he said that as I doubted 
his word we could not live any longer together. I thought 
that I should have been compelled to leave the ship ; but as 

♦ The Count d'Albanie*s claim to Royal descent has been shown to be 
based on a myth. See the Quarterly Beview, 1847, vol. Ixxxi. p. 83 ; also 
Hay ward's Biographical and Critical Edsaysy 1873, vol. ii. p. 201. 

Ch. II.] VOYAGE. 27 

Boon as the news spread, whicli it did quickly, as the captain 
sent for the first lieutenant to assuage his anger by abusing me, 
I was deeply gratified by receiving an invitation from all the 
gun-room officers to mess with them. But after a few hours 
Fitz-Koy showed his usual magnanimity by sending an officer 
to me with an apology and a request that I would continue to 
live with him. 

His character was in several resi>ects one of the most noble 
which I have ever known. 

The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important 
event in my life, and has determined my whole career ; yet it 
depended on so small a circumstance as my uncle oft'ering to 
drive mo thirty miles to Shrewsbury, which few uncles would 
have done, and on such a trifle as the shape of my nose. I 
have always felt that I owe to the voyage the first real training 
or education of my mind ; I was led to attend closely to 
several branches of natural history, and thus my powers of 
observation were improved, though they were always fairly 

The investigation of the geology of all the places visited was 
far more important, as reasoning here comes into play. On 
first examining a now district, nothing can appear more hope- 
less than the chaos of rocks ; but by recording the stratification 
and nature of the rocks and fossils at many points, always 
reasoning aud predicting what will be found elsewhere, light 
soon begins to dawn on the district, and the structure of the 
whole becomes more or less iutclligible. I liad brought with 
me the first volume of Lycll's Principles of Geology ^ which I 
studied attentively ; and the book was of the highest service to 
me in many ways. The very first place which I examined, 
namely, St. Jago, in the Cape de Verde islands, showed me 
clearly the wondei-ful superiority of Lyell's manner of treating 
geology, compared with that of any other author whose works 
1 had with me or ever afterwards read. 

Another of my occupations was collecting animals of all 
classes, briefly describing and roughly dissecting many of the 
marine ones ; but from not being able to draw, and from not 
having sufficient anatomical knowledge, a great pile of MS. 
which I made dui-ing the voyage has proved almost useless. 
I thus lost much time, with the exception of that spent in 
acquiring some knowledge of the Crustaceans, as this was of 
service when in after years I undertook a monograph of the 
Cirri pod; a. 

DiLrliig some part of the day I wrote my Journal, and took 
much pains in describing carefully and vividly all that I had 


seen ; and this was good practice. My Journal served also, in 
part, as letters to my home, and portions were sent to England 
whenever there was an opportunity. 

The above various special studies were, however, of no 
importance compared with the habit of energetic industry and 
of concentrated attention to whatever I was engaged in, which 
I then acquired. Everything about which I thought or read 
was made to bear directly on what I had seen or was likely to 
see; and this habit of mind was continued during the five 
years of the voyage. I feel sure that it was this train- 
ing which has enabled me to do whatever I have done in 
/- Looking backwards, I can now perceive how my love for 
/ science gradually preponderated over every other taste. 
During the first two years my old passion for shooting 
survived in nearly full force, and I shot myself all the birds 
and animals for my collection ; but gradually I gave up my 
\ gun more and more, and finally altogether, to my servant, 
\ as shooting interfered with my work, more especially with 
j making out the geological structure of a country. I discovered, 
\ though unconsciously and insensibly, that the pleasure of 
/ observing and reasoning was a much higher one than that 
of skill and sport. That my mind became developed through 
my pursuits during the voyage is rendered probable by a 
remark made by my fiither, who was the most acute observer 
whom I ever saw, of a sceptical disposition, and far from 
being a believer in phrenology ; for on first seeing me after the 
voyage, he turned round to my sisters, and exclaimed, " Why, 
the shape of his head is quite altered." 

To return to the voyage. On September 11th (1831), I 
paid a flying visit with Fitz-Roy to the Beagle at Plymouth. 
Thence to Shrewsbury to wish my father and sisters a long 
farewell. On October 24th I took up my residence at 
Plymouth, and remained there until December 27th, when 
the Beagle finally left the shores of England for her circum- 
navigation of the world. We made two earlier attempts to 
sail, but were driven back each time by heavy gales. These 
two months at Plymouth were the most miserable which 
I ever spent, though I exerted myself in various ways. I was 
out of spirits at the thought of leaving all my family and 
friends for so long a time, and the weather seemed to me 
inexpressibly gloomy. I was also troubled with palpitation 
and pain about the heart, and like many a young ignorant 
man, especially one with a smattering of medical knowledge, 
was convinced that I had heart disease. I did not consult any 

Oh. n.] VOYAGE. 29 

doctor, as I fully expected to hear the verdict that I was not 
fit for the voyage, and I was resolved to go at all hazards. 

I need not here refer to the events of the voyage — where we 
went and what we did — as I have given a sufiiciently full 
account in my published Journal. The glories of the 
vegetation of the Tropics rise before my mind at the present 
time more vividly than anything else ; though the sense of 
sublimity, which the great deserts of Patagonia and the 
forest-clad mountains of Ticrra del Fucgo excited in me, has 
left an indelible impression on my mind. The sight of a 
naked savage in his native land is an event which can never 
bo forgotten. Many of my excursions on horseback through 
wikl countries, or in the boats, some of which lasted several 
weeks, were deeply interesting ; their discomfort and some 
degree of danger were at that time hardly a drawback, and 
none at all afterwards. I also reflect with high satisfaction 
on some of my scientific work, such as solving the problem of 
coral islands, and making out the geological structure of 
certain islands, for instance, St. Helena. Nor must I pass 
over the discovery of the singular relations of the animals 
and plants inhabiting the several islands of the Galapagos 
archipelago, and of all of them to the inhabitants of South 

As far as I can judge of myself, I worked to the utmost 
during the voyage from the mere pleasure of investigation, 
and from my strong desire to add a few facts to the great mass 
of facts in Natural Science. But I was also ambitious to take 
a fair place among scientific men, — whether more ambitious 
or loss so than most of my fellow- workers, I can form no 

The geology of St. Jago is very striking, yet simple : a 
stream of lava formerly flowed over the bed of the sea, formed 
of triturated recent shells and corals, which it has baked into 
a hard white rock. Since then the whole island has been 
upheaved. But the line of white rock revealed to me a new 
and important fact, namely, that there had been afterwards 
subsidence round tbe craters, which had since been in action, 
and had poured forth lava. It then first dawned on me that I 
might perhaps write a book on the geology of the various 
countries visited, and this made me thrill with delight. That 
was a memorable hour to me, and how distinctly I can call to 
mind the low cliff of lava beneath which I rested, with the sun 
glaring hot, a few strange desert plants growing near, and 
with living corals in the tidal pools at my feet. Later in the 
voyage, Fitz-Eoy asked me to read some of my Journal, and 


declared it would be worth publishing ; bo here was a second 
book in prospect I 

Towards the close of our voyage I received a letter whilst 
at Ascension, in which my sisters told me that Sedgwick had 
called on my father, and said that I should take a place among 
the leading scientific men. I could not at the time under- 
stand how he could have learnt anything of my proceedings, 
but 1 heard (I believe afterwards) that Henslow had read 
some of the letters which I wrote to him before the Philo- 
sophical Society of Cambridge,* and had printed them for 
private distribution. My collection of fossil bones, which 
had been sent to Heiislow, also excited considerable atten- 
tion amongst palieontologists. After reading this letter, I 
clambered over the mountains of Ascension with a bounding 
step and made the volcanic rocks resound under my geological 
hammer. All this shows how ambitious I was ; but I think 
that I can say with truth that in after years, though I cared 
in the highest degree for the approbation of such men as 
Lyell and Hooker, who were my friends, I did not care much 
about the general public. I do not mean to say that a 
favourable review or a large sale of my books did not please 
me greatly, but the pleasure was a fleeting one, and I am sure 
that I have never turned one inch out of my course to gain 

From my return to England (October 2, 183G) to my marriage 
(January 29, 1839). 

These two years and three months were the most active 
ones which I ever spent, though I was occasionally unwell, and 
so lost some time. After going backwards and forwards several 
times between Shrewsbury, Maer, Cambridge, and London, 
I settled in lodgings at Cambridge f on December 13th, 
where all my collections were under the care of Henslow. 
I stayed here three months, and got my minerals and rocks 
examined by the aid of Professor Miller. 

I began preparing my Journal of TraveUy which was not 
hard work, as my MS. Journal had been written with care, and 
my chief labour was making an abstract of my more interesting 
scientific results. I sent also, at the request of Lyell, a short 
account of my observations on the elevation of the coast of 
Chili to the Geological Society.! 

* Read at the meeting held November 16, 1835, and printed in a 
pamphlet of 31 pp. for distribution among the members of the Society, 
t la Fitzwilliam Street. 
X Geolog. Sac. Proc. ii. 1838, pp. 446-449. 

Ch. IL] LONDON. 31 

On March 7th, 1837, 1 took lodgings in Great Marlborough 
Street in London, and remained there for nearly two years, 
until I was mariied. During these two years I finished my 
Journal, read several papers before the Geological Society, 
began piepaiing the MS. for my Geological Observations^ and 
arranged for the publication of the Zoology of the Voyage of 
the Beagle. In July I opened my first note-book for facts 
in relation to the Origin of Species, about which I had long 
reflected, and never ceased working for the next twenty years. 

During these two years I also went a little into society, and 
acted as one of the honorary secretaries of the Geological 
Society. I saw a great deal of Lyell. One of his chief 
characteristics was his sympathy ^vith the work of others, 
and I was as much astonished as deliglitcd at the interest 
which he showed when, on my return to England, I explained 
to him my views on coral reefs. This encouraged me greatly, 
and his advice and example had much influence on me. 
During this time I saw also a good deal of Robert Brown ; 
I used often to call and sit with him during his breakfast 
on Sunday mominp^s, and he poured forth a rich treasure 
of curious observations and acute remarks, but they almost 
always related to minute points, and he never with me 
discussed large or general questions in science. 

During these two years I took several short excursions as a 
relaxation, and one longer one to the parallel roads of Glen 
Roy, an account of which was published in the Philosophical 
Transactions.* This paper was a great failure, and I am 
ashamed of it. Having been deeply impressed with what I 
had seen of the elevation of the land in South America, I 
attributed the parallel lines to the action of the sea ; but I had 
to give up this view when Agassiz propounded his glacier-lake 
theory. Because no other explanation was possible under our 
then state of knowledge, I argued in favour of sea-action ; and 
my error has been a good lesson to me never to trust in science 
to the principle of exclusion. 

As I was not able to work all day at science, I read a good 
deal during these two years on various subjects, including some 
metaphysical books ; but I was not well fitted for such studies. 
About this time I took much delight in Wordsworth's and 
Coleridge's poetry ; and can boast that I read the Excursion 
twice through. Formerly Milton's Paradise Lost had been 
my chief favourite, and in my excursions during the vovage of 
the Beagle, when I could take only a single volume, I always 
chose Milton. ^ 

♦ 1839, pp. 39-82. 


From my marriage, January 29, 1839, a7id residence in Upper 
Gower Street, to our leaving London and settling at Down, 
September 14, 1842. 

[After speaking of his happy married life, and of his 
children, he continues :] 

During the three years and eight months whilst we resided 
in London, I did less scientific work, though I worked as hard 
as I possibly could, than during any other equal length of time 
in my life. This was owing to frequently recurring un- 
wellness, and to one long and serious illness. The greater 
part of my time, when I could do anything, was devoted to my 
work on Coral Beefs, which I had begun before my marriage, 
and of which the last proof-sheet was corrected on May 6th, 
1842. This book, though a small one, cost me twenty months 
of hard work, as I had to read every work on the islands of 
the Pacific and to consult many charts. It was thought 
highly of by scientific men, and the theory therein given is, I 
think, now well established. 

No other work of mine was begun in so deductive a spirit as 
this, for the whole theory was thought out on the west coast of 
South America, before I had seen a true coral reef. I Iiad 
therefore only to verify and extend my views by a cartful 
examination of living reefs. But it should be observed that I 
had during the two previous years been incessantly attending 
to the effects on the shores of South America of the inter- 
mittent elevation of the land, together with denudation 
and the deposition of sediment. This necessarily led me to 
reflect much on the effects of subsidence, and it was easy to 
replace in imagination the continued deposition of sediment by 
the upward growth of corals. To do this was to form my 
theory of the formation of barrier-reefs and atolls. 

Besides my work on coral-reefs, during my residence in 
London, I read before the Geological Society papers on the 
Erratic Boulders of South America,* on Earthquakes,! and on 
the Formation by the Agency of Earth-worms of Mould. { I 
also continued to superintend the publication of the Zoology of 
the Voyage of the Beagle. Nor did I ever intermit collecting 
facts bearing on the origin of species ; and I could sometimes 
do this when I could do nothing else from illness. 

In the summer of 1842 I was stronger than I had been for 
some time, and took a little tour by myself in North Wales, 
for the sake of observing the effects of the old glaciers which 

♦ Geolog. Soc. Proc. iii. 1842. t Gtolog. Trans, v. 1840. 

X Geolog. Soc. Proe. ii. 1838. 

Ch. n] LYELL. 33 

formerly filled all tlio larger valleys. I published a short 
account of what I saw in the Philosophical Magazine.* This 
excursion interested me greatly, and it was the last time I was 
ever strong enough to climb mountains or to take long walks 
such as are necessary for geological work. 

During the early part of our life in London, I was strong 
enough to go into general society, and saw a good deal of 
several scientific men and other more or less distinguished 
men. I will give my impressions with respect to some of them, 
though I have little to say worth saying. 

I saw more of Lyell than of any other man, both before and 
after my marriage. His mind was characterised, as it appeared 
to me, by clearness, caution, sound judgment, and a good deal 
of originality. When I made any remark to him on Geology, 
he never rested until he saw the whole case clearly, and often 
made me see it more clearly than I had done before. He would 
advance all possible objections to my suggestion, and even after 
these were exhausted would long remain dubious. A second 
characteristic was his hearty sympathy with the work of other 
scientific men.f 

On my return from the voyage of the Beagle, I explained to 
him my views on coral-reefs, which diflfered from his, and 
I was greatly surprised and encouraged by the vivid interest 
which he showed. His delight in science was ardent, and he 
felt the keenest interest in the future progress of mankind. 
He was very kind-heai-tcd, and thoroughly liberal in his 
religious beliefs, or rather disbeliefs ; but he was a strong 
theist. His candour was highly remarkable. He exhibited 
this by becoming a convert to the Descent theory, though he 
had gained much fame by opposing Lamarck's views, and this 
after he had grown old. He reminded me that I had many 
years before said to him, when discussing the opposition of the 
old school of geologists to his new views, " What a good thing 
it would be if every scientific man was to die when sixty years 
old, as afterwards he would be sure to oppose all new doctrines." 
But he hoped that now he might be allowed to live. 

The science of Geology is enormously indebted to Lyell — 
more so, as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived. 
When [I was] starting on the voyage of the Beagle, the 
sagacious Henslow, who, like all other geologists, believed at 
that time in successive cataclysms, advised me to get and study 

* Philosophical Magazine, 1842. 

t The slight repetition here observable is accountefl for by the notes on 
Lyell, &c., having been added in April, 1881, a few years after the rest of 
the JiecoUectiam were written. — F. D. 


the first volume of the Principles, which had then just been 
published, but on no account to accept the views therein 
advocated. How differently would any one now speak of the 
Principles! I am proud to remember that the first place, 
namely, St. Jago, in the Cape de Verde Archipelago, in which 
I geologised, convinced me of the infinite superiority of Lyell's 
views over those advocated in any other work known to me. 

The powerful effects of Lyell's works could formerly be 
plainly seen in the different progress of the science in France 
and England. The present total oblivion of Elie de Beau- 
mont's wild hypotheses, such as his Craters of Elevation and 
Lines of Elevation (which latter hypothesis I heard Sedgwick at 
the Geological Society lauding to the skies), may be largely 
attributed to Lyell. 

I saw a good deal of Robert Brown, "facile Princeps 
Botanicorum," as he was called by Humboldt. He seemed to 
me to be chiefly remarkable for the minuteness of his observa- 
tions and their perfect accuracy. His knowledge was extra- 
ordinarily great, and much died with him, owing to his 
excessive fear of ever making a mistake. He poured out his 
knowledge to me in the most unreserved manner, yet was 
strangely jealous on some points. I called on hira two or three 
times before the voyage of the Beagle, and on one occasion he 
asked me to look through a microscope and describe what I 
saw. This I did, and believe now that it was the marvellous 
currents of protoplasm in some vegetable cell. I then asked 
him what I had seen ; but he answered me, " That is my little 

He was capable of the most generous actions. When old, 
much out of health, and quite unfit for any exertion, he daily 
visited (as Hooker told me) an old man-servant, who lived at a 
distance (and whom he supported), and read aloud to him. 
This is enough to make up for any degree of scieiitific 
penuriousness or jealousy. 

I may here mention a few other eminent men whom I have 
occasionally seen, but I have little to say about tliem worth 
saying. I felt a high reverence for Sir J. Herschel, and was 
delighted to dine with him at his charming house at the Cape 
of Good Hope and afterwards at his London house. I saw him, 
also, on a few other occasions. He never talked much, but 
every word which he uttered was worth listening to. 

I once met at breakfast, at Sir R. Murchison's house, the 
illustrious Humboldt, who honoured me by expressing a wish 
to see me. I was a little disappointed with the great man, but 
my anticipations probably were too high. I can remember 


nothing distinctly about our interview, except that Humboldt 
was very cheerful and talked much. 

X.* reminds me of Buckle, whom I once met at Hensleigh 
Wedgwood's. I was very glad to learn from [Buckle] his system 
of collecting facts. He told me that he bought all the books 
which he read, and made a full index to each, of the facts which 
he thought might prove serviceable to him, and that he could 
always remember in what book he had read anything, for his 
memory was wondciful. I asked him how at first he could 
judge what facts would be serviceable, and he answered that he 
did not know, but that a sort of instinct guided him. From 
this habit of making indices, he was enabled to give the 
astonishing number of references on all sorts of subjects which 
may be found in his History of Civilisation. This book I 
thought most interesting, and read it twice, but I doubt 
whether his generalisations are worth anything. Buckle was a 
great talker ; and I listened to him, saying hardly a word, nor 
indeed could I have done so, for he left no gaps. When Mrs. 
Farrer began to sing, I jumped up and said that I must listen 
to her. After I had moved away, he turned round to a friend, 
and said (as was overheard by my brother), "Well, Mr. 
Darwin's books are much better than his conversation." 

Of other great literary men, I once met Sydney Smith at 
Dean Milman's house. There was something inexplicably 
amusing in every word which he uttered. Perhaps this was 
partly due to the expectation of being amused. He was talking 
about Lady Cork, who was then extremely old. This was the 
lady who, as he said, was once so much affected by one of his 
charity sermons, that she harrowed a guinea from a friend to put 
in the plate. He now said, " It is generally believed that my 
dear old friend Lady Cork has been overlooked " ; and he Baid 
this in such a manner that no one could for a moment doubt 
that he meant that his dear old friend had been overlooked by 
the devil. How he managed to express this I know not. 

I likewise once met Macaulay at Lord Stanhope's (the 
historian's) house, and as there was only one other man at 
dinner, I had a grand opportunity of hearing him converse, and 
he was very agreeable. He did not talk at all too much, nor 
indeed could such a man talk too much, as long as he allowed 
others to turn the stream of his conversation, and this he did 

Lord Stanhope once gave me a curious little proof of the 
accuracy and fidness of Macaulay's memory. Many historians 

♦ A passage referring to X. is here omitted. — F. D. 

D 2 


used often to meet at Lord Stanhope's house ; and, in discussing 
various subjects, they would sometimes differ from Macaulay, 
and formerly they often referred to some book to see who was 
right ; but latterly, as Lord Stanhope noticed, no historian ever 
took this trouble, and whatever Macaulay said was final. 

On another occasion I met at Lord Stanhope's house one of 
his parties of historians and other literary men, and amongst 
them were Motley and Grote. After luncheon I walked about 
Chevening Park for nearly an hour wdth Grote, and was much 
interested by his conversation and pleased by the simplicity and 
absence of all pretension in his manners. 

Long ago I dined occasionally with the old Earl, the father 
of the historian. He was a strange man, but what little I knew 
of him I liked much. He was frank, genial, and pleasant. 
He had strongly-marked features, with a brown complexion, 
and his clothes, when I saw him, were all brown. He seemed 
to believe in everything which was to others utterly incredible. 
He said one day to me, " Why don't you give up your fiddle- 
faddle of geology and zoology, and turn to the occult sciences ? " 
The historian, then Lord Mahon, seemed shocked at such a 
speech to me, and his charming wife much amused. 

The last man whom I will mention is Carlyle, seen by mo 
several times at my brother's house and two or three times at 
my own house. His talk was very racy and interesting, just 
like his writings, but he sometimes went on too long on tho 
same subject. I remember a funny dinner at my brother's, 
where, amongst a few others, were Babbage and Lyell, both of 
whom liked to talk. Carlyle, however, silenced every one by 
haranguing during the whole dinner on the advantages of 
silence. After dinner, Babbage, in his grimmest manner, 
thanked Carlyle for his very interesting lecture on silence. 

Carlyle sneered at almost every one : One day in my house 
he called Grote's History "a fetid quagmire, with nothing 
spiritual about it." I always thought, until his Beminiscencea 
appeared, that his sneers were partly jokes, but this now seems 
rather doubtful. His expression was that of a depressed, 
almost despondent, yet benevolent man, and it is notorious how 
heartily he laughed. I believe that his benevolence was real, 
though stained by not a little jealousy. No one can doubt 
about his extraordinary power of drawing pictures of things and 
men — far more vivid, as it appears to me, than any drawn by 
Macaulay. Whether his pictures of men were true ones is another 

He has been all-powerful in impressing some grand moral 
truths on the minds of men. On the other hand, his views 

Ch. n.] DOWN. 87 

about slavery were revolting. In his eyes might -vras right. 
His mind seemed to me a very narrow one ; even if all branches 
of science, which he despised, are excluded. It is astonishing 
to me that Kingsley should have spoken of him as a man well 
fitted to advance science. He laughed to scorn the idea that a 
mathematician, such as Whewell, could judge, as I maintained 
he could, of Goethe's views on light. He thought it a most 
ridiculous thing that any one should care whether a glacier 
moved a little quicker or a little slower, or moved at all. As 
far as I could judge, I never met a man with a mind so ill 
adapted for scientific research. 

Whilst living in London, I attended as regularly as I could 
the meetings of several scientific societies, and acted as secretary 
to the Geological Society. But such attendance, and ordinary 
society, suited my health so badly that we resolved to live 
in the country, which wo both preferred and have never 
repented of. 

Residence at Down j from September 14, 1842, to the 
prei-ent time, 1876. 

After several fruitless searches in Surrey and elsewhere, we 
foimd this house and purchased it. I was pleased with the 
diversified appearance of the vegetation proper to a chalk 
district, and so unlike what I had been accustomed to in the 
Midland counties; and still more pleased with the extreme 
quietness and rusticity of the place. It is not, however, quite 
so retired a place as a writer in a German periodical makes 
it, who says that my house can be approached only by a mule- 
track I Our fixing ourselves here has answered admirably in 
one way which we did not anticipate, namely, by being very 
convenient for frequent visits from our children. 

Few persons can have lived a more retired life than we have 
done. Besides short visits to the houses of relations, and 
occasionally to the seaside or elsewhere, we have gone nowhere. 
During the first part of our residence we went a little into 
society, and received a few friends here ; but my health almost 
always suff'ered from the excitement, violent shivering and 
vomiting attacks being thus brought on. I have therefore 
been compelled for many years to give up all dinner-parties ; 
and this has been somewhat of a deprivation to me, as such 
parties always put me into high spirits. From the same 
cause I have been able to invite here very few scientific 

My chief enjoyment and sole employment throughout life 


has been scientific work, and tlie excitement from sucli work 
makes me for the time forget, or drives quite away, my daily 
discomfort. I have therefore nothing to record during the 
rest of my life, except the publication of my several books. 
Perhaps a few details how they arose may be worth giving. 

My several Puhlications. — In the early part of 1844, my 
observations on the volcanic islands visited during the voyage 
of the Beagle were published. In 1845, 1 took much pains 
in correcting a new edition of my Journal of Besearches, 
which was originally published in 1839 as part of Fitz-Eoy's 
work. The success of this my fii-st literary child always 
tickles my vanity more than that of any of my other books. 
Even to this day it sells steadily in England and the United 
States, and has been translated for the second time into 
German, and into French and other languages. This success 
of a book of travels, especially of a scientific one, so many years 
after its first publication, is surprising. Ten thousand copies 
have been sold in England of the second edition. In 1846 
my Geological Observations on South America were published. 
I record in a little diary, which I have always kept, that my 
three geological books (Coral Beefs included) consumed four 
and a liaK years' steady work ; " and now it is ten years since 
my return to England. How much time have I lost by 
illness ? " I have nothing to say about these three books 
except that to my surprise new editions have lately been 
called for.* 

In October, 1846, 1 began to work on *Cirripedia* (Barnaclesi 
When on the coast of Chile, I found a most curious form, whicn 
burrowed into shells of Concholepas, and which differed so 
much from all other Girripedes that I had to form a new sub- 
order for its sole reception. Lately an allied burrowing genus 
has been found on the shores of Portugal. To understand the 
structure of my new Cinipede I had to examine and dissect 
many of the common forms : and this gradually led me on to 
take up the whole group. I worked steadily on the subject 
for the next eight years, and ultimately published two thick 
volumes,f describing all the known living species, and two thin 
quartos on the extinct species. I do not doubt that Sir E. 
Lytton Bulwer had me in his mind when he introduced in one 
of his novels a Professor Long, who had written two huge 
Volumes on limpets. 

Although I was employed during eight years on this work, 
yet I record in my diary that about two years out of this time 

* Geological Observations, 2nd Edit. 1876. Coral Beefs, 2nd Edit. 1874 
f Published by the Eay Society. 

Oh. n.] BARNACLES. 89 

was lost by illness. On this account I went in 1848 for some 
months to Malvern for hydropathic treatment, which did me 
much good, so that on my return home I was able to resume 
work. So much was I out of health that when my dear father 
died on November 13th, 1848, I was unable to attend his 
funeral or to act as one of his executors. 

My work on the Cirripedia possesses, I think, considerable 
value, as besides describing several new and remarkable forms, 
I made out the homologies of the various parts — I discovered 
the cementing apparatus, though I blundered dreadfiilly about 
the cement glands — and lastly I proved the existence in certain 
genera of minute males complemental to and parasitic on the 
hermaphrodites. This latter discovery has at last been fully 
confirmed ; though at one time a German writer was pleased 
to attribute the whole account to my fertile imagination. The 
Cirripedes form a highly varying and difficult group of species 
to class ; and my work was of considerable use to me, when I 
had to discuss in the Origin of Species the principles of a 
natural classification. Nevertheless, I doubt whether the work 
was worth the consumption of so much time. 

From September 1854 I devoted my whole time to arranging 
my huge pile of notes, to observing, and to experimenting in 
relation to the transmutation of species. During the voyage ol 
the Beagle I had been deeply impressed by discovering in the 
Pampean formation great fossil animals covered with armour 
like that on the existing armadillos ; secondly, by the manner 
in which closely allied animals replace one another in pro- 
ceeding southwards over the Continent ; and thirdly, by the 
South American character of most of the productions of the 
Galapagos archipelago, and more especially by the manner in 
which they difier slightly on each island of the group ; none of 
the islands appearing to be very ancient in a geological sense. 

It was evident that such facts as these, as well as many 
others, could only be explained on the supposition that species \ 
gradually become modified ; and the subject haunted me. But 
it was equally evident that neither the action of the surrounding 
conditions, nor the will of the organisms (especially in the case 
of plants) could account for the innumerable cases in which 
organisms of every kind are beautifully adapted to their habits 
of life — for instance, a woodpecker or a tree-frog to climb trees, 
or a seed for dispersal by hooks or plumes. I Lad always been 
much struck by such adaptations, and until these could be 
explained it seemed to me almost useless to endeavour to prove 
by indirect evidence that species have been modified. 

After my return to England it appeared to me that by 


following the example of Lyell in Geology, and by collecting 
all facts which bore in any way on the variation of animals 
and plants under domestication and nature, some light might 
perhaps be thrown on the whole subject. My first note-book 
was opened in July 1837. I worked on true Baconian prin- 
-ciples, and without any theory collected facts on a wholesale 
scale, more especially with respect to domesticated productions, 
by printed enquiries, by conversation with skilful breeders and 
gardeners, and by extensive reading. When I see the list of 
books of all kinds which I read and abstracted, including 
whole series of Journals and Transactions, I am surprised at 
my industry. I soon perceived that selection was the keystone 
of man's success in making useful races of animals and plants. 
But how selection could be applied to organisms living in a 
state of nature remained for some time a mystery to me. 

In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun 
my systematic enquiry, I happened to read for amusement 
Malthus on Poj[>ulation, and being well prepared to appreciate 
the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long- 
continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at 
once struck me that under these circumstances favourable 
variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones 
to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of 
new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which 
to work; but I was so anxious to avoid prejudice, that I 
determined not for some time to write even the briefest sketch 
of it. In June 1842 I first allowed myself the satisfaction of 
writing a very brief abstract of my theory in pencil in 35 
pages ; and this was enlarged during the summer of 1844 into 
one of 230 pages, which I had fairly copied out and still 

But at that time I overlooked one problem of great im- 
portance ; and it is astonishing to me, except on the principle 
of Columbus and his egg, how I could have overlooked it and 
its solution. This problem is the tendency in organic beings 
descended from the same stock to diverge in character as they 
become modified. That they have diverged greatly is obvious 
from the manner in which species of all kinds can be classed 
under genera, genera under families, families under sub-orders, 
and so forth ; and I can remember the very spot in the road, 
whilst in my carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to 
me; and this was long after I had come to Down. The 
solution, as I believe, is that the modified ofispring of all 
dominant and increasing forms tend to become adapted to 
aiany and highly diversified places in the economy of nature. 


Early in 1856 Lyell advised me to write out my views 
pretty fully, and I began at once to do so on a scale three or 
four times as extensive as that which was afterwards followed 
in my Origin of Species ; yet it was only an abstract of the 
materials which I had collected, and I got through about half 
the work on this scale. But my plans were overthrown, for 
early in the summer of 1858 Mr. Wallace, who was then in the 
Malay archipelago, sent me an essay On the Tendency of 
Varieties to depart indefinitely from the Original Type ; and this 
essay contained exactly the same theory as mine. Mr. Wallace 
expressed the wish that if I thought well of his essay, I should 
send it to Lyell for perusal. 

The circumstances under which I consented at the request 
of Lyell and Hooker to allow of an abstract from my MS., 
together with a letter to Asa Gray, dated September 5, 1857, 
to be published at the same time with Wallace's Essay, are 
given in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society y 
1858, p. 45. I was at first very unwilling to consent, as I 
thought Mr. Wallace might consider my doing so unjustifiable, 
for I did not then know how generous and noble was his 
disposition. The extract from my MS. and the letter to Asa 
Gray had neither been intended for publication, and were 
badly written. Mr. Wallace's essay, on the other hand, was 
admirably expressed and quite clear. Nevertheless, our joint 
productions excited very little attention, and the only published 
notice of them which I can remember was by Professor 
Haughton of Dublin, whoso verdict was that all that was new 
in them was false, and what was true was old. This shows 
how necessary it is that any new view should be explained at 
considerable length in order to arouse public attention. 

In September 1858 I set to work by the strong advice of 
Lyell and Hooker to prepare a volume on the transmutation of 
species, but was often interrupted by ill-health, and short 
visits to Dr. Lane's delightful hydropathic establishment at 
Moor Park. I abstracted the MS. begun on a much larger 
scale in 1856, and completed the volume on the same reduced 
scale. It cost me thirteen months and ten days' hard labour 
It was published under the title of the Origin of SpecieSi in 
November 1859. Though considerably added to and corrected 
in the later editions, it has remained substantially the same 

It is no doubt the chief work of my life. It was from the 
first highly successful. The first small edition of 1250 copies 
was sold on the day of publication, and a second edition of 
3000 copies soon afterwards. Sixteen thousand copies have 


now (1876) been sold in England ; and considering how stiff a 
book it is, this is a large sale. It has been translated into almost 
every European tongue, even into such languages as Spanish, 
Bohemian, Polish, and Russian. It has also, according to 
Miss Bird, been translated into Japanese,* and is there much 
studied. Even an essay in Hebrew has appeared on it, show- 
ing that the theory is contained in the Old Testament I The 
reviews were very numerous; for some time I collected all 
that appeared on the Origin and on my related books, and 
these amount (excluding newspaper reviews) to 265 ; but after 
a time I gave up the attempt in despair. Many separate 
essays and books on the subject have appeared; and in 
Germany a catalogue or bibliography on " Darwinismus " has 
appeared every year or two. 

The success of the Origin may, I think, be attributed in 
large part to my having long before written two condensed 
sketches, and to my having finally abstracted a much larger 
manuscript, which was itself an abstract. By this means I was 
enabled to select the more striking facts and conclusions. I 
had, also, during many years, followed a golden rule, namely, 
that whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought 
came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to 
make a memorandum of it without fail and at once ; for I had 
found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far 
more apt to escape from the memory than favourable ones. 
Owing to this habit, very few objections were raised against 
my views which I had not at least noticed and attempted to 

It has sometimes been said that the success of the Origin 
proved " that the subject was in the air," or " that men's minds 
were prepared for it." I do not think that this is strictly true, 
for I occasionally sounded not a few naturalists, and never 
V happened to come across a single one who seemed to doubt about 
the permanence of species. Even Lyell and Hooker, though 
they would listen with interest to me, never seemed to agree. I 
ti'ied once or twice to explain to able men what I meant by 
Natural selection, but signally failed. What I believe was 
strictly true is that innumerable well-observed facts were 
stored in the minds of naturalists ready to take their proper 
places as soon as any theory which would receive them was 
sufficiently explained. Another element in the success of the 
book was its moderate size ; and this I owe to the appearance 
of Mr. Wallace's essay ; had I published on the scale in which 

♦ Miss Bird is mistaken, as I learn from Professor Mitsukuil— F. D. 

Ch. n.] * ORIGIN OP SPECIES.* - 43 

I began to write in 1856, the book would have been four or 
five times as large as the Origin, and very few would have had 
the patience to read it. 

I gained much by my delay in publishing from about 1839, 
when the theory was clearly conceived, to 1859 ; and I lost 
nothing by it, for I cared very little whether men attributed 
niost originality fo nje or Wallaco; and his essay no doubt 
aided in the reception of tho theory. I was forestalled in only 
one imporlaiir point,' "whicli my vanity has always made me 
regret7hamely^the expTanation by means of the Glacial period 
of the presence of the same species of plants ami of some few 
animals on distant mountain summits and in tho arctic regions. 
This view pleased me so much that I wrote it out in extenso, 
and I believe that it was read by Hooker some years before 
E. Forbes published his celebrated memoir* on tho subject. 
In the very few points in which we differed, I still think that 
I was in the right. I have never, of course, alluded in print 
to my having independently worked out this view. 

Hardly any point gave me so much satisfaction when I was 
at work on the Origiriy as the explanation of the wide difference 
in paany classes between the embryo and the'adult animal, and 
of the close resemblance of the embryos within the same class. 
No notice of this point was taken, as far as I remember, in 
the early reviews of the Origin, and I recollect expressing my 
surprise on this head in a letter to Asa Gray. Within late 
years several reviewers have given the whole credit to Fritz 
Miiller and Hackel, who undoubtedly have worked it out much 
more fully, and in some respects more correctly than I did. 
I had materials for a whole chapter on tho subject, and I ought 
to have made tho discussion longer ; for it is clear that I failed 
to impress my readers; and he who succeeds in doing so 
deserves, in my opinion, all the credit. 

This leads me to remark that I have almost always been 
treated honestly by my reviewers, passing over those without 
scientific knowledge as not worthy of notice. My views have 
often been gi-ossly misrepresented, bitterly opposed and ridi- 
culed, but this has been generally done, as I believe, in good 
faith. On the whole I do not doubt that my works have been 
over and over again greatly overpraised. I rejoice that I have 
avoided controversies, and this I owe to LyeH, who many years 
ago, in reference to my geological works, strongly advised me 
never to get entangled in a controversy, as it rarely did any 
good and caused a miserable loss of time and temper. 

* Geolog. Survey Mem., 1846. 


Whenever I have found out that I have blundered, or that 
my work has been imperfect, and when I have been con- 
temptuously criticised, and even when I have been overpraised, 
BO that I have felt mortified, it has been my greatest comfort 
to say hundreds of times to myself that " I have worked as 
hard and as well as I could, and no man can do more than 
this." I remember when in Good Success Bay, in Tierra del 
Fuego, thinking (and, I believe, that I wrote home to the 
effect) that I could not employ my life better than in adding a 
little to Natural Science. This I have done to the best of my 
abilities, and critics may say what they like, but they cannot 
destroy this conviction. 

During the two last months of 1859 I was fully occupied in 
preparing a second edition of the Origin, and by an enormous 
correspondence. On January 1st, 1860, 1 began arranging my 
notes for my work on the Variation of Animals and Plants under 
Domestication ; but it was not published until the beginning 
of 1868 ; the delay having been caused partly by frequent 
illnesses, one of which lasted seven months, and partly by 
being tempted to publish on other subjects which at the 
time interested me more. 

On May 15th, 1862, my little book on the Fertilisation of 
Orchids, which cost me ten months' work, was published : 
most of the facts had been slowly accumulated during several 
previous years. During the summer of 1839, and, I believe, 
during the previous summer, I was led to attend to the cross- 
fertilisation of flowers by the aid of insects, from having come 
to the conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, 
that crossing played an important part in keeping specific 
forms constant. I attended to the subject more or less during 
every subsequent summer ; and my interest in it was greatly 
enhanced by having procured and read in November 1841, 
through the advice of Robert Brown, a copy of C. K. Sprengel's 
wonderful book. Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur. For 
some years before 1862 I had specially attended to the fertili- 
sation of our British orchids ; and it seemed to me the best 
plan to prepare as complete a treatise on this group of plants as 
well as I could, rather than to utilise the great mass of matter 
which I had slowly collected with respect to other plants. 

My resolve proved a wise one ; for since the appearance of 
my book, a surprising number of papers and separate works on 
the fertilisation of all kinds of flowers have appeared ; and 
these are far better done than I could possibly have effected. 
The merits of poor old Sprengel, so long overlooked, are now 
fully recognised many years after his death. 

Oh. n.]l ORCHIDS. 45 

During the same year I published in the Journal of the 
Ltnnean Society, a paper On the Two Forms, or Dimorphic Con- 
dition of Primula, and during the next five years, five other 
papers on dimorphic and trimorphic plants. I do not think 
anything in my scientific life has given me so much satisfaction 
as making out the meaning of the structure of these plants. I 
had noticed in 1838 or 1839 the dimorphism of Linum Jlavum, 
and had at first thought that it was merely a case of unmeaning 
variability. But on examining the common species of Primula, 
I found that the two forms were much too regular and constant 
to be thus viewed. I therefore became almost convinced that 
the common cowslip and primrose were on the high-road to 
become dioecious ; — that the short pistil in the one form, and 
the short stamens in the other form were tending towards 
abortion. The plants were therefore subjected under this 
point of view to trial ; but as soon as the flowers with short 
pistils fertilised with pollen from the short stamens, were found 
to yield more seeds than any other of the four possible unions, 
the abortion-theory was knocked on the head. After some 
additional experiment, it became evident that the two forms, 
though both were perfect hermaphrodites, bore almost the same 
relation to one another as do the two sexes of an ordinary 
animal. With Lythrum we have the still more wonderful 
case of three forms standing in a similar relation to one 
another. I afterwards found that the offspring from the union 
of two plants belonging to the same forms presented a close 
and curious analogy with hybrids from the union of two 
distinct species. 

In the autumn of 1864 I finished a long paper on Climbing 
Plants, and sent it to the Linnean Society. The writing of 
this paper cost me four months : but I was so unwell when I 
received the proof-sheets that I was forced to leave them very 
badly and often obscurely expressed. The paper was little 
noticed, but when in 1875 it was corrected and published as a 
separate book it sold well. I was led to take up this subject 
by reading a short paper by Asa Gray, published in 1858. He 
sent me seeds, and on raising some plants I was so much 
fascinated and perplexed by the revolving movements of the 
tendrils and stems, which movements are really very simple, 
though appearing at first sight very complex, that I procured 
various other kinds of climbing plants, and studied the whole 
subject. I was all the more attracted to it, from not being at 
all satisfied with the explanation which Henslow gave us in his 
lectures, about twining plants, namely, that they had a natural 
tendency to grow up in a spire. This explanation proved quite 


erroneous. Some of the adaptations displayed by climbing 
plants are as beautiful as those of Orchids for ensuring cross- 

My Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication 
was begun, as already stated, in the beginning of 1860, but was 
not published until the beginning of 1868. It was a big book, 
and cost me four years and two months' hard labour. It gives 
all my observations and an immense number of facts collected 
from various sources, about our domestic productions. In the 
second volume the causes and laws of variation, inheritance, 
&c., are discussed, as far as our present state of knowledge per- 
mits. Towards the end of the work I give my well-abused 
hypothesis of Pangenesis. An unverified hypothesis is of 
little or no value ; but if any one should hereafter be led to 
make observations by which some such hypothesis could be 
established, I shall have done good service, as an astonishing 
number of isolated facts can be thus connected together aud 
rendered intelligible. In 1875 a second and largely corrected 
edition, which cost me a good deal of labour, was brought out. 

My Descent of Man was published in February 1871. As 
Boon as I had become, in the year 1837 or 1838, convinced that 
species were mutable productions, I could not avoid the belief 
that man must come under the same law. Accordingly I 
collected notes on the subject for my own satisfaction, and not 
for a long time with any intention of publishing. Although in 
the Origin of Species the derivation of any particular species is 
never discussed, yet I thought it best, in order that no honour- 
able man should accuse me of concealing my views, to add that 
by the work " light would be thrown on the origin of man and 
his history." It would have been useless, and injurious to the 
success of the book to have paraded, without giving any 
evidence, my conviction with respect to his origin. 

But when I found that many naturalists fully accepted the 
doctrine of the evolution of speeies, it seemed to me advisable 
to work up such notes as I possessed, and to publish a special 
treatise on the origin of man. I was the more glad to do so, as 
it gave me an opportunity of fully discussing sexual selection 
— a subject which had always greatly interested me. This 
subject, and that of the variation of our domestic productions, 
together with the causes and laws of variation, inheritance, and 
the intercrossing of plants, are the sole subjects which I have 
been able to write about in full, so as to use all the materials 
which I have collected. The Descent of Man took me three 
years to write, but then as usual some of this time was lost by 
iU-health, and some was consumed by preparing new editions 

Ch. n.] * DESCENT OP MAN.' 47 

and other minor works. A eecond and largely corrected edition 
of the Descent appeared in 1874. 

My book on the Expression of the Emotions in Men and 
Animals was published in the autumn of 1872. I had intended 
to give only a chapter on the subject in the Descent of Man, 
but as soon as I began to put my notes together, I saw that it 
would require a separate treatise. 

My first child was born on December 27th, 1839, and I at 
once commenced to make notes on the first dawn of the yarious 
expressions which he exhibited, for I felt convinced, even at 
this early period, that the most complex and fine shades of 
expression must all have had a gradual and natural origin. 
During tho summer of the following year, 1840, I read Sir 
C. Bell's admirable work on expression, and this greatly 
increased the interest which I felt in the subject, though I 
could not at all agree with his belief that various muscles 
had been specially created for the sake of expression. From 
this time forward I occasionally attended to the subject, both 
with respect to man and our domesticated animals. My book 
sold largely ; 5267 copies having been disposed of on the day 
of publication. 

In the summer of 1860 I was idling and resting near Hart- 
field, where two species of [Sundew] abound ; and I noticed 
that numerous insects had been entrapped by the leaves. I 
carried home some plants, and on giving them insects saw the 
movements of the tentacles, and this made me think it pro- 
bable that the insects were caught for some special purpose. 
Fortunately a crucial test occurred to me, that of placing a 
large number of leaves in various nitrogenous and non-nitro- 
genous fluids of equal density ; and as soon as I found that 
the former alone excited energetic movements, it was obvious 
that here was a fine new field for investigation. 

During subsequent years, whenever I had leisure, I pursued 
my experiments, and my book on Insectivorous Plants was 
published in July 1875 — that is sixteen years after my first 
observations. The delay in this case, as with all my other 
books, has been a great advantage to me ; for a man after a 
long interval can criticise his own work, almost as well as if 
it were that of another person. The fact that a plant should 
secrete, when properly excited, a fluid containing an acid and 
ferment, closely analogous to the digestive fluid of an animal, 
was certainly a remarkable discovery. 

During this autumn of 1876 I shall publish on the Effects 
of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom. This 
hook will form a complement to that on the Fertilisation of 


OrchidSf in whicli I showed how perfect were the means for 
cross-fertilisation, and here I shall show how important are 
the results. I was led to make, during eleven years, the 
numerous experiments recorded in this volume, by a mere 
accidental observation ; and indeed it required the accident to 
be repeated before my attention was thoroughly aroused to 
the remarkable fact that seedlings of self-fertilised parentage 
are inferior, even in the first generation, in height and vigour 
to seedlings of cross-fertilised parentage. I hope also to 
republish a revised edition of my book on Orchids, and here- 
after my papers on dimorphic and trimorphic plants, together 
with some additional observations on allied points which I 
never have had time to arrange. My strength will then 
probably be exhausted, and I shall be ready to exclaim " Nunc 

Written May Ist, ISSl.— The Effects of Cross- and Self- 
Fertilisation was published in the autumn of 1876 ; and the 
results there arrived at explain, as I believe, the endless and 
wonderful contrivances for the transportal of pollen from one 
plant to another of tbe same species. I now believe, how- 
ever, chiefly from the observations of Hermann Miillcr, that I 
ought to have insisted more strongly than I did on the many 
adaptations for self-fertiHsation ; though I was well aware of 
many such adaptations. A much enlarged edition of my 
Fertilisation of Orchids was published in 1877. 

In this same year The Different Forms of Flowers, dc, 
appeared, and in 1880 a second edition. This book consists 
chiefly of the several papers on Hetero-styled flowers origi- 
nally published by the Linnean Society, corrected, with 
much new matter added, together with observations on some 
other cases in which the same plant bears two kinds of flowers. 
As before remarked, no little discovery of mine ever gave me 
so much pleasure as the making out the meaning of hetero- 
styled flowers. The results of crossing such flowers in an 
illegitimate manner, I believe to be very important, as bearing 
on the sterility of hybrids ; although these results have been 
noticed by only a few persons. 

In 1879, 1 had a translation of Dr. Ernst Krause's Life of 
Erasmus JDarwin published, and I added a sketch of his 
character and habits from material in my possession. Many 
persons have been much interested by this little life, and I am 
surprised that only 800 or 900 copies were sold. 

In 1880 I published, with [my son] Frank's assistance our 
Power of Movement in Plants. This was a tough piece of 
work. The book bears somewhat the same relation to my 


little book on Climbing Plants, whicli Cross-Fertilisation did 
to the Fertilisation of Orchids; for in accordance with the 
principle of evolution it was impossible to account for climbing 
plants having been developed in so many widely different 
groups unless all kinds of plants possess some slight power 
of movement of an analogous kind. This I proved to be the 
case ; and I was further led to a rather wide generalisation, 
viz., that the great and important classes of movements, ex- 
cited by light, the attraction of gravity, &c., are all modified 
forms of the fundamental movement of circumnutation. It 
has always pleased me to exalt plants in the scale of organised 
beings ; and I therefore felt an especial pleasure in showing 
how many and what admirably well adapted movements the 
tip of a root possesses. 

I have now (May 1, 1881) sent to the printers the MS. of 
a little book on The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the 
Action of Worms. This is a subject of but small importance ; 
and I know not whether it will interest any readers,* but it 
has interested me. It is the completion of a short paper read 
before the Geological Society more than forty years ago, and 
has^royived old geological thoughts. 

r I have now mentioned all the books which I have published, 
land these have been the milestones in my life, so that little 
temains to be said. I am not conscious of any change in my 
mind during the last thirty years, excepting in one point pre- 
sently to be mentioned; nor, indeed, could any change have been 
expected unless one of general deterioration. But my father 
lived to his eighty- third year with his mind as lively as ever 
it was, and all his faculties undimmed ; and I hope that I 
may die before my mind fails to a sensible extent. I think 
that I have become a little more skilful in guessing riglit 
explanations and in devising experimental tests; but this 
may probably be the result of mere practice, and of a larger 
store of knowledge. I have as much difficulty as ever in 
expressing myself clearly and concisely; and this difficulty 
has caused me a very great loss of time; but it has had the 
compensating advantage of f(jrcing me to think long and 
intently about every sentence, and thus I have been led to 
see errors in reasoning and in my own observations ox those 
of others. 

^ There seems to be a sort of fatality in my mind leading 
me to put at first my statement or proposition in a wrong or 
awkward form. Formerly I used to think about my sentences 

♦ Between November 1881 and February 1884, 8500 copies were 
Bold.— F. D. 


before writing them down ; but for several years I have found 
that it saves time to scribble in a vile hand, whole pages as 
quickly as I possibly can, contracting half the words; and 
then correct deliberately. Sentences thus scribbled down are 
often better ones than I could have written deliberately. 

Having said thus much about my manner of writing, I will 
add that with my large books I spend a good deal of time 
over the general arrangement of the matter. I first make the 
rudest outline in two or three pages, and then a larger one 
in several pages, a few words or one word standing for a 
whole discussion or series of facts. Each one of these headings 
is again enlarged and often transferred before I begin to write 
in extenso. As in several of my books facts observed by 
others have been very extensively used, and as I have always 
had several quite distinct subjects in hand at the same time, 
I may mention that I keep from thirty to forty large port- 
folios, in cabinets with labelled shelves, into which I can at 
once put a detached reference or memorandum. I have bought 
many books, and at their ends I make an index of all the 
facts that concern my work ; or, if the book is not my own, 
write out a separate abstract, and of such abstracts I have 
a largo drawer full. Before beginning on any subject I look 
to all the short indexes and make a general and classified 
index, and by taking the one or more proper portfolios I have 
all the information collected during my life ready for use. 

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during 
the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or 
beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, 
Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave mo 
great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight 
in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also 
said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music 
very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endnre 
to read a line of poetry : I have tried lately to read Shake- 
speare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. 
I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music 
generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have 
been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain 
some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the 
exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, 
novels, which are works of the imagination, though not of 
a very high order, have been for years a wondeiful relief and 
pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising 
number have been read aloud to me, and I like all if mode- 
rately good, and if they do not end unhappily — against which 


a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, 
does not come into the first class unless it contains some 
person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman 
all the better. 

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic 
tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and 
travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may 
contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much 
as ever they did. My mind seems to have becoma a kind of 
machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of 
facts, but why this shoiild have caused tho atrophy of that part 
of the brain alpne^n which the hjglier tastes depend, I cannot 
conceive. A man with a mind more higbly organised or better 
constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suflfercd ; 
and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a ride to 
read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every 
week ; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would 
thus have been kept active through use. Tho loss of these 
tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly bo injui'iousta 
th6~inlellect, and more probably to the moral character, by i 
enfeebling the emotional paa:t of our Jiatme. _^ j 

My books have sold largely in England, have been translated 
into many languages, and passed through several editions in 
foreign countries. I have heard it said that the success of a 
work abroad is the best test of its enduring value. I doubt 
whether this is at all trustworthy ; but judged by this standard 
my name ought to last for a few years. Therefore it may bo 
worth while to try to analyse the mental qualities and the con- 
ditions on which my success has depended ; though I am aware * 
that no man can do this correctly. 

I have no great quickness of apprehension or wit which is so 
remarkable in some clever men, for instance, Huxley. I am 
therefore a poor critic : a paper or book, when first read, gene- 
rally excites my admiration, and it is only after considerable 
reflection that I perceive the weak points. My power to follow 
a long and purely abstract train of thought is very limited ; 
and therefore I could never have succeeded with metaphysics or 
mathematics. My memory is extensive, yet hazy : it suffices to 
make mo cautious by vaguely telling me that I have observed or 
read something opposed to the conclusion which I am drawing, 
or on the other hand in favour of it ; and after a time I can 
generally recollect where to search for my authority. So poor 
in one sense is my memory, that I have never been able to 
remember for more than a few days a single date or a line of 

B 2 


Some of my critics have said, " Oh, lie is a good observer, 
but he has no power of reasoning I " I do not think that this 
can be true, for the Origin of Species is one long argument from 
the beginning to the end, and it has convinced not a few able 
men. No one could have written it without having some power 
of reasoning. I have a fair share of invention, and of common 
sense or judgment, such as every fairly successful lawyer or 
doctor must have, but not, I believe, in any higher degree. 

On the favourable side of the balance, I think that I am 
superior to the common run of men in noticing things which 
easily escape attention, and in observing them carefully. My 
industry has been nearly as great as it could have been in the ob- 
servation and collection of facts. What is far more important, 
my love of natural science has been steady and ardent. 

This pure love has, however, been much aided by the 
ambition to be esteemed by my fellow naturalists. From my 
early youth I have had the strongest desire to understand 
or .explain whatever I observed, — that is, to group all facts 
under some general laws. These causes combined have given 
me the patience to reflect or ponder for any number of years 
over any unexplained problem. As far as I can judge, I am not 
apt to follow blindly the lead of other men. I have steadily 
endeavoured to keep my mind free so as to give up any hypo- 
thesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one 
on every subject), as soon as facts are shown to be opposed to 
it. Indeed, I have had no choice but to act in this manner, for 
with the exception of the Coral Keefs, I cannot remember a 
single first-formed hypothesis which had not after a time to be 
given up or greatly modified. This has naturally led me to 
distrust greatly, deductive reasoning in the mixed sciences. On 
the other hand, I am not very sceptical, — a frame of mind which 
I believe to be injurious to the progress of science. A good 
deal of scepticism in a scientific man is advisable to avoid 
much loss of time, [but] I have met with not a few men, who, 
I feel sure, have often thus been deterred from experiment or 
observations, which would have proved directly or indirectly 

In illustration, I will give the oddest case which I have 
known. A gentleman (who, as I afterwards heard, is a good 
local botanist) wrote to me from the Eastern counties that the 
seeds or beans of the common field-bean had this year every- 
where grown on the wrong side of the pod. I wrote back, 
asking for further information, as I did not understand what 
was meant ; but I did not receive any answer for a very long 
time. I then saw in two newspapers, one published in Kent 

Ch. n.] CURIOSITIES. 63 

and the other in Yorkshire, paragraphs stating that it was a 
most remarkable fact that " the beans this year had all grown 
on the wrong side." So I thought there must be some founda- 
tion for so genei-al a statement. Accordingly, I went to my 
gardener, an old Kentish man, and asked him whether he had 
heard anything about it, and he answered, " Oh, no, sir, it must 
be a mistake, for the beans grow on the wrong side only on leap- 
year." I then asked him how they grew in common years and 
how on leap-years, but soon found that he knew absolutely 
nothing of how they grew at any time, but he stuck to his 

After a time I heard from my first informant, who, with many 
apologies, said that he should not have written to me had he 
not heard the statement from several intelligent farmers ; but 
that he had since spoken again to every one of them, and not 
one knew in the least what he had himself meant. So that here 
a belief — if indeed a statement with no definite idea attached to 
it can be called a belief — had spread over almost the whole of 
England without any vestige of evidence. 

I have known in the course of my life only three intention- 
ally falsified statements, and one of these may have been a- 
hoax (and there have been several scientific hoaxes) which, 
however, took in an American Agricultural Journal. It related 
to the formation in Holland of a new breed of oxen by the 
crossing of distinct species of Bos (some of which I happen to 
know are sterile together), and the author had the impudence 
to state that he had corresponded with me, and that I had been 
deeply impressed with the importance of his result. The 
article was sent to me by the editor of an English Agricultural 
Journal, asking for my opinion before republishing it. 

A second case was an account of several varieties, raised by 
the author from several species of Primula, which had spon- 
taneously yielded a full complement of seed, although the 
parent plants had been carefully protected from the access of 
insects. This account was published before I had discovered 
the meaning of heterostylism, and thg whole statement must 
have been fraudulent, or there was neglect in excluding insects 
so gross as to be scarcely credible. 

The third case was more curious : Mr. Huth published in his 
book on ' Consanguineous Marriage ' some long extracts from a 
Belgian author, who stated that he had interbred rabbits in the 
closest manner for very many generations, without the least 
injurious effects. The account was published in a most respect- 
able Journal, that of the Eoyal Society of Belgium ; but I 
could not avoid feeling doubts — I hardly know why, except 


that there were no accidents of any kind, and my experience in 
breeding animals made me think this improbable. 

So with mnch hesitation I wrote to Professor Van Beneden, 
asking him whether the author was a trustworthy man. I soon 
heard in answer that the Society had been greatly shocked by 
discovering that the whole account was a fraud.* The writer 
had been publicly challenged in the journal to say where he 
had resided and kept his large stock of rabbits while carrying 
on his experiments, which must have consumed several years, 
and no answer could be extracted from him. 

My habits are methodical, and this has been of not a little 
use for my particular line of work. Lastly, I have had ample 
leisure from not having to earn my own bread. Even ill- 
health, though it has annihilated several years of my life, has 
saved me from the distractions of society and amusement. 

Therefore, my success as a man of science, whatever this may 
liave amounted to, has been determined, as far as I can judge, 
by complex and diversified mental qualities and conditions. Of 
these, the most important have been — the love of science — 
unbounded patience in long reflecting over any subject — indus- 
try in observing and collecting facts — and a fair share of 
invention as well as of common-sense. With such moderate 
abilities as I possess, it is truly surprising that I should have 
influenced to a considerable extent the belief of scientific men 
on some important points. 

♦ TliG falseness of the published statements on which Mr. Hutb relied 
were pointed out in a slip inserted iu all the unsold copies of hia book. 
The Marriage of near Kin. — F. D. 

( 65 ) 



My father in his published works was reticent on the matter 
of religion, and what ho has left on the subject was not 
written with a view to publication.* 

I believe that his reticence arose from several causes. He 
felt strongly that a man's religion is an essentially private 
matter, and one concerning himself alone. This is indicated 
by the following extract from a letter of 1879 : — | 

" What my own views may be is a question of no con- 
sequence to any one but myself. But, as you ask, I may state 
that my judgment often fluctuates ... In my most extreme 
fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of 
denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and 
more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an 
Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state 
of mind." 

He naturally shrank from wounding the sensibilities of 
others in religious matters, and he was also influenced by the 
consciousness that a man ought not to publish on a subject 
to which he has not given special and continuous thought. 
That he felt this caution to apply to himself in the matter of 
religion is shown in a letter to Dr. F. E. Abbott, of Cam- 
bridge, U.S. (September 6, 1871). After explaining that 
the weakness arising from bad health prevented him from 
feeling " equal to deep reflection, on the deepest subject 
which can fill a man's mind," he goes on to say : " With 
respect to my former notes to you, I quite forget their 
contents. I have to write many letters, and can reflect but 
little on what I write; but I fully believe and hope that 

♦ As an exception, may be mentioned, a few words of concurrence with 
Dr. Abbott's Truths f&r the TimeSy which my father allowed to be 
published in the Index. 

t Addressed to Mr. J. Fordyce, and published by him in his A$pecU of 
Scepticism J 1883. 


I have never written a word, whicli at tlie time I did not 
think; but I think you will agree with me, that anything 
which is to be given to the public ought to be maturely 
weighed and cautiously put. It never occurred to me that 
you would wish to print any extract from my notes : if it had, 
I would have kept a copy. I put ' private ' from habit, only 
as yet partially acquired, from some hasty notes of mine having 
been printed, which were not in the least degree worth printing, 
though otherwise unobjectionable. It is simply ridiculous to 
suppose that my former note to you would be worth sending 
to me, with any part marked which you desire to print ; but if 
you like to do so, I will at once say whether I should have 
any objection. I feel in some degree unwilling to express 
myself publicly on religious subjects, as I do not feel that I 
have thought deeply enough to justify any publicity." 

What follows is from another letter to Dr. Abbott (No- 
vember 16, 1871), in which my father gives more fully his 
reasons for not feeling competent to write on religious and 
moral subjects : — 

" I can say with entire truth that I feel honoured by your 
request that I should become a contributor to the Index, and 
am much obliged for the draft. I fully, also, subscribe to the 
proposition that it is the duty of every one to spread what he 
believes to be the truth ; and I honour you for doing so, with 
BO much devotion and zeal. But I cannot comply with your 
request for the following reasons ; and excuse me for giving 
them in some detail, as I should be very sorry to appear in 
your eyes ungracious. My health is very weak : I never pass 
24 hours without many hours of discomfort, when I can do 
nothing whatever. I have thus, also, lost two whole consecutive 
months this season. Owing to this weakness, and my head 
being often giddy, I am unable to master new subjects re- 
quiring much thought, and can deal only with old materials. 
At no time am I a quick thinker or writer : whatever I have 
done in science has solely been by long pondering, patience 
and industry. 

" Now I have never systematically thought much on religion 
in relation to science, or on morals in relation to society ; and 
without steadily keeping ray mind on such subjects for a long 
period, I am really incapable of writing anything worth sending 
to the Index." 

He was more than once asked to give his views on religion, 
and he had, as a rule, no objection to doing so in a private 
letter. Thus, in answer to a Dutch student, he wrote (April 2, 

Ch. m.] RELIGION. 57 

" I am sure you will excuse my writing at length, when I 
tell you that I have long been much out of health, and am now 
staying away from my home for rest. 

" It is impossible to answer your question briefly ; and I am 
not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. 
But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this 
grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose 
through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the 
existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real 
value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if ^-. 
we admit a F!icat_Cailfie^he mind still craves to know whence ' - 
it came, and how it arose. Nor can I overlook the difficulty 
from the immense^ Biomint of-fiufforing -through the world. I > 
am, also, induced to defer to a certain extent to the judgment 
of the many able men who have fully believed in God ; but 
here again I see how poor an argument this is. The safest 
conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the 
scope of man's intellect ; but man can do his duty." 

Again in 1879 he was applied to by a German student, in a 
similar manner. The letter was answered by a member of my 
father's family, who wrote : — 

" Mr. Darwin begs me to say that he receives so many letters, 
that he cannot answer them all. 

" He considers that the theory of Evolution is quite com- 
patible with the belief in a God ; but that you must remember 
that different persons have different definitions of what they 
mean by God." 

This, however, did not satisfy the German youth, who 
again wrote to my father, and received from him the following 

" I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and 
I cannot spare time to answer your questions fully, — nor ^^ 
indeed can they be answered. Science has nothing to do with 
Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes 
a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myseK, I do not 
believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a 
future life, every man must judge for himself between con- 
flicting vague probabilities." 

The passages which here follow are extracts, somewhat 
abbreviated, from a part of the Autobiography, written in 
1876, in which my father gives the history of his religious 
views : — 

" During these two years * I was led to think much about 

* • October 1836 to January 1839. 

58 RELIGION. [CfH. m. 

religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, 
and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the 
officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible 
as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I 
suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. 
But I had gradually come by this time, i.e. 1836 to 1839, to 
see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the 
sacred books of the Hindoos. The question then continually 
rose before my mind and would not be banished, — is it credible 
that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, he 
would permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, 
Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament? 
This appeared to me utterly incredible. r=^ 

" By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be 
requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by 
which Christianity is supported, — and that the more we know 
of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles 
"become, — that the men at tliat time were ignorant and credulous 
to a degree almost incomprehensible by us, — that the Gospels 
cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the 
events, — that they differ in many iiBportant details, far too 
important, as it seemed to me, to bo admitted as the usual 
inaccuracies of eye-witnesses ; — by such reflections as these, 
which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they 
influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity 
as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions 
have spread over large portions of the earth like wildfire had 
some weight with me. 

" But I was very unwilling to give up my belief ; I feel 
sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing 
day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Eomans, and 
manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii or elsewhere, which 
confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in 
the Gospels. But I found it more and more difficult, with free 
scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would 
suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very 
slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that 
I felt no distress. 

" Although I did not think much about the existence of a 
personal God until a considerably later period of my life, I 
will here give the vague conclusions to which I have been 
driven. The old argument from design in Nature, as given 
by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, 
'now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. 
We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge 

Ch. m] RELIGION. 69 

of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, 
like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more 
design in the variability of organic beings, and in the action of 
natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. 
But I have discussed this subject at the end of my book on 
the Variatian of Domesticated Anhnah and Plants^* and the 
argument there given has never, as far as I can see, been 

" But passing over the endless beautiful adaptations which 
we everywhere meet with, it may bo asked how can the gene- 
rally beneficent arrangement of the world be accounted for ? 
Some writers indeed are so much impressed with the amount 
of suffering in the world, that they doubt, if we look to all 
sentient beings, whether there is more of misery or of happi- 
ness ; whether the world as a whole is a good or a bad one. 
According to my judgment happiness decidedly prevails, though 
this would be very difficult to prove. If the truth of this 
conclusion be granted, it harmonizes well with the effects which 
we might expect from. natural selection. If all the individuals 
of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree, 
they would neglect to propagate their kind ; but we have no 
reason to bcHeve that this has ever, or at least often occurred. 
Some other considerations, moreover, lead to the belief that all 
sentient beings have been formed so as to enjoy, as a general^ 
rule, happiness. 

" Every one who believes, as I do, that all the corporeal and 
mental organs (excepting those which are neither advantageous 
nor disadvantageous to the possessor) of all beings have been 
developed through natural selection, or the survival of the 
fittest, together with use or habit, will admit that these organs 
have been formed so that their possessors may compete success- 
fully with other beings, and thus increase in number. Now 
an animal may be led to pursue that course of action which 
is most beneficial to the species by suffering, such as pain, 
hunger, thirst, and fear; or by pleasure, as in eating and 

♦ My father asks whether we are to believe that the forms are pre- 
ordained of the broken fragments of rock which are fitted together by 
man to build his houses. If not, why should we believe that the 
variations of domestic animals or plants are preordained for the sake of 
the breeder? "But if we give up the principle in one case, . . • 
no shadow of reason can be assigned for the belief that variations 
alike in nature and the residt of the same general laws, wliich have been 
the groundwork through natural selection of the formation of the most 
perfectly adapted animals in the world, man included, were intentionally 
and specinlly'gnided."— Farmf/on of Anirmh and PZante, 1st Edit vol. ii, 
p. 431.~F. D. 


drinking, and in the propagation of tlie species, &c. ; or by 
both means combined, as in the search for food. But pain or 
suffering of any kind, if long continued, causes depression and 
lessens the power of action, yet is well adapted to make a 
creature guard itself against any great or sudden evil. Plea- 
surable sensations, on the other hand, may be long continued 
without any depressing effect ; on the contrary, they stimulate 
the whole system to increased action. [ Hence it has come to 
pass that most or all sentient beings have been developed in 
such a manner, through natural selection, that pleasurable 
sensations serve as their habitual guides.j We see this in the 
pleasure from exertion, even occasionally from great exertion 
of the body or mind, — ^in the pleasure of our daily meals, and 
especially in the pleasure derived from sociability, and from Jf 
loving our families. The sum of such pleasures as these, 
which are habitual or frequently recurrent, give, as I can 
hardly doubt, to most sentient beings an excess of happiness 
over misery, although many occasionally suffer much. Such 
suffering is quite compatible with the belief in Natural Selec- 
tion, which is not perfect in its action, but tends only to render 
each species as successful as possible in the battle for life ; 
with other species, in wonderfully complex and changing / 
circumstances. 1 

" That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes.—' 
Some have attempted to explain this with reference to man by 
imagining that it serves for his moral improvement. But the 
number of men in the world is as nothing compared with that 
of all other sentient beings, and they often suffer greatly with- 
out any moral improvement. This very old argument from 
the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent 
First Cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as jusf re- 
marked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the 
view that all organic beings have been developed through 
variation and natural selection. 

, " At the present day the most usual argument for the existence 
of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction 
and feelings, which are* experienced by most persons. 

" Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred 
to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was 
ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the 
existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my 
Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the 
grandeur of a Brazilian forest, *it is not possible to give an 
adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and 
devotion which fill and elevate the mind/ I well remembez 

Ch. m.] RELIGION. 61 

my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath 
of his body ; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any 
such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be 
truly said that I am~ like a man who has become colour-blind, 
and the universal belief by men of the existence of redness 
makes my present loss of perception of not the least value 
as evidence. This argument would be a valid one if all men of 
all races had the same inward conviction of the existence of one 
God ; but we know that this is very far from being the case. 
Therefore I cannot see that such inward convictions and feelings 
are of any weight as evidence of what really exists. The state 
of mind which grand scenes formerly excited in me, and which 
was intimately connected with a belief in God, did not essentially 
differ from that which is often called the sense of sublimity ; 
and however difficult it may be to explain the genesis of this 
sense, it can hardly be advanced as an argument for the 
existence of God, any more than the powerful though vague 
and similar feelings excited by music. 

" With respect to immortality, nothing, shows me [so clearly] 
how strong and almost instinctive a belief it is as the considera- 
tion of the view now held by most physicists, namely, that the 
sun with all the planets will in time grow too cold for life, 
unless indeed some great body dashes into the sun and thus 
gives it fresh life. Believing as I do that man in the distant 
future will be a far more perfect creature than he now is, it is 
an intolerable thought that he and all other sentient beings are 
doomed to complete annihilation after such long-continued 
slow progress. To those who fully admit the immortality of 
the human soul, the destruction of our world will not appear so 

" Another source of conviction in the existence of God, con- 
nected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me 
as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme 
difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense 
and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of 
looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of 
blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting, I feel com- 
pelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in 
some degree analogous to that of man ; and I deserve to be 
called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind 
about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the 
Origin of S;pecies, and it is since that time that it has very 
gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then 
arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully 
believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed 


by the lowest animals, be trusted wben it di*aws such grand 
conclusions ? 

" I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse 
problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is 
insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an 

The following letters repeat to some extent what is given 
above from the Autobiography. The first one refers to The 
Boundaries of Science : a Dialogue, published in Macmillan's 
Magazine, for July 1861. 

C. D. to Miss Julia Wedgwood, July 11 [1861]. 

Some one has sent us Macmillan, and I must tell you how 
much I admire your Article, though at the same time I must 
confess that I could not clearly follow you in some parts, which 
probably is in main part due to my not being at all accustomed 
to metaphysical trains of thought. I think that you understand 
my book* perfectly, and that I find a very rare event with my 
critics. The ideas in the last page have several times vaguely 
crossed my mind. Owing to several correspondents, I have 
been led lately to think, or rather to try to think, over some of 
the chief points discussed by you. But the result has been 
with me a maze — something like thinking on the origin of 
evil, to which you allude. The mind refuses to look at this 
universe, being what it is, without having been designed ; yet, 
where one would most expect design, viz. in the structure of a 
sentient being, the more I think on the subject, the less I can 
see proof of design. Asa Gray and some others look at each 
variation, or at least at each beneficial variation (which A. Gray 
would compare with the raindropsf which do not fall on the 
sea, but on to the land to fertilise it) as having been pro- 
videntially designed. Yet when I ask him whether he looks 
at each variation in the rock-pigeon, by which man has made 
by accumulation a pouter or fan tail pigeon, as providentially 
designed for man's amusement, he does not know what to 

* The Origin of Species. 

t Dr. Gray's raiii-drop metaphor occurs in the Essay, Darioin and his 
Beviewers (Darwiniana, p. 157) : "The whole animate life of a country 
depends absolutely upon the vegetation, the vegetation upon the rain. 
The moisture is furnished by the ocean, is raised by the sun's heat from 
tlie ocean's surface, and is wafted inland by the winds. But what 
multitudes of rain-drops fall back into the ocean — are as much without a 
final cause as the incipient varieties which come to nothing I Does it 
therefore follow that the rains which are bestowed upon the soil with 
such rule and average regularity were not designed to support vegetable 
and animal life ? " 


answer ; and if he, or any one, admits [that] these variations 
are accidental, as far as purpose is concerned (of course not 
accidental as to their cause or origin), then I can see no 
reason why he should rank the accumulated variations by 
which the beautifully-adapted woodpecker has been formed as 
providentially designed. For it would be easy to imagine the 
enlarged crop of the pouter, or tail of tho fantail, as of some 
use to birds, in a state of nature, having peculiar habits of 
life. These are the considerations which perplex me about 
design ; but whether you will care to hear them, I know not. 

On the subject of design, he wrote (July 1860) to Dr, 
Gray : 

*' One word more on * designed laws * and * undesigned 
results.' I see a bird which I want for food, take my gun and 
kill it, I do this designedly. An innocent and good man stands 
under a tree and is killed by a flash of lightning. Do you 
believe (and I really should like to hear) that God designedly 
killed this man ? Many or most persons do believe this ; 1 
can't and don't. If you believe so, do you believe that when 
a swallow snaps up a gnat that God designed that that par- 
ticular swallow should snap up that particular gnat at that 
particular instant ? I believe that the man and the gnat arc 
in the same predicament. If the death of neither man nor 
gnat is designed, I see no good reason to believe that their 
first birth or production should be necessarily designed." 

a D. to W. Graham. Down, July 3rd, 1881. 

Deae Sir, — I hope that you will not think it intrusive on 
my part to thank you heartily for the pleasure which I have 
derived from reading your admirably- written Creed of Science, 
though I have not yet quite finished it, as now that I am old I 
read very slowly. It is a very long time since any other 
book has interested me so much. The work must have cost 
you several years and much hard labour with full leisure for 
work. You would not probably expect any one fully to agree 
with you on so many abstruse subjects ; and there are some 
points in your book which I cannot digest. The chief one is 
that the existence of so-called natural laws implies purpose. 
I cannot see this. Not to mention that many expect tFat' 
the several great laws will some day be found to follow 
inevitably from some one single law, yet taking the laws as 
we now know them, and look at the moon, where the law of 
gravitation — and no doubt of the conservation of energy — of 
tlie atomic theory, (fee, &c., hold good, and I cannot see that 


64: RELIGION. [Ch. m. 

there is then necessarily any purpose. Would there be 
purpose if the lowest organisms alone, destitute of conscious- 
ness, existed in the moon? But I have had no practice in 
abstract reasoning, and I may be all astray. Nevertheless 
you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more 
vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe 
is not the result of chance.* But then with me the horrid 
doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, 
which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, 
are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust 
in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any con- 
victions in such a mind ? Secondly, I think that I could 
make somewhat of a case against the enormous importance 
which you attribute to our greatest men ; I have been 
accustomed to think second, third, and fourth-rate men of 
very high importance, at least in the case of Science. Lastly, 
I could show fight on natural selection having done and 
doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem 
inclined to admit. Eemember what risk the nations of Europe 
ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the 
Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is I The more 
civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish 
hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world 
at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower 
races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races 
throughout the world. But I will write no more, and not 
even mention the many points in your work which have 
much interested me. I have indeed cause to apologise for 
troubling you with my impressions, and my sole excuse is 
the excitement in my mind which your book has aroused. 
I beg leave to remain, dear sir. 

Yours faithfully and obliged. 

Darwin spoke little on these subjects, and I can contribute 
nothing from my own recollection of his conversation which 

* The Duke of Argyll (Good Words, April 1885, p. 244) has recorded a 
few words on this subject, spoken by my father in the last year of hia 
life. ". . . in the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with 
reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilisation of 
Orchids, and upon The Earthicorms, and various other observations he 
made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature — I said 
it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect 
and the expression of mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin's answer. 
He looked at me very hard and said, ' Well, that often comes over me 
with overwhelming force ; but at other times,' and he siUook his head 
vaguely, adding, * it seems to go away.' " 

Ch. m.] RELIGION. 65 

can add to the impression here given of his attitude towards 
Religion.* Some further idea of his views may, however, be 
gathered from occasional remarks in his letters. 

♦ Dr. Aveling has published an account of a conversation with my father. 
I think that the readers of this pamphlet (The Religious Views of Charles 
Darwin, Free Thouf,'ht Publishing Company, 1883) may be misled into 
seeing more resemblance than really existed between the positions of ray 
father and Dr. Aveling : and I B&y this in spite of my conviction that 
Dr. Aveling gives quite fairly his impressions of my father's views. Dr. 
Aveling tried to show that the terms ♦•Agnostic" and "Atheist" are 
practically equivalent — that an atheist is one who. witliout denying the 
existence of God, is without God, inusmuch as he is unconvinced of the 
existence of a Deity. ]My father's replies implied his preference for the 
unaggressive attitude of an Agnostic. Dr. Aveling seems (p. 5) to regard 
the absence of aggressiveness in my father's views as distinguishing them 
in an unessential manner from his own. But, in my judgment, it ia 
precisely differences of this kind which distinguish him so completely 
from the class of thinkers to which Dr. Aveling belongs. 

( 66 ) 




It is my wish in tlie present chapter to give some idea of my 
father's everyday life. It has seemed to me that I might carry 
out this object in the form of a rough sketch of a day's life at 
Down, interspersed with such recollections as are called up by 
the record. Many of these recollections, which have a meaning 
for those who knew my father, will seem colourless or trifling 
to strangers. Nevertheless, I give them in the hope that they 
may help to preserve that impression of his personality which 
remains on the minds of those who knew and loved him — an 
impression at once so vivid and so untranslatable into words. 

♦ From the Century MagazinCf JaDuary 1883. 


Of his personal appearance (in these days of multiplied 
photographs) it is hardly necessary to say much. Ho was 
about six feet in height, but scarcely looked so tall, as ho 
stooped a good deal ; in later days ho yielded to the stoop ; 
but I can remember seeing him long ago swinging back his 
arms to open out his chest, and holding himself upright witli 
a jerk. He gave one the idea that he had been active ratber 
than strong ; his shoulders were not broad for his height, 
though certainly not narrow. As a young man ho must have 
had much endurance, for on one of the shore excursions from 
the Beagle, when all were suffering from want of water, he was 
one of the two who were bettor able than the rest to struggle 
on in search of it. As a boy he was active, and could jump 
a bar placed at the height of the " Adam's apjde " in his 

He walked with a swinging action, using a stick heavily 
shod with iron, which he struck loudly against the ground, 
producing as lie went round the "Sand-walk" at Down, a 
rhythmical click which is with all of us a very distinct re- 
membrance. As ho returned from the midday walk, often 
carrying the waterproof or cloak which had proved too hot, 
one could see that the swinging step was kept up by some- 
thing of an effort. Indoors his step was often slow and 
laboured, and as he went upstairs in the afternoon he might be 
heard mounting the stairs with a heavy footfall, as if each step 
were an effort. When interested in his work he moved about 
quickly and easily enough, and often in the midst of dictating 
he went eagerly into the hall to get a pinch of snuff, leaving 
the study door open, and calling out the last words of his 
sentence as he left the room. 

In spite of his activity, he had, I think, no natural grace or 
neatness of movement. He was awkward with his hands, and 
was unable to draw at all well.* This he always regretted, 
and he frequently urged the paramount necessity to a young 
naturalist of making himself a good draughtsman. 

He could dissect well under the simple microscope, but I 
think it was by dint of his great patience and carefulness. It was 
characteristic of him that he thought any little bit of skilful 
dissection something almost superhuman. He used to speak w ith 
admiration of the skill with which he saw Newport dissect a 
humble bee, getting out the nervous system with a few cuts of a 
pair of fine scissors. He used to consider cutting microscopic 
sections a great feat, and in the last year of his life, with 

* The figure in Insectivorous Plants representing the aggregated cell- 
contents was drawn by him. 

V 2 


wonderful energy, took the pains to learn to cut sections of 
TOots and leaves. His hand was not steady enongh to hold the 
object to be cut, and he employed a common microtome, in 
which the pith for holding the object was clamped, and the razor 
slid on a glass surface. He used to laugh at himself, and at 
his own skill in section-cntting, at which he would say ho 
was " speechless with admiration." On the other hand, he 
must have had accuracy of eye and power of co-ordinating his 
movements, since he was a good shot with a gun as a young 
man, and as a boy was skilful in throwing. He once killed a 
hare sitting in the flower-garden at Shrewsbury by throwing a 
marble at it, and, as a man, he killed a cross-beak with a stone. 
He was so unhappy at having uselessly killed the cross-beak 
that he did not mention it for years, and then explained that ho 
should never have thrown at it if he had not felt sure that his 
old skill had gone from him. 

His beard was full and almost nntrimmed, the hair being 
grey and white, fine rather than coarse, and wavy or frizzled. 
His moustache was somewhat disfigured by being cut short and 
square across. He became very bald, having only a fringe of 
dark hair behind. 

His face was ruddy in colour, and this perhaps made people 
think him less of an invalid than he was. He wrote to Sir 
Joseph Hooker (June 13, 1849), " Every one tells me that I 
look quite blooming and beautiful; and most think I am 
shamming, but you have never been one of those." And it 
must be remembered that at this time he was miserably ill, far 
worse than in later years. His eyes were bluish grey under 
deep overhanging brows, with thick, bushy projecting eye- 
brows. His high forehead was deeply wrinlded, but otherwise 
his face was not much marked or lined. His expression showed 
no signs of the continual discomfort he suffered. 

When he was excited with pleasant talk his whole manner 
was wonderfully bright and animated, and his face shared to 
the full in the general animation. His laugh was a free and 
sounding peal, like that of a man who gives himself sympa- 
thetically and with enjoyment to the person and the thing 
which have amused him. He often used some sort of gesture 
with his laugh, lifting up his hands or bringing one down with 
a slap. I think, generally speaking, he was given to gesture, 
and often used his hands in explaining anything {e.g. the 
fertilisation of a flower) in a way that seemed rather an aid 
to himself than to the listener. He did this on occasions 
when most people would illustrate their explanations by means 
of a rough pencil sketch. 


He wore dark clotlies, of a loose and easy fit. Of late years 
he gave up the tall hat even in London, and wore a soft black 
one in winter, and a big straw hat in summer. His usual out- 
of-doors dress was the short cloak in which Elliot and Fry's 
l)hotograph* represents him, leaning against the pillar of the 
verandah. Two peculiarities of his indoor dress were that he 
almost always wore a shawl over his shoulders, and that he had 
groat loose cloth boots lined with fur which he could slip on 
over his indoor shoes. 

He rose early, and took a short turn before breakfast, a 
habit which began when he went for the first time to a water- 
cure establishment, and was preserved till almost the end of 
his life. I used, as a little boy, to like going out with him, 
and I have a vague sense of the red of the winter sunrise, and 
a recollection of the pleasant companionship, and a certain 
honour and glory in it. He used to delight me as a boy by 
telling me how, in still earlier walks, on dark winter mornings, 
he had once or twice met foxes trotting home at the dawning. 

After breakfasting alone about 7.d5, he went to work at 
once, considering the IJ hour between 8 and 9.30 one of his 
best working times. At 9.30 he came in to the drawing-room 
for his letters — rejoicing if the post was a light one and being 
sometimes much worried if it was not. He would then hear any 
family letters read aloud as he lay on the sofa. 

The reading aloud, which also included part of a novel, 
lasted till about half-past ten, when he went back to work till 
twelve or a quarter past. By this time he considered his day's 
work over, and would often say, in a satisfied voice, " I've done 
a good day's work." He then went out of doors whether it was 
wet or fine ; Polly, his white terrier, went with him in fair 
weather, but in rain she refused or might be seen hesitating in 
the verandah, with a mixed expression of disgust and shame at 
her own want of courage ; generally, however, her conscience 
carried the day, and as soon as he was evidently gone she could 
not bear to stay behind. 

My father was always fond of dogs, and as a young man had 
the power of stealing away the affections of his sister's pets ; 
at Cambridge, he won the love of his cousin W. D. Fox's dog, 
and this may perhaps have been the little beast which used to 
creep down inside his bed and sleep at the foot every night. 
My father had a surly dog, who was devoted to him, but 
unfriendly to every one else, and when he came back from the 
Beagle voyage, the dog remembered him, but in a curious way, 
which my father was fond of telling. He went into the yard 
♦ JAfe and Letters^ vol. iii. frontispiwe. 


and shouted in his old manner ; the dog rushed out and set 
off with him on his walk, showing no more emotion or excite- 
ment than if the same thing had happened the day before, 
instead of five years ago. This story is made use of in the 
Descent of Man, 2nd Edit. p. 74. 

In my memory there were only two dogs which had much 
connection with my father. One was a large black and white 
half-bred retriever, called Bob, to which we, as childi*en, were 
much devoted. He was the dog of whom the story of the 
" hot-house face " is told in the Expression of the Emotions, 

But the dog most closely associated with my father was the 
above-mentioned Polly, a rough, white fox-terrier. She was a 
sharp-witted, affectionate dog; when her master was going 
away on a journey, she always discovered the fact by the signs 
of packing going on in the study, and became low-spirited 
accordingly. She began, too, to be excited by seeing the study 
prepared for his return home. She was a cunning little 
creature, and used to tremble or put on an air of misery when 
my father passed, while she was waiting for dinner, just as if 
she knew that he would say (as he did often say) that " she 
was famishing." My father used to make her catch biscuits 
off her nose, and had an affectionate and mock-solemn way of 
explaining to her before-hand that she must " be a very good 
girl." She had a mark on her back where she had been burnt, 
and where the hair had re-grown red instead of white, and my 
father used to commend her for this tuft of hair as being in 
accordance with his theory of pangenesis ; her father had been 
a red bull-terrier, thus the red hair appearing aften the bum 
showed the presence of latent red gemmules. He was delight- 
fully tender to Polly, and never showed any impatience at the 
attentions she required, such as to be let in at the door, or out 
at the verandah window, to bark at " naughty people," a seK- 
imposed duty she much enjoyed. She died, or rather had to be 
killed, a few days after his death.* 

My father's mid-day walk generally began by a call at the 
greenhouse, where he looked at any germinating seeds or 
experimental plants which required a casual examination, but 
he hardly ever did any serious observing at this time. Then 
he went on for his constitutional — either round the "Sand- 
walk," or outside his own grounds in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of the house. The " Sand- walk " was a narrow strip of 
land 1 J acre in extent, with a gravel-walk round it. On one 

♦ The basket in which she usually lay curled up near the fire in his 
study is faithfully represented in Mr. Parson's drawing given at the head 
of the chapter. 


fiido of it was a broad old shaw with fair-sized oaks in it, 
which made a sheltered shady walk ; the other side was 
separated from a neighbouring grass field by a low quickset 
hedge, over which you could look at what view there was, a 
quiet little valley losing itself in the upland country towards 
the edge of the Westerham hill, with hazel coppice and larch 
plantation, the remnants of what was once a large wood, 
stretching away to the Westerham high road. I have heard 
my father say that the charm of this simple little valley was 
a decided factor in his choice of a home. 

The Sand- walk was planted by my father with a variety of 
trees, such as hazel, alder, lime, hornbeam, birch, privet, and 
dogwood, and with a long line ojf hollies all down the exposed 
side. In earlier times he took a certain number of turns every 
day, and used to count them by means of a heap of flints, one 
of which he kicked out on the path each time he passed. Of 
lato years I think he did not keep to any fixed number of 
tui-ns, but took as many as he felt strength for. The Sand- 
walk was our play-ground as children, and here we continually 
saw my father as he walked round. He liked to see what wo 
wore doing, and was ever ready to sympathize in any fun that 
was going on. It is curious to think how, with re^jard to the 
Sand-walk in connection with my father, my earliest recol- 
lections coincide with my latest ; it shows the unvarying 
character of his habits. 

Sometimes when alone he stood still or walked stealthily to 
observe birds or beasts. It was on one of these occasions that 
some young squirrels ran up his back and legs, while their 
mother barked at them in an agony from the tree. He always 
found birds' nests even up to the last years of his life, and we, 
as children, considered that he had a special genius in this 
direction. In his quiet prowls he came across the less 
common birds, but I fancy he used to conceal it from me as a 
little boy, because he observed the agony of mind which I 
endured at not having seen the siskin or goldfinch, or some 
other of the less common birds. He used to tell us how, when 
he was creeping noiselessly along in the "Big-Woods," ho 
came upon a fox asleep in the daytime, which was so much 
astonished that it took a good stare at him before it ran off. 
A Spitz dog which accompanied him showed no sign of 
excitement at the fox, and he used to end the story by 
wondering how the dog could have been so faint-hearted. 

Another favourite place was " Orchis Bank," above the quiet 
Cudham valley, where fly- and musk-orchis grew among the 
junipers, and Cephalanthera and Neottia under the beech 


boughs ; the little wood " Hangrove," just above this, he was 
also fond of, and here I remember his collecting grasses, when 
he took a fancy to make out the names of all the common 
kinds. He was fond of quoting the saying of one of his little 
boys, who, having foimd a grass that his father had not seen 
before, had it laid by his own plate during dinner, remarking, 
' I are an extraordinary grass-finder 1 " 

My father much enjoyed wandering idly in the garden 
with my mother or some of his children, or making one of 
a party, sitting on a bench on the lawn ; he generally sat, 
however, on the grass, and I remember him often lying under 
one of the big lime-trees, with his head on the green mound at 
its foot. In dry summer weather, when we often sat out, the 
fly-wheel of the well was commonly heard spinning round, and 
BO the sound became associated with those pleasant days. He 
used to like to watch us playing at lawn-tennis, and often 
knocked up a stray ball for us with the curved handle of his 

Though he took no personal share in the management of 
the garden, he had great delight in the beauty of flowers — for 
instance, in the mass of Azaleas which generally stood in 
the drawing-room. I think he sometimes fused together his 
admiration of the structure of a flower and of its intrinsic 
beauty ; for instance, in the case of the big pendulous pink 
and white flowers of Diclytra. In the same way he had an 
affection, half-artistic, half-botanical, for the little blue Lobelia. 
In admiring flowers, he would often laugh at the dingy high- 
art colours, and contrast them with the bright tints of nature. 
I used to like to hear him admire the beauty of a flower ; it 
was a kind of gratitude to the flower itself, and a personal love 
for its delicate form and colour. I seem to remember him 
gently touching a flower he delighted in ; it was the same 
simple admiration that a child might have. 

He could not help personifying natural things. This feeling 
came out in abuse as well as in praise — e.g. of some seedlings 
— " The little beggars are doing just what I don't want them 
to." He would speak in a half-provoked, half-admiring way 
of the ingenuity of the leaf of a Sensitive Plant in screwing 
itself out of a basin of water in which he had tried to fix it. 
One might see the same spirit in his way of speaking of 
Sundew, earthworms, &c.* 

♦ Cfc Leslie Stephen's Swift, 1882, p. 200, where Swift's inspection of 
the manners and customs of servants are compared to my father's observa- 
tions on worms, " The diiference is," says Mr. Stephen, " that Darwin had 
none but kindly feelings for worms," 


Within my memory, his only outdoor recreation, besides 
walking, was riding ; this was taken up at the recommendation 
of Dr. Bence Jones, and we had the luck to find for him the 
easiest and quietest cob in the world, named " Tommy." He 
enjoyed these rides extremely, and devised a series of short 
rounds which brought him home in time for lunch. Our 
country is good for this purpose, owing to the number of small 
valleys which give a variety to what in a flat country would 
be a dull loop of road. I think he felt surprised at himself, 
when he remembered how bold a rider he had been, and how 
utterly old age and bad health had taken away his nerve. He 
would say that ridiug prevented him thinking much more 
effectually than walking — that having to attend to the horse 
gave him occupation sufficient to prevent any really hard 
thinking. And the change of scene which it gave him was 
good for spirits and health. 

If I go beyond my own experience, and recall what I have 
heard him say of his love for sport, &c., I can think of a good 
deal, but much of it would be a repetition of what is con- 
tained in his Becollections. He was fond of his gun as quite a 
boy, and became a good shot ; he used to tell how in South 
America he killed twenty-three snipe in twenty-four shots. In 
telling the story he was careful to add that he thought they 
were not quite so wild as English snipe. 

Luncheon at Down came after his mid-day walk; and 
here I may say a word or two about his meals generally. 
He had a boy-like love of sweets, unluckily for himself, since 
he was constantly forbidden to take them. He was not 
particularly successful in keeping the " vows," as he called 
them, which he made against eating sweets, and never con- 
sidered them binding unless he made them aloud. 

He drank very little wine, but enjoyed and was revived 
by the little he did drink. He had a horror of drinking, 
and constantly warned his boys that any one might be led 
into drinking too much. I remember, in my innocence as a 
small boy, asking him if he had been ever tipsy ; and he 
answered very gravely that he was ashamed to say he had 
once drunk too much at Cambridge. I was much impressed, 
BO that I know now the place where the question was asked. 

After his lunch he read the newspaper, lying on the sofa 
in the drawing-room. I think the paper was the only non- 
scientifio matter which he read to himself. Everything else, 
novels, travels, history, was read aloud to him. He took so 
wide an interest in life, that there was much to occupy him 
in newspapers, though he laughed at the wordiness of tho 


debates, reading them, I think, only in abstract. His interest 
in politics was considerable, but his opinion on these matters 
was formed rather by the way than with any serious amount 
of thought. 

After he had read his paper, came his time for writing 
letters. These, as well as the MS. of his books, were written 
by him as he sat in a huge horse-hair chair by the fire, his 
paper supported on a board resting on the arms of the chair. 
When he had many or long letters to write, he would dictate 
them from a rough copy ; these rough copies were written on 
the backs of manuscript or of proof-sheets, and were almost 
illegible, sometimes even to himself. Ho made a rule of 
keeping all letters that he received ; this was a habit which 
he learnt from his father, and which he said had been of 
great use to him. 

Many letters were addressed to him by foolish, unscrupulous 
people, and aU of these received replies. Ho used to say that 
if ho did not answer them, he had it on his conscience after- 
wards, and no doubt it was in great measure the courtesy with 
which he answered every one which produced the widespread 
sense of his kindness of nature which was so evident on his 

He was considerate to his correspondents in other and lesser 
things — ^for instance, when dictating a letter to a foreigner, he 
hardly ever failed to say to me, " You'd better try and write 
well, as it's to a foreigner." His letters were generally written 
on the assumption that they would be carelessly read ; thus, 
when he was dictating, he was careful to tell me to make an 
important clause begin with an obvious paragraph, " to catch 
his eye," as he often said. How much he thought of the trouble 
he gave others by asking questions, will be well enough shown 
by his letters. 

He had a printed form to be used in replying to troublesome 
correspondents, but he hardly ever used it ; I suppose he never 
found an occasion that seemed exactly suitable. I remember 
an occasion on which it might have been used with advantage. 
He received a letter from a stranger stating that the writer 
had undertaken to uphold Evolution at a debating society, 
and that being a busy young man, without time for reading, 
he wished to have a sketch of my father's views. Even 
this wonderful young man got a civil answer, though I 
think he did not get much material for his speech. His 
rule was to thank the donors of books, but not of pamphlets. 
He sometimes expressed surprise that so few thanked him 
for his books which he gave away liberally ; the letters that 


he did receive gave him much pleasure, because he habitually 
formed so humble an estimate of the value of all his works, 
that he was genuinely surprised at the interest which they 

In money and business matters he was remarkably careful 
and exact. He kept accounts with great care, classifying 
them, and balancing at the end of the year like a merchant. 
I remember the quick way in which he would reach out for 
his account-book to enter each cheque paid, as though he were 
in a hurry to get it entered before he had forgotten it. His 
father must have allowed him to believe that he would be 
poorer than he really was, for some of the difficulty experi- 
enced over finding a house in the country must have arisen 
from the modest sum he felt prepared to give. Yet he know, 
of course, that he would be in easy circumstances, for in his 
Becollections he mentions this as one of the reasons for his 
not having worked at medicine with so much zeal as he 
would have done if he had been obliged to gain his living. 

He had a pet economy in paper, but it was rather a hobby 
than a real economy. Ail the blank sheets of letters received 
were kept in a portfolio to be used in making notes ; it was 
his respect for paper that made him write so much on the 
backs of his old MS., and in this way, unfortunately, he de- 
stroyed large parts of the original MS. of his books. His 
fet-ling about paper extended to waste paper, and he objected, 
half in fun, to the habit of throwing a spill into the fire after 
it had been used for lighting a candle. 

He had a great respect for pure business capacity, and 
often spoke with admiration of a relative who had doubled 
his fortune. And of himself would often say in fun that 
what he really was proud of was the money he had saved. 
Ho also felt satisfaction in the money he made by his books. 
His anxiety to save came in great measure from his fears 
that his childi-en would not have health enough to earn their 
own livings, a foreboding which fairly haunted him for many 
years. And I have a dim recollection of his saying, " Thank 
God, you'll have bread and cheese," when I was so yoimg that 
I was inclined to take it literally. 

When letters were finished, about three in the afternoon, he 
rested in hie bedroom, lying on the sofa, smoking a cigarette, 
and listening to a novel or other book not scientific. He 
only smoked when resting, whereas snuff was a stimulant, 
and was taken during working hours. He took snuff for 
many years of his life, having learnt the habit at Edinburgh 
as a student. He had a nice silver snuff-box given him by 


Mrs. Wedgwood, of Maer, wliicli lie valued much— but he 
rarely carried it, because it tempted him to take too many 
pinches. In one of his early letters he speaks of having 
given up snuff for a month, and describes himself as feeling 
" most lethargic; stupid, and melancholy." Our former neigh- 
bour and clergyman, Mr. Brodie Innes, tells me that at one 
time my father made a resolve not to take snuff, except away 
from home, " a most satisfactory arrangement for me," he adds, 
" as I kept a box in my study, to which there was access from 
the garden without summoning servants, and I had more 
frequently, than might have been otherwise the case, the 
privilege of a few minutes' conversation with my dear friend." 
He generally took snuff from a jar on the hall-table, because 
having to go this distance for a pinch was a slight check ; the 
clink of the lid of the snuff-jar was a very familiar sound. 
Sometimes when he was in the drawing-room, it would occur 
to him that the study fire must be burning low, and when 
one of us offered to see after it, it would turn oat that ho also 
wished to get a pinch of snuff. 

Smoking he only took to permanently of late years, though 
on his Pampas rides he learned to smoke with the Gauchos, 
and I have heard him speak of the great comfort of a cup of 
mate and a cigarette when he halted after a long ride and 
was unable to get food for some time. 

He came do^vn at four o'clock to dress for his walk, and 
he was so regular that one might be quite certain it was 
within a few minutes of four when his descending steps were 

From about half -past four to half-past five he worked ; then 
he came to the drawing-room, and was idle till it was time 
(about six) to go up for another rest with novel-reading and a 

Latterly he gave up late dinner, and had a simple tea at 
half-past seven (while we had dinner), with an egg or a small 
piece of meat. After dinner he never stayed in the room, 
and used to apologise by saying he was an old woman who 
must be allowed to leave with the ladies. This was one of 
the many signs and results of his constant weakness and ill- 
health. Half an hour more or less conversation would make 
to him the difference of a sleepless night and of the loss 
perhaps of half the next day's work. 

After dinner he played backgammon with my mother, two 
games being played every night. For many years a score of 
the games which each won was kept, and in this score he took 
the greatest interest. He became extremely animated over 


these games, bitterly lamenting liis bad luck and exploding 
with exaggerated mock-anger at my mother's good fortune. 

After playing backgammon he read some scientific book to 
himself, either in the drawing-room, or, if much talking was 
going on, in the study. 

In the evening — that is, after he had read as much as his 
strength would allow, and before the reading aloud began — 
he would often lie on the sofa and listen to my mother playing 
the piano. He had not a good ear, yet in spite of this he had 
a true love of fine music. He used to lament that his enjoy- 
ment of music had become dulled with age, yet within my 
recollection his love of a good tune was strong. I never heard 
him hum more than one tune, the Welsh song " Ar hyd y nos," 
which he went through correctly ; he used also, I believe, to 
hum a little Otaheitan song. From his want of ear he was 
unable to recognise a tune when he heard it again, but he 
remained constant to what he liked, and would often say, 
when an old favourite was played, " That's a fine thing ; what 
is it ? " He liked especially parts ol Beethoven's symphonies 
and bits of Handel. He was sensitive to differences in style, 
and enjoyed the late Mrs. Vernon Lushington's playing 
intensely, and in June 1881, when Hans Kichter paid a visit 
at Do^vn, he was roused to strong enthusiasm by his magni- 
ficent performance on the piano. He enjoyed good singing, 
and was moved almost to tears by grand or pathetic songs 
His niece Lady Farrer's singing of Sullivan's " Will he come " 
was a never-failing enjoyment to him. He was humble in the 
extreme about his own taste, and correspondingly pleased when 
he found that others agreed with him. 

He became much tired in the evenings, especially of late 
years, and left the drawing-room about ten, going to bed at 
half-past ten. His nights were generally bad, and he often 
lay awake or sat up in bed for hours, suffering much dis- 
comfort. He was troubled at night by the activity of his 
thoughts, and would become exhausted by his mind working 
at some problem which he would willingly have dismissed. 
At night, too, anything which had vexed or troubled him 
in the day would haunt him, and I think it was then that 
he suffered if he had not answered some troublesome corre- 

The regular readings, which I have mentioned, continued 
for so many years, enabled him to get through a great 
deal of the lighter kinds of literature. He was extremely 
fond of novels, and I remember well the way in which 
he would anticipate the pleasure of having a novel read 


to him as lie lay down or lighted his cigarette. He took 
a vivid interest both in plot and characters, and would on no 
account know beforehand how a story finished ; he considered 
looking at the end of a novel as a feminine vice. He could 
not enjoy any story with a tragical end ; for this reason he 
did not keenly appreciate George Eliot, though he often spoke, 
warmly in praise of Silas Marner. Walter Scott, Miss Austen, 
and Mrs. Gaskell were read and re-read till they could bo read 
no more. He had two or three books in hand at the same 
time — a novel and perhaps a biography and a book of travels. 
He did not often read out-of-the-way or old standard books, 
but genoi*ally kept to the books of the day obtained from a 
circulating library. 

His literary tastes and opinions were not on a level with the 
rest of his mind. He himself, though ho was clear as to what 
he thought good, considered that in matters of literary tastes 
he was quite outside the pale, and often spoke of what those 
within it liked or disliked, as if they formed a class to which 
ho had no claim to belong. 

In all matters of art he was inclined to laugh at professed 
critics and say that their opinions were formed by fashion. 
Thus in painting, he would say how in his day every one 
admired masters who are now neglected. His love of pictures 
as a young man is almost a proof that he must have had an 
appreciation of a portrait as a work of art, not as a likeness. 
Yet he often talked laughingly of the small worth of portraits, 
and said that a photograph was worth any number of 
pictures, as if he were blind to the artistic quality in a painted 
portrait. But this was generally said in his attempts to 
persuade us to give up the idea of having his portrait painted, 
an operation very irksome to him. 

This way of looking at himself as an ignoramus in all 
matters of art, was strengthened by the absence of pretence, 
which was part of his chai-acter. With regard to questions of 
taste, as well as to more serious^ things ho had the courage 
of his opinions. I remember, however, an instance that 
sounds like a contradiction to this : when he was looking at 
the Turners in Mr. Euskin's bedroom, he did not confess, 
as he did afterwards, that he could make out absolutely 
nothing of what Mr. Ruskin saw in them. But this little 
pretence was not for his own sake, but for the sake of courtesy 
to his host. He was pleased and amused when subsequently 
Mr. Ruskin brought him some photographs of pictures (1 
think Vandyke portraits), and courteously seemed to value my 
father's opinion about them. 


Much of his scientific reading was in German, and this was 
a serious labour to him ; in reading a book after him, I was 
often struck at seeing, from the pencil-marks made each day 
where he left off, how little he could rend at a time. He used 
to call German the " Verdammte," pronounced as if in 
English. He was especially indignant with Germans, because 
ho was convinced that they could write simply if they chose, 
and often praised Professor Hildobrand of Freiburg for writing 
German which was as clear as French. Ho sometimes gave a 
German sentence to a friend, a patriotic German lady, and 
used to laugh at her if slio did not translate it fluently. He 
himself learnt German simply by hammering away with a 
dictionary ; ho would say that his only way was to read a 
sentence a great many times over, and at last tlie meaning 
occurred to him. When lie began Geiinan long ago, he boasted 
of the fact (as he used to tell) to Sir J. Hooker, who replied, 
" Ah, my dear fellow, that's nothing ; Fve begun it many 

In spite of his want of grammar, ho managed to get on 
wonderfully with German, and the sentences that he failed to 
make out were generally difficult ones. He never attempted 
to speak German correctly, but pronounced the words as 
though they were English ; and this made it not a littlo 
difficult to help him, when he read out a German sentence 
and asked for a translation. He certainly had a bad ear for 
vocal sounds, so that he found it impossible to perceive small 
differences in pronunciation. 

His wide interest in branches of science that were not 
specially his own was remarkable. In the biological sciences 
his doctrines make themselves felt so widely that there was 
something interesting to him in most departments. He read a 
good deal of many quite special works, and large parts of text 
books, such as Huxley's Invertebrate Anatomy, or such a book 
as Balfour's Embryology, whore the detail, at any rate, was not 
specially in his own line. And in the case of elaborate books 
of the monograph type, though he did not make a study of 
them, yet he felt the strongest admiration for them. 

In the non-biological sciences he felt keen sympathy with 
work of which he could not really judge. For instance, he 
used to read nearly the whole of Nature, though so much of 
it deals with mathematics and physics. I have often heard 
\\ \m B&j that he got a kind of satisfaction in reading articles 
which (according to himself) he could not understand. I wish 
I could reproduce the manner in which he would laugh at 
himself for it. 


It was remarkable, too, how he kept up his interest in 
subjects at which he had formerly worked. This was strik- 
ingly the case with geology. In one of his letters to Mr. Judd 
he begs him to pay him a visit, saying that since Lyell's death 
he hardly ever gets a geological talk. His observations, 
made only a few years before his death, on the upright 
pebbles in the drift at Southampton, and discussed in a letter 
to Sir A. Geikie, afford another instance. Again, in his letters 
to Dr. Dohm, he shows how his interest in barnacles remained 
alive. I think it was all due to the vitality and persistence of 
his mind — a quality I Lave heard him speak of as if he felt 
that he was strongly gifted in that respect. Not that he used 
any such phrases as these about himself, but he would say 
that he had the power of keeping a subject or question more 
or less before him for a great many years. The extent to 
which he possessed this power appears when we consider tlie 
number of different problems which he solved, and the early 
period at which some of them began to occupy him. 

It was a sure sign that he was not well when he was idle 
at any times other than his regular resting hours ; for, as long 
as he remained moderately well, there was no break in tho 
regularity of his life. Week-days and Sundays passed by 
alike, each with their stated intervals of work and rest. It 
is almost impossible, except for those who watched his daily 
life, to realise how essential to his well-being was the regular 
routine that I have sketched : and with what pain and diffi- 
culty anything beyond it was attempted. Aiiy public ap- 
pearance, even of the most modest kind, was an effort to him. 
In 1871 he went to the little village church for the wedding 
of his elder daughter, but he could hardly bear the fatigue of 
being present through the short service. The same may bo 
said of the few other occasions on which he was present at 
similar ceremonies. 

I remember him many years ago at a christening; a 
memory which has remained with me, because to us children 
his being at church was an extraordinary occurrence. I re- 
member his look most distinctly at his brother Erasmus's 
funeral, as he stood in the scattering of snow, wrapped in a 
long black funeral cloak, with a grave look of sad reverie. 

When, after an absence of many years, he attended a 
meeting of the Linnean Society, it was felt to be, and was in 
fact, a serious undertaking ; one not to be determined on 
without much sinking of heart, and hardly to be carried into 
effect without paying a penalty of subsequent suffering. In 
the same way a breakfast-party at Sir James Paget's, with 


some of the disfcinguislied visitors to the Medical Congress 
(1881), was to him a severe exertion. 

The early morning was the only time at which he could 
make any effort of the kind, with comparative impunity. 
Thus it came about that the visits he paid to his scientific 
friends in London were by preference made as early as ten in 
the morning. For the same reason he started on has journeys 
by the earliest possible train, and used to arrive at the houses 
of relatives in London when they were beginning their day. 

He kept an accurate journal of the days on which he worked 
and those on which his ill health prevented him from working, 
so that it would be possible to tell how many were idle days 
in any given year. In this journal — a little yellow Letts's 
Diary, which lay open on his mantel-pieco> piled on the diaries 
of previous years — he also entered the day on which he 
started for a holiday and that of his return. 

The most frequent holidays were visits of a week to 
London, either to his brother's house (6 Queen Anne Street), 
or to his daughter's (4 Bryanston Street). He was generally 
persuaded by my mother to take these short holidays, when 
it became clear from the frequency of " bad days," or from 
the swimming of his head, that he was being overworked. 
Ho went unwillingly, and tried to drive hard bargains, stipu- 
lating, for instance, that he should come home in five days 
instead of six. The discomfort of a journey to him was, at 
least latterly, chiefly in the anticipation, and in the miserable 
sinking feeling from which he suffered immediately before the 
start ; even a fairly long journey, such as that to Coniston, 
tired him wonderfully little, considering how much an invalid 
he was ; and he certainly enjoyed it in an almost boyish way, 
and to a curious degree. 

Although, as he has said, some of his aesthetic tastes had 
suffered a gradual decay, his love of scenery remained fresh 
and strong. Every walk at Coniston was a fresh delight, and 
he was never tired of praising the beauty of the broken hilly 
country at the head of the lake. 

Besides these longer holidays, there were shorter visits 
to various relatives — to his brother-in-law's house, close to 
Leith Hill, and to his son near Southampton. He always par- 
ticularly enjoyed rambling over rough open country, such as 
the commons near Leith Hill and Southampton, the heath- 
covered wastes of Ashdown Forest, or the delightful " Rough " 
near the house of his friend Sir Thomas Farrer. He never 
was quite idle even on these holidays, and found things to 
observe. At Hartfield he watched Drosera catching insects, 


&c. ; at Torquay lie observed the fertilisation of an orchid 
{Spiranihea), and also made out the relations of the soxes in 

He rejoiced at his return home after his holidays, and 
greatly enjoyed the welcome he got from his dog Polly, 
who would get wild with excitement, panting, squeaking, 
rushing round the room, and jumping on and off the chairs ; 
and he used to stoop down, pressing her face to his, letting 
her lick him, and speaking to her with a peculiarly tender, 
caressing voice. 

My father had the power of giving to these summer 
holidays a charm which was strongly felt by all his fanuly. 
The pressure of his work at home kept him at the utmost 
stretch of his powers of endurance, and when released from 
it, he entered on a holiday with a youthfulncss of enjoyment 
that made his companionship delightful ; we felt that we saw 
more of him in a week's holiday than in a month at homo. 

Besides the holidays which I have mentioned, there were his 
visits to water-cure establishments. In 1849, when very ill, 
suffering from constant sickness, he was urged by a friend 
to try the water-cure, and at last agreed to go to l)r. Gully's 
establishment at Malvern. His letters to Mr. Fox show how 
much good the treatment did him ; he seems to have thought 
that he had found a cure for his troubles, but, like all other 
remedies, it had only a transient effect on him. However, he 
found it, at first, so good for him, that when he came home he 
built himself a douche-bath, and the butler learnt to be his 

He was too, a frequent patient at Dr. Lane's water-cure 
establishment. Moor Park, near Aldershot, visits to which he 
always looked back with pleasure. 

Some idea of his relation to his family and his friends may 
be gathered from what has gone before ; it would be impossible 
to attempt a complete account of these relationships, but a 
slightly fuller outline may not be out of place. Of his 
married life I cannot speak, save in the briefest manner. In 
his relationship towards my mother, his tender and sympathetic 
nature was shown in its most beautiful aspect. In her presence 
he found his happiness, and through her, his life — which 
might have been overshadowed by gloom — became one of 
content and quiet gladness. 

The Expression of the Emotions shows how closely he watched 
his children ; it was characteristic of him that (as I have heard 
him tell), although he was so anxious to observe accurately the 
expression of a crying child, his sympathy with the grief spoiled 


Ills observation. His note-book, in which are recorded sayings 
of his young children, shows his pleasure in them. He seemed 
to retain a sort of regretful memory of the childhoods which 
liad faded away, and thus he wToto in his BecoUections : — 
" When you were very young it was my delight to play with 
you all, and I think with a sigh that such days can never 

I quote, as showing the tenderness of his nature, some 
sentences from an account of his little daughter Annie, written 
a few days after her death : — 

" Our poor child, Annie, was bom in Gower Street, on 
March 2, 1841, and expired at Malvern at mid-day on the 
23rd of April, 1861. 

" I write these few pages, ss I think in after years, if we 
live, the impressions now put down will recall more vividly her 
chief characteristics. From whatever point I look back at her, 
the main feature in her disposition which at once rises before 
me, is her buoyant joyousness, tempered by two other charac- 
teristics, namely, her sensitiveness, which might easily have 
been overlooked by a stranger, and her strong affection. Her 
joyousness and animal spirits radiated from her whole coimte- 
nance, and rendered every movement elastic and full of life 
and vigour. It was delightful and cheerful to behold her. 
Her dear face now rises before me, as she used sometimes to 
come running downstairs with a stolen pinch of snuff for me, 
her whole form radiant with the pleasure of giving pleasure. 
Even when playing with her cousins, when her joyousness 
almost passed into boisterousness, a single glance of my eye, 
not of displeasure (for I thank God I hardly ever cast one on 
her), but of want of sympathy, would for some minutes alter 
her whole countenance. 

" The other point in her character, which made her joyous- 
ness and spirits so delightful, was her strong affection, which 
was of a most clinging, fondling nature. When quite a baby, 
this showed itself in never being easy without touching her 
mother, when in bed with her ; and quite lately she would, 
when poorly, fondle for any length of time one of her mother's 
arms. When very unwell, her mother lying down beside her, 
seemed to soothe her in a manner quite different from what it 
would have done to any of our other children. So, again, she 
would at almost any time spend half-an-hour in arranging my 
hair, ' making it,' as she called it, * beautiful,' or in smoothing, 
the poor dear darling, my collar or cuffs — in short, in fondling 

"Besides her joyousness thus tempered, she was in hei 

G 2 


manners remarkably cordial, frank, open, straightforward, 
natural, and without any shade of reserve. Her whole mind 
was pure and transparent. One felt one knew her thoroughly 
and could trust her. I always thought, that come what might, 
we should have had, in our old age, at least one loving soul, 
which nothing could have changed. All her movements were 
vigorous, active, and usually graceful. When going round the 
Sand-walk with me, although I walked fast, yet she often used 
to go before, pirouetting in the most elegant way, her dear face 
bright all the time with the sweetest smiles. Occasionally she 
had a pretty coquettish manner towards me, the memory of 
which is cbarming. She often used exaggerated language, and 
when I quizzed her by exaggerating what she had said, how 
clearly can I now see the little toss of the head, and exclamation 
of ' Oh, papa, what a shame of you I * In the last short illness, 
her conduct in simple truth was angelic. She never once 
complained ; never became fretful ; was ever considerate of 
others, and was thankful in the most gentle, pathetic manner 
for eveiything done for her. When so exhausted that she 
could hardly speak, she praised everything that was given her, 
and said some tea * was beautifully good.* When I gave her 
some water, she said, * I quite thank you ; * and these, I believe, 
wore the last precious words ever addressed by her dear lips 
to me. 

" We have lost the joy of the household, and the solace of 
our old age. She must have known how we loved her. Oh, 
that she could now know how deeply, how tenderly, we do still 
and shall ever love her dear joyous face 1 Blessings on her I * 

" April 30, 1851." 

We, his children, all took especial pleasure in the games he 
played at with us, and in his stories, which, partly on account 
of their rarity, were considered specially delightful. 

The way he brought us up is shown by a little story about 
my brother Leonard, which my father was fond of telling. He 
came into the drawing-room and found Leonard dancing about 
on the sofa, to the peril of the springs, and said, " Oh, Lenny, 
Lenny, that's against all rules," and received for answer, " Then 
I think you'd better go out of the room." I do not believe he 
ever spoke an angry word to any of his children in his life ; 
but I am certain that it never entered our heads to disobey 
him. I well remember one occasion when my father reproved 
me for a piece of carelessness ; and I can etill recall the 
feeling of depression which came over me, and the care which 

♦ The words, " A good and dear child," form the descriptive part of 
the inscription on her gravestone. Soe the Athenssumi Nov. 26, 18S7. 

Ch. IV] reminiscences. 85 

lie took to disperse it by speaking to me soon afterwards with 
especial kindness. He kept up his delightful, affectionate 
manner towards us all his life. I sometimes wonder that he 
could do so, with such an undemonstrative race as we are ; but 
I hope he knew how much we delighted in his loving words 
and manner. He allowed his grown-up children to laugh with 
and at him, and was generally speaking on terms of perfect 
equality with us. 

He was always full of interest about each one's plans or 
successes. We used to laugh at him, and say ho would not 
believe in his sons, because, for instance, he would be a little 
doubtful about their taking some bit of work for which he did 
not foci sure that they had knowledge enough. On the other 
hand, ho was only too much inclined to take a favourable 
view of our work. When I thought he had set too high a 
value on anything that I had done, he used to be indignant 
and inclined to explode in mock anger. His doubts were 
part of his humility concerning what was in any way con- 
nected with himself; his too favourable view of our w^ork 
was due to his sympathetic nature, which made him lenient 
to every one. 

He kept up towards his children his delightful manner of 
expressing his thanks ; and I never wrote a letter, or read a 
page aloud to him, without receiving a few kind words of re- 
cognition. His love and goodness towards his little grandson 
Bernard were great ; and he often spoke of the pleasure it was 
to him to see " his little face opposite to him " at luncheon. 
He and Bernard used to compare their tastes ; e.g.., in liking 
brown sugar better than white, &c. ; the result being, " We 
always agree, don't we ? '* 

My sister writes : — 

" My first remembrances of my father are of the delights of 
his playing with us. He was passionately attached to his 
own cMldren, although he was not an indiscriminate child- 
lover. To all of us he was the most delightful play-fellow, 
and the most perfect sympathiser. Indeed it is impossible 
adequately to describe how delightful a relation his was to his 
family, whether as children or in their later life. 

" It is a proof of the terms on which we were, and also of 
how much he was valued as a play-fellow, that one of his sons 
when about four years old tried to bribe him with sixpence to 
come and play in working hours. 

" He must have been the most patient and delightful of 
nurses. I remember the haven of peace and comfort it 
seemed to me when I was unwell, to be tucked up on tho 


study sofa, idly considering the old geological map hung on 
the wall. This must have been in his working hours, for I 
always picture him sitting in the horse hair arm chair by the 
comer of the fire. 

" Another mark of his unbounded patience was the way in 
which we were suffered to make raids into the study when we 
had an absolute need of sticking plaster, string, pins, scissors, 
stamps, foot rule, or hammer. These and other such neces- 
saries were always to be found in the study, and it was the 
only place where this was a certainty. We used to feel it 
wrong to go in during work time ; still, when the necessity was 
great, we did so. I remember his patient look when he said 
once, * Don't you think you could not come in again, I have 
been interrupted very often.' We used to dread going in for 
sticking plaster, because he disliked to see that we had cut 
ourselves, both for our sakes and on account of his acute 
sensitiveness to the sight of blood. I well remember lurking 
about the passage till he was safe away, and then stealing 
in for the plaster. 

" Life seems to me, as I look back upon it, to have been very 
regular in those early days, and except relations (and a few 
intimate friends), I do not think any one came to the house. 
After lessons, we were always free to go where we would, and 
that was chiefly in the drawing-room and about the garden, 
so that we were very much with both my father and mother. 
We used to think it most delightful when he told us any 
stories about the Beagle, or about early Shrewsbury days — 
little bits about school life and his boyish tastes. 

" He cared for all our pursuits and interests, and lived our 
lives with us in a way that very few fathers do. But I am 
certain that none of us felt that this intimacy interfered the 
least with our respect and obedience. Whatever he said was 
absolute truth and law to us. He always put his whole mind 
into answering any of our questions. One trifling instance 
makes me feel how he cared for what we cared for. He had 
no special taste for cats, but yet he knew and remembered the 
individualities of my many cats, and would talk about the 
habits and characters of the more remarkable ones years after 
they had died. 

" Another characteristic of his treatment of his children was 
his respect for their liberty, and for their personality. Even as 
quite a little girl, I remember rejoicing in this sense of free- 
dom. Our father and mother would not even wish to know 
what we were doing or thinking unless we wished to tell. He 
always made us feel that we were each of us creatures whose 


opinions and thoughts were valuable to him, so that whatever 
there was best in us came out in the sunshine of his presence. 

" I do not think his exaggerated sense of our good qualities, 
intellectual or moral, made us conceited, as might perhaps 
have been expected, but rather more humble and grateful to 
him. The reason being no doubt that the influence of his 
character, of his sincerity and greatness of nature, had a 
much deeper and more lasting effect than any small exalta- 
tion which his praises or admiration may have caused to our 

As head of a household he was much loved and respected ; 
he always spoke to servants with politeness, using the expres- 
sion, " would you be so good," in asking for anything. He 
was hardly ever angry with his servants ; it shows how seldom 
this occurred, that when, as a small boy, I overheard a servant 
being scolded, and my father speaking angrily, it impressed 
me as an appalling circumstance, and I remember running up 
stairs out of a general sense of awe. He did not trouble 
himself about the management of the garden, cows, &c. He 
considered the horses so little his concern, that he used to 
ask doubtfully whether he might have a horse and cart to 
send to Keston for Sundew, or to the Westerham nurseries for 
plants, or the like. 

As a host my father had a peculiar charm : the presence of 
visitors excited him, and made him appear to his best advan- 
tage. At Shrewsbury, he used to say, it was his father's wish 
that the guests should be attended to constantly, and in one of 
the letters to Fox ho speaks of the impossibility of writing a 
letter while the house was full of company. I think he always 
felt uneasy at not doing more for the entertainment of his 
guests, but the result was successful ; and, to make up for any 
loss, there was the gain that the guests felt perfectly free to do 
as they liked. The most usual visitors were those who stayed 
from Saturday till Monday ; those who remained longer were 
generally relatives, and were considered to be rather more my 
mother's affair than his. 

Besides these visitors, there were foreigners and other 
strangers, who came down for luncheon and went away in the 
afternoon. He used conscientiously to represent to them the 
enormous distance of Down from London, and the labour it 
would be to come there, unconsciously taking for granted that 
they would find the journey as toilsome as he did himself. If, 

* Some pleasant recollections of my father's life at Down, written by 
our friend and former neighbour, Mrs. Wallis Nash, have been published 
in the Overland Monthly (&in Francisco), October 1890. 


however, they were not deterred, he used to arrange their 
journeys for them, telling them when to come, and practically 
when to go. It was pleasant to see the way in which he shook 
hands with a guest who was being welcomed for the first time ; 
his hand used to shoot out in a way that gave one the feeling 
that it was hastening to meet the guest's hands. With old 
friends his hand came down with a hearty swing into the 
other hand in a way I always had satisfaction in seeing. His 
good-bye was chiefly characterised by the pleasant way in 
which he thanked his guests, as he stood at the hall-door, for 
having come to see him. 

These luncheons were successful entertainments, there was 
no drag or flagging about them, my father was bright and 
excited throughout the whole visit. Professor De Candollo 
has described a visit to Down, in his admirable and symjiathetic 
sketch of my father.* He speaks of his manner as resembling 
that of a " savant " of Oxford or Cambridge. This does not 
strike me as quite a good comparison ; in his ease and natural- 
ness there was more of the manner of some soldiers ; a manner 
arising from total absence of pretence or affectation. It was 
this absence of pose, and the natural and simple way in which 
he began talking to his guests, so as to get them on their own 
lines, which made him so charming a host to a stranger. His 
happy choice of matter for talk seemed to flow out of his 
sympathetic nature, and humble, vivid interest in other people's 

To some, I think, he caused actual pain by his modesty ; I 
have seen the late Francis Balfour quite discomposed by having 
knowledge ascribed to himself on a point about which my 
father claimed to be utterly ignorant. 

It is difficult to seize on the characteristics of my father's 

He had more dread than have most people of repeating his 
Btories, and continually said, " You must have heard me tell,'* 
or " I daresay I've told you." One peculiarity he had, which 
gave a curious effect to his conversation. The first few words 
of a sentence would often remind him of some exception to, or 
some reason against, what he was going to say ; and this again 
brought up some other point, so that the sentence would 
become a system of parenthesis within parenthesis, and it was 
often impossible to understand the drift of what he was saying 
until he came to the end of his sentence. He used to say of 
himself that he was not quick enough to hold an argument 

* Darwin wmid^r^ au poitU de vue dei cattses de son succes (Geneva, 


with any one, and I think this was true. Unless it was a 
subject on which he was just then at work, ho could not get 
the train of argument into working order quickly enough. 
This is shown even in his letters ; thus, in the case of two 
letters to Professor Semper about the effect of isolation, he did 
not recall the series of facts he wanted until some days after 
the first letter had been sent off. 

When puzzled in talking, ho had a peculiar stammer on the 
first word of a sentence. I only recall this occurring with 
words beginning with w ; possibly he had a special difficulty 
with this letter, for I have lieard him say that as a boy ho 
could not pronounce w, and that sixpence was offered him if 
he could say " white wine," which he pronounced " rite rine." 
Possibly he may have inherited this tendency from Erasmus 
Darwin who stammered.* 

He sometimes combined his metaphors in a curious way, 
using such a phrase as " holding on like life," — a mixture of 
" holding on for his life," and " holding on like grim death." 
It came from his eager way of putting emphasis into what 
he was saying. This sometimes gave an air of exaggeration 
where it was not intended ; but it gave, too, a noble air of 
strong and generous conviction ; as, for instance, when he gave 
his evidence before the Koyal Commission on vivisection, and 
came out with his words about cruelty, " It deserves detestation 
and abhorrence." When he felt strongly about any similar 
question, he could hardly trust himself to speak, as he then 
easily became angry, a thing which he disliked excessively. 
He was conscious that his anger had a tendency to multiply 
itself in the utterance, and for this reason dreaded (for 
example) having to reprove a servant. 

It was a proof of the modesty of his manner of talking, that 
when, for instance, a number of visitors came over from Sir 
John Lubbock's for a Sunday afternoon call, he never seemed 
to bo preaching or lecturing, although he had so much of 
the talk to himself. He was particularly charming when 
" chaffing " any one, and in high spirits over it. His manner 
at such times was light-hearted and boyish, and his refinement 
of nature came out most strongly. So, when he was talking to 
a lady who pleased and amused him, the combination of 
raillery and deference in his manner was delightful to see. 
There was a personal dignity about him, which the most 

* My father related a Johnsonian answer of Erasmus Darwin's : " Don't 
Tou find it very inconvenient stammering, Dr. Darwin?" "No, Sir, 
because I have time to think before I spe^, and don't ask impertinent 


familiar intercourse did not diminish. One felt that he was 
the last person with whom anyone would wish to take a liberty, 
nor do I remember an instance of such a thing occurring to 

When my father had several guests he managed them well, 
getting a talk with each, or bringing two or three together 
round his chair. In these conversations there was always a 
good deal of fun, and, speaking generally, there was either a 
humorous turn in his talk, or a sunny geniality which served 
instead. Perhaps my recollection of a pervading element of 
humour is the more vivid, because the best talks were with 
Mr. Huxley, in whom there is the aptness which is akin to 
humour, even when humour itself is not there. My father 
enjoyed Mr. Huxley's humour exceedingly, and would often 
say, " What splendid fun Huxley is I " I think he probably 
had more scientific argument (of the nature of a fight) with 
Lyell and Sir Joseph Hooker. 

He used to say that it grieved him to find that for the 
friends of his later life he had not the warm affection of his 
youth. Certainly in his early letters from Cambridge he gives 
proofs of strong friendship for Herbert and Fox; but no 
one except himself would have said that his affection for his 
friends- was not, throughout life, of the warmest possible kind. 
In serving a friend he would not spare himself, and precious 
time and strength were willingly given. He undoubtedly had, 
to an unusual degree, the power of attaching his friends to him. 
He had many warm friendships, but to &ir Joseph Hooker he 
was bound by ties of affection stronger than we often see among 
men. He wrote in his BecollectionSy " I have known hardly 
any man more lovable than Hooker." 

His relationship to the village people was a pleasant one ; 
he treated them, one and all, with courtesy, when he came in 
contact with them, and took an interest in all relating to their 
welfare. Some time after he came to live at Down he helped 
to found a Friendly Club, and served as treasurer for thii'ty 
years. Ho took much trouble about the club, keeping its 
accounts with minute and scrupulous exactness, and taking 
pleasure in its prosperous condition. Every Whit-Monday the 
club marched round with band and banner and paraded on the 
lawn in front of the house. There he met them, and explained 
to them their financial position in a little speech seasoned with 
a few well-worn jokes. He was often unwell enough to make 
even this little ceremony an exertion, but I think he never 
failed to meet them. 

He was also treasurer of the Coal Club, which gave him a 

ea. ly.] REMINISCENCES. 91 

certain amount of work, and lie acted for some years as a 
County Magistrate. 

With regard to my father's interest in the affairs of the 
village, Mr. Brodie Innes has been so good as to give me his 
recollections : — 

" On my becoming Vicar of Dovm in 1846, we became 
friends, and so continued till his death. His conduct towards 
me and my family was one of unvarying kindness, and wo 
repaid it by warm atiection. 

" In all parish matters he was an active assistant ; in matters 
connected with the schools, charities, and other business, his 
liberal contribution was ever ready, and in the differences 
which at times occurred in that, as in other parishes, I was 
always sure of his support. He held that where there was 
really no important objection, his assistance should be given 
to the clergyman, who ought to know the circumstances best, 
and was clnefly responsible." 

His intercourse with strangers was marked with scrupulous 
and rather formal politeness, but in fact he had few oppor- 
timities of meeting strangers, and the quiet life he led at Down 
made him feel confused in a large gathering ; for instance, at the 
Royal Society's soirees he felt oppressed by the numbers. The 
feeling that he ought to know people, and the difficidty he had 
in remembering faces in his latter years, also added to his 
discomfort on such occasions. He did not realise that he 
would be recognised from his photographs, and I remember 
his being uneasy at being obviously recognised by a stranger 
at the Crystal Palace Aquarium. 

I must say something of his manner of working : a striking 
chai-acteristic was his respect for time ; he never forgot how 
precious it was. This was showTi, for instance, in the way 
in which he tried to cui'tail his holidays; also, and more 
clearly, with respect to shorter periods. He would often say, 
that saving the minutes was the way to get work done ; he 
showed this love of saving the minutes in the difference he felt 
between a quarter of an hour and ten minutes' work ; he never 
wasted a few spare minutes from thinking that it was not 
worth while to set to work. I was often struck by his way 
of working up to the very limit of his strength, so that he 
suddenly stopped in dictating, with the words, " I believe I 
mustn't do any more." The same eager desire not to lose 
time was seen in his quick movements when at work. I 
particularly remember noticing this when he was making an 
experiment on the roots of beans, which required some care 
in manipulation; fastening the little bits of card upon the 


roots was done carefully and necessarily slowly, but the inter- 
mediate movements were all quick ; taking a fresh bean, seeing 
that the root was healthy, impaling it on a pin, fixing it on a 
cork, and seeing that it was vertical, &c. ; all these processes 
were performed with a kind of restrained eagerness. He gave 
one the impression of working with pleasure, and not with 
any drag. I have an image, too, of him as he recorded the 
result of some experiment, looking eagerly at each root, &c., 
and then writing with equal eagerness. I remember the quick 
movement of his head up and down as he looked from the 
object to the notes. 

He saved a great deal of time through not having to do 
things twice. Although he would patiently go on repeating 
experiments where there was any good to be gained, he could 
not endure having to repeat an experiment which ought, if 
complete care had been taken, to have told its story at first — 
and this gave him a continual anxiety that the experiment 
should not be wasted ; he felt the experiment to be sacred, 
however slight a one it was. He wished to learn as much as 
possible from an experiment, so that he did not confine himself 
to observing the single point to which the experiment was 
directed, and his power of seeing a number of other things was 
wonderful. I do not think he cared for preliminary or rough 
observations intended to serve as guides and to be repeated. 
Any experiment done was to be of some use, and in this con- 
nection I remember how strongly he urged the necessity of 
keeping the notes of experiments which failed, and to this rule 
he always adhered. 

In the literary part of his work he had the same horror of 
losing time, and the same zeal in what he was doing at the 
moment, and this made him careful not to be obliged unneces- 
sarily to read anything a second time. 

His natural tendency was to use simple methods and few 
instruments. The use of the compound microscope has much 
increased since his youth, and this at the expense of the simple 
one. It strikes us nowadays as extraordinary that he should 
have had no compound microscope when he went his Beagle 
voyage ; but in this he followed the advice of Robert Brown, 
who was an authority in such matters. He always had a great 
liking for the simple microscope, and maintained that now- 
adays it was too much neglected, and that one ought always to 
Bee as much as possible with the simple before taking to the 
compound microscope. In one of his letters he speaks on this 
point, and remarks that he suspects the work of a man who 
never uses the simple microscope. 


His dissecting table was a thick board, let into a window of 
the study; it was lower than an ordinary table, so that he 
could not have worked at it standing ; but this, from wishing 
to save his strength, he would not have done in any case. He 
sat at his dissecting- table on a curious low stool which had 
belonged to his father, with a seat revolving on a vertical 
spindle, and mounted on large castors, so that he could turn 
easily from side to side. His ordinary tools, &c., were lying 
about on the table, but besides these a number of odds and 
ends were kept in a round table full of radiating drawers, and 
turning on a vertical axis, which stood close by his left side, 
as ho sat at his microscope-table. The drawers were labelled, 
"best tools," "rough tools," "specimens," "preparations for 
specimens," &c. The most marked peculiarity of the contents 
of these drawers was the care with which little scraps and 
almost useless things were preserved ; he held the well-known 
belief, that if you threw a thing away you were sure to want it 
directly — and so things accumulated. 

If any one had looked at his tools, &c., lying on the table, 
he would have been struck by an air of simpleness, make-shift, 
and oddity. 

At his right hand were shelves, with a number of other odds 
and ends, glasses, saucers, tin biscuit boxes for germinating 
seeds, zinc labels, saucers full of sand, &c., &c. Considering 
how tidy and methodical he was in essential things, it is 
curious that he bore with so many make-shifts : for instance, 
instead of having a box made of a desired shape, and stained 
black inside, he would hunt up something like what he wanted 
and get it darkened inside with shoe-blacking ; he did not care 
to have glass covers made for tumblers in which he germinated 
seeds, but used broken bits of irregular shape, with perhaps a 
narrow angle sticking uselessly out on one side. But so much 
of his experimenting was of a simple kind, that he had no need 
for any elaboration, and I think his habit in this respect was 
in great measure due to his desire to husband his strength, and 
not waste it on inessential things. 

His way of marking objects may here be mentioned. If he 
had a number of things to distinguish, such as leaves, flowers, 
&c., he tied threads of different colours round them. In 
particular he used this method when he had only two classes of 
objects to distinguish ; thus in the case of crossed and self- 
fertilised flowers, one set would be marked with black and one 
with white thread, tied round the stalk of the flower. I 
remember well the look of two sets of capsules, gathered and 
waiting to be weighed, counted, &c,, with pieces of black and 


of white thread to distinguish the trays in which they lay. 
When he had to compare two sets of seedlings, sowed in the 
same pot, he separated them by a partition of zinc-plate ; and 
the zinc-label, which gave the necessary details about the 
experiment, was always placed on a certain side, so that it 
became instinctive with him to know without reading the label 
which were the " crossed '* and which the " self-fertilised." 

His love of each particular experiment, and his eager zeal 
not to lose the fruit of it, came out markedly in these crossing 
experiments — in the elaborate care he took not to make any 
confusion in putting capsules into wrong trays, &c. &c. I 
can recall his appearance as he counted seeds under the simple 
microscope with an alertness not usually characterising such 
mechanical work as counting. I think he personified each 
seed as a small demon trying to elude him by getting into the 
wrong heap, or jumping away altogether ; and this gave to the 
work the excitement of a game. He had great faith in instru- 
ments, and I do not think it naturally occurred to him to doubt 
the accuracy of a scale, a measuring glass, &c. He was 
astonished when we found that one of lus micrometers differed 
from the other. He did not require any great accuracy in 
most of his measurements, and had not good scales ; he had an 
old three-foot rule, which was the common property of the 
household, and was constantly being borrowed, because it was 
the only one which was certain to be in its place — unless, 
indeed, the last borrower had forgotten to put it back. For 
measui-ing the height of plants, he had a seven-foot deal rod, 
graduated by the village carpenter. Latterly he took to using 
paper scales graduated to millimeters. I do not mean by this 
account of his instruments that any of his experiments suffered 
from want of accuracy in measurement, I give them as 
examples of his simple methods and faith in others — faith at 
least in instnmient-makers, whose whole trade was a mystery 
to him. 

A few of his mental characteristics, bearing especially on his 
mode of working, occur to me. There was one quality of mind 
which seemed to be of special and extreme advantage in leading 
him to make discoveries. It was the power of never letting 
exceptions pass unnoticed. Everybody notices a fact as an ex- 
ception when it is striking or frequent, but he had a special 
instinct for arresting an exception. A point apparently slight 
and unconnected with his present work is passed over by many 
a man almost unconsciously with some half-considered explana- 
tion, which is in fact no explanation. It was just these things 
that he seized on to make a start from. In a certain sense 


there is nothing special in this procedure, many discoveries 
being made by means of it. I only mention it because, as 
I watched him at work, the value of this power to an experi- 
menter was so strongly impressed upon mo. 

Another quality which was shown in his experimental work, 
was his power of sticking to a subject; he used almost to 
apologise for his patience, saying that ho could not bear to 
be beaten, as if this were mther a sign of weakness on his 
part. He often quoted the saying, " It's dogged as does it ; " 
and I think doggedncss expresses his frame of mind almost 
bettor than perseverance. Perseverance seems hardly to 
express his almost fierce desire to force the truth to reveal 
itself. Ho often said that it was important that a man should 
know tho right point at which to give up an inquiry. And 
I think it was his tendency to pass this point that inclined 
him to apologise for his perseverance, and gave the air of 
doggedness to his work. 

Ho often said that no one could be a good observer unless 
he was an active thcoriser. This brings me back to what I 
said about his instinct for arresting exceptions : it was as 
though he were charged with theorising power ready to flow 
into any channel on the slightest disturbance, so that no fact, 
however small, could avoid releasing a stream of theory, and 
thus tho fact became magnified into importance. In this way 
it naturally happened that many imtenable theories occurred 
to him; but fortunately his richness of imagination was 
equalled by his power of judging and condemning the thoughts 
that occurred to him. He was just to his theories, and did 
not condemn them unheard ; and so it happened that he 
was willing to test what would seem to most people not at 
all worth testing. These rather wild trials he called " fool's 
experiments," and enjoyed extremely. As an example I may 
mention that finding the seed-leaves of a kind of sensitive plant, 
to be highly sensitive to vibrations of the table, he fancied that 
they might perceive the vibrations of sound, and therefore made 
me play my bassoon close to a plant.* 

The love of experiment was very strong in him, and I can 
remember the way he would say, " I shan't be easy till I have 
tried it," as if an outside force were driving him. He enjoyed 
experimenting much more than work which only entailed 
reasoning, and when he was engaged on one of his books 
which required argument and the marshalling of facts, he 
felt experimental work to be a rest or holiday. Thus, while 

• This is not so much an example of superabundant theorising from a 
•mall cause as of his wiah to test the most improbable ideas. 


working upon the Variations of Animals and Plants in 1860-61, 
he made out the fertilisation of Orchids, and thought himself 
idle for giving so much time to them. It is interesting to 
think that so important a piece of research should have been 
undertaken and largely worked out as a pastime in place of 
more serious work. The letters to Hooker of this period con- 
tain expressions such as, " God forgive me for being so idle ; I 
am quite sillily interested in the work." The intense pleasure 
he took in understanding the adaptations for fertilisation is 
strongly shown in these letters. He speaks in one of his 
letters of his intention of working at Sundew as a rest from 
the Descent of Man. He has described in his Becollections the 
strong satisfaction he felt in solving the problem of hetero- 
stylism.* And I have heard him mention that the Geology of 
South America gave him almost more pleasure than anything 
else. It was perhaps this delight in work requiring keen 
observation that made him value praise given to his observing 
powers almost more than appreciation of his other qualities. 

For books he had no respect, but merely considered them 
as tools to be worked with. Thus he did not bind them, 
and even when a paper book fell to pieces from use, as hap- 
pened to Miiller's Befruchtung, he preserved it from complete 
dissolution by putting a metal clip over its back. In the same 
way he would cut a heavy book in half, to make it more con- 
venient to hold. He used to boast that he had made Lyell 
publish the second edition of one of his books in two volumes, 
instead of in one, by telling him how he had been obliged to 
cut it in half. Pamphlets were often treated even more 
severely than books, for he would tear out, for the sake of 
saving room, all the pages except the one that interested him. 
The consequence of all this was, that his library was not 
ornamental, but was striking from being so evidently a working 
collection of books. 

He was methodical in his manner of reading books and 
pamphlets bearing on his own work. He had one shelf on 
which were piled up the books he had not yet read, and 
another to which they were transferred after having been 
read, and before being catalogued. He would often groan 
over his unread books, because there were so many which he 
knew he should never read. Many a book was at once trans- 
ferred to the other heap, marked with a cypher at the end, 
to show that it contained no passages for reference, or in- 
scribed, perhaps, "not read," or "only skimmed." The books 

* That is to gay, the sexual relations in such plants as the cowslip. 

Ch. IV.] REMINIS0EN0E8. 97 

accumulated in the " read " heap until the shelves oyerflowed, 
and then, with much lamenting, a day was given up to the 
cataloguing. He disliked this work, and as the necessity of 
undertaking the work became imperative, would often say, in a 
voice of despair, " We really must do these books soon." 

In each book, as he read it, he marked passages bearing on 
his work. In reading a book or pamphlet, &c., he made 
pencil-lines at the side of the page, often adding short 
remarks, and at the end made a list of the pages marked. 
"When it was to be catalogued and put away, the marked 
pages were looked at, and so a rough abstract of the book 
was made. This abstract would perhaps be written under 
three or four headings on different sheets, the facts being 
sorted out and added to the previously collected facts in the 
different subjects. He had other sets of abstracts arranged, 
not according to subject, but according to the periodicals from 
which they were taken. When collecting facts on a large 
scale, in earlier years, he used to read through, and make 
absh'acts, in this way, of whole series of journals. 

In some of his early letters he speaks of filling several 
note-books with facts for his book on species; but it was 
certainly early that he adopted his plan of using portfolios, as 
described in the Eecollections.* My father and M. de Candolle 
were mutually pleased to discover that they had adopted the 
same plan of classifying facts. De Candolle describes the method 
in his Phytologie, and in his sketch of my father mentions the 
satisfaction he felt in seeing it in action at Down. 

Besides these portfolios, of which there are some dozens 
full of notes, there are large bundles of MS. marked " used " 
and put away. He felt the value of his notes, and had a 
horror of their destruction by fire. I remember, when some 
alarm of fire had happened, his begging me to be especially 
careful, adding very earnestly, that the rest of his life would 
be miserable if his notes and books were destroyed. 

He shows the same feeling in writing about the loss of a 
manuscript, the purport of his words being, " I have a copy, 
or the loss would have killed me." In writing a book he 
would spend much time and labour in making a skeleton or 
plan of the whole, and in enlarging and sub-classing each 
heading, as described in his Becollections. I think this careful 
arrangement of the plan was not at all essential to the building 
up of his argument, but for its presentment, and for the 

♦ The racks in which the portfolios were placed are shown in the illus- 
tration at the head of the chapter, in the recess at the right-hand side of 
the fire-place, 



arrangement of his facts. In his Life of Erasmus Darwin, as 
it was first printed in slips, the growth of the book from a 
skeleton was plainly visible. The arrangement was altered 
afterwards, because it was too formal and categorical, and 
seemed to give the character of his grandfather i-ather by 
means of a list of qualities than as a complete picture. 

It was only within the last few years that he adopted a plan 
of writing which he was convinced suited him best, and which 
is described in the Becollections ; namely, writing a rougl. 
copy straight off without the slightest attention to style. It 
was characteristic of him that he felt unable to write with 
sufficient want of care if he used his best paper, and thus it 
was that he wrote on the backs of old proofs or manuscript. 
The rough copy was then reconsidered, and a fair copy was 
made. For this purpose he had foolscap jjaper ruled at wide 
intervals, the lines being needed to prevent him writing so 
closely that correction became difficult. The fair copy was 
then corrected, and was recopied before being sent to the 
printers. The copying was done by Mr. E. Norman, who 
began this work many years ago when village schoolmaster at 
Down. My father became so used to Mr. Norman's hand- 
writing, that he could not correct manuscript, even when 
clearly written out by one of his children, until it had been 
recopied by Mr. Norman. The MS., on returning from Mr. 
Norman, was once more corrected, and then sent off to the 
printers. Then came the work of revising and correcting the 
proofs, which my father found especially wearisome. 

When the book was passing through the " slip " stage he 
was glad to have corrections and suggestions from others. 
Thus my mother looked over the proofs of the Origin. In 
some ot the later works my sister, Mrs. Litchfield, did much 
of the correction. After my sister's marriage perhaps most 
of the work fell to my share. 

My sister, Mrs. Litchfield, writes : — 

"This work was very interesting in itself, and it was 
inexpressibly exhilarating to work for him. He was so 
ready to be convinced that any suggcsi"-* alteration was an 
improvement, and so full of gratitude for the trouble taken. 
I do not think tJjat he ever forgot to tell me what improve- 
ment he thought. I had made, and he used almost to excuse 
himself if he did not agree with any correction. I think 
I felt the singular modesty and graciousness of his nature 
through thus working for him in a way I never should 
otherwise have done." 

Perhaps the commonest corrections needed were of obscuri- 


tics due to the omission of a necessary link in the reasoning, 
evidently omitted through familiarity with the subject. Not 
that there was any fault in the sequence of the thoughts, but 
that from familiarity with his argument he did not notice 
when the words failed to reproduce his thought. Ho also 
frequently put too much matter into one sentence, so that it 
had to be cut up into two. 

On the whole, I think the pains which my father took over 
the literary part of the work was very remarkable. Ho often 
laughed or grumbled at himself for the difficulty which he 
found in writing English, saying, for instance, that if a bad 
arrangement of a sentence was possible, he should be sure to 
adopt it. He once got much amusement and satisfaction out 
of the difficulty which one of the family found in writing a 
short^ circular. He had the pleasure of correcting and laughing 
at obscurities, involved sentences, and other defects, and thus 
took his revenge for all the criticism he had himself to bear 
with. He would quote with astonishment Miss Martineau's 
advice to young authors, to write straight off and send the 
MS. to the printer without correction. But in some cases he 
acted in a somewhat similar manner. When a sentence 
became hopelessly involved, he would ask himself, " now what 
do you want to say?" and his answer written down, would 
often disentangle the confusion. 

His stylo has been much praised ; on the other hand, at 
least one good judge has remarked to me that it is not a good 
style. It is, above all things, direct and clear; and it is 
characteristic of himself in its simplicity bordering on naivete, 
and in its absence of pretence. He had the strongest disbelief 
in the common idea that a classical scholar must write good 
English ; indeed, he thought that the contrary was the case. 
In writing, he sometimes showed the same tendency to strong 
expressions that he did in conversation. Thus in the Origin, 
p. 440, there is a description of a larval cirripede, " with six 
pairs of beautifully constructed natatory legs, a pair of magni- 
ficent compound eyes, and extremely complex antennae." Wo 
used to laugh at him for this sentence, which we compared to an 
advertisement. This tendency to give himself up to the 
enthusiastic turn of his thought, without fear of being ludicrous 
appears elsewhere in his writings. 

His courteous and conciliatory tone towards his reader is 
remarkable, and it must be partly this quality which revealed 
his personal sweetness of character to so many who had never 
seen him. I have always felt it to be a curious fact, that 
he who has altered the face of Biological Science, and is in 

H 2 


this respect the chief of the modems, should have written and 
worked in so essentially a non-modern spirit and manner. In 
reading his books one is reminded of the older naturalists 
rather than of any modem school of writers. He was a 
Naturalist in the old sense of the word, that is, a man who 
works at many branches of science, not merely a specialist in 
one. Thus it is, that, though he founded whole new divisions 
of special subjects — such as the fertilisation of flowers, 
insectivorous plants, &c. — yet even in treating these very 
subjects he does not strike the reader as a specialist. The 
reader feels like a friend who is being talked to by a courteous 
gentleman, not like a pupil being lectured by a professor. 
The tone of such a book as the Origin is charming, and almost 
pathetic ; it is the tone of a man who, convinced of the truth 
of his own views, hardly expects to convince others ; it is 
just the reverse of the style of a fanatic, who tries to force 
belief on his readers. The reader is never scorned for any 
amount of doubt which he may be imagined to feel, and his 
scepticism is treated with patient respect. A sceptical reader, 
or perhaps even an unreasonable reader, seems to have been 
generally present to his thoughts. It was in consequence of 
this feeling, perhaps, that he took much trouble over points 
which he imagined would strike the reader, or save him 
trouble, and so tempt him to read. 

For the same reason he took much interest in the illus- 
trations of his books, and I think rated rather too highly 
their value. The illustrations for his earlier books were 
drawn by professional artists. This was the case in Animals 
and PlantSj the Descent of Man, and the Expression of the 
Emotions. On the other hand. Climbing Flants, Insectivorous 
Plants, the Movements of Plants, and Forms of Flowers, were, 
to a large extent, illustrated by some of his children — my 
brother George having drawn by far the most. It was de- 
lightful to draw for hun, as he was enthusiastic in his praise 
of very moderate performances. I remember well his charm- 
ing manner of receiving the drawings of one of his daughters- 
in-law, and how he would finish his words of praise by saying, 

" Tell A , Michael Angelo is nothing to it." Though he 

praised so generously, he always looked closely at the drawing, 
and easily detected mistakes or carelessness. 

He had a horror of being lengthy, and seems to have been 
really much annoyed and distressed when he found how the 
Variations of Animals and Plants was growing under his hands. 
I remember his cordially agreeing with * Tristram Shandy's ' 
words, ** Let no man say, * Come, 111 write a duodecimo.' " 


His consideration for other authors was as marked a cha- 
racteristic as his tone towards his reader. Ho speaks of all 
other authors as persons deserving of respect. In cases 

where, as in the case of 's experiments on Drosera, he 

thought lightly of the author, ho speaks of him in such a way 
that no one would suspect it. In other cases he treats the 
confused writings of ignorant persons as though the fault lay 
with himself for not appreciating or understanding them. 
Besides this general tone of respect, he had a pleasant way of 
expressing his opinion on the value of a quoted work, or his 
obligation for a piece of private information. 

His respectful feeling was not only admirable, but was I 
think of practical use in making him ready to consider the 
ideas and observations of all manner of people. He used 
almost to apologise for this, and would say that he was at 
first inclined to rate everything too highly. 

It was a great merit in his mind that, in spite of having so 
strong a respectful feeling towards what he read, he had the 
keenest of instincts as to whether a man was trustworthy or 
not. He seemed to form a very definite opinion as to the 
accuracy of the men whose books he road; and employed 
this judgment in his choice of facts for use in argument or 
as illusti-ations. I gained the impression that he felt this 
power of judging of a man's trustworthiness to be of much 

He had a keen feeling of the sense of honour that ought to 
reign among authors, and had a horror of any kind of laxness 
in quoting. He had a contempt for the love of honour and 
glory, and in his letters often blames himself for the pleasure 
he took in the success of his books, as though he were depart- 
ing from his ideal — a love of truth and carelessness about 
fame. Often, when writing to Sir J. Hooker what he calls a 
boasting letter, he laughs at himself for his conceit and want 
of modesty. A wonderfully interesting letter is given in 
Chapter X. bequeathing to my mother, in case of his death, 
the care of publishing the manuscript of his first essay 
on evolution. This letter seems to me full of an intense 
desire that his theory should succeed as a contribution to 
knowledge, and apart from any desire for personal fame. He 
certainly had the healthy desire for success which a man of 
strong feelings ought to have. But at the time of the 
publication of the Origin it is evident that he was over- 
whelmingly satisfied with the adherence of such men as Lyell, 
Hooker, Huxley, and Asa Gray, and did not dream of or 
desire any such general fame as that to which he attained. 

102 EEMmiSCENOES. [Ch. IV. 

Connected with his contempt for the undue love of fame, 
was an equally strong dislike of all questions of priority. The 
letters to Lyell, at the time of the Origin^ show the anger he 
felt with himself for not being able to repress a feeling of 
disappointment at what he thought was Mr. Wallace's fore- 
stalling of all his years of work. His sense of literary honour 
comes out strongly in these letters; and his feeling about 
priority is again shown in the admiration expressed in his 
Becolledions of Mr. Wallace's self-annihilation. 

His feeling about reclamations, including answers to attacks 
and all kinds of discussions, was strong. It is simply ex- 
pressed in a letter to Falconer (1863) : " If I ever felt angry 
towards you, for whom I have a sincere friendship, I should 
begin to suspect that I was a little mad. I was very sony 
about your reclamation, as I think it is in every case a mistake 
and should be left to others. Whether I should so act myself 
under provocation is a different question." It was a feeling 
partly dictated by instinctive delicacy, and partly by a strong 
sense of the waste of time, energy, and temper thus caused. 
He said that he owed his determination not to get into dis- 
cussions * to the advice of Lyell, — advice which he trans- 
mitted to those among his friends who were given to paper 

If the character of my father's working life is to be under- 
stood, the conditions of ill-health, under which he worked, 
must be constantly borne in mind. He bore his illness with 
such uncomplaining patience, that even his children can 
hardly, I believe, realise the extent of his habitual suffering. 
In their case the difficulty is heightened by the fact that, 
from the days of their earliest recollections, they saw him in 
constant ill-health, — and saw him, in spite of it, full of 
pleasure in what pleased them. Thus, in later life, their 
perception of what he endured had to be disentangled from the 
impression produced in childhood by constant genial kindness 
under conditions of unrecognised difficulty. No one indeed, 
except my mother, knows the full amount of suffering he endured, 
or the full amount of his wonderful patience. For all the latter 
years of his life she never left him for a night ; and her 

* He departed from Ms rule in his "Note on the Habits of the 
Pampas Woodpecker, Colaptes oampestris" Proc. Zool. Soc., 1 870, p. 705 : 
also in a letter published in the Athenaeum (1863, p. 554), in which case 
he afterwards regretted that he had not remained silent. His replies to 
criticisms, in the latter editions of the Origin^ can hardly be classed as 
infractions of his rule. 


days were so planned that all his resting hours might be shared 
with her. She shielded him from every avoidable annoyance, 
and omitted nothing that might save him trouble, or prevent 
him becoming overtired, or that might alleviate the many 
discomforts of his ill-health. I hesitate to speak thus freely 
of a thing so sacred as the life-long devotion which prompted 
all this constant and tender care. But it is, I repeat, a prin- 
cipal feature of his life, that for nearly forty years he never 
knew one day of the health of ordinary men, and that thus his 
life was one long struggle against the weariness and strain of 
sickness. And tliis cannot be told without speaking of the 
one condition which enabled him to bear the strain and fight 
out the struggle to the end. 

( 104 ) 


Mt father's Cambridge life comprises the time between the 
Lent Term, 1828, when he came up to Christ's College as a 
Freshman, and the end of the May Term, 1831, when he took 
his degree * and left the University. 

He " kept " for a term or two in lodgings, over Bacon | the 
tobacconist's; not, however, over the shop in the Market 
Place, so well known to Cambridge men, but in Sydney Street. 
For the rest of his time he had pleasant rooms on the south 
side of the first court of Christ's.J 

What determined the choice of this college for his brother 
Erasmus and himself I have no means of knowing. Erasmus 
the elder, their grandfather, had been at St. John's, and this 
college might have been reasonably selected for them, being 
connected with Shrewsbury School. But the life of an under- 
graduate at St. John's seems, in those days, to have been a 
troubled one, if I may judge from the fact that a relative 
of mine migrated thence to Christ's to escape the harassing 
discipline of the place. 

Darwin seems to have found no difficulty in living at peace 
with all men in and out of office at Lady Margaret's elder 
foundation. The impression of a contemporary of my father's 
is that Christ's in their day was a pleasant, fairly quiet college, 
with some tendency towards " horsiness " ; many of the men 
made a custom of going to Newmarket during the races, 
though betting was not a regular practice. Li this they were 
by no means discouraged by the Senior Tutor, Mr. Shaw, 

♦ ** On Tuesday last Charles Darwin, of Christ's College, was admitted 
B.A."— Cambridge Chronicle, Friday, April 29th, 1831. 

t Readers of Calverley (another Christ's man) will remember his 
tobacco poem ending " Here's to thee, Bacon." 

X The rooms are on the first floor, on the west side of the middle 
staircase. A medalHon (given by my brother) has recently been let into 
the wall of the sitting-room. 

Oh. v.] 1828—1831. 105 

who was himself generally to be seen on the Heath on these 

Nor were the ecclesiastical authorities of the College over 
strict. I have heard my father tell how at evening chapel the 
Dean used to read alternate verses of the Psalms, without 
making even a pretence of waiting for the congregation to take 
their share. And when the Lesson was a lengthy one, he 
would rise and go on with the Canticles after the scholar had 
read fifteen or twenty verses. 

It is curious that my father often spoke of his Cambridge 
life as if it had been so much time wasted,* forgetting that, 
although the sot studies of the place were barren enough for 
him, he yet gained in the highest degree the best advantages 
of a University life — the contact with men and an opportunity 
for mental growth. It is true that he valued at its highest the 
advantages which he gained from associating with Professor 
Henslow and some others, but he seemed to consider this as a 
chance outcome of his life at Cambridge, not an advantage for 
which Alma Mater could claim any credit. One of my father's 
Cambridge friends was the late Mr. J. M. Herbert, County 
Court Judge for South Wales, from whom I was fortunate 
enough to obtain some notes which help us to gain an idea of 
how my father impressed his contemporaries. Mr. Herbert 
writes : — 

" It would be idle for me to speak of his vast intellectual 
powers . . . but I cannot end this cursory and rambling sketch 
without testifying, and I doubt not all his surviving college 
friends would concur with me, that he was the most genial, 
warm-hearted, generous, and affectionate of friends ; that his 
sympathies were with all that was good and true ; and that he 
had a cordial hatred for everything false, or vile, or cruel, or 
mean, or dishonourable. He was not only great, but pre- 
eminently good, and just, and lovable." 

Two anecdotes told by Mr. Herbert show that my father's 
feeling for suffering, whether of man or beast, was as strong in 
him as a young man as it was in later years : " Before he left 
Cambridge he told me that he had made up his mind not to 
shoot any more ; that he had had two days' shooting at his 
friend's, Mr. Owen of Woodhouse ; and that on the second day, 
when going over some of the ground they had beaten on the 
day before, he picked up a bird not quite dead, but lingering 

* For iDBtance in a letter to Hooker (1847) : — " Many thanks for youi 
welcome note from Cambridge, and I am glad you like my Alma Mater, 
■which I despise heartily as a place of education, but love from many 
most pleasant recollections," 


106 CAMBRIDGE. [Ch. V. 

from a shot it had received on the previous day ; and that it 
liad made and left such a painful impression on his mind, 
that he could not reconcile it to his conscience to continue 
to derive pleasure from a sport which injQlicted such cruel 

^ To realise the strength of the feeling that led to this resolve, 
we must remember how passionate was his love of sport. We 
must recall the boy shooting his first snipe,* and trembling 
with excitement so that he could hardly reload his gun. Or 
think of such a senteuco as, " Upon my soul, it is only about a 
ibrtnight to the * First,' then if there is a bliss on earth that 
is it." t 

His old college friends agree in speaking with affectionate 
warmth of his pleasant, genial temper as a young man. From 
what they have been able to tell me, I gain the impression of 
a young man overflowing with animal spirits — leading a varied 
healthy life — not over-industrious in the set studies of the 
place, but full of other pursuits, which were followed with a 
rejoicing enthusiasm. Entomology, riding, shooting in the 
fens, suppers and card-playing, music at King's Chapel, en- 
gi'avings at the Fitzwilliam Museum, walks with Professor 
Henslow — all combined to fill up a happy life. He seems to 
have infected others with his enthusiasm. Mr. Herbert relates 
how, while on a reading-party at Barmouth, he was pressed into 
the service of *' the science " — as my father called collecting 
beetles : — 

" He armed me with a bottle of alcohol, in which I had to 
drop any beetle which struck me as not of a common kind. I 
performed this duty with some diligence in my constitutional 
walks ; but, alas ! my powers of discrimination seldom enabled 
mo to secui'o a prize — the usual result, on his examining the 
contents of my bottle, being an exclamation, * Well, old 
Cherbury ' J (the nickname he gave me, and by which he 
usually addressed me), * none of these will do.' " Again, the 
Kev. T. Butler, who was one of the Barmouth reading-party in 
1828, says : " He inoculated me with a taste for Botany which 
has stuck by me all my life." 

Ai'chdeacon Watkins, another old college friend of my 
father's, remembered him unearthing beetles in the willows 
between Cambridge and Grantchester, and speaks of a certain 
beetle the remembrance of whose name is " Crux major." § 

* Autobiography p. 10. 

t From a letter to W. D. Fox. 

X No doubt in allusion to tiie title of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. 

§ Panagxus Grux-major. 

Ch. v.] 1828—1831. 107 

How onthusiastically must my father have exulted over this 
beetle to have impressed its name on a companion so that he 
remembers it after half a century I 

He became intimate with Henelow, the Professor of Botany, 
and thi'ough him with some other older members of the 
University. " But," Mr. Herbert writes, " he always kept up 
the closest connection with the friends of his own standing ; 
and at our frequent social gatherings — at breakfast, wine or 
supper parties — he was ever one of the most cheerful, the most 
popular, and the most welcome." 

My father fonned one of a club for dining once a week, 
called the Glutton Club, the members, besides lumself and Mr. 
Herbert (from whom I quote), being Whitley of St. John's, 
now Honorary Canon of Durham ; * Heaviside of Sydney, now 
Canon of Norwich ; Lovett Cameron of Trinity, sometime vicar 
of Shoreham; R. Blane of Trinity,f wlio held a high post 
during the Crimean war , H. Lowe J ^afterwards Sherbrooke) 
of Trinity Hall ; and F. Watkins or Emmanuel, afterwards 
Archdeacon of York. The origin of the club's name seems 
already to have become involved in obscurity; it certainly 
implied no unusual luxury in the weekly gatherings. 

At any rate, the meetings seemed to have been successful, 
and to have ended with " a game of mild vingt-et-un." 

Mr. Herbert speaks strongly of my father's love of music, 
and adds, "What gave him the greatest delight was some 
grand symphony or overture of Mozart's or Beethoven's, with 
their full harmonies." On one occasion Herbert remembers 
" accompanying him to the afternoon service at King's, when 
we heard a very beautiful anthem. At the end of one of the 
parts, which was exceedingly impressive,!he turned round to me 
and said, with a deep sigh, * How's your backbone ? ' " He often 
spoke in later years of a feeling of coldness or shivering in his 
back on hearing beautiful music. 

Besides a love of music, he had certainly at this time a 
love of fine literature ; and Mr. Cameron tells me that my 
father took much pleasure in Shakespeare readings carried 
on in his rooms at Christ's. He also speaks of Darwin's 
" great liking for fii'st-class line engravings, especially those 
of Kaphael Morghen and Miiller; and he spent hours in 

• Formerly Reader In Natural Philosophy at Durham University. 

t Blane was afterwards, I believe, in the Life Guards; he was in 
the Crimean War, and afterwards Military Attache at St. Petersburg. 
I am indebted to Mr. Hamilton for information about some of my fiather'i 

X Brother of Lord Sherbrooke, 

108 OAMBRroGE. [Ch. V. 

the Fitzwilliam Museum in looking oyer the prints in that 

My father's letters to Fox show how sorely oppressed he 
felt by the reading for an examination. His despair over 
mathematics must have been profound, when he expresses a 
hope that Fox's silence is due to "your being ten fathoms 
deep in the Mathematics ; and if you are, God help you, for so 
am I, only with this difference, I stick fast in the mud at the 
bottom, and there I shall remain." Mr. Herbert says : " He 
had, I imagine, no natural turn for mathematics, and he gave 
up his mathematical reading before he had mastered the first 
part of algebra, having had a special quarrel with Surds and 
the Binomial Theorem." 

We get some evidence from my father's letters to Fox of his 
intention of going into the Church. " I am glad," he writes,* 
" to hear that you are reading divinity. I should like to 
know what books you are reading, and your opinions about 
them ; you need not be afraid of preaching to me pre- 
maturely." Mr. Herbert's sketch shows how doubts arose in 
my father's mind as to the possibility of his taking Orders. 
He writes, " We had an earnest conversation about going into 
Holy Orders ; and I remember his asking me, with reference 
to the question pu* by the Bishop in the Ordination Service, 
* Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy 
Spirit, &c.,' whether I could answer in the affirmative, and on 
my saying I could not, he said, * Neither can I, and therefore 
I cannot take orders.'" This conversation appears to have 
taken place in 1829, and if so, the doubts here expressed must 
have been quieted, for in May 1830, he speaks of having some 
thoughts of reading divinity with Henslow. 

The greater number of his Cambridge letters are addressed 
by my father to his cousin, William Darwin Fox. My father's 
letters show clearly enough how genuine the friendship was. 
In after years, distance, large families, and ill-health on both 
sides, checked the intercourse ; but a warm feeling of friend- 
ship remained. The correspondence was never quite dropped 
and continued till Mr. Fox's death in 1880. Mr. Fox took 
orders, and worked as a country clergyman until forced by 
ill-health to leave his living in Delamere Forest. His love 
of natural history was strong, and he became a skilled 
fancier of many kinds of birds, &c. The index to Animals and 
PlantSy and my father's later correspondence, show how much 
help he received from his old College friend. 

* March 18, 1829. 

Oh. v.] 1828—1831. 109 

C. D. to J. M, Eerhert, September 14, 1828.* 

My deab old Chkrbury, — I am about to fulfil my promise of 
writing to you, but I am sorry to add there is a very selfish 
motive at the bottom. I am going to ask you a great favour, 
and you cannot imagine how much you will oblige me by 
procuring some more specimens of some insects which I 
dare say I can describe. Jn the first place, I must inform you 
that I have taken some of the rarest of the British Insects, and 
their being found near Barmouth, is quite unknown to the 
Entomological world : I think I shall write and inform some 
of the crack entomologists. 

But now for business. Several more specimens, if you can 
procure them without much trouble, of the following insects : — 
The violet-black coloured beetle, found on Craig Storm,! 
under stones, also a largo smooth black one very like it ; a 
bluish metallic-coloured dung-beetle, which is very common on 
the hill-sides ; also, if you would be so very kind as to cross 
the ferry, and you will find a great number under the stones on 
the waste land of a long, smooth, jet-black beetle (a great many 
of those) ; also, in the same situation, a very small pinkish insect, 
with black spots, with a curved thorax projecting beyond the 
head ; also, upon the marshy land over the ferry, near the sea, 
under old sea weed, stones, &c., you will find a small yellowish 
transparent beetle, with two or four blackish marks on the 
back. Under these stones there are two sorts, one much 
darker than the other ; the lighter coloured is that which I 
want. These last two insects are excessively rare^ and you will 
really extremely oblige me by taking all this trouble pretty 
soon. Eemember me most kindly to Butler, J tell him of my 
success, and I dare say both of you will easily recognise these 
insects. I hope his caterpillars go on well. I think many of 
the Chrysalises are well worth keeping. I really am quite 
ashamed [ofj so long a letter all about my own concerns ; but 
do return good for evil, and send me a long account of all your 

In the fii'st week I killed seventy-five head of game — a very 
contemptible number — but there are very few birds. I killed, 
however, a brace of black game. Since then I have been 

♦ The postmark being Derby seems to show that the letter w.a8 written 
from his cousin, W. D. Fox's house, Osmaston, near Derby. 

t The top of the hill immediately behind Barmouth was called Craig- 
Storm, a hybrid Cambro-English word. 

X Rev. T. Butler, a son of the former head master of Shrewsbury 

110 CAMBRIDGE. [Ch. V. 

staying at the Fox's, near Derby ; it is a very pleasant house, 
and the music meeting went off very well. I want to hear how 
Yates likes his gun, and what use he has made of it. 

If the bottle is not large you can buy another for me, and 
when you pass through Shrewsbury you can leave these 
treasures, and I hope, if you possibly can, you will stay a day 
or two with me, as I hope I need not say how glad I shall bo 
to see you again. Fox remarked what deuced good natured 
fellows your friends at Barmouth must be ; and if I did not 
know that you and Butler were so, I would not think of giving 
you so much trouble. 

In the following January we find him looking forward with 
pleasure to the beginning of another year of his Cambridge 
life : he writes to Fox, who had passed his examination : — 

" I do so wish I were now in Cambridge (a very selfish wish, 
however, as I was not with you in all your troubles and 
misery), to join in all the glory and happiness, which dangers 
gone by can give. How wo would talk, walk, and entomolo- 
gise I Sappho should be the best of bitches, and Dash, of 
dogs ; then should be * peace on earth, good will to men,' — 
which, by the way, I always think the most perfect description 
of happiness that words can give." 

Later on in the Lent term he writes to Fox : — 

" I am leading a quiet everyday sort of a life ; a little of 
Gibbon's History in the morning, and a good deal of Van John 
in the evening ; this, with an occasional ride with Simcox and 
constitutional with Whitley, makes up the regular routine of 
my days. I see a good deal both of Herbert and Whitley, and 
the more I see of them increases every day the respect I have 
for their excellent understandings and dispositions. They 
have been giving some very gay parties, nearly sixty men there 
both evenings." 

a D. to W. D. Fox. Christ's College, April 1 [1829]. 

My dear Fox — In your letter to Holden you are pleased to 
observe " that of all the blackguards you ever met with I aui 
the greatest." Upon this observation I shall make no remarks, 
excepting that I must give you all due credit for acting on it 
most rigidly. And now I should like to know in what one 
particular are you less of a blackguard than I am ? You idle 
old wretch, why have you not answered my last letter, which 
I am sure I forwarded to Clifton nearly three weeks ago ? 
If I was not really very anxious to hear what you are doing, 

On. v.] 1828—1831. Ill 

I should have allowed you to remain till you thought it worth 
while to treat mo like a gentleman. And now having vented 
my spleen in scolding you, and having told you, what you must 
know, how very much and how anxiously I want to hear how 
you and your family are getting on at Clifton, tho purport of 
this letter is finished. If you did but know how often I think 
of you, and how often I regret your absence, I am suro I should 
have heai'd from you long enough ago. 

I find Cambridge rather stupid, and as I know scarcely any 
one that walks, and this joined with my lips not being quite 
BO well, has reduced me to a sort of hybernation. . . I have 

caught Mr. Harbour * letting have tho first pick of the 

beetles ; accordingly we have made our final adieus, my part 
in tho affecting scene consisted in tolling him ho was a d — d 
rascal, and signifying I should kick him down the stairs if 
ever he appeared in my rooms again. It seemed altogether 
mightily to surprise the young gentleman. I have no news to 
tell you ; indeed, when a correspondence has been broken off 
like ours has been, it is difiicult to make the first start again. 
Last night there was a terrible fire at Linton, eleven miles 
from Cambridge. Seeing the reflection so plainly in the 
sky. Hall, Woodyeare, Turner, and myself thought we would 
ride and see it. We set out at half-past nine, and rode like 
incarnate devils there, and did not return till two in the 
morning. Altogether it was a most awful sight. I cannot 
conclude without telling you, that of all the blackguards I ever 
met with, you are the greatest and the best. 

In July 1829 he had written to Fox : — 

" I must read for my Little-go. Graham smiled and bowed 
so very civilly, when he told mo that he was one of the six 
appointed to make the examination stricter, and that they were 
determined this would make it a very different thing from any 
previous examination, that from all this I am sure it will be 
the very devil to pay amongst all idle men and entomologists." 

But things were not so bad as he feared, and in March 1830, 
he could write to tho same correspondent : — 

" I am through my Little-go ! ! I I am too much exalted to 
humblo myself by apologising for not having written before. 
But I assure you before I went in, and when my nerves were 
in a shattered and weak condition, your injured person often 
rose before my eyes and taunted me with my idleness. But I 
am through, through, through. I could wiite the whole sheet 
full with this delightful word. I went in yesterday, and have 

• No doubt a paid collector. 

112 OAMBBIDGB. [Ch. V. 

just heard the joyful news. I shall not know for a week 
which class I am in. The whole examination is carried on in 
a different system. It has one grand advantage — being over 
in one day. They are rather strict, and ask a wondei-ful 
number of questions. 

And now I want to know something about your plans ; of 
course you intend coming up here : what fun we will have 
together ; what beetles we will catch ; it will do my heart 
good to go once more together to some of our old haunts. I 
have two very promising pupils in Entomology, and we will 
make regular campaigns into the Fens. Heaven protect the 
beetles and Mr. Jenyns, for we won't leave him a pair in the 
whole country. My new Cabinet is come down, and a gay 
little affair it is." 

In August he was diligently amusing himself in North 
"Wales, finding no time to write to Fox, because : — 

" This is literally the first idle day I have had to myself ; 
for on the rainy days I go fishing, on the good ones entomolo- 

November found him preparing for his degree, of which 
process he writes dolefully : — 

" I have so little time at present, and am so disgusted by 
reading, that I have not the heart to write to anybody. I have 
only written once home since I came up. This must excuse 
me for not having answered your three letters, for which I am 
really very much obliged. . . . 

" I have not stuck an insect this term, and scarcely opened 
a case. If I had time I would have sent you the insects 
which I have so long promised ; but really I have not spirits 
or time to do anything. Reading makes me quite desperate ; 
the plague of getting up all my subjects is next thing to 
intolerable. Henslow is my tutor, and a most admirahle one 
he makes ; the hour with him is the pleasantest in the whole 
day. I think he is quite the most perfect man I ever met 
with. I have been to some very pleasant parties there this 
term. His good-nature is unbounded." 

The new year brought relief, and on January 23, 1831, ho 
wrote to tell Fox that he was through his examination. 

"I do not know why the degree should make one so 
miserable, both before and afterwards. I recollect you were 
sufficiently wretched before, and I can assure [you], I am now ; 
and what makes it the more ridiculous is, I know not what 
about. I believe it is a beautiful provision of nature to make one 
regret the less leaving so pleasant a place as Cambridge ; and 
amongst all its pleasures — I say it for once and for all — none 

Ch. v.] 1828—1831. 113 

BO great as my fnendsliip with you. I sent you a newspaper 
yesterday, in which you will see what a good place — tenth — I 
have got in the Poll. As for Christ's, did you ever see such a 
college for producing Captains and Apostles ? * There are 
no men either at Emmanuel or Christ's plucked. Cameron is 
gulfcdjf together with other three Trinity scholars I My plans 
are not at all settled. I think I shall keep this term, and then 
go and economise at Shrewsbury, return and take my degree. 

" A man may be excused for writing so much about himself 
when he has just passed the examination ; so you must excuse 
[me]. And on the same principle do you write a letter brimful 
of yourself and plans." 


In a letter addressed to Captain Fitz-Roy, before the Beagle 
sailed, my father wrote, "What a glorious day the 4th of 
November J will be to me — my second life will then commence, 
and it shall be as a birthday for the rest of my life." 

Foremost in the chain of circumstances which led to his 
appointment to the Beagle, was his friendship with Professor 
Henslow, of which the autobiography gives a sufficient 

An extract from a pocket-book, in which Darwin briefly 
recorded the chief events of his life, gives the history of his 
introduction to that science which was so soon to be his chief 
occupation — geology. 

" 1831. Christmas. — Passed my examination for B.A. degree 
and kept the two following terms. During these months lived 
much with Professor Henslow, often dining with him and 
walking with him ; became slightly acquainted with several 
of the learned men in Cambridge, which much quickened 
the zeal which dinner parties and hunting had not destroyed. 
In the spring Henslow persuaded me to think of Geology, 
and introduced me to Sedgwick. During Midsummer geolo- 
gized a little in Shropshire." 

This geological work was doubtless of importance as giving 

* Tlie "Captain" is at the head of the "Poll": the "Apostles" aro 
the last twelve in the Mathematical Tripos. 

t For an explanation of the| word " gulfed " or " gulphed," see Mr. W. 
VV. Rouse Balls' interesting History of the Study of Mathematicg ai 
Cambridge (1889), p. 160. 

X The Beagle should have started on Nov. 4, but was delayed until 
Dec. 27. 

§ See, too, a sketch by my father of hia old master, in the Rev. L. 
Blomefield's Memoir of Professor Henslow. 



Mm some practical experience, and perhaps of more import- 
ance in helping to give him some confidence in himself. In 
July of the same year, 1831, he was " working like a tiger " 
at Geology, and trying to make a map of Shropshire, but not 
finding it " as easy as I expected." 

In writing to Henslow about the same time, he gives some 
account of his work : — 

" I have been working at so many things that I have not 
got on much with geology. I suspect the first expedition I 
take, clinometer and hammer in hand, will send me back very 
little wiser and a good deal more puzzled than when I started. 
As yet I have only indulged in hypotheses, but they are such 
powerful ones that I suppose, if they were put into action but 
for one day, the world would come to an end." 

He was evidently most keen to get to work with Sedgwick, 
who had promised to take him on a geological tour in North 
Wales, for he wrote to Henslow : " I have not heard from 
Professor Sedgwick, so I am afraid he will not pay the Severn 
formations a visit. I hope and trust you did your best to 
urge him." 

My father has given in his Recollections some account of 
this Tour ; there too we read of the projected excursion to the 

In April 1831, he writes to Fox : " At present I talk, think, 
and dream of a scheme I have almost hatched of going to the 
Canary Islands. I have long had a wish of seeing tropical 
scenery and vegetation, and, according to Humboldt, Tenerifi'e 
is a very pretty specimen." And again in May : " As for my 
Canary scheme, it is rash of you to ask questions ; my other 
friends most sincerely wish me there, I plague them so with 
talking about tropical scenery, &c. Eyton will go next 
summer, and I am learning Spanish." 

Later on in the sunmier the scheme took more definite 
form, and the date seems to have been fixed for June 1832. 
He got information in London about passage-money, and in 
July was working at Spanish and calling Fox " un grandisimo 
lebron," in proof of his knowledge of the language. But even 
then he seems to have had some doubts about his companions* 
zeal, for he writes to Henslow (July 27, 1831) : "I hope yon 
continue to fan your Canary ardour. I read and re-read 
Humboldt ; * do you do the same. I am sure nothing will 
prevent us seeing the Great Dragon Tree." 

♦ The copy of Humboldt given by Henslow to my father, which is in 
my possession, is a double memento of the two men — the author and the 
donor, who so greatly influenced his life. 

Ch. v.] 1831. 115 

Geological work and Tonoriflfo dreams carried him through 
the summer, till on returning from Barmouth for the sacred 
1st of September, be received the offer of appointment as 
Naturalist to the Beagle. 

The following extract from the pocket-book will bo a help 
in reading the letters : — 

" Returned to Shrewsbury at end of August. Refused offer 
of voyage. 

** September. — Went to Maer, returned with Uncle Jos. to 
Shrewsbury, thence to Cambridge. London. 

"11/A. — Went with Captain Fitz-Roy in steamer to Ply- 
mouth to see the Beagle. 

" 22nd. — Returned to Shrewsbury, passing through Cam- 

" October 2nd. — Took leave of my homo. Stayed in London. 

" 24^^.— Reached Plymouth. 

" October and November. — These months very miserable. 

" December 10th. — Sailed, but were obliged to put back. 

" 2l8t. — Put to sea again, and were driven back. 

" 27ih. — Sailed from England on our Circumnavigation." 

George Peacock * to J. 8. Eenslow [1831]. 

My dear Henslow — Captain Fitz-Roy is going out to survey 
the southern coast of Tierra del Fuogo, and afterwards to visit 
many of the South Sea Islands, and to return by the Indian 
Archipelago. The vessel is fitted out expressly for scientific 
purposes, combined with the survey ; it will furnish, therefore, 
a rare opportunity for a naturalist, and it would be a great 
misfortune that it should be lost. 

An offer has been made to me to recommend a proper 
person to go out as a naturalist with this expedition ; he will 
be treated with every consideration. The Captain is a young 
man of very pleasing manners (a nephew of the Duke of 
Gi-afton), of great zeal in his profession, and who is very 
highly spoken of ; if Leonard Jenyns could go, what treasures 
he might bring home with him, as the ship would be placed 
at his disposal whenever his inquiries made it necessary or 
desirable. In the absence of so accomplished a naturalist, is 
there any person whom you could strongly recommend? he 
must be such a person as would do credit to our recommenda- 
tion. Do think of this subject ; it would be a serious loss to 

* Formerly Dejin of Ely, and Lowndean Professor of Astronomy a1 

I 2 


tlie cause of natural science if this fine opportunity was 

The contents of the foregoing letter were communicated to 
Darwin by Henslow (August 24th, 1831) ; — 

" 1 have been asked by Peacock, who will read and forward 
this to you from London, to recommend him a Naturalist as 
companion to Captain Fitz-Eoy, employed by Government to 
survey the southern extremity of America. I have stated that 
I consider you to be the best qualified person I know of who 
is likely to undertake such a situation. I state this not in the 
supposition of your being a finished naturalist, but as amply 
qualified for collecting, observing, and noting anything worthy 
to be noted in Natural History. Peacock has the appointment 
at his disposal, and if he cannot find a man willing to take the 
ofiice, the opportunity will probably be lost. Captain Fitz- 
Eoy wants a man (I understand) more as a companion than a 
mere collector, and would not take any one, however good 
a naturalist, who was not recommended to him likewise as a 
gentleman. Particulars of salary, &c., I know nothing. The 
voyage is to last two years, and if you take plenty of books 
with you, anything you please may be done. You will have 
ample opportunities at command. In short, I suppose there 
never was a finer chance for a man of zeal and spirit ; Captain 
Fitz-Roy is a young man. "What I wish you to do is instantly 
to come and considt with Peacock (at No. 7 Suffolk Street, 
Pall Mall East, or else at the University Club), and learn 
further particulars. Don't put on any modest doubts or fears 
about your disqualifications, for I assure you I think you are 
the very man they are in search of ; so conceive yourself to be 
tapped on the shoulder by your bum-bailiff and affectionate 
friend, J. S. Henslow." 

On the strength of Henslow's recommendation. Peacock 
offered the post to Darwin, who wrote from Shrewsbury to 
Henslow (August 30, 1831) : 

" Mr. Peacock's letter arrived on Saturday, and I received it 
late yesterday evening. As far as my own mind is concerned, 
I should, I think certainly, most gladly have accepted the 
opportunity which you so kindly have offered me. But my 
father, although he does not decidedly refuse me, gives such 
strong advice against going, that I should not be comfortable 
if I did not follow it. 

" My father's objections are these : the unfitting me to settle 
down as a Clergyman, my little habit of seafaring, the ahortnesa 

Ch. v.] 1831. 117 

of the time, and tho chance of my not suiting Captain Fitz-Eoy. 
It is certainly a very serious objection, the very short time for 
all my preparations, as not only body but mind wants making 
up for such an undertaking. But if it had not been for my 
father I would have taken all risks. What was the reason that 
a Naturalist was not long ago fixed upon ? I am very much 
obliged for the trouble you have had about it ; there certainly 
could not have been a better opportunity .... 

" Even if I was to go, my father disliking would take away 
all energy, and I should want a good stock of that. Again I 
must thank you, it adds a little to the heavy but pleasant load of 
gratitude which I owe to you." 

The following letter was written by Darwin from Maer, the 
house of his uncle Josiah Wedgwood the younger. It is plain 
that at first he intended to await a written reply from Dr. 
Darwin, and that the expedition to Shrewsbury, mentioned 
in the Autobiography^ was an afterthought. 

[Maer] August 31 [1831]. 

My dbab Father — I am afraid I am going to make you again 
very uncomfortable. But, upon consideration, I think you will 
excuse me once again stating my opinions on the offer of the 
voyage, lily excuse and reason is the different way all the 
Wedgwoods view the subject from what you and my sisters do. 

I have given Uncle Jos* what I fervently trust is an accurate 
and full list of your objections, and he is kind enough to give 
his opinions on all. The list and his answers will be enclosed. 
But may I beg of you one favour, it will be doing me the 
greatest kindness, if you will send me a decided answer, yes or 
no ? If the latter, I should be most ungrateful if I did not 
implicitly yield to your better judgment, and to the kindest 
indulgence you have shown me all through my life ; and you 
may rely upon it I will never mention the subject again. If 
your answer should be yes ; I will go directly to Henslow and 
consult deliberately with him, and then come to Shrewsbury. 

The danger appears to me and all the Wedgwoods not 
great. The expense can not be serious, and the time I do not 
think, anyhow, would be more thrown away than if I stayed at 
home. But pray do not consider that I am so bent on going 
that I would for one single moment hesitate, if you' thought 
that after a short period you should continue uncomfortable. 

I must again state I cannot think it would unfit me here- 
after for a steady life. I do hope this letter will not give you 

* Josiah Wedgwood. 


mucli uneasiness. I send it by the car to-morrow morning ; 
if you make up your mind directly wiU you send me an 
answer on the following day by the same means? K this 
letter should not find you at home, I hope you will answer as 
soon as you conveniently can. 

I do not know what to say about Uncle Jos' kindness ; I 
never can forget how he interests himself about me. 

Believe me, my dear father, your affectionate son, 

Charles Dabwin. 

Here follow the objections above referred to : — 

" (1.) Disrei)utable to my character as a Clergyman here- 

" r2.) A wild scheme. 

" (3.; That they must have offered to many others before me 
the place of Naturalist. 

" (4.) And from its not being accepted there must be some 
serious objection to the vessel or expedition. 

" (5.) That I should never settle down to a steady life here- 

" (6.) That my accommodations would be most uncomfort- 

" (7.) That you [i.e. Dr. Darwin] should consider it as again 
changing my profession. 

" (8.) That it would be a useless undertaking." 

Josiah Wedgwood having demolished this curious array of 
argimient, and the Doctor having been converted, Darwin 
left home for Cambridge. On his arrival at the Red Lion 
he sent a messenger to Henslow with the following note 
(September 2nd) : — 

" I am just arrived ; you will guess the reason. My 
father has changed his mind. I trust the place is not given 

" I am very much fatigued, and am going to bed. 

" I dare say you have not yet got my second letter. 

" How soon shall I come to you in the morning ? Send a 
verbal answer.** 

C. D. to Miss Susan Darwin. Cambridge [September 4, 1831], 

The whole of yesterday I spent with Henslow, 

thinking of what is to be done, and that I find is a great deal. 
By great good luck I know a man of the name of Wood, 
nephew of Lord Londonderry. Ho is a great friend of 
Captain Fitz-Roy, and has written to him about me. I heard 

Ch. v.] 1831. 119 

a part of Captain Fitz-Roy's letter, dated Bomo time ago, in 
wliicli he says : * I have a right good set of officers, and most 
of my men have been there before.* It seems he has been 
there for the last few years ; he was then second in command 
with the same vessel that he has now chosen. He is only 
twenty-three years old, but [has] seen a deal of service, and 
won the gold medal at Portsmouth. The Admiralty say his 
maps are most perfect. He had choice of two vessels, and ho 
chose the smallest. Henslow will give me letters to all 
travellers in town whom he thinks may assist me. 

I write as if it was settled, but Henslow tells me by 

no means to make up my mind till I have had long conversations 
with Captains Beaufort and Fitz-Roy. Good-bye. You will 
hear from me consttmtly. Direct 17 Spring Gardens. Tell 
nobody in Shi-opshire yet. Be sure not. 

I was so tired that evening I was in Shrewsbury that I 
thanked none of you for your kindness half so much as I felt. 
Love to my father. 

The reason I don't want people told in Shropshire : in case 
I should not go, it will make it more flat. 

At this stage of the transaction, a hitch occurred. Captain 
Fitz-Roy, it seems, wished to take a friend (Mr. Chester) as 
companion on the voyage, and accordingly wrote to Cambridge 
in such a discoui-aging strain, that Dar\vin gave up hope and 
hardly thought it worth his while to go to London (September 5). 
Fortunately, however, he did go, and found that Mr. Chester 
could not leave England. When the physiognomical, or nose- 
difficulty (Autobiography, p. 26.) occurred, I have no means of 
knowing : for at this interview Fitz-Roy was evidently well- 
disposed towards him. 

My father wrote : — 

" He offers me to go shares in everything in his cabin if I 
like to come, and every sort of acconmiodation I can have, but 
they will not be numerous. He says nothing would be so 
miserable for him as having me with him if I was uncomfort- 
able, as in a small vessel we must be thrown together, and 
thought it his duty to state everything in the worst point of 
view. I think I shall go on Sunday to Plymouth to see the 

" There is something most extremely attractive in his manners 
and way of coming straight to the point. K I live with him, 
ho says I must live poorly — no wine, and the plainest dinners. 
The scheme is not certainly so good as Peacock describes. 
Captain Fitz-Rov advises me not [to] make up my mind quite 


yet, but tliat, seriously, he thinks it will have much more 
pleasure than pain for me. . . . 

" The want of room is decidedly the most serious objection ; 
but Captain Fitz-Roy (probably owing to Wood's letter) seems 
determined to make me [as] comfortable as he possibly can. I 
like his manner of proceeding. He asked me at once, * Shall 
you bear being told that I want the cabin to myself — when I 
want to be alone ? If we treat each other this way, I hope we 
shall suit ; if not, probably we should wish each other at the 

C. B. to Miss Susan Darwin, London [September 6, 1831]. 

My dear Susan — Again I am going to trouble you. I suspect, 
if I keep on at this rate, you will sincerely wish me at Tierra del 
Fuego, or any other Terra, but England. First, I will give my 
commissions. Tell Nancy to make me some twelve instead of 
eight shirts. Tell Edward to send me up in my carpet-bag 
(he can slip the key in the bag tied to some string), my 
slippers, a pair of lightish walking-shoes, my Spanish books, 
my new microscope (about six inches long and three or four 
deep), which must have cotton stuffed inside ; my geological 
compass ; my father knows that ; a little book, if I have got it 
in my bed room — Taxidermy. Ask my father if he thinks 
there would be any objection to my taking arsenic for a little 
time, as my hands are not quite well, and I have always 
observed that if I once get them well, and change my manner 
of living about the same time, they will generally remain well. 
What is the dose ? Tell Edward my gun is dirty. What is 
Erasmus's direction? Tell me if you think there is time to 
write and to receive an answer before I start, as I should like 
particularly to know what he thinks about it. I suppose you 
do not know Sir J. Mackintosh's direction ? 

I write all this as if it was settled, but it is not more than 
it was, excepting that from Captain Fitz-Eoy wishing me so 
much to go, and, from his kindness, I feel a predestination I 
shall start. I spent a very pleasant evening with him yester- 
day. He must be more than twenty-three years old ; he is of 
a slight figure, and a dark but handsome edition of Mr. 
Kynaston, and, according to my notions, pre-eminently good 
manners. He is all for economy, excepting on one point — viz., 
fire-arms. He recommends me strongly to get a case of pistols 
like his, which cost £60 ! I and never to go on shore anywhere 
without loaded ones, and he is doubting about a rifle ; he says 
I cannot appreciate the luxury of fresh meat here. Of course 

Oh. v.] 1831. 121 

I shall buy nothing till everything is settled ; but I work all 
day long at my lists, putting in and striking out articles. This 
is the first really cheerful day I have spent since I received 
the letter, and it all is owing to the sort of involuntary confidence 
I place in my heau ideal of a Captain. 

We stop at Teneriffe. His object is to stop at as many 
places as possible. He takes out twenty chronometers, and it 
will be a " sin '* not to settle the longitude. He tells me to 
get it down in writing at the Admiralty that I have the fre« 
choice to leave as soon and whenever I like. I daresay you 
expect I shall turn back at the Madeira ; if I have a morsel of 
stomach loft, I won't give up. Excuse my so often troubling 
and writing : the one is of great utility, the other a great amuse- 
ment to me. Most likely 1 shall write to-morrow. Answer by 
return of post. Love to my father, dearest Susan. 

C. D. to J, S. Henslow. Devonport [November 15, 1831]. 

My dear Hknslow — The orders are come down from the 
Admiralty, and everything is finally settled. We positively 
sail the last day of this month, and I think before that time 
the vessel will bo ready. She looks most beautiful, even a 
landsman must admire her. We all think her the most perfect 
vessel ever turned out of the Dockyard. One thing is certain, 
no vessel has been fitted out so expensively, and with so much 
care. Everything that can be made so is of mahogany, and 
nothing can exceed the neatness and beauty of all the ac- 
commodations. The instructions are very general, and leave 
a great deal to the Captain's discretion and judgment, paying a 
substantial as well as a verbal compliment to him 

No vessel ever left England with such a set of Chrono- 
meters, viz. twenty-four, all very good ones. In short, every- 
thing is well, and I have only now to pray for the sickness to 
moderate its fierceness, and I shall do very well. Yet I should 
not call it one of the very best opportunities for natural history 
that has ever occurred. The absolute want of room is an evil 
that nothing can surmount. I think L. Jenyns did very wisely 
in not coming, that is judging from my own feelings, for I 
am sure if I had left college' some few years, or been those years 
older I never could have endured it. The officers (excepting 
the Captain) are like the freshest freshmen, that is in their 
manners, in everything else widely different. Eemember me 
most kindly to him, and tell him if ever he dreams in the 
night of palm-trees, he may in the morning comfort himself 
with the assurance that the voyage would not have suited him. 


I am much obliged for your advice, de Mathematicis. I 
suspect when I am struggling with a triangle, I shall often 
wish myself in your room, and as for those wicked sulky surds, 
I do not know what I shall do without you to conjure them. 
My time passes away very pleasantly. I know one or two 
pleasant people, foremost of whom is Mr. Thundcr-and-light- 
ning Harris,* whom I dare say you have heard of. My chief 
employment is to go on board the Beagle, and try to look as 
much like a sailor as I can. I have no evidence of having 
taken in man, woman or child. 

I am going to ask you to do one more commission, and I 
trust it will be the last. When I was in Cambridge, I wrote 
to Mr. Ash, asking him to send my College account to my 
father, after having subtracted about £30 for my furniture. 
This he has forgotten to do, and my father has paid the 
bill, and I want to have the furniture-money transmitted to 
my father. Perhaps you would be kind enough to speak to 
Mr. Ash. I have cost my father so much money, I am quite 
ashamed of myself. 

I will write once again before sailing, and perhaps you will 
write to me before then. 

Believe me, yours affectionately, 

0. B, to J, 8. Henslow, Devonport [December 3, 1831], 

My dear Henslow — It is now late in the evening, and to-night 
I am going to sleep on board. On Monday we most certainly 
sail, so you may guess in what a desperate state of confusion 
we are all in. If you were to hear the various exclamations of 
the officers, you would suppose we had scarcely had a week's 
notice. I am just in the same way taken all ahackj and in 
such a bustle I hardly know what to do. The number of things 
to be done is infinite. I look forward even to sea-sickness 
with something like satisfaction, anything must be better than 
this state of anxiety. I am very much obliged for your last 
kind and affectionate letter. I always like advice from you, 
and no one whom I have the luck to know is more capable of 
giving it than yourself. EecoUect, when you write, that I am 
a sort of protege of yours, and that it is your bounden duty to 
lecture me. 

I will now give you my direction : it is at first, Rio ; but 
if you will send me a letter on the first Tuesday (when the 
packet sails) in February, directed to Monte Video, it will give 

* William Snow Harris, the Electrician. 

Ch. v.] 1831. 123 

me very great pleasure : I eliall so mnch enjoy tearing a little 
Cambridge news. Poor dear old Alma Mater ! I am a very 
vrorthy son in as far as aHection goes. I have little more 
to write about ... I cannot end this without telling you how 
cordially I feel grateful for the kindness you have shown 
me during my Cambridge life. Much of the pleasure and 
utility which I may have derived from it is owing to you. I 
long for the time when we shall again meet, and till then 
bolievG me, my dear Henslow, 

Your affectionate and obliged friend, 

Ch. Darwin. 

( 124 ) 

;^, ....^.. SANTA CLUZ. 



** There is a natural good-humoured energy in his letters just like 
himself." — From a letter of Dr. R. W. Darwin's to Professor Henslow. 

The object of the Beagle voyage is briefly described in my 
father's Journal of BesearcJies, p. 1, as being " to complete 
the Survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, commenced 
under Captain King in 1826 to 1830 ; to survey the shores of 
Chile, Peru, and some islands in the Pacific ; and to carry a 
chain of chronometrical measurements round the world." 

The Beagle is described * as a well-built little vessel, of 235 
tons, rigged as a barque, and carrying six guns. She belonged 
to the old class of ten-gun brigs, which were nicknamed 
" coffins," from their liability to go down in severe weather. 
They were very '* deep-waisted," that is, their bulwarks were 
high in proportion to their size, so that a heavy sea breaking 
over them might be highly dangerous. Nevertheless, she had 

* Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle, vol. i. introduction xii. The 
illustration at the head of the chapter is from vol. ii. of the same work. 

Cu. VL] 1831—1836. 126 

already lived tlirough five years' work, in the most stormy 
regions in the world, under Commanders Stokes and Fitz-Roy 
without a serious accident. When re-commissioned in 1831 
for her second voyage, she was found (as I learned from the 
late Admiral Sir James Sulivan) to be so rotten that she had 
practically to be rebuilt, and it was this that caused the 
long delay in refitting. 

She was fitted out for the expedition with all possible care : 
to quote my father's description, written from Devonport, 
November 17, 1831 : " Everybody, who can judge, says it is 
one of the grandest voyages that has almost ever been sent out. 
Everything is on a grand scale. ... In short, everything is as 
prosperous as human means can make it." The twenty-four 
chronometers and the mahogany fittings seem to have been 
especially admired, and are more than once alluded to. 

Owing to the smallness of the vessel, every one on board was 
cramped for room, and my father's accommodation seems to have 
been narrow enough. 

Yet of this confined space he wrote enthusiastically, 
September 17, 1831 : — " When I wrote last, I was in great 
alarm about my cabin. The cabins were not then marked 
out, but when I left they were, and mine is a capital one, 
certainly next best to the Captain's and remarkably light. 
My companion most luckily, I think, will turn out to be the 
officer whom I shall like best. Captain Fitz-Roy says he will 
take care that one comer is so fitted up that I shall be com- 
fortable in it and shall consider it my home, but that also I 
shall have the run of his. My cabin is the drawing one ; and 
in the middle is a large table, on which we two sleep in 
hammocks. But for the first two months there will be no 
drawing to be done, so that it will be quite a luxurious room, 
and a good deal larger than the Captain's cabin." 

My father used to say that it was the absolute necessity of 
tidiness in the cramped space on the Beagle that helped " to 
give him his methodical habits of working." On the Beagle, 
too, he would say, that he learned what he considered the 
golden rule for saving time ; i.e., taking care of the minutes. 

In a letter to his sister (July 1832), he writes contentedly of 
his manner of life at sea : — " I do not think I have ever given 
you an account of how the day passes. We breakfast at eight 
o'clock. The invariable maxim is to throw away all politeness 
— that is, never to wait for each other, and bolt off the minute 
one has done eating, &c. At sea, when the weather is calm, 
I work at marine animals, with which the whole ocean abounds. 
If there is any sea up I am either sick or contrive to read. 

126 THE VOYAGE. [Ch. VI. 

some voyage or travels. At one we dine. You shore-going 
people are lamentably mistaken about the manner of living on 
board. We have never yet (nor shall we) dined off salt meat. 
Eice and peas and calavanses are excellent vegetables, and, 
with good bread, who could want more? Judge Alderson 
could not be more temperate, as nothing but water comes on 
the table. At five we have tea." 

The crew of the Beagle consisted of Captain Fitz-Roy, 
"Commander and Surveyor," two lieutenants, one of whom 
(the first lieutenant) was the late Captain Wickham, Governor 
of Queensland ; the late Admiral Sir James Sulivan, K.C.B., 
was the second lieutenant. Besides the master and two mates, 
there was an assistant-surveyor, the late Admiral Lort 
Stokes. There were also a surgeon, assistant-surgeon, two 
midshipmen, master's mate, a volunteer (1st class), purser, 
carpenter, clerk, boatswain, eight marines, thirty-four seamen, 
and six boys. 

There are not now (1892) many survivors of my father's 
old ship-mates. Admiral Mellersh, and Mr. Philip King, of 
the Legislative Council of Sydney, are among the number. 
Admiral Johnson died almost at the same time as my father. 

My father retained to the last a most pleasant recollection of 
the voyage of the BeagUy and of the friends he made on board 
her. To his childi-en their names were familiar, from his many 
stories of the voyage, and we caught his feeling of friendship 
for many who were to us nothing more than names. 

It is pleasant to know how affectionately his old companions 
remember him. 

Sir James Sulivan remained, throughout my father's life- 
time, one of his best and truest friends. He writes : — " I can 
confidently express my belief that during the five years in the 
Beagle, he was never known to be out of temper, or to say one 
unkind or hasty word of or to any one. You will therefore 
readily understand how this, combined with the admiration of 
his energy and ability, led to our giving him the name of ' the 
dear old Philosopher.' " * Admiral Mellersh writes to me : — 
" Your father is as vividly in my mind's eye as if it was only a 
week ago that I was in the Beagle with him ; his genial smile 
and conversation can never be forgotten by any who saw them 
and heard them. I was sent on two or three occasions away in 
a boat with him on some of his scientific excursions, and always 

* His other nickname was " The Flycatcher." I have heard my father 
tell how he overheard the boatswain of the Beagle si lo wing another 
boatswain over the ship, and pointing out the officers : " That's our first 
lieutenant ; that's our doctor ; that's our flycatcher." 

Cd« VI.] 1831—1836. 127 

looked forward to these trips with great pleasure, nn anticipa- 
tion that, unlike many others, was always realised. I think he 
was the only man I ever knew against whom I never heard a 
word said ; and as people when shut up in a ship for five years 
are apt to get cross with each other, that is saying a good 

Admiral Stokes, Mr. King, Mr. Usbome, and Mr. Hamond, 
all speak of their friendship with him in the same warm- 
hearted way. 

Captain Fitz-Roy was a strict officer, and made himself 
thoronglily respected both by officers and men. The occasional 
severity of his manner was borne with because every one on 
board knew that his first thought was his duty, and that he 
would sacrifice anything to the real welfare of the ship. My 
father writes, July 1831 : " We all jog on very well together, 
there is no quarrelling on board, which is something to 
say. The Captain keeps all smooth by rowing every one in 

My father speaks of the officers as a fine determined set of 
men, and especially of Wickham, the first lieutenant, as a 
" glorious fellow." The latter being responsible for the smart- 
ness and appearance of the ship strongly objected to Darwin 
littering the decks, and spoke of specimens as " d — d beastly 
devilment," and used to add, " If I were skipper, I would soon 
have you and all your d — d mess out of the place." 

A sort of halo of sanctity was given to my father by the fact 
of his dining in the Captain's cabin, so that the midshipmen 
used at first to call him " Sir," a formality, however, which did 
not prevent his becoming fast friends with the yoimger officers. 
He wrote about the year 1861 or 1862 to Mr. P. G. King, 
M.L.C., Sydney, who, as before stated, was a midshipman on 
board the Beagle : — " The remembrance of old days, when we 
used to sit and talk on the booms of the Beagle^ will always, to 
the day of my death, make me glad to hear of your happiness 
and prosperity." Mr. King describes the pleasure my father 
seemed to take "in pointing out to me as a youngster the 
delights of the tropical nights, with their balmy breezes 
eddying out of the sails above us, and the sea lighted up by 
the passage of the ship through liie never-ending streams of 
phosphorescent animalcul83," 

It has been assumed that his ill-health in later years was 
due to his having suffered so much from sea-sickness. This 
he did not himsefi believe, but rather ascribed his bad health 
to the hereditary fault which took shape as gout in some of the 
past generations. I am not quite clear as to how much he 

128 THE VOYAGE. [Ch. VL 

actually suffered from sea-sickness ; my impression is distinct 
that, according to his own memory, he was not actually ill 
after the first three weeks, but constantly uncomfortable when 
the vessel pitched at all heavily. But, judging from his 
letters, and from the evidence of some of the officers, it would 
seem that in later years he forgot the extent of the discomfort. 
Writing June 3, 1836, from the Cape of Good Hope, he says : 
" It is a lucky thing for me that the voyage is drawing to its 
close, for I positively suffer more from sea-sickness now than 
three years ago." 

C. D, to B, W, Darwin. Bahia, or San Salvador, Brazil. 

[February 8, 1832.] 

I find after the first page I have been writing 
to my sisters. 

My dear Father — I am wi'iting this on the 8th of February, 
one day's sail past St. Jago (Cape de Vord), and intend taking 
the chance of meeting with a homeward-bound vessel some- 
where about the equator. The date, however, will tell this 
whenever the opportunity occurs. I will now begin from tho 
day of leaving England, and give a short account of our 
progress. We sailed, as you know, on the 27th of December, 
and have been fortunate enough to have had from that time to 
the present a fair and moderate breeze. It afterwards proved 
that we had escaped a heavy gale in the Channel, another 
at Madeira, and another on [the] Coast of Africa. But in 
escaping the gale, we felt its consequence — a heavy sea. In 
the Bay of Biscay there was a long and continuous swell, and 
the misery I endured from sea-sickness is far beyond what I 
ever guessed at. I believe you are curious about it. I will 
give you all my dear-bought experience. Nobody who has 
only been to sea for twenty-four hours has a right to say that 
sea-sickness is even uncomfortable. The real misery only 
begins when you are so exhausted that a little exertion makes 
a feeling of faintness come on. I found nothing but lying in 
my hammock did me any good. I must especially except 
your receipt of raisins, which is the only food that the stomach 
will bear. 

On the 4th of January we were not many miles from Madeira, 
but as there was a heavy sea running, and the island lay to 
windward, it was not thought worth while to beat up to it. It 
afterwards has turned out it was lucky we saved ourselves the 
trouble. I was much too sick even to get up to see the distant 
outline. On the 6th, in the evening, we sailed into tho 

Ch. VL] 1831—1836. 129 

harbour of Santa Cruz. I now first felt even moderately well, 
and I was picturing to myself all the delights of fresh fruit 
growing in beautiful valleys, and reading Humboldt's descrip- 
tion of the island's glorious views, when perhaps you may 
nearly guess at our disappointment, when a small pale man 
informed us we must perform a strict quarantine of twelvo 
days. There was a death-like stillness in the ship till the 
Captain cried " up jib," and we left this long wished-for place. 

Wo were becalmed for a day between Teneriffe and tho 
Grand Canary, and here I first experienced any enjoyment. 
The view was glorious. The Peak of Teneriffe was seen 
amongst the clouds like another world. Our only drawback 
was the extreme wish of visiting this glorious island. From 
Teneriffe to St. Jago the voyage was extremely pleasant. I had 
a net astern the vessel which caught great numbers of curious 
animals, and fully occupied my time in my cabin, and on deck 
the weather was so delightful and clear, that the sky and water 
together made a picture. On the 16th we arrived at Port 
Praya, the capital of the Cape de Verds, and there we remained 
twenty-three days, viz. till yesterday, the 7th of February. The 
time has flown away most delightfully, indeed nothing can bo 
pleasanter ; exceedingly busy, and that business both a duty 
and a great delight. I do not believe I have spent one half- 
hour idly since leaving Teneriffe. St. Jago has aflbrded me 
an exceedingly rich harvest in several branches 'of Natural 
History. I find the descriptions scarcely worth anything of 
many of the commoner animals that inhabit the Tropics. I 
allude, of course, to those of the lower classes. 

Geologising in a volcanic country is most delightful ; 
besides the interest attached to itself, it leads you into most 
beautiful and retired spots. Nobody but a person fond of 
Natural History can imagine the pleasure of strolling under 
cocoa-nuts in a thicket of bananas and coffee-plants, and an 
endless number of wild flowers. And this island, that has 
given me so much instruction and delight, is reckoned the 
most uninteresting place that we perhaps shall touch at during 
our voyage. It certainly is generally very barren, but the 
valleys are more exquisitely beautiful, from the very contrast. 
It is utterly useless to say anj^thing about the scenery ; it 
would be as profitable to explain to a blind man colours, as 
to a person who has not been out of Europe, the total dis- 
similarity of a tropical view. Whenever I enjoy anything, I 
always either look forward to writing it down, either in my 
log-book (which increases in bulk), or in a letter ; so you must 
excuse raptures, and those raptures badly expressed. I find 

130 THE VOYAGE. [Ch. VL 

my collections are increasing wonderfully, and from Rio I 
think I shall be obliged to send a cargo home. 

All the endless delays which we experienced at Plymouth 
have been most fortunate, as I verily believe no person ever 
went out better provided for collecting and observing in the 
different branches of Natural History. In a multitude of coun- 
sellors I certainly found good. I find to my great surprise 
that a ship is singularly comfortable for all sorts of work. 
Everything is so close at hand, and being cramped makes one 
so methodical, that in the end I have been a gainer. I already 
have got to look at going to sea as a regular quiet place, like 
going back to home after staying away from it. In short, I 
find a ship a very comfortable house, with everything you want, 
and if it was not for sea-sickness the whole world would be 
sailors. I do not think there is much danger of Erasmus setting 
the example, but in case there should bo, he may rely upon it 
he does not know one-tenth of the sufferings of sea-sickness. 

I like the officers much more than I did at first, especially 
Wickham, and young King and Stokes, and indeed all of them. 
The Captain continues steadily very kind, and does everything 
in his power to assist me. We see very little of each other 
when in harbour, our pursuits lead us in such different tracks. 
I never in my life met with a man who could endure nearly so 
great a share of fatigue. He works incessantly, and when 
apparently not employed, he is thinking. If he does not kill 
himself, he will during this voyage do a wonderful quantity of 
work. . . . 

February 26th. — About 280 miles from Bahia. We have been 
singularly unlucky in not meeting with any homeward-bound 
vessels, but I suppose [at] Bahia we certainly shall be able to 
write to England. Since writing the first part of [this] letter 
nothing has occurred except crossing the Equator, and being 
shaved. This most disagreeable operation, consists in having 
your face rubbed with paint and tar, which forms a lather for a 
saw which represents the razor, and then being half drowned in 
a sail filled with salt water. About 50 miles north of the line 
we touched at the rocks of St. Paul ; this little speck (about 
i of a mile across) in the Atlantic has seldom been visited. It 
is totally barren, but is covered by hosts of birds ; they were so 
unused to men that we found we could kill plenty with stones 
and sticks. After remaining some hours on the island, we 
returned on board with the boat loaded with our prey.* From 

* " There was such a scene here. "Wickham (1st Lieutenant) and I 
were the only two who landed -with guns and geological hammers, &c. 
The birds by myriads were too close to shoot ; we then tried stones, but 

Oh. VI.] 1831—1836. 131 

this we went to Fomando Noronha, a small island where the 
[Brazilians] send their exiles. The landing there was attended 
with so much difficulty owing [to] a heavy surf that the Cap- 
tain determined to sail the next day after arriving. My one 
day on shore was exceedingly interesting, the whole island is 
one single wood so matted together by creepers that it is very 
difficult to move out of the beaten path. I find the Natural 
History of all these unfrequented spots most exceedingly 
interesting, especially the geology. I have written this much 
in order to save time at Bahia. 

Decidedly the most striking thing in the Tropics is the 
novelty of the vegetable forms. Cocoa-nuts could well be 
imagined from drawings, if you add to them a graceful light- 
ness which no European tree partakes of. Bananas and plan- 
tains are exactly the same as those in hothouses, the acacias or 
tamarinds are striking from the blucness of their foliage ; hui 
of the glorious orange trees, no description, no drawings, will 
give any just idea ; instead of the sickly green of our oranges, 
the native ones exceed the Portugal laurel in the darkness of 
their tint, and infinitely exceed it in beauty of form. Cocoa- 
nuts, papaws, the light-green bananas, and oranges, loaded with 
fruit, generally surround the more luxuriant villages. Whilst 
viewing such scenes, one feels the impossibility that any 
description should come near the mark, much less bo over- 

March let. — Bahia, or San Salvador. I arrived at this place 
on the 28th of February, and am now writing this letter after 
having in real earnest strolled in the forests of the new world. 
No person could imagine anything so beautiful as the ancient 
town of Bahia, it is fairly embosomed in a luxuriant wood of 
beautiful trees, and situated on a steep bank, and overlooks the 
calm waters of the great bay of All Saints. The houses are 
white and lofty, and, from the windows being narrow and long, 
have a very light and elegant appearance. Convents, porticos, 
and public buildings, vary the uniformity of the houses ; the 
bay is scattered over vnth. large ships ; in short, and what can 
be said more, it is one of the finest views in the Brazils. But 
the exquisite glorious pleasure of walking amongst such 
flowers, and such trees, cannot be comprehended but by those 

at last, proh pudor ! my geological hammer was the instrument of death. 
We soon loaded the boat with birds and eggs. Whilst we were so 
engaged, the men in the boat were fairly fighting with the sharks for 
such magnificent fisli as you could not see in the London market. Our 
boat would have made a fine subject for Snyders, such a medley of game 
it contained." — From a letter to Herbert. 

K 2 

132 THE VOYAGE. [Oh. VI. 

who have experienced it.* Although in so low a latitude the 
locality is not disagreeably hot, but at present it is very damp, 
for it is the rainy season. I find the climate as yet agrees 
admirably with me ; it makes me long to live quietly for some 
time in such a country. If you really want to have [an idea] 
of tropical countries, study Humboldt. Skip the scientific 
parts, and commence after leaving Teneriffe. My feelings 
amount to admiration the more I read him. . . . 

This letter ^dll go on the 5th, and I am afraid will be somo 
time before it reaches you ; it must be a warning how in other 
parts of the world you may be a long time without hearing. 
A year might by accident thus pass. About the 12th we start 
for Eio, but we remain some time on the way in sounding the 
Albrolhos shoals. . . . 

We have beat all the ships in manoeuvring, so much so that 
the commanding officer says we need not follow his example ; 
because we do everything better than his great ship. I begin 
to take great interest in naval points, more especially now, as 
I find they all say we are the No. 1 in South America. I 
suppose the Captain is a most excellent officer. It was quite 
glorious to-day how we beat the Samarang in furling sails. 
It is quite a new thing for a *' sounding ship " to beat a regular 
man- of-war ; and yet the Beagle is not at all a particular ship. 
Erasmus will clearly perceive it when ho hears that in the 
night I have actually sat down in the sacred precincts of the 
quarter deck. You must excuse these queer letters, and 
recollect they are generally written in the evening after my 
day's work. I take more pains over my log-book, so that 
eventually you will have a good account of all the places I 
visit. Hitherto the voyage has answered admirably to me, and 
yet I am now more fully aware of your wisdom in throwing 
cold water on the whole scheme ; the chances are so numerous 
of [its] turning out quite the reverse ; to such an extent do I feel 
this, that if my advice was asked by any person on a similar 
occasion, I should be very cautious in encouraging him. I 
have not time to write to anybody else, so send to Maer to let 
them know, that in the midst of the glorious tropical scenery, 
I do not forget how instrumental they were in placing me 
there. I will not rapturise again, but I give myself great 
credit in not being crazy out of pure delight. 

Give my love to every soul at home, and to the Owens. 

I think one's affections, like other good things, flourish and 
increase in these tropical regions. 

* " My mind has been, since leaving England, in a perfect hurricane of 
delight and astouiflhment." — C D. to Fox, May 1832, from Botofogo Bay, 

Cb. VI.] 1831—1836. 133 

The conviction that I am walking in the New World is even 
yet marvellous in my own eyes, and I daresay it is little less 
so to you, the receiving a letter from a son of yours in such a 

Believe me, my dear father, your most affectionate son. 

The Beagle letters give ample proof of his strong love of 
home, and all connected with it, from his father down to 
Nancy, his old nurse, to whom he sometimes sends his love. 
His delight in home-letters is shown in such passages as : — 
" But if you know the glowing, unspeakable delight, which I 
felt at being certain that my father and all of you were well, 
only four months ago, you would not grudge the labour lost in 
keeping up the regular series of letters." 

*' You would be surprised to know how entirely the pleasure 
in arriving at a now place depends on letters." 

" I saw the other day a vessel sail for England ; it was quite 
dangerous to know how easily I might turn deserter. As for 
an English lady, I have almost forgotten what she is — some- 
thing very angelic and good." 

" I have just received a bundle more letters. I do not know 
how to thank you all sufficiently. One from Catherine, Feb- 
ruary 8th, another from Susan, March 8rd, together with notes 
from Caroline and from my father ; give my best love to my 
father. I almost cried for pleasure at receiving it ; it was very 
kind thinking of writing to me. My letters are both few, short, 
and stupid in return for all yours ; but I always ease my 
conscience by considering the Journal as a long letter." 

Or again — his longing to return in words like these : — " It 
is too delightful to think that I shall see the leaves fall and 
hear the robin sing next autumn at Shrewsbury. My feelings 
are those of a school-boy to the smallest point ; I doubt whether 
ever boy longed for his holidays as much as I do to see you all 
again. I am at present, although nearly half the world is 
between me and home, beginning to arrange what I shall do, 
where I shall go during the first week." 

" No schoolboys ever sung the half-sentimental and half- 
jovial strain of * dulce domum * with more fervour than we all 
feel inclined to do. But the whole subject of * dulce domum,' 
and the delight of seeing one's friends, is most dangerous, it 
must infallibly make one very prosy or very boisterous. Oh, 
the degree to which I long to be once again living quietly 
with not one single novel object near me I No one can 
imagine it till he has been whirled round the world during 
five long years in a ten-gim brig." 


The following extracts may serve to give an idea of the im- 
pressions now crowding on him, as well as of the vigorous 
delight with which he plunged into scientific work. 

May 18, 1832, to Henslow :- 

" Here [Eio], I first saw a tropical forest in all its sublime 
grandeur — nothing but the reality can give any idea how 
wonderful, how magnificent the scene is. If I was to specify 
any one thing I should give the pre-eminence to the host of 
parasitical plants. Your engraving is exactly true, but under- 
rates rather than exaggerates the luxuriance. I never ex- 
perienced such intense delight. I formerly admired Hum- 
boldt, I now almost adore him ; he alone gives any notion of 
the feelings which are raised in the mind on first entering the 
Tropics. I am now collecting fresh- water and laud animals ; 
if what was told me in London is true, viz., that there are no 
small insects in the collections from the Tropics, I tell En- 
tomologists to look out and have their pens ready for des- 
cribing. I have taken as minute (if not more so) as in 
England, Hydropori, Hygroti, Hydrobii, Pselaphi, Staphylini, 
Gurculio, &c. &c. It is exceedingly interesting observing the 
difference of genera and species from those which I know ; it is 
however much less than I had expected. I am at present red-hot 
with spiders ; they are very interesting, and if I am not mis- 
taken I have already taken some new genera. I shall have a 
large box to send very soon to Cambridge, and with that I will 
mention some more natural history particulars." 

" One great source of perplexity to me is an utter ignorance 
whether I note the right facts, and whether they are of sufii- 
cient importance to,'interest others. In the one thing collecting 
I cannot go wrong." 

" Geology canies the day : it is like the pleasure of gambling. 
Speculating, on first arriving, what the rocks may be, I often 
mentally cry out 3 to 1 tertiary against primitive ; but the 
latter have hitherto won all the bets. So much for the grand 
end of my voyage : in other respects things are equally flourish- 
ing. My life, when at sea, is so quiet, that to a person who 
can employ himself, nothing can be pleasanter ; the beauty 
of the sky and brilliancy of the ocean together make a picture. 
But when on shore, and wandering in the sublime forests, 
surrounded by views more gorgeous than even Claude ever 
imagined, I enjoy a delight which none but those who have 
experienced it can understand. At our ancient snug break- 
lasts, at Cambridge, I little thought that the wide Atlantic 
would ever separate us; but it is a rare privilege that with 

Ch. VI.] 1831—1836. 135 

tho body, the feelings and memory are not divided. On the 
contrary, tho pleasantost scones in my life, many of which 
have been in Cambridge, rise from the contrast of tho present, 
the more vividly in my imagination. Do yon think any 
diamond beetle will ever give me so much pleasure as our 
old friend crux-major 7 .... It is one of my most constant 
amusements to draw pictures of the past ; and in them I 
often see you and poor little Fan. Oh, Lord, and then old 
Dash poor thing I Do you recollect how you all tormented 
me about his beautiful tail ? " — [From a letter to Fox.] 

To his sister, June 1833 : — 

" I am quite delighted to find the hide of the Megatherium 
has given you all some little interest in my employments. 
These fragments are not, however, by any means the most 
valuable of the geological relics. I trust aud believe that the 
time spent in this voyage, if thi-own away for all other 
respects, will produce its full worth in Natui*al History ; and 
it appears to me the doing what little we can to increase the 
general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life 
as one can in any likelihood pursue. It is more the result of 
such reflections (as I have already said) than much immediate 
pleasure which now makes me continue the voyage, together 
with the glorious prospect of the future, when passing tho 
Straits of Magellan, we have in truth tho world before us." 

ToFox, July 1835:— 

" I am glad to hear you have some thoughts of beginning 
Geology. I hope you will ; there is so much larger a field for 
thought than in the other branches of Natural History. I am 
become a zealous disciple of Mr. Lyell's views, as known in 
his admirable book. Geologising in South America, I am 
tempted to carry parts to a greater extent even than he does. 
Geology is a capital science to begin, as it requires nothing 
but a little reading, thinking, and hammering. I have a 
considerable body of notes together; but it is a constant 
subject of perplexity to me, whether they are of sufficient 
value for all the time I have spent about them, or whether 
animals would not have been of more certain value." 

In the following letter to his sister Susan he gives an 
account, — adapted to the non-geological mind, — of his South 
American work : — 

Valparaiso, April 23, 1835. 

My deab Susan — I received, a few days since, your letter of 
November ; the three letters which I before mentioned are yet 
missing, but I do not doubt they will come to life. I returned 

136 THE VOYAGE. [Ch. VL 

a week ago from my excTirsion across the Andes to Mendoza. 
Since leaving England I have never made so successful a 
journey; it has, however, been very expensive. I am sure 
my father would not regret it, if he could know how deeply 
I have enjoyed it : it was something more than enjoyment ; I 
cannot express the delight which I felt at such a famous 
winding-up of all my geology in South America. I literally 
could hardly sleep at nights for thinking over my day's work. 
The scenery was so new, and so majestic ; everything at an 
elevation of 12,000 feet bears so different an aspect fi-om that 
in a lower country. I have seen many views more beautiful, 
but none with so strongly marked a character. To a geologist, 
also, there are such manifest proofs of excessive violence ; the 
strata of the highest pinnacles are tossed about like the crust 
of a broken pie. 

I do not suppose any of you can be much interested in 
geological details, but I will just mention my principal 
results: — Besides understanding to a certain extent the 
description and manner of the force which has elevated this 
great line of mountains, I can clearly demonstrate that one 
part of the double line is of an age long posterior to the other. 
In the more ancient line, which is the true chain of the Andes, 
I can describe the sort and order of the rocks which compose 
it. These are chiefly remarkable by containing a bed of 
gypsum nearly 2000 feet thick — a quantity of this substance I 
should think unparalleled in the world. What is of much 
greater consequence, I have procured fossil shells (from an 
elevation of 12,000 feet). I think an examination of these will 
give an approximate age to these mountains, as compared to 
the strata of Europe. In the other line of the Cordilleras 
there is a strong presumption (in my own mind, conviction) 
that the enormous mass of mountains, the peaks of which rise 
to 13,000 and 14,000 feet, are so very modem as to be con- 
temporaneous with the plains of Patagonia (or about with 
the upper strata of the Isle of Wight). If this result shall be 
considered as proved,* it is a very important fact in the theory 
of the formation of the world ; because, if such wonderful 
changes have taken place so recently in the crust of the globe, 
there can be no reason for supposing former epochs of ex- 
cessive violence 

Another feature in his letters is the surprise and delight 
with which he hears of his collections and observations being 

* The importance of these results has been fully recognized by 

Ch. VI.] 1831—1836. 137 

of some use. It seems only to have gradually occurred to him 
that he would ever be more than a collector of specimens and 
facts, of which the great men were to make use. And even as 
to the value of his collections he seems to have had much 
doubt, for he wrote to Henslow in 1834 : " 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 com- 
fortable pitch ; if hard work will atone for these thoughts, I vow 
it shall not be spared." 

Again, to his sister Susan in August, 1836 : — 

" Both your letters were full of good news ; especially the 
expressions which you tell me Professor Sedgwick* used about 
my collections. I confess they are deeply gratifying — I trust 
one part at least will turn out true, and that I shall act as I 
now think — as a man who dares to waste one hour of time has 
not discovered the value of life. Professor Sedgwick men- 
tioning my name at all gives me hopes that he will assist me 
with his advice, of which, in my geological questions, I stand 
much in need." 

Occasional allusions to slavery show us that his feeling on 
this subject was at this time as strong as in later Irfef : — 

" The Captain does everything in his power to assist me, and 
we get on ^ry well, but I thank my better fortune he has not 
made me a renegade to Whig principles. I would not be a 

♦ Sedgwick wrote (November 7, 1835) to Dr. Butler, the head master of 
Shrewsbury School: — "He is doing admirable "^ork in South America, 
and has already sent home a collection above all price. It was the best 
thing in the world for him that he went out on the voyage of discovery. 
There was some risk of his turning out an idle man, but his character 
will now be fixed, and if God spares his life he will have a great name 
among the naturalists of Europe. . .'* — I am indebted to my friend 
Mr. J. W. Clark, the biographer of Sedgwick, for the above extract. 

t Compare the following passage from a letter (Aug. 25, 1845) addressed 
to Lyell, who had touched on slavery in his Travels in North America. 
*' I was delighted with your letter in which you touch on Slavery ; I wish 
the same feelings had been apparent in your published discussion. But I 
will not write on this subject, I should perhaps annoy you, and most 
certainly myself. I have exhaled myself with a paragraph or two in my 
Journal on the sin of Brazilian slavery ; you perhaps will think that it is 
in answer to you ; but such is not the case. I have remarked on nothing 
which I did not hear on the coast of South America. My few sentences, 
however, are merely an explosion of feeling. How could you relate so 
placidly that .atrocious sentiment about separating children from their 
parents ; and in the next page speak of being distressed at the whites not 
having prospered ; I assure you the contrast made me exclaiijpi out. But 
I have broken my intention, and so no more on this odious deadly 
subject." It is fair to add that the "atrocious sentiments »» were not 
Lyell's but those of a planter. 

138 THE VOYAGE. [Oh. VI. 

Tory, if it was merely on account of their cold hearts about 
that scandal to Christian nations — Slavery." 
yy^ " I have watched how steadily the general feeling, as shown 
rv at elections, has been rising against Slavery. V^hat a proud 
\\ jthing for England if she is the first European nation which 
^ ^tterly abolishes it ! I was told before leaving England that 
after living in slave countries all my opinions would be 
altered ; the only alteration I am aware of is forming a much 
higher estimate of the negro character. It is impossible to see a 
negro and not feel kindly towards him ; such cheerful, open, 
honest expressions and such fine muscular bodies. I never saw 
any of the diminutive Portuguese, with their murderous coun- 
tenances, without almost wishing for Brazil to follow the example 
of Hayti ; and, considering the enormous healthy-looking black 
population, it will be wonderful if, at some future day, it does 
not take place. There is at Eio a man (I know not his title) 
who has a large salary to prevent (I believe) the landing of 
slaves ; he lives at Botofogo, and yet that was the bay where, 
during my residence, the greater number of smuggled slaves 
were landed. Some of the Anti-Slavery people ought to 
question about his office ; it was the subject of conversation at 
Eio amongst the lower English . . . ." 

a JD. io J: 5. Henslow. Sydney [January, 1836]. 

My dear Henslow — This is the last opportunity of communi- 
cating with you before that joyful day when I shall reach Cam- 
bridge. I have very little to say : but I must write if it is 
only to express my joy that the last year is concluded, and that 
the present one, in which the Beagle will return, is gliding 
onward. We have all been disappointed here in not finding 
even a single letter ; we are, indeed, rather before our expected 
time, otherwise I dare say, I should have seen your hand- 
writing. I must feed upon the future, and it is beyond 
bounds delightful to feel the certainty that within eight months 
I shall be residing once again most quietly in Cambridge. 
Certainly, I never was intended for a traveller ; my thoughts 
are always rambling over past or future scenes; I cannot 
enjoy the present happiness for anticipating the future, which 
is about as foolish as the dog who dropped the real bone for its 

I must return to my old resource and think of the future, but 
that 1 may not become more prosy, I will say farewell till the 
day arrives, when I shall see my Master in Natural History, 

Ch. VL] 1831—1836. 139 

and can tell him how grateful I feel for his kindness and 

Believe me, dear Henslow, ever yours most faithfully. 

G. D. to J. S, Henslow, Shrewsbury [October, 6 1836]. 

My dear Henslow — I am sure you will congratulate me on 
the delight of once again being home. The Beagle arrived at 
Falmouth on Sunday evening, and I reached Shrewsbury 
yesterday morning. I am exceedingly anxious to see you, and 
as it will be necessary in foui* or five days to return to London 
to get my goods and chattels out of the Beagle^ it appears to 
me my best plan to pass through Cambridge. I want your 
advice on many points ; indeed I am in the clouds, and neither 
know what to do or where to go. My chief puzzle is abput 
the geological specimens — who will have the charity to help 
me in describing their mineralogical nature ? Will you lio 
kind enough to write to me one line by return of post, saying 
whether you are now at Cambridge ? I am doubtful till I hear 
from Captain Fitz-Eoy whether I shall not be obliged to start 
before the answer can arrive, but pray try the chance. My 
dear Henslow, I do long to see you ; you have been the kindest 
friend to me that ever man possessed. I can write no more, 
for I am giddy with joy and confusion. 

Farewell for the present, 

Yours most truly obliged. 

After his return and settlement in London, he began to 
realise the value of what he had done, and wrote to Captain 
Fitz-Eoy — " However others may look back to the Beagle's 
voyage, now that the small disagreeable parts are well-nigh 
forgotten, I think it far the most fortunate circumstance 
in my life that tho chance afforded by your offer of taking 
a Naturalist fell on me. I often have the most vivid and 
delightful pictures of what I saw on board the Beagle* pass 
before my eyes. These recollections, and what I learnt on 
Natural History, I would not exchange for twice ten thousand 
a year." 

* According to the Japan Weekly Mail, as quoted in Nature, March 8, 
1888, the Beagle is in use as a training ship at Yokosuka, in Japan. Part 
of the old ship is, I am glad to think, in my possession, in the form of a 
box (which I owe to the kindness of Admiral Mellerah) made out of her 
main cross-tree. 

( 140 ) 




The period illustrated in the present chapter includes the 
years between Darwin's return from the voyage of the Beagle 
and his settling at Down. It is marked by the gradual 
appearance of that weakness of health which ultimately forced 
him to leave London and take up his abode for the rest of his 
life in a quiet country house. 

There is no evidence of any ;intention of entering a pro- 
fession after his return from the voyage, and early in 1840 
he wrote to Fitz-Roy : " I have nothing to wish for, excepting 
stronger health to go on with the subjects to which I have 
joyfully determined to devote my life." 

These two conditions — permanent ill-health and a passionate 
love of scientific work for its own sake — determined thus early 
in his career, the character of his whole future life. They 
impelled him to lead a retired life of constant labour, carried 
on to the utmost limits of his physical power, a life which 
signally falsified his melancholy prophecy : — " It has been a 
bitter mortification for me to digest the conclusion that the 
* race is for the strong,' and that I shall probably do little 
more, but be content to admire the strides others make in 

The end of the last chapter saw my father safely arrived at 
Shrewsbury on October 4, 1836, " after an absence of five years 
and two days." He wrote to Fox : " You cannot imagine 
how gloriously delightful my first visit was at home ; it was 
worth the banishment." But it was a pleasure that he could 
not long enjoy, for in the last days of October he was at Green- 
wich unpacking specimens from the Beagle. As to the destina- 
tion of the collections he writes, somewhat despondingly, to 
Henslow : — 

"I have not made much progress with the great men. I 
find, as you told me, that they are all overwhelmed with their 
own business. Mr. Lyell has entered, in the most good- 

Ch. vn.] 1836—1842. Ul 

natured manner, and almost without being asked, into all my 
plans. He tells me, however, the same story, that I must do 
all myself. Mr. Owen seems anxious to dissect some of the 
animals in spirits, and, besides these two, I have scarcely mot 
any one who seems to wish to possess any of my specimens. I 
must except Dr. Grant, who is willing to examine some of the 
corallines. I see it is quite unreasonable to hope for a minute 
that any man will undertake the examination of a whole order. 
It is clear the collectors so much outnumber the real naturalists 
that the latter have no time to spare. 

" I do not even find that the Collections care for receiving 
the unnamed specimens. The Zoological Museum * is nearly 
full, and upwards of a thousand specimens remain unmounted. 
1 dare say the British Museum would receive them, but I 
cannot feel, from all I hear, any great respect even for the 
present state of that establishment. Your plan will be not 
only the best, but the only one, namely, to come down to 
Cambridge, arrange and group together the different families, 
and then wait till people, who are already working in different 
branches, may want specimens. . . . 

" 1 have forgotten to mention Mr. Lonsdale,^ who gave me 
a most cordial reception, and with whom I had much most 
interesting conversation. If I was not much more inclined for 
geology than the other branches of Natural History, I am sure 
Mr. Lyell's and Lonsdale's kindness ought to fix me. You 
cannot conceive anything more thoroughly good-natured than 
the heart-and-soul manner in which he put himself in my place 
and thought what would be best to do." 

A few days later he writes more cheerfully: "I became 
acquainted with Mr. Bell,J who, to my surprise, expressed a 
good deal of interest about my Crustacea and reptiles, and 
seems willing to work at them. I also heard that Mr. Broderip 
would be glad to look over the South American shells, so that 
things flourish well with me." 

Again, on November 6 : — 

" All my affairs, indeed, are most prosperous ; I find there 

♦ The Museum of the Zoological Society, then at 33 Bruton Street. 
The collection was some years later broken up and dispersed. 

t William Lonsdale, b. 1794, d. 1871, was originally in the army, and 
served at the battles of Salamanca and Waterloo. After the war he left 
the service and gave himself up to science. He acted as assistant-secre- 
tary to the Geological Society from 1829-42, when he resigned, owing to 

X T. Bell, F.R.S., formerly Professor of Zoology in King's College, 
London, and sometime secretary to the Royal Society. He afterwards 
described the reptiles for the Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle. 


are plenty who will undertake tlie description of whole tribes 
of animals, of which I know nothing." 

As to his Geological Collection he was soon able to write : 
"I [have] disposed of the most important part [of] my 
collections, by giving all the fossil bones to the College 
of Surgeons, casts of them will be distributed, and descrip- 
tions published. They are very curious and valuable ; one 
head belonged to some gnawing animal, but of the size of 
a Hippopotamus I Another to an ant-eater of the size of a 
horse I " 

My father's specimens included (besides the above-mentioned 
Toxodon and Scelidotherium) the remains of Mylodon, Glosso- 
therium, another gigantic animal allied to the ant-eater, and 
Macrauchenia. His discovery of these remains is a matter of 
interest in itself, but it has a special importance as a point 
in his own life, his speculation on the extinction of these 
extraordinary creatures * and on their relationship to living 
forms having formed one of the chief starting-points of his 
views on the origin of species. This is shown in the following 
extract from his Pocket Book for this year (1837) ; " In July 
opened first note-book on Transmutation of Species. Had 
been greatly struck from about the month of previous March 
on character of South American fossils, and species on 
Galapagos Archipelago. These facts (especially latter), origin 
of all my views." 

His affairs being thus so far prosperously managed he was 
able to put into execution his plan of living at Cambridge, 
where he settled on December 10th, 1836. 

" Cambridge," he writes, " yet continues a very pleasant, 
but not half so merry a place as before. To walk through the 
courts of Christ's College, and not know an inhabitant of a 
single room, gave one a feeling half melancholy. The only 
evil I found in Cambridge was its being too pleasant : there 
was some agreeable party or another every evening, and one 
cannot say one is engaged with so much impunity there as in 
this great city." t 

Early in the spring of 1837 he left Cambridge for London, 
and a week later he was settled in lodgings at 36 Great 

* I have often heard him speak of the despair with which he had to 
break off the projecting extjemity of a Imge, partly excavated bone, when 
the boat waiting for him wonld wait no longer. 

t A trifling record of my father's presence in Cambridge occurs in the 
book kept in Christ's College Combination-room, in which fines and hets 
are recorded, the earlier entries giving a curious impression of the after- 
dinner frame of mind of the Fellows. The bets are not allowed to be 

Ch. Vn.] 1836—1842. 143 

Marlborough Street ; and except for a " short visit to Shrows- 
bui-y " in June, he worked on till September, being almost 
entirely employed on his Journal^ of which he wrote (March) : — 

" In your last letter you ui-ge me to get ready the book. I 
am now hard at work and give up everything else for it. Our 
plan is as follows : Capt. Fitz-Koy writes two volumes out of 
the materials collected dui-ing the last voyage under Capt. 
King to Tierra del Fuego, and during our circumnavigation. 
I am to have the third volume, in which I intend giving a kind 
of journal of a naturalist, not following, however, always the 
order of time, but rather the order of position." 

A letter to Fox (July) gives an account of the progress of 
his work : — 

" I gave myself a holiday and a visit to Shrewsbury [in 
June], as I had finished my Journal. I shall now be very 
busy in filling up gaps and getting it quite ready for the press 
by the first of August. I shall always feel respect for every 
one who has written a book, let it be what it may, for I had no 
idea of the trouble which trying to write common English 
could cost one. And, alas, there yet remains the worst part 
of all, correcting the press. As soon as ever that is done I 
must put my shoulder to the wheel and commence at the 
Geology. I have read some short papers to the Geological 
Society, and they were favourably received by the great guns, 
and this gives me much confidence, and I hope not a very 
great deal of vanity, though I confess I feel too often like a 
peacock admiring his tail. I never expected that my Geology 
would ever have been worth the consideration of such men as 
Lyell, who has been to me, since my return, a most active 
friend. My life is a very busy one at present, and I hope may 
ever remain so ; though Heaven knows there are many serious 
dmwbacks to such a life, and chief amongst them is the little 
time it allows one for seeing one's natural friends. For the 
last three years, I have been longing and longing to be living 
at Shrewsbury, and after all now in the course of several 
months, I see my good dear people at Shrewsbury for a week. 
Susan and Catherine have, however, been staying with my 

made in money, but are, like the fines, paid in wine. The bet which 
my father made and lost is thus recorded : — 

" Feb. 23, 1837. — Mr. Darwin v. IMr. Baines, that the combination-room 
measures from the ceiling to the floor more than x feet. 

•* 1 Bottle paid same day." 

The bets are usually recorded in such a way as not to preclude future 
speculation on a subject which has proved itself capable of supplying a 
discussion (and a bottle) to the Room, hence the a? in the above quotation. 


brother here for some weeks, but thej had returned home 
before my visit." 

In August he writes to Henslow to announce the success of 
the scheme for the publication of the Zoology of the Voyage of 
the Beagle, through the promise of a grant of £1000 from the 
Treasury : " I had an interview with the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer.* He appointed to see me this morning, and I had 
a long conversation with him, Mr. Peacock being present. 
Nothing could be more thoroughly obliging and kind than his 
whole manner. He made no sort of restriction, but only told 
me to make the most of the money, which of course I am right 
willing to do. 

*' I expected rather an awful interview, but I never found 
anything less so in my life. It will be my fault if I do not 
make a good work ; but I sometimes take an awful fright that 
I have not materials enough. It will be excessively satisfac- 
tory at the end of some two years to find all materials made the 
most they were capable of." 

Later in the autumn he wrote to Henslow : " I have not been 
very well of late, with an uncomfortable palpitation of the 
heart, and my doctors urge me strongly to knock off all work, 
and go and live in the country for a few weeks." He accord- 
ingly took a holiday of about a month at Shrewsbury and 
Maer, and paid Fox a visit in the Isle of Wight. It was, I 
believe, during this visit, at Mr. Wedgwood's house at Maer, 
that he made his first observations on the work done by earth- 
worms, and late in the autumn he read a paper on the subject 
at the Geological Society. 

Here he was ali*eady beginning to make his mark. Lyell 
wrote to Sedgwick (April 21, 1837) :— 

" Darwin is a glorious addition to any society of geologists, 
and is working hard and making way both in his book and in 
our discussions. I really never saw that bore Dr. Mitchell so 
successfully silenced, or such a bucket of cold water so dex- 
terously poured down his back, as when Darwin answered some 
impertinent and irrelevant questions about South America. 
We escaped fifteen minutes of Dr. M.'s vulgar harangue in 
consequence . . . ." 

Early in the following year (1838), he was, much against 
his will, elected Secretary of the Geological Society, an office 
he held for three years. A chief motive for his hesitation in 
accepting the post was the condition of his health, the doctors 
having urged " me to give up entirely all writing and even 

♦ Spring Rice. 

Ch. vn.] 1836—1842. 145 

coiTecting press for some weeks. Of late anything which 
flurries me completely knocks me up afterwards, and brings on 
a violent palpitation of the heart." 

In the summer of 1838 he started on his expedition to Glen 
Eoy, where he spent "eight good days" over the Parallel 
Roads. His Essay on this subject was written out durmg the 
same summer, and published by the Royal Society.* He wrote 
in his Pocket Book : " September 6 (1838). Finished the 
paper on ' Glen Roy,* one of the most difficult and instructive 
tasks I was ever engaged on." It will be remembered that 
in his Autobiography he speaks of this paper as a failure, of 
which he was ashamed.f 

C. D. to Lyell [August 9th, 1838.] 

36 Great Marlborouj^h Street. 
My dear Lyell — ^I did not write to you at Norwich, for I 
thought I should have more to say, if I waited a few more 
days. Very many thanks for the present of your Elements y 
which I received (and I believe the very first copy distributed) 
together with your note. I have read it through every word, 
and am full of admiration of it, and, as I now see no geologist, 
I must talk to you about it. There is no pleasure in reading 
a book if one cannot have a good talk over it ; I repeat, I am 
full of admiration of it, it is as clear as daylight, in fact I felt 
in many parts some mortification at thinking how geologists 
have laboured and struggled at proving what seems, as you 
have put it, so evidently probable. I read with much interest 
your sketch of the secondary deposits ; you have contrived to 
make it quite "juicy," as we used to say as children of a good 
story. There was also much new to me, and I have to copy out 
some fifty notes and references. It must do good, the heretics 
against common-sense must yield. ... By the way, do you 
recollect my telling you how much I disliked the manner X. 

♦ Phil Trans., 1839, pp. 39-82. 

t Sir Arcliibald Geikle has been so good as to allow me to quote a 
passage from a letter addressed to me (Nov. 19, 1884) : — " Had the idea 
of transient barriers of glacier-ice occurred to him, he would have found 
the diflQculties vanish from the lake-theory which he opposed, and he 
would not have been unconsciously led to minimise the altogether over- 
whelming objections to the supposition that the terraces are of marine 

It may be added that the idea of the barriers being formed by glaciers 
could hardly have occurred to him, considering the state of knowledge 
at the time, and bearing in mind his want of opportimities of observing 
glacial action on a large scale. 



referred to his other works, as mnch as to say, " You must, 
ought, and shall buy everything I have written." To my 
mind, you have somehow quite avoided this; your refer- 
ences only seem to say, " I can't tell you all in this work, else 
I would, so you must go to the Principles ; and many a one, 
I trust, you will send there, and make them, like me, adorers 
of the good science of rock-breaking.* You will see I am in a 
fit of enthusiasm, and good cause I have to be, when I find 
you have made such infinitely more use of my Journal than I 
could have anticipated. I will say no more about the book, 
for it is all praise. I must, however, admire the elaborate 
honesty with which you quote the words of all living and 
dead geologists. 

My Scotch expedition answered brilliantly ; my trip in the 
steam-packet was absolutely pleasant, and I enjoyed the spec- 
tacle, wretch that I am, of two ladies, and some small children 
quite sea-sick, I being well. Moreover, on my return from 
Glasgow to Liverpool, I triumphed in a similar manner over 
some full-grown men. I stayed one whole day in Edinburgh, 
or more tnily on Salisbury Craigs ; I want to hear some day 
what you think about that classical ground, — the structure 
was to me new and rather curious, — that is, if I understand it 
right. I crossed from Edinburgh in gigs and carts (and carts 
without springs, as I never shall forget) to Loch Leven. I 
was disappointed in the scenery, and reached Glen Roy on 
Saturday evening, one week after leaving Marlborough Street. 
Here I enjoyed five [?J days of the most beautiful weather with 
gorgeous sunsets, and all nature looking as happy as I felt. I 
wandered over the mountains in all directions, and examined 
that most extraordinary district. I think, without any excep- 
tions, not even the first volcanic island, the first elevated 
beach, or the passage of the Cordillera, was so interesting to 
me as this week. It is far the most remarkable area I ever 
examined. I have fully convinced myself (after some doubt- 
ing at first) that the shelves are sea-beaches, although I could 
not find a trace of a shell ; and I think I can explain away 
most, if not all, the difficulties. I found a piece of a road in 
another valley, not hitherto observed, which is important ; and 

♦ In a letter of Sept. 13 he wrote : — " It will be a curious point to 
geologists hereafter to note how long a man's name will support a theory 
so completely exposed as that of De Beaumont has been by you ; you 
ay you * begin to hope that the great principles there insisted on will 
stand the test of time.' Begin to hope : why, the possibility of a doubt 
has never crossed my mind for many a dav. This may be very unphilo- 
sophical, but my geological salvation is staked on it." 

Ch. Vn.] 1836—1842. 147 

I have some cnrious facte about erratic blocks, one of which 
was perched up on a peak 2200 feet above the sea. I am now 
employed in writing a paper on the subject, which I find very 
amusing work, excepting that I cannot anyhow condense it 
into reasonable limits. At some future day I hope to talk 
over some of the conclusions with you, which the examina- 
tion of Glen Eoy has led me to. Now I have had my talk 
out, I am much easier, for I can assure you Glen Boy has 
astonished me. 

I am living very quietly, and therefore pleasantly, and am 
crawling on slowly but steadily with my work. I have come 
to one conclusion, which you will think proves me to be a very 
sensible man, namely, that whatever you say proves right ; and 
as a proof of this, I am coming into your way of only working 
about two hours at a spell ; I then go out and do my business 
in the streets, return and set to work again, and thus mako 
two separate days out of one. The new plan answers capitally ; 
after the second half day is finished I go and dine at the 
Athenteum like a gentleman, or rather like a lord, for I am 
sure the first evening I sat in that great drawing-room, all on 
a sofa by myself, I felt just like a duke. I am full of admira- 
tion at the AthensBum, one meeto so many people there that 
one likes to see. . . . 

I have heard from more than one quarter that quarrelling is 
expected at Newcastle * ; I am sorry to hear it. I met old 
this evening at the Athenroum, and he muttered same- 
thing about writing to you or some one on the subject ; I am 
however all in the dark. I suppose, however, I shall bo 
illuminated, for I am going to dine with him in a few days, as 
my inventive powers failed in making any excuse. A friend 
of mine dined with him the other day, a party of four, and 
they finished ten bottles of wine — a pleasant prospect for me ; 
but I am determined not even to taste his wine, partly for the 
fun of seeing his infinite disgust and surprise. . . . 

I pity you the infliction of this most unmerciful letter. 
Pray remember me most kindly to Mrs. Lyell when you arrive 
at Kinnordy. Tell Mrs. Lyell to read tie second series of 

* Mr. Slick of Slickville's Sayings.' . . . He almost beats 

* Samivel,' that prince of heroes. Good night, my dear Lyell ; 
you will think I have been drinking some strong drink to 
write so much nonsense, but I did not even taste Minerva's 
small beer to-day, . . . 

A record of what he wrote during the year 1838 would not 

• At the meeting of the British Association. 

L 2 


give a true index of the most important work that was in 
progress — the laying of the foundation-stones of what was to 
be the achievement of his life. This is shown in the following 
passages from a letter to Lyell (September), and from a letter 
to Fox, written in June : — 

" I wish with all my heart that my Geological book was 
out. I have every motive to work hard, and will, following 
your steps, work just that degree of hardness to keep well. I 
should like my volume to be out before your new edition of 
the Princij)les appears. Besides the Coral theory, the volcanic 
chapters will, I think, contain some new facts. I have lately 
been sadly tempted to be idle — that is, as far as pure geology 
is concerned — by the delightful number of new views which 
have been coming in thickly and steadily — on the classifi- 
cation and affinities and instincts of animals — bearing on the 
question of species. Note-book after note-book has been 
filled with facts which begin to group themselves clecvrly 
under sub-laws." 

" I am delighted to hear you are such a good man as not to 
have forgotten my questions about the crossing of animala. 
It is my prime hobby, and I really think some day I shall be 
able to do something in that most intricate subject, species 
and varieties." 

In the winter of 1839 (Jan. 29) my father was married to 
his cousin, Emma Wedgwood.* The house in which they 
lived for the first few years of their married life. No. 12 Upper 
Gower Street, was a small common-place London house, with 
a drawing-room in front, and a small room behind, in which 
they lived for the sake of quietness. In later years my father 
used to laugh over the surpassing ugliness of the furniture, 
carpets, &c., of the Gower Street house. The only redeeming 
feature was a better garden than most London houses have, a 
strip as wide as the house, and thirty yards long. Even this 
small space of dingy grass made their London house more 
tolerable to its two country-bred inhabitants. 

Of his life in London he writes to Fox (October 1839): 
" We are living a life of extreme quietness ; Delamere itself, 
which you describe as so secluded a spot, is, I will answer for 
it, quite dissipated compared with Gower Street. We have 
given up all parties, for they agree with neither of us ; and if 
one is quiet in London, there is nothing like its quietness — 
there is a grandeur about its smoky fogs, and the dull distant 
sounds of cabs and coaches ; in fact you may perceive I am 

♦ Daughter of Josiah Wedgwood of Maer, and grand-daughter of the 
founder of the Etruria Pottery Works. 

Oh. vn.] 1836—1842. 149 

becoming a thorough-paced Cockney, and I glory in the thought 
that I shall be hero for the next six months." 

The entries of ill health in the Diary increase in number 
during these years, and as a consequence the holidays become 
longer and more frequent. 

The entry under August 1839 is : " Read a little, was much 
unwell and scandalously idle. I have derived this much good, 
that nothing is so intolerable as idleness." 

At the end of 1839 his first child was bom, and it was 
then that he began his observations ultimately published in 
the Expression of the Emotions. His book on this subject, and 
the short paper published in Mind* show how closely he 
observed his child. He seems to have been surprised at his 
own feeling for a young baby, for he wrote to Fox (July 
1840) : " He [i.e. the baby] is so charming that I cannot 
pretend to any modesty. I defy anybody to flatter us on our 
baby, for I defy anyone to say anything in its praise of which 
we are not fully conscious. ... 1 had not the smallest con- 
ception there was so much in a five-month baby. You will 
perceive by this that 1 have a fine degree of paternal fervour." 

In 1841 some improvement in his health became apparent; 
he wrote in September : — 

"I have steadily been gaining ground, and really believe 
now I shall some day bo quite strong. I write daily for a 
couple of hours on my Coral volume, and take a little walk or 
ride every day. I grow very tired in the evenings, and am 
not able to go out at that time, or hardly to receive my nearest 
relations ; but my life ceases to be burdensome now that I can 
do something." 

The manuscript of Coral Beefs was at last sent to the 
printers in January 1842, and the last proof corrected in May. 
He thus writes of the work in his diary : — 

" I commenced this work three years and seven months ago. 
Out of this period about twenty months (besides work during 
Beagle's voyage) has been spent on it, and besides it, I have 
only compiled the Bird part of Zoology ; Appendix to Journal, 
paper on Boulders, and corrected papers on Glen Eoy and 
earthquakes, reading on species, and rest all lost by illness." 

The latter part of this year belongs to the period including 
the settlement at Down, and is therefore dealt with in another 

• July 1877. 

( 150 ) 




" My life goes on like clockwork, and I am fixed on the spot where I 
Bhull end it." 

Letter to Captain Fitz-Roy, October, 1846. 

Certain letters which, chronologically considered, belong to 
the period 1845-54 have been utilised in a later chapter where 
the growth of the Origin of Species is described. In the 
present chapter wo only get occasional hints of the growth of 
my father's views, and we may suppose ourselves to bo seeing 
his life, as it might have appeared to those who had no know- 
ledge of the quiet development of his theory of evolution 
during this period. 

On Sept. 14, 1842, my father left London with his family 
and settled at Down.* In the Autobiographical chapter, his 
motives for moving into the country are briefly given. He 
speaks of the attendance at scientific societies and ordinary 
social duties as suiting his health so " badly that we resolved 
to live in the country, which we both preferred and have 
never repented of." His intention of keeping up with scientific 
life in London is expressed in a letter to Fox (Dec, 1842) : — 

" I hope by going up to town for a night every fortnight or 
three weeks, to keep up my communication with scientific men 
and my own zeal, and so not to turn into a complete Kentish 

Visits to London of this kind were kept up for some years 
at the cost of much exertion on his part. I have often heard 
him speak of the wearisome drives of ten miles to or from 
Croydon or Sydenham — the nearest stations — with an old 
gardener acting as coachman, who di-ovo with great caution 
and slowness up and down the many hills. In later years, 

♦ I must not omit to mention a member of the household who 
accompanied him. This was his butler, Joseph Parslow, who remained 
in the family, a valued friend and servant, for forty years, and became, as 
Sir Joseph Hooker once remarked to me, •' an integral part of the family, 
and felt to be Ruch by all visitors at the house." 

Ch. VIIL] 1842—1854. 151 

regular sclontifio intercourse with London became, as before 
mentioned, an impossibility. 

The choice of Down was rather the result of despair than of 
actual preference : my father and mother were weary of house- 
hunting, and the attractive points about the place thus seemed 
to them to counterbalance its somewhat more obvious faults. 
It had at least one desideratum, namely, quietness. Indeed it 
would have been difficult to find a more retired place so near 
to London. In 1842 a coach drive of some twenty miles was 
the usual means of access to Down ; and even now that railways 
have crept closer to it, it is singularly out of the world, with 
nothing to suggest the neighbourhood of London, unless it be 
the dull haze of smoke that sometimes clouds the sky. The 
village stands in an angle between two of the larger high-roads 
of the country, one leading to Tunbridge and the other to 
Westerham and Edcnbridgo. It is cut off from the Weald by 
a line of steep chalk hills on the south, and an abrupt hill, 
now smoothed down by a cutting and embankment, must 
formerly have been something of a barrier against encroach- 
ments from the side of London. In such a situation, a village, 
communicating with the main lines of traffic, only by stony 
tortuous lanes, may well have preserved its retired charac- 
ter. Nor is it hard to believe in the smugglers and their 
strings of pack-horses making their way up from the law- 
less old villages of the Weald, of which the memory still 
existed when my father settled in Down. The village stands 
on solitary upland country, 500 to 600 feet above the sea — a 
country with little natural beauty, but possessing a certain 
charm in the shaws, or straggling strips of wood, capping the 
chalky banks and looking down upon the quiet ploughed 
lands of the valleys. The village, of three or four hundred 
inhabitants, consists of thi*ee small streets of cottages meeting 
in front of the little flint-built church. It is a place where 
new-comers are seldom seen, and the names occurring far back 
in the old church registers are still known in the village. 
The smock-frock is not yet quite extinct, though chiefly used 
as a ceremonial dress by the " bearers " at funerals ; but as a 
boy I remember the purple or green smocks of the men at 

The house stands a quarter of a mile from the village, and 
is built, like so many houses of the last century, as near as 
possible to the road — a narrow lane winding away to the 
Westerham high-road. In 1842, it was dull and unattractive 
enough : a square brick building of three storeys, covered 
with shabby whitewash, and hanging tiles. The garden had 

152 DOWN. [Ch. Vm. 

none of the shrubberies or walls that now give shelter ; it was 
overlooked from the lane, and was open, bleak, and desolate. 
One of my father's first undertakings was to lower the lanfe by 
about two feet, and to build a flint wall along that part of it 
which bordered the garden. The earth thus excavated was 
used in making banks and mounds round the lawn : these were 
planted with evergreens, which now give to the garden its 
retired and sheltered character. 

The house was made to look neater by being covered with 
stucco, but the chief improvement effected was the building of 
a large bow extending up through three storeys. This bow 
became covered with a tangle of creepers, and pleasantly 
varied the south side of the house. The drawing-room, with 
its verandah opening into the garden, as well as the study in 
which my father worked during the later years of his life, 
were added at subsequent dates. 

Eighteen acres of land were sold with the house, of which 
twelve acres on the south side of the house form a pleasant 
field, scattered with fair-sized oaks and ashes. From this 
field a strip was cut off and converted into a kitchen garden, in 
which the experimental plot of ground was situated, and where 
the greenhouses were ultimately put up. 

During the whole of 1843 he was occupied with geological 
work, the result of which was published in the spring of the 
following year. It was entitled Geological Observations on the 
Volcanic Islands, visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, 
together with some brief notices on the geology of Australia and 
the Cape of Good Hope; it formed the second part of the 
Geology of the Voyage of the Beagle, published " with the 
Approval of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's 
Treasury." The volume on Coral Beefs forms Part I. of the 
series, and was published, as we have seen, in 1842. For the 
sake of the non-geological reader, I may here quote Sir A. 
Geikie's words * on these two volumes — which were up to this 
time my father's chief geological works. Speaking of the 
Coral Beefs, he says (p. 17) : " This well-known treatise, the 
most original of all its author's geological memoirs, has 
become one of the classics of geological literature. The origin 
of those remarkable rings of coral-rock in mid-ocean has given 
rise to much speculation, but no satisfactory solution of the 
problem had been proposed. After visiting many of them, 
and examining also coral reefs that fringe islands and con- 
tinents, he offered a theory which for simplicity and grandeur, 

• Charles Darwin, Nature Series, 1882. 

Ch. vm.] 1842—1854. 153 

strikes every reader with astonisliment. It is pleasant, after 
the lapse of many years, to recall the delight with which one 
first read the Coral Beefs, how one watched the facts being 
marshalled into their places, nothing being ignored or passed 
lightly over ; and how, step by step, one was led to the grand 
conclusion of wide oceanic subsidence. No more admirable 
example of scientific method was ever given to the world, and 
even if he had written nothing else, the treatise alone would 
have placed Darwin in the very front of investigators of 

It is interesting to see in the following extract from one 
of Lyell's letters * how warmly and readily he embi-aced the 
theory. The extract also gives incidentally some idea of the 
theory itself. 

" I am very full of Darwin's new theory of Coral Islands, 
and have urged Whewell to make him read it at our next 
meeting. I must give up my volcanic crater theory for ever, 
though it cost me a pang at first, for it accounted for so much, 
the annular form, the central lagoon, the sudden rising of an 
isolated mountain in a deep sea ; all went so well with the 
notion of submerged, crateriform, and conical volcanoes, . . . 
and then the fact that in the South Pacific we had scarcely any 
rocks in the regions of coral islands, save two kinds, coral 
limestone and volcanic I Yet in spite of all this, the whole 
theory is knocked on the head, and the annular shape and 
central lagoon have nothing to do with volcanoes, nor even 
with a crateriform bottom. Perhaps Darwin told you when at 
the Cape what he considers the true cause ? Let any mountain 
be submerged gi-adually, and coral grow in the sea in which it 
is sinking, and there will be a ring of coral, and finally only a 
lagoon in the centre. . . . Coral islands are the last efforts of 
drowning continents to lift their heads above water. Regions 
of elevation and subsidence in the ocean may be traced by the 
state of the coral reefs." 

The second part of the Geology of (lie Voyage of the Beagle, 
i.e. the volume on Volcanic Islands, which specially concerns 
us now, cannot be better described than by again quoting from 
Sir A. Geikie (p. 18) :— 

" Full of detailed observations, this work still remains the 
best authority on the general geological structure of most of 
the regions it describes. At the time it was written the 
* crater of elevation theory,' though opposed by Constant 
Provost, Scrope, and Lyell, was generally accepted, at least on 

* To Sir John Herschel, May 24, 1837. Ufe of Sir CharUs LyeU» 
vol. ii. p. 12. 

154 DOWN. [Ch. Vm. 

the Continent. Darwin, however, could not receive it as a 
valid explanation of the facts ; and though he did not share 
the view of its chief opponents, but ventured to propose a 
hypothesis of his own, the observations impartially made and 
described by him in this volume must be regarded as having 
contributed towards the final solution of the difficulty." Geikie 
continues (p. 21) : " He is one of the earliest writers to recog- 
nize the magnitude of the denudation to which even recent 
geological accumulations have been subjected. One of the 
most impressive lessons to be learnt from his account of 
* Volcanic Islands ' is the prodigious extent to which they have 
been denuded. . . . He was disposed to attribute more of this 
work to the sea than most geologists would now admit ; but lie 
lived himself to modify his original views, and on this subject 
his latest utterances are quite abreast of the time." 

An extract from a letter of my father's to Lyell shows his 
estimate of his own work. " You have pleased me much by 
saying that you intend looldng through my Volcanic Islands : 
it cost me eighteen months ! ! ! and I have heard of very few 
who have read it.* Now I shall feel, whatever little (and little 
it is) there is confirmatory of old work, or new, will work its 
effect and not be lost." 

The second edition of the Journal of Researches f was com- 
pleted in 1845. It was published by Mr. Murray in the Colonial 
and Home Library ^ and in this more accessible form soon had a 
large sale. 

a D. to Lyell. Down [July, 1845]. 

My dear Lyell — I send you the first part f of the new 
edition, which I so entirely owe to you. You will see that I 
have ventured to dedicate it to you, and I trust that this 
cannot be disagreeable. I have long wished, not so much for 
your sake, as for my own feelings of honesty, to acknowledge 

* Hg wrote to Herbert : — " I have long discovered that geologists 
never read each other's works, and that the only object in writing a book 
is a proof of earnestness, and that you do not form your opinions without 
uudergoipg labour of some kind. Geology is at present very oral, and 
what I here say is to a great extent quite true." And to Fitz-Roy, on the 
same subject, he wrote: *'I have sent my South American Geology to 
Dover Street, and you will get it, no doubt, in the course of time. You 
do not know what you threaten when you propose to read it — it is purely 
geological. I said to my brother, ' You will of course read it,' and hia 
answer was, ' Upon my life, I would sooner even buy it.' " 

t The first edition was published la 1839, as voL iii of the Voyageg <^ 
the ' A dventure ' and * Beagle* 

X No doubt proof-sheets'. 

Oh. vm.] 1842—1854. 166 

more plainly than by mere reference, how mnch I geologically 
owe you. Those authors, however, who, like you, educate 
people's minds as well as teach them special facts, can never, 
I should think, have full justice done them except by posterity, 
for the mind thus insensibly improved can hardly perceive Its 
own upward ascent. I had intended putting in the present 
acknowledgment in the third part of my Geology, but its salo 
18 so exceedingly small that I should not have had the satis- 
faction of tliinkiiig that as far as lay in my power I had owned, 
though imperfectly, my debt. Pray do not think that I am so 
sQly, as to suppose that my dedication can any ways gratify 
you, except so far as I trust you will receive it, as a most 
sincere mark of my gratitude and friendship. I think I have 
improved this edition, especially the second part, which I have 
just finished. I have added a good deal about the Fuegians, 
and cut down into half the mercilessly long discussion on 
climate and glaciers, &c. I do not recollect anything added 
to the first part, long enough to call your attention to ; there 
is a page of description of a very curious breed of oxen in 
Banda Oriental. I should like you to read the few last pages ; 
there is a little discussion on extinction, which will not perhaps 
strike you as new, though it has so struck mo, and has placed 
in my mind all the difficulties with respect to the causes of 
extinction, in the same class with other difficulties which are 
generally quite overlooked and undervalued by naturalists ; I 
ought, however, to have made my discussion longer and shown 
by facts, as I easily could, how steadily every species must be 
checked in its numbers. 

A pleasant notice of the Journal occurs in a letter from 
Humboldt to Mrs. Austin, dated June 7, 1844 * : — 

" Alas I you have got some one in England whom you do 
not read — young Darwin, who went with the expedition to the 
Straits of Magellan. He has succeeded far better than myself 
with the subject I took up. There are admirable descriptions 
of tropical nature in his journal, which you do not read because 
the author is a zoologist, which you imagine to be synonymous 
with bore. Mr. Darwin has another merit, a very rare one in 
your country — he has praised me." 

October 1846 to October 1854. 

The time between October 1846, and October 1854, was 
practically given up to working at the Cirripedia (Barnacles) ; 
the results were published in two volumes by the Ray Society 

* Three Qenerations of Englishioomenf by Janet Robs (1888), vol. i. p. 195. 

156 DOWN. [Ch. VIII. 

in 1851 and 1854. His volumes on the Fossil Cirripedes were 
published by the PalsBontographical Society in 1851 and 1854. 
Writing to Sir J. D. Hooker in 1845, my father says : " I 
hope this next summer to finish my South American Geology,* 
then to get out a little Zoology, and hurrah for my species 
work. . ." This passage serves to show that he had at this 
time no intention of making an exhaustive study of the Cirri- 
pedes. Indeed it would seem that his original intention was, 
as I learn from Sir J. D. Hooker, merely to work out one 
special problem. This is quite in keeping with the following 
passage in the Autobiography : " When on the coast of Chile, 
I found a most curious fonn, which burrowed into the shells 
of Concholepas, and which differed so much from all other 
Cirripedes that I had to form a now sub-order for its sole 
reception. ... To understand the structure of my new Cirri- 
pede I had to examine and dissect many of the common forms ; 
and this gradually led me on to take up the whole group." 
In later years he seems to have felt some doubt as to the value 
of these eight years of work — for instance when ho wrote in 
his Autobiography — " My work was of considerable use to me, 
when I had to discuss in the Origin of Species the principles 
of a natural classification. Nevertheless I doubt whether the 
work was worth the consumption of so much time." Yet I 
learn from Sir J. D. Hooker that he certainly recognised at 
the time its value to himself as systematic training. Sir 
Joseph writes to me : " Your father recognised three stages in 
his career as a biologist : the mere collector at Cambridge ; the 
collector and observer in the Beagle^ and for some years 
afterwards ; and the trained naturalist after, and only after the 
Cirripede work. That he was a thinker all along is true 
enough, and there is a vast deal in his writings previous to 
the Cirripedes that a trained naturalist could but emulate. . . . 
He often alluded to it as a valued discipline, and added that 
even the * hateful ' work of digging out synonyms, and of 
describing, not only improved his methods but opened his 
eyes to the difficulties and merits of the works of the dullest 
of cataloguers. One result was that he would never allow a 

* This refers to the third and last of his geological books, Geological 
Observation on South America, which was published in 1846. A sentence 
from a letter of Dec. 11, 1860, may be quoted here — "David Forbes 
has been carefully working the Geology of Chile, and as I value praise 
for accurate observation far higher than for any other quality, forgive (if 
you can) the insufferable vanity of my copying the last sentence in lus 
note : * I regard your Monograph on Chile as, without exception, one of 
the finest specimens of Geological inquiry.' I feel inclined to strut like a 
turkey-cock I " 

On. Vinj 1842—1864. 167 

depreciatory remark to pass unchallenged on the poorest class 
of scientific workers, provided that their work was honest, and 
good of its kind. I have always regarded it as one of the 
finest traits of his character, — this generous appreciation of 
the hod-men of science, and of their labours . . . and it was 
monographing the Barnacles that brought it about." 

Mr. Huxley allows me to quote his opinion as to the value 
of the eight years given to the Cirripedes : — 

" In my opinion your sagacious father never did a wiser 
thing tlian when he devoted himself to the years of patient 
toil which the Cirripede-book cost him. 

" Like the rest of us, he had no proper training in biological 
science, and it has always struck me as a remarkable instance 
of his scientific insight, that he saw the necessity of giving 
himself such training, and of his courage, that he did not shirk 
the labour of obtaining it. 

" The great danger which besets all men of large specula- 
tive faculty, is the temptation to deal with the accepted state- 
ments of fact in natural science, as if they were not only 
correct, but exhaustive; as if they might be dealt with 
deductively, in the same way as propositions in Euclid may 
be dealt with. In reality, every such statement, however true 
it may be, is true only relatively to the means of observation 
and the point of view of those who have enunciated it. So far 
it may be depended upon. But whether it will bear every 
speculative conclusion that may be logically deduced from it, 
is quite another question. 

" Your father was building a vast superstructure upon the 
foundations furnished by the recognised facts of geological 
and biological science. In Physical Geography, in Geology 
proper, in Geographical Distribution, and in Palaeontology, he 
had acquired an extensive practical training during the voyage 
of the Beagle. He knew of his own knowledge the way in 
which the raw materials of these branches of science are 
acquired, and was therefore a most competent judge of the 
speculative strain they would bear. That which he needed, 
after his return to England, was a corresponding acquaintance 
with Anatomy and Development, and their relation to Taxo- 
nomy — and he acquired this by his Cirripede work." 

Though he became excessively weary of the work before the 
end of the eight years, he had much keen enjoyment in the 
course of it. Thus he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (1847 ?) :— 
" As you say, there is an extraordinary pleasure in pure 
observation ; not but what I suspect the pleasure in this case 
is rather derived from comparisons forming in one's mind with 

158 DOWN. [Ch. Vm- 

allied structures. After having been so long employed in 
writing my old geological obeervationSj it is delightful to use 
one's eyes and fingers again." It was, in fact, a return to the 
work which occupied so much of his time when at sea during 
his voyage. Most of his work was done with the simple 
dissecting microscope — and it was the need which he found for 
higher powers that induced him, in 1846, to buy a compound 
microscope. He wrote to Hooker : — " When I was drawing 
with L., I was so delighted with the appearance of the objects, 
especially with their perspective, as seen through the weak 
powers of a good compound microscope, that I am going to 
order one ; indeed, I often have structures in which the -^ is 
not power enough." 

During part of the time covered by the present chapter, my 
father suffered perhaps more from ill-health than at any other 
period of his life. He felt severely the depressing influence of 
these long years of illness ; thus as early as 1840 he wrote to 
Fox : " I am grown a dull, old, spiritless dog to what I used 
to be. One gets stupider as one grows older I think." It is 
not wonderful that he should so have written, it is rather to bo 
wondered at that his spirit withstood so great and constant a 
strain. He wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker in 1845 : " You are 
very kind in your inquiries about my health ; I have nothing 
to pay about it, being always much the same, some days better 
and some worse. I believe I have not had one whole day, or 
rather night, without my stomach having been greatly dis- 
ordered, during the last three years, and most days great 
prostration f >f strength : thank you for your kindness ; many 
of my friends, I believe, think mo a hypochondriac." 

During the whole of the period now under consideration, he 
was in constant correspondence with Sir Joseph Hooker. The 
following characteristic letter on Sigillaria (a gigantic fossil 
plant found in the Coal Measures) was afterwards characterised 
by himself as not being " reasoning, or even speculation, but 
simply as mental rioting." 

[Down, 1847 ?] 

"... I am delighted to hear that Brongniart thought 
Sigillaria aquatic, and that Binney considers coal a sort of 
submarine peat. I would bet 5 to 1 that in twenty years this 
will be generally admitted ; * and I do not care for whatever 
the botanical difficulties or impossibilities may be. If I 
could but persuade myself that Sigillaria and Co. had a good 
range of depth, i.e. could live from 6 to 10 fathoms under 

♦ An unfulfilled prophecy. 

Oh. VIILj 1842—1854. 159 

water, all difficulties of nearly all kinds would bo removed 
(for the simple fact of muddy ordinary shallow sea implies 
proximity of land). [N.B. — I am chuckling to think how you 
are sneering all this time.] It is not much of a difficulty, 
there not being shells with the coal, considering how unfavour- 
able deep mud is for most Mollusca, and that shells would 
probably decay from the humic acid, as seems to take place 
in peat and in the hlach moulds (as Lyell tells me) of 
the Mississippi. So coal question settled — Q. E. D. Sneer 
away ! " 

The two following extracts give the continuation and con- 
clusion of the coal battle. 

" By the way, as submarine coal made you so wrath, I 
thought I would experimentise on Falconer and Bunbury * 
together, and it made [them] even more savage ; ' such infernal 
nonsense ought to be thrashed out of me.' Bunbury was more 
polite and contemptuous. So I now know how to stir up 
and show off any Botanist. I wonder whether Zoologists and 
Geologists have got their tender points ; I wish I could find 

"I cannot resist thanking you for your most kind note. 
Pray do not think that I was annoyed by your letter : I 
perceived that you had been thinking with animation, and 
accordingly expressed yourself strongly, and so I understood 
it. Forfend me from a man who weighs every expression with 
Scotch prudence. I heartily wish you all success in your 
noble problem, and I shall be very curious to have some talk 
with you and hear your ultimatum." 

He also corresponded with the late Hugh Strickland, — a 
well-known ornithologist, on the need of reform in the 
principle of nomenclature. The following extract (1849) 
gives an idea of my father's view : — 

" I feel sure as long as species-mongers have their vanity 
tickled by seeing their own names appended to a species, 
because they miserably described it in two or three lines, we 
shall have the same vast amount of bad work as at present, 
and which is enough to dishearten any man who is willing to 
work out any branch with care and time. I find every genus 
of Cirripedia has half-a-dozen names, and not one careful 
description of any one species in any one genus. I do not 
believe that this would have been the case if each man knew 
that the memory of his own name depended on his doing his 
work well, and not upon merely appending a name with a few 

• The late Sir 0. Bunbury, well known as a palaeobotanist. 

160 DOWN. [Ch. VIIL 

wretched lines indicating oidy a few prominent external 

In 1848 Dr. R. W. Darwin died, and Charles Darwin wrote 
to Hooker, from Malvern : — 

" On the 13th of November, my poor dear father died, and no 
one who did not know him would believe that a man above 
eighty-three years old could have retained so tender and 
affectionate a disposition, with all his sagacity imclouded to 
the last. I was at the time so unwell, that I was unable to 
travel, which added to my misery. 

" All this winter I have been bad enough . . . and my nervous 
system began to be affected, so that my hands trembled, and 
head was often swimming. I was not able to do anything one 
day out of three, and was altogether too dispirited to write to 
you, or to do anything but what I was compelled. I thought I 
was rapidly going the way of all flesh. Having heard, acci- 
dentally, of two persons who had received much benefit from 
the water-cure, I got Dr. Gully's book, and made further 
inquiries, and at last started here, with wife, children, and all 
our servants. We have taken a house for two months, and 
have been here a fortnight. I am already a little stronger . . . 
Dr. Gully feels pretty sure he can do me good, which most 

certainly the regular doctors could not I feel certain 

that the water-cure is no quackery. 

" How I shall enjoy getting back to Down with renovated 
health, if such is to be my good fortune, and resuming the 
beloved Barnacles. Now I hope that you will forgive me for 
my negligence in not having sooner answered your letter. I 
was uncommonly interested by the sketch you give of your 
intended grand expedition, from which I suppose you will 
soon be returning. How earnestly I hope that it may prove 
in every way successful. . . ." 

C, D. to W, D, Fox. [March 7, 1852.] 

Our long silence occurred to me a few weeks since, and I 
had then thought of writing, but was idle. I congratulate 
and condole with you on your tenth child ; but please to 
observe when I have a tenth, send only condolences to me. 
We have now seven children, all well, thank God, as well as 
their mother ; of these seven, five are boys ; and my father 
used to say that it was certain that a boy gave as much trouble 
as three girls ; so that hond fide we have seventeen children. 
It makes me sick whenever I think of professions ; all seem 
hopelesily bad, and as yet I cannot see a ray of light. I 

Ch. vm.] 1842—1854. 161 

should very much like to talk over this (by the way, my three 
bugbears are Calif orman and Australian gold, beggaring me 
by making my money on mortgage worth nothing ; the 
French coming by the Westerham and Sevenoaks roads, and 
therefore enclosing Down ; and thirdly, professions for my 
boys), and 1 should like to talk about education, on which you 
ask me what we are doing. No one can more truly despise the 
old stereotyped stupid classical education than I do ; but yet I 
have not had courage to break through the trammels. After 
many doubts we have just sent our eldest boy to Rugby, where 
for his age he has been very well placed. . . I honour, admire, 
and envy you for educating your boys at home. What on 
earth shall you do witii your boys? Very many thanks for 
your most land and large invitation to Delamere, but I fear 
we can hardly compass it. I dread going anywhere, on account 
of my stomach so easily failing under any excitement. I 
rarely even now go to London , not that I am at all worse, 
perhaps rather better, and lead a very comfortable life with my 
three hours of daily work, but it is the life of a hermit. My 
nights are always bad, and that stops my becoming vigorous. 
You ask about water-cure. I take at intervals of two or three 
months, five or six weeks of moderately severe treatment, and 
always with good effect. Do you come here, I pray and beg 
whenever you can find time ; you cannot tell how much 
pleasure it would give me and E. What pleasant times we 
had in drinking coffee in your rooms at Christ's College, and 
think of the glories of Crux-major.* Ah, in those days there 
were no professions for sons, no ill-health to fear for them, no 
Califomian gold, no French invasions. How paramount the 
future is to the present when one is surrounded by children. 
My dread is hereditary ill-health. Even death is better for 

My dear Fox, your sincere friend. 

P.S. — Susan f has lately been working in a way which I 
think truly heroic about the scandalous violation of the Act 
against children climbing chimneys. VV^e have set up a little 
Society in Shrewsbury to prosecute those who break the law. 
It is all Susan's doing. She has had very nice letters from 
Lord Shaftesbury and the Duke of Sutherland, but the brutal 
Shropshire squires are as hard as stones to move. The Act 
out of London seems most commonly violated. It makes one 
shudder to fancy one of one's own children at seven years old 
being forced up a chimney — to say nothing of the consequent 

♦ The beetle Panagxvs crux-mcyor, t His sister. 


162 DOWN. [Ch. Vm. 

loathsome disease and ulcerated limbs, and utter moral degra- 
dation. If you think strongly on this subject, do make some 
enquiries ; add to your many good works, this other one, and 
try to stir up the magistrates. . . . 

The following letter refers to the Eoyal Medal, which was 
awarded to him in November, 1853 : 

C. D. to J, D. Eoolcer, Down [November 1853]. 

My dear Hooker — Amongst my letters received this morn- 
ing, I opened first one from Colonel Sabine ; the contents cer- 
tainly surprised mo very much, but, though the letter was a 
very kind one, somehow, I cared very little indeed for the 
announcement it contained. I then opened yours, and such is 
the effect of warmth, friendship, and kindness from one that is 
loved, that the very same fact, told as you told it, made me 
glow with pleasure till my very heart throbbed. Believe me, I 
shall not soon forget the pleasure of your letter. Such hearty, 
affectionate sympathy is worth more than all the medals that 
ever were or will be coined. Again, my dear Hooker, I thank 
you. I hope Lindley* will never hear that he was a com- 
petitor against me ; for really it is almost ridiculous (of course 
you would never repeat that I said this, for it would be thought 
by others, though not, I believe by you, to be affectation) his 
not having the medal long before me ; I must feel sure that 
you did quite right to propose him ; and what a good, dear, 
kind fellow you are, nevertheless, to rejoice in this honour 
being bestowed on me. 

What pleasure I have felt on the occasion, I owe almost 
entirely to you.f 

Farewell, my dear Hooker, yours affectionately. 

The following series of extracts, must, for want of space, 

* John Lindley (b. 1799, d. 18G5) was the son of a nurseryman near 
Norwich, through whose failure in business he was thrown at the age of 
twenty on his own resources. He was befriended by Sir "W. Hooker, and 
employed as assistant librarian by Sir J. Barsks. He seems to have had 
enormous capacity for work, and is said to have translated Richard's 
Analyse du Fruit at one sitting of two days and three nights. He became 
Assistant-Secretary to the Horticultural Society, and in 1829 was 
appointed Professor of Botany at University College, a post which he 
held for upwards of thirty years. His writings are numerous ; the best 
known being perhaps his Vegetable Kingdom, published in 1846. 

t Shortly afterwards he received a fresh mark of esteem from his 
warm-hearted friend: "Hooker's book (Himalayan Journal) is out, and 
most beautifully got up. He has honoured me beyond measure by 
dedicating it to me ! " 

Oh. VIIL] 1842—1854 163 

serve as a sketcli of his feeling with regard to his seven years* 
work at Barnacles* : — 

September 1849. — " It makes me groan to think that pro- 
bably I shall never again have the exquisite pleasure of 
making out some now district, of evolving geological light out 
of some troubled dark region. So I must make the best of my 
Cirripedia. . . ." 

October 1849. — " I have of late been at work at mere species 
describing, which is much more difficult than I expected, and 
has much the same sort of interest as a puzzle has; but I 
confess I often feel wearied with the work, and cannot help 
sometimes asking myself what is the good of spending a 
week or fortnight in ascertaining that certain just perceptible 
differences blend together and constitute varieties and not 
species. As long as I am on anatomy I never feel myself in 
that disgusting, horrid, cui bono, inquiring, humour. What 
miserable work, again, it is searching for priority of names. I 
have just finished two species, which possess seven generic, 
and twenty-four specific names ! My chief comfort is, that the 
work must be sometime done, and I may as well do it, as any 
one else." 

October 1852. — " 1 am at work at the second volume of the 
Cirripedia, of which creatures 1 am wonderfully tired. I hate 
a Barnacle as no man ever did before, not even a sailor in 
a slow-sailing ship. My first volume is out; the only part 
worth looking at is on the sexes of Ibla €ind Scalpellum. I 
hope by next summer to have done with my tedious work." 

July 1853. — " I am extremely glad to hear that you approved 
of my cirripedial volume. I have spent an almost ridiculous 
amount of labour on the subject, and certainly would never 
have undertaken it had I foreseen what a job it was." 

In September, 1854, his Cirripede work was practically 
finished, and he wrote to Sir J. Hooker : 

" I have been frittering away my time for the last several 

♦ In 1860 he wrote to Lyell : "Is not Krohn a good fellow? I have 
long meant to write to him. He has been working at Cirripedes, and has 
detected two or three gigantic blunders, about which, I thank Heaven, I 
spoke rather doubtfully. Such diflScult dissection that even Huxley 
failed. It is chiefly the interpretation which I put on parts that is so 
wrong, and not the parts which I describe. But they were gigantic 
bhmders, and why I say all this is because Krohn, instead of crowing at 
all, pointed out my errors with the utmost gentleness and pleasantness " 

There are two papers by Aug. Krohn, one on the Cement Glands, 
and the other on the development of Cirripedes, Weigmann's Archiv. xxv. 
and xxvi. See Autobiography, p. 39, where my father remarks, "I 
blundered dreadfully about the cement glands." 

164 DOWN. [Ch. Vm. 

weeks in a wearisome manner, partly idleness, and odds and 
ends, and sending ten thousand Barnacles* out of the house all 
over the world. But I shall now in a day or two begin to look 
over my old notes on species. What a deal I shall have to 
discuss with you; I shall have to look sharp that I do not 
progress ' into one of the greatest bores in life, to the few like 
yott with lots of knowledge." 

* The duplicate type-specimens of my father's Cirripedes are in the 
Liverpool Free Public Museum, as I learn from the Rev. H. H. Higgins. 

( 165 ) 



To give an account of the development of the chief work of my 
father's life — the Chigin of SjpecieSy it will be necessary to return 
to an earlier date, and to weave into the story letters and 
other material, purposely omitted from the chapters dealing 
with the voyage and with his life at Down. 

To be able to estimate the greatness of the work, we must 
know something of the state of knowledge on the species 
question at the time when the germs of the Darwinian theory 
were forming in my father's mind. 

For the brief sketch which I can here insert, I am largely 
indebted to vol. ii. chapter v. of the Life and Letters — 
a discussion on the Beception of the Origin of Species which 
Mr. Huxley was good enough to write for me, also to the 
masterly obituary essay on my father, which the same writer 
contributed to the Proceedings of the Eoyal Society.* 
Mr. Huxley has well saidf : 

" To any one who studies the signs of the times, the emer- 
gence of the philosophy of Evolution, in the attitude of claimant 
to the throne of the world of thought, from the limbo of hated 
and, as many hoped, forgotten things, is the most portentous 
event of the nineteenth century." 

In the autobiographical chapter, my father has given an 
account of his share in this great work : the present chapter 
does little more than expand that story. 

Two questions naturally occur to one : (1) — When and how 
did Darwin become convinced that species are mutable ? How 
rthat is to say) did he begin to believe in evolution. And 
(2) — When and how did he conceive the manner in which 
species are modified ; when did he begin to believe in Natural 
Selection ? 

The first question is the more difficult of the two to answer. 
He has said in the Autobiography (p. 39) that certain facts 
observed by him in South America seemed to be explicable 

♦ Vol. xliv. No. 269. 

t Life and Letters, vol. ii. p. 180. 


only on the " supposition that species gradually become modi- 
fied." He goes on to say that the subject " haunted hiTn " ; and 
I think it is especially worthy of note that this " haunting," — 
this unsatisfied dwelling on the subject was connected witii the 
desire to explain how species can be modified. It was charac- 
teristic of him to feel, as he did, that it was " almost useless " 
to endeavour to prove the general truth of evolution, unless 
the cause of change could be discovered. I think that through- 
out his life the questions 1 and 2 were intimately, — perhaps 
unduly so, connected in his mind. It will be shown, however, 
that after the publication of the Origin, when his views were 
being weighed in the balance of scientific opinion, it was to 
the acceptance of Evolution not of Natural Selection that he 
attached importance. 

An interesting letter (Feb. 24, 1877) to Dr. Otto Zacharias,* 
gives the same impression as the Autobiography : — 

" When I was on board the Beagle I believed in the perma- 
nence of species, but as far as I can remember, vague doubts 
occasionally flitted across my mind. On my return home in tho 
autumn of 1836, 1 immediately began to prepare my Journal 
for publication, and then saw how many facts indicated the 
common descent of species, so that in July, 1887, I opened a 
note-book 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." 

Two years bring us to 1889, at which date the idea of 
natural selection had already occurred to him — a fact which 
agrees with what has been said above. How far the idea that 
evolution is conceivable came to him from earlier writers it 
is not possible to s5,y. He has recorded in the Autobiography 
(p. 38) the " silent astonishment with which, about the year 
1825, he heard Grant expound the Lamarckian philosophy." 
He goes on : — 

" I had previously read the Zoonomia of my grandfather, in 
which similar views are maintained, but without producing 
any effect on me. Nevertheless, it is probable that the hearing 
rather early in life such views maintained and praised, may 
have favoured my upholding them imdcr a different form in 
my Origin of Species. At this time I admired greatly the 
Zoonomia ; but on reading it a second time after an interval of 
ten or fifteen years, I was much disappointed ; the proportion 
of speculation being so large to the facts given." 

Mr. Huxley has well said {Obituary Notice, p. ii.) : " Erasmus 

* This letter was unaccountably overlooked in preparing the Life an^ 
Letters for publication. 

Ch. IX.] 1831—1844. 167 

Darwin, was in fact an anticipator of Lamarck, and not of 
Cliarles Darwin ; there is no trace in his works of the concep- 
tion by the addition of which his grandson metamorphosed the 
theory of evolution as applied to living things, and gave it a 
new foundation." 

On the whole it seems to me that the effect on his mind 
of the earlier evolutionists was inappreciable, and as far as 
concerns the history of the Origin of the Species^ it is of no 
particular importance, because, as before said, evolution mado 
no progress in his mind until the cause of modification was 

I think Mr. Huxley is right in saying * that " it is hardly 
too much to say that Darwin's greatest work is the outcome of 
the unflinching application to biology of the leading idea, and 
the method applied in the Principles to Geology." Mr. Huxley 
has elsewhere! admirably expressed the bearing of Lyell's 
work in this connection : — 

" I cannot but believe that Lyell, for others, as for myself, 
was the chief agent in smoothing the road for Darwin. For 
consistent uniformitarianism postulates evolution as much in 
the organic as in the inorganic world. The origin of a new 
species by other than ordinary agencies would be a vastly 
greater * catastrophe ' than any of those which Lyell success- 
fully eliminated from sober geological speculation. . . . 

"Lyell,f with perfect right, claims this position for himself. 
He speaks of having * advocated a law of continuity even in 
the organic world, so far as possible without adopting Lamarck's 
theory of transmutation. . . . 

" * But while I taught,' Lyell goes on, * that as often as 
certain forms of animals and plants disappeared, for reasons 
quite intelligible to us, others took their place by vii-tue of 
a causation which was beyond our comprehension ; it remained 
for Dar\vin to accumulate proof that there is no break between 
the incoming and the outgoing species, that they are the work 
of evolution, and not of special creation. ... I had certainly 
prepared the way in this country, in six editions of my work 
before the Vestiges of Creation appeared in 1842 [1844], for the 
reception of Darwin's gradual and insensible evolution of 
species.' '* 

* Obituary Notice, p. viii. 

t Life and Letters, vol. ii. p. 190. In Mr. Huxley's chapter the passage 
beginning '* Lyell with perfect right . . . ." is given as a footnote : it 
will be seen that I have incorporated it with Mr. Huxley's text. 

X Lyell's Life and Letters^ Letter to Haeckel, vol. ii. p. 436. Nov. 23, 


Mr. Huxley continues : — 

" If one reads any of the earlier editions of the Frinciplea 
carefully (especially by the light of the interesting series of 
letters recently published by Sir Charles Lyell's biographer), 
it is easy to see that, with all his energetic opposition to 
Lamarck, on the one hand, and to the ideal quasi-progressionism 
of Agassiz, on the other, Lyell, in his own mind, was strongly 
disposed to account for the origination of all past and present 
species of living things by natural causes. But he would 
have liked, at the same time, to keep the name of creation 
for a natural process which he imagined to be incompre- 

The passage above given refers to the influence of Lyell in 
preparing men's minds for belief in the Origin^ but I cannot 
doubt that it " smoothed the way " for the author of that work 
in his early searchings, as well as for his followers. My father 
spoke prophetically when he wrote the dedication to Lyell of 
the seconl edition of the Journal of Researches (1845). 

" To Charles Lyell, Esq., F.R.S., this second edition is 
dedicated with grateful pleasure — as an acknowledgment that 
the chief part of whatever scientific merit this journal and 
the other works of the author may possess, has been derived 
from studying the well-known and admirable Princij)le8 of 

Professor Judd, in some reminiscences of my father which 
he was so good as to give me, quotes him as saying that, " It 
was the reading of the Principles of Geology which did most 
towards moulding his mind and causing him to take up the 
line of investigation to which his life was devoted." 

The role that Lyell played as a pioneer makes his own point 
of view as to evolution all the more remarkable. As the late 
H. C. Watson wrote to my father (December 21, 1859) : — 

Now these novel views are brought fairly before the 
scientific public, it seems truly remarkable how so many of 
them could have failed to see their right road sooner. How 
could Sir C. Lyell, for instance, for thirty years read, write, 
and think, on the subject of species and their successiony and 
yet constantly look down the wrong road 1 

" A quarter of a century ago, you and I must have been in 
something like the same state of mind on the main question. 
But you were able to see and work out the quo modo of the 
succession, the all-important thing, while I failed to grasp it." 

In his earlier attitude towards evolution, my father was 
on a par with his contemporaries. He wrote in the AutO' 
biography : — 


Ch. IX.] 1831—1844. 169 

"I occasionally sounded not a few naturalists, and never 
happened to come across a single one who seemed to doubt 
about the permanence of species : " and it will be made 
abundantly clear by his letters that in supporting the opposite 
view he felt himself a terrible heretic. 

Mr. Huxley * writes in the same sense : — 

" Within the ranks of biologists, at that time [1851-58], 1 
met with nobody, except Dr. Grant, of University College, who 
had a word to say for Evolution — and his advocacy was not 
calculated to advance the cause. Outside these ranks, the 
only person known to me whose knowledge and capacity com- 
pelled respect, and who was, at the same time, a thorough- 
going evolutionist, was Mr. Herbert Spencer, whose acquaint- 
ance I made, I think, in 1852, and then entered into the bonds 
of a friendship which, I am happy to think, has known no 
interruption. Many and prolonged were the battles we fought 
on this topic. But even my friend's rare dialectic skill and 
copiousness of apt illustration could not drive me from my 
agnostic position. I took my stand upon two grounds : firstly, 
that up to that time, the evidence in favour of transmutation 
was wholly insufficient ; and, secondly, that no suggestion 
respecting the causes of the transmutation assumed, which 
had been made, was in any way adequate to explain the 
phenomena. Looking back at the state of knowledge at that 
time, I really do not see that any other conclusion was 

These two last citations refer of course to a period much 
later than the time, 1836-37, at which the Darwinian theory 
was growing in my father's mind. The same thing is however 
true of earlier days. 

So much for the general problem : the further question as 
to the growth of Darwin's theory of natural selection is a less 
complex one, and I need add but little to the history given in 
tlie Autobiography of how he came by that great conception by 
the help of which he was able to revivify " the oldest of all 
philosophies — that of evolution." 

The first point in the slow journey towards the Origin of 
Species was the opening of that note-book of 1837 of which 
mention has been ali*eady made. The reader who is curious 
on the subject will find a series of citations from this most 
interesting note-book, in the Life and LeiterSf vol. ii. p. 6, 
et seq. 

The two following extracts show that he applied the theory 

• Life and Letters, vol. ii. p. 188. 


of evolution to the " whole organic kingdom " from plants to 

" K we choose to let conjecture run wild, then animals, our 
fellow hrethren in pain, disease, death, suffering and famine — 
our slaves in the most laborious works, our companions in our 
amusements — they may partake [of ] our origin in one common 
ancestor — we may be all melted together." 

" The different intellects of man and animals not so great as 
between living things without thought (plants), and living 
things with thought (animals)." 

Speaking of intoFmediate forms, he remarks : — 

" Opponents will say — show them me. I will answer yes, 
if you will show me every step between bulldog and grey- 

Here we see that the argument from domestic animals was 
already present in his mind as bearing on the production of 
natural species, an argument which he afterwards used with 
such signal force in the Origin. 

A comparison of the two editions of the Naturalists' Voyage 
is instructive, as giving some idea of the development of his 
views on evolution. It does not give us a true index of the 
mass of conjecture which was taking shape in his mind, but it 
shows us that he felt sure enough of the truth of his belief to 
allow a stronger tinge of evolution to appear in the second 
edition. He has mentioned in the Autobiography (p. 40), that 
it was not until he read Malthus that he got a clear view of the 
potency of natural selection. This was in 1838 — a year after 
he finished the first edition (it was not published until 1839), 
and seven years before the second edition was issued (1845). 
Thus the turning-point in the formation of his theory took 
place between the writing of the two editions. Yet the differ- 
ence between the two editions is not very marked ; it is 
another proof of the author's caution and self-restraint in the 
treatment of his ideas. After reading the second edition of 
the Voyage we remember with a strong feeling of surprise how 
far advanced were his views when he wrote it. 

These views are given in the manuscript volume of 1844, 
mentioned in the Autobiography. I give from my father's 
Pocket-book the entries referring to the preliminary sketch of 
this historic essay. 

" 1842, May 18, — Went to Maer. June 15 — to Shrewsbury, 
and 18th to Capel Curig. During my stay at Maer and 
Shrewsbury. . . . wrote pencil sketch of species theory." * 

* I have discussed in the Life and Letters the Ftatement often made 
that the first sketch of his theory was written in 1839. 

Ch. IX.] 1831—1844. 171 

In 1844, the pencil-sketch was enlarged to one of 230 folio 
pages, which is a wonderfully complete presentation of tho 
arguments familiar to us in the Origin. 

The following letter shows in a striking manner the value 
my father put on this piece of work. 

a D. to Mrs. Darwin. Down [July 5, 1844]. 

... I have just finished my sketch of my species theory. 
If, as I believe, my theory in time be accepted even by ono 
competent judge, it will bo a considerable step in science. 

I therefore write this in case of my sudden death, as my 
most solemn and last request, which I am sure you will con- 
sider the same as if legally entered in my will, that you will 
devote i£400 to its publication, and further, will yourself, or 
through Hcnsleigh,* take trouble in promoting it. I ^vi8h 
that my sketch be given to some competent person, with this 
sum to induce him to take trouble in its improvement and 
enlargement. I give to him all my books on Natural History, 
which are either scored or have references at the end to the 
pages, begging him carefully to look over and consider such 
passages as actually bearing, or by possibility bearing, on this 
subject. I wish you to make a list of all such books as some 
temptation to an editor. I fclso request that you will hand 
over [to] him all those scraps roughly divided in eight or ten 
brown paper portfolios. The scraps, with copied quotations 
from various works, are those which may aid my editor. I 
also request that you, or some amanuensis, will aid in decipher- 
ing any of the scraps which the editor may think possibly of 
use. I leave to the editor's judgment whether to interpolate 
these facts in the text, or as notes, or under appendices. As 
the looking over the references and scraps will be a long 
labour, and as the correcting and enlarging and altering my 
sketch will also take considerable time, I leave this sum of 
£400 as some remuneration, and any profits from the work. I 
consider that for this the editor is bound to get the sketch 
published either at a publisher's or his own risk. Many of 
the scraps in the portfolios contain mere rude suggestions and 
early views, now useless, and many of the facts wall probably 
turn out as having no bearing on my theory. 

With respect to editors, Mr. Lyell would be the best if he 
would undertake it ; I believe he would find the work pleasant, 
and he would learn some facts new to hiuL As the editor must 

♦ The late Mr. H. Wedgwood. 


be a geologist as well as a naturalist, the next best editor 
would be Professor Forbes of London. The next best (and 
quite best in many respects) would be Professor Henslow. Dr. 
Hooker would be very good. The next, Mr. Strickland.* If 
none of these would undertake it, I would request you to 
consult with Mr. Lyell, or some other capable man for some 
editor, a geologist and naturalist. Should one other hundred 
pounds make the difference of procuring a good editor, I 
request earnestly that you will raise £500. 

My remaining collections in Natural History may be given 
to any one or any museum where [they] would be accepted. . . . 

The following note seems to have formed part of the 
original letter, but may have been of later date : 

" Lyell, especially with the aid of Hooker (and of any good 
zoological aid), would be best of all. Without an editor will 
pleflgo himself to give up time to it, it would be of no use 
paying such a sum." 

" If there should be any difficulty in getting an editor who 
would go thoroughly into the subject, and think of the bearing 
of the passages marked in the books and copied out [on ?] scraps 
of paper, then let my sketch be published as it is, stating that 
it was done several years agof and from memory without 
consulting any works, and with no intention of publication in 
its present form." 

The idea that the Sketch of 1844 might remain, in the event 
cf his death, as the only record of his work, seems to have 
been long in his mind, for in August 1854, when he had 
finished with the Cirripedes, and was thinldng of beginning 
his " species work," he added on the back of the above letter, 
" Hooker by far best man to edit my species volume. August 

* After Mr. Striddand'e name comes the following sentence, which 
has been erased, but remains legible ; " Professor Owen would be very 
good ; but I presume he would not undertake such a work." 

t The words "several years ago and,'* seem to have been added at a 
later date. 

( 173 ) 




The history of the years 1843-1858 is here related in an 
extremely abbreviated fashion. It was a period of minute 
labour on a variety of subjects, and the letters accordingly 
abound in detail. They are in many ways extremely interest- 
ing, more especially so to professed naturalists, and the 
picture of patient research which they convey is of great value 
from a biographical point of view. But such a picture must 
either be given in a complete series of unabridged letters, or 
omitted altogether. The limits of space compel mo to the 
latter choice. The reader must imagine my father corre- 
sponding on problems in geology, geographical distribution, and 
classification ; at the same time collecting facts on such varied 
points as the stripes on horses* legs, the floating of seeds, 
the breeding of pigeons, the form of bees' cells and the innu- 
merable other questions to which his gigantic task demanded 

The concluding letter of the last chapter has shown how 
strong was his conviction of the value of his work. It is 
impressive evidence of the condition of the scientific atmo- 
sphere, to discover, as in the following letters to Sir Joseph 
Hooker, how small was the amount of encouragement that he 
dared to hope for from his brother-naturalists. 

[January 11th, 1844.] 

... 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, &c. &c., and with the 
character of the American fossil mammifers, &c. &c., 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 tlie 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," 
&c. I 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. . . . 

And again (1844) : — 

" In my most sanguine moments, all I expect, is that I shall 
be able to show even to sound Naturalists, that there arc two 
Bides to the question of the immutability of species — that facte 
can be viewed and grouped under the notion of allied species 
having descended from common stocks. With respect to 
books on this subject, I do not know of any systematical ones, 
except Lamarck's which is veritable rubbish : but there are 
plenty, as Lyell, Pritchard, &c., on the view of the immu- 
tability. Agassiz lately has brought the strongest argument 
in favour of immutability. Isidore G. St. Hilaire has written 
some good Essays, tending towards the mutability-side, in the 
Suites a Buffoiij entitled Zoolog. Generdle. Is it not strange 
that the author of such a book as the Animaux sans Vertehres 
should have written that insects, which never see their eggs, 
should will (and plants, their seeds) to be of particular forms, 
80 as to become attached to particular objects. The other 
common (specially Germanic) notion is hardly less absurd, 
viz. that climate, food, &c., should make a Pediculus formed to 
climb hair, or a wood-pecker to climb trees. I believe all these 
absurd views arise from no one having, as far as I know, ap- 
proached the subject on the side of variation under domestica- 
tion, and having studied all that is known about domestication." 

" I hate arguments from results, but on my views of descent, 
really Natural History becomes a sublimely grand result- 
giving subject (now you may quiz me for so foolish an escape 
of mouth). . . ." 

a D. to L. Jenyns* Down Oct. 12th [1845]. 

My dear Jenyns — Thanks for your note. I am sorry to 
say I have not even the tail-end of a fact in English Zoology 
to communicate. I have found that even trifling observations 
» Rev. L. Blomefleld. 

Oh. X.] 1843—1858. 175 

require, in my case, some leisure and energy, [of] both of which 
ingredients I have had none to spare, as writing my Geology 
thoroughly expends both. I had always thought that I would 
keep a journal and record everything, but in the way I now 
live I find I observe nothing to record. Looking after my 
garden and trees, and occasionally a very little walk in an idle 
frame of my mind, fill up every afternoon in the same 
manner. I am surprised that with all your parish aflairs, you 
have had time to do all that which you have done. I shall be 
very glad to see your little work * (and proud should I have 
been if I could have added a single fact to it;. My work on 
the species question has impressed me very forcibly with the 
importance of all such works as your intended one, containing 
what people are pleased generally to call trifling facts. These 
are the facts which make one understand the working or 
economy of nature. There is one subject, on which I am very 
curious, and which perhaps yon may throw some light on, if 
you have ever thought on it ; namely, what are the checks and 
what the periods of life — by which the increase of any given 
species is limited. Just calculate the increase of any bird, if 
you assume that only half the yoimg are reared, and these 
breed : within the natural (i.e. if free from accidents) life of the 
parents the number of individuals will become enormous, and I 
have been much surprised to think how great destruction must 
annually or occasionally be falling on every species, yet the 
means and period of such destruction are scarcely perceived by us. 
I have continued steadily reading and collecting facts on 
variation of domestic animals and plants, and on the question 
of what are species. I have a grand body of facts, and I 
think I can draw some sound conclusions. The general con- 
clusions at which I have slowly been driven from a directly 
opposite conviction, is that species are mutable, and that allied 
species are co-descendants from common stocks. I know how 
much I open myself to reproach for such a conclusion, but I 
have at least honestly and deliberately come to it. I shall 
not publish on this subject for several years. 

C, Darwin to L, Jenyns.^ Down [1845 ?]. 

"With respect to my far distant work on species, I must have 
expressed myself with singular inaccuracy if I led you to 

♦ Mr. Jenyns* Observations in Natural History. It is prefaced by an 
Introduction on " Habits of observing as connected with the study of 
Natural History," and followed by a " Calendar of Periodic Phenomena 
in Natural History," with " Remarks on the importan/ie of such Registers." 

t Rev. L. Blomefield. 


suppose that I meant to say that my conclusions were 
inevitable. They have become so, after years of weighing 
puzzles, to myself alone; but in my wildest day-dream, I 
never expect more than to be able to show that there are two 
sides to the question of the immutability of species, i.e. whether 
species are directly created or by intermediate laws (as with 
the life and death of individuals). I did not approach the 
subject on the side of the difficulty in determining what are 
species and what are varieties, but (though why I should give 
you such a history of my doings it would be hard to say) from 
such facts as the relationship between the living and extinct 
mammifers in South America, and between those living on the 
Continent and on adjoining islands, such as the Galapagos. It 
occurred to me that a collection of all such analogous facts 
would throw light either for or against the view of related 
species being co-descendants from a common stock. A long 
searching amongst agricultural and horticultural books and 
people makes me believe (I well know how absurdly pre- 
sumptuous this must appear) that I see the way in which new 
varieties become exquisitely adapted to the external conditions 
of life and to other surrounding beings. I am a bold man to 
lay myself open to being thought a complete fool, and a most 
deliberate one. From the nature of the grounds which make 
me believe that species are mutable in form, these grounds 
cannot be restricted to the closest-allied species ; but how far 
they extend I cannot tell, as my reasons fall away by degrees, 
when applied to species more and more remote from each 
other. Pray do not think that T am so blind as not to see that 
there are numerous immense difficulties in my notions, but 
they appear to me less than on the common view. I have 
drawn up a sketch and had it copied (in 200 pages) of my 
conclusions ; and if I thought at some future time that you 
would think it worth reading, I should, of course, be most 
thankful to have the criticism of so competent a critic 
Excuse this very long and egotistical and ill-written letter, 
which by your remarks you have led me into. 

a D. to J. D. EooJcer, Down [1849-50?]. 

.... How painfully (to me) true is your remark, that no 
one has hardly a right to examine the question of species who 
has not minutely described many. I was, however, pleased to 
hear from Owen (who is vehemently opposed to any mutability 
in species), that he thought it was a very fair subject, and that 
there was a mass of facts to be brought to bear on the question, 

Oh. X.] 1843—1868. 177 

not hitherto collected. My only comfort is (as I mean to 
attempt the subject), that I have dabbled in several branches 
of Natui-al History, and seen good specific men work out my 
species, and know something of geology (an indispensable 
union) ; and though I shall get more kicks than half-pennies, 
I will, life serving, attempt my work. Lamarck is tiie only 
exception, that I can think of, of an accurate describer of species 
at least in the Invertebrate Kingdom, who has disbelieved in 
permanent species, but he in his absurd though clever work has 
done the subject harm, as has Mr. Vestiges, and, as (some future 
loose naturalist attempting the same speculations will perhap s 
say) has Mr. D. . , . 

C. B, to J, D. Booker, September 25th [1853]. 

In my own Cirripedial work (by the way, thank you for the 
dose of soft solder ; it does one — or at least me — a great deal 
of good) — in my own work I have not felt conscious that dis- 
believing in the mere permanence of species has made much 
difference one way or the other ; in some few cases (if publish- 
ing avowedly on the doctrine of non-permanence), I should not 
have affixed names, and in some few cases should have affixed 
names to remarkable varieties. Certainly I have felt it 
humiliating, discussing and doubting, and examining over and 
over again, when in my own mind the only doubt has been 
whether the form varied to-day or yesterday (not to put too fine 
a point on it, as Snagsby* would say). After describing a set 
of forms as distinct species, tearing up my MS., and making 
them one species, tearing that up and making them separate, 
and then making them one again (which has happened to me), 
I have gnashed my teeth, cursed species, ajid asked what sin I 
had committed to be so punished. But I must confess that 
perhaps nearly the same thing would have happened to me on 
any scheme of work. 

a D. to j; D. Eooler, Down, March 26th [1854]. 

My dear Hooker — I had hoped that you would have had a 
little breathing-time after your Journal,"]' but this seems to be 
very far from the case ; and I am the more obliged (and some- 
what contrite) for the long letter received this morning, most 
juicy with news and most interesting to me in many ways. I 
am very glad indeed to hear of the reforms, &c., in the Eoyal 

• In Bleak House. 

t Sir Joseph Hooker's Himalayan Journal, 


Society. With respect to the Club,* I am deeply interested ; 
only two or three days ago, I was regretting to my wife, how I 
was letting drop and being dropped by nearly all my acquaint- 
ances, and that I would endeavour to go oftener to London ; I 
was not then thinking of the Club, which, as far as one thing 
goes, would answer my exact object in keeping up old and 
making some new acquaintances. I will therefore come up to 
London for every (with rare exceptions) Club-day, and then my 
head, I think, will allow me on an average to go to every other 
meeting. But it is grievous how often any change knocks me 
up. I will further pledge myself, as I told Lyell, to resign 
after a year, if I did not attend pretty often, so that I should 
at worst encumber the Club temporarily. If you can get me 
elected, I certainly shall be very much pleased. ... I am 
particularly obliged to you for sending me Asa Gray's letter ; 
how very pleasantly he writes. To see his and your caution on 
the species-question ought to overwhelm me in confusion and 
shame ; it does make me feel deuced uncomfortable. ... I 
was pleased and surprised to see A. Gray's remarks on crossing 
obliterating varieties, on which, as you know, I have been 
collecting facts for these dozen years. How awfully flat I 
shall feel, if, when I get my notes together on species, &c. &c., 
the whole thing explodes like an empty puff-ball. Do not work 
yourself to death. 

Ever yours most truly. 

To work out the problem of the Geographical Distribution of 
animals and plants on evolutionary principles, Darwin had to 
Btudy the means by which seeds, eggs, &c., can be transported 
across wide spaces of ocean. It was this need which gave an 
interest to the class of experiment to which the following 
letters refer. 

♦ The Philosophical Club, to which my father was elected (as Professor 
Bonney is good enough to inform me) on April 24, 1854. He resigned 
his membership in 1864. The Club was founded in 1847. The number 
of members being limited to 47, it was proposed to christen it " the 
Club of 47," but the name was never adopted. The nature of the Club 
may be gathered from its first rule : " The purpose of tlie Club is to 
promote as much as possible the scientific objects of the Royal Society ; 
to facilitate intercourse between those Fellows who are actively engaged 
in cultivating the various branches of Natural Science, and who have 
contributed to its progress; to increase the attendance at the evening 
meetings, and to encourage the contribution and discussion of papers." 
The Club met for dinner at 6, and the chair was to be quitted at 8.15, it 
being expected that members would go to the Royal Society. Of late 
years the dinner has been at 6.30, the Society meeting in the afternoon. 

Ch. X.] 1843—1858. 179 

a D. to J, D. Eooher. April 13tli [1855]. 

... I have Lad ono experiment some little time in progress 
whicli will, I think, be interesting, namely, seeds in salt water, 
immersed in water of 32°-33°, which I have and shall long 
have, as I filled a great tank with snow. When I wrote last I 
was going to triumph over you, for my experiment had in a 
slight degree succeeded ; but this, with infinite baseness, I did 
not tell, in hopes that you would say that you would eat all the 
plants which I could raise after immersion. It is very aggrava- 
ting that I cannot in the least remember what you did formerly 
say that made me think you scoffed at the experiments vastly ; 
for you now seem to view the experiment like a good Christian. 
I have in small bottles out of doors, exposed to variation of 
temperature, cress, radish, cabbages, lettuces, carrots, and celery, 
and onion seed. These, after immersion for exactly one week, 
have all germinated, which I did not in the least expect (and 
thought how you would sneer at me) ; for the water of nearly 
all, and of the cress especially, smelt very badly, and the cress 
seed emitted a wonderful quantity of mucus (the Vestiges* would 
have expected them to turn into tadpoles), so as to adhere in a 
mass ; but these seeds germinated and grew splendidly. The 
germination of all (especially cress and lettuces) has been 
accelerated, except the cabbages, which have come up very 
irregulariy, and a good many, I think, dead. One would have 
thought, from their native habitat, that the cabbage would have 
stood well. The Umbelliferie and onions seem to stand the 
salt well. I wash the seed before planting them. I have 
written to the Gardeners' Chromicle^] though I doubt whether it 
was worth while. If my success seems to make it worth while, 
I will send a seed list, to get you to mark some different classes 
of seeds. To-day I replant the same seeds as above after 
fourteen days' immersion. As many sea-currents go a mile an 
hour, even in a week they might be transported 168 miles ; the 
Gulf Stream is said to go fifty and sixty miles a day. So 
much and too much on this head ; but my geese are always 
swans. ... 

* The Vestiges of Creation^ by R. Chambers. 

t A few words asking for information. The results were published in 
the Gardeners^ Chronide, May 26, Nov. 24, 1855. In the same year 
(p. 789) he sent a postscript to his former paper, correcting a misprint 
and adding a few words on the seeds of the Leguminosao. A fuller paper 
on the germination of seeds after treatment in salt water, appeared in the 
Linnean Soo. Journal^ 1857, p. 130. 

N 2 


a D. to J, D, Hooher. [April 14th, 1855.] 

. . . You are a good man to confess that you expected the 
cress would be killed in a week, for this gives me a nice little 
triumph. The children at first were tremendously eager, and 
asked me often, " whether I should beat Dr. Hooker I *' The 
cress and lettuce have just vegetated well after twenty-one 
days' immersion. But I will write no more, which is a great 
virtue in me ; for it is to me a very great pleasure telling you 
everything I do. 

... If you knew some of the experiments (if they may be 
60 called) which I am trying, you would have a good right to 
sneer, for they are so absurd even in my opinion that I dare not 
tell you. 

Have not some men a nice notion of experimentising ? I 
have had a letter telling me that seeds must have great power of 
resisting salt water, for otherwise how could they get to islands ? 
This is the true way to solve a problem ? 

Experiments on the transportal of seeds through the agency 
of animals, also gave him much labour. He wrote to Fox 
(1855) :— 

" All nature is perverse and will not do as I wish it ; and 
just at present I wish I had my old barnacles to work at, and 
nothing new." 

And to Hooker : — 

" Everything has been going wrong with me lately : the fish 
at the Zoolog. Soc. ate up lots of soaked seeds, and in imagina- 
tion they had in my mind been swallowed, fish and all, by a 
heron, had been carried a hundred miles, been voided on the 
banks of some other lake and germinated splendidly, when lo 
and behold, the fish ejected vehemently, and with disgust eq^ual 
to my own, all the seeds from their mouths." 


In his Autobiographical sketch (p. 41) my father wrote : — 
" Early in 1856 Lyell advised me to write out my views pretty 
fully, and I began at once to do so on a scale three, or four 
times as extensive as that which was afterwards followed in 
my Origin of Species; yet it was only an abstract of the 
materials which I had collected." The remainder of the 
present chapter is chiefly concerned with the preparation 
of this unfinished book. 

The work was begun on May Idth, and steadily continued up 
to June 1858, when it was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. 

Ch. X.] 1843—1858. 181 

Wallace's MS. During the two years whicli we aie now con- 
sidering, he wrote ten chapters (that is about one-half) of the 
projected book. 

a D. to J. D. EooJcer. May 9th [1856]. 

... I very much want advice and truthful consolation if 
you can give it. I had a good talk with Lyell about my species 
work, and he urges me strongly to publish something. I am 
fixed against any periodical or Journal, as I positively will not 
expose myself to an Editor or a Council allowing a publication 
for which they might be abused. If I publish anything it 
must be a very thin and little volume, giving a sketch of my 
views and difficulties ; but it is really dreadfully unphilo- 
sophical to give a resumSf without exact references, of an 
unpublished work. But Lyell seemed to think I might do 
this, at the suggestion of friends, and on the ground, which I 
I might state, that I had been at work for eighteen * years, 
and yet could not publish for several years, and especially as 
I could point out difficulties which seemed to me to require 
especial investigation. Now what think you? I should bo 
really grateful for advice. I thought of giving up a couple of 
months and wiiting such a sketch, and trying to keep my 
judgment open whether or no to publish it when completed. 
It will be simply impossible for mo to give exact references ; 
anything important I should state on the authority of the 
author generally ; and instead of giving all the facts on which 
I ground my opinion, I could give by memory only one or 
two. In the Preface I would state that the work could not 
bo considered strictly scientific, but a mere sketch or outline 
of a future work in which full references, &c., should be 
given. Eheu, eheu, I believe I should sneer at any one else 
doing this, and my only comfort is, that I truly never dreamed 
of it, till' Lyell suggested it, and seems deliberately to think 
it advisable. 

I am in a peck of troubles, and do pray forgive me for 
troubling you. 

Yours affectionately. 

He made an attempt at a sketch of his views, but as he wrote 
to Fox in October 1856 :— 

" I found it such unsatisfactory work that I have desisted, 

♦ The interval of eighteen years, from 1837 when he began to collect 
facts, -would bring the date of this letter to 1855, not 1856, neverthele«« 
the latter seems the more probable date. 


and am now drawing up my work as perfect as my materials 
of nineteen years' collecting suffice, but do not intend to stop 
to perfect any line of investigation beyond current work." 

And in November he wrote to Sir Charles Lyell : — 

" I am working very steadily at my big book ; I have found 
it quite impossible to publish any preliminary essay or sketch ; 
but am doing my work as completely as my present materials 
allow without waiting to perfect them. And this much ac- 
celeration I owe to you." 

Again to Mr. Fox, in February, 1857 : — 

" I am got most deeply interested in my subject ; though I 
wish I could set less value on the bauble fame, either present 
or posthumous, than I do, but not I think, to any extreme 
degree : yet, if I know myself, I would work just as hard, 
though with less gusto, if I knew that my book would be 
published for ever anonymously." 

C. D. to A. B. Wallace, Moor Park, May 1st, 1857. 

My dear Sir — I am much obliged for your letter of 
October 10th, from Celebes, received a few days ago; in a 
laborious undertaking, sympathy is a valuable and real en- 
couragement. By your letter and even still more by your 
paper* in the Annals, a year or more ago, I can plainly see 
that we have thought much alike and to a certain extent have 
come to similar conclusions. In regard to the Paper in the 
Annals, I agree to the truth of almost every word of your 
paper ; and I dare say that you will agree with me that it is 
very rare to find oneself agreeing pretty closely with any 
theoretical paper ; for it is lamentable how each man draws 
his own different conclusions from the very same facts. This 
summer will make the 20th year (!) since I opened my first 
note-book, on the question how and in what way do species 
and varieties differ from each other. I am now preparing my 
work for publication, but I find the subject so very large, that 
though I have written many chapters, I do not suppose I shall 
go to press for two years. I have never heard how long you 
intend staying in the Malay Archipelago ; I wish I might 
profit by the publication of your Travels there before my work 
appears, for no doubt you will reap a large harvest of facts. I 
have acted already in accordance with your advice of keeping 
domestic varieties, and those appearing in a state of nature, 

* " On the Law that has regulated the iDtrduction of New Speciea.** 
--Ann. Nat. Hist, 1855. 

Ch. X.] 1843—1858. 183 

distinct ; but I have sometimes doubted of the wisdom of this, 
and therefore I am glad to be backed by your opinion. I 
must confess, however, I rather doubt the truth of the now 
very prevalent doctrine of all our domestic animals having 
descended from several wild stocks; though I do not doubt 
tliat it is so in some caScs. I think there is rather better 
evidence on the sterility of hybrid animals than you seem to 
admit : and in regard to plants the collection of carefully 
recorded facts by Kolreuter and Gaertner (and Herbert) is 
enormous. I most entirely agree with you on the little effects 
of " climatal conditions," which one sees referred to ad nauseam 
in all books : I suppose some very little effect must be attri- 
buted to such influences, but I fully believe that they are very 
slight. It is really impossible to explain my views (in the 
8ompass of a letter), on the causes and means of variation in a 
dtate of nature ; but I have slowly adopted a distinct and 
tangible idea, — whether true or false others must judge ; for 
the firmest conviction of the truth of a doctrine by its author, 
seems, alas, not to be the slightest guarantee of truth ! . . . 

In December 1857 he wrote to the same correspondent : — 

" You ask whether I shall discuss ' man.' I think I shall 
avoid the whole subject, as so surrounded with prejudices; 
though I fully admit that it is the highest and most interesting 
problem for the naturalist. My work, on which I have now 
been at work more or less for twenty years, will not fix or 
settle anything ; but I hope it will aid by giving a large col- 
lection of facts, with one definite end. I get on very slowly, 
partly from ill-health, partly from being a very slow worker. 
I have got about half written ; but I do not suppose I shall 
publish under a couple of years. I have now been three whole 
months on one chapter on Hybridism I 

" I am astonished to see that you expect to remain out three 
or four years more. What a wonderful deal you will have 
seen, and what interesting areas — the grand Malay Archipelago 
and the richest parts of South America ! I infinitely admire 
and honour your zeal and courage in the good cause of Natural 
Science ; and you have my very sincere and cordial good 
wishes for success of all kinds, and may all your theories 
succeed, except that on Oceanic Islands, on which subject I 
will do battle to the death." 

And to Fox in February 1858 ;— 

" I am working very hard at my book, perhaps too hard. 
It will be very big, and I am become most deeply interested 
in the way facts fall into groups. I am like Croesus over- 
whelmed with my riches in facts, and I mean to make my book 


as perfect as ever I can. I shaU not go to press at soonest 
for a couple of years." 

The letter which foUows, written from his favourite resting 
place, the Water-Cure Establishment at Moor Park, comes in 
like a lull before the storm, — the upset of all his plans by the 
arrival of Mr. Wallace's manuscript, a phase in the history of 
his life to which the next chapter is devoted. 

a D. to Mrs. Darwin. Moor Park, April [1858]. 

The weather is quite delicious. Yesterday, after writing to 
you, I strolled a little beyond the glade for an hour and a half, 
and enjoyed myself — the fresh yet dark green of the grand 
Scotch firs, the brown of the catkins of the old birches, with 
their white stems, and a fringe of distant green from the 
larches, made an excessively pretty view. At last I fell fast 
asleep on the grass, and awoke with a chorus of birds singing 
around me, and squirrels running up the trees, and some wood- 
peckers laughing, and it was as pleasant and rural a scene as 
ever I saw, and I did not care one penny how any of the 
beasts or birds had been formed. I sat in the drawing-room 
till after eight, and then went and read the Chief Justice's 
summing up, and thought Bernard * guilty, and then read a 
bit of my novel, which is feminine, virtuous, clerical, philan- 
thropical, and all that sort of thing, but very decidedly flat. I 
say feminine, for the author is ignorant about money matters, 
and not much of a lady— for she makes her men say, " My 
Lady." I like Miss Craik very much, though we have some 
battles, and differ on every subject. I like also the Hun- 
garian ; a thorough gentleman, foimerly attache at Paris, and 
then in the Austrian cavalry, and now a pardoned exile, with 
broken health. He does not seem to like Kossuth, but says, 
he is certain [he is] a sincere patriot, most clever and eloquent, 
but weak, with no determination of character. . . . 

* Simon Bernard was tried in April 1858 as an accessory to Orsini'a 
attempt on the life of the Emperor of the French. The verdict was " not 

( 185 ) 



" I havo done my best. If yon had all my material I am sure yon would 
have made a splendid book." — From a letter to Lyell, June 21, 1859. 

lUKB 18, 1858, TO NOYEMBEB 1859. 

C. D. to C. Lyell. Down, 18th [June 1858]. 

My dear Lyell — Some year or so ago you recommended 
mo to read a paper by Wallace in the AnnaU,* which had 
interested you, and as I was writing to him, I knew this would 
please him much, so I told him. He has to-day sent me the 
enclosed, and asked me to forward it to you. It seems to 
me well worth reading. Your words have come true with a | 
vengeance — that I should bo forestalled. You said this, when 
I explained to you here very briefly my views of * Natural 
Selection' depending on the struggle for existence. I never 
saw a more striking coincidence ; if Wallace had my MS. 
sketch written out in 1842, he could not have made a better 
short abstract I Even his terms now stand as heads of my 
chapters. Please return me the MS., which he does not say 
lie wishes me to publish, but I shall, of course, at once write 
and offer to send to any journal. So all my originality, what- 
ever it may amoimt to, will be smashed, though my book, if it \ 
will ever have any value, will not be deteriorated ; as all the 
labour consists in the application of the theory. 

I hope you will approve of Wallace's sketch, that I may tell 
him what you say. 

My dear Lyell, yours most truly. 

a D. to a Lyell Down [June 25, 1858], 

My dbab Lyell — I am very sorry to trouble you, busy as j 
you are, in so merely personal an affair ; but if you will give 
me your deliberate opinion, you will do me as great a service 

* ArvndU and Mag. of Nat. EUt.f 1855. 


as ever man did, for I have entire confidence in your judgment 
and honour. . . . 

There is nothing in Wallace's sketch which is not written 
out much fuller in my sketch, copied out in 1844, and read by 
Hooker some dozen years ago. About a year ago I sent a 
short sketch, of which I have a copy, of my views (owing to 
correspondence on several points) to Asa Gray, so that I could 
most truly say and prove that I take nothing from Wallace. 
I should be extremely glad now to publish a sketch of my 
general views in about a dozen pages or so ; but I cannot 
persuade myself that I can do so honourably. Wallace says 
nothing about publication, and I enclose his letter. But as I 
had not intended to publish any sketch, can I do so honourably, 
because Wallace has sent me an outline of his doctrine ? I 
would far rather bum my whole book, than that he or any 
other man should think that I had behaved in a paltry spirit. 
Do you not think his having sent me this sketch ties my 
hands? .... If 1 could honourably publish, I would state 
that I was induced now to publish a sketch (and I should be 
very glad to be permitted to say, to follow your advice long 
ago given) from Wallace having sent me an outline of my 
general conclusions. We differ only, [in] that I was led to my 
views from what artificial selection has done for domestic 
animals. I would send Wallace a copy of my letter to Asa 
Gray, to show him that I had not stolen his doctrine. But I 
cannot tell whether to publish now would not be base and 
paltry. This was my first impression, and I should have 
certainly acted on it had it not been for your letter. 

This is a trumpery affair to trouble you with, but you cannot 
tell how much obliged I should be for your advice. 

By the way, would you object to send this and your answer 
to Hooker to be forwarded to me ? for then I shall have the 
opinion of my two best and kindest friends. This letter is 
miserably written, and I write it now, that I may for a time 
banish the whole subject ; and I am worn out with musing. . . . 

My good dear friend, forgive me. This is a trumpery letter, 
influenced by trumpery feelings. 

Yours most truly. 

I will never trouble you or Hooker on the subject again. 

a 2>. to a Lyell. Down, 26th [June 1858]. 

Mt dear Ltell — Forgive me for adding a P.S. to make the 
case as strong as possible against myself. 

Wallace might say, " You did not intend publishing an 

Ch. XL] 1858—1859. 187 

abstract of your views till you received my communication. 
Is it fair to take advantage of my having freely, though un- 
asked, communicated to you my ideas, and thus prevent me 
forestalling you ? " The advantage which I should take being 
that I am induced to publish from privately knowing that 
Wallace is in the field. It seems hard on me that I should be 
. thus compelled to lose my priority of many years' standing, 
but I cannot feel at all sure that this alters the justice of the 
case. First impressions are generally right, and I at first 
thought it would be dishonourable in me now to publish. 

Yours most truly. 

P.S. — I have always thought you would make a first-rate 
Lord Chancellor ; and I now appeal to you as a Lord 

C. D. to J. D. Hooker, Tuesday night [June 29, 1858]. 

My dear Hookeb — I have just read your letter, and see 
you want the papers at once. I am quite prostrated,* and 
can do nothing, but I send Wallace, and the abstract f of my 
letter to Asa Gray, which gives most imperfectly only the 
means of change, and does not touch on reasons for believing 
that species do change. I dare say all is too late. I hardly 
care about it. But you are too generous to sacrifice so much 
time and kindneSs. It is most generous, most kind. I send 
my sketch of 1844: solely that you may see by your own 
handwriting that you did read it. I really cannot bear to 
look at it. Do not waste much time. It is miserable in me 
to care at all about priority. 

The table of contents will show what it is. 

I would make a similar, but shorter and more accurate 
sketch for the Linnean Journal. 

I will do anything. God bless you, my dear kind friend. 

I can write no more. I send this by my servant to Kew. 

The joint paper | of Mr. Wallace and my father was read 
at the Linnean Society on the evening of July 1st. Mr. 

♦ After the death, from scarlet fever, of Lis infant child. 

t " Abstract " is here used in the sense of " extract ; " in this sense 
also it occurs in the Linnean Journal, where the sources of my father's 
paper are described. 

X " On the tendency of Species to form Varieties and on the Perpetua- 
tion of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection." — Linnean 
Society's Journal, iii. p. 63, 


Wallace's Essay bore tlie title, " On the Tendency of Varieties 
to depart inde&iitely from the Original Type." 

My father's contribution to the paper consisted of (1) Ex- 
tracts from the sketch of 1844 ; (2) part of a lette/ addressed 
to Dr. Asa Gray, dated September 5, 1857. The paper was 
" communicated " to the Society by Sir Charles Lyell and Sir 
Joseph Hooker, in whose prefatory letter a clear account of 
the circumstances of the case is given. 

Eeferring to Mr. Wallace's Essay, they wrote : — 

" So highly did Mr. Darwin appreciate the value of the 
views therein set forth, that he proposed, in a letter to Sir 
Charles Lyell, to obtain Mr. Wallace's consent to allow the 
Essay to be published as soon as possible. Of this step wo 
highly approved, provided Mr. Darwin did not withhold from 
the public, as he was strongly inclined to do (in favour of 
Mr. Wallace), the memoir which he had himself written on 
the same subject, and which, as before stated, one of us had 
perused in 1844, and the contents of which we had both of us 
been privy to for many years. On representing this to Mr. 
Darwin, he gave us permission to make what use we thought 
proper of his memoir, &c. ; and in adopting our present coui'se, 
of presenting it to the Linnean Society, we have explained to 
him that we are not solely considering the relative claims to 
priority of himself and his friend, but the interests of scienc** 

Sir Charles Lyell and Sir J. D. Hooker were present at the 
reading of the paper, and both, I believe, made a few remarlcs, 
chiefly with a view of impressing on those present the 
necessity of giving the most careful consideration to what 
they had heard. There was, however, no semblance of a 
discussion. Sir Joseph Hooker writes to me : " The interest 
excited was intense, but the subject was too novel and too 
ominous for the old school to enter the lists, before armouring. 
After the meeting it was talked over with bated breath : 
Lyell's approval and perhaps in a small way mine, as his 
lieutenant in the affair, rather overawed the Fellows, who 
would otherwise have flown out against the doctrine. We 
had, too, the vantage ground of being familiar with the authors 
and their theme.'* 

Mr. Wallace has, at my request, been so good as to allow me 
to publish the following letter. Professor Newton, to whom 
the letter is addressed, had submitted to Mr. Wallace his re- 
collections of what the latter had related to him many years 
before, and had asked Mr. Wallace for a fuller version of the 

Ch. XL] 1858—1859. 189 

story. Hence the few corrections in Mr. Wallace's letter, for 
instance bed for hammock, 

A. B. Wallace to A. Newton. Frith Hill, Godalming, 
Doc. 3rd, 1887. 

My dear Newton — I had hardly heard of Darwin before 
going to the East, except as connected with the voyage of the 
Beagle, which I think I had read. I saw him once for a few 
minutes in the British Museum before I sailed. Through 
Stevens, my agent, I heard that he wanted curious varieties 
which he was studying. I think I wrote to him about some 
varieties of ducks I had sent, and he must have written once to 
me. I find on looking at his " Life " that his first letter to mo 
is given in vol. ii. p. 95, and another at p. 109, both after the 
publication of my first paper. I must have heard from some 
notices in the Athenseum, I think (which I had sent me), 
that he was studying varieties and species, and as I was con- 
tinually thinking of the subject, I wrote to him giving some of 
my notions, and making some suggestions. But at that time 
I had not the remotest notion that he had already arrived at a 
definite theory — still less that it was the same as occurred to 
me, suddenly, in Ternato in 1858. The most interesting co- 
incidence in the matter, I think, is, that I, as well as Darwin, 
was led to the theory itself through Malthus — in my case it was 
his elaborate account of the action of " preventive checks " in 
keeping down the population of savage races to a tolerably 
fixed but scanty number. This had strongly impressed me, and 
it suddenly flashed upon me that all animals are necessarily 
thus kept down — " the struggle for existence " — while varia- 
tions, on which I was always thinking, must necessarily often 
be beneficial, and would then cause those varieties to increase 
while the injurious variations diminished.* You are quite at 
liberty to mention the circumstances, but I think you have 
coloured them a little highly, and introduced some sliglit 
errors. I was lying on my bed (no hammocks in the East) in 
the hot fit of intermittent fever, when the idea suddenly came 
to me. I thought it almost all out before the fit was over, and 

* Thia passage was published as a footnote in a review of the Life and 
Letters of Charles Darwin which appeared in the Quarterly Bevieio, 
Jan. 1888. In the new edition (1891) of Natural Selection and Tropical 
Nature (p. 20), Mr. Wallace has given the facts above narrated. There 
is a slight and quite unimportant discrepancy between the two accounts, 
viz. that in the narrative of 1891 Mr. Wallace speaks of the " cold fit " 
instead of the " hot fit ** of his ague attack. 


the moment I got up began to write it down, and I believe 
finished the first draft the next day. 

I had no idea whatever of "dying," — as it was not a serious 
illness, — but I had the idea of working it out, so far as I was 
able, when I returned home, not at all expecting that Darwin 
had so long anticipated me. I can truly say now, as I said 
many years ago, that I am glad it was so ; for I have not the 
love of worh, experiment and detail that was so pre-eminent in 
Darwin, and without which anything I could have written 
would never have convinced the world. If you do refer to me 
at any length, can you send me a proof and I will return it to 
you at once ? 

Yours faithfully 

Alfred E. Wallace. 

C, D, to J, D. Hooher. Miss Wedgwood's, Hartfield, Tunbridge 
Wells [July 13th, 1858]. 

My deab Hookkb — Your letter to Wallace seems to me 
perfect, quite clear and most courteous. I do not think it 
could possibly be improved, and I have to-day forwarded it 
with a letter of my own. I always thought it very possible 
that I might be forestalled, but I fancied that I had a grand 
enough soul not to care ; but I found myself mistaken and 
punished; I had, however, quite resigned myself, and had 
written half a letter to Wallace to give up all priority to him, 
and should certainly not have changed had it not been for 
Lyell's and your quite extraordinary kindness. I assure you 
I feel it, and shall not forget it. I am more than satisfied at 
what took place at the Linnean Society. I had thought that 
your letter and mine to Asa Gray were to be only an appendix 
to Wallace's paper. 

We go from here in a few days to the sea-side, probably to 
the Isle of Wight, and on my return (after a battle with 
pigeon skeletons) I wiU set to work at the abstract, though 
how on earth I shall make anything of an abstract in thirty 
pages of the Journal, I know not, but will try my best. . . . 

I must try and see you before your journey ; but do not 
think I am fishing to ask you to come to Down, for you will 
have no time for that. 

You cannot imagine how pleased I am that the notion of 
Natural Selection has acted as a purgative on your bowels 
of immutability. Whenever naturalists can look at species 
changing as certain, what a magnificent field will be open,— 

Cu. XI.] 1858—1859. 191 

on all the laws of variation, — on the genealogy of all living 
beings, — on their lines of migration, &c. &c. Pray thank 
Mrs. Hooker for her very kind little note, and pray say how 
truly obliged I am, and in truth ashamed to think that she 
should have had the trouble of copying my ugly MS. It was 
extraordinarily kind in her. Farewell, my dear kind friend. 

Yours affectionately. 

P.S. — I have had some fun here in watching a slave-making 
ant; for I could not help rather doubting the wonderful 
stories, but I have now seen a defeated marauding party, and 
I have seen a migration from one nest to another of the slave- 
makers, carrying their slaves (who are home, and not field 
niggers) in their mouths ! 

0. D. to C, Lyell. King's Head Hotel, Sandown, Isle of 
Wight. July 18th [1858]. 

, . . We are established here for ten days, and then go on to 
Shanklin, which seems more amusing to one, like myself, who 
cannot walk. We hope much that the sea may do H. and L. 
good. And if it does, our expedition will answer, but not 

I have never half thanked you for all the extraordinary 
trouble and kindness you showed me about Wallace's affair. 
Hooker told me what was done at the Linnean Society, and I 
am far more than satisfied, and I do not think that Wallace 
can think my conduct unfair in allowing you and Hooker to do 
whatever you thought fair. I certainly was a little annoyed 
to lose all priority, but had resigned mysdf to my fate. I am 
going to prepare a longer abstract ; but it is really impossible 
to do justice to the subject, except by giving the facts on 
which each conclusion is grounded, and that will, of course, be 
absolutely impossible. Your name and Hooker's name ap- 
pearing as in any way the least interested in my work will, I 
am certain, have the most important bearing in leading people 
to consider the subject without prejudice. I look at this as so 
very important, that I am almost glad of Wallace's paper for 
having led to this. 

My dear Lyell, yours most gratefully. 

The following letter refers to the proof-sheets of the 
Linnean paper. The * introduction ' means the prefatory 
letter signed by Sir C. Lyell and Sir J. D. Hooker. 


(7. D. to J. D. Hooker. King's Head Hotel, Sandown, Isle of 
Wight. July 21st [1858], 

My deab Hookeb — I received only yesterday the proof- 
sheets, which I now return. I think your introduction cannot 
be improved. 

I am disgusted with my bad writing. I could not improve 
it, without rewriting all, which would not be fair or worth 
while, as I have begun on a better abstract for the Linnean 
Society. My excuse is that it never was intended for publi- 
cation. I have made only a few corrections in the style ; 
but I cannot make it decent, but I hope moderately intelligible. 
I suppose some one will correct the revise. (Shall I ?) 

Could I have a clean proof to send to Wallace ? 

I have not yet fully considered your remarks on big genera 
(but your general concurrence is of the highest possible interest 
to me) ; nor shall I bo able till I re-read my MS. ; but you 
may rely on it that you never make a remark to me which is 
lost from inattention. I am particularly glad you do not object 
to my stating your objections in a modified form, for they 
always struck me as very important, and as having much 
inherent value, whether or no they were fatal to my notions. 
I will consider and reconsider all your remarks. . . . 

I am very glad at what you say about my Abstract, but you 
may rely on it that I will condense to the utmost. I would 
aid in money if it is too long.* In how many ways you have 
aided me I 

Yours affectionately. 

The " Abstract " mentioned in the last sentence of the pre- 
ceding letter was in fact the Origin of Species, on which he 
now set to work. In his Autobiography (p. 41) he speaks of 
beginning to write in September, but in his Diary he wrote, 
" July 20 to Aug. 12, at Sandown, began Abstract of Species 
book." *' Sep. 16, Eecommenced Abstract." The book was 
begim with the idea that it would be published as a pap^, or 
series of papers, by the Linnean Society, and it was only in 
the late autumn that it became clear that it must take the form 
of an independent volume. 

* That i3 to eay, he would help to pay for the printiDg, if it should 
prove too long for the Linnean Society. 

Ch. XL] 1858—1859. 193 

G, D. to J, D. Hoolcer. Norfolk House, Slianklin, Isle of 
Wight. [August 1858.] 

Mt dear Hooker, — I write merely to say that the MS. 
came safely two or three days ago. I am much obliged for 
the correction of style : I find it unutterably difficult to write 
clearly. When we meet I must talk over a few points on the 

You speak of going to the sea-side somewhere ; we think 
this the nicest sea-side place which we have ever seen, and wo 
like Shanklin better than other spots on the south coast of the 
island, though many are charming and prettier, so that I 
would suggest your thinking of this place. We are on the 
actual coast ; but tastes differ so much about places. 

If you go to Broadstairs, when there is a strong wind from 
the coast of France and in fine, dry, warm weather, look out 
and you will probably (1) see thistle-seeds blown across the 
Channel. The other day I saw one blown right inland, and 
then in a few minutes a second one and then a third ; and I 
said to myself, God bless me, how many thistles there must be 
in France ; and I wrote a letter in imagination to you. But I 
then looked at the low clouds, and noticed that they were not 
coming inland, so I feared a screw was loose, I then walked 
beyond a headland and found the wind parallel to the coast, 
and on this very headland a noble bed of thistles, which by 
every wide eddy were blown far out to sea, and then came 
right in at right angles to the shore I One day such a number 
of insects were washed up by the tide, and I brought to life 
thirteen species of Coleoptera ; not that I suppose these came 
from France. But do you watch for thistle-seed as you saunter 
along the coast. . . . 

a D. to J, D. Hooker, [Down] Oct. 6th, 1858. 

... If you have or can make leisure, I should very much 
like to hear news of Mrs. Hooker, yourself, and the children. 
Where did you go, and what did you do and are doing ? There 
is a comprehensive text. 

You cannot tell how I enjoyed your little visit here. It 
did me much good. If Harvey* is still with yon, pray 
remember me very kindly to him. 

... I am working most steadily at my Abstract [Origin of 
Species], but it grows to an inordinate length; yet fully to 

• W. H. Harvey, born 1811, died 1866: a well-known botanist. 



make my view clear (and never giving briefly more than a fact 
or two, and slurring over difficulties), I cannot make it shorter. 
It will yet take me three or four months ; so slow do I work, 
though never idle. You cannot imagine what a service you 
have done me in making me make this Abstract ; for though I 
thought I had got all clear, it has clarified my brains very, 
much, by making me weigh the relative importance of the 
several elements. 

He was nst so fully occupied but that he could find time to 
help his boys in their collecting. He sent a short notice to 
the Entomologists' WeeMy Intelligencer, June 25th, 1859, 
recording the capture of Licinus siljpJioides, Clytus mysticusy 
Panagccus 4:-pustulatu8, The notice begins with the words, 
" We three very young collectors having lately taken in the 
parish of Down," &c., and is signed by throe of his boys, but 
was clearly not written by them. I have a vivid recollection 
of the pleasure of turning out my bottle of dead beetles for my 
father to name, and the excitement, in which he fully shared, 
when any of them proved to be uncommon ones. The following 
letter to Mr. Fox (Nov. 13th, 1858), illustrates this point :— 

" I am reminded of old days by my third boy having just 
begun collecting beetles, and ho caught the other day Brachinus 
crepitans, of immortal Whittlesea Mere memory. My blood 
boiled with old ardour when he caught a Licinus — a prize 
unknown to me." 

And again to Sir John Lubbock : — 

" I feel like an old war-horse at the sound of the trumpet 
when I read about the capturing of rare beetles — is not this a 
magnanimous simile for a decayed entomologist ? — It really 
almost makes me long to begin collecting again. Adios. 

" ' Floreat Entomologia ' I —to which toast at Cambridge I 
have drunk many a glass of wine. So again, * Floreat Ento- 
mologia.' — N.B. I have not now been drinking any glasses full 
of wine." 

G D. to J. D. Eooher, Down, Jan. 23rd, 1869. 

... I enclose letters to you and me from Wallace. I ad- 
mire extremely the spirit in which they are written. I never 
felt very sure what he would say. He must be an amiable 
man. Please return that to me, and Lyell ought to be told 
how well satisfied he is. These letters have vividly brought 
before mo how much I owe to your and Lyell's most kind and 
generous conduct in all this affair. 

. . . How glad I shall be when the Abstract is finished, and 
I can rest I . . . 

Ch. XL] 1858—1859. 195 

a D. to A. B. Wallace, Down, Jan. 25th [1859]. 

My dear Sib, — I was extremely much pleased at receiving 
three days ago your letter to me and that to Dr. Hooker. 
Permit me to say how heartily I admire the spirit in which 
they are written. Though I had absolutely nothing whatever 
to do in leading Lyell and Hooker to what they thought a fair 
course of action, yet I naturally could not but feel anxious to 
hear what your impression would bo. I owe indirectly much 
to you and them ; for I almost think that Lyell would have 
proved right, and I should never have completed my larger 
work, for I have found my Abstract [Origin of Species] hard 
enough with my poor health, but now, thank God, I am in my 
last chapter but one. My Abstract will make a small volume 
of 400 or 600 pages. Whenever published, I will, of couise, 
send you a copy, and then you will see what I mean about the 
part which I believe selection has played with domestic pro- 
ductions. It is a very different part, as you suppose, from 
that played by " Natural Selection." I sent off, by the same 
address as this note, a copy of the Journal of the Linnean 
Society f and subsequently I have sent some half-dozen copies 
of the paper. I have many other copies at your disposal. . . . 

I am glad to hear that you have been attending to birds' 
nests. I Lave done so, though almost exclusively under one 
point of view, viz. to show that instincts vary, so that selection 
could work on and improve them. Few other instincts, so to 
speak, can be preserved in a Museum. 

Many thanks for your offer to look after horses' stripes ; if 
there are any donkeys, pray add them. I am delighted to hear 

that you have collected bees' combs This is an especial 

hobby of mine, and I think I can throw a light on the subject. 
If you can collect duplicates at no very great expense, I 
should be glad of some specimens for myself with some bees of 
each kind. Young, growing, and irregular combs, aud those 
which have not had pupae, are most valuable for measurements 
and examination. Their edges should be well protected against 

Every one whom I have seen has thought your paper very 
well written and interesting. It puts my extracts (written in 
1839,* now just twenty years ago !), which I must say in 
apology were never for an instant intended for publication, 
into the shade. 

* See a discussion on the date of the earliest sketch of the Origin 
in the Life and Letters, ii. p. 10. 

o 2 


You ask about Lyeirs frame of mind. I think he is some- 
what staggered, but does not give in, and speaks with horror, 
often to me, of what a thing it would be, and what a job it 
would be for the next edition of The PrincijaleSf if he were 
" perverted." But he is most candid and honest, and I think 
will end by being perverted. Dr. Hooker has become almost 
as heterodox as you or I, and I look at Hooker as hy far the 
most capable judge in Europe. 

Most cordially do I wish you health and entire success in 
all your pursuits, and, God knows, if admirable zeal and 
energy deserve success, most amply do you deserve it. I look 
at my own career as nearly run out. If I can publish my 
Abstract and perhaps my greater work on the same subject, 
I shall look at my course as done. 

Believe me, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely. 

In March 1859 the work was telling heavily on him. He 
wrote to Fox : — 

" I can see daylight through my work, and am now finally 
correcting my chapters for the press ; and I hope in a month 
or six weeks to have proof-sheets. I am weary of my work. 
It is a very odd thing that I have no sensation that I overwork 
my brain ; but facts compel me to conclude that my brain was 
never formed for much thinking. We are resolved to go for 
two or three months, when I have finished, to Ilkley, or some 
such place, to see if I can anyhow give my health a good start, 
for it certainly has been wretched of late, and has incapacitated 
me for everything. You do me injustice when you think that 
I work for fame ; I value it to a certain extent ; but, if I know 
myself, I work from a sort of instinct to try to make out 

a D. to a Lyell Down, March 28th [1859]. 

My dear Ltell, — If I keep decently well, I hope to be able 
to go to press with my volume early in May. This being so, 
I want much to beg a little advice from you. From an ex- 
pression in Lady Lyell's note, I fancy that you have spoken to 
Murray. Is it so ? And is he willing to publish my Ab- 
stract ? * If you will tell me whether anything, and what has 
passed, I will then write to him. Does ho know at all of the 
subject of the book ? Secondly, can you advise me whether I 
had better state what terms of publication I should prefer, or 
♦ The Origin of Spedei. 

Oh. XI.] 1858—1859. 197 

first ask him to propose terms ? And what do yon think woulct 
be fair terms for an edition ? Share profits, or what ? 

Lastly, will you be so very kind as to look at the enclosed 
title and give me your opinion and any criticisms ; you must 
remember that, if I have health, and it appears worth doing, I 
have a much larger and full book on the same subject nearly 

My Abstract will be about five hundred pages of the size 
of your first edition of the Elements of Geology. 

Pray forgive me troubling you with the above queries ; and 
you shall have no more trouble on the subject. I hope the 
world goes well with you, and that you are getting on with 
your various works. 

I am working very hard for me, and long to finish and b6 
free and try to recover some health. 

My dear Lyell, ever yours. 

P.S. — Would you advise me to tell Murray that my book is 
not more Mw-orthodox than the subject makes inevitable. That 
I do not discuss the origin of man. That I do not bring in 
any discussion about Genesis, &c. &c., and only give facts, and 
such conclusions from them as seem to me fair. 

Or had I better say nothing to Murray, and assume that he 
cannot object to this much unorthodoxy, which in fact is not 
more than any Geological Treatise which runs slap counter to 








Chaeles Darwin, 

, M.A. 










a D. to G. Lyell Down, March 80th [1859]. 

My dear Ltell, — You have been uncommonly kind in all 
you have done. You not only have saved me much trouble 
and some anxiety, but have done all incomparably better than I 
could have done it. I am much pleased at all you say about 
Murray. I will write either to-day or to-morrow to him, and 
will send shortly a large bundle of MS., but unfortunately I 
cannot for a week, as the first three chapters are in the 
copyists' hands. 

I am sorry about Murray objecting to the term Abstract, as 
I look at it as the only possible apology for not giving refer- 
ences and facts in full, but I will defer to him and you. I am 
also sorry about the term " natural selection." I hope to 
retain it with explanation somewhat as thus : — 

*\Throiigh natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races." 

Why I like the term is that it is constantly used in all workg 
on breeding, and I am surprised that it is not familiar to 
Murray ; but I have so long studied such works that I have 
ceased to be a competent judge. 

I again most tridy and cordially thank you for your reaUy 
valuable assistance. 

Yours most truly. 

a D. to J. D. Eooher. Down, April 2nd [1859], 

... I wrote to him [Mr. Murray] and gave him the 
headings of the chapters, and told him he could not have the 
MS. for ten days or so ; and this morning I received a letter, 
offering me handsome terms, and agreeing to publish without 
seeing the MS. ! So he is eager enough ; I think I should 
have been cautious, anyhow, but, owing to your letter, I told 
him most explicitly that I accept his offer solely on condition 
that, after he has seen part or all the MS. he has full power 
of retracting. You will think me presumptuous, but I think 
my book will be popular to a certain extent (enough to ensure 
[against] heavy loss) amongst scientific and semi-scientific 
men ; why I think so is, because I have foimd in conversation 
so great and surprising an interest amongst such men, and 
some 0-scientific [non-scientific] men on this subject, and all 
my chapters are not nearly so dry and dull as that which you 
have read on geographical distribution. Anyhow, Murray 
ought to be the best judge, and if he chooses to publish it, I 

Cii. XL] 1858—1859. 199 

think I may wash my hands of all responsibility. I am sure 
my friends, i.e. Lyell and you, have been extraordinarily kind 
in troubling yourselves on the matter. 

I shall be delighted to see you the day before Good Friday ; 
there would bo one advantage for you in any other day — as 
I believe both my boys come home on that day — and it would 
be almost impossible that I could send the carriage for you. 
There will, I believe, be some relations in the house — but I 
hope you will not care for that, as we shall easily get as much 
talking as my imbecile state allows. I shall deeply enjoy 
seeing you. 

... I am tired, so no more. 

P.S. — Please to send, well tied up with strong string, my 
Geographical MS. towards the latter half of next week — i.e. 
7th or 8th — that I may send it with more to Murray ; and God 
help him if he tries to read it. 

... I cannot help a little doubting whether Lyell would 
take much pains to induce Murray to publish my book ; this 
was not done at my request, and it rather grates against my 

I know that Lyell has been infinitely kind about my affair, 
but your dashed [i.e. underlined] " induce " gives the idea that 
Lyell had unfairly urged Murray. 

C, D. to J, Murray. Down, April 5th [1859]. 

Mt deab Sir, — I send by this post, the Title (with some 
remarks on a separate page), and the first three chapters. If 
you have patience to read all Chapter I., I honestly think you 
will have a fair notion of the interest of the whole book. It 
may be conceit, but I believe the subject will interest the 
public, and I am sure that the views are original. If you 
think otherwise, I must repeat my request that you will freely 
reject my work ; and though I shall be a little disappointed, I 
shall bo in no way injured. 

If you choose to read Chapters II. and III., you will have a 
dull and rather abstruse chapter, and a plain and interesting 
one, in my opinion. 

As soon as you have done with the MS., please to send it 
by careful messenger, and plainly directed, to Miss G. Tollett,* 
14, Queen Anne Street, Cavendish Square. 

This lady, being an excellent judge of style, is going to look 
out for errors for me. 

* Miss Tollett was an old friend of the family. 


Yon must take your own time, but the sooner yon finish, the 
sooner she will, and the sooner I shall get to press, which I so 
earnestly wish. 

I presume you will wish to see Chapter IV.,* the key-stone 
of my arch, and Chapters X. and XI., but please to inform me 
on this head. 

My dear Sir, yours sincerely. 

On April 11th he wrote to Hooker : — 

" I write one lino to say that I heard from Murray yester- 
day, and he says he has read the first three chapters of 
[my] MS. (and this includes a very dull one), and he abides by 
his ofi'or. Hence he does not want more MS., and you can 
send my Geographical chapter when it pleases you." 

Part of the MS. seems to have been lost on its way back to 
my father. He wrote (April 14) to Sir J. D. Hooker : — 

" 1 have the old MS., otherwise the loss would have killed 
me 1 The worst is now that it will cause delay in getting to 
press, and far worst of all, I lose all advantage of your having 
looked over my chapter,! except the third part returned. I 
am very sorry Mrs. Hooker took the trouble of copying the 
two pages." 

a 2>. to J, D. Eoolcer. [April or May, 1859.] 

. . . Please do not say to any one that 1 thought my book on 
species would be fairly popular, and have a fairly remimerative 
sale (which was the height of my ambition), for if it prove a 
dead failure, it would make me the more ridiculous. 

I enclose a criticism, a taste of the future — 
Mev. S. Eaughton's Address to the Geological Society, Duhlin.'^. 

" This speculation of Messrs. Darwin and Wallace would 
not be worthy of notice were it not for the weight of authority 
of the names (t.e. Lyell's and yours), under whose auspices it 
has been brought forward. If it means what it says, it is a 
truism ; if it means anything more, it is contrary to fact." 

Q. E. D. 

* In the first edition Chapter iv. was on Natural Selection. 

t The following characteristic acknowledgment of the help he received 
occurs in a letter to Hooker, of about this time : " I never did pick any 
one's pocket, but whilst writing my present chapter I keep on feeling 
(even when diflfering most from you) just as if I were stealing from you, 
so much do I owe to your writings and conversation, so much more than 
mere acknowledgments show." 

X Feb. 9th, 1858. 

Ch. XL] 1858—1859. 201 

G. D, to J, D. EooJcer. Down, May 11th [1859]. 

My dear Hookei^, — Thank you for telling me about 
obscurity of style. But on my life no nigger with lash over 
him could have worked harder at clearness than I have done. 
But the very difficulty to me, of itself leads to the probability 
that I fail. Yet one lady who has read all my MS. has found 
only two or three obscure sentences ; but Mrs. Hooker having 
so found it, makes me tremble. I will do my best in proofs. 
You are a good man to take the trouble to write about it. 

With respect to our mutual muddle,* I never for a moment 
thought we could not make our ideas clear to each other by 
talk, or if either of us had time to write in extemo. 

I imagine from some expressions (but if you ask me what, 
I could not answer) that you look at variability as some 
necessary contingency with organisms, and further that there 
is some necessary tendency in the variability to go on diverging 
in character or degree. If you do, I do not agree. '^Re*' 
version " again (a form of inheritance), I look at as in no way 
directly connected with Variation, though of course inheritance 
is of fundamental importance to us, for if a variation be not 
inherited, it is of no signification to us. It was on such points 
as these I fancied that we perhaps started diflerently. 

I fear that my book will not deserve at all the pleasant 
things you say about it, and Good Lord, how I do long to have 
done with it ! 

Since the above was written, I have received and have been 
much interested by A. Gray. I am delighted at his note about 
my and Wallace's paper. He will go round, for it is futile to 
give up very many species, and stop at an arbitrary line at 
others. It is what my father called Unitarianism, " a feather- 
bed to catch a falling Christian." . . . 

a 2). to J. Murray, Down, June 14th [1859]. 

My deab Sib, — The diagram will do very well, and I will 
send it shortly to Mr. West to have a few trifling corrections 

I get on very slowly vrith proofs. I remember writing to 
you that I thought there would be not much correction. I 

* "Wlien I go over the chapter I will see what I can do, but I hardly 
know how I am obscure, and I think we are somehow in a mutual 
muddle with respect to each other, from starting from some fundamentally 
different notions."— Letter of May 6th, 1859. 


honestly wrote what I thought, bnt was most grievously 
mistaken. I find the style incredibly bad, and most difficult 
to make clear and smooth. I am extremely sorry to say, on 
account of expense, and loss of time for me, that the corrections 
are very heavy, as heavy as possible. But from casual glances, 
I still hope that later chapters are not so badly written. How 
I could have written so badly is quite inconceivable, but I 
suppose it was owing to my whole attention being fixed on the 
general line of argument, and not on details. All I can say is, 
that I am very sorry. 

Yours very sincerely. 

a D. to J. D. Eoolcer. Down [Sept.] 11th [1859]. 

My dear Hooker, — I corrected the last proof yesterday, 
and I have now my revises, index, &c, which will t^ke me 
near to the end of the month. So that the neck of my work, 
thank God, is broken. 

I write now to say that I am uneasy in my conscience about 
hesitating to look over your proofs,* but I was feeling 
miserably unwell and shattered when I wrote. I do not 
suppose I could be of hardly any use, but if I could, pray 
send me any proofs. I should be (and fear I was) the most 
ungrateful man to hesitate to do anything for you after some 
fifteen or more years' help from you. 

As soon as ever I have fairly finished I shall be off to Hkloy, 
or some other Hydropathic establishment. But I shall be 
some time yet, as my proofs have been so utterly obscured 
with corrections, that I have to correct heavily on revises. 

Murray proposes to publish the first week in November. 
Oh, good heavens, the relief to my head and body to banish 
the whole subject from my mind I 

I hope you do not think me a brute about your proof- 

Farewell, yours affectionately. 

The following letter is interesting as showing with what a 
very moderate amount of recognition he was satisfied, — and 
more than satisfied. 

Sir Charles Lyell was President of the Geological section at 
the meeting of the British Association at Aberdeen in 1859. 
In his address he said : — " On this difficult and mysterious 
subject [Evolution] a work will very shortly appear by Mr. 

• Of Hooker's Flora of Australia. 

Ch. XL] 1858—1859. *203 

Charles Darwin, the result of twenty years of observations and 
experiments in Zoology, Botany, and Geology, by which he 
has been led to the conclusion that those powers of nature 
which give rise to races and permanent vaiieties in animals 
and plants, are the same as those which in much longer periods 
produce species, and in a still longer series of ages give rise 
to differences of generic rank. He appears to me to have 
succeeded by his investigations and reasonings in throwing a 
flood of light on many classes of phenomena connected with 
the affinities, geographical distribution, and geological suc- 
cession of organic beings, for which no other hypothesis has 
been able, or has even attempted to account." 

My father wrote : — 

" You once gave mo intense pleasure, or rather delight, by 
the way you were interested, in a manner I never expected, 
in my Coral Eeef notions, and now you have again given me 
similar pleasure by the manner you have noticed my species 
work. Nothing could be more satisfactory to me, and I thank 
you for myself, and even more for the subject's sake, as I 
know well that the sentence will make many fairly consider 
the subject, instead of ridiculing it." 

And again, a few days later : — 

" I do thank you for your eulogy at Aberdeen. I have been 
BO wearied and exhausted of late that I have for months 
doubted whether I have not been throwing away time and 
labour for nothing. But now I care not what the universal 
world says ; I have always found you right, and certainly on 
this occasion I am not going to doubt for the first time. 
Whether you go far, or but a very short way with me and others 
who believe as I do, I am contented, for my work cannot be 
in vain. You would laugh if you knew how often I have read 
your paragraph, and it has acted like a little dram." 

a D. to a Lyell Down, Sept. 30th [1859]. 

My dear Lyell, — I sent off this morning the last sheets, 
but without index, which is not in type. I look at you as my 
Lord High Chancellor in Natural Science, and therefore I 
request you, after you have finished, just to re-run over the 
heads in the recapitulation-part of the last chapter. I shall be 
deeply anxious to hear what you decide (if you are able to 
decide) on the balance of the pros and contras given in my 
volume, and of such other pros and contras as may occur to 
you. I hope that you will think that I have given the 
difficulties fairly. I feel an entire conviction that if you are 


now staggered to any moderate extent, yon will come more 
and more round, the longer you keep the subjeci at all before 
your mind. I remember well bow many long years it was 
before I could look into the face of some of the difficulties 
and not feel quite abashed. I fairly struck my colours before 
the case of neuter insects.* 

I suppose that I am a very slow thinker, for you would be 
surprised at the number of years it took me to see clearly what 
some of the problems were which had to bo solved, such as 
the necessity of the principle of divergence of character, the 
extinction of intermediate varieties, on a continuous area, with 
graduated conditions ; the double problem of sterile first 
crosses and sterile hybrids, &c. &c. 

Looking back, I think it was more difficult to see what the 
problems were than to solve them, so far as I have succeeded 
in doing, and this seems to me rather curious. Well, good or 
bad, my work, thank God, is over ; and hard work, I can 
assure you, I have had, and much work which has never borne 
fruit. You can see, by the way I am scribbling, that I have 
an idle and rainy afternoon. I was not able to start for Ilkley 
yesterday as I was too unwell ; but I hope to get there on 
Tuesday or Wednesday. Do, I beg you, when you have 
finished my book and thought a little over it, let mo hear from 
you. Never mind and pitch into me, if you think it requisite ; 
some future day, in London possibly, you may give me a few 
criticisms in detail, that is, if you have scribbled any remarks 
on the margin, for the chance of a second edition. 

Murray has printed 1250 copies, which seems to me rather 
too large an edition, but I hope he will not lose. 

I make as much fuss about my book as if it were my first. 
Forgive me, and believe me, my dear Lyell, 

Yours most sincerely. 

The book was at last finished and printed, and he wrote to 
Mr. Murray : — 

Ilkley, Yorkshire [1859]. 

My dear Sir, — I have received your kind note and the 
copy ; I am infinitely pleased and proud at the appearance of 
my child. 

* Origin of Species, 6th edition, vol. ii. p. 357. "But with the 
working ant we have an insect differing greatly from ita parents, yet 
absolutely sterile, so that it could never have transmitted successively 
acquired modifications of structure or instinct to its progeny. It may 
well be asked how is it possible to reconcile this case with the theory of 
natural selection ? " 

Ch. XL] 1858—1859. 205 

I quite agree to all you propose about price. But you are 
really too generous about the, to me, scandalously heavy 
corrections. Are you not acting unfairly towards yourself? 
Would it not be better at least to share the £72 Ss. ? I shall 
be fully satisfied, for I had no business to send, though quite 
unintentionally and unexpectedly, such badly composed MS. to 
the printers. 

Thank you for your kind o£fer to distribute the copies to my 
friends and assistera as soon as possible. Do not trouble 
yourself much about the foreigners, as Messrs. Williams and 
Norgate have most kindly offered to do their best, and they are 
accustomed to send to all parts of the world. 

I will pay for my copies whenever you like. I am so glad 
that you were so good as to undertake the publication of my 

My dear Sir, yours very sincerely, 

Chables Dabwin. 

The further history of the book is given in the next 

( 206 ) 



" Remember that your verdict will probably have more infiucnce than 
my book in deciding whether such views as I hold will be admitted or 
rejected at present; in the future I cannot doubt about their admittance, 
and our posterity will marvel as much about the current belief as we do 
about fossil shells having been thought to have been created as wo now 
see them."— From a letter to Lyell, Sept. 1859. 

OOTOBEB 3bD, 1859, TO DECEMBER 31ST, 1859. 

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

In October he was, as we have seen in the last chapter, at 
Ilkley, near Leeds : there he remained with his family until 
December, and on the 9 th of that month he was again at 
Down. The only other entiy in the Diary for this year is as 
follows : — " During end of November and beginning of 
December, employed in correcting for second edition of 3000 
copies ; multitude of letters." 

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

C. Lyell to C. Darwin. October 3rd, 1859. 

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

It is a splendid case of close reasoning, and long substantial 
argument throughout so many pages ; the condensation im- 
mense, too great perhaps for the uninitiated, but an effective and 

Ch. Xn.] OCTOBER 1859, TO DECEMBER, 1859. 207 

important preliminary statement, which will admit, even before 
your detailed proofs appear, of some occasional useful exempli- 
fication, such as your pigeons and cirripedes, of which you 
make such excellent use. 

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

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

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

The first page of this most important summary gives the 
adversary an advantage, by putting forth so abruptly and 
crudely such a startling objection as the formation of " the 

* In his next letter to Lyell my father writes : " The omission of 
' living ' before ' eminent ' naturalists was a dreadful blunder." In the 
first edition, as published, the blunder is corrected by the addition of the 
word *' living." 


eye," * not by means analogons to man's reason, or rather by 
some power immeasurably superior to human reason, but by 
superinduced variation like those of which a cattle-breeder 
avails himself. Pages would be required thus to state an 
objection and remove it. It would be better, as you wish to 
persuade, to say nothing. Leave out several sentences, and in 
a future edition bring it out more fully. 

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

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

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

Ever very aflfectionately yours. 

C, D, to L. Agassiz.] Down, November 11th [1859]. 

My dear Sir, — I have ventured to send you a copy of my 
book (as yet only an abstract) on the Origin of Si:)ecie8. As 
the conclusions at which I have arrived on several points differ 
so widely from yours, I have thought (should you at any time 
read my volume) that you might tliink that I had sent it to 
you out of a spirit of defiance or bravado ; but I assure you 
that I act under a wholly different frame of mind. I hope that 

♦ Darwin wrote to Asa Gray tn 1860: — **The eye to this day gives 
me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradations, my 
reason tells me I ought to conquer tlie cold shudder." 

t Jean Louis Kodolplie Agassiz, born at Mortier, on the lake of Morat 
in Switzerland, on May 28th, 1807. Ho emigrated to America in 1846, 
where he spent the rest of his life, and died Dec. 14th, 1873. His Life, 
written by his widow, was published in 1885. The following extract 
from a letter to Agassiz (1850) is worth giving, as showing how my 
father rej^arded him, and it may be added that his cordial feeling 
towards the great American naturalist remained strong to the end of hia 
life :— 

"I have seldom been more deeply gratified than by receiving your 
most kind present of Lake Superior. 1 had heard of it, and had much 
wished to read it, but I confess that it was the very great honour of 
having in my possession a work with your autograph as a presentation 
copy, that has given me such lively and sincere pleasure. I cordially 
thank you for it. I have begun to read it with imcommon interest 
which I see will increase as I go on." 

Oh. XII.] OCTOBER 1859, TO DECEMBER 1859. 209 

you will at least give me credit, however erroneous you 
may think my conclusions, for having earnestly endeavoured 
to arrive at the truth. With sincere respect, I beg leave to 

Yours very faithfully. 

He sent copies of the Origin^ accompanied by letters similar 
to the last, to M. De CandoUe, Dr. Asa Gray, Falconer and 
Mr. Jenyns (Blomefield). 

To Henslow he wrote (Nov. 11th, 1859) :— 

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

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

"If you are in ever so slight a degree staggered (which I 
hardly expect ) on the immutability of species, then I am 
convinced with further reflection you will become more and 
more staggered, for this has been the process through which 
my mind has gone." 

a D. to A, B. Wallace. Hkley, November 13th, 1859. 

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


overlooked by the real judges, as Hooker, Lyell, Asa Gray, &c. 
I have heard from Mr. Sclater that your paper on the Malay 
Archipelago has been read at the Linnean Society, and that 
he was extremely much interested by it. 

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

I sincerely hope that you keep your health ; I suppose that 
you will be thinking of returning * soon with your magni- 
ficent collections, and still grander mental materials. You 
will be puzzled how to publish. The Royal Society fund will 
be worth your consideration. With every good wish, pray 
believe me, 

Yours very sincerely. 

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

C. Darwin to W. B, Carpenter. November 19th [1859]. 

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

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

Yours very sincerely. 

♦ Mr. Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago. 

Ch. XII.] OCTOBER 1859, TO DECEMBER 1869. 211 

0, D. to J, D. Hooker. Hkley, Yorkshire. [NoTember, 


My dbab Hookeb, — I have just read a review on my book 
in the Athenseum* and it excites my curiosity much who is the 
author. If you should hear who writes in the Aihenseum I 
wish you would tell mo. It seems to me well done, but the 
reviewer gives no new objections, and, being hostile, passes 
over every single argument in favour of the doctrine. ... I 
fear, from the tone of the review, that I have written in a 
conceited and cocksure 6tylo,t which shames me a little. 
There is another review of which I should like to know tho 
author, viz. of H. C. Watson in the Gardeners' Chronicle.^ 
Some of the remarks are like yours, and he does deserve 
punishment ; but surely the review is too severe. Don't you 
think so ? . . . 

I have heard from Carpenter, who, I think, is likely to be a 
convert. Also from Quatrcfages, who is inclined to go a long 
way with us. He says that he exhibited in his lecture 
a diagram closely like mine I 

J. D. Hooker to G. Dai-win. Monday [Nov. 21, 1859]. 

My dear Darwin, — I am a sinner not to have written you 
ere this, if only to thank you for your glorious book — what a 
mass of close reasoning on curious facts and fresh phenomena 
— it is capitally written, and will be very successful. I say 
this on the strength of two or three plunges into as many 
chapters, for I have not yet attempted to read it. Lyell, with 
whom we are staying, is perfectly enchanted, and is absolutely 
gloating over it. I must accept your compliment to me, and 
acknowledgment of supposed assistance § from me, as the warm 
tribute of affection from an honest (though deluded) man, and 
furthermore accept it as very pleasing to my vanity ; but, my 
dear fellow, neither my name nor my judgment nor my 
assistance deserved any such compliments, and if I am dis- 
honest enough to be pleased with what I don't deserve, it must 

* Nov. 19, 1859. 

t The Reviewer speaks of the author's " evident self-satisfaction," and 
of his disposing of all diflBculties "more or less confidently." 

X A review of the fourth volume of Watson's Cyhele Britannica, Gard, 
Chron., 1859, p. 911. 

§ See the Oriain, first edition, p. 3, where Sir J. D. Hooker's help is 
conspicuously acknowledged. 

* 2 


just pass. How different the hooh reads from tlie MS. I see 
I shall have much to talk over with you. Those lazy 
printers have not finished my luckless Essay : which, beside 
your book, will look like a ragged handkerchief beside a Boyal 
Standard. . . . 

a D. to J. D. Hooker. [November, 1859.] 

My deab Hookee, — I cannot help it, I must thank you for 
your affectionate and most kind note. My head will be turned. 
By Jove, I must try and get a bit modest. I was a little 

chagrined by the review.* I hope it was not . As 

advocate, he might think himself justified in giving the 
argument only on one side. But the manner in which he 
drags in immortality, and sets the priests at me, and leaves 
me to their mercies, is base. He would, on no account, bum 
me, but he will get the wood ready, and tell the black beasts 
how to catch me. ... It would be unspeakably grand if 
Huxley were to lecture on the subject, but I can see this is a 
mere chance ; Faraday might think it too unorthodox. 

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

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

Believe me, your would-be modest friend. 

The following passage from a letter to Lyell shows how 
strongly he felt on the subject of Lyell's adherence : — " I 
rejoice profoundly that you intend admitting the doctrine of 
modification in your new edition ; f nothing, I am convinced, 
could be more important for its success. I honour you most 
sincerely. To have maintained in the position of a master, 

♦ This refers to the review in the Athenseum, Nov. 19th, 1859, where 
the reviewer, after touching on the theological aspects of the book, leaves 
the author to " the mercies of the Divinity Hall, the College, the Lecture 
Koom, and the Museum." 

t It appears from Sir Charles Lyell's published letters that he 
intended to admit the doctrine of evolution in a new edition of the 
Manual, but this was not published till 1865. He was, however, at work 
on the Antiquity of Man in 1860, and had already determined to discuai 
the Origin at the end of the book. 

Ch. XU] OCTOBBB 1859, TO DEOEMBEB 1859. 213 

one side of a question for thirty years, and then deliberately 
give it up, is a fact to which I much doubt whether the 
records of science oflfer a parallel. .¥or myself, also I rejoice 
profoundly ; for, thinking of so many cases of men pursuing 
an illusion for years, often and often a cold shudder has run 
through me, and I have asked myself whether I may not have 
devoted my life to a phantasy. Now I look at it as morally 
impossible that investigators of truth, like you and Hooker, 
can be wholly wrong, and therefore I rest in peace." 

T. H. Huxley * to G. Darwin. Jermyn Street, W. November 
23rd, 1859. 

My dbab Daewin, — I finished your book yesterday, a lucky 
examination having furnished me with a few hours of con- 
tinuous leisure. 

Since I read Von Bar's f essays, nine years ago, no work 
on Natural History Science I have met with has made so 
great an impression upon me, and I do most heartily thank 
you for the great store of new views you have given me. 
Nothing, I think, can be better than the tone of the book, it 
impresses those who know nothing about the subject. As for 
your doctrine, I am prepared to go to the stake, if requisite, in 
support of Chapter IX.,J and most parts of Chapters X., XI., 
XII. ; and Chapter XIII. contains much that is most admirable, 
but on one or two points I enter a caveat until I can see 
further into all sides of the question. 

As to the first four chapters, I agree thoroughly and fully 

* In a letter written in October, my father had said, " I am intensely 
curious to hear Huxley's opinion of my book. I fear my long discussion 
on classification will disgust him, for it is much opposed to what he 
once said to me." Ho may have remembered the following incident told 
by Mr. Huxley in his chapter of the Life and Letters, ii. p. 196 : — " I 
remember, in the course of my first interview with Mr. Darwin, expressing 
my belief in the sharpness of the lines of demarcation between natural 
groups and in the absence of transitional forms, with all the confidence of 
youth and imperfect knowledge. I was not aware, at that time, that he 
had then been many years brooding over the species question ; and the 
humorous smile which accompanied his gentle answer, that such was not 
altogether his view, long haunted and puzzled me." 

t Karl Ernst von Baer, b. 1792, d. at Dorpat 1876— one of the most 
distinguished biologists of the century. He practically founded the 
modern science of embryology. 

X In the first edition of the Origin^ Chap. IX. is on the ' Imperfection of 
the Geological Record ; * Chap. X., on the ' Geological Succession of 
Organic Beings ; ' Chaps. XI. and XII., on ' Geographical Distribution ; * 
Chap. XIII., on ' Mutual AflSnities of Organic Beings ; Morphology ; 
Embryology; Rudimentary Organs.' 


with all the principles laid down in them. I think you have 
demonstrated a true cause for the production of species, and 
have thrown the onus prohandiy that species did not arise in the 
way you suppose, on your adversaries. 

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

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

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

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

I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness. 

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

Ever yours faithfully, 

a D. to T. B. Euxley, Hkley, Nov. 25 [1859]. 

My deae Huxley,— Your letter has been forwarded to me 
from Down. Like a good Catholic who has received extreme 
unction, I can now sing " nunc dimittis." ' I should have been 
more than contented with one quarter of what you have said. 
Exactly fifteen months ago, when I put pen to paper for this 
volume, I had awful misgivings ; and thought perhaps I had 
deluded myself, like so many have done, and I then fixed in 
my mind three judges, on whose decision I determined mentally 
to abide. The judges were Lyell, Hooker, and yourself. It 
was this which made me so excessively anxious for your verdict. 
I am now contented, and can sing my " nunc dimittis." What 

Oh. Xn.] OOTOBEB 1869, TO DECEMBER 1859. 215 

a joke it would be if I pat you on the back when you attack 
some immovable creationists I You have most cleverly hit on 
one point, which has greatly troubled me ; if, as I must think, 
external conditions produce little direct effect, what the devil 
determines each particular variation ? What makes a tuft of 
feathers come on a cock's head, or moss on a moss-rose ? I 
shall much like to talk over this with you. . . . 
My dear Huxley, I thank you cordially for your letter. 

Yours very sincerely. 

Erasmus Darwin * to C. Darwin, November 23rd [1859]. 

Deab Charles, — I am so much weaker in the head, that I 
hardly know if I can write, but at all events I will jot down a 
few things that the Dr.f has said. He has not read much 
above half, so, as he says, he can give no definite conclusion, and 
keeps stating that he is not tied down to either view, and that 
he has always left an escape by the way he has spoken of 
varieties. I happened to speak of the eye before he had read 
that part, and it took away his breath — utterly impossible — 
structure — function, &c., &c., &c., but when he had read it he 
hummed and hawed, and perhaps it was partly conceivable, 
and then he fell back on the bones of the ear, which were 
beyond all probability or conceivability. He mentioned a 
Blight blot, which I also observed, that in speaking of the 
slave-ants carrying one another, you change the species with- 
out giving notice first, and it makes one turn back. . . . 

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

Yours affectionately. 

• Hie brotlier. 

t Dr., afterwards Sir Henry, Holland. 


A, Sedgwick * to C. Darwin. [November 1859.] 

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

I do not state this to fill space (though I believe that Nature 
does abhor a vacuum), but to prove that my reply and my thanks 
are sent to you by the earliest leisure I have, though that is but 
a very contracted opportunity. If I did ngt think you a good- 
tempered and truth-loving man, I should not tell you that 
(spite of the great knowledge, store of facts, capital views of 
the correlation of the various parts of organic nature, admirable 
hints about the diffusion, through wide regions, of many related 
organic beings, &c. &c.) I have read your book with more pain 
than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly, parts I laughed 
at till my sides were almost sore ; other parts I read with 
absolute sorrow, because I think them utterly false and 
grievously mischievous. You have deserted — after a start in 
that tram-road of all solid physical truth — the true method 
of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as 
Bishop Wilkins's locomotive that was to sail with us to the 
moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon 
assimiptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why 
then express them in the language and arrangement of philo- 
sophical induction? As to your grand principle — natural 
selection — what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, 
or known, primary facts? Development is a better word, 

♦ Eev. Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of Geology in the 
Uniyersity of Cambridge. Bom 1785, died 1873. 

Ch. Xn.] OCTOBER 1859, TO DECEMBER 1859. 217 

because more close to the cause of the fact ? For you do not 
deny causation. I call (in the abstract) causation the will of 
God ; and I can prove that He acts for the good of His creatures. 
He also acts by laws which we can study and comprehend. 
Acting by law, and under what is called final causes, compre- 
hends, I think, your whole principle. You write of " natural 
selection " as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent. 
'Tis but a consequence of the pre-supposed development, and 
the subsequent battle for life. This view of nature you havo 
stated admirably, though admitted by all naturalists and denied 
by no one of common-sense. We all admit development as a 
fact of history : but how came it about ? Here, in language, 
and still more in logic, we are point-blank at issue. There is 
a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. 
A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly. *Tis the 
crown and glory of organic science that it does through final 
cause, link material and moral ; and yet does not allow us to 
mingle them in our first conception of laws, and our classifica- 
tion of such laws, whether we consider one side of nature or the 
other. You have ignored this link ; and, if I do not mistake 
your meaning, you have done your best in one or two pregnant 
cases to break it. Were it possible (which, thank God, it is 
not) to break it, himianity, in my mind, would suffer a damage 
that might brutalize it, and sink the human race into a lower 
grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its 
written records tell us of its history. Take the case of the bee- 
cells. If your development produced the successive modifica- 
tion of the bee and its cells (which no mortal can prove), final 
cause would stand good as the directing cause under which the 
successive generations acted and gradually improved. Passages 
in your book, like that to which I have alluded (and there are 
others almost as bad), greatly shocked my moral taste. I 
think, in speculating on organic descent, you wer-state the 
evidence of geology; and that you understate it while you 
are talking of the broken links of your natural pedigree : but 
my paper is nearly done, and I must go to my lecture-room. 
Lastly, then, I greatly dislike the concluding chapter — not as 
a summary, for in that light it appears good — but I dislike it 
from the tone of triumphant confidence in which you appeal to 
the rising generation (in a tone I condemned in the author of 
the Vestiges) and prophesy of things not yet in the womb of 
time, nor (if we are to trust the accumulated experience of 
human sense and the inferences of its logic) ever likely to be 
found anywhere but in the fertile womb of man's imagination. 
And now to say a word about a son of a monkey and an old 


friend of yours : I am better, far better, than I was last year. 
I Lave been lecturing three days a week (formerly I gave six 
a week) without much fatigue, but I find by the loss of activity 
and memory, and of all productive powers, that my bodily 
frame is sinMng slowly towards the earth. But I have visions 
of the future. They are as much a part of myself as my 
stomach and my heart, and these visions are to have their anti- 
type in solid fruition of what is best and greatest. But on one 
condition only — that I humbly accept God's revelation of Him- 
self both in His works and in His word, and do my best to act 
in conformity with that knowledge which He only can give mo, 
and He only can sustain me in doing. If you and I do all this, 
we shall meet in heaven. 

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

A. Sedgwick. 

The following extract from a note to Lyell (Nov. 24) 
gives an idea of the conditions under which the second 
edition was prepared : " This morning I heard from Murray 
that he sold the whole edition * the first day to the trade. 
He wants a new edition instantly, and this utterly confounds 
me. Now, under water-cure, with all nervous power directed 
to the skin, I cannot possibly do head-work, and I must 
make only actually necessary corrections. But I will, as 
far as I can without my manuscript, take advantage of your 
suggestions: I must not attempt much. Will you send 
me one line to say whether I must strike out about the 
secondary whale,t it goes to my heart. About the rattle-snake, 
look to my Journal, under Trigonocephalus, and you will see 
the probable origin of the rattle, and generally in transitions 
it is the premier pas qui coute. 

Here follows a hint of the coming storm (from a letter to 
LyeU, Dec. 2) :— 

"Do what I could, I fear I shall be greatly abused. In 
answer to Sedgwick's remark that my book would be 

* mischievous,' I asked him whether truth can be known except 
by being victorious over all attacks. But it is no use. H. C. 
Watson tells me that one zoologist says he will read my book, 

* but I will never believe it.' What a spirit to read any book 

* First edition, 1250 copies. 

t The passage was cnuitted in the second edition. 

Ch. XIL] OCTOBER 1869, TO DECEMBER 1869. 219 

in ! Crawford ♦ writes to me that his notice will be hostile, 
but that * he will not calumniate the author.' He says he has 
read my book, * at least such parts as he could understand.' f 
Ho sent mo some notes and suggestions (quite unimportant), and 
they show me that I have unavoidably done harm to the subject, 
by pubKshing an abstract .... I have had several notes from 

' , very civil and less decided. Says he shall not pronounce 

against me without much reflection, perhaps will say nothing on 
the subject. X. says he will go to that part of hell, which 
Bante tells us is appointed fur those who are neither on God's 
side nor on that of the devlL" 

But his friends were preparing to fight fop him. Huxley 
gave, in Macmillan^a Magazine for December, an analysis of the 
Origin^ together with the substance of his Eoyal Institution 
lecture, delivered before the publication of the book. 

Carpenter was preparing an essay for the National Beview, 
and negotiating for a notice in the Edinburgh free from any 
taint of odium iheologicum* 

C, D, lo a Lyell Down [December 12th, 1859]. 

» . . I had very long interviews with , which perhaps 

you would like to hear about. ... I infer from several 
expressions that, at bottom, he goes an immense way with 

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

♦ John Crawford, orientalist, ethnologist, &o., b. 1783, d. 18G8. The 
review appeared in the Examiner^ and, though hostile, is free from 
bigotry, as the following citation will show : " We cannot help saying 
that piety must be fastidious indeed that objects to a theory the 
tendency of which is to show that all organic beings, man included, are 
in a perpetual progress of amelioration and that is expounded in the 
reverential language which we have quoted." 

t A letter of Doc. 14, gives a good example of the manner in which 
Bome naturalists received and understood it. " Old J. E. Gray of the 
British Museum attacked me in fine style : ' You have just reproduced 
Lamarck's doctrine, and nothing else, and here Lyell and others have 
been attacking him for twenty years, and because you (with a sneer and 
laugh) fcay the very same thing, they are all coming round ; it is the moat 
ridiculous inconsistency, &c. &c' " 


weakest part. He said he had no particular objection to any 
part. He added : — 

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

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

J. D. Hooker to C, Darwin. Kew [1859]. 

Deab Darwin, — You have, I know, been drenched with 
letters since the publication of your book, and I have hence 
forborne to add my mite.* I hope now that you are well 
through Edition II., and I have heard that you were flouiishing 
in London. I have not yet got half-through the book, not from 
want of will, but of time — for it is the very hardest book to 
read, to full profits, that I ever tried — it is so cram-full of 
matter and reasoning. f I am all the more glad that you have 
published in this form, for the three volumes, unprefaced by 
this, would have choked any Naturalist of the nineteenth 
century, and certainly have softened my brain in the operation 
of assimilating their contents. I am perfectly tired of marvel- 
ling at the wonderful amount of facts you have brought to bear, 
and your skill in marshalling them and throwing them on the 
enemy ; it is also extremely clear as far as I have gone, but 
very hard to fully appreciate. Somehow it reads very different 
from the MS., and I often fancy that I must have been very 

* See, however, p. 211. 

t Mr. Huxley has made a similar remark: — "Long occupation with 
the work has led the present writer to believe that the Origin of 
Species is one of the hardest of books to master." — Obituary Notice, 
Proc. R. Soc. No. 269, p. xvii. 

Ch. Xn.] OCTOBER 1859, TO DECEMBER 1859. 221 

stupid not to have more fully followed it in MS. Lyell told 
mo of his criticisms. I did not appreciate them all, and there 
are many little matters I hope one day to talk over with you. I 
saw a highly flattering notice in the English Churchman^ short and 
not at all entering into discussion, but praising you and your 
book, and talking patronizingly of the doctrine I . . . Bentham 
and Henslow will still shake their heads, I fancy. . , . 
Ever yours aflfectionately. 

a D. to r. K Huxley. Down, Dec. 28th [1859]. 

My dear Huxley, — Yesterday evening, when I read the 
Times of a previous day, I was amazed to find a splendid essay 
and review of me. Who can the author be ? I am intensely 
curious. It included an eulogium of me which quite touched 
me, though I am not vain enough to think it all deserved. The 
author is a literary man, and German scholar. He has read my 
book very attentively ; but, what is very remarkable, it seems 
that he is a profound naturalist. He knows my Barnacle-book, 
and appreciates it too highly. Lastly, he writes and thinks 
with quite uncommon force and clearness ; and what is even 
still rarer, his writing is seasoned with most pleasant wit. We 
all laughed heartily over some of the sentences. . . , Who can it 
be ? Certainly I should have said that there was only one man 
in England who could have written this essay, and that you 
were the man. But I suppose I am wrong, and that there is 
some hidden genius of great calibre. For how could you 
influence Jupiter Olympus and make him give three and a 
half columns to pure science ? The old fogies will think the 
world will come to an end. WeU, whoever the man is, he has 
done great service to the cause, far more than by a dozen 
reviews in common periodicals. The grand way he soars above 
common religious prejudices, and the admission of such views 
into the Times, I look at as of the highest importance, quite 
independently of the mere question of species. If you should 
happen to b© acquainted with the author, for Heaven-sake tell 
me who he is ? 

My dear Huxley, yours most sincerely. 

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

" The Origin was sent to Mr. Lucas, one of the staff of the 


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

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

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

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

( 223 ) 




"You are tlio greatest revolutionist in natural history of this century, 
If not uf all centuries."— H. C. Watson to C. Darwin, Nov. 21, 1859. 


The second edition, 8000 copies, of the Origin was published 
on January 7th ; on the 10th, he wrote with regard to it, to 

a D. to a Lyell Down, January 10th [I860]. 

... It is perfectly true that I owe nearly all the corrections 
to you, and several verbal ones to you and others ; I am heartily 
glad you approve of them, as yet only two things have annoyed 
me ; those confounded millions * of years (not that I think it 
is probably wrong), and my not having (by inadvertence) 
mentioned Wallace towards the close of the book in the sum- 
mary, not that any one has noticed this to me. I have now put 
in Wallace's name at p. 484: in a conspicuous place. I shall be 
truly glad to read carefully any MS. on man, and give my 
opinion. You used to caution me to be cautious about man. 
I suspect I shall have to return the caution a hundred fold ! 
Yours will, no doubt, be a grand discussion ; but it will horrify 
the world at first more than my whole volume ; although by the 
sentence (p. 489, new edition f) I show that I believe man is 
in the same predicament with other animals. It is in fact 
impossible to doubt it I have thought (only vaguely) on man. 

• Tliis refers to the passage in the Origin of Species (2nd edit. p. 285) 
in which the lapse of time implied by the denudation of the Weald is 
discussed. The discussion closes with the sentence : " So that it is not 
improbable that a longer period than 300 million years has elapsed since 
the latter part of the Secondary period." This passage is omitted in the 
later editions of the Origin, against the advice of some of his friends, as 
appears from the pencil notes in my father's copy of the 2nd edition. 

t In the first edition, the passages occur on p. 488. 

224 OniGlN OF SPECIES. [Ch. XHI. 

With respect to the races, one of my best chances of truth has 
broken down from the impossibility of getting facts. I have 
one good speculative line, but a man must have entire credence 
in Natural Selection before he will even listen to it. Psycho- 
logically, I have done scarcely anything. Unless, indeed, ex- 
pression of countenance can be included, and on that subject 
I have collected a good many facts, and speculated, but I do 
not suppose I shall ever publish, but it is an uncommonly 
curious subject. 

A few days later he wrote again to the same correspondent : 
" "What a grand immense benefit you conferred on me by 
getting Murray to publish my book. I never till to-day 
realised that it was getting widely distributed ; for in a letter 
from a lady to-day to E., she says she heard a man enquiring 
for it at the Bailway Station / / / at Waterloo Bridge ; and the 
bookseller said that he had none till the new edition was out. 
The bookseller said he had not read it, but had heard it was a 
very remarkable book III" 

a B. to J, D. Eooler. Down, 14th [January, I860]. 

I heard from Lyell this morning, and he tells 

me a piece of news. You are a good-for-nothing man ; here 
you are slaving yourself to death with hardly a minute to 
spare, and yOu must write a review on my book ! I thought 
it * a very good one, and was so much struck with it, that I 
sent it to Lyell. But I assumed, as a matter of course, that it 
was Lindley's. Now that I know it is yours, I have re-read it, 
and my kind and good friend, it has warmed my heart with all 
tLe honourable and noble things you say of me and it. I was 
a good deal surprised at Lindley hitting on some of the 
remarks, but I never dreamed of you. I admired it chiefly 
as so well adapted to tell on the readers of the Gardeners^ 
Chronicle ; but now I admire it in another spirit. Farewell, 
with hearty thanks 

Asa Chray to J, D. HooTcer. Cambridge, Mass., 
January 5th, 1860. 

My dear Hooker, — ^Your last letter, which reached me just 
before Christmas, has got mislaid during the upturnings in my 

* Gardener^ Chronicle^ 1860. Sir J. D. Hooker took the line ol 
complete impartiality, so as not to commit tlje editor, Lindley. 


study which take place at that season, and has not yot been 
discovered. I should be very sorry to lose it, for there were 
in it some botanical mems. which I had not secured. . . 

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

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

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

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

Tell Darwin all this. I will write to him when I get a 
chance. As I have promised, he and you shall have fair-play 
here. ... I must myself write a review* of Darwin's book for 
Sillman*8 Journal (the more so that I suspect Agassiz means 
to come out upon it) for the next (March) number, and I am 
now setting about it (when I ought to be every moment work- 
ing the Expl[oring] Expedition Compositae, which I know far 
more about). And really it is no easy job as you may well 

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

C. D. to Asa Gray. Down, January 28th [I860]. 

My dear Gbat, — ^Hooker has forwarded to me your letter to 
him ; and I cannot express how deeply it has gratified me. To 

* On Jan. 23 Gray wrote to Darwin : •' It naturally happens that my 
review of your book does not exhibit anything like the full force of the 
impression the book has made upon me. . tJnder the circumstances I 
suppose I do your theory more good here, by bespeaking for it a fair and 
favourable consideration, and by standing non-oommitted as to its full 



receive the approyal of a man whom one has long sincerely 
respected, and whose judgment and knowledge are most 
universally admitted, is the highest reward an author can 
possibly wish for; and I thank you heartily for your most 
kind expressions. 

I have been absent from home for a few days, and so could 
not earlier answer your letter to me of the 10th of January. 
You have been extremely kind to take so much trouble and 
interest about the edition. It has been a mistake of my 
publisher not thinking of sending over the sheets. 1 had 
entirely and utterly forgotten your offer of receiving the 
sheets as printed off. But I must not blame my publisher, for 
had I remembered your most kind offer I feel pretty sure I 
should not have taken advantage of it ; for I never dreamed of 
my book being so successful with general readers : I believe I 
should have laughed at the idea of sending the sheets to 

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

conclusions, than I should if I announced myself a convert ; nor could I 
say the latter, with truth. ... 

" What seems to me the weakest point in the book is the attempt 
to account for the formation of organs, the making of eyes, &c., by natural 
selection. Some of this reads quite Lamarckian." 

* In a letter to Mr. Murray, 1860, my father wrote : — " I am amused 
by Asa Gray's account of the excitement my book has made amongst 
naturalists in tlie U. States. Agassiz has denounced it in a newspaper, 
but yet in such terms that it is in fact a fine advertisement!" This 
seems to refer to a lecture given before the Mercantile Library Association' 


nature of yonr review, I assure you I should feel it a great 
honour to have my book thus preceded 

a D, io a Lyell. Down [February 15th, I860]. 

... I am perfectly convinced (having read it this morning) 
that the review in the Annals * is by Wollaston ; no one else 
in the world would have used so many parentheses. I have 
written to him, and told him that the "pestilent" fellow 
thanks him for his kind manner of speaking about him. I 
have also told him that he would be pleased to hear that the 
Bishop of Oxford says it is the most unphilosophical | work 
he ever road. The review seems to me clever, and only mis- 
interprets me in a few places. Like all hostile men, he passes 
over the explanation given of Classification, Morphology, 
Embryology, and Kudimentary Organs, &c. I read VVallace's 
paper in MS.,t and thought it admirably good ; he dues not 
know that he has been anticipated about the depth of inter- 
vening sea determining distribution. . . . The most curious 
point in the paper seems to me that about the African character 
of the Celebes productions, but I should require further confir- 
mation. . . . 

Henslow is staying here ; I have had some talk with him ; 
he is in much the same state as Bunbury,§ and will go a very 
little way with us, but brings up no real argument against going 
further. He also shudders at the eye 1 It is really curious 
Tand perhaps is an argument in our favour) how differently 
aifferent opposers view the subject. Henslow used to rest his 
opposition on the imperfection of the Geological Kecord, but 
he now thinks nothing of this, and says I have got well out of 

♦ Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist, third Beries, vol. v. p. 132. My father 
has obviously taken the expression "pestilent" from the following 
passage (p. 138) : " But who is this Nature, we have a right to ask, who 
has such tremendous power, and to whose efficiency such marvellous 
performances are ascribed? What are her image and attributes, when 
dragged from her wordy lurking-place? Is she ought but a pestilent 
abstraction, like dust cast in our eyes to obscure the workings of an 
Intelligent First Cause of all?" The reviewer pays a tribute to my 
father's candour " so manly and outspoken as almost to ' cover a multitude 
of sins.* " The parentheses (to which allusion is made above) are so 
frequent as to give a characteristic appearance to Mr. Wollaston's pages. 

t Another version of the words is given by Lyell, to whom they were 
spoken, viz. " the most illogical book ever written." — Life and Letters of 
Sir C. Lyell, vol. ii. p. 358. 

X " On the Zoological Geography of the Malay Archipelago.** — Linn, 
Soo. Joum. 1860. 

§ The late Sir Charles Bunbury, well known as a Palaeo-botanist. 

Q 2 


it ; I witsli I could quite agree with him. Baden Powell says 
he never read anything so conclusive as my statement about 
the eye I I A stranger writes to me about sexual selection, 
and regrets that I boggle about such a trifle as the brush of 
hair on the male turkey, and so on. As L. Jenyns has a 
really philosophical mind, and as you say you like to see 
everything, I send an old letter of his. In a later letter to 
Henslow, which I have seen, he is more candid than any 
opposer I have heard of, for he says, though he cannot go so 
far as I do, yet he can give no good reason why he should not. 
It is funny how each man draws his own imaginary line at 
which to halt. It reminds me so vividly [of] what I was told ♦ 
about you when I first conmienced geology — to believe a little, 
but on no account to believe alL 

Ever yours affectionately. 

With regard to the attitude of the more liberal representa- 
tives of the Church, the following letter from Charles Kingsley 
is of interest : 

C. Kingsley to C, Dancin. Eversley Eectory, Winchfield, 
November 18th, 1859. 

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

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

In that I care little. Let God be true, and every man a liar I 
Let us know what t«, and, as old Socrates has it, cTreo-^at tw Xoyw 
— ^follow up the villainous shifty fox of an argument, into what- 
soever unexpected bogs and brakes he may lead us, if we do 
but run into him at last. 

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

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

♦ By Professor Henslow. 


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

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

Your faithful servant, 


My father's old friend, the Rev. J. Brodie Innes, of Milton 
Brodie, who was for many years Vicar of Down, in some 
reminiscences of my father which he was so good as to give 
me, writes in the same spirit : 

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

" In [a] letter, after I had left Down, he [Darwin] writes, 
* We often differed, but you are one of those rare mortals from 
whom one can differ and yet feel no shade of animosity, and 
that is a thing [of] which I should feel very proud if any one 
could say [it] of me.' 

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

The following extract from a letter to Lyell, Feb. 23, 1860, 
has a certain bearing on the points just touched on : 

" With respect to Bronn's * objection that it cannot be 
shown how life arises, and likewise to a certain extent Asa 
Gray's remark that natural selection is not a vera causa, I was 
much interested by finding accidentally in Brewster's Life of 
Newton, that Leibnitz objected to the law of gravity because 
Newton could not show what gravity itself is. As it has 
chanced, I have used in letters this very same argument, little 

* The translator of the first German edition of the Origin* 



[Oh. Xm. 

knowing that any one had really thus objected to the law of 
gravity. Newton answers by saying that it is philosophy to 
make out the movements of a clock, though you do not know 
why the weight descends to the ground. Leibnitz further 
objected that the law of gravity was opposed to Natural 
Eeligionl Is this not curious? I really think I shall use 
the facts for some introductory remarks for my bigger book." 

»0. D. to J, D. Booker, Down, March 8rd [I860]. 

... I think you expect too much in regard to change ol 
opinion on the subject of Species. One large class of men, 
more especially I suspect of naturalists, never will care about 
any general question, of which old Gray, of the British Museum, 
may be taken as a type ; and secondly, nearly all men past a 
moderate age, either in actual years or in mind are, I am fully 
convinced, incapable of looking at facts under a new point of 
view. Seriously, I am astonished and rejoiced at the progress 
which the subject has made ; look at the enclosed memorandum. 

says my book will be forgotten in ten years, perhaps so ; 

but, with such a list, I feel convinced the subject will not. 
[Here follows the memorandum referred to : ] 


Zoologists and 






H. D. Roger8.t 


J. Lubbock. 

L. Jeuyns 

(to largo extent). 

Searles Wood.§ 

Sir. H. Holland 
(to large extent). 


H. C. Watson.- 


(to some extent). 

Dr. Boott 

(to large extent). 

Thwaites. || 

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

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

X Professor of Geology in the University of Glasgow. Bom in the 
United States 1809, died 1866. 

§ Searles Valentine Wood, died 1880. Chiefly known for his work on 
the Mollusca of the Crag. 

II Dr. G. H. K. Thwaites, F.R.S., was born in 1811, or about that date, 
and died in Ceylon, September 11, 1882. He began life as a Notary, but 
his passion for Botany and Entomology ultimately led to Lia taking to 


a D. to Asa Gray. Down, April 3 [I860]. 

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

You may like to hear about reviews on my book. Sedg- 
wick (as I and Lyell feel certain from internal evidence) has 
reviewed me savagely and unfairly in the Spectator.* The 
notice includes much abuse, and is hardly fair in several 
respects. He would actually lead any one, who was ignorant 
of geology, to suppose that I had invented the great gaps 
between successive geological foimations, instead of its being 
an almost universally admitted dogma. But my dear old 
friend Sedgwick, with his noble heart, is old, and is rabid with 
indignation. . . . There has been one prodigy of a review, 
namely, an opposed one (by Pictet,t the palasontologist, in 
the Bih. Universelle of Geneva) which is perfectly fair and 
just, and I agree to every word he says ; our only difference 
being that he attaches less weight to arguments in favour, 
and more to arguments opposed, than I do. Of all the 
opposed reviews, I think this the only quite fair one, and I 
never expected to see one. Please observe that I do not class 
your review by any means as opposed, though you think so 
yourself I It has done me much too good service ever to appear 
in that rank in my eyes. But I fear I shall weary you with 
so much about my book. I should rather think there was a 
good chance of my becoming the most egotistical man in all 
Europe I What a proud pre-eminence I Well, you have 
helped to make me so, and therefore you must forgive me if 
you can. 

My dear Gray, ever yours most gratefully. 

Science as a profession. He became lecturer on Botany at the Bristol 
School of Medicine, and in 1849 he was appointed Director of tlie Botanic 
Gardens at Peradeniya, which he made " the most beautiful tropical 
garden in the world." He is best known through his important discovery 
of conjugation in the Diatomaceae (1847). His Enumeratio Flantarum 
Zeylanise (1858-64) was " the first complete account, on modem lines, of 
any definitely circumscribed tropical area/* (From a notice in Nature^ 
October 26, 1882.) 

* Spectator^ March 24, 1860. There were favourable notices of the 
Origin by Huxley in the Westminster BevieWy and Carpenter iu the 
Meiiico-Chir. Beview, both in the April numbers. 

t Fran9ois Jules Pictet, in the Archives des Sciences de la Bihliotheqm 
Universelle, Mars 1860. 


a D. to a Lyell Down, April lOth [I860]. 

I have just read the Edinburgh^* which without doubt is 

by . It is extremely malignant, clever, and I fear will be 

very damaging. He is atrociously severe on Huxley's lecture, 
and very bitter against Hooker. So we three enjoyed it 
together. Not that I really enjoyed it, for it made me un- 
comfortable for one night; but I have got quite over it 
to-day. It requires much study to appreciate all the bitter 
spite of many of the remarks against me ; indeed I did not 
discover all myself. It scandalously misrepresents many parts. 
He misquotes some passages, altering words within inverted 
commas. . . . 

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

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

a D, to J. D. Hooker. Down [April 13th, I860]. 

My deab Hookeb, — Questions of priority so often lead to 
odious quarrels, that I should esteem it a great favour if you 
would read the enclosed. J If you think it proper that I should 

* Edinburgh Review^ April, 1860. 

t April 7, 1860. 

X My father wrote (Oardenera' Chronide, April 21, 1860, p. 362): "1 
have been much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's commrmication in 
the number of your paper dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that 
Mr. Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I 
have offered of the origin of species, under the name of natural selection. 
I think that no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any 
other naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how 
briefly they are given, and that they appeared in the appendix to a work 
on Naval Timber and Arboriculture. I can do no more than offer my 
apologies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of his publication. If 
another edition of my work is called for, I will insert to the foregoing 
effect" In spite of my father's recognition of his claims, Mr. Matthew 


Bend it (and of this there can hardly be any question), and if 
you think it full and ample enough, please alter the date to the 
day on which you post it, and let that be soon. The case in 
the Gardeners' Chronicle seems a little stronger than in Mr. 
Matthew's book, for the passages are therein scattered in three 
places ; but it would be mere hair-splitting to notice that. 
If you object to my letter, please return it; but I do not expect 
that you will, but I thought that you would not object to run 
your eye over it. My dear Hooker, it is a great thing for me 
to have so good, true, and old a friend as you. I owe much 
for science to my friends. 

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

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

a P. to a Lyell Down, April [I860]. 

... I was particularly glad to hear what you thought 
about not noticing [the Edinburgh'] review. Hooker and 
Huxley thought it a sort of duty to point out the alteration of 
quoted citations, and there is truth in this remark ; but I so 
hated the thought that I resolved not to do so. I shall come 
up to London on Saturday the 14:th, for Sir B. Brodie's party, 
as I have an accumulation of things to do in London, and will 

remained unsatisfied, and complained that an article in the Saturday 
Analyst and Leader, Nov. 24, I860, was " scarcely fair in alluding to 
Mr. Darwin as the parent of the origin of species, seeing that I published 
the whole that Mr. Darwin attempts to prove, more than twenty-nine 
years ago." It was not until later that he learned that Matthew had also 
been forestalled. In October 1865, he wrote Sir J. D. Hooker : — " Talking 
of the Origin, a Yankee has called my attention to a paper attached to 
Dr. Wells' famous Essay on Dew, which was read in 1813 to the Royal 
Soc., but not [then] printed, in which he applies most distinctly the 
principle of Natural Selection to the races of Man. So poor old Patrick 
Matthew is not the first, and he cannot, or ought not, any longer to put 
on his title-pages, * Discoverer of the principle of Natural Selection * 1 " 


(if I do not hear to the contrary) call abont a quarter before ten 
on Sunday morning, and sit with you at breakfast, but will not 
sit long, and so take up much of your time. I must say one 
more word about our quasi-theological controversy about 
natural selection, and let me have your opinion when we meet 
in London. Do you consider that the successive variations in 
the size of the crop of the Pouter Pigeon, which man has accu- 
mulated to please his caprice, have been due to " the creative 
and sustaining powers of Brahma?" In the sense that an 
omnipotent and omniscient Deity must order and know every- 
thing, this must be admitted ; yet, in honest truth, I can hardly 
admit it. It seems preposterous that a maker of a universe 
should care about the crop of a pigeon solely to please man's 
silly fancies. But if you agree with me in thinking such an 
interposition of the Deity uncalled for, I can see no reason 
whatever for believing in such interpositions in the case of 
natural beings, in which strange and admirable peculiarities 
have been naturally selected for the creature's own benefit. 
Imagine a Pouter in a state of nature wading into the water 
and then, being buoyed up by its inflated crop, sailing about in 
search of food. What admiration this would have excited — 
adaptation to the laws of hydrostatic pressure, &c. &c. For 
the life of me, I cannot see any difficulty in natural selection 
producing the most exquisite structure, if such structure can he 
arrived at hy gradation, and I know from experience how hard 
it is to name any structure towards which at least some 
gradations are not known. 

Ever yours. 

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

a Z>. to J. D. Eooher. Down [May 16th, I860]. 

. . . How paltry it is in such men as X., Y. and Co, 
not reading your essay. It is incredibly paltry. They may 
all attack me to their hearts' content. I am got cae^hardened. 
As for the old fogies in Cambridge,* it really signifies 
nothing. I look at their attacks as a proof that our work is 

♦ This refers to a " savage onslaught " on the Origin by Sedgwick at 
the Cambridge Philosophical Society. Henslow defended his old pupil, 
and maintained that '* the subject was a legitimate one for investigation." 

Ch. XIU.] BEV1EW8 AND CRITICISMS, 1860. 235 

worth the doing. It makes me resolve to buckle on my 
armour. I see plainly that it will be a long uphill fight. But 
think of Lyell's progress with Geology. One thing I see most 
plainly, that without Lyell's, yours, Huxley's and Carpenter's 
aid, my book would have been a mere flash in the pan. But if 
we all stick to it, we shall surely gain the day. And I now 
see that the battle is worth fighting. I deeply hope that you 
think so. 

C, D, to Asa Gray. Down May 22nd [I860]. 

My dear Gray, — Again I have to thank you for one of your 
very pleasant letters of May 7th, enclosing a very pleasant 
remittance of £22. I am in simple truth astonished at all 
the kind trouble you have taken for me. I return Appletons' 
account. For the chance of your wishing for a formal acknow- 
ledgment I send one. If you have any further communi- 
cation to the Appletons, pray express my acknowledgment for 
[their] generosity; for it is generosity in my opinion. I am 
not at all surprised at the sale diminishing ; my extreme 
surprise is at the greatness of the sale. No doubt the public 
has been shamefully imposed on I for they bought the book 
thinking that it would be nice easy reading. I expect the sale 
to stop soon in England, yet Lyell wrote to me the other day 
that calling at Murray's he heard that fifty copies had gone in 
the previous forty-eight hours. I am extremely glad that you 
will notice in Silliman the additions in the Origin.* Judging 
from letters (and I have just seen one from Thwaites to 
Hooker), and from remarks, the most serious omission in my 
book was not explaining how it is, as I believe, that all forms 
do not necessarily advance, how there can now be simple organ- 
isms still existing. ... I hear there is a very severe review on 
me in the North British by a Eev. Mr. Dunns, f a Free Kirk 
minister, and dabbler in Natural History. In the Saturday 
Beview (one of our cleverest periodicals) of May 5th, p. 573, 
there is a nice article on [the Edinburgh'] review, defending 
Huxley, but not Hooker ; and the latter, I think, [the Edinburgh 

* " The battle rages furiously in the United States. Gray says he 
was preparing a speech, which would take 1^ hours to dehver, and which 
he ' fondly hoped would be a stunner.' He is fighting splendidly, and 
there seem to have been many discussions with Agassiz and others at the 
meetings. Agassiz pities me much at being so deluded." — From a 
letter to Hooker, May 30th, 1860. 

t The statement as to authorship was made on the authority of Bobert 


reviewer] treats most ungenerously.* But surely you will 
get sick unto death of me and my reviewers. 

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

Most deeply do I feel your generous kindness and interest. 
Yours sincerely and cordially. 

The meeting of the British Association at Oxford in 1860 
is famous for two pitched battles over the Origin of Species. 
Both of them originated in unimportant papers. On Thursday, 

♦ In a letter to Mr. Huxley my father wrote : — ** Have you seen the 
last Saturday Review ? I am very glad of the defence of you and of 
myself. I wish the reviewer had noticed Hooker. The reviewer, 
whoever he is, is a jolly good fellow, as this review and the last on me 
showed. He writes capitally, and understands well his subject. I wish 
he had slapped [the Edinburgh reviewer] a little bit harder." 

Ch. xni.] REVIEWS AND CRITICISMS, 1860. 237 

June 28 th, Dr. Daubeny of Oxford made a communication to 
Section D : "On the final causes of the sexuality of plants, 
with particular reference to Mr. Darwin's work on the Origin 
of Sj>ecie8.'" Mr. Huxley was called on by the President, but 
tried (according to the Athenseum report) to avoid a discussion, 
on the ground " that a general audience, in which sentiment 
would unduly interfere with intellect, was not the public before 
which such a discussion should be carried on." However, the 
subject was not allowed to drop. Sir E. Owen (I quote from 
the Athenseum, July 7th, 1860), wlio " wished to approach this 
subject in the spirit of the philosopher," expressed his *' con- 
viction that there were facts by which the public could come to 
some conclusion with regard to the probabilities of the truth 
of Mr. Darwin's theory." He went on to say that the brain of 
the gorilla " presented more differences, as compared with the 
brain of man, than it did when compared with the brains of 
the very lowest and most problematical of the Quadrumana." 
Mr. Huxley replied, and gave these assertions a *' direct and 
unqualified contradiction," pledging himself to "justify that 
unusual procedure elsewhere," * a pledge which he amply 
fulfilled-t On Friday there was peace, but on Saturday 30th, 
the battle arose with redoubled fury, at a conjoint meeting of 
three Sections, over a paper by Dr. Draper of New York, on 
the " Intellectual development of Europe considered with 
reference to the views of Mr. Darwin." 

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

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

" The Bishop was up to time, and spoke for full half-an-hou^ 

* Man's Place in Nature, by T. H. Huxley, 1863, p. 114. 

t See the Nat. Hist Beview, 1861. 

X It was well known that Bishop "Wilberforce was going to speak. 


with inimitable spirit, emptiness and unfairness. It was 
eyident from his handling of the subject that he had been 
* crammed ' np to the throat, and that he knew nothing at first 
hand; in fact, he used no argument not to be found in his 
Quarterly article.* He ridiciSed Darwin badly, and Huxley 
savagely, but all in such dulcet tones, so persuasive a manner, 
and in such well-turned periods, that I who had been inclined 
to blame the President for allowing a discussion that could 
serve no scientific purpose, now forgave him from the bottom 
of my heart." 

What follows is from notes most kindly supplied by the Hon. 
and Eev. W. H. Fremantle, who was an eye-witness of the scene. 

" The Bishop of Oxford attacked Darwin, at first playfully 
but at last in grim earnest. It was known that the Bishop had 
written an article against Darwin in the last Quarterly Beview : 
it was also rumoured that Professor Owen had been staying at 
Cuddesden and had primed the Bishop, who was to act as 
mouthpiece to the great PaloBontologist, who did not himself 
dare to enter the lists. The Bishop, however, did not show 
himself master of the facts, and made one serious blunder. A 
fact which had been much dwelt on as confirmatory of Darwin's 
idea of variation, was that a sheep had been bom shortly before 
in a flock in the North of England, having an addition of one 
to the vertebrsB of the spine. The Bishop was declaring with 
rhetorical exaggeration that there was hardly any actual evi- 
dence on Darwin's side. * What have they to bring forward ? ' 
he exclaimed. * Some rumoured statement about a long-legged 
sheep.' But he passed on to banter : * I should like to ask 
Professor Huxley, who is sitting by me, and is about to tear 
me to pieces when I have sat down, as to his belief in being 
descended from an ape. Is it on his grandfather's or his 
grandmother's side that the ape ancestry comes in ? * And then 
taking a graver tone, he asserted in a solemn peroration that 
Darwin's views were contrary to the revelations of God in the 
Scriptures. Professor Huxley was imwilling to respond : but 
he was called for and spoke with his usual incisiveness and 
with some scorn. * I am here only in the interests of science,' 
he said, * and I have not heard anything which can prejudice 
the case of my august client.' Then after showing how little 
competent the Bishop was to enter upon the discussion, he 
touched on the question of Creation. * You say that develop- 
ment drives out the Creator. But you assert that God made 
you: and yet you know that you yourself were originally a 

♦ Quarterly Review^ July 1860. 

Oh. Xm.] REVIEWS AND 0BITI0I8MS, 1860. 239 

little piece of matter no bigger than the end of this gold 
pencil-case.' Lastly as to the descent from a monkey, he said : 
* I should feel it no shame to have risen from such an origin. 
But I should feel it a shame to have sprung from one who 
prostituted the gifts of culture and of eloquence to the service 
of prejudice and of falsehood.* 

" Many others spoke. Mr. Gresley, an old Oxford don, pointed 
out that in human nature at least orderly development was not 
the necessary rule ; Homer was the greatest of poets, but he 
lived 3000 years ago, and has not produced his like. 

" Admiral Fitz-Eoy was present, and said that he had often ex- 
postulated with his old comrade of the Beagle for entertaining 
views which were contradictory to the First Chapter of Genesis. 

*' Sir John Lubbock declared that many of the arguments 
by which the permanence of species was supported came to 
nothing, and instanced some wheat which was said to have 
come off an Egyptian mummy and was sent to him to prove 
that wheat had not changed since the time of the Pharaohs ; 
but which proved to be made of French chocolate.* Sir 
Joseph (then Dr.) Hooker spoke shortly, saying that he had 
foimd the hypothesis of Natuial Selection so helpful in explain- 
ing the phenomena of his own subject of Botany, that he had 
been constrained to accept it. After a few words from Darwin's 
old friend Professor Henslow who occupied the chair, the 
meeting broke up, leaving the impression that those most 
capable of estimating the arguments of Darwin in detail saw 
their way to accept his conclusions." 

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

♦ Sir John Lubbock also insisted on the embryological evidence for 

evolution. — F. D. 

t Mr. Fawcett wrote (MacmUlan's Magazine, 1860) : — 

" The retort was so justly deserved and so inimitable in its manner, 

that no one who was present can ever forget the impression that it made." 


The following letter shows that Mr. Huxley's presence at 
this remarkahle scene depended on so slight a chance as that 
of meeting a friend in the street ; that this friend should have 
been Eobert Chambers, so that the author of the Vestiges 
should have sounded the war-note for the battle of the Origin, 
adds interest to the incident. I have to thank Mr. Huxley 
for allowing the story to be told in words of his not written for 

T, H. Huxley to Francis Darwin. 

June 27, 1891. 

... I should say that Fremantle's account is substantially 
correct ; but that Green has the passage of my speech more 
accurately. However, I am certain I did not use the word 
" equivocal " * 

The odd part of the business is that I should not have been 
present except for Robert Chambers. I had heard of the Bishop's 
intention to utilise the occasion. I knew he had the reputation 
of being a first-rate controversialist, and I was quite aware that 
if he played his cards properly, we should have little chance, 
with such an audience, of making an efficient defence. More- 
over, I was very tired, and wanted to join my wife at hor 
brother-in-law's country house near Reading, on the Saturday. 
On the Friday I met Chambers in the street, and in reply to 
some remark of his about the meeting, I said that I did not 
mean to attend it ; did not see the good of giving up peace and 
quietness to be episcopally pounded. Chambers broke out into 
vehement remonstrances and talked about my deserting them. 
So I said, " Oh I if you take it that way, I'll come and have 
my share of what is going on." 

So I came, and chanced to sit near old Sir Benjamin Brodie. 
The Bishop began his speech, and, to my astonishment, very 
soon showed that he was so ignorant that he did not know how 
to manage his own case. My spirits rose proportionally, and 
when he turned to me with his insolent question, I said to Sir 
Benjamin, in an undertone, " The Lord hath delivered him into 
mine hands." 

That sagacious old gentleman stared at me as if I had lost 
my senses. But, in fact, the Bishop had justified the severest 
retort I could devise, and I made up my mind to let him have 
it. I was careful, however, not to rise to reply, until the 
meeting called for me — then I let myself go. 

In justice to the Bishop, I am bound to say he bore no 

♦ This agrees with Professor Victor Carus's recollectioiL 


malice, but was always courtesy itself when we occasionally 
mot in after years. Hooker and I walked away from the 
meeting together, and I remember saying to him that this 
experience had changed my opinion as to the practical value of 
the art of public speaking, and that, from that time forth, I 
should carefully cultivate it, and try to leave oflf hating it. I 
did the former, but never quite succeeded in the latter effort. 

I did not mean to trouble you with such a long scrawl when 
I began about this piece of ancient history. 

Ever yours very faithfully 

T. H. Huxley. 

The eye-witness above quoted (p. 237) continues : — 
" There was a crowded conversazione in the evening at the 
rooms of the hospitable and genial Professor of Botany, Dr. 
Daubony, where the almost solo topic was the battle of the 
Origin, and I was much struck with the fair and unprejudiced 
way in which the black coats and white cravats of Oxford 
discussed the question, and the frankness with which they 
offered their congratulations to the winners in the combat." * 

a D. to J, D. Hooher. Monday night [July 2nd, I860]. 

My dear Hooker, — I have just received your letter. I have 
been very poorly, with almost continuous bad headache for 
forty-eight hours, and I was low enough, and thinking what a 
useless burthen I was to myself and all others, when your letter 
came, and it has so cheered me ; your kindness and affection 
brought tears into my eyes. Talk of fame, honour, pleasure, 
wealth, all are dirt compared with affection; and this is a 
doctrine with which, I Imow, from your letter, that you will 
agree with from the bottom of your heart. . . . How I should 
have liked to have wandered about Oxford with you, if I had 
been well enough ; and how still more I should have liked to 
have heard you triumphing over the Bishop. I am astonished 
at your success and audacity. It is something unintelligible to 
me how any one can argue in public like orators do. I had no 
idea you had this power. I have read lately so many hostile 
views, that I was beginning to think that perhaps I was wholly 

in the wrong, and that was right when he said the whole 

subject would be forgotten in ten years ; but now that I hear 
that you and Huxley will fight publicly (which I am sure I 

♦ See Professor Newton'a interesting Early Days of Darwinism in 
Macmillan's Magazine, Feb. 1888, where the battle at Oxford is briefly 


never conld do), I fully believe that our cause will, ia the long- 
run, prevail. 1 am glad I was not in Oxford, for I should have 
been overwhelmed, with my [health] in its present state. 

a D. to J. D. Eooher, [July i860.] 

... I have just read the Quarterly. * It is uncommonly 
clever ; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, 

• Quarterly Review, July 1860. The article in question was by 
Wilberforco, Bishop of Oxford, and was afterwards published in his 
Essays Contributed to (he Quarterly Review, 1874. In the lAfe and 
Letters, ii. p. 182, Mr. Huxley has given some account of this article. 
I quote a few lines : — " Since Lord Brougham assailed Dr. Young, the 
world has seen no such specimen of the insolence of a shallow pretender 
to a Master in Science as this remarkable production, in which one of 
the most exact of observers, most cautious of reasoners, and most candid 
of exiwsitors, of this or any other age, is held up to scorn as a ' flighty * 
person, who endeavours ' to prop up his utterly rotten fabric of gue?s and 
speculation,' and whose *mode of dealing with nature' is reprobated 
as 'utterly dishonourable to Natural Science.'" The passage from 
the Anti-Jacobin, referred to in the letter, gives the history of the 
evolution of space from the "primsDval point or punctum saliens of 
the universe," which is conceived to have moved *• forward in a right 
line, ad infinitum, till it grew tired ; after which the right line, which it 
had generated, would begin to put itself in motion in a lateral direction, 
describing an area of infinite extent. This area, as soon as it became 
conscious of its own existence, would begin to ascend or descend 
according as its specific gravity would determine it, forming an immense 
solid space filled with vacuum, and capable of containing the present 

The following (p. 263) may serve as an example of the passages in 
which the reviewer refers to Sir Charles Lyell; — "That Mr. Darwin 
should have wandered from this broad highway of nature's works into 
the jungle of fanciful assumption is no small evil. "We trust that he is 
mistaken in believing that he may coimt Sir 0. Lyell as one of his 
converts. We know, indeed, the strength of the temptations which he 
can bring to bear upon his geological brother. . . . Yet no man has been 
more distinct and more logical in the denial of the transmutation of 
species than Sir C. Lyell, and that not in the infancy of his scientific 
life, but in its full vigour and maturity." The Bishop goes on to appeal 
to Lyell, in order that with his help " this flimsy speculation may be as 
completely put down as was what in spite of all denials we must venture 
to call its twin though less instructed brother, the Vestiges of Creation." 

With reference to this article, Mr. Brodie Innes, my father's old friend 
and neighbour, writes : — " Most men would have been annoyed by an 
article written with the Bishop's accustomed vigour, a mixture of argument 
and ridicule. IVIr. Darwin was writing on some parish matter, and put a 
postscript — 'If you have not seen the last Quarterly, do get it; the 
Kishop of Oxford has made such capital fun of me and my grandfather.' 
By a curious coincidence, when I received the letter, I was staying in the 
same house with the Bishop, and showed it to him. He said, * I am very 
glad he takes it in that way, he is such a capital fellow.' " 

Oh. XIIIJ reviews AND CRITICISMS, 1860. 243 

and brings forward well all the difficulties. It quizzes me 
quite splendidly by quoting the Anti-Jacohin versus my Grand- 
father. You are not alluded to, nor, strange to say, Huxley ; 

and I can plainly see, here and there, *s hand. The 

concluding pages will make LyeU shako in his shoes. By 
Jove, if he sticks to us, he will be a real hero. Good-night. 
Your well-quizzed, but not sorrowful, and affectionate friend, 

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

The following extract from a letter of Sept. 1st, 1860, is of 
interest, not only as showing that LyeU was still conscientiously 
working out his conversion, but also and especially as illus- 
trating the remarkable fact that hardly any of my father's 
critics gave him any new objections — so fruitful had been his 
ponderings of twenty years : — 

*'I have been much interested by your letter of the 28th, 
received this morning. It has delighted me, because it demon- 
strates that you have thought a good deal lately on Natural 
Selection. Few things have surprised me more than the entire 
paucity of objections and difficulties new to me in the published 
reviews. Your remarks are of a different stamp and new to 

C. D. to Asa Gray. [Hartfield, Sussex] July 22nd [I860]. 

My dear Gray, — Owing to absence from home at water-cure 
and then having to move my sick girl to whence I am now 
writing, I have only lately read the discussion in Froc. 
American Acad.^* and now I cannot resist expressing my 
sincere admiration of your most clear powers of reasoning. As 
Hooker lately said in a note to me, you are more than any one 
else the thorough master of the subject. I declare that you 
know my book as well as I do myself; and bring to the 
question new lines of illustration and argument in a manner 
which excites my astonishment and almost my envy I f I 

* April 10th, 1860 Dr. Gray criticised in detail "several of the 
positious taken at the preceding meeting by Mr. [J. A.] Lowell, Prof. 
Bowen and Prof. Agassiz." It was reprinted in the Athenasum, Aug. 4th, 

t On Sept. 26th, 1860, he wrote in the same sense to Gray : — " You 
never touch the subject without making it clearer. I look at it as even 
more extraordinary that you never say a word or use an epithet which 
does not express fully my meaning. Now LyeU, Hooker, and others, 
who perfectly understand my book, yet sometimes use expressions to 
which I demur." 

» 2 


admire these discussions, I think, almost more than your 
article in SillimarCs Journal, Every single word seems 
weighed carefully, and tells like a 32-pound shot. It makes 
me much wish (but I know that you have not time) that you 
could write more in detail, and give, for instance, the facts on 
the variability of the American wild fruits. The Athenseum 
has the largest circulation, and I have sent my copy to the 
editor with a request that he would republish the first dis- 
cussion ; I much fear he will not, as he reviewed the subject in 
so hostile a spirit. ... I shall be curious [to see], and will 
order the August number, as soon as I know that it contains 
your review of reviews. My conclusion is that you have made 
a mistake in being a botanist, you ought to have been a lawyer. 

The following passages from a letter to Huxley (Dec. 2nd, 
1860) may serve to show what was my father's view of the 
position of the subject, after a year's experience of reviewers, 
critics and converts : — 

"I have got fairly sick of hostile reviews. Nevertheless, 
they have been of use in showing me when to expatiate a little 
and to introduce a few new discussions. 

" I entirely agree with you, that the difficulties on my notions 
are terrific, yet having seen what all the Reviews have said 
against me, I have far more confidence in the gmeral truth of 
the doctrine than I formerly had. Another thing gives me 
confidence, viz. that some who went half an inch with me now 
go further, and some who were bitterly opposed are now less 
bitterly opposed. ... I can pretty plainly see that, if my 
view is ever to be generally adopted, it will be by young men 
growing up and replacing the old workers, and then young ones 
finding that they can group facts and search out new lines of 
investigation better on the notion of descent, than on that of 

( 245 ) 




The beginning of the year 1861 saw my father engaged on the 
3rd edition (2000 copies) of the Origin^ which was largely 
corrected and added to, and was published in April, 1861. 

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

During the Torquay holiday, and for the remainder of the 
year, he worked at the fertilisation of orchids. This part of 
the year 1861 is not dealt with in the present chapter, because 
(as explained in the preface) the record of his life, seems to 
become clearer when the whole of his botanical work is placed 
together and treated separately. The present chapter will, 
therefore, include only the progress of his work in the direction 
of a general amplification of the Origin of Species — e.^., the 
publication of Animals and Plants and the Descent of Man. 
It will also give some idea of the growth of belief in evolutionary 

With regard to the third edition, he wrote to Mr. Murray in 
December, 1860 :— 

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

An interesting feature in the new edition was the "His- 


topical Sketch of the Eecent Progress of Opinion on the Origin 
of Species," * which now appeared for the first time, and was 
continued in the later editions of the work. It bears a strong 
impress of the author's personal character in the obvious wish 
to do full justice to all his predecessors, — though even in this 
respect it has not escaped some adverse criticism. 

A passage in a letter to Hooker (March 27, 1861) gives the 
history of one of his corrections. 

" Here is a good joke : H. C. Watson (who, I fancy and hope, 
is going to review the new edition of the Origin) says that in 
the first four paragraphs of the introduction, the words * I,* 
' me,* ' my,' occur forty-three times 1 I was dimly conscious 
of the accursed fact. He says it can be explained phreno- 
logically, which I suppose civilly means, that I am the most 
egotistically self-sufficient man alive ; perhaps so. I wonder 
whether he will print this pleasing fact ; it beats hollow the 
parentheses in Wollaston's writing. 

" I am, my dear Hooker, ever yours, 

" 0. Dabwin. 

" P.S. — Do not spread this pleasing joke ; it is rather too 

He wrote a couple of years later, 1863, to Asa Gray, in a 
manner which illustrates his use of the personal pronoun in the 
earlier editions of the Origin : — 

" You speak of Lyell as a judge ; now what I complain of is 
that he declines to be a judge .... I have sometimes almost 
wished that Lyell had pronounced against me. When I say 
* me,' I only mean change of species hy descent. That seems to 
me the turning-point. Personally, of course, I care much 
about Natural Selection ; but that seems to me utterly unim- 
portant, compared to the question of Creation or Modification." 

He was, at first, alone, and felt himself to be so in maintain- 
ing a rational workable theory of Evolution. It was therefore 
perfectly natural that he should speak of " my " theory. 

Towards the end of the present year (1861) the final arrange- 
ments for the first French edition of the Origin were completed, 
and in September a copy of the third English edition was 
despatched to Mdlle. Clemence Eoyer, who undertook the 

* The Historical Sketch had already appeared in the first German 
edition (1860) and the American edition. Bronn states in the German 
edition (footnote, p. 1) that it was his critique in the N. Jahrhtich fur 
Mineralogie that suggested to my father the idea of such a sketch. 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 247 

work of translation. The book was now spreading on the 
Continent, a Dutch edition had appeared, and, as we have seen, 
a German translation had been published in 1860. In a letter 
to Mr. Murray (September 10, 1861), he wrote, " My book 
seems exciting much attention in Germany, judging from the 
number of discussions sent me." The silence had been broken, 
and in a few years the voice of German science was to become 
one of the strongest of the advocates of Evolution. 

A letter, June 23, 1861, gave a pleasant echo from the Con- 
tinent of the growth of his views : — 

Hugh Falconer * to G. Darwin. 31 Sackville St., W., 
June 23, 1861. 

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

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

Yours very truly. 

My father replied : — 

Down [June 24, 1861]. 
My dear Falconer, — I have just received your note, and by 
good luck a day earlier than properly, and I lose not a moment 

♦ Hugh Falconer, bom 1809, died 1865. Chiefly known as a palseon- 
tologist, although employed as a botanist during his whole career io 
India, where he was a medical oflficer in the H.E.I.C. Service. 


in answering you, and thanking you heartily for your offer of 
the valuable Bpecimen ; but I have no aquarium and shall soon 
start for Torquay, so that it would be a thousand pities that I 
should have it. Yet I should certainly much like to see it, 
but I fear it is impossible. Would not the Zoological Society 
be the best place? and then the interest which many would 
take in this extraordinary animal would repay you for your 

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

Yours affectionately and gratefully. 

My father, who had the strongest belief in the value of Asa 
Gray's help, was anxious that his evolutionary writings should 
be more widely known in England. In the autumn of 1860, 
and the early part of 1861, he had a good deal of correspondence 
with him as to the publication, in the form of a pamphlet, of 
Gray's three articles in the July, August, and October numbers 
of the Atlantic Monthly, 1860. 

The reader will find these articles republished in Dr. Gray's 
Darwiniana, p. 87, under the title "Natural Selection not 
inconsistent with Natural Theology." The pamphlet found 
many admirers, and my father believed that it was of much 
value in lessening opposition, and making converts to Evolution. 
His high opinion of it is shown not only in his letters, but by 
the fact that he inserted a special notice of it in a prominent 
place in the third edition of the Origin, Lyell, among others, 
recognised its value as an antidote to the kind of criticism from 
which the cause of Evolution suffered. Thus my father wrote 
to Dr. Gray : " Just to exemplify the use of your pamphlet, the 
Bishop of London was asking Lyell what he thought of the 
review in the Quarterly ^ and Lyell answered, ' Head Asa Gray 
in the Atlantic' " 

On the same subject he wrote to Gray in the following 
year : — 

**I believe that your pamphlet has done my book great 
good; and I thank you from my heart for myself: and 
believing that the views are in large part true, I must think 
that you have done natural science a good turn. Natural 
Selection seems to be making a little progress in England and 
on the Continent ; a new German edition is called for, and a 
French one has just appeared." 

The following may serve as an example of the form assumed 

Ch. xrvj 1861—1871. 249 

between tHese friends of the animoBity at that time so strong 
between England and America * : — 

" Talking of books, I am in the middle of one which pleases 
me, though it is very innocent food, viz. Miss Cooper's Journal 
of a Naturalist. Who is she ? She seems a very clever 
woman, and gives a capital account of the battle between our 
and your weeds.f Does it not hurt your Yankee pride that we 
tlirash you so confoundedly? I am sure Mrs. Gray will 
stick up for your own weeds. Ask her whether they are not 
more honest, downright good sort of weeds. The book gives an 
extremely pretty picture of one of your villages ; but I see 
your autumn, though so much more gorgeous than ours, comes 
on sooner, and that is one comfort." 

A question constantly recurring in the letters to Gray is that 
of design. For instance : — 

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

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

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

t This refers to the remarkable fact that many introduced European 
weeds have spread over large parts of the United States. 


before) as all the world seems to be in witb respect to free will, 
yet with everything supposed to have been foreseen or pre- 

The shape of his nose would perhaps not have been used as 
an illustration, if he had remembered Fitz-Koy's objection to that 
feature (see Auiobiograjpliy, p. 26). He should, too, have re- 
membered the difficulty of predicting the value to an organism 
of an apparently unimportant character. 

In England Professor Huxley was at work in the evolutionary 
cause. He gave, in 1862, two lectures at Edinburgh on Man's 
Place in Nature. My father wrote : — 

" I am heartily glad of your success in the North. By 
Jove, you have attacked Bigotry in its stronghold. I thought 
you would have been mobbed. I am so glad that you will 
publish your Lectures. You seem to have kept a due medium 
between extreme boldness and caution. I am heartily glad that 
all went off so well." 

A review,* by F. W. Hutton, afterwards Professor of Biology 
and Geology at Canterbury, N. Z., gave a hopeful note of 
the time not far off when a broader view of the argument 
for Evolution would be accepted. My father wrote to the 
author \ : — 

Down, April 20th, 1861. 
Deab Sib, — I hope that you will permit me to thank you for 
sending me a copy of your paper in the Geologist^ 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 i^henomona 
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 imivcrsally admitted theory 
) of the undulations of light — neither the undulations, nor the 
i 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 

* Geologist, 1861, p. 132. 

t The letter la published in a lecture by Professor Hutton given before 
the Philosoph. Institute, Canterbury, N.Z., Sept. 12th, 1887. 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 261 

(and I hope not exclusively under a personal point of view) I 
could not resist venturing to thank yon for the right good 
service which you have done. Pray believe me, dear sir, 

Yours faithfully and obliged. 

It was a still more hopeful sign that work of the first rank 
in value, conceived on evolutionary principles, began to be 

My father expressed this idea in a letter to the late Mr. Bates.* 

"Under a general point of view, I am quite convinced 
(Hooker and Huxley took the same view some months ago) 
that a philosophic view of nature can solely be driven into 
naturalists by treating special subjects as you have done." 

This refers to Mr. Bates' celebrated paper on mimicry, with 
which the following letter deals : — 

Down Nov. 20 [1862]. 
Deab Bates, — I have just finished, after several reads, your 
paper.f In my opinion it is one of the most remarkable and 

* Mr. Bates is perhaps most widely known through his delightful The 
Naturalist on the Amazons. It was with regard to this book that my 
father wrote (April 18G3) to the author: — " I have fiuished vol. i. My 
criticisms may be condensed into a single sentence, namely, that it is the 
best work of Natural History Travels ever published in England. Your 
style seems to me admirable. Nothing can be better than the discussion 
on the struggle for existence, and nothing better than the description of 
the Foreat sct-nery. It is a grand book, and whether or not it sella 
quickly, it will last. You have spoken out boldly on Species; and 
boldness on the subject seems to get rarer and rarer. How beautifully 
illustrated it is." 

t Mr. Bates* paper, * Contributions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazons 
Valley ' {Linn. Soc. Trans, xxiii. 1862), in which the now familiar subject 
of mimicry was founded. My fatlier wrote a short review of it in the 
Natural History Beview, 1863, p. 219, parts of which occur almost 
verbatim in the later editions of the Origin of Species. A striking 
passage occurs in the review, showing the diificulties of the case from a 
creationist's point of view : — 

"By what means, it may be asked, have so many butterflies of the 
Amazonian region acquired their deceptive dress ? Most naturalists will 
answer that they were thus clothed from the hour of their creation — an 
answer which will generally be so far triumphant that it can be met only 
by long-drawn arguments ; but it is made at the expense of putting an 
effectual bar to all further inquiry. In this particular case, moreover, 
the creationist will meet with special diflSculties ; for many of the 
mimicking forms of Leptalis can be shown by a graduated series to be 
merely varieties of one species ; other mimickers are undoubtedly distinct 
epecies, or even distinct genera. So again, some of the mimicked forma 
can be shown to be merely varieties ; but the greater number must be 
ranked as distinct species. Hence the creationist will have to admit that 
eome of these forms have become imitators, by means of the laws of 


admirable papers I ever read in my life. The mimetic cases 
are truly marvellous, and you connect excellently a host of 
analogous facts. The illustrations are beautiful, and seem very 
well chosen ; but it would have saved the reader not a little 
trouble, if the name of each had been engraved below each 
separate figure. No doubt this would have put the engraver 
into fits, as it would have destroyed the beauty of the plate. I 
am not at all surprised at such a paper having consumed much 
time. I am rejoiced that I passed over the whole subject in the 
Origin, for I should have made a precious mess of it. You have 
most clearly stated and solved a wonderful problem. No 
doubt with most people this will be the cream of the paper ; but 
I am not sure that all your facts and reasonings on variation, and 
on the segregation of complete and semi- complete species, is not 
really more, or at least as valuable a part. I never conceived 
the process nearly so clearly before ; one feels present at the 
creation of now forms. I wish, however, you had enlarged a 
little more on the pairing of similar varieties ; a rather more 
numerous body of facts seems here wanted. Then, again, what 
a host of curious miscellaneous observations there are — as on 
related sexual and individual variability : these will some day, 
if I live, be a treasure to me. 

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

I have one serious criticism to make, and that is about the 
title of the paper ; I cannot but think that you ought to have 
called prominent attention in it to the mimetic resemblances. 
Your paper is too good to be largely appreciated by the mob of 
naturalists without souls; but, rely on it, that it will have lasting 
value, and I cordially congratulate you on your first great work. 
You will find, I should think, that Wallace will appreciate it. 
How gets on your book ? Keep your spirits up. A book is no 

variation, whilst otbers lie must look at as separately created under their 
present guise ; he will further have to admit that some have been created 
in imitation of forms not themselves created as we now see them, but due 
to the laws of variation 1 Professor Agassiz, indeed, would think nothing 
of this difficulty ; for he believes that not only each species and each 
variety, but that groups of individuals, though identically the same, 
when inhabiting distinct countries, have been all separately created in 
due proportional numbers to the wants of each land. Not many 
naturalists will be content thus to believe that varieties and individuals 
have been turned out all ready made, almost as a manufacturer turns out 
toys according to the temporary demand of the market" 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 253 

light labour. I have been better lately, and working hard, but 
my health is very indifferent. How is your health ? Believe 
me, dear Bates, 

Yours very sincerely. 


Although the battle* of Evolution was not yet won, the 
growth of belief was undoubtedly rapid. So that, for instance, 
Charles Kingsley could write to F. D. Maurice f : 

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

The change did not proceed without a certain amount of 
personal bitterness. My father wrote in February, 1863 : — 

" What an accursed evil it is that there should be all this 
quarrelling within what ought to be the peaceful realms of 

I do not desire to keep alive the memories of dead quarrels, 
but some of the burning questions of that day are too important 
from the biographical point of view to be altogether omitted. 
Of this sort is the history of Lyell's conversion to Evolution. 
It led to no flaw in the friendship of the two men principally 
concerned, but it shook and irritated a number of smaller 
people. Lyell was like the Mississippi in flood, and as he 
changed his course, the dwellers on the banks were angered 
and frightened by the general upsetting of landmarks. 

a D. to J. D. Eooker. Down, Feb. 24 [1863]. 

Mt dear Hookeb, — I am astonished at your note. I have 
not seen the Athenseum,^ but I have sent for it, and may get it 
to-morrow ; and will then say what I think. 

♦ Mr. Huxley was as usual active in guiding and stimulating the 
growing tendency to tolerate or accept the views set forth in the Origin 
of Species. He gave a series of lectures to working men at the School of 
Mines in November, 1862. These were printed in 1863 from the 
shorthand notes of Mr. May, as six little blue books, price 4d. each, 
under the title, Our Knoicledge of the Causei of Organic Nature. 

t Kingsley's Life, vol. ii. p. 171. 

X In the Antiquity of Man, first edition, p. 480, Lyell criticised some- 
what severely Owen's account of the difference between the Human and 
Simian brains. The number of the Athenseum here referred to (1863, 
p. 262) contains a reply by Professor Owen to LyeU's strictures. The 
surprise expressed by my father was at the revival of a controversy which 


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

The Lyells are coming here on Sunday evening to stay till 
Wednesday. I dread it, but I must say how much disappointed 
I am that he has not spoken out on species, still less on man. 

every one believed to be closed. Professor Huxley (Medical Times, 
Oct. 25th, 1862, quoted in Man's Place in Nature, p. 117) spoke of the 
" two years during which this preposterous controversy has dragged itg 
weary length." And this no doubt expressed a very general feeling. 
t The italics are not tyeirs. 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 255 

And tho best of the joke is that he thinks he has acted with the 
courage of a martyr of old. I hope I may have taken an 
exaggerated view of his timidity, and shall particularly be glad 
of your opinion on this head. When I got his book I turned 
over the pages, and saw he had discussed the subject of species, 
and said that I thought he would do more to convert the public 
than all of us, and now (which makes the case worse for me) I 
must, in common honesty, retract. I wish to Heaven he had 
said not a word on the subject. 

a J), to C. Lyell Down, March 6 [1863]. 

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

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

Ever yours. 

* The Antiquity of Man. 


A letter from Lyell to Hooker (Mar. 9, 1863), published in 
Ly ell's lAfe and Letters j vol. ii. p. 361, shows what was his 
feeling at the time : — 

*' He [Darwin] seems much disappointed that I do not go 
farther with him, or do not speak out more. I can only say 
that I have spoken ont to the full extent of my present con- 
victions, and even beyond my state of feeling as to man's un- 
broken descent from the brutes, and I find I am half converting 
not a few who were in arms against Darwin, and are even now 
against Huxley." Lyell speaks, too, of having had to abandon 
" old and long cherished ideas, which constituted the charm to 
me of the theoretical part of the science in my earlier days, 
when I believed with Pascal in the theory, as Hallam terms it, 
of ' the archangel ruined.* " 

a D. to a Lyell Down, 12th [March, 1863]. 

My dear Lyell, — I thank you for your very interesting and 
kind, I may say, charming letter. I feared you might be 
huffed for a little time with me. I know some men would have 
been so. . . . As you say that you have gone as far as you believe 
on the species question, I have not a word to say ; but I must 
feel convinced that at times, judging from conversation, ex- 
pressions, letters, &c., you have as completely given up belief 
in immutability of specific forms as I have done. I must still 
think a clear expression from you, */ you could have given it, 
would have been potent with the public, and all the more so, as 
you formerly held opposite opinions. The more I work, the 
more satisfied I become with variation and natural selection, 
but that part of the case I look at as less important, though 
more interesting to me personally. As you ask for criticisms 
on this head (and believe me that I should not have made tbcm 
unasked), I may specify (pp. 412, 413) that such words as " Mr. 
D. labours to show," " is believed by the author to throw light," 
would lead a common reader to think that you yourself do not 
at all agree, but merely think it fair to give my opinion. Lastly, 
you refer repeatedly to my view as a modification of Lamarck's 
doctrine of development and progression. If this is your 
deliberate opinion there is nothing to be said, but it does not 
seem so to me. Plato, Buffon, my grandfather before Lamarck, 
and others, propounded the obvious view that if species were 
not created separately they must have descended from other 
species, and I can see nothing else in common between the 
Origin and Lamarck. I believe this way of putting the case is 
very injurious to its acceptance, as it implies necessary pro- 

Oh. XIVJ 1861—1871. 267 

gression, and closely connects Wallace's and my views with 
what I consider, after two deliberate readings, as a wretched 
book, and one from which (I well remember my surprise) I 
gained nothing. But I know you rank it higher, which is 
curious, as it did not in the least shako your belief. But 
enough, and more than enough. Please remember you have 
brought it all down on yourself 1 1 

I am very sorry to hear about Falconer's " reclamation." * I 
hate the very word, and have a sincere affection for him. 

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

In the Athenseumy Mar. 28, 1862, p. 417, appeared a notice of 
Dr. Carpenter's book on * Foraminifera,* which led to more 
skirmishing in the same journal. The article was remarkable 
for upholding spontaneous generation. 

My father wrote. Mar. 29, 1863 :— 

*' Many thanks for Aihenaeumy received this morning, and to 
be returned to-morrow morning. Who wo aid have ever thought 
of the old stupid Athenseum taking to Oken-like transcendental 
philosophy written in Owenian style I 

" It will be some time before we see * slime, protoplasm, &c.* 
generating a new animal. But I have long regretted that I 
truckled to public opinion, and used the Pentateuchal term of 
creation, J by which I really meant * appeared ' by some wholly 
unknown process. It is mere rubbish, thinking at present of 
the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of 

The Athenseum continued to be a scientific battle-ground. On 
April 4, 1863, Falconer wrote a severe article on Lyell. And 

♦ " Falconer, whom I [Lyell] referred to oftener than to any other author, 
says I have not done justice to the part he took ia resuscitating the cave 
question, and says he shall come out with a separate paper to prove it 
1 offered to alter anything in the new edition, but this he declined." — 
0. Lvell to C. Darwin, March 11, 1863 ; Lyell's JW/e, vol IL p. 364. 

t Man's Place in Nature, 1863. 

X This refers to a passage in which the reviewer of Dr. Carpenter's 
book speaks of " an operation of forc«," or " a coucurrence of forces which 
have now no place in nature," as being, " a creative force, in fact, which 
Darwin could only express in Pentateuchal terms as the primordial form 
• into which life was first breathed.' " The conception of expressing a 
oreaiive force as a primordial form ia the reviewer's. 



my father wrote (Athenseuniy 1863, p. 554), under the cloak of 
attacking spontaneous generation, to defend Evolution. In 
reply, an article appeared in the same Journal (May 2nd, 1863, 
p. 586), accusing my father of claiming for his views the 
exclusive merit of "connecting by an intelligible thread of 
reasoning " a number of facts in morphology, &c. The writer 
remarks that, "The different generalisations cited by Mr. 
Darwin as being connected by an intelligible thread of reason- 
ing exclusively through his attempt to explain specific trans- 
mutation are in fact related to it in this wise, that they have 
prepared the minds of naturalists for a better reception of such 
attempts to explain the way of the origin of species from 

To this my father replied as follows in the Athenseum of May 
9th, 1863:— 

Down, May 5 [1863]. 

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

Chables Daewin. 

In the following, he refers to the above letter to the 
Athenaeum : — 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 269 

a D. to J, D. Hooker, Saturday [May 11, 1863]. 

My dear Hooker, — You give good advice about not writing in 
newspapers ; I have been gnashing my teeth at my own foUy ; 

and this not caused by 's sneers, which were so good that 

I almost enjoyed them. I have written once again to own to a 
certain extent of truth in what he says, and then if I am ever 
such a fool again, have no mercy on me. I have read the squib 
in Public Oj>inion;* it is capital; if there is more, and you 
have a copy, do lend it. It shows well that a scientific man 
had better be trampled in dirt than squabble. 

In the following year (1864) he received the greatest honour 
which a scientific man can receive in this country, the Copley 
Medal of the Royal Society. It is presented at the Anniversary 
Meeting on St. Andrew's Day (Nov. 30), the medallist being 
usually present to receive it, but this the state of my father's 
health prevented. He wrote to Mr. Fox : — 

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

The presentation of the Copley Medal is of interest in 
connection with what has gone before, inasmuch as it led to Sir 
C. Lyell making, in his after-dinner speech, a " confession of 
faith as to the Origin." He wrote to ray father (Life of Sir 

* Public Opinion, April 23, 1863. A lively account of a police case, in 
which tlie quarrels of goientifio men are satirised. Mr. John Bull gives 
evidence that — 

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

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

" The gentleman smiled, shook his head, and stated that he regretted 
to mj that no class of men paid so little attention to the opinions of the 
clergy as that to which these unhappy men belonged." 

g 2 


C, Lyellf vol. ii. p. 384), " I said I tad been forced to give np my 
old faith without thoroughly seeing my way to a new one. But 
I think you would have been satisfied with the length I went." 

Lyell's acceptance of Evolution was made public in the tenth 
edition of the Principles^ published in 1867 and 1868. It was a 
sign of improvement, " a great triumph," as my father called it, 
that an evolutionary article by Wallace, dealing with Lyell's 
book, should have appeared in the Quarterly Beview (April, 
1869). Mr. Wallace wrote :— 

*' The history of science hardly presents so striking an 
instance of youthfulness of mind in advanced life as is shown 
by this abandonment of opinions so long held and so powerfully 
advocated ; and if we bear in mind the extreme caution, com- 
bined with the ardent love of truth which characterise every 
work which our author has produced, we shall be convinced 
that so great a change was not decided on without long and 
anxious deliberation, and that the views now adopted must 
indeed be supported by arguments of overwhelming force. If 
for no other reason than that Sir Charles Lyell in his tenth 
edition has adopted it, the theory of Mr. Darwin deserves an 
attentive and respectful consideration from every earnest seeker 
after truth." 

The incident of the Copley Medal is interesting as giving an 
index of the state of the scientific mind at the time. 

My father wrote: "some of the old members of the 
Royal are quite shocked at my having the Copley." In 
the Beader^ December 3, 1864, General Sabine's presidential 
address at the Anniversary Meeting is reported at some 
length. Special weight was laid on my father's work in 
Geology, Zoology, and Botany, but the Origin of Species was 
praised chiefly as containing a " mass of observations," &c. It 
is curious that as in the case of his election to the French 
Institute, so in this case, he was honoured not for the great 
work of his life, but for his less important work in special 

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

My father spoke justly when he said that the subject was 
" safe in foreign lands." In telling Lyell of the progress of 
opinion, he wrote (March, 1863) : — 

" A first-rate German naturalist * (I now forget the name 1 ), 
who has lately published a grand foHo, has spoken out to the 

♦ No doubt Haeckel, whose monograph on the Radiolaria was pub- 
lished in 1862. 

OH.XIVJ 1861—1871. 261 

utmost extent on the Origin. De CandoUe, in a very good 
paper on *Oaks,* goes, in Asa Gray's opinion, as far as he 
himself does ; but De Candolle, in writing to me, says tee, * wo 
think this and that ; ' so that I infer he really goes to the full 
extent with me, and tells me of a French good botanical 
palaeontologist * (name forgotten\ who writes to De Candolle 
that he is sure that my views will ultimately prevail. But I 
did not intend to have written all this. It satisfies me with 
the final results, but this result, I begin to see, will take two or 
three life-times. The entomologists are enough to keep the 
subject back for half a century." 

The official attitude of French science was not very hopeful. 
The Secretaire Perp^tuel of the Academie published an Examen 
du livre de M. Darwiuy on which my father remarks ; — 

" A great gun, Flourens, has written a little dull book f 
against me, which pleases me much, for it is plain that our 
good work is spreading in France." 

Mr. Huxley, who reviewed the book,J quotes the following 
passage from Flourens : — 

" M. Darwin continue : Aucune distinction absolue n*a 4td 
et ne pent etre ^tablie entre les especes et les varietes I Je 
vous ai d6j^ dit que vous vous trompiez; une distinction 
absolue s^pare les varietes d'aveo les especes." Mr. Huxley 
remarks on this, " Being devoid of the blessings of an Academy 
in England, we are unaccustomed to see our ablest men treated 
in this way even by a Perpetual Secretary." After demon- 
strating M. Flourens' misapprehension of Natural Selection, 
Mr. Huxley says, " How one knows it all by heart, and with 
what relief one reads at p. 65, * Je laisse M. Darwin.* " 

The deterrent effect of the Academie on the spread of 
Evolution in France has been most striking. Even at the 
present day a member of the Institute does not feel quite 
happy in owning to a belief in Darwinism. We may indeed 
be thankful that we are "devoid of such a blessing." 

Among the Germans, he was fast gaining supporters. 
In 1865 he began a correspondence with the distinguished 
Naturalist, Fritz Miiller, then, as now, resident in Brazil. 
They never met, but the correspondence with Miiller, which 
continued to the close of my father's life, was a source of 
very great pleasure to him. My impression is that of all his 
unseen friends Fritz Miiller was the one for whom he had 

♦ The Marquis de Saporta. 

t Examen du livre de M. Larmn 9ur Vorigine des espeoeB. Pajr P. 
Flourens. 8vo. Paris, 1864. 
X Lay Sermontj p. 328. 


the strongest regard. Fritz Miiller is the brother of another 
distinguished man, the late Hermann Miiller, the anthor of 
Die Befruchtung der Blumen (The Fertilisation of Flowers), 
and of much other valuable work. 

The occasion of writing to Fritz Miiller was the latter's 
book, Fiir Darwin, which was afterwards translated by Mr. 
Dallas at my father's suggestion, under the title Facts and 
Arguments for Darmn. 

Shortly afterwards, in 1866, began his connection with 
Professor Victor Cams, of Leipzig, who undertook the trans- 
lation of the 4th edition of the Origin. From this time 
forward Professor Car us continued to translate my father's 
books into German. The conscientious care with which this 
work was done was of material service, and I well remember 
the admiration (mingled with a tinge of vexation at his own 
shortcomings) with which my father used to receive the lists of 
oversights, &c., which Professor Carus discovered in the course 
of translation. The connection was not a mere business one, 
but was cemented by warm feelings of regard on both sides. 

About this time, too, he came in contact with Professor 
Ernst Haeokel, whose influence on German science has been so 

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

Dr. E. Krause * has given a good account of Professor 
Haeckel's services in the cause of Evolution. After speaking 
of the lukewarm reception which the Origin met with in 
Germany on its first publication, he goes on to describe the 
first adherents of the new faith as more or less popular writers, 
not especially likely to advance its acceptance with the 
professorial or purely scientific world. And he claims for 
Haeckel that it was his advocacy of Evolution in his Badio^ 

* Giarles Darmn und aein Verhaltniss zu Deutschland, 1885. 

Cii. XIV.] 1861-— 1871. 263 

laria (1862), and at the *' Versammlung " of Naturalists at 
Stettin in 1863, that placed the Darwinian question for the 
first time publicly before the forum of German science, and 
his enthusiastio propagandism that chiefly contributed to its 

Mr. Huxley, writing in 1869, paid a high tribute to Professor 
Haeckel as the Corvphasus of the Darwinian movement in 
Germany. Of his Oenerelle Morphologies " an attempt to work 
out the practical applications " of the doctrine of Evolution to 
their final results, he says that it has the " force and suggestive- 
ness, and . . . systematising power of Oken without his extra- 
vagance." Mr. Huxley also testifies to the value of Haeckel's 
Schopfungs-Geschichte as an exposition of the Oenerelle MoT" 
phologie " for an educated public." 

Again, in his Evolution in Biology * Mr. Huxley wrote: 
" Whatever hesitation may not unfrequently bo felt by less 
daring minds, in following Haeckel in many of his specula- 
tions, his attempt to systematise the doctrine of Evolution and 
to exhibit its influence as the central thought of modem 
biology, cannot fail to have a far-reaching inflaence on the 
progress of science." 

In the following letter my father alludes to the somewhat 
fierce manner in which Professor Haeckel fought the battle of 
* Darwinismus,' and on this subject Dr. Krause has some good 
remarks (p. 162). He asks whether much that happened in tho 
heat of the conflict might not well have been otherwise, and 
adds that Haeckel himself is the last man to deny this. Never- 
theless he thinks that even these things may have worked 
well for the cause of Evolution, inasmuch as Haeckel "con- 
centrated on himself by his Ursprung dea MenscJien-Geschlechts, 
his Oenerelle Morphologie, and Schopfungs-OescMchtey all the 
hatred and bitterness which Evolution excited in certain 
quarters," so that, " in a surprisingly short time it became tho 
fashion in Germany that Haeckel alone should be abused, 
while Darwin was held up as the ideal of forethought and 

a B, to R Haeckel Down, May 21, 1867. 

Deab Haeckel, — Your letter of the 18th has given me great 
pleasure, for you have received what I said in the most kind and 

* An article in the Encyclopedia Britannicay 9th edit, reprinted in 
Sdmce and Culture, 1881, p. 298. 


cordial manner. Yon have in part taken what I said mnch 
stronger than I had intended. It never occnrred to me for a 
moment to doubt that yonr work, with the whole subject bo 
admirably and clearly arranged, as well as fortified by so many 
new facts and arguments, would not advance our common object 
in the highest degree. All that I think is that you will excite 
anger, and that anger so completely blinds every one that your 
arguments would have no chance of influencing those who are 
already opposed to our views. Moreover, I do not at all like 
that you, towards whom I feel so much friendship, should un- 
necessarily make enemies, and there is pain and vexation enough 
in the world without more being caused. But I repeat that I 
can feel no doubt that your work will greatly advance our 
subject, and I heartily wish it could be translated into English, 
for my own sake and that of others. With respect to what 
you say about my advancing too strongly objections against 
my own views, some of my English friends think that I have 
erred on this side ; but truth compelled me to write what I did, 
and I am inclined to think it was good policy. The belief in 
the descent theory is slowly spreading in England,* even 
amongst those who can give no reason for their belief. No body 
of men were at first so much opposed to my views as the members 
of the London Entomological Society, but now I am assured 
that, with the exception of two or three old men, all the 
members concur with me to a certain extent. It has been a 
great disappointment to mo that I have never received your long 
letter written to me from the Canary Islands. I am rejoiced to 
hear that your tour, which seems to have been a most interesting 
one, has done your health much good. 

.... I am very glad to hear that there is some chance of 
your visiting England this autumn, and all in this house will be 
delighted to see you here. 

Believe me, my dear Haeckel, yours very sincerely. 

I place here an extract from a letter of later date (Nov. 1868), 
which refers to one of Haeckel's later works.f 

*' Your chapters on the affinities and genealogy of the animal 
kingdom strike me as admirable and full of original thought. 

* In October, 1867, be wrote to Mr. Wallace : — " Mr. Warrington has 
lately read an excellent and epirited abstract of the Origin before the 
Victoria Institute, and as this is a most orthodox body, he nas gained the 
name of the Devil's Advocate. Tlie discussion which followed during 
three consecutive meetings is very rich from the nonsense talked." 

t Die naiurliche SchSjtfungs-GescMchtey 1868. It was translated and 
published in 1876, under the title. The History of Creation. 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 266 

Your boldness, however, sometimes makes me tremble, bnt as 
Huxley remarked, some one must be bold enough to make a 
beginning in drawing up tables of descent. Although yon fully 
admit the imperfection of the geological record, yet Huxley 
agreed with me in thinking that you are sometimes rather rash 
in venturing to say at what periods the several groups first 
appeared. I have this advantage over you, that I remember 
how wonderfully different any statement on this subject made 
20 years ago, would have been to what would now be the case, 
and I expect the next 20 years will make quite as great a 

The following extract from a letter to Professor W. Preyer, a 
well-known physiologist, shows that he estimated at its true 
value the help he was to receive from the scientific workers of 
Germany ; — 

March 81, 1868. 

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

I must now pass on to the publication, in 1868, of his book 
on !Z^e Variation of Animals and Plants under JDomestication, 
It was begun two days after the appearance of the second edition 
of the Origin^ on Jan. 9, 1860, and it may, I think, be reckoned 
that about half of the eight years that elapsed between its com- 
mencement and completion was spent on it. The book did not 
escape adverse criticism: it was said, for instance, that the 
public had been patiently waiting for Mr. Darwin's pieces 
jtisticativeSj and that after eight years of expectation, all they 
got was a mass of detail about pigeons, rabbits and silk- 
worms. But the true critics welcomed it as an expansion with 
unrivalled wealth of illustration of a section of the Origin. 
Variation under the influence of man was the only subject 
(except the question of man's origin) which he was able to deal 
with in detail so as to utilise his full stores of knowledge. 
When we remember how important for his argument is a know- 


ledge of the action of artificial selection, we may well rejoice 
that this subject was chosen by him for amplification. 

In 1864, he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker : 

" I have begun looking over my old MS., and it is as fresh as 
if I had never written it ; parts are astonishingly dull, but yet 
worth printing, I think ; and other parts strike me as very good. 
I am a complete millionaire in odd and curious little facts, and 
I have been really astounded at my own industry whilst reading 
my chapters on Inheritance and Selection. God knows when 
the book will ever be completed, for I find that I am very weak, 
and on my best days cannot do more than one or one and a half 
hours' work. It is a good deal harder than writing about my 
dear climbing plants." 

In Aug. 1867, when Lyell was reading the proofs of the book, 
my father wrote : — 

" I thank you cordially for your last two letters. The former 
one did me real good, for I had got so wearied with the subject 
that I could hardly bear to correct the proofs, and you gave me 
fresh heart. I remember thinking that when you came to the 
Pigeon chapter you would pass it over as quite unreadable. I have 
been particularly pleased that you have noticed Pangenesis. I 
do not know whether you ever had the feeling of having thought 
so much over a subject that you had lost all power of judging 
it. This is my case with Pangenesis (which is 26 or 27 years 
old), but I am inclined to think that if it be admitted as a 
probable hypothesis it will be a somewhat important step in 

His theory of Pangenesis, by which he attempted to explain 
" how the characters of the parents are * photographed ' on the 
child, by means of material atoms derived from each cell in 
both parents, and developed in the child," has never met with 
much acceptance. Nevertheless, some of his contemporaries 
felt with him about it. Thus in February 1868, he wrote to 
Hooker : — 

" I heard yesterday from Wallace, who says (excuse horrid 
vanity), * I can hardly tell you how much I admire the chapter 
on Pangenesis. It is a positive comfort to me to have any 
feasible explanation of a difficulty that has always been haunting 
me, and I shall never be able to give it up till a better one 
supplies its place, and that I think hardly possible.' Now 
his foregoing [italicised] words express my sentiments exactly 
and fully : though perhaps I feel the relief extra strongly from 
having during many years vainly attempted to form some 
hypothesis. When you or Huxley say that a single cell of a 
plant, or the stump of an amputated limb, has the ' potentiality * 

Oh. XIVJ 1861—1871. 267 

of reproducing the whole— or * diffuses an influence/ these 
words give me no positive idea ; — but, when it is said that the 
cells of a plant, or stump, include atoms derived from every 
other cell of the whole organism and capable of development, 1 
gain a distinct idea." 

Immediately after the publication of the book, he wrote : 

Down, February 10 [1868]. 
My dbar Hooker, — What is the good of having a friend, if 
one may not boast to him ? I heard yesterday that Murray 
has sold in a week the whole edition of 1500 copies of my book, 
and the sale so pressing that he has agreed with Clowes to get 
another edition in fourteen days 1 This has done me a world 
of good, for I had got into a sort of dogged hatred of my book. 
And now there has appeared a review in the Pall Mall which 
has pleased me excessively, more perhaps than is reasonable. 
I am quite content, and do not care how much I may be pitched 
into. If by any chance you should hear who wrote the article 
in the Pall Mall, do please tell me ; it is some one who writes 
capitally, and who knows the subject. I went to luncheon on 
Sunday, to Lubbock's, partly in hopes of seeing you, and, be 
hanged to you, you were not there. 

Your cock-a-hoop friend, 


Independently of the favourable tone of the able series of 
notices in the Pall Mall Gazette (Feb. 10, 16, 17, 1868), 
my father may well have been gratified by the following 

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

And again in the third notice, Feb. 17 : — 

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


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

The following extract from a letter (Feb. 1870) to his friend 
Professor Newton, the well-known ornithologist, shows bow 
much he valued the appreciation of his colleagues. 

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


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

It is remarkable that only four years before this date, namely 
in 1864, he had given up hope of being able to work out this 
subject. He wrote to Mr. Wallace : — 

" I have collected a few notes on man, but I do not suppose 
that I shall ever use them. Do you intend to follow out your 
views, and if so, would you like at some future time to have my 
few references and notes ? I am sure I hardly know whether 
they are of any value, and they are at present in a state of 
chaos. There is much more that I should like to write, but I 
have not strength." But this was at a period of ill-health ; 
not long before, in 1863, he had written in the same depressed 
tone about his future work generally : — 

" I have been so steadily going downhill, I cannot help 
doubting whether I can ever crawl a little uphill again. Unless 

♦ Zoological Beoord, The volume for 1868, published December, 1869. 

Oh. XIV.] 1861—1871. 269 

I can, enougli to work a little, I hope my life may be very short, 
for to lie on a sofa all day and do nothing but give trouble 
to the best and kindest of wives and good dear children is 

The ** Chapter on Man," which afterwards grew into the 
Descent of Many was interrupted by the necessity of correcting 
the proofs of Animah and Plants, and by some botanical 
work, but was resumed with unremitting industry on the 
first available day in the following year. He could not rest, 
and he recognised with regret the gradual change in his mind 
that rendered continuous work more and more necessary to 
him as he grow older. This is expressed in a letter to Sir 
J. D. Hooker, June 17, 1868, which repeats to some extent 
what is given in the Autobiography : — 

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

The Descent of Man (and this is indicated on its title-page) 
consists of two separate books, namely on the pedigree of 
mankind, and on sexual selection in the animal kingdom 
generally. In studying this latter part of the subject he had 
to take into consideration the whole subject of colour. I give 
the two following characteristic letters, in which the reader is 
as it were present at the birth of a theory. 

0. D. to A. B. Wallace. Down, February 23 [1867]. 

Deab Wallace, — I much regretted that I was unable to call 
on you, but after Monday I was unable even to leave the house. 
On Monday evening I called on Bates, and put a difficulty 
before him, which he could not answer, and, as on some former 
similar occasion, his first suggestion was, " You had better ask 
Wallace." My difficulty is, why are caterpillars sometimes so 
beautifully and artistically coloured ? Seeing that many are 
coloured to escape danger, I can hardly attribute their bright 
colour in other cases to mere physical conditions. Bates says 
the most gaudy caterpillar he ever saw in Amazonia (of a 
sphinx) was conspicuous at the distance of yard^, from its 


black and red colours, whilst feeding on large green leaves. If 
any one objected to male butterflies having been made beautiful 
by sexual selection, and asked why should they not have been 
made beautiful as well as their caterpillars, what would you 
answer ? I could not answer, but should maintain my ground. 
Will you think over this, and some time, either by letter or 
when we meet, tell me what you think ? . . . . 

He seems to have received an explanation by return of post, 
for a day or two afterwards he could write to Wallace : — 

" Bates was quite right ; you are the man to apply to in a 
difficulty. I never heard anything more ingenious than your 
suggestion, and I hope you may be able to prove it true. That 
is a splendid fact about the white moths ; it warms one's very 
blood to see a theory thus almost proved to be true." 

Mr. Wallace's suggestion was that conspicuous caterpillars 
or perfect insects {e.g. white butterflies), which are distasteful 
to birds, benefit by being promptly recognised and therefore 
easily avoided.* 

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

" By the way, there is another subject which I shall introduce 
in my essay, namely, expression of countenance. Now, do you 
happen to know by any odd chance a very good-natured and 
acute observer in the Malay Archipelago, who you think would 
make a few easy observations for me on the expression of the 
Malays when excited by various emotions ? " 

The reference to the subject of expression in the above 
letter is explained by the fact, that my father's original inten- 
tion was to give his essay on this subject as a chapter in the 
Descent of Man^ which in its turn grew, as we have seen, out of 
a proposed chapter in Animals and Plants. 

He got much valuable help from Dr. Gunther, of the Natural 
History Museum, to whom he wrote in May 1870 : — 

" As I crawl on with the successive classes I am astonished 
to find how similar the rules are about the nuptial or ' wedding 

* Mr. Jeuner Weir's observations published in the Transactions of the 
Entomological Society (1869 and 1870) give strong support to the theory 
in question. 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 271 

dress * of all animals. The subject has begun to interest me 
in an extraordinary degree ; but I must try not to fall into my 
common error of being too speculative. But a drunkard might 
as well say he would drink a little and not too much I My 
essay, as far as fishes, batrachians and reptiles are concerned, 
will be in fact yours, only written by me." 

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

He also wrote to Dr. Gray : — 

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

The book was published on Fcbruaiy 24, 1871. 2500 
copies were printed at first, and 6000 more before the end of 
the year. My father notes that he received for this edition 

Nothing can give a better idea (in a small compass) of the 
growth of Evolutionism, and its position at this time, than a 
(quotation from Mr. Huxley * ; — 

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

A passage in the Introduction to the Descent of Man shows 
that the author recognised clearly this improvement in the 
position of Evolutionism. " When a naturalist like Carl Vogt 
ventures to say in his address, as President of the National 

* Contemporary RevieWj 1871. 


Institution of Geneva (1869), * personne, en Europe an moins, 
n*ose plus soutenir la creation independante et de toutes pieces, 
des especes,' it is manifest that at least a large number of 
naturalists must admit that species are the modified descendants 
of other species ; and this especially holds good with the 
younger and rising naturalists. ... Of the older and honoured 
chiefs in natural science, many, unfortunately, are still opposed 
to Evolution in every form." 

In Mr. James Hague's pleasantly written article, " A 
Reminiscence of Mr. Darwin" {Harper*8 Magazine, October 
1884), he describes a visit to my father "early in 1871," 
shortly after the publication of the Descent of Man. Mr. 
Hague represents my father as "much impressed by the general 
assent with which his views had been received," and as 
remarking that " everybody is talking about it without being 

Later in the year the reception of the book is described in 
different language in the Edinburgh Review : " On every side 
it is raising a storm of mingled wrath, wonder and admira- 

Haeckel seems to have been one of the first to write to 
my father about the Descent of Man. I quote from Darwin's 
reply : — 

"I must send you a few words to thank you for your 
interesting, and I may truly say, charming letter. I am 
delighted that you approve of my book, as far as you have read 
it. I felt very great difficulty and doubt how often I ought 
to allude to what you have published ; strictly speaking every 
idea, although occurring independently to me, if published by 
you previously ought to have appeared as if taken from your 
works, but this would have made my book very dull reading ; 
and I hoped that a full acknowledgment at the beginning 
would suffice.* I cannot tell you how glad I am to find that 
I have expressed my high admiration of your labours with 
sufficient clearness ; I am sure that I have not expressed it too 

In March he wrote to Professor Ray Lankester : — 

"I think you will be glad to hear, as a proof of the 

* In the introduction to the Descent of Man the author wrote : — " This 
last naturalist [Haeckel] . . . has recently . . . published his Naturliche 
Schopfungs-Geschichte, in which he fully discusses the genealogy 'of man. 
If this work had appeared before my es&iy bad been written, I should 
probably never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions at which I 
have arrived, I find confirmed hj this naturalist, whose knowledge on 
many points is much fuller than mine." 

Ch. xrv.3 1861—1871. 273 

increasing liborality of England, that my book has sold wonder- 
fully .... and as yet no abuse (though some, no doubt, will 
come, strong enough), and only contempt even in the poor old 

About the same time he wrote to Mr. Murray : — 

" Many thanks for the Nonconformist [March 8, 1871]. I like 
to see all that is written, and it is of some real use. If 
you hear of reviewers in out-of-the-way papers, especially the 
religious, as Becord, Guardian, Tablet^ kindly inform me. It 
is wonderful that there has been no abuse as yet. On the 
whole, the reviews have been highly favourable." 

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Murray (April 13, 
1871) refers to a review in the Times * : — 

" 1 have no idea who wrote the Times' review. He has no 
knowledge of science, and seems to me a wind-bag full of meta- 
physics and classics, so that I do not much regard his adverse 
judgment, though I suppose it will injure the sale." 

A striking review appeared in the Saturday Beview (March 4 
and 11, 1871) in which the position of Evolution is well stated. 

" He claims to have brought man himself, his origin and 
constitution, within that unity which he had previously sought 
to trace through all lower animal forms. The growth of 
opinion in the interval, due in chief measure to his own inter- 
mediate works, has placed the discussion of this problem in a 
position very much in advance of that held by it fifteen years 
ago. The problem of Evolution is hardly any longer to be 
treated as one of first principles : nor has Mr. Darwin to do 
battle for a first hearing of his central hypothesis, upborne as it 
is by a phalanx of names full of distinction and promise in 
either hemisphere." 

We must now return to the history of the general principle 
of Evolution. At the beginning of 1869 f he was at work on 

♦ April 7 and 8, 1871. 

t His holiday this year was at Caerdeon, on the north shore of tho 
beautiful Bannoutli estuary, and pleasantly placed in being close to 
wild hill country behind, as well as to the picturesque wooded " hum- 
mocks," between the steeper hills and the river. My father was ill and 
somewhat depressed throughout this visit, and I think felt imprisoned 
and saddened by his inability to reach the hills over which he had once 
wandered for days together. 

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

" We have been here for ten days, how I wish it was possible for you to 
pay us a visit here ; we have a beautiful house with a terraced garden, 
and a really magnificent view of Cader, right opposite. Old Cader is a 
grand fellow, and shows himself off superbly with every changing light. 
We remain here till the end of July, when the H. Wedgwoods have the 



the fifth edition of the Origin. The most important alterations 
were suggested by a remarkable paper in the North British 
Beview (June, 1867) written by the late Fleeming Jenkin. 

It is not a little remarkable that the criticisms, which my 
father, as I believe, felt to be the most valuable ever made on 
his views should have come, not from a professed naturalist but 
from a Professor of Engineering. 

The point on which Fleeming Jenkin convinced my father 
is the extreme difficulty of believing that single individuals 
which differ from their fellows in the possession of some useful 
character can be the starting point of a new variety. Thus the 
origin of a new variety is more likely to be found in a species 
which presents the incipient character in a large number of 
its individuals. This point of view was of course perfectly 
familiar to him, it was this that induced him to study " un- 
conscious selection," where a breed is formed by the long- 
continued preservation by Man of all those individuals which 
are best adapted to his needs: not as in the art of the 
professed breeder, where a single individual is picked out to 
breed from. 

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

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

house. I have been as yet in a very poor way ; it seems as soon as the 
■timulus of mental work stops, my whole stren^h gives way. As yet I 
have hardly crawled half a mile from the house, and then have been 
fearfully fatigued. It is enough to make one wish oneself quiet in a 
•omfortable tomb.** 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 275 

those which at least cannot be assailed by mere efforts of 

In the fifth edition of the Origin, my father altered a 
passage in the Historical Sketch (fourth edition, p. xviii.). He 
thus practically gave up the difficult task of understanding 
whether or not Sir R. Owen claims to have discovered the 
principle of Natural Selection. Adding, ** As far as the mere 
enunciation of the principle of Natural Selection is concerned, 
it is quite immaterial whether or not Professor Owen preceded 
me, for both of us . . . were long ago preceded by Pr. Wells 
and Mr. Matthew." 

The desire that his views might spread in France was always 
strong with my father, and he was therefore justly annoyed to 
find that in 18G9 the publisher of the French edition had 
brought out a third edition without consulting the author. 
He was accordingly glad to enter into an arrangement for a 
French translation of the fifth edition ; this was undertaken 
by M. Reinwald, with whom he continued to have pleasant rela- 
tions as the publisher of many of his books in French. 

He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker ; — 

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

It will be well perhaps to place here all that remains to be 
said about the Origin of Species. The sixth or final edition 
was published in January 1872 in a smaller and cheaper form 
than its predecessors. The chief addition was a discussion 
suggested by Mr. Mivart's Genesis of Species^ which appeared 
in 1871, before the publication of the Descent of Man. The 
following quotation from a letter to Wallace (July 9, 1871) 
may serve to show the spirit and method in which Mr. Mivart 
dealt with the subject. " I grieve to see the omission of the 
words by Mivart, detected by Wright.* I complained to 

♦ The late Chauncey Wrigbt, in an article publialied in the North 
American Review, vol. cxiii. pp. 83, 84. Wright points out that the "words 
omitted are '* essential to the point on which he [Mr. Mivart] cites Mr. 

I 2 


Miyart that in two cases lie quotes only the commencement of 
sentences by me, and thns modifies my meaning ; but I never 
supposed he would have omitted words. There are other cases 
of what I consider unfair treatment." 

My father continues, with his usual charity and modera- 
tion : — 

"I conclude with sorrow that though he means to be 
honourable, he is so bigoted that he cannot act fairly." 

In July 1871, my father wrote to Mr. Wallace : — 

" I feel very doubtful how far I shall succeed in answering 
Mivart, ^ it is so difficult to answer objections to doubtful 
points, and make the discussion readable. I shall make only 
a selection. The worst of it is, that I cannot possibly hunt 
through all my references for isolated points, it would take me 
three weeks of intolerably hard work. I wish I had your 
power of arguing clearly. At present I feel sick of everything, 
and if I could occupy my time and forget my daily discomforts, 
or rather miseries, I would never publish another word. But 
I shall cheer up, I dare say, soon, having only just got over a 
bad attack. Farewell; God knows why I bother you about 
myself. I can say nothing more about missing-links than 
what I have said. I should rely much on pre-silurian times ; 
but then comes Sir W. Thomson like an odious spectre.* 

"... There is a most cutting review of me in the [July] 
Quarterly ; I have only read a few pages. The skill and style 
make me think of Mivart. I shall soon be viewed as the most 
despicable of men. This Quarterly Beview tempts me to 
republish Ch. Wright,f even if not read by any one, just to 
show some one will say a word against Mivart, and that his 
(i.e. Mivart's) remarks ought not to be swallowed without 
some reflection. . . . God knows whether my strength and 
spirit will last out to write a chapter versus Mivart and others ; 
I do so hate controversy and feel I shall do it so badly." 

The Quarterly review was the subject of an article by Mr, 
Huxley in the November number of the Contemporary Heview, 
Here, also, are discussed Mr. Wallace's Contribution to the 
Theory of Natural Selection^ and the second edition of Mr. 

Darwin's authority." It should be mentioned that the passage from 
which wordg are omitted is not given within inverted comma« by 
Mr. Mivart. 

* My father, as an Evolutionist, felt that he required more time than 
Sir W. Thomson's estimate of the age of the world allows. 

t Chauncey Wright's review was published a^ a pamphlet in the auttunn 
of 1871. 

Cn. XIV] 1861—1871. 277 

Mivart's Genesis of Species. What follows is taken from Mr. 
Huxley's article. The Quarterly reviewer, though to some 
extent an evolutionist, believes that Man " differs more from au 
elephant or a gorilla, than do these from the dust of the earth 
on which they tread." The reviewer also declares that 
Darwin has '* with needless opposition, set at naught the first 
principles of both philosophy and religion." Mr. Huxley 
passes from the Qimrterly reviewer's further statement, that 
there is no necessary opposition between evolution and religion, 
to the more definite position taken by Mr. Mivart, that the 
orthodox authorities of the Roman Catholic Church agree in 
distinctly asserting derivative creation, so that "their teach- 
ings harmonize with all that modern science can possibly 
require." Here Mr. Huxley felt the want of that " study of 
Christian philosophy" (at any rate, in its Jesuitic garb), 
which Mr. Mivart speaks of, and it was a want he at once set 
to work to fill up. He was then staying at St. Andrews, 
whence he wrote to my father : — 

" By great good luck there is an excellent library here, with 
a good copy of Suarez,* in a dozen big folios. Among these I 
dived, to the great astonishment of the librarian, and looking 
into them * as careful robins eye the delver's toil ' {vide Idylls), 
I carried off the two venerable clasped volumes which were 
most promising." Even those who know Mr. Huxley's un- 
rivalled power of tearing the heart out of a book must marvel 
at the sHU with which he has made Suarez speak on his side. 
" So I have come out," he wrote, " in the new character of a 
defender of Catholic orthodoxy, and upset Mivart out of the 
mouth of his own prophet." 

The remainder of Mr. Huxley's critique is largely occupied 
with a dissection of the Quarterly reviewer's psychology, and 
his ethical views. He deals, too, with Mr. "Wallace's objections 
to the doctrine of Evolution by natural causes when applied to 
the mental faculties of Man. Finally, he devotes a couple of 
pages to justifying his description of the Quarterly reviewer's 
treatment of Mr. Darwin as alike " unjust and unbecoming." f 

* The learned Jesuit on whom Mr. Mivart mainly relies. 

t The same \jords may be applied to Mr. Mivart's treatment of my 
father. The following extract from a letter to Mr. Wallace (June 17th, 
1874) refers to Mr. Mivart's statement {Lessons from Nature, p. 144) that 
Mr. Darwin at first studiously disguised his views as to the " bestiality 
of man":— 

"I have only just heard of and procured your two articles in the 
Academy. I thank you most cordially for your generous defence of me 
against Mr. Mivart, In the Origin I did not discuss the derivation of 
any one species ; but that I might not be accused of concealing my opinion. 


In the sixth edition my father also referred to the " direct 
action of the conditions of life" as a subordinate cause of 
modification in living things : On this subject he wrote to Dr. 
Moritz Wagner (Oct. 13, 1876) : "In my opinion the greatest 
error which I have committed, has been not allowing sufficient 
weight to the direct action of the environment, i.e. food, climate, 
&c., independently of natural selection. Modifications thus 
caused, which are neither of advantage nor disadvantage to the 
modified organism, would be especially favoured, as I can now 
see chiefly through your observations, by isolation, in a small 
area, where only a few individuals lived under nearly uniform 

It has been supposed that such statements indicate a serious 
change of front on my father's part. As a matter of fact the 
first edition of the Origin contains the words, "I am con- 
vinced that natural selection has been the main but not the 
exclusive means of modification." Moreover, any alteration 
that his views may have undergone was due not to a change of 
opinion, but to change in the materials on which a judgment 
was to be formed. Thus he wrote to Wagner in the above 
quoted letter : — 

" When I wrote the Origin, and for some years afterwards, I 
could find little good evidence of the direct action of the 
environment ; now there is a large body of evidence." 

With the possibility of such action of the environment he 
had of course been familiar for many years. Thus he wrote to 
Mr. Davidson in 1861 : — 

" My greatest trouble is, not being able to weigh the direct 
effects of the long-continued action of changed conditions of 
life without any selection, with the action of selection on 
mere accidental (so to speak) variability. I oscillate much on 
this head, but generally return to my belief that the direct 
action of the conditions of life has not been great. At least 
this direct action can have played an extremely small part in 
producing all the numberless and beautiful adaptations in 
every living creature." 

And to Sir Joseph Hooker in the following year : — 

"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 

I went out of my way, and inserted a eentence which seemed to mo (and 
still so seems) to disclose plainly my belief. This was quoted in my 
Descent of Man. Therefore it is very unjust ... of Mr. Mivart to acouae 
mo of base fraudulent concealment/' 

Ch. XIV.] 1861—1871. 279 

lessens tlie glory of Natural Selection, and is so confonndedly 
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." 

Reference has already been made to the growth of his book 
on the Expression of the Emotions out of a projected chapter in 
the Descent of Man, 

It was published in the autumn of 1872. The edition con- 
sisted of 7000, and of these 6267 copies were sold at Mr. 
Murray's sale in November. Two thousand were printed at 
the end of the year, and this proved a misfortune, as they did 
not afterwards sell so rapidly, and thus a mass of notes 
collected by the author was never employed for a second 
edition during his lifetime.* 

As usual he had no belief in the possibility of the book 
being generally successful. The following passage in a letter 
to Haeckel serves to show that he had felt the writing of this 
book as a somewhat severe strain : — 

*' I have finished my little book on Expression, and when it is 
published in November I will of course send you a copy, in 
case you would like to read it for amusement. I have resumed 
s<»me old botanical work, and perhaps I shall never again 
attempt to discuss theoretical views. 

" I am growing old and weak, and no man can tell when his 
intellectual powers begin to fail. Long life and happiness to 
you for your own sake and for that of science." 

A good review by Mr. Wallace appeared in the Quarterly 
Journal of Science^ Jan. 1873. Mr. Wallace truly remarks that 
the book exhibits certain "characteristics of the author's mind in 
an eminent degree," namely, " the insatiable longing to discover 
the causes of the varied and complex phenomena presented by 
living things." He adds that in the case of the author " the 
restless curiosity of the child to know the ' what for ? ' the 
* why ? ' and the * how ? ' of everything " seems " never to have 
abated its force." 

The publication of the Expression book was the occasion of 
the following letter to one of his oldest friends, the late Mrs. 
Haliburton, who was the daughter of a Shropshire neighbour, 
Mr. Owen of Woodhouse, and became the wife of the author of 
Sam Slick. 

Nov. 1, 1872. 

My dear Mes. Haliburton, — I dare say you will be surprised 
to hear from me. My object in writing now is to say that I 

* They were utilised to some extent in the 2nd edition, edited by me, 
and published in 1890.— F. D. 


have just published a book on the Expression of the Emotions in 
Man and Animals ; and it has occurred to me that you might 
possibly like to read some parts of it ; and I can hardly think 
that this would have been the case with any of the books which 
I have already published. So I send by this post my present 
book. Although I have had no communication with you or 
the other members of your family for so long a time, no scenes 
in my whole life pass so frequently or so vividly before my 
mind as those which relate to happy old days spent at Wood- 
house. I should very much like to hear a little news about 
yourself and the other members of your family, if you will take 
the trouble to write to me. Formerly I used to glean some 
news about you from my sisters. 

I have had many years of bad health and have not been able 
to visit anywhere ; and now I feel very old. As long as I pass 
a perfectly uniform life, I am able to do some daily work in 
Natural History, which is still my passion, as it was in old 
days, when you used to laugh at me for collecting beetles with 
such zeal at W^oodhouse. Excepting from my continued ill- 
health, which has excluded me from society, my life has been a 
very happy one ; the greatest drawback being that several of 
my children have inherited from me feeble health. I hope 
with all my heart that you retain, at least to a large extent, the 
famous " Owen constitution." With sincere feelings of grati- 
tude and affection for all bearing the name of Owen, I venture 
to sign myself, 

Yours affectionately. 

CHiBLEs Dabwin. 

( 281 ) 



In 1874 a second edition of his Coral Beefs was published, 
which need not specially concern us. It was not until some 
time afterwards that the criticisms of my father's theory 
appeared, which have attracted a good deal of attention. 

The following interesting account of the subject is taken 
from Professor's Judd's "Critical Introduction" to Messrs. 
Ward, Lock and Co's. edition of Coral Beefs and Volcanic 
Islands, dc, * 

" The first serious note of dissent to the generally accepted 
theory was heard in 1863, when a distinguished German 
naturalist, Dr. Karl Semper, declared that his study of the 
Pelew Islands showed that uninterrupted subsidence could 
not have been going on in that region. Dr. Samper's objec- 
tions were very carefully considered by Mr. Darwin, and a 
reply to them appeared in the second and revised edition of his 
Coral Beefs, which was published in 1874. With characteristic 
frankness and freedom from prejudices, Darwin admitted that 
the facts brought forward by Dr. Semper proved that in certain 
specified cases, subsidence could not have played the chief 
part in originating the peculiar forms of the coral islands. 
But while making this admission, he firmly maintained that 
exceptional cases, like those described in the Pelew Islands, 
were not sufficient to invalidate the theory of subsidence as 
applied to the widely spread atolls, encircling reefs, and 
barrier-reefs of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is worthy of 
note that to the end of his life Darwin maintained a friendly 
correspondence with Semper concerning the points on which 
they were at issue. 

"After the appearance of Semper's work. Dr. J. J. Rein 
published an account of the Bermudas, in which he opposed 
the interpretation of the structure of the islands given by 

* The Minerva Library of Famous Boohs, 1890, edited by G. T. 


Nelson and other authors, and maintained that the facts ob- 
served in them are opposed to the views of Darwin. Al- 
though so far as I am aware, Darwin had no opportunity of 
studying and considering these particular objections, it may be 
mentioned that two American geologists have since carefully 
re-examined the district — Professor W. N. Rice in 1884 and 
Professor A. Heilprin in 1889 — and they have independently 
arrived at the conclusion that Dr. Rein's objections cannot be 

" The most serious objection to Darwin's coral-reef theory, 
however, was that which developed itself after the return of 
H.M.S. Challenger from her famous voyage. Mr. John Murray, 
one of the staff of naturalists on board that vessel, propounded 
a new theory of coral-reefs, and maintained that the view that 
they were formed by subsidence was one that was no longer 
tenable; these objections have been supported by Professor 
Alexander Agassiz in the United States, and by Dr. A. Geikie, 
and Dr. H. B. Guppy in this country. 

" Although Mr. Darwin did not live to bring out a third 
edition of his Coral Beefs ^ I know from several conversations 
with him that he had given the most patient and thoughtful 
consideration to Mr. Murray's paper on the subject. He 
admitted to me that had he known, when he wrote his work, of 
the abundant deposition of the remains of calcareous organisms 
on the sea floor, he might have regarded this cause as sufficient 
in a few cases to raise the summit of submerged volcanoes or 
other mountains to a level at which reef-forming corals can 
commence to flourish. But he did not think that the admission 
that under certain favourable conditions, atolls might be thus 
formed without subsidence, necessitated an abandonment of his 
theory in the case of the innumerable examples of the kind 
which stud the Indian and Pacific Oceans. 

" A letter written by Darwin to Professor Alexander Agassiz 
in May 1881, shows exactly the attitude which careful con- 
sideration of the subject led him to maintain towards the 
theory propounded by Mr. Murray : — 

" * You will have seen,' he writes, * Mr. Murray's views on the 
formation of atolls and barrier reefs. Before publishing my 
book, I thought long over the same view, but only as far as 
ordinary marine organisms are concerned, for at that time little 
was known of the multitude of minute oceanic organisms. I re- 
jected this view, as from the few dredgings made in the Beagle, 
in the south temperate regions, I concluded that shells, the 
smaller corals, &c., decayed, and were dissolved, when not 
protected by the deposition of sediment, and sediment could 

Oh. XV.3 coral REEFS, 1881. 283 

not acciunulate in the open ocean. Certainly, shells, &c., were 
in several cases completely rotten, and crumbled into mud 
between my fingers ; but you will know well whether this is in 
any degree common. I have expressly said that a bank at the 
proper depth would give rise to an atoll, which could not be 
distinguished from one formed during subsidence. I can, 
however, hardly believe in the former presence of as many 
banks (there having been no subsidence) as there are atolls in 
the great oceans, within a reasonable depth, on which minute 
oceanic organisms could have accumulated to the thickness of 
many hundred feet. 

" Darwin's concluding words in the same letter written within 
a year of his death, are a striking proof of the candour and 
openness of mind which he preserved so well to the end, in this 
as in other controversies. 

" * If I am wrong, the sooner I am knocked on the head and 
annihilated so much the better. It still seems to me a 
marvellous thing that there should not have been much, and 
long continued, su))sidence in the beds of the great oceans. I 
wish that some doubly rich millionaire would take it into his 
head to have borings made in some of the Pacific and Indian 
atolls, and bring home cores for slicing from a depth of 600 or 
600 feet.' 

" It is noteworthy that the objections to Darwin's theory have 
for the most part proceeded from zoologists, while those who 
have fully appreciated the geological aspect of the question 
have been the staunchest supporters of the theory of subsi- 
dence. The desirability of such boring operations in atolls has 
been insisted upon by several geologists, and it may be hoped 
that before many years have passed away, Darwin's hopes may 
be realised, either with or without the inteiTcntion of the 
* doubly rich millionaire.' 

" Three years after the death of Darwin, the veteran Professor 
Dana re-entered the lists and contributed a powerful defence of 
the theory of subsidence in the form of a reply to an essay 
written by the ablest exponent of the anti-Darwinian views on 
this subject, Dr. A. Geikie. While pointing out that the Dar- 
winian position had been to a great extent misunderstood by 
its opponents, he showed that the rival theory presented even 
greater difficulties than those which it professed to remove. 

*' During the last five years, the whole question of the origin 
of coral-reefs and islands has been re-opened, and a controversy 
has arisen, into which, unfortimately, acrimonious elements 
have been very unnecessarily introduced. Those who desire it, 
will find clear and imnartial statements of the varied and often 


mutually destructive views put forward by different authors, in 
three works which have made their appearance within the last 
year — The Bermuda Islands^ by Professor Angelo Heilprin : 
Corah and Coral Islands, new edition by Professor J. D. Dana ; 
and the third edition of Darwin's Coral-Beefs, with Notes and 
Appendix by Professor T. G. Bonney. 

" Most readers will, I think, rise from the perusal of these 
works with the conviction that, while on certain points of 
detail it is clear that, through the want of knowledge concern- 
ing the action of marine organisms in the open ocean, Darwin 
was betrayed into some grave errors, yet the main foundations 
of his argument have not been seriously impaired by the new 
facts observed in the deep-sea researdhes, or by the severe 
criticisms to which his theory has been subjected during the 
last ten years. On the other hand, I think it will appear that 
much misapprehension has been exliibited by some of Darwin's 
critics, as to what his views and arguments really were ; so that 
the reprint and wide circulation of the book in its original form 
is greatly to be desired, and cannot but be attended with 
advantage to all those who will have the fairness to acquaint 
themselves with Darwin's views at first hand, before attempting 
to reply to them." 

The only important geological work of my father's later years 
is embodied in his book on earthworms (1881), which may 
therefore be conveniently considered in this place. This 
subject was one which had interested him many years before 
this date, and in 1838 a paper on the formation of mould was 
published in the Proceedings of the Geological Society. 

Here he showed that " fragments of burnt marl, cinders, &c., 
which had been thickly strewed over the surface of several 
meadows were found after a few years lying at a depth of some 
inches beneath the turf, but still foiming a layer." For the 
explanation of this fact, which forms the central idea of the 
geological part of the book, he was indebted to his uncle 
Josiah Wedgwood, who suggested that worms, by bringing earth 
to the surface in their castings, must undermine any objects 
lying on the surface and cause an apparent sinking. 

In the book of 1881 he extended his observations on this 
burying action, and devised a number of different ways of 
checking his estimates as to the amount of work done. He 
also added a mass of observations on the natural history and 
intelligence of worms, a part of the work which added greatly 
to its popularity. 

In 1877 Sir Thomas Farrer had discovered close to his 
garden the remains of a building of Boman-British times> and 

Oh. XV.] EARTHWORMS, 1881. 285 

thns gave my father the opportunity of seeing for himself the 
effects produced by earthworms on the old concrete floors, 
walls, &o. On his return he wrote to Sir Thomas Farrer : — 

" I cannot remember a more delightful week than the last. 
I know very well that E. will not believe me, but the worms 
were by no means the sole charm." 

In the autumn of 1880, when the Fower of Movement in 
Plants was nearly finished, he began once more on the subject. 
He wrote to Professor Carus (September 21) : — 

" In the intervals of correcting the press, I am writing a 
very little book, and have done nearly half of it. Its title will 
be (as at present designed), The Formation of Vegetable Mould 
through the Action of Worms.* As far as I can judge, it will be 
a cui-ious little book." 

The manuscript was sent to the printers in April 1881, and 
when the proof-sheets were coming in he wrote to Professor 
Carus : " I'he subject has been to me a hobby-horse, and I have 
perhaps treated it in foolish detail." 

It was published on October 10, and 2000 copies were sold 
at once. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker, " I am glad that you 
approve of the Worms. When in old days I used to tell you 
whatever I was doing, if you were at all interested, I always 
felt as most men do when their work is finally published." 

To Mr. Mellard Eeade he wrote (November 8) : " It has 
been a complete surprise to me how many persons have cared 
for the subject." And to Mr. Dyer (in November) : " My 
bt)ok has been received with almost langhable enthusiasm, and 
3500 copies have been sold III" Again to his friend Mr. 
Anthony Eich, he wrote on February 4, 1882, " I have been 
plagued with an endless stream of letters on the subject ; most 
of them very foolish and enthusiastic ; but some containing 
good facts which I have used in correcting yesterday the 
Sixth Thousand." The popularity of the book may be roughly 
estimated by the fact that, in the three years following its 
publication, 8500 copies were sold — a sale relatively greater 
than that of the Origin of Species. 

It is not difficult to account for its success with the non- 
scientific public. Conclusions so wide and so novel, and so 
easily understood, drawn from the study of creatures so familiar, 
and treated with unabated vigour and freshness, may well 
have attracted many readers. A reviewer remarks; "In the 
eyes of most men. . . the earthworm is a mere blind, dumb- 

♦ The full title is The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the 
Action of Wormsj with Observations on their Habits, 1881. 


senseless, and unpleasantly slimy annelid. Mr. Darwin under- 
takes to rehabilitate his character, and the earthworm steps 
forth at once as an intelligent and beneficent personage, a 
worker of vast geological changes, a planer down of mountain 
sides ... a friend of man . . . and an ally of the Society for 
the preservation of ancient monuments." The St. James's 
Gazette J of October 17th, 1881, pointed out that the teaching of 
the cumulative importance of the infinitely little is the point 
of contact between this book and the author's previous work. 

One more book remains to be noticed, the Life of Erasmus 

In February 1879 an essay by Dr. Ernst Krause, on the 
scientific work of Erasmus Darwin, appeared in the evolutionary 
journal, Kosmos. The number of Kosmos in question was a 
" Gratulationsheft," ♦ or special congratulatory issue in honour 
of my father's birthday, so that Dr. Krause's essay, glorifying 
the older evolutionist, was quite in its place. He wrote to Dr. 
Krause, thanking him cordially for the honour paid to Erasmus, 
and asking his permission to publish an Englibh translation of 
the Essay. 

His chief reason for writing a notice of his grandfather's life 
was **to contradict flatly some calumnies by Miss Seward." 
This appears from a letter of March 27, 1879, to his cousin 
Beginald Darwin, in which he asks for any documents and 
letters which might throw light on the character of Erasmus. 
This led to Mr. Reginald Darwin placing in my father's hands 
a quantity of valuable material, including a curious folio 
common-place book, of which he wrote : " I have been deeply 
interested by the great book, .... reading and looking at it is 
like having communion with the dead .... [it] has taught me 
a good deal about the occupations and tastes of our grand- 

Dr. Krause's contribution formed the second part of the Life 
of Erasmus Darwin, my father supplying a "preliminary 
notice." This expression on the title-page is somewhat mis- 
leading ; my father's contribution is more than half the book, 
and should have been described as a biography. Work of this 
kind was new to him, and he wrote doubtfully to Mr. Thiselton 
Dyer, June 18th : " God only knows what I shall make of his 
life, it is such a new kind of work to me." The strong interest 
he felt about his forbears helped to give zest to the work, 

♦ The same number contains a good biographical sketch of my father 
of which the miaterial was to a large extent supplied by him to the writer, 
Professor Preyer of Jena. The article contains an excellent list of my 
father's publications. 

Ch. XV.] VIVISECTION, 1881. 287 

which became a decided enjoyment to him. With the general 
public the book was not markedly successful, but many of his 
friends recognised its merits. Sir J. D. Hooker was one of 
these, and to liim my father wrote, " Your praise of the Life of 
Dr. D. has pleased me exceedingly, for I despised my work, and 
thought myself a perfect fool to have undertaken such a job." 
To Mr. Galton, too, he wrote, November 14 : — 
" I am extremely glad that you approve of the little Life of our 
grandfather, for I have been repenting that I ever undertook 
it, as the work was quite beyond my tether." 


Something has already been said of my father's strong 
feeling with regard to sufifering * both in man and beast. It 
was indeed one of the strongest feelings in his nature, and was 
exemplified in matters small and great, in his sympathy with 
the educational miseries of dancing dogs, or his horror at the 
sufferings of slaves. 

The remembrance of screams, or other sounds heard in 
Brazil, when ho was powerless to interfere with what he 
believed to be the torture of a slave, haunted him for years, 
especially at night. In smaller matters, where he could inter- 
fere, ho did so vigorously. He returned one day from his walk 
pale and faint from having seen a horse ill-used, and from the 
agitation of violently remonstrating with the man. On another 
occasion he saw a horse-breaker teaching his son to ride ; the 
little boy was frightened and the man was rough ; my father 
stopped, and jumping out of the carriage reproved the man in 
no measured terms. 

One other little incident may be mentioned, showing that his 
humanity to animals was well known in his own neighbourhood. 
A visitor, driving from Orpington to Down, told the cabman to 
go faster. " Why," said the man, " if I had whipped the horse 

♦ He once made an attempt to free a patient in a mad-liouse, who (as 
he wrongly supposed) was sane. He was in correspondence with the 
gardener at the asylum, and on one occasion he found a letter from the 
patient enclosed with one from the gardener. The letter was rational in 
tone and declared that the writer was sane and wrongfully confined. 

My father wrote to the Lunacy Commissioners (without explaining the 
source of his information) and in due time heard that the man had been 
visited by the Commissioners, and that he was certainly insane. Some 
time afterward the patient was discharged, and wrote to thank my father 
for his interference, adding that he had undoubtedly been insane when he 
wrote his former letter. 


this mucli, driving Mr. Darwin, he would have got out of the 
carriage and abused me well." 

With respect to the special point under consideration, — the 
sufferings of animals subjected to experiment, — nothing could 
show a stronger feeling than the following words from a letter 
to Professor Eay Lankester (March 22, 1871) ;— 

" You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree 
that it is justifiable for real investigations on physiology ; but 
not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a sub- 
ject which makes me sick with horror, so I will not say another 
word about it, else I shall not sleep to-night." 

The Anti- Vivisection agitation, to which the following letters 
refer, seems to have become specially active in 1874, as may be 
seen, e.g. by the index to Nature for that year, in which the 
word " Vivisection " suddenly comes into prominence. But 
before that date the subject had received the earnest attention 
of biologists. Thus at the Liverpool Meeting of the British 
Association in 1870, a Conunittee was appointed, whose report 
defined the circumstances and conditions under which, in the 
opinion of the signatories, experiments on living animals were 
justifiable. In the spring of 1876, Lord Hartismere intro- 
duced a Bill into the Upper House to regulate the course of 
physiological research. Shortly afterwards a Bill more just 
towards science in its provisions was introduced to the House 
of Commons by Messrs. Lyon Playfair, Walpole, and Ashley. 
It was, however, withdrawn on the appointment of a Koyal 
Commission to inquire into the whole question. The Commis- 
sioners were Lords Cardwell and Winmarleigh, Mr. W. E. 
Forster, Sir J. B. Karslake, Mr. Huxley, Professor Erichssen, 
and Mr. R. H. Hutton: they commenced their inquiry in 
July, 1875, and the Eeport was published early in the 
following year. 

In the early summer of 1876, Lord Carnarvon's Bill, entitled, 
" An Act to amend the Law relating to Cruelty to Animals," 
was introduced. The framers of this Bill, yielding to the 
unreasonable clamour of the public, went far beyond the re- 
commendations of the Royal Commission. As a correspondent 
writes in Nature ^1876, p. 248), " the evidence on the strength 
of which legislation was recommended went beyond the facts, 
the Report went beyond the evidence, the Recommendations 
beyond the Report ; and the Bill can hardly be said to have 
gone beyond the Recommendations; but rather to have con- 
tradicted them." 

The legislation which my father worked for, was practically 
what was introduced as Dr. Lyon Playfair*s Bill. 

Ch. XV.] VmSEOTION, 1881. 289 

The following letter appeared in the TimeSy April IStli, 


0, D. to Frithiof Holmgren * Down, April 14, 1881. 

DxAB Sib, — In answer to your courteous letter of April 7, 1 
have no objection to express my opinion with respect to the 
right of experimenting on living animals. I use this latter ex- 
pression as more correct and comprehensive than that of vivi- 
section. You are at liberty to make any use of this letter which 
you may think fit, but if published I should wish the whole to 
appear. I have all my life been a strong advocate for humanity 
to animals, and have done what I could in my writings to 
enforce this duty. Several years ago, when the agitation 
against physiologists commenced in England, it was asserted 
that inhumanity was here practised, and useless suflfering caused 
to animals ; and I was led to think that it might be advisable 
to have an Act of Parliament on the subject. I then took 
an active part in trying to get a Bill passed, such as would 
have removed all just cause of complaint, and at the same time 
have left physiologists free to pursue their researches — a Bill 
very different from the Act which has since been passed. It is 
right to add that the investigation of the matter by a Royal Com- 
mission proved that the accusations made against our English 
physiologists were false. From all that I have heard, however, 
I fear that in some parts of Europe little regard is paid to the 
sufferings of animals, and if this be the case, I should be glad to 
hear of legislation against inhumanity in any such country. 
On the other hand, I know that physiology cannot possibly 
progress except by means of experiments on living animals, 
and I feel the deepest conviction that he who retards the 
progress of physiology commits a crime against mankind. Any 
one who remembers, as I can, the state of this science half a 
century ago must admit that it has made immense progress, 
and it is now progressing at an ever-increasing rate. What 
improvements in medical practice may be directly attributed to 
physiological research is a question which can be properly 
discussed only by those physiologists and medical practitioners 
who have studied the history of their subjects ; but, as far as 
I can learn, the benefits are already great. However this may 
be, no one, unless he is grossly ignorant of what science has 
done for mankind, can entertain any doubt of the incalculable 
benefits which will hereafter be derived from physiology, not 
only by man, but by the lower animals. Look for instance at 
♦ Professor of Physiology at Upsala. 



Pasteur's results in modifying the germs of the most malignant 
diseases, from which, as it happens, animals will in the first 
place receive more relief than man. Let ii be remembered 
now many lives and what a fearful amount of suffering have 
been saved by the knowledge gained of parasitic worms through 
the experiments of Virchow and others on living animals. In 
the future every one will be astonished at the ingratitude 
shown, at least in England, to these benefactors of mankind. 
As for myself, permit me to assure you that I honour, and shall 
always honour, every one who advances the noble science of 

Dear Sir, yours faithfully. 

In the Times of the following day appeared a letter headed 
" Mr. Darwin and Vivisection," signed by Miss Frances Power 
Cobbe. To this my father replied in the Times of April 22, 
1881. On the same day he wrote to Mr. Romanes : — 

" As I have a fair opportunity, I sent a letter to the Times 
on Vivisection, which is printed to-day. I thought it fair to 
bear my share of the abuse poured in so atrocious a manner on 
all physiologists." 

a D. to the Editor of the * Times,* 

Sib, — ^I do not wish to discuss the views expressed by Miss 
Cobbe in the letter which appeared in the Times of the 19th 
inst. ; but as she asserts that I have " misinformed " my corre- 
spondent in Sweden in saying that " the investigation of tho 
matter by a Royal Commission proved that the accusations 
made against our English physiologists were false," I will 
merely ask leave to refer to some other sentences from the 
report of the Commission. 

(1.) The sentence — " It is not to be doubted that inhumanity 
may be found in persons of very high position as physiologists," 
which Miss Cobbe quotes from page 17 of the report, and 
which, in her opinion, "can necessarily concern English 
physiologists alone and not foreigners," is immediately 
followed by the words "We have seen that it was so in 
Magendie." Magendie was a French physiologist who became 
notorious some half century ago for his cruel experiments on 
living animals. 

(2.) The Commissioners, after speaking of the "general 
sentiment of humanity" prevailing in this country, say 

*' This principle is accepted generally by the very highly 

Oh. XV.] HONOURS. 291 

educated men whose lives are devoted either to scieutifio 
investigation and education or to the mitigation or the removal 
of the sufferings of their fellow-creatures ; though differences 
of degree in regard to its practical application will be easily 
discernible by those who study the evidence as it has been laid 
before us." 

Again, according to the Commissioners (p. 10) : — 
" The secretary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals, when asked whether the general tendency 
of the scientific world in this country is at variance with 
humanity, says he believes it to be very different indeed from 
that of foreign physiologists; and while giving it as the 
opinion of the society that experiments are performed which 
are in their nature beyond any legitimate province of science, 
and that the pain which they inflict is pain which it is not 
justifiable to inflict even for the scientific object in view, he 
readily acknowledges that he does not know a single case of 
wanton cruelty, and that in general the English physiologists 
have used anaesthetics where they think they can do so with 
safety to the experiment." 

I am, Sir, your obedient servant. 
AprU 21. 

During the later years of my father's life there was vk 
growing tendency in the public to do him honour.* The 
honours which he valued most highly were those which united 
the sympathy of friends with a mark of recognition of his 
scientific colleagues. Of this type was the article "Charles 
Darwin," published in Nature^ June 4, 1874, and written by 
Asa Gray. This admirable estimate of my father's work in 
science is given in the form of a comparison and contrast 
between Robert Brown and Charles Darwin. 

To Gray he wrote : — 

" I wrote yesterday and cannot remember exactly what I said, 
and now cannot be easy without again telling you how pro- 
foundly I have been gratified. Every one, I suppose, occasion- 
ally thinks that he has worked in vain, and when one of these 
fits overtakes me, I will think of your article, and if that does 
not dispel the evil spirit, I shall know that I am at the time 
a little bit insane, as we all are occasionally. 

"What you say about Teleology "f pleases me especially, 

♦ In 1867 he had received a distinguished honour from Germany, — the 
Older " Pour le Me rite." 

t '*Let ns recognise Darwin's great service to Natural Science in 
bringing back to it Teleology ; so that instead of Morphology versus 
Teleology, we shall have Morphology wedded to Teleology." Similar 

u 2 


and I do not think any one else has ever noticed the point. 
I have always said yon were the man to hit the nail on the 

In 1877 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from 
the University of Cambridge. The degree was conferred on 
November 17, and with the cnstomary Latin speech from the 
Public Orator, concluding with the words : " Tu vero, qni 
leges natur88 tam docte illustraveris, legom doctor nobis esto." 

The honorary degree led to a movement being set on foot in 
the University to obtain some permanent memorial of my 
father. In June 1879 he sat to Mr. W. Richmond for the 
portrait in the possession of the University, now placed in the 
Library of the Philosophical Society at Cambridge. 

A similar wish on the part of the Linnean Society — with 
which my father was so closely associated — led to his sitting 
in August, 1881, to Mr. John Collier, for the portrait now in 
the possession of the Society. The portrait represents him 
standing facing the observer in the loose cloak so familiar 
to those who knew him, with his slouch hat in his hand. 
Many of those who knew his face most intimately, think that 
Mr. Collier's picture is the best of the portraits, and in this 
judgment the sitter himself was inclined to agree. According 
to my feeling it is not so simple or strong a representation of 
him as that given by Mr. Ouless. The last-named portrait 
was painted at Down in 1875 ; it is in the possession of the 
family,* and is known to many through Rajon's fine etching. 
Of Mr. Ouless's picture my father wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : 

*' I look a very venerable, acute, melancholy old dog ; 
whether I really look so I do not know." 

Besides the Cambridge degree, he received about the same 
time honours of an academic kind from some foreign societies. 

On August 5, 1878, he was elected a Corresponding Member 
of the French Institute in the Botanical Section,f and wrote 
to Dr. Asa Gray : — 

"I see that we are both elected Corresponding Members 
of the Institute. It is rather a good joke that I should be 
elected in the Botanical Section, as the extent of my know- 
remarks had been previously made by Mr. Huxley. See Critiques and 
Addresses^ p. 305. 

* A replica by the artist hangs alongside of the portraits of Milton 
and Paley in the hall of Christ's College, Cambridge. 

t He received twenty-six votes out of a possible thirty-nine, five blank 
papers were sent in, and eight votes were recorded for the other 
caudidates. In 1872 an attempt had been made to elect him in the 
Section of Zoology, when, however, he only received fifteen out of 
forty-eight votes, and Love'n was chosen for the vacant place. It appears 

Ch. XV.] H0N0UE8. 293 

ledge is little more than that a daisy is a Gompositous plant 
and a pea a Leguminous one." 

He valued very highly two photographic albums containing 
portraits of a large number of scientific men in Germany and 
Holland, which he received as birthday gifts in 1877. 

In the year 1878 my father received a singular mark of 
recognition in the form of a letter from a stranger, announcing 
that the writer intended to leave to him the reversion of the 
greater part of his fortune. Mr. Anthony Eich, who desired 
thus to mark his sense of my father's services to science, was the 
author of a Dictionary of jRoman and Greek AntiquitieSj said to 
be the best book of the kind. It has been translated into 
French, German, and Italian, and has, in English, gone through 
several editions. Mr. Rich lived a great part of his life in 
Italy, painting, and collecting books and engravings. He 
finally settled, many years ago, at Worthing (then a small 
village), where he was a friend of Byron's Trelawny. My 
father visited Mr. Rich at Worthing, more than once, and 
gained a cordial liking and respect for him. 

Mr. Rich died in April, 1891, having arranged that his 
bequest ♦ should not lapse in consequence of the predecease 
of my father. 

In 1879 he received from the Boyal Academy of Turin the 
Bressa Prize for the years 1875-78, amounting to the sum 
of 12,000 francs. He refers to this in a letter to Dr. Dohm 
(February 15th, 1880) :— 

"Perhaps you saw in the papers that the Turin Society 
honoured me to an extraordinary degree by awarding me the 
Bressa Prize. Now it occurred to me that if your station 
wanted some piece of apparatus, of about the value of £100, 1 
should very much like to be allowed to pay for it. Will you 
be so kind as to keep this in mind, and if any want should 
occur to you, I would send you a cheque at any time." 

I find from my father's accounts that £100 was presented to 
the Naples Station. 

Two years before my father's death, and twenty-one years 

(_Naturey August 1st, 1872) that an eminent member of the Academy 
wrote to Lea Mondes to the following effect : — 

" What has closed the doors of the Academy to Mr. Darwin is that 
the science of those of his books which have made his chief title to fame 
— the Origin of Species, and still more the Descent of Man, is not science, 
but a mass of assertions and absolutely gratuitous hypotheses, often 
evidently fallacious. This kind of publication and these theories are a 
bad example, which a body that respects itself cannot encourage." 

* Mr, Rich leaves a single near relative, to whom is bequeathed the 
life-interest in his property. 


after the publication of his greatest work, a lecture was given 
(April 9, 1880) at the Royal Institution by Mr. Huxley* which 
was aptly named "The Coming of Age of the Origin of 
Species." The following characteristic letter, referring to this 
subject, may fitly close the present chapter. 

Abinger Hall, Dorking, Sunday, April 11, 1880. 

My deab Huxley, — I wished much to attend your Lecture, 
but I have had a bad cough, and we have come here to see 
whether a change would do me good, as it has done. What a 
magnificent success your lecture seems to have been, as I judge 
from the reports in the Standard and Daily News, and more 
especially from the accounts given me by three of my children. 
I suppose that you have not written out your lecture, so I fear 
there is no chance of its being printed in extenso. You appear 
to have piled, as on so many other occasions, honours high and 
thick on my old head. But I well know how great a part you 
have played in establishing and spreading the belief in the 
descent- theory, ever since that grand review in the Times and 
the battle royal at Oxford up to the present day. 
Ever, my dear Huxley, 

Yours sincerely and gratefully, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — It was absurdly stupid in me, but I had read the 
announcement of your Lecture, and thought that you meant 
the maturity of the subject, until my wife one day remarked, 
*' it is almost twenty-one years since the Origin appeared," and 
then for the first time the meaning of your words flashed on me. 

* Published in Science and Culture, p. 310. 


" T have been makang some little trifling observations which 
have interested and perplexed me mTich>" 

From a letter of June 1860. 

( 297 ) 



The botanical work which my father accomplished by the 
guidance of the light cast on the study of natural history by his 
own work on evolution remains to be noticed. In a letter to 
Mr. Murray, September 24:th, 1861, speaking of his book the 
Feriiliaation of Orchids, he says: "It will perhaps serve to 
illustrate how Natural History may be worked under the belief 
of the modification of species." This remark gives a sugges- 
tion as to the value and interest of his botanical work, and it 
might be expressed in far more emphatic language without 
danger of exaggeration. 

In the same letter to Mr. Murray, he says : " I think this 
little volume will do good to the Origin^ as it will show that I 
have worked hard at details." It is true that his botanical work 
added a mass of corroborative detail to the case for Evolution, 
but the chief support given to his doctrines by these researches 
was of another kind. They supplied an argument against those 
critics who have so freely dogmatised as to the uselessness of 
particular structures, and as to the consequent impossibility of 
their having been developed by means of natural selection. His 
observations on Orchids enabled him to say : " I can show the 
meaning of some of the apparently meaningless ridges and 
horns ; who will now venture to say that this or that structure 
is useless ? " A kindred point is expressed in a letter to Sir 
J. D. Hooker (May 14th, 1862) :— 

*' When many parts of structure, as in the woodpecker, show 
distinct adaptation to external bodies, it is preposterous to 
attribute them to the effects of climate, &c., but when a single 
point alone, as a hooked seed, it is conceivable it may thus have 
arisen. I have found the study of Orchids eminently useful in 
showing me how nearly all parts of the flower are co-adapted 
for fertilisation by insects, and therefore the results of natural 
selection, — even the most trifling details of structure." 

One of the greatest services rendered by my father to the 
study of Natural History is tho revival of Teleology. The 

298 BOTANY. [Ch. XVI. 

evolutionist studies the purpose or meaning of organs with 
the zeal of the older Teleologist, but with far wider and more 
coherent purpose. He has the invigorating knowledge that 
he is gaining not isolated conceptions of the economy of the 
present, but a coherent view of both past and present. And 
even where he fails to discover the use of any part, he may, by 
a knowledge of its structure, unravel the history of the past 
vicissitudes in the life of the species. In this way a vigour and 
unity is given to the study of the forms of organised beings, 
which before it lacked. Mr. Huxley has well remarked ; * 
" Perhaps the most remarkable service to the philosophy of 
Biology rendered by Mr. Darwin is the reconciliation of 
Teleology and Morphology, and the explanation of the facts 
of both, which his views offer. The teleology which supposes 
that the eye, such as we see it in man, or one of the higher 
vertebrata, was made with the precise structure it exhibits, for 
the purpose of enabling the animal which possesses it to see, 
has undoubtedly received its death-blow. Nevertheless, it is 
necessary to remember that there is a wider teleology which is 
not touched by the doctrine of Evolution, but is actually based 
upon the fundamental proposition of Evolution." 

The point which here especially concerns us is to recognise 
that this " great service to natural science," as Dr. Gray 
describes it, was effected almost as much by Darwin's special 
botanical work as by the Origin of Species. 

For a statement of the scope and influence of my father's 
botanical work, I may refer to Mr. Thiselton Dyer's article in 
' Charles Darwin,' one of the Nature Series. Mr. Dyer's wide 
knowledge, his friendship with my father, and his power of 
sympathising with the work of others, combine to give this 
essay a permanent value. The following passage (p. 43) gives 
a true picture : — 

" Notwithstanding the extent and variety of his botanical 
work, Mr. Darwin always disclaimed any right to be regarded 
as a professed botanist. He turned his attention to plants, 
doubtless because they were convenient objects for studying 
organic phenomena in their least complicated forms ; and this 
point of view, which, if one may use the expression without 
disrespect, had somethiug of the amateur about it, was in itself 
of the greatest importance. For, from not being, till he took 
up any point, familiar with the literature bearing on it, his 
mind was absolutely free from any prepossession. He was never 
afraid of his facts, or of framing any hypothesis, however 

» The " Genealogy of Animals " (I7te Academy, 1869), reprinted in 
Critiquei and Addretsei. 


startling, which seemed to explain them. ... In any one else 
such an attitude would have produced much work that was 
crude and rash. But Mr. Darwin — if one may venture on 
language which will strike no one who had conversed with 
him as over-strained — seemed by gentle persuasion to have 
penetrated that reserve of nature which baffles smaller men. 
In other words, his long experience had given him a kind of 
instinctive insight into the method of attack of any biological 
problem, however unfamiliar to him, while he rigidly controlled 
the fertility of his mind in hypothetical explanations by the no 
less fertility of ingeniously devised experiment." 

To form any just idea of the greatness of the revolution 
worked by my father's researches in the study of the fertilisa- 
tion of flowers, it is necessary to know from what a condition 
this branch of knowledge has emerged. It should be remem- 
bered that it was only during the early years of the present 
century that the idea of sex, as applied to plants, became firmly 
established. Sachs, in his History of Botany* (1875), has 
given some striking illustrations of the remarkable slowness 
with which its acceptance gained ground. He remarks that 
when we consider the experimental proofs given by Camerarius 
(1694), and by Kolreutor (1761-66), it appears incredible that 
doubts should afterwards have been raised as to the sexuality 
of plants. Yet he shows that such doubts did actually re- 
peatedly crop up. These adverse criticisms rested for the most 
part on careless experiments, but in many cases on a priori 
arguments. Even as late as 1820, a book of this kind, which 
would now rank with circle squaring, or flat-earth philosophy, 
was seriously noticed in a botanical journal. A distinct concep- 
tion of sex, as applied to plants, had, in fact, not long emerged 
from the mists of profitless discussion and feeble experiment, 
at the time when my father began botany by attending 
Henslow's lectures at Cambridge. 

When the belief in the sexuality of plants had become 
established as an incontrovertible piece of knowledge, a weight 
of misconception remained, weighing down any rational view 
of the subject. Camerarius f believed (naturally enough in his 
day) that hermaphrodite | flowers are necessarily self-fertilised. 
He had the wit to be astonished at this, a degree of intelligence 
which, as Sachs points out, the majority of his successors did 
not attain to. 

♦ An English edition is published by the Clarendon Press, 1890. 
t Sachs, Geschichte d. Botanik^ p. 419. 

X That is to say, flowers possessing both stamens, or male organs, and 
pistUs or female organs 

800 BOTANY. [Oh. XVL 

The following extracts from a note-book show that this 
point occurred to my father as early as 1837 : 

" Do not plants which have male and female organs together 
[i.e. in the same flower] yet receive influence from other 
plants ? Does not Lyell give some argument about varieties 
being difficult to keep [true] on account of pollen from other 
plants ? Because this may be applied to i^ow all plants do 
receive intermixture." 

Sprengel,* indeed, understood that the hermaphrodite 
Btructure of flowers by no means necessarily leads to self- 
fertilisation. But although he discovered that in many cases 
pollen is of necessity carried to the stigma of another flowery 
he did not imderstand that in the advantage gained by the 
intercrossing of distinct plants lies the key to the whole 
question. Hermann Miillerf has well remarked that this 
"omission was for several generations fatal to Sprcngel's 

work For both at the time and subsequently, botanists 

felt above all the weakness of his theory, and they set aside, 
along with his defective ideas, the rich store of his patient 
and acute observations and his comprehensive and accurate 
interpretations." It remained for my father to convince the 
world that the meaning hidden in the structure of flowers was 
to be found by seeking light in the same direction in which 
Sprengel, seventy years before, had laboured. Eobert Brown 
was the connecting link between them, for it was at his 
recommendation that my father in 184:1 read Sprengel's now 
celebrated Secret of Nature Di8played.\ 

The book impressed him as being " full of truth," although 
" with some little nonsense." It not only encouraged him in 
kindred speculation, but guided him in his work, for in 1844: 
he speaks of verifying Sprengel's observations. It may bo 
doubted whether Robert Brown ever planted a more fruitful 
seed than in putting such a book into such hands. 

A passage in the Autobiography (p. 4:4) shows how it was 
that my father was attracted to the subject of fertilisation : 
" During the summer of 1839, and I believe during the previous 
summer, I was led to attend to the cross-fertilisation of flowers 
by the aid of insects, from having come to the conclusion in 
my speculations on the origin of species, that crossing played 
an important part in keeping specific forms constant." 

The original connection between the study of flowers and 

* Christian Conrad Sprengel, bom 1750, died 1816. 
t Fertilisation of Flowers (Eng. Trans.) 1883, p. 3. 
\ Das entdeckte Geheimnist der Natur im Baue und in der Befruohtung 
derBltmen. Berlin, 1793. 


the problem of evolution is curious, and could hardly have 
been predicted. Moreover, it was not a permanent bond. My 
father proved by a long series of laborious experiments, that 
when a plant is fertilised and sets seeds under the influence of 
pollen from a distinct individual, the offspring so produced are 
superior in vigour to the offspring of self-fertilisation, i.e. 
of the union of the male and female elements of a single 
plant. When this fact was established, it was possible 
to understand the raison d'etre of the machinery which insures 
cross-fertilisation in so many flowers ; and to understand how 
natural selection can act on, and mould, the floral structure. 

Asa Gray has well remarked with regard to this central idea 
{Nature, June 4, 1874) : — " The aphorism, ' Nature abhors a 
vacuum,* is a characteristic specimen of the science of the 
middle ages. The aphorism, * Nature abhors close fertilisa- 
tion,' and the demonstration of the principle, belong to our age 
and to Mr. Darwin. To have originated this, and also the 
principle of Natural Selection .... and to have applied these 
principles to the system of nature, in such a manner as to make, 
within a dozen years, a deeper impression upon natural history 
than has been made since LinnsBUs, is ample title for one man's 

The flowers of the PapilionacesB ♦ attracted his attention 
early, and were the subject of his first paper on fertilisation.! 
The following extract from an undated letter to Asa Gray 
seems to have been written before the publication of this paper, 
probably in 1856 or 1857 :— 

". ... What you say on Papilionaceous flowers is very 
true ; and I have no facts to show that varieties are crossed ; 
but yet (and the same remark is applicable in a beautiful way 
to Fumaria and Dielytra, as I noticed many years ago), I must 
believe that the flowers are constructed partly in direct relation 
to the visits of insects ; and how insects can avoid bringing 
pollen from other individuals I cannot understand. It is really 
pretty to watch the action of a humble-bee on the scarlet 
kidney bean, and in this genus (and in Lathy rua grandijlorus) J 
the honey is so placed that the bee invariably alights on that 
one side of the flower towards which the spiral pistil is pro- 
truded (bringing out with it pollen), and by the depression of 

♦ The order to which the pea and bean belong. 

t Gardeners' Otronicley 1857, p. 725. It appears that this paper was 
a piece of " over-time " work. He wrote to a friend, " that confounded 
Leguminons paper was done in the afternoon, and the consequence was I 
had to go to Moor Park for a week." 

X The sweet pea and everlasting pea belong to the genus Lathyrus. 

302 BOTANY. [Oh. XVI 

the wing-petal is forced against the bee's side all dusted with 
pollen. In the broom the pistil is rubbed on the centre of the 
back of the bee. I suspect there is something to be made out 
about the LeguminosaB, which will bring the case within our 
theory ; though I have failed to do so. Our theory will explain 
why in the vegetable .... kingdom the act of fertilisation 
even in hermaphrodites usually takes place 8uh jove, though 
thus exposed to great injury from damp and rain." 

A letter to Dr. Asa Gray jfSeptember 5th, 1857) gives the sub- 
stance of the paper in the Gardeners' Chronicle : — 

" Lately I was led to examine buds of kidney bean with the 
pollen shed ; but I was led to believe that the pollen could 
hardly get on the stigma by wind or otherwise, except by bees 
visiting [the flower] and moving the wing petals : hence I 
included a small bunch of flowers in two bottles in every way 
treated the same : the flowers in one I daily just momentarily 
moved, as if by a bee ; these set three fine pods, the other not 
one. Of course this little experiment must be tried again, and 
this year in England it is too late, as the flowers seem now 
seldom to set. If bees are necessary to this flower's self- 
fertilisation, bees must almost cross them, as their dusted right- 
side of head and right legs constantly touch the stigma. 

" I have, also, lately been reobserving daily Lobelia fulgena 
— this in my garden is never visited by insects, and never sets 
seeds, without pollen be put on the stigma (whereas the small 
blue Lobelia is visited by bees and does set seed) ; I mention 
this because there are such beautiful contrivances to prevent 
the stigma ever getting its own pollen ; which seems only 
explicable on the doctrine of the advantage of crosses." 

The paper was supplemented by a second in 1858.* The 
chief object of these publications seems to have been to obtain 
information as to the possibility of growing varieties of 
Leguminous plants near each other, and yet keeping them true. 
It is curious that the PapilionaceaB should not only have been 
the first flowers which attracted his attention by their obvious 
adaptation to the visits of insects, but should also have consti- 
tuted one of his sorest puzzle*. The conmion pea and the 
sweet pea gave him much difficulty, because, although they are 
as obviously fitted for insect-visits as the rest of the order, yet 
their varieties keep true. The fact is that neither of these 
plants being indigenous, they are not perfectly adapted for 
fertilisation by British insects. He could not, at this stage 
of his observations, know that the co-ordination between a 

* Gardeners' ChrmicUy 1858, p. 828. 


flower and the particular insect which fertilises it may be as 
delicate as that between a lock and its key, so that this explana- 
tion was not likely to occur to him. 

Besides observing the Leguminos89, he had already begxm, 
as shown in the foregoing extracts, to attend to the structure 
of other flowers in relation to insects. At the beginuing of 
1860 he worked at Leschenaultia,* which at first puzzled him, 
but was ultimately made out. A passage in a letter chiefly 
relating to Leschenaultia seems to show that it was only in the 
spring of 1860 that he began widely to apply his knowledge 
to the relation of insects to other flowers. This is somewhat 
surprising, when we remember that he* had read Sprengel many 
years before. He wrote (May 14) : — 

" I should look at this curious contrivance as specially 
related to visits of insects; as I begin to think is almost 
universally the case." 

Even in July 1862 he wrote to Asa Gray : — 

" There is no end to the adaptations. Ought not these cases 
to make one very cautious when one doubts about the use of 
all parts ? I fully believe that the structure of all irregular 
flowers is governed in relation to insects. Lisects are the 
Lords of the floral (to quote the witty Athenaeum) world." 

This idea has been worked out by H. Miiller, who has written 
on insects in the character of flower-breeders or flower- 
fanciers, showing how the habits and structure of the visitors 
are reflected in the forms and colours of the flowers visited. 

He was probably attracted to the study of Orchids by the 
fact that several kinds are common near Down. The letters 
of 1860 show that these plants occupied a good deal of his 
attention ; and in 1861 he gave part of the summer and all 
the autumn to the subject. He evidently considered himself 
idle for wasting time on Orchids which ought to have been 
given to Variation under Domestication. Thus he wrote : — 

" There is to me incomparably more interest in observing 
than in writing ; but I feel quite guilty in trespassing on these 
subjects, and i^ot sticking to varieties of the confounded cocks, 
hens and ducks. I hear that Lyell is savage at me." 

It was in the sunamer of 1860 that he made out one of the 
most striking and familiar facts in the Orchid-book, namely, 
the manner in which the pollen masses are adapted for removal 
by insects. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker, July 12 : — 

" I have been examining Orchis pyramidaliSf and it almost 
equals, perhaps even beats, your Listera case; the sticky 

* He published a short paper on the maimer of fertilisation of this 
flower, in the Gardeners' Chronicle 1871, p. 1166. 

304 BOTANY. [Ch. XVL 

glands are congenitally united into a saddle-shaped organ, 
which has great power of movement, and seizes hold of a briitle 
(or proboscis) in an admirable manner, and then another 
movement takes place in the pollen masses, by which they are 
beautifully adapted to leave pollen on the two lateral stigmatio 
surfaces. I never saw anything so beautiful." 

In June of the same year he wrote : — 

" You speak of adaptation being rarely visible, though 
present in plants. I have just recently been looking at the 
common Orchis, and I declare I think its adaptations in every 
part of the flower quite as beautiful and plain, or even more 
beautiful than in the woodpecker." * 

He wrote also to Dr. Gray, June 8, 1860 : — 

*' Talking of adaptation, I have lately been looking at onr 
common orchids, and I dare say the facts are as old and well- 
known as the hills, but I have been so struck with admiration 
at the contrivances, that I have sent a notice to the Gardeners* 

Besides attending to the fertilisation of the flowers he was 
already, in 1860, busy with the homologies of the parts, a 
subject of which he made good use in the Orchid book. He 
wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker (July) : — 

" It is a real good joke my discussing homologies of Orchids 
with you, after examining only three or four genera ; and this 
very fact makes me feel positive I am right 1 I do not quite 
imderstand some of your terms ; but sometime I must get you 
to explain the homologies; for I am intensely interested in 
the subject, just as at a game of chess." 

This work was valuable from a systematic point of view. 
In 1880 he wrote to Mr. Bentham : — 

" It was very kind in you to write to me about the OrchideaB, 
for it has pleased me to an extreme degree that I could have 
been of the least use to you about the nature of the parts." 

The pleasure which his early observations on Orchids gave 
him is shown in such passages as the following from a letter to 
Sir J. D. Hooker (July 27, 1861) :— 

" You cannot conceive how the Orchids have delighted me. 
They came safe, but box rather smashed ; cylindrical old 
cocoa- or snuflf-canister mucb safer. I enclose postage. As an 
account of the movement, I shall allude to what I suppose is 
Oncidium, to make certain^ — is the enclosed flower with crum- 
pled petals this genus ? Also I most specially want to know 
what the enclosed little globular brown Orchid is. I have 

• The woodj^ecker was one of his stock examples of adaptation. 

Ch. xvi] pertilisatton op PLOWERS. 305 

only seen pollen of a Cattleya on a bee, but snrely Lave you 
not unintentionally sent me what I wanted most (after Catase- 
tum or Mormodes), viz., one of the Epidendrea9 ? I I particu- 
larly want (and will presently tell you why) another spike of thig 
little Orchid, with older flowers, some even almost withered." 

His delight in observation is again shown in a letter to 
Dr. Gray (1863). Referring to Criiger's letters from Trinidad, 
he wrote : — ** Happy man, he has actually seen crowds of 
bees flying round Catasetum, with the pollinia sticking to their 
backs I " 

The following extracts of letters to Sir J. D. Hooker illus- 
trate further the interest which his work excited in him : — 

" Veitch sent me a grand lot this morning. What wonderful 
structures 1 

" I have now seen enough, and you must not send me more, 
for though I enjoy looking at them muchy and it has been very 
useful to me, seeing so many different forms, it is idleness. 
For my object each ipocies requires studying for days. I 
wish you had time to take up the group. 1 would give a 
good deal to know what the rostellum is, of which I have 
traced so many curious modifications. I suppose it cannot be 
one of the stigmas,* there seems a great tendency for two 
lateral stigmas to appear. My paper, though touching on 
only subordinate points will run, 1 fear, to 100 MS. folio 
pages 1 The beauty of the adaptation of parts seems to mf 
unparalleled. I should think or guess waxy pollen was most 
differentiated. In Oypripodium which seems least modified, 
and a much exterminated group, the grains are single. In all 
others^ as far as I have seen, they are in packets of four ; and 
these packets cohere into many wedge-formed masses in Orchis ; 
into eight, four, and finally two. It seems curious that a 
flower rfiould exist, which could at most fertilise only two other 
flowers, seeing how abundant pollen generally is ; this fact I 
look at as explaining the perfection of the contrivance by 
which the pollen, so important from its fewness, is carried 
from flower to flower " f (1861). 

" I was thinking of writing to you to-day, when your note 
with the Orchids came. What frightful trouble you have 
taken about Vanilla ; you really must not take an atom more ; 

* It is a modification of the upper stigma, 
t This rather obscure statement m^y be paraphrased thus : — 
The machinery is bo perfect that the plant can afford to minimise the 
amount of pollen produced. Where the machinery for pollen distribution 
is of a cruder sort, for instance where it is carried by the wind, enormous 
c^pantities are produced, e.g. in the fir tree. 


806 BOTANY. [Ch. XVI. 

for the Orchidfl are more play than real work. I have been 
much interested by Epidendrum, and have worked all morning 
at them ; for Heaven's sake, do not corrupt me by any more " 
(August 30, 1861). 

He originally intended to publish his notes on Orchids as a 
paper in the Linnean Society's Journal^ but it soon becamo 
evident that a separate volume would be a more suitable form 
of publication. In a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker, Sept. 24, 1861, 
he writes : — 

" I have been acting, I fear that you will think, like a goose ; 
end perhaps in truth I have. When I finished a few days ago 
my Orchis paper, which turns out one hundred and forty folio 
pages I ! and thought of the expense of woodcuts, I said to 
myself, I will offer the Linnean Society to withdraw it, and 
publish it in a pamphlet. It then flashed on me that perhaps 
Murray would publish it, so I gave him a cautious description, 
and offered to share risks and profits. This morning he writes 
that he will publish and take all risks, and share profits and 
pay for all illustrations. It is a risk, and Heaven knows 
whether it will not be a dead failure, but I have not deceived 
Murray, and [have] told him that it would interest those 
alone who cared much for natural history. I hope I do not 
exaggerate the curiosity of the many special contrivances." 
And again on September 28 th : — 

" What a good soul you are not to sneer at me, but to pat 
me on the back. I have the greatest doubt whether I am not 
going to do, in publishing my paper, a most ridiculous thing. 
It would annoy me much, but only for Murray's sake, if the 
publication were a dead failure." 

There was still much work to be done, and in October he 
was still receiving Orchids from Kew, and wrote to Hooker : — 
" It is impossible to thank you enough. I was almost mad 
at the wealth of Orchids." And again — 

" Mr. Veitch most generously has sent me two splendid budi 
of Mormodes, which will be capital for dissection, but I fear 
will never be irritable ; so for the sake of charity and love of 
heaven do, I beseech you, observe what movement takes place 
in Cychnoches, and what part must be touched. Mr. V. has 
also sent me one splendid flower of Catasetum, the most 
wonderful Orchid I have seen." 

On October 13 he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker : — • 
" It seems that I cannot exhaust your good nature. I have 
had the hardest day's work at Catasetum and buds of Mor- 
modes, and believe I understand at last the mechanism of 
movements and the functions. Catasetum is a beautiful caso 

Ch. xvij fertilisation op flowers. 307 

of slight modification of structure leadiiig to new functions. 
I never was more interested in any subject in all my life than 
in this of Orchids. I owe very much to you." 

Again to the same friend, November 1, 1861 : — 

" If you really can spare another Catasetum, when nearly 
ready, I shall be most grateful ; had I not better send for it ? 
The case is truly marvellous; the (so-called) sensation, or 
stimulus from a light touch is certainly transmitted through 
the antonnsB for more than one inch instantaneously, ... A 
cursed insect or something let my last flower off last night." 

Professor de CandoUe has remarked* of my father, " Ce n'est 
pas lui qui aurait demando de construire des palais pour y 
loger des laboratoires." This was singularly true of his 
orchid work, or rather it would be nearer the truth to say that 
he had no laboratory, for it was only after the publication of 
the Fertilisation of Orchids, that he built himself a green- 
house. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (December 24th, 

** And now I am going to tell you a most important piece of 
news 1 1 I have almost resolved to build a small hot-house ; my 
neighbour's really first-rate gardener has suggested it, and 
offered to make me plans, and see that it is well done, and he is 
really a clever fellow, who wins lots of prizes, and is very 
observant. He believes that we should succeed with a little 
patience ; it will be a grand amusement for me to experiment 
with plants." 

Again he wrote (February 15th, 1863) : — 

" I write now because the new hot-house is ready, and I long 
to stock it, just like a schoolboy. Could you tell me pretty 
soon what plants you can give me ; and thea I shall know 
what to order ? And do advise me how I had better get such 
plants as you can spare. Would it do to send my tax-cart 
early in the morning, on a day that was not frosty, lining the 
cart with mats, and arriving here before night ? I have no 
idea whether this degree of exposure (and of course the cart 
would be cold) could injure stove-plants ; they would be about 
five hours (with bait) on the journey home." 

A week later he wrote : — 

"You cannot imagine what pleasure your plants give me 
(far more than your dead Wedgwood-ware can give you) ; H. 
and I go and gloat over them, but we privatelv confessed to 
each other, that if they were not our own, perhaps we should 
not see such transcendant beauty in each leaf." 

* " Darwin consid€r€, &c.," Archives des Sciences Physiques et NatureUes 
8^me p^riode. Tome vii. 481, 1882. 

X 2 

508 BOTANY. [Ch. XVI. 

And in March, when lie was extremely unwell, lie wrote : — 

" A few words about the stove-plants ; they do so amuse me. 
I have crawled to see them two or three times. Will you 
correct and answer, and return enclosed. I have hunted in all 
my books and cannot find these names, and I like much to 
know the family." nis difficulty with regard to the names of 
plants is illustrated, with regard to a Lupine on which he was 
at work, in an extract from a letter (July 21, 1866) to Sir 
J. D. Hooker : " I sent to the nursery garden, whence I bought 
the seed, and could only hear that it was * the common blue 
Lupine,' the man saying *he was no scholard, and did not 
know Latin, and that parties who make experiments ought to 
find out the names.' " 

The book was published May 15th, 1862. Of its reception he 
writes to Mr. Murray, June 13th and 18th : — 

" The Botanists praise my Orchid-book to the skies. Some 
one sent me (perhaps you) the Parthenon, with a good review. 
The Aihenseum* treats me with very kind pity and contempt ; 
but the reviewer knew nothing of his subject." 

" There is a superb, but I fear exaggerated, review in the 
London Bevieio.^ But I have not been a fool, as I thought I 
was, to publish ; for Asa Gray, about the most competent judge 
in the world, thinks almost as highly of the book as does the 
London Meview. The Athenseum will hinder the sale greatly." 

The Eev. M. J. Berkeley was the author of the notice in the 
London Heview, as my father learned from Sir J. D. Hooker, 
who added, " I thought it very well done indeed. I have read 
a good deal of the Orchid-book, and echo all he says." 

To this my father replied (June 30th, 1862) :— 

" My dear old friend, — ^You speak of my warming the cockles 
of your heart, but you will never know how often you have 
warmed mine. It is not your approbation of my scientific 
work (though I care for that more than for any one's) : it is 
something deeper. To this day I remember keenly a letter 
you wrote to me from Oxford, when I was at the Water-cure, 
and how it cheered me when I was utterly weary of life. 
Well, my Orchid-book is a success (but I do not know whether 
it sells)." 

In another letter to the same friend, he wrote : — 

" You have pleased me much by what you say in regard to 
Bentham and Oliver approving of my book ; for I had got a 
sort of nervousness, and doubted whether I had not made an 
egregious fool of myself, and concocted pleasant little stinging 

• May 24th, 1862. t June 14th, 1862. 


remarks for reviews, such as ' Mr. Darwin's bead seems to have 
been turned by a certain degree of success, and he thinks that 
the most trifling observations are worth publication.' " 

He wrote too, to Asa Gray : — 

"Your generous sympathy makes you over-estimate what 
you have read of my Orchid-book. But your letter of May 
18th and 26th has given me an almost foolish amount of 
satisfaction. The subject interested me, I knew, beyond its 
real value ; but I had lately got to think that I had made 
myself a complete fool by publishing in a semi-popular form. 
Now I shall confidently defy the world. ... No doubt my 
volume contains much error : how curiously difiicult it is to be 
accurate, though I try my utmost. Your notes have interested 
me beyond measure. I can now afford to d — my critics 
with ineffable complacency of mind. Cordial thanks for this 

Sir Joseph Hooker reviewed the book in the Gardeners* 
Clironicle, writing in a successful imitation of the style of 
Lindley, the Editor. My father wrote to Sir Joseph (Nov. 12, 

" So you did write the review in the Gardeners* Chronicle. 
Once or twice I doubted whether it was Lindley ; but when I 
came to a little slap at K. Brown, I doubted no longer. You 
arch-rogue I I do not wonder you have deceived others also. 
Perhaps I am a conceited dog ; but if so, you have much to 
answer for ; I never received so much praise, and coming from 
you I value it much more than from any other," 

With regard to botanical opinion generally, he wrote to Dr. 
Gray, " I am fairly astonished at the success of my book with 
botanists." Among naturalists who were not botanists, Lyell 
was pre-eminent in his appreciation of the book. I have no 
means of knowing when he read it, but in later life, as I learn 
from Professor Judd, he was enthusiastic in praise of the 
Fertilisation of Orchids^ which he considered ** next to the 
Origin, as the most valuable of all Darwin's works^" Among 
the general public the author did not at first hear of many 
disciples, thus he wrote to his cousin Fox in September 1862 : 
" Hardly any one not a botanist, except yourself, as far as I 
know, has cared for it." 

If we examine the literature relating to the fertilisation of 
flowers, we do not find that this new branch of study showed 
any great activity immediately after the publication of the 
Orchid-book. There are a few papers by Asa Gray, in 1862 and 
1863, by Hildebrand in 1864, and by Moggridge in 1865, but 
the great mass of work by Axell, Delpino, Hildebrand, and 

310 BOTANY. [Ch. XVI. 

the Miillers, did not begin to appear until about 1867. The 
period during which the new views were being assimilated, 
and before they became thoroughly fruitful, was, however, 
surprisingly short. The later activity in this department may 
be roughly gauged by the fact that the valuable ' Bibliography/ 
given by Professor D'Arcy Thompson in his translation of 
Miiller's Befruchtung (1883),* contains references to 814 papers. 

In 1877 a second edition of the Fertilisation of Orchids was 
published, the first edition having been for some time out of 
print. The new edition was remodelled and almost rewritten, 
and a large amount of new matter added, much of which the 
author owed to his friend Fritz Miiller. 

With regard to this edition he wrote to Dr. Gray : — 

" I do not suppose I shall ever again touch the book. After 
much doubt I have resolved to act in this way with all my 
books for the future ; that is to correct them once and never 
touch them again, so as to use the small quantity of work left 
in me for new matter." 

One of the latest references to his Orchid-work occurs in a 
letter to Mr. Bentham, February 16, 1880. It shows the amount 
of pleasure which this subject gave to my father, and (what is 
characteristic of him) that his reminiscence of the work was 
one of delight in the observations which preceded its publica- 
tion, not to the applause which followed it : — 

*' They are wonderful creatures, these Orchids, and I some- 
times think with a glow of pleasure, when I remember making 
out some little point in their method of fertilisation." 

The Effect of Cross-and Self-fertilisation in the Vegetable King- 
dom. Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same 

Two other books bearing on the problem of sex in plants 
require a brief notice. The Effects of Cross-and Self-Fertili- 
sation, published in 1876, is one of his most important works, 
and at the same time one of the most unreadable to any but the 
professed naturalist. Its value lies in the proof it offers of the 
increased vigour given to the oft'spring by the act of cross- 
fertilisation. It is the complement of the Orchid book because 
it makes us understand the advantage gained by the mechanisms 
for insuring cross -fertilisation described in that work. 

The book is also valuable in another respect, because it 
throws light on the difficult problems of the origin of sexuality. 

* My father's " Prefatory Notice " to this work is dated February 6tli, 
1882, and is therefore almost the last of his writings. 

Ch. xvl] febtilisation of flowers. 311 

The increased vigour resiJting from cross-fertilisation is 
allied in the closest manner to the advantage gained by change 
of conditions. So strongly is this the case, that in some 
instances cross-fertilisation gives no advantage to the off- 
spring, unless the parents have lived under slightly different 
conditions. So that the really important thing is not that two 
individuals of different blood shall unite, but two individuals 
which have been subjected to different conditions. We are 
thus led to believe that sexuality is a means for infusing vigour 
into the offspring by the coalescence of differentiated elements, 
an advantage which could not accompany asexual repro- 

It is remarkable that this book, the result of eleven years 
of experimental work, owed its origin to a chance observation. 
My father had raised two beds of Linaria vulgaris — one set 
being the offspring of cross and the other of self-fertilisation. 
The plants were grown for the sake of some observations on 
inheritance, and not with any view to cross-breeding, and he 
was astonished to observe that the offspring of self-fertilisation 
were clearly less vigorous than the others. It seemed incredible 
to him that this result could be due to a single act of self- 
fertilisation, and it was only in the following year, when 
precisely the same result occurred in the case of a similar 
experiment on inheritance in carnations, that his attention was 
" thoroughly aroused," and that he determined to make a series 
of experiments specially directed to the question. 

The volume on Foi-ms of Flowers was published in 1877, and 
was dedicated by the author to Professor Asa Gray, " as a small 
tribute of respect and affection." It consists of certain earlier 
papers re-edited, with the addition of a quantity of new matter. 
The subjects treated in the book are : — 
(i.) Heterostyled Plants, 
(ii.^ Polygamous, Dioecious, and Gynodioecious Plants. 

(iii.) Cleistogamic Flowers. 

The nature of heterostyled plants may be illustrated in the 
primrose, one of the best known examples of the class. If a 
number of primroses be gathered, it will be found that some 
plants yield nothing but " pin-eyed " flowers, in which the 
style (or organ for the transmission of the pollen to the ovule) 
is long, while the others yield only " thrum-eyed " flowers 
with short styles. Thus primroses are divided into two sets 
or castes differing structurally from each other. My father 
showed that they also differ sexually, and that in fact the bond 
between the two castes more nearly resembles that between 
separate sexes than any other known relationship. Thus for 

312 BOTANY. [Ch. XVI. 

example a long-styled primrose, though it can be fertilised by 
its own pollen, is not fully fertile unless it is impregnated by 
the pollen of a short-styled flower. Heterostyled plants are 
comparable to hermaphrodite animals, such as snails, which 
require the concourse of two individuals, although each pos- 
sesses both the sexual elements. The diflference is that in the 
case of the primrose it ia perfect fertility ^ and not simply fertility ^ 
that depends on the mutual action of the two sets of in- 

The work on heterostyled plants has a special bearing, to 
which the author attached much importance, on the problem of 
the origin of species.* 

He found that a wonderfully close parallelism exists between 
hybridisation (i.e. crosses between distinct species), and certain 
forms of fertilisation among heterostyled plants. So that it is 
hardly an exaggeration to say that the " illegitimately " reared 
seedlings are hybrids, although both their parents belong to 
identically the same species. In a letter to Professor Huxley, 
given in the second volume of the Life and Letters (p. 384), my 
father writes as if his researches on heterostyled plants tended 
to make him believe that sterility is a selected or acquired 
quality. But in his later publications, e.g. in the sixth edition 
of the Origin, he adheres to the belief that sterility is an 
incidental f rather than a selected quality. The result of his 
work on heterostyled plants is of importance as showing that 
sterility is no test of specific distinctness, and that it depends 
on diflferentiation of the sexual elements which is independent 
of any racial difference. I imagine that it was his instinctive 
love of making out a difficulty which to a great extent kept him 
at work so patiently on the heterostyled plants. But it was 
the fact that general conclusions of the above character could 
be drawn from his results which made him think his results 
worthy of publication. 

♦ See Autobiography, p. 48. 

t The pollen or fertilising element is in each species adapted to 
produce a certain change in the egg-cell (or female element), just as a 
key is adapted to a lock. If a key opens a lock for which it was never 
intended it is an incidental result. In the same way if the pollen of 
species of A. proves to be capable of fertilising the egg-cell of species B. 
we may call it incidental. 

( 313 ) 


Climbing Plants; Power of Movement in Plants; Insec' 
tivorous Plants ; Kew Index of Plant Names, 

My father mentions in his AutohiograpJiy (p. 45) that he was 
led to take up the subject of climbing plants by reading 
Dr. Gray's paper, " Note on the Coiling of the Tendrils of 
Plants." * This essay seems to haye been read in 1862, but I 
am only able to guess at the date of the letter in which he asks 
for a reference to it, so that the precise date of his beginning 
this work cannot be determined. 

In June 1863, ho was certainly at work, and wrote to Sir 
J. D. Hooker for information as to previous publications on the 
subject, being then in ignorance of Palm's and H. v. Mohl's 
works on clunbing plants, both of which were published in 

C. Darwin to Asa Oray. Down, August 4 [1863]. 

My present hobby-horse I owe to you, viz. the tendrils : 
their irritability is beautiful, as beautiful in all its modifica- 
tions as anything in Orchids. About the spontaneous move- 
ment (independent of touch) of the tendrils and upper inter- 
nodes, I am rather taken aback by your saying, " is it not well 
known ? " I can find nothing in any book which I have. . . . 
The spontaneous movement of the tendrils is independent of 
the movement of the upper intemodes, but both work har- 
moniously together in sweeping a circle for the tendrils to 
grasp a stick. So with all climbing plants (without tendrils) 
as yet examined, the upper intemodes go on night and day 
sweeping a circle in one fixed direction. It is surprising to 
watch the Apocyneae with shoots 18 inches long (beyond the 
supporting stick), steadily searching for something to climb up. 
Wnen the shoot meets a stick, the motion at that point is 
arrested, but in the upper part is continued; so that the 
climbing of all plants yet examined is the simple result of the 
* Proc. Amer. Aead. of Arti and Sciences j 1858. 

314 BOTANY. [Ch. XVH. 

spontaneons circtilatory movement of the upper internodes.* 
Pray tell me whether anything has been published on this 
subject ? I hate publishing what is old ; but I shall hardly 
regret my work if it is old, as it has much amused me. . . . 

He soon found that his observations were not entirely novel, 
and wrote to Hooker : " I have now read two German books, 
and all I believe that has been written on climbers, and it has 
stirred me up to find that I have a good deal of new matter. It 
is strange, but I really think no one has explained simple 
twining plants. These books have stirred me up, and made mo 
wish for plants specified in them." 

He continued his observations on climbing plants during the 
prolonged illness from which he suffered in the autumn of 1863, 
and in the following spring. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker, 
apparently in March 1864 : — 

" The hot-house is such an amusement to me, and my 
amusement I owe to you, as my delight is to look at the 
many odd leaves and plants from Kew. . . . The only ap- 
proach to work which I can do is to look at tendrils and 
climbers, this does not distress my weakened brain. Ask 
Oliver to look over the enclosed queries (and do you look) 
and amuse a broken-down brother natiu-alist by answering 
any which he can. If you ever lounge through your houses, 
remember me and climbing plants." 

A letter to Dr. Gray, April 9, 1865, has a word or two on 
the subject. — 

" I have began correcting proofs of my paper on Climbing 
Plants. I suppose I shall be able to send you a copy in four 
or five weeks. I think it contains a good deal new, and some 
curious points, but it is so fearfully long, that no one will ever 
read it. If, however, you do not sJdm through it, you will be 
an unnatural parent, for it is your child." 

Dr. Gray not only read it but approved of it, to my father's 
great satisfaction, as the following extracts show : — 

" I was much pleased to get your letter of July 24th. Now 
that I can do nothing, I maunder over old subjects, and your 
approbation of my climbing paper gives me very great satis- 
faction. I made my observations when I could do nothing 
else and much enjoyed it, but always doubted whether they 
were worth publishing 

"I received yesterday your article f on climbers, and it has 

* This view is rejected by some botanists. 

t In the September number of Silliman'a Journal, concluded in the 
January number, 1866. 


pleased me in an extraordinary and even Billy manner. You pay 
me a superb compliment, and as I have just said to my wife, I 
think my friends must perceive that I like praise, they give mo 
such hearty doses. I always admire your skill in reviews or 
abstracts, and you have done this article excellently and given 

the whole essence of my paper I have had a letter 

from a good zoologist in S. Brazil, F. Miiller, who has been 
stirred up to observe climbers, and gives me some curious cases 
of fcrancA-climbers, in which branches are converted into 
tendrils, and then continue to grow and throw out leaves 
and new branches, and then lose their tendril character." 

The paper on Climbing Plants was republished in 1875, as a 
separate book. The author had been unable to give his cus- 
tomary amount of care to the style of the original essay, owing 
to the fact that it was written during a period of continued ill- 
health, and it was now found to require a great deal of altera- 
tion. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (March 3, 1875) : " It is 
lucky for authors in general that they do not require such 
dreadful work in merely licking what they write into shape." 
And to Mr. Murray, in September, he wrote : " The corrections 
are heavy in Climhing Plants, and yet I deliberately went over 
the MS. and old sheets three times. " The book was published 
in September 1876, an edition of 1500 copies was struck off; 
the edition sold fairly well, and 600 additional copies were 
printed in June of the following year. 

The Power of MoveTnent in Plants. 1880. 

The few sentences in the autobiographical chapter give with 
sufficient clearness the connection between the Power of 
Movement and the book on Climbing Plants. The central idea 
of the book is that the movements of plants in relation to 
light, gravitation, &c., are modifications of a spontaneous 
tendency to revolve or circumnutate, which is widely inherent 
in the growing parts of plants. This conception has not been 
generally adopted, and has not taken a place among the 
canons of orthodox physiology. The book has been treated 
by Professor Sachs with a few words of professorial contempt ; 
and by Professor Wiesner it has been honoui-ed by careful 
and generously expressed criticism. 

Mr. Thiselton Dyer * has well said : " Whether this masterly 

♦ Charles Dancing Nature Series, p. 41. 

316 BOTANY. [Ch. XVil. 

conception of the unity of what has hitherto seemed a chaos of 
unrelated phenomena will be sustained, time alone will show. 
But no one can doubt the importance of what Mr. Darwin has 
done, in showing that for the future the phenomena of plant 
movement can and indeed must be studied from a single point 
of view." 

The work was begun in the summer of 1877, after the publi- 
cation of Different Forms of Flowers, and by the autumn his 
enthusiasm for the subject was thoroughly established, and he 
wrote to Mr Dyer : " I am all on fire at the work." At this 
time he was studying the movements of cotyledons, in which 
the sleep of plants is to be observed in its simplest form ; in 
the following spring he was trying to discover what useful 
purpose these sleep-movements could serve, and wrote to Sir 
Joseph Hooker (March 25th, 1878) :— 

" I think we hsLve proved that the sleep of plants is to lessen the 
injury to the leaves from radiation. This has interested me 
much, and has cost us great labour, as it has been a problem 
since the time of Linnaaus. But we have killed or badly 
injured a multitude of plants. N.B. — Oxalis camosa was most 
valuable, but last night was killed." 

The book was published on November 6, 1880, and 1500 
copies were disposed of at Mr. Murray's sale With regard to 
it he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (November 23) : — 

" Your note has pleased me much — ^for I did not expect that 
you would have had time to read any of it. Read the last 
chapter, and you will know the whole result, but without the 
evidence. The case, however, of radicles bending after ex- 
posure for an hour to geotropism, with their tips (or brains) 
cut off is, I think worth your reading (bottom of p. 625) ; it 
astounded me. But I will bother you no more about my book. 
The sensitiveness of seedlings to light is marvellous." 

To another friend, Mr. Thiselton Dyer, he wrote (Novem- 
ber 28, 1880) : 

" Very many thanks for your most kind note, but you think 
too highly of our work, not but what this is very pleasant. . . . 
Many of the Germans are very contemptuous about making 
out the use of organs ; but they may sneer the souls out of 
their bodies, and I for one shall think it the most interesting 
part of Natural History. Indeed you are greatly mistaken if 
you doubt for one moment on the very great value of your 
constant and most kind assistance to us." 

The book was widely reviewed, and excited much interest 
among the general public. The following letter refers to a 
leading article in the Times, November 20, 1880 : — 


a B. to Mrs. Ealiburton* Down, November 22, 1880. 

My deae Sarah, — You see how audaciously I begin ; but I 
have always loved and shall ever love this name. Your letter 
has done more than please me, for its kindness has touched my 
heart. I often thini of old days and of the delight of my 
visits to Woodhouse, and of the deep debt of gratitude which I 
owe to your father. It was very good of you to write. I had 
quite forgotten my old ambition about the Shrewsbury news- 
paper ; t but I remember the pride which I felt when I saw 
in a book about beetles the impressive words " captured by 
C. Darwin." Captured sounded so grand compared with caught. 
This seemed to me glory enough for any man ! I do not know 
in the least what made the Times glorify me, for it has some- 
times pitched into me ferociously. 

I should very much like to see you again, but you would 
find a visit here very dull, for we feel very old and have no 
amusement, and lead a solitary life. But we intend in a few 
weeks to spend a few days in London, and then if you have 
anything else to do in London, you would perhaps come and 
lunch with us. 

Believe me, my dear Sarah, 

Yours gratefully and affectionately. 

The following letter was called forth by the publication of a 
volume devoted to the criticism of the Power of Movement in 
Plants by an accomplished botanist. Dr. Julius Wiesner, Pro- 
fessor of Botany in ihe University of Vienna : 

G, D. to Julius Wiesner, Down, October 25th, 1881. 

My deae Sib, — I have now finished your book,{ and have 
understood the whole except a very few passages. In the first 
place, let me thank you cordially for the manner in which you 
have everywhere treated me. You have shown how a man 
may differ from another in the most decided manner, and yet 
express his difference with the most perfect courtesy. Not a 

♦ Mrs. Haliburton was a daughter of my father's early friend, the late 
Mr. Owen, of Woodhouse. 

t Mrs. Haliburton had reminded him of his saying as a boy that if 
Eddowes' newspaper ever alluded to him as " our deserving fellow- 
townsman," his ambition would be amply gratified. 

X Das Beicegung8V€rml>gen der Pflanten. Vienna, 1S81. 

318 BOTANY. [Ch. XVIL 

few English and German naturalists might learn a useful 
lesson from your example ; for the coarse language often used 
by scientific men towards each other does no good, and only 
degrades science. 

I have been profoundly interested by your book, and some 
of your experiments are so beautiful, that I actually felt 
pleasure while being vivisected. It would take up too much 
space to discuss all the important topics in your book. I fear 
that you have quite upset the interpretation which I have 
given of the effects of cutting off the tips of horizontally 
extended roots, and of those laterally exposed to moisture ; 
but I cannot persuade myself that the horizontal position of 
lateral branches and roots is due simply to their lessened 
power of growth. Nor when I think of my experiments with 
the cotyledons of Phalarisy can I give up the belief of the 
transmission of some stimulus due to light from the upper to 
the lower part. At p. 60 you have misunderstood my meaning, 
when you say that I believe that the effects from light are 
transmitted to a part which is not itself heliotropic. I never 
considered whether or not the short part beneath the ground 
was heliotropic ; but I believe that with young seedlings the 
part which bends wear, but above the ground is heliotropic, and 
I believe so from this part bending only moderately when the 
light is oblique, and bending rectangularly when the light is 
horizontal. Nevertheless the bending of this lower part, as 
I conclude from my experiments with opaque caps, is in- 
fluenced by the action of light on the upper part. My opinion, 
however, on the above and many other points, signifies very 
little, for I have no doubt that your book will convince most 
botanists that I am wrong in all the points on which we differ. 

Independently of the question of transmission, my mind is 
BO full of facts leading me to believe that light, gravity, &c., 
act not in a direct manner on growth, but as stimuli, that I am 
quite unable to modify my judgment on this head. I could 
not understand the passage at p^ 78, until I consulted my 
Bon George, who is a mathematician. He supposes that your 
objection is founded on the diffused light from the lamp 
illuminating both sides of the object, and not being reduced, 
with increasing distance in the same ratio as the direct light ; 
but he doubts whether this necessary correction will account for 
the very little difference in the heliotropic curvature of the 
plants in the successive pots. 

With respect to the sensitiveness of the tips of roots to 
contact, I cannot admit your vierrr until it is proved that I am 
in error about bits of card attached by liquid gum causing 


movement; whereas no movement was caused if the card 
remained separated from the tip by a layer of the liquid gum. 
The fact also of thicker and thinner bits of card attached on 
opposite sides of the same root by shellac, ^jausing movement 
in one direction, has to be explained. You often speak of the 
tip having been injured ; but externally there was no sign of 
injury : and when the tip was plainly injured, the extreme part 
became curved towards the injured side. I can no more 
believe that the tip was injured by the bits of card, at least 
when attached by gum-water, than that the glands of Drosera 
are injured by a particle of thread or hair placed on it, or that 
the himian tongue is so when it feels any such object. 

About the most important subject in my book, namely 
circumnutation, I can only say that I feel utterly bewildered 
at the difference in our conclusions ; but I could not fully 
understand some parts which my son Francis will be able to 
translate to me when he returns home. The greater part of 
your book is beautifully clear. 

Finally, I wish that I had enough strength and spirit to 
commence a fresh set of experiments, and publish the results, 
with a full recantation of my errors when convinced of them ; 
but I am too old for such an imdertaking, nor do I suppose 
that I shall be able to do much, or any more, original work. 
I imagine that I see one possible source of error in your 
beautiful experiment of a plant rotating and exposed to a 
lateral light. 

With high respect, and with sincere thanks for the kind 
manner in which you have treated me and my mistakes, I 

My dear Sir, yours sincerely. 

Insectivorous Plants, 

In the summer of 1860 he was staying at the house of his 
sister-in-law, Miss Wedgwood, in Ashdown Forest whence he 
wrote (July 29, 1860), to Sir Joseph Hooker : — 

" Latterly I have done nothing here ; but at first I amused 
myself with a few observations on the insect-catching power 
of Drosera : * and I must consult you some time whether my 
* twaddle ' is worth communicating to the Linnean Society." 

In August he wrote to the same friend : — 

" I will gratefully send my notes on Drosera when copied 

♦ The common sun-dew. 

320 BOTANY. [Ch. XVIL 

by my copier: the subject amused me when I had nothing 
to do." 

He has described in the Autobiography (p. 47), the general 
nature of these early experiments. He noticed insects sticking 
to the leaves, and finding that flies, &c., placed on the adhesive 
glands, were held fast and embraced, he suspected that 
the captured prey was digested and absorbed by the leaves. 
He therefore tried the effect on the leaves of various nitro- 
genous fluids — with results which, as far as they went, verified 
his surmise. In September, 1860, he wrote to Dr. Gray : — 

" I have been infinitely amused by working at Drosera': the 
movements are really curious ; and the manner in which the 
leaves detect certain nitrogenous compounds is marvellous. 
You will laugh ; but it is, at present, my full belief (after 
endless experiments) that they detect (and move in con- 
sequence of) the gg^ g o part of a single grain of nitrate of 
ammonia ; but the muriate and sulphate of ammonia bother 
their chemical skill, and they cannot make anything of the 
nitrogen in these salts I " 

Later in the autumn he was again obliged to leave home for 
Eastbourne, where he continued his work on Drosera. 

On his return home he wrote to Lyell (November 1860) : — 

" I will and must finish my Drosera MS., which will take 
me a week, for, at the present moment, I care more about 
Drosera than the origin of all the species in the world. But 
I will not publish on Drosera till next year, for I am frightened 
and astounded at my results. I declare it is a certain fact, 
that one organ is so sensitive to touch, that a weight seventy- 
eight-times less than that, viz., -pjW ^^ ^ grain, which will move 
the best chemical balance, suffices to cause a conspicuous 
movement. Is it not curious that a plant should be far more 
sensitive to the touch than any nerve in the human body? 
Yet I am perfectly sure that this is true. When I am on my 
hobby-horse, I never can resist telling my friends how well 
my hobby goes, so you must forgive the rider." 

The work was continued, as f aoliday task, at Bournemouth, 
where he stayed during the autumn of 1862. 

A long break now ensued in his work on insectivorous plants, 
and it was not till 1872 that the subjeet seriously occupied him 
again. A passage in a letter to Dr. Asa Gray, written in 1863 
or 1864, shows, however, that the question was not altogether 
absent from his mind in the interim : — 

" Depend on it you are unjust on the merits of my beloved 
Drosera ; it is a wonderful plant, or rather a most sagacious 
animal. I will stick up for Drosera to the day of my death. 


Heaven knows whether I shall ever publish my pile of experi- 
ments on it." 

He notes in his diary that the last proof of the Expression 
of the Emotions was finished on August 22, 1872, and that he 
began to work on Drosera on the following day. 

C. D. to Asa Gray [Sevenoaks], October 22 [1872]. 

... I have worked pretty hard for four or five weeks on 
Drosera, and then broke down ; so that we took a house near 
Sevenoaks for three weeks (where I now am) to get complete 
rest. I have very little power of working now, and must put 
off the rest of the work on Drosera till next spring, as my 
plants are dying. It is an endless subject, and I must cut it 
short, and for this reason shall not do much on Dionoea. The 
point which has interested me most is tracing the nerves! 
which follow the vascular bundles. By a prick with a sharp 
lancet at a certain point, I can paralyse one-half the leaf, so 
that a stimulus to tiie other half causes no movement. It is 
just like dividing the spinal marrow of a frog : — no stimulus 
can be sent from the brain or anterior part of the spine to the 
hind legs: but if these latter are stimulated, they move by 
reflex action. I find my old results about the astonishing 
sensitiveness of the nervous system (1 ?) of Drosera to various 
stimulants fully confirmed and extended. . . . 

a D. to Asa Gray, Down, June 3 [1874]. 

... I am now hard at work getting my book on Drosera & Co. 
ready for the printers, but it will take some time, for I am 
always finding out new points to observe. I think you will 
be interested by my observations on the digestive process 
in Drosera ; the secretion contains an acid of the acetic series, 
and some ferment closely analogous to, but not identical with, 
pepsine ; for I have been making a long series of comparative 
trials. No human being will believe what I shall publish 
about the smallness of the doses of phosphate of ammonia which 

The manuscript of Insectivorous Plants was finished in 
March 1875. He seems to have been more than usually 
oppressed by the writing of this book, thus he wrote to Sir 
J. D. Hooker in February : — 

" You ask about my book, and all that I can say is that I am 
ready to commit suicide ; I thought it was decently written, 


322 BOTANY. [Ch. XVH. 

but find so much wants rewriting, that it will not be ready- 
to go to printers for two months, and will then make a 
confoundedly big book. Murray will say that it is no use 
publishing in the middle of summer, so I do not know what 
will be the upshot ; but I begin to think that every one who 
publishes a book is a fool." 

The book was published on July 2nd, 1875, and 2700 copies 
were sold out of the edition of 3000. 

Hie Kew Index of Plant-Namea, 

Some account of my father's connection with the Index of 
Plant-Names, now (1892) being printed by the Clarendon 
Press, will be found in Mr. B. Day don Jackson's paper in 
the Journal of Botany, 1887, p. 151. Mr. Jackson quotes 
the following statement by Sir J. D. Hooker : — 

" Shortly before his death, Mr. Charles Darwin informed Sir 
Joseph Hooker that it was his intention to devote a considerable 
sum of money annually for some years in aid or furtherance 
of some work or works of practical utility to biological science, 
and to make provisions in his will in the event of these not 
being completed during his lifetime. 

"Amongst other objects connected with botanical science, 
Mr. Darwin regarded with especial interest the importance of 
a complete index to the names and authors of the genera and 
species of plants known to botanists, together with their native 
countries. Steudel's Nomenclator is the only existing work of 
this nature, and although now nearly half a century old, Mr. 
Darwin had found it of great aid in his own researches. It 
has been indispensable to every botanical institution, whether 
as a list of all known flowering plants, as an indication of 
their authors, or as a digest of botanical geography." 

Since 1840, when the Nomenclator was published, the number 
of described plants may be said to have doubled, so that 
Steudel is now seriously below the requirements of botanical 
work. To remedy this want, the Nomenclator has been from time 
to time posted up in an interleaved copy in the Herbarium at 
Kew, by the help of "funds supplied by private liberality."* 

My father, like other botanists, had, as Sir Joseph Hooker 
points out, experienced the value of Steudel's work. He 
obtained plants from all sorts of soui-ces, which were often 
incorrectly named, and he felt the necessity of adhering to 

* Kew Gardens Beport, 1881, p. 62, 

Oh. XVn] KBW INDEX. 328 

tho accepted nomenclatnre so that he might convey to other 
workers precise indications as to the plants which he had studied. 
It was also frequently a matter of importance to him to know 
the native country of his experimental plants. Thus it was 
natural that he should recognise the desirability of completing 
and publishing the interleaved volume at Kew. The wish to help 
in this object was heightened by the admiration he felt for the 
results for which the world has to thank the Royal Gardens at 
Kew, and by his gratitude for the invaluable aid which for so 
many years he received from its Director and his staff. He 
expressly stated that it was his wish " to aid in some way the 
scientific work carried on at the Royal Grardens"* — which 
induced him to offer to supply funds for the completion of the 
Kew Nomenclator. 

The following passage, for which I am indebted to Professor 
Judd, is of interest, as illustrating, the motives that actuated 
my father in this matter. Professor Judd writes : — 

" On the occasion of my last visit to him, he told me that his 
income having recently greatly increased, while his wants re- 
mained the same, he was most anxious to devote what he could 
spare to the advancement of Geology or Biology. He dwelt in 
the most touching manner on the fact that he owed so much 
happiness and fame to the natural history sciences, which had 
been the solace of what might have been a painful existence ; — 
and he begged me, if I knew of any research which could be 
aided by a grant of a few hundreds of pounds, to let him know, 
as it would be a delight to him to feel that he was helping in 
promoting the progress of science. He informed me at the 
same time that he was making the same suggestion to Sir 
Joseph Hooker and Professor Huxley with respect to Botany 
and Zoology respectively. I was much impressed by the 
earnestness, and, indeed, deep emotion, with which he spoke 
of his indebtedness to Science, and his desire to promote its 

The plan of the proposed work having been carefully con- 
sidered, Sir Joseph Hooker was able to confide its elaboration 
in detail to Mr. B. Daydon Jackson, Secretary of the Linnean 
Society, whose extensive knowledge of botanical literature 
qualifies him for the task. My father's original idea of 
producing a modern edition of Steudel's Nomenclator has been 
practically abandoned, the aim now kept in view is rather to 
construct a list of genera and species (with references) founded 
on Bentham and Hooker's Genera Plantarum, Under Sir 

• See Nature^ January 5, 1882. 

824 BOTANY, [Oh. XVIL 

Joseph Hooker's snpervisioii, the work, carried out with 
admirable zeal by Mr. Jackson, goes steadily forward. The 
colossal nature of the undertaking may be estimated by the 
fact that the manuscript of the Index is at the present time 
(1892) believed to weigh more than a ton. 

The Kew * Index,' will be a fitting memorial of my father : 
and his share in its completion illustrates a part of his cha- 
racter — his ready sympathy with work outside his own lines of 
investigation — and his respect for minute and patient labour in 
all branches of science. 

( 325 ) 



Some idea of the general course of my father's health may 
have been gathered from the letters given in the preceding 
pages. The subject of health appears more prominently than 
is often necessary in a Biography, because it was, unfortunately, 
BO real an element in determining the outward form of his life. 

My father was at one time in the hands of Dr. Bence Jones, 
from whose treatment he certainly derived benefit. In later 
years he became a patient of Sir Andrew Clark, under whoso 
care he improved greatly in general health. It was not only 
for his generously rendered service that my father felt a 
debt of gratitude towards Sir Andrew Clark. He owed to 
his cheering personal influence an often-repeated encourage- 
ment, which latterly added something real to his happiness, 
and he found sincere pleasure in Sir Andrew's friendship 
and kindness towards himself and his children. During the 
last ten years of his life the state of his health was a cause 
of satisfaction and hope to his family. His condition showed 
signs of amendment in several particulars. He suffered 
less distress and discomfort, and was able to work more 

Scattered through his letters are one or two references to 
pain or uneasiness felt in the region of the heart. How far 
these indicate that the heart was affected early in life, I 
cannot pretend to say ; in any case it is certain that he had no 
serious or permanent trouble of this nature until shortly before 
his death. In spite of the general improvement in his health, 
which has been above alluded to, there was a certain loss of 
physical vigour occasionally apparent during the last few 
years of his life. This is illustrated by a sentence in a letter 
to his old friend Sir James Sulivan, written on January 10, 
1879 : " My scientific work tires me more that it used to do, 
but I have nothing else to do, and whether one is worn out a 
year or two sooner or later signifies but little." 

A similar feeling is shown in a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker of 


June 15, 1881. My father was staying at Patterdale, and 
wrote : " I am rather despondent about myself .... I have 
not the heart or strength to begin any investigation lasting 
years, which is the only thing I enjoy, and I have no little 
jobs which I can do." 

In July, 1881, he wrote to Mr. Wallace: "We have just 
returned home after spending five weeks on UUswater; the 
scenery is quite charming, but I cannot walk, and everything 
tires me, even seeing scenery .... What I shall do with my 
few remaining years of life I can hardly tell. I have every- 
thing to make me happy and contented, but life has become 
very wearisome to me." He was, however, able to do a good 
deal of work, and that of a trying sort,* during the autumn of 
1881, but towards the end of the year, he was clearly in need 
of rest : and during the winter was in a lower condition than 
was usual with him. 

On December 13, he went for a week to his daughter's house 
in Bryanston Street. During his stay in London he went to 
call on Mr. Komanes, and was seized when on the door-step 
with an attack apparently of the same kind as those which 
afterwards became so frequent. The rest of the incident, 
which I give in Mr. Eomanes* words, is interesting too from a 
different point of view, as giving one more illustration of my 
father's scrupulous consideration for others : — 

" I happened to be out, but my butler, observing that Mr. 
Darwin was ill, asked him to come in. He said he would 
prefer going home, and although the butler urged him to wait 
at least until a cab could be fetched, he said he would rather 
not give so much trouble. For the same reason he refused to 
allow the butler to accompany him. Accordingly he watched 
him walking with difficulty towards the direction in which cabs 
were to be met with, and saw that, when he had got about 
three hundred yards from the house, he staggered and caught 
hold of the park-railings as if to prevent himself from falling. 
The butler therefore hastened to his assistance, but after a few 
seconds saw him turn round with the evident purpose of 
retracing his steps to my house. However, after he had 
returned part of the way he seems to have felt better, for he 
again changed his mind, and proceeded to find a cab." 

During the last week of February and in the beginning of 
March, attacks of pain in the region of the heart, with irre- 
gularity of the pulse, became frequent, coming on indeed 
nearly every afternoon. A seizure of this sort occurred about 

• On the action of carbonate of ammonia on roots and leaveg. 

Oh. XVni] CONCLUSION. 827 

March 7, when he was walking alone at a short distance 
from the house ; he got home with difficulty, and this was 
the last time that he was able to reach his favourite * Sand- 
walk.' Shortly after this, his illness became obviously more 
serious and alarming, and he was seen by Sir Andrew Clark, 
whose treatment was continued by Dr. Norman Moore, of 
St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and Dr. Allfrey, at that time 
in practice at St. Mary Cray. He suffered from distressing 
sensations of exhaustion and faintness, and seemed to recognise 
with deep depression the fact that his working days were 
over. He gradually recovered fr6m this condition, and became 
more cheerful and hopeful, as is shown in the following letter 
to Mr. Huxley, who was anxious that my father should have 
closer medical supervision than the existing arrangements 
allowed : — 

« Down, March 27, 1882. 
" My deab Huxley, — Your most kind letter has been a real 
cordial to me. I have felt better to-day than for three weeks, 
and have felt as yet no pain. Your plan seems an excellent 
one, and I will probably act upon it, unless I get very much 
better. Dr. Clark's kindness is unbounded to me, but he is 
too busy to come here. Once again, accept my cordial thanks, 
my dear old friend. I wish to God there were more automata * 
in the world like you. 

" Ever yours, 

" Ch. Dabwin." 

The allusion to Sir Andrew Clark requires a word of ex- 
planation. Sir Andrew himself was ever ready to devote him- 
self to my father, who however, could not endure the thought 
of sending for him, knowing how severely his great practice 
taxed his strength. 

No especial change occurred during the beginning of April, 
but on Saturday 15th he was seized with giddiness while 
sitting at dinner in the evening, and fainted in an attempt to 
reach his sofa. On the 17th he was again better, and in my 
temporary absence recorded for me the progress of an experi- 
ment in which I was engaged. During the night of April 
18th, about a quarter to twelve, he had a severe attack and 
passed into a faint, from which he was brought back to 
consciousness with great difficulty. He seemed to recognise 
the approach of death, and said, " I am not the least afraid to 

* Tbe allusion is to Mr. Huxley's address, " On the hypothesis that 
animals are automata, and its history," given at the Belfast Meeting of 
the British Association, 1874, and republished in Science and Culture. 

328 CONCLUSION. [Ch. Xvm. 

die." All the next mominfj he Bnffered from terrible nausea 
and faintness, and hardly rallied before the end came. 

He died at abont four o'clock on Wednesday, April 19th, 
1882, in the 74th year of his age. 

I close the record of my father's life with a few words of 
retrospect added to the manuscript of his Autohiograjphy in 
1879 :— 

"As for myself, I believe that I have acted rightly in 
steadily following and devoting my life to Science. I feel no 
remorse from having committed any great sin, but have often 
and often regretted that I have not done more direct good to 
my fellow creatures." 

( 329 ) 



On the Friday succeeding my father's death, the following letter, 
signed by twenty Members of Parliament, was addressed to Dr. 
Bradley, Dean of Westminster : — 

House of Goumons, April 21, 1882. 
Yert Rev. Sir, — We hope you will not think we are taking a 
liberty if we venture to suggest that it would be acceptable to a very 
large number of our fellow-countrymen of all classes and opinions 
that our illustrious countrjrman, Mr. Darwin, should be buried in 
Westminster Abbey. 

We remain, your obedient servants, 

John Lubbock, Richard B. Martin, 

Nevil Storey Maskelyni, Francis W. Buxton, 

A. J. Mundella, E. L. Stanley, 

G. 0. Trevelyan, Henry Broadhurst, 

Lyon Playfair, John Barran, 

Charles W. Dilke, J. F. Cheetham, 

David Wedderburn, H. S. Holland, 

Arthur Russell, H. Campbell-Bannerman, 

Horace Davey, Charles Bruce, 

Benjamin Armitaqe, Richard Fort. 

The Dean was abroad at the time, and telegraphed his cordial 

The family had desired that my father should be buried at Down : 
with regard to their wishes. Sir John Lubbock wrote : — 

House of Commons, April 25, 1882. 
My dear Darwin, — I quite sympathise with your feeling, and 
personally I should greatly have preferred that your father should 
have rested in Down amongst us all. It is, I am sure, quite under- 
stood that the initiative was not taken by you. Still, from a national 
point of view, it is clearly right that he should be buried in' the 
Abbey. I esteem it a great privilege to be allowed to accompany my 
dear master to the grave. 

Believe me, yours most sincerely, 

John Lubbock. 
W. B. Dabwin, Esq. 


The family gave up their first-formed plans, and the funeral took 
place in "Westminster Abbey on April 26th. The pall-bearers were : — 

Sir John Lubbock, Canon Fabrar, 

Mr. Huxley, Sib Joseph Hooker, 

Mr. James Kussell Lowell Mr. William Spottiswoodb 
(American Minister), (President of the Royal 


Mr. a. R. Wallace, The Earl of Derby, 

The DuKB OF Devonshire, The Duke op Argyll. 

The funeral was attended by the representatives of France, 
Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, and by those of the Universities and 
learned Societies, as well as by large numbers of personal friends and 
distinguished men. 

The grave is in the north aisle of the Nave, close to the angle of 
the choir-screen, and a few feet from the grave of Sir Isaac Newton. 
The stone bears the inscription — 


Born 12 February, 1809. 

Died 19 AprU, 1882. 

( 831 ) 






In the Posseeslon of 


Water-colour . 

G. Richmond . 

The Family. 


Lithograph . . 

Ipswich British 
Assn. Series. 


Chalk Drawinor. 

Samuel Lawrence 

The Family. 


Chalk Drawing* 

Samuel Lawrence 

Professor Hughes, 


Bust, marble . 

T. Woobier, R.A. 

The Family. 


OilPaintingt . 

W. Ouless, R.A. 

The FamUy. 

Etched by . . 

P. Rajon. 


Oil Painting . 

W. B. Richmond 

The University of 


OUPaintingt . 

Hon. John Collier 

The Liimean Society. 

Etched by . . 

Leopold Flameng 

Chief Poeteaits and Memobials not taken feom Life, 



Deep Medallion . 


Chr. Lehr, Junr. 

and Josiah 

Wedgwood and 

J. Boehm, R.A. 

Museum, South 


Christ's College, in 
Charles Darwin's 



* Probably a sketch made at one of the sittings for the last-mentioned. 

t A replica by the artist is in the possession of Christ's College, Cam- 

X A replica by the artist is in the possession of W. E. Darwin, Esq., 

§ A cast from this work is now placed in the New Museums at 


Chibf ENGBAvnras fbom PHOToasApHs. 

*1854 ? By Messrs. Maull and Fox, engraved on wood for Harper^t 

Magazine (Oct. 1884). Frontispiece, Life and Letters^ vol. 1. 
1868 By the late Mrs. Cameron, reproduced in heliogravure by the 

Cambridge Engraving Company for the present work. 
*1870? By 0. J. Rejlander, engraved on Steel by C. H. Jeens for 

Nature (June 4, 1874). 
*1874 ? By Major Darwin, engraved on wood for the Century Magazine 

(Jan. 1883). Frontispiece, Life and Letters^ vol. ii. 
1881 By Messrs. Elliot and Fry, engraved on wood by G. Kruells, 

for vol. iii. of the Life and Letters. 

• The dates of these photographs must, from various causes, remain 
uncertain. Owing to a loss of books by -fire, Messrs. Maull and Fox can 
give only an approximate date. Mr. Rejlander died some years ago, anil 
his business was broken up. My brother, Major Darwin, has no record of 
the date at which his photograph was taken. 

( 883 ) 


Abbott, F. E., letters to, on religi- 
ous opinions, 55. 

Aberdeen, British Association 
Meeting at, 1859.. 202. 

Abstract (' Origin of Species '), 192, 
193, 195, 196. 

Agassiz, Louis, Professor, letter to, 
sending him the * Origin of Spe- 
cies,* 208; note on, and extract 
from letter to, 208 ; opinion of the 
book, 225 ; opposition to Darwin's 
views, 235; Asa Gray on the 
opinions of, 243. 

Agassiz, Alexander, Professor, letter 
to : — on coral reefs, 282. 

Agnosticism, 55. 

Ainsworth, William, 12. 

Albums of photographs received 
from Germany and Holland, 293. 

Algebra, distaste for the study of, 17. 

Allfrey, Dr., treatment by, 327. 

American edition of the ' Origin,' 

CivU War, the, 249. 

Ammonia, salts of, behaviour of the 
leaves of Drosera^ towards, 320. 

Andes, excursion across the, 136 ; 
Lyell on the slow rise of the, 153. 

Animals, crossing of, 148. 

• Annals and Magazine of Natural 
History,* review of the ' Origin ' 
in the, 227. 

Anti-Jacobin, 242, note, 243. 

Ants, slave-making, 191. 

ApocynesB, twisting of shoots of, 

Apparatus, 92-94 ; purchase of, for 
tlie Zoological Station at Naples, 

Appletons' American reprints of the 
* Origin,* 235. 


Ascension, 30. 

'AthensBum,* letter to the, 258; 
article in the, 257 ; reply to the 
article, 258. 

review of the * Origin* in 

the, 211, 212; reviews in the, of 
Lyell's * Antiquity of Man,' and 
Huxley's ' Man's place in Nature,* 
253, 257 ; review of the ♦ Varia- 
tion of Animals and Plants,* in 
the, 268; review of the • Fertilisa- 
tion of Orchids,* in the, 308. 

Athenaeum Club, 147. 

* Atlantic Monthly,* Asa Gray's 

articles in the, 248. 
Atolls, formation of, 282. 
Audubon, 14. 
Autobiography, 5-54. 

♦ Automata,' 327. 

Aveling, Dr., on 0. Darwin*B reli- 
gious views, 65, note. 

Babbaqb and Carlyle, 36. 

Bachelor of Arts, degree taken, 18. 

Bar, Karl Ernest von, 213. 

Bahia, forest scenery at, 131 ; letter 
to R. W. Darwin from, 128. 

Barmouth, visit to, 106. 

Bates, H. "W., paper on mimetio 
butterflies, 251 ; Darwin's opinion 
of, 251 note ; * Naturalist on the 
Amazons,' opinion of, 251 ; letter 
to :— on his * Insect-Fauna of the 
Amazons Valley,* 251. 

Beagle, correspondence relating to 
the appointment to the, 115-123. 

, equipment of tiie, 125; 

accommodation on board the, 
125 ; officers and crew of the, 
126, 127, 130 ; manner of Hfe on 
board the, 125. 




Beagle, voyage of the, 25-30. 

— — , Zoology of the voyage of 

the, publication of the, 31. 
Beans, stated to have grown on the 

wrong side of the" pod, 52. 
Bees, visits of, necessary for the 

impregnation of the Scarlet Bean, 

Bees' cells, Sedgwick on, 217. 

combs, 195, 

Beetles, collecting at, Cambridge, 

&c., 20, 23, 106, 109, 194. 
Bell, Professor Thomas, 141. 
* Bell-stone,* Shrewsbury, an erratic 

boulder, 14. 
Beneficence, Evidence of, 236. 
Bentham, G„ approval of the work 

on the fertilisation of orchids, 


-, letter to, on orchids, 304, 


Berkeley, Eev. M. J., review of the 
* Fertilisation of Orchids' by, 308. 

♦ Bermuda Islands,' by Prof. A. 

Heilprin,' 284. 

* Bibliothbque Universelle de Ge- 

neve,' review of the * Origin ' in 
the, 231. 

Birds' nests, 195. 

Blomefield, Rev. L., see Jentns, 
Rev. L. 

"Bob," the retriever, 70. 

Body-snatchers, arrest of, in Cam- 
bridge, 22. 

Books, treatment of, 96. 

Boott, Dr. Francis, 230. 

Botanical work, scope and influence 
of C. Darwin's, 297, 298. 

Botofogo Bay, letter to W. D. Fox 
from, 132, note. 

Boulders, erratic, of South America, 
paper on the, 32, 149. 

Bournemouth, residence at, 320. 

Bowen, Prof F., Asa Gray on the 
opinions of, 243. 

Brauch-climbers, 315. 

Bressa Prize, award of the, by the 
Royal Academy of Turin, 293. 

British Association, Sir 0. Lyell's 
Presidential address to the, at 
Aberdeen, 1859 . . 202 ; at Oxford, 
236 ; action of, in connection with 
the question of vivisection, 288. 


Broderip, W. J., 141. 

Bronn, H. G., translator of the 
' Origin ' into German, 229. 

Brown, Robert, acquaintance with, 
34; recommendation of Spren- 
gel's book, 300. 

Buckle, Mr., meeting with, 35. 

Bulwer's ' Professor Long,' 38. 

Bunbury, Sir C, his opinion of the 
theory, 227. 

Butler, Dr., schoolmaster at Shrews- 
bury, 8. 

, Bev. T., 106. 

Caerdeon, holiday at, 273. 

Cambridge, gun-practice at, 10; 
life at, 17-23, 30, 104-113, 142. 

Cambridge, degree of LL.D. con- 
ferred by University of, 292; 
subscription portrait at, 292. 

Philosophical Society, Sedg- 
wick's attack before the, 234. 

Camerarius on sexuality in plants, 

Canary Islands, projected excur- 
sion to, 114. 

Cape Verd Islands, 129. 

Carlyle, Thomas, acquaintance 
with, 36. 

Carnarvon, Lord, proposed Act to 
amend the Law relating to cruelty 
to animals, 288. 

Carnations, eflftcts of cross- and self- 
fertilisation on, 311. 

Carpenter, Dr. W. B., letters to : — on 
the * Origin of Species,' 210 ; re- 
view in the * Medico-Chirurgical 
Review,' 231 ; notice of the 

* Foraminifera,' in the Athen«um, 

Carus, Prof. Victor, impressions of 

the Oxford discussion, 240. 
, his translations of the 

* Origin ' and other works, 262 ; 
letter to : — on earthworms, 285. 

Case, Rev. G., schoolmaster at 

Shrewsbury, 6. 
Catasetum, poUinia of, adhering to 

bees' backs, 305 ; aensitivenesd 

of flowers of, 307. 
Caterpillars, colouring of, 269, 270. 
Cats and mice, 236. 




Cattle, falsely described new breed 

of, 53. 
Celebes, African character of pro- 
ductions of, 227. 
Chambers, B., 179, 240. 
Chemistry, study of, 11. 
Chili, recent elevation of the coast 

of, 30. 
Chimneys, employment of boys in 

sweeping, 161. 
Christ's College, Cambridge, 104; 

bet as to height of combination- 
room of, 142. 
Church, destination to the, 17, 108. 
Cirripedia, work on the, 38, 155- 

158 ; confusion of nomenclature 

of, 159 ; completion of work on 

the, 163. 
Clark, Sir Andrew, treatment by, 

325, 327. 
Classics, study of, at Dr. Butler's 

school, 9. 
Climbing plants, 45, 313-315. 
• Climbing Plants,' publication of 

the, 315. 
Coal, supposed marine origin of, 

Coal-plants, letters to Sir Joseph 

Hooker on, 158, 159. 
Cobbe, Miss, letter headed "Mr. 

Darwin and vivisection" in the 

Times, 290. 
Coldstream, Dr., 12. 
Collections made during the voyage 

of the 'Beagle,' destination of 

the, 141. 
Collier, Hon. John, portrait of 0. 

Darwin, by, 292. 
Cooper, Miss, ' Journal of a Natu- 
ralist,' 249. 
Copley medal, award of, to C. 

Darwin, 259. 
Coral Reefs, work on, 32, 148; 

publication of, 149. 
, second edition of, 281 ; 

Semper' s remarks on the, 281 ; 

Murray's criticisms, 282; third 

edition, 284. 

and Islands, Prof. Geikie 

and Sir C. Lyell on the theory 
of, 152. 

and Volcanoes, book on, 


* Corals and Coral Islands,' by 
Prof. J. D. Dana, 284. 

Corrections on proofs, 201, 202, 

Correspondence, 74. 

during life at Cambridge, 

1828-31.. 104-113; relating to 
appointment on the * Beagle,' 
115-123; during the voyage of 
the Beagle 125-139 ; during 
residence in London, 1836-42.. 
140-49 ; on the subject of re- 
ligion, 55-65; during residence 
at Down, 1842-1854.. 150-104; 
during the progress of the work 
on the • Origin of Species,' 165- 
205 ; after the publication of the 
work, 206-265 ; on the * Varia- 
tion of Animals and Plants,' 
265-268 ; on the work on 'Man,' 
268-280; miscellaneous, 281- 
294; on botanical researches, 

Cotyledons, movements of, 316. 

Crawford, John, review of the 
' Origin,' 219. 

Creation, objections to use of the 
term, 257. 

Cross- and self-fertilisation in 
plants,' 47. 

Cross-lertilisation of hermaphro- 
dite flowers, first ideas of the, 

Crossing of animals, 148. 

Cychnoches, 306. 

Cypripedium, pollen of, 305. 

Dallas, W. S., translation of Fritz 
Miiller's ' FUr Darwin,' 262. 

Dana^ Professor J. D., defence of 
the theory of subsidence, 283; 
' Corals and Coral Islands,' 284. 

Darwin, Charles R., 1 ; Auto- 
biography of, 5-54 ; birth, 5 ; 
loss of mother, 5 ; day-school at 
Shrewsbury, 6 ; natural history 
tastes, 6 ; hoaxing, 7 ; humanity, 
7 ; egg-collecting, 7 ; angling, 
7 ; dragoon's funeral, 8 ; boarding 
school at Shrewsbury, 8 ; fond- 
ness for dogs, 7 ; classics, 9 ; 
liking for geometry, 9 ; reading, 
10; fondness for shooting, 10; 




science, 10; at Edinburgh, 11- 
15; early medical practice at 
Shrewsbury, 12 ; tours in North 
Wales, 15; shooting at Wood- 
house and Maer, 15, 16 ; at Cam- 
bridge, 17-23, 30 ; visit to North 
Wales, with Sedgwick, 24, 25; 
on the voyage of the 'Beagle,' 
25-30; residence in London, 
31-37; marriage, 32; residence 
at Down, 37; publications, 38- 
49; manner of writing, 49; 
mental qualities, 50-54. 

Darwin, Keminiscences of^ 66-103 ; 
personal appearance, 67, 68; 
mode of walking, 67 ; dissecting, 
67 ; laughing, 68 ; gestures, 68 ; 
dress, 69 ; early rising, 69 ; work, 
69 ; fondness for dogs, 69 ; walky, 
70 ; love of flowers, 72 ; riding, 
73; diet, 73, 76; correspond- 
ence, 74 ; business habits, 75 ; 
smoking, 75; snuflf-taking, 75; 
reading aloud, 77 ; backgammon, 
76; music, 77; bed-time, 77; 
art-criticism, 78; German read- 
ing, 79; general interest in 
science, 79; idleness a sign of 
ill-health, 80 ; aversion to public 
appearances, 80; visits, 81; 
holidays, 81; love of scenery, 
81 ; visits to hydropathic estab- 
lishments, 82 ; family relations, 
82-87; hospitality, 87; conver- 
sational powers, 88-90 ; friends, 
90 ; local influence, 90 ; mode of 
work, 91 ; literary style, 99 ; ill- 
health, 102. 

, Dr. Erasmus, life of, by 

Ernst Krause, 48, 286. 

-, Erasmus Alvey, 3 ; letter 

from, 215. 

-, Miss Susan, letters tor- 

relating the 'Beagle,' appoint- 
ment, 118, 120 ; from Valparaiso, 

-, Mrs., letter to, with regard 

to the publication of the essay 
of 1844.. 171; letter to, from 
Moor Park, 184. 

Keginald, letters to, on 

Dr. Erasmus Darwin's common- 
place book and papers, 286. 

Darwin, Dr. Robert Waring, 1 ; his 
family, 3; letter to, in answer 
to olgections to accept the ap- 
pointment on the 'Beagle,' 117 ; 
letter to, from Bahia, 128. 

' Darwinismus,' 42. 

Daubeny, Professor, 241 ; * On the 
flnal causes of the sexuality of 
plants,' 237. 

Davidson, Mr., letter to, 278. 

Dawes, Mr., 23. 

De CandoUe, Professor A., sending 
him the ' Origin of Species,' 209. 

Descent of Man,* work on the, 
269 ; publication of the, 40, 271. 

, Reviews of the, in the 

♦Edinburgh Review,' 272; in 
the Nonconformist, 273; in the 
Times, 273 ; in the Saturday 
BevieiDy 273 ; in the * Quarterly 
Review,' 276. 

Design in Nature, 63, 249 ; argu- 
ment from, as to existence of 
God, 58. 

, evidence of, 236. 

Dielytra, 301. 

♦ Different Forms of Flowers,' pub- 
lication of the, 48, 311. 

Digestion in Drosera, 320, 321. 

Dimorphism and trimorphism in 
plants, papers on, 45. 

Divergence, principle of, 40. 

Dohrn, Dr. Anton, letter to, offer- 
ing to present apparatus to the 
Zoological station at Naples, 

Domestication, variation under, 

Down, residence at, 37, 150 ; daily 
life at, 66; local influence at, 
90 ; sequestered situation of, 

Dragoon, funeral of a, 8. 

Draper, Dr., paper before the British 
Association on the " Intellectual 
development of Europe," 237. 

Drosera, observations on, 47, 319 ; 
action of glands of, 320 ; action 
of ammoniacal salts on the leaves 
of, 320. 

Dunns, Rev. J., the supposed 
author of a review in the ' North 
British Review,' 235. 




Dutch translation of the * Origin,* 

Dyer, W. Thiselton, on Mr. 
Darwin's botanical work, 298; 
on the ' Power of IMovement in 
Plants,' 315 ; note to, on the life 
of Erasmus Darwin, 286. 

, letter to:— on moyement 

in plants, 816. 

Earthquakes, paper on, 32. 

Earthworms, paper on the forma- 
tion of mould by the agency of, 
32, 49; first observations on 
work done by, 144; work on, 
284; publication of, 285. 

Edinburgh, Plinian Society, 18; 
Boyal Medical Sooiety, 14; 
Werncrian Society, 14 ; lectures 
on Geology and Zoology in, 14. 

— — — , studios at, 11-15. 
Edinburgh Review,' review of the 
• Origin ' in the, 232, 283, 235 ; 
review of the ' Descent of Man ' 
in the, 272. 

♦ Eflfecta of Cross- and Self-Fertili- 
sation in the Vegetable King- 
dom,' publication of the, 47, 48, 

Elie de Beaumont's theory, 146. 

England, spread of the Descent- 
meory in, 264. 

Eixglish Churohman, review of the 
'Origin' in the, 241. 

Engravings, fondness for, 107. 

Entomological Society, ooncurrenoe 
of the members of the, 264. 

Epidendrumt 306. 

Equator, oeremony at crossing the, 

Erratic blocks, at Glen Roy, 147. 

boulders of South America, 

paper on the, 32, 149. 

European opinionsof Darwin's work, 
Dr. Falconer on, 247. 

Evolution, progress of the theory 
of, 165, 253, 271, 278. 

Experiment, love of, 94. 

Expression in man, 224, 270. 

in the Malays, 270. 

of the Emotions, work on 

the, 2G8. 

' Expression of the Emotions in Men 


and Animals,' publication of the, 
47, 279. 
Eye, structure of the, 208, 215, 227. 

Falooneb, Dr. Hugh, 247. 

, claim of priority against 

Lyell, 257 ; letter from, offering 
a live Proteus and reporting on 
continental opinion, 247; letter 
to, 247 ; sending him the * Origin 
of Species,' 209. 

Family relations, 82-87. 

Farrer, Sir Thomas, letter to, on 
earthworms, 285. 

Fawcett, Henry, on Huxley's reply 
to the Bishop of Oxford, 239, note. 

Fernando Noronha, visit to, 131. 

* Fertilisation of Orchids,* publica- 
Uonofthe, 44, 48, 308. 

* of Orchids,' publication of 

second edition of the, 310. 

* of Orchids,' reviews of the ; 

in the • Parthenon,' 308; in the 
Athenssum, 308 ; in the * London 
Review,' 308; in Gardeners* 
Chronicle, 309. 

-, cross- and self-, in the 

vegetable kingdom, 310-312. 

of flowers, bibliography of 

the, 810. 

Fish swallowing seeds, 180. 

Fitz-Boy, Capt, 25 ; character of, 
26; bv Rev. G. Peacock, 115; 
Darwm's impression of, 119, 120 ; 
discipline on board the ' Beagle,* 
127; letter to, from Shrewsbury, 

Fitz William Gallery, Cambridge, 19, 

Flourens, • Examen du livre de M. 
Darwin,* 261. 

Flowers, adaptation of, to visits of 
insects, 808; different forms of, 
on plants of the same species, 48, 
310; fertilisation of, 297-812; 
hermaphrodite, first ideas of 
cross-fertilisation of, 300 ; irregu- 
lar, all adapted for visits of 
Insects, 303. 

Flustruy paper on the larvae of, 18. 

Forbes, David, on the geology of 
Chile, 156. 

Fordyce, J., extract from letter to, 




* Formation of Vegetable Mould, 
through the action of Worms,' 
publication of the, 49, 285 ; un- 
expected success of the, 285. 

Fossil bones, given to the College 
of SurgeoDS, 142. 

Fox, Rev. William Darwin, 21; 
letters to, 1 10-113, 114, 181 ; from 
Botofogo Bay, 132; in 1836-1842: 
143, 148, 149; on the house at 
Down, 150 ; on their respective 
families, 160 ; on family matters, 
194 ; on the progress of the work, 
181, 183, 196 ; on the award of 
the Copley Medal, 259. 

France and Germany, contrast of 
progress of theory in, 261. 

Fremantle, Mr., on the Oxford 
meeting of the British Associa- 
tion, 238. 

French, translation of the * Origin,* 
246 ; third edition of the, pub- 
lished, 275. 

»■■ translation of the ' Origin ' 

from the fifth English edition, 
arrangements for the, 275. 

Fumariay 301. 

Funeral in Westminster Abbey, 329. 

Galapagos, 29. 

Galton, Francis, note to, on the 
life of Erasmus Darwin, 287. 

Gardeners^ Chronicle, review of the 
• Origin ' in the, 224 ; Mr. Patrick 
Matthew's claim of priority in 
the, 232 ; review of the * Fertili- 
sation of Orchids,' in the, 309. 

Geikie, Prof. Archibald, notes on 
the work on Coral Eeefs, 152, 
182 ; notes on the work on Vol- 
canic Islands, 153; on Darwin's 
theory of the parallel roads of 
Glen Roy, 145, 

Geoffrey St. Hilaire, 207. 

•Geological Observations on South 
America,' 38 ; publication of the, 

* Geological Observations on Vol- 
canic Islands,' publication of the, 
152 ; Prof. Geikie's notes on the, 

Geological Society, secretaryship of 
the, 31, 144. 

Geological work in the Andes, 136. 

' Geologist,' review of the * Origin ' 
in the, 250. 

Geology, commencement of the 
study of. 24, 113 ; lectures on, 
in Edinburgh, 14 ; predilection 
for, 134, 135 ; study of, during 
the Beagle's voyage, 27. > 

German .translation of the * Origin 
of Species,' 247. 

Germany, Hackel's influence in the 
spread of Darwinism, 262. 

, photograph-album received 

from, 293. 

-, reception of Darwinistio 

views in, 247. 

and France, contrast of pro- 

gress of theory in, 261. 
Glacial period, influence of the, on 

distribution, 43. 
Glacier action in North Wales, 82. 
Glands, sticky, of the poUinia, 304. 
Glen Roy, visit to, and paper on, 

31 ; expedition to, 145. 
Glossotherium, 142. 
Glutton Club, 107. 
Gorilla, brain of, compared with 

that of man, 237. 
Gower Street, Upper, residence in, 

32, 148. 
Graham, W,, letter to, 63. 
Grant, Dr. R. E., 12 ; an evolutionist, 

Gravity, light, &c., acting as stimuli, 

Gray, Dr. Asa, comparison of rain 

drops and variations, 62; letter 

from, to J. D. Hooker, on the 

* Origin of Species,' 224 ; articles 
in the ♦ Atlantic Monthly,' 248 ; 
Darwiniana,' 248 ; on the aphor- 
ism, "Nature abhors close fertili- 
sation," 301 ; •' Note on the coiling 
of the Tendrils of Plants," 313. 

, letters to : on Design 

in Nature, 63; with abstract of 
the theory of the * Origin of 
Species,' 188 ; sending him the 

• Origin of Species,' 209 ; suggest- 
ing an American edition, 225 ; on 
Sedgwick's and Pictet's revi^s, 
231 ; on notices in the * North 
British' and 'Edinburgh' Re- 




views, and on the thoologioal 
view, 235 ; on the position of 
Profs. Agassiz and Bowen, 243 ; 
on his article in the * Atlantic 
Monthly,' 248; on change of 
species by descent, 246; on de- 
sign, 249 ; on the American war, 
249; on the 'Descent of Man,* 
271 ; on the biographical notice 
in • Nature,* 291 ; on their elec- 
tion to the French Institute, 292 ; 
on fertilisation of Papilionaceous 
flowers and Lobelia by insects, 
301, 302; on the structure of 
irregular flowers, 303; on Orchids, 
804, 305, 309, 310 ; on movement 
of tendrils, 313; on climbing 
plants, 314 ; on Drosera, 320, 321. 

Great Marlborough Street, resi- 
dence in, 31, 142. 

Gretton, Mr., his * Memory*8 Hark- 
back,' 8. 

Grote, A., meeting with, 36, 

Gully, Dr., 160. 

Giiuther, Dr. A., letter to :— on 
sexual differences, 270. 

Haokel, Professor Ernst, embryo- 
logical researches of, 43 ; inllu- 
ence of, in the spread of Darwin- 
ism in Germany, 202. 

, letters to : — on the progress 

of Evolution in England, 2(33 ; 
on liis works, 264 ; on the ' De- 
scent of Man,' 272 ; on the ' Ex- 
pression of the Emotions,' 279. 

Hackels 'Generelle Morpholoo:ie,' 
' Radiolaria,' * Schopfuugs - Ges- 
chichte,' ,and 'Ursprung des 
Menschen-Geschlechts,' 202, 263. 
Natiirliche Schopfungs- 

Geschichte,' 263 ; Huxley's opin- 
ion of, 263. 

Hague, James, on the reception of 
the ' Descent of Man,' 272. 

Haliburton, Sirs., letter to, on the 
'Expression of the Emotions,' 
279; letter to, 317. 

Hardie, Mr., 12. 

Harris. William Snow, 122. 

Haughton, Professor S., opinion on 
the new views of Wallace and 
Darwin 41; criticism on the 


theory of the origin of species, 

Health, 68; improved during the 
last ten years of life, 325. 

Heart, pain felt in the region of the, 
28, 325, 326. 

Heilprin, Professor A., *The Ber- 
muda Islands,' 284. 

Heliotropism of seedlings, 318. 

Henslow, Professor, lectures by, at 
Cambridge, 18; introduction to, 
21 ; intimacy with, 107, 113 ; his 
opinion of Lyell's ' Principles,* 
33; of the Darwinian theory, 

, letter from, on the offer of 

the appointment to the ' Beagle,* 

-, letter to, from Rev. G. 

Peacock, 115. 

letters to : — ^relating to the 

appointment to the ' Beagle,' 121, 
122; from Rio de Janeiro, 134; 
from Sydney, 138 ; from Shrews- 
bury, i39 ; as to destination of 
specimens collected during the 
voyage of the * Beagle,* 140. 
-.letters'to:— 1836-1842, 144; 

sending him the * Origin,' 209. 

Herbert, John Maurice, 19 ; anec- 
dotes from, 105, 106, 108 ; letters 
to, 109 ; on the * South American 
Geology,' 154. 

Hermaplirodite flowers, first idea of 
cross-fertilisation of, 300. 

Herschel, Sir J., acquaintance with, 
34 ; letter from Sir 0. Lyell to, 
on the theory of coral-reefs, 153; 
his opinion of the ' Origin,' 220. 

Heterostyled plants, 311 ; some 
forms of fertilisation of, analogous 
to hybridisation, 312. 

'Historical Sketch of the Recent 
Progress of Opinion on the Origin 
of Species,' 246.) 

Hoaxes, 53. 

Holidays, 81. 

Holland, photograph - album re- 
ceived from, 293. 

Holland, Sir H., his opinions of the 
theory, 215. 

Holmgren, Frithiof, letter to, oa 
vivisection, 289. 




Hooker, Sir J. D., on the training 
obtained by the work on Cirri- 
pedes, 156 ; letters from, on the 

* Origin of Species,' 188, 211, 220 ; 
speech at Oxford, in answer to 
Bishop WUberforce, 239 ; review 
of the * Fertilisation of Orchids * 
by, 809. 

, letters to, 158; on coal- 
plants, 158, 159; annonncing 
death of B. W. Darwin, and an 
intention to try water-cure, 160; 
on the award of the Eoyal 
Society's Medal, 162; on the 
theory of the origin of species, 
173, 177 ; cirripcdiid work, 177 ; 
on the Philosophical Club, 178 ; 
on the germination of soaked 
seeds, 179, 180 , on the prepara- 
tion of a sketch of the theory of 
species, 181 ; on the papers read 
before the Linnean Society, 187, 
190; on the ♦ Abstract,' 192, 193, 
194, 200 ; on thistle-seeds, 193 ; 
on Wallace's letter, 194; on the 
arrangement with Mr. Murray, 
198 ; on Professor Haughton's 
remarks, 200 ; on style and varia- 
bility, 201 ; on the completion of 
proof-sheets, 202 ; on tfie review 
of the ' Origin * in the Athenaum^ 
211, 212 ; on his review in the 
Gardeners* CJironicle^ 224 ; on the 
progress of opinion, 230 ; on Mr. 
Matthew's claim of priority and 
the * Edinburgh Eeview,' 232; 
on the Cambridge opposition, 
234; on the British Association 
discussion, 241 ; on the review in 
the * Quarterly,' 242; on the 
corrections in the new edition, 
246; on Lyell's * Antiquity of 
Man,' 253; on letters in the 
papers, 259; on the completion 
and publication of the book on 

* Variation under Domestication,' 
266, 267 ; on pangenesis, 206 ; on 
work, 269 ; on a visit to Wales, 
273; on a new French transla- 
tion of the ' Origin,' 275 ; on the 
life of Erasmus Darwin. 287 ; on 
Mr. Ouless' portrait, 292 ; on the 
earthworm, 285 ; on the fertilisa- 

tion of Orchids, 297, 303, 304, 
305, 306, 307 : on establishing a 
hot-house, 307 ; on his review of 
the * Fertilisation of Orchids,' 309 ; 
on climbing plants, 314 : on the 

* Insectivorous Plants,' 319, 821 ; 
on the movements of plants, 316 ; 
on health and work, 326. 

Hooker, Sir J. D., * Himalayan 
Journal,' 162. 

Homer, Leonard, 14. 

Horses, humanity to, 287. 

Hot-house, building of, 807. 

Humboldt, Baron A. von, meeting 
with, 34; his opinion of 0. 
Darwin, 155. 

Humboldt's ' Personal Narrative,' 

Huth, Mr., on * Consangaineoua 
Marriage,' 53. 

Button, Prof. F. W., letter to, on 
his review of the * Origin,' 250. 

Huxley, Prof. T. H., on the value 
as training, of Darwin's work on 
the Cirripedes, 157; on the 
theory of evolution, 155-169; 
review of the 'Origin' in the 
♦Westminster Eeview,' 231; 
reply to Owen, on the Brain 
in Man and the Gorilla, 237; 
speech at Oxford, in answer to the 
Bishop, 238 ; lectures on • Our 
Knowledge of the causes of 
Organic Nature,' 253, note; 
opinion of Hackel's work, 263; 
on the progress of the doctrine 
of evolution, 271 ; article in the 

* Contemporary Eeview,' against 
Mivart, and the Quarterly re- 
viewer of the ' Descent of Man,' 
276 ; lecture on * the Coming of 
Age of the Origin of Species,* 
294 ; on teleology, 298. 

letters from, on the 'Origin 

of Species,' 213; on the dis- 
cussion at Oxford, 240. 

-, letters to: — on his adoption 

of the theory, 214 ; on the review 
in the Times, 221 ; on the effect 
of reviews, 244 ; on his Edin- 
burgh lectures, 250; on 'the 
coming of age of the Origin of 
Species.' 294 ; last letter to, 327. 




Uybridieation, analogy of, with 
some forms of fertilisation of 
heterofityle*! plants, 312. 

Hybridism, 183. 

Hybrids, sterility of, 183. 

Hydropathic establishments, visits 
to, 82. 

IcmrusMONiDjt, and their ftino- 
tion, 236. 

Ilkley, residence at, in 1859.. 206. 

Ill-health, 32, 39, 102, 149, 158, 
160, 268. 

Immortality of the Soul, 61. 

Innes, Rev. J. Brodie, 76, 91. 

on Darwin's position with 

regard to theological views, 229 ; 
note on the review in the ' Quar- 
terly ' and Darwin's appreciation 
of it, 242, note. 

* Insectivorous Plants,* work on the 
319-322 ; publication of, 47, 322. 

Insects, 10; agency of, in cross- 
fertilisation, 300. 

Institute of France, election aa a 
corresponding member of the 
Botanical section of the, 292. 

Isolation, ciTccts of, 278. 

Jackson, B. Daydon, preparation 
of the Kew-Iudex placed under 
the charge of, 323. 

JenMn, Fleeming, review of the 
• Origin,' 274. 

Jenyns, Rev. Leonard, acquaintance 
with, 22 ; his opinion of the 
theory, 228. 

, letters to : —on the * Origin 

of Species,* 209; on checks to 
increase of species, 175; on his 
♦Observations in Natural His- 
tory,' 175; on the immutability 
of species, 176. 

Jones, Dr. Bence, treatment by, 

•Journal of Researches,* 38, 143; 
publication of the second edition 
of the, 154; differences in the 
two editions of the, with regard 
to the theory of species, 170. 

Judd, Prof., on Coral Reefs, 281 ; 
on Mr. Darwin's intention to 
devote a certain sum to the ad- 


vancement of scientific interests 
Jukes, Prof. Joseph B., 230. 

Kew-Ikdex of plant names, 322; 
endowment of, by Mr. Darwin, 

Kidney-beans, fertilisation of, 301. 

Kingaley, Rev. Charles, letter from, 
on the ' Origin of Species,' 228 ; 
on the progress of the theory of 
Evolution, 253. 

Kossuth, character of, 184. 

Krause, Ernst, 'Life of Erasmus 
Darwin,* 48 ; on H'dckel's services 
to the cause of Evolution in 
Germany, 262; on the work of 
Dr. Erasmus Darwin, 286. 

Lamarck's philosophy, 166. 

views, references to, 174, 

177, 207, 256. 

Lankester, E. Bay, letter to, on the 
reception of the 'Descent of Man,* 

Last words, 327. 

Lathyrus grandifloruSf fertilisatioD 
of, by bees, 301. 

Laws, designed, 236. 

Leibnitz, objections raised by, to 
Newton's law of Gravitation, 229. 

Leschenaultia, fertilisation of, 303. 

Lewes, G. H., review of the • Varia- 
tion of Animals and Plants,' in 
the Pall Mali Gazette, 268. 

Life, origin of, 257. 

Light, gravity, &c., acting as 
stimuli, 318. 

Lightning, 236. 

Linaria vulgaris, observations on 
cross- and self-fertilisation in, 


Lindley, John, 162. 

Linnean Society, joint paper with 

A. R. Wallace, read before the, 

187 ; portrait at the, 292. 
Linum flavum, dimorphism of, 45. 
List of naturalists who had adopted 

the theory in March, I860.. 230. 
Literature, taste in, 50. 
Little-Go, passed. 111. 
Lobelia fulgens, not self-fertilisable, 


z 2 




London, residence in, 31-37 ; from 
1836 to 1842.. 140-149. 

'London Reyiew,' review of the 
* Fertilisation of Orchids ' in the, 

Lonsdale, W., 141. 

Lubbock, Sir John, letter from, to 
W. E. Darwin, on the funeral in 
Westminster Abbey, 329; letter 
to : — on beetle-collecting, 194. 

Lyell, Sir Charles, acquaintance 
with, 31; character of, 33; in- 
fluence of, on Geology, 33 ; geo- 
logical views, 135; on Darwin's 
theory of coral islands, 153; 
extract of letter to, on the treatise 
on volcanic islands, 154 ; attitude 
towards the doctrine of Evolu- 
tion, 167, 260 ; announcement of 
the forthcoming ♦ Origin of Spe- 
cies,' to the British Association 
at Aberdeen in 1859 . . 202 ; letter 
from, criticising the * Origin,' 
206; Bishop Wilberforce's re- 
marks upon, 242, note ; inclina- 
tion to accept the notion of design, 
249 ; on Darwin's views, 256 ; on 
the * Fertilisation of Orchids,' 309. 

, Sir Charles, letters to, 145, 

148: — on the second edition of 
the • Journal of Researches,' 154 ; 
on the receipt of Wallace's paper, 
185, 186 ; on the papers read bo- 
fore the Linnean Society, 191 ; 
on the mode of publication of the 
'Origin,' 196, 198; with proof- 
sheets, 203; on the announcement 
of the work of the British Asso- 
ciation, 203 ; on his adoption of 
the theory of descent, 212; on 
objectors to the theory of descent, 
218,219; on the second edition 
of the ♦ Origin,' 218, 223 ; on the 
review of the * Origin ' in the 
'Annals,' 227; on objections, 
229 ; on the review in the ' Edin- 
burgh Review,' and on Matthew's 
anticipation of the theory of 
Natural Selection, 232 ; on design 
in variation, 234; on the ♦^- 
tiquity of Man,' 255, 256 ; on the 
progress of opinion, 260; on ' Pan- 
genesis,' 266 : on Drosera, 320. 


Lyell, Sir Charles, 'Antiquity of 

Man,' 254, 255. 

' Elements of Geology,' 145. 

'Principles of Geology.' 168; 

tenth edition of, 260. 
Lythrttmj trimorphism of, 45. 

AL^.CAULAT, meeting with, 35. 

Macgillivray, William, 15. 

Mackintosh, Sir James, meeting 
with, 16. 

' Macmillan's Magazine,' review of 
the * Origin ' in, by H. Fawoett, 
239, note. 

Macrauchenia, 142. 

Mad-house, attempt to free a patient 
from a, 287, note. 

Maer, visits to, 15, 16. 

Malay Archipelago, Wallace's ' Zoo- 
logical Geography ' of the, 227. 

Malays, expression in the, 270. 

Malthus on Population, 40, 189. 

Malvern, Hydropathic treatment at, 
39, 160. 

Mammalia, fossil from South 
America, 142. 

Man, descent of, 46 ; objections to 
discussing origin of, 183; brain 
of, and that of the gorilla, 237 ; 
influence of sexual selection upon 
the races of, 270 ; work on, 268. 

Marriage, 32, 148. 

Mathematics, difficulties with, 108 ; 
distaste for the study of, 17. 

Matthew, Patrick, claim of priority 
in the theory of Natural Selection, 

' Medico-Chirurgical Review,* re- 
view of the ' Origin ' in the, by 
W. B. Carpenter, 231. 

Mellersh, Admiral, reminiscences 
of C. Darwin, 126. 

Mendoza, 136. 

Mental peculiarities, 49-54. 

Microscopes, 92 ; compound, 158. 

Mimicry, H. W. Bates on, 251. 

Minerals, collecting, 10. 

Miracles, 58. 

Mivart's ' Genesis of Species,' 275. 

Moor Park, HydropatMc establish- 
ment at, 41. 

water-cure at, 184. 




Moore, Dr. Norman, treatment by, 

Mormodes, 806. 

Moths, white, INIr. Weir's observa- 
tionfl on, 270. 

Motley, meeting with, 36. 

Mould, formation of, by the agency 
of Earthworms, paper on the, 
82, 49; publication of book on 
the, 285. 

'Mount,' the Shrewsbury, Charles 
Darwin's birthplace, 2. 

Miiller, Fritz, embryological re- 
searches of, 43. 

, * Fur Darwin,' 262 ; ♦ Facts 

and arguments for Darwin,' 262. 
Fritz, observations on 

branch-tendrils, 815. 

Hermann, 262 ; on self- 

fertilisation of plants, 48,- on 
Sprengel's views as to cross- 
fertilisation, 300. 

Murray, John, criticisms on the 
Darwinian theory of coral forma- 
tion, 282. 

Murray, John, letters to : — relating 
to the publication of the * Origin 
of Species,' 199,201, 204 ; on the 
reception of the ' Origin ' in the 
United States, 226 note : on the 
third edition of the • Origin,' 245 ; 
on critiques of the ' Descent of 
Man,' 273 ; on the publication of 
the ' Fertilisation of Orchids,' 297, 
308; on the publication of 'Climb- 
ing Plants,' 315. 

Music, effects of, 50 ; fondness for, 
77, 107 ; taste for, at Cambridge, 

Mylodon, 142. 

Names of garden plants, diflBoulty 
of obtaining, 308. 

Naples, Zoological Station, dona- 
tion of £100 to the, for apparatus, 

Nash, Mrs., reminiscences of Mr. 
Darwin, 87. 

Natural History, early taste for, 6. 

selection, 165, 190. 

belief in, founded on gene- 
ral considerations, 258; H. 0. 
"Watson on, 168; priority in the 


theory of, claimed by Mr. Patrick 
Matthew, 232; Sedgwick on, 

Naturalists, list of, who had adopted 
the theory in March, I860.. 230. 

Naturalists 8 Voyage^ 170. 

'Nature,' review in, 315. 

" Nervous system of" DroserOj 821. 

Newton, Prof. A., letter to, 268. 

Newton's ' Law of Gravitation,' ob- 
jections raised by Leibnitz to, 

Nicknames on board the Beagle. 

Nitrogenous compounds, detection 
of, by the leaves of Drosera, 320. 

* Nomenclator,* 322 ; endowment 

by Mr. Darwin, 322 ; plan of the, 

Nomenclature, need of reform in, 

Nonconformisty review of the 'De- 
scent of Man ' in the, 273. 

* North British Review,' review of 

the ' Origin ' in the, 235, 274. 

North Wales, tours through, 15; 
tour in, 32 ; visit to, with Sedg- 
wick, 24 ; visit to, in 1869 .. 273. 

Nose, objection to shape of, 26. 

Novels, liking for, 50, 77, 

Nuptial dress of animals, 270. 

Observation, methods of, 94, 95. 

power of, 52. 

Old Testament, Darwinian theory 

contained in the, 42. 
Oliver, Prof., approval of the work 

on the * Fertilisation of Orchids,' 

Orchids, fertilisation of, bearing of 

the, on the theory of Natural 

Selection, 297; fertilisation of, 

work on the, 245 ; homologies of, 

304; study of, 303, 304 ; pleasure 

of investigating, 310. 
Orchis pyramidalisy adaptation in, 

Orders, thoughts of taking, 108. 
Organs, rudimentarv, comparison 

of, with imsounded letters in 

words, 208. 
Origin of Species, first notes on the, 

31 ; investigations upon the, 39- 




41 ; progress of the theory of the, 
165; differences in the two edi- 
tions of the * Journal ' with regard 
to the, 170 ; extracts from note- 
books on the, 169 ; first sketch of 
work on the, 170 ; essay of 1844 
on the, 171. 
* Origin of Species,' publication of 
the first edition of the, 41, 206 ; 
success of the, 42 ; reviews of the, 
in the Athenasuum, 211, 212; in 

* Macinillan's Magazine/ 219 ; in 
the Times, 221 ; in the Gardeners* 
Chronicle, 224; in the * Annals and 
Magazine of Natural History,* 
227 ; in tho Spectator, 231 ; in 
the * Biblioth^quo Universelle de 
Geneve,* 231; in the 'Medioo- 
Chirurgical Review,' 231 ; in the 

* Westminster Review,' 231 ; in 
the 'Edinburgh Review,' 232, 
233, 235 : in the 'North British 
Review,' 235; iu the Saturday 
Bevieu), 236 ; in the * Quarterly 
Review,' 242; in the 'Geologist,' 

publication of the second 

edition of the, 223. 

third edition, commence- 

ment of work upon the, 245. 

publication of the fifth edi- 

tion of the, 274, 275. 

sixth edition, publication of 

the, 275. 

tho * Coming of Ago ' of the 


Oulesa, W., portrait of Mr. Darwin 
by, 292. 

Owen, Sir R., on the differences be- 
tween the brains of man and the 
Gorilla, 237; reply to Lyell, on 
the difference between the human 
and simian brains, 253 ; claim of 
priority, 275. 

Oxford, British Association Meet- 
ing, discussion at, 236-239. 

Palet's writings, study of, 18. 
Pall Mall Gazette, review of the 

Variation of Animals and Plants,' 

in the, 267. 
Pangenesis, 266. 


PapilionacesB, papers on cross-fer- 
tilisation of, 301. 

Parallel roads of Glen Boy, paper 
on the, 145. 

Parasitic worms, experiments on, 

Parslow, Joseph, 150, note. 

' Parthenon,' review of the * Fertili- 
sation of Orchids,' in the, 308. 

Pasteur's results upon the germs of 
diseases, 290. 

Patagonia, 29. 

Peacock, Rev. George, letter from, 
t-o Professor Henslow, 115. 

Philosophical Club, 178. 

Magazine, 25. 

Photograph-albums received from 
Germany and Holland, 293. 

Pictet, Professor F. J., review of the 
'Origin' in the ' Biblioth^ue 
Universelle,' 231. 

Pictures, taste for, acquired at Cam- 
bridge, 19. 

Pigeons, nasal bones of, 249. 

Plants, climbing, 45, 313-315; 
insectivorous, 47, 319-322 ; power 
of movement in, 48, 31^19; 
garden, difficulty of naming, 308 ; 
heterostyled, polygamous, dioe- 
cious and gynodioecious, 311. 

Pleasurable sensations, influence o^ 
in Natural Selection, 60. 

Plinian Society, 13. 

Poetry, taste for, 9 ; failure of taste 
for, 50. 

Pollen, conveyance of, by the wings 
of butterflies and moths, 302. 

, differences in the two forms 

of Primrose, 812. 

" Polly," the fox-terrier, 70. 

Pontohdella, egg-cases of, 18. 

Portraits, list of, 331. 

"Pour le Me'rite," the order, 291, 

Pouter Pigeons, 234. 

Powell, Prof. Baden, his opinion on 
the structure of the eye, 228. 

* Power of Movement in Plants,* 48, 
315-319; publication of tlie, 316. 

Preyer, Prof. W., letter to, 265. 

Primrose, heterostyled flowers of 
the, 311 ; differences of the pollen 
in the two forms of the, 312. 




Primula^ dimorphism of, paper on 
the, 45. 

PrimuUBy said to have produced 
seed without access of iusects, 

Proteusy 247. 

Publication of the * Origin of Spe- 
cies,* arrangements connected 
with the, 196-200. 

Publications, account of, 38-49. 

Puhlio Opiniony squib in, 259. 

Quarterly Journal of Science, 
review of the * Expression of the 
Emotions,' in the, 279. 
Quarterly Review,* review of the 
♦Origin' in the, 242; Darwin's 
appreciation of it, 242, note ; re- 
view of the * Descent of Man ' in 
the, 276. 

Rabbits, asserted close interbreed- 
ing of, 53. 
Ramsay, Sir Andrew, 230. 

, Mr., 23. 

Roado, T. Mel lard, note to, on the 

earthworms, 285. 
Rein, Dr. J. J., accoxmt of the 

Bermudas, 281. 
Reinwald, M., French translation 

of the ' Origin ' by, 275. 
Religious views, 55-65 ; general 

statement of, 57-62. 
Reverence, development of the 

bump of, 17. 
Reversion, 201. 
Reviewers, 43. 
Rich, Anthony, letter to, on the 

book on ' Earthworms,' 285; 

bequest from, 293. 
Richmond, W., portrait of C. Darwin 

by, 292. 
Rio de Janeiro, letter to J. S. Hens- 
low, from, 134. 
Rogers, Prof. H. D., 230. 
Romanes, G. J., account of a sudden 

attack of illness, 326, 
letter to, on vivisection, 

Roots, sensitiveness of tips of, to 

contact, 318. 
Royal Commission on Vivisection, 



Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh, 

Society, award of the Royal 

Medal to 0. Darwin, 162 ; award 
of the Copley Medal to 0. Darwin, 

Royer, Mdlle. CMmence, French 
translation of the 'Origin' by, 
246 ; publication of third French 
edition of the ' Origin,' and criti- 
cism of pangenesis by, 275. 

Rudimentary organs, 207 ; compari- 
son of, with unsounded letters in 
words, 208. 

Sabine, Sir E., 162; reference to 
Darwin's work in his Presidential 
Address to the Royal Society, 

Sachs on the establishment of the 
idea of sexuality in plants, 299. 

St. Helena, 29. 

St. Jago, Cape Verd Islands, 129 ; 
geology of, 29. 

St. John's College, Cambridge, 
strict discipline at, 104. 

St. Paul's Island, visit to, 130. 

Salisbury Craigs, trap-dyke in, 15. 

" Sand walk," last visit to the, 327. 

San Salvador, letter to R. W. Dar- 
win from, 128. 

Saporta, Marquis de, his opinion in 
1863.. 261. 

Saturday RevieWy article in the, 
235; review of the * Descent of 
Man ' in the, 273. 

Scelidotherium, 142. 

Scepticism, effects of, in science, 52. 

Science, early attention to, 10; 
general interest in, 79. 

Scott, Sir Walter, 14. 

Sea-sickness, 127, 128. 

Sedgwick, Professor Adam, intro- 
duction to, 113; visit to North 
"Wales with, 24; opinion of C. 
Darwin, 137 ; letter from, on the 
* Origin of Species,' 216 ; review 
of the ' Origin ' in the Spectator^ 
231 ; attack before the ' Cam- 
bridge Philosophical Society,' 234. 

Seedlings, heliotroplsm of, 318. 

Seeds, experiments on the germina- 
tion of, after immersion, 179, 180. 




Selection, natural, 165, 190 in- 
fluence of, 40. 

< , sexual, in insects, 270 ; in- 
fluence of, upon races of man, 

Semper, Professor Karl, on coral 
reefs, 281. 

Sex in plants, establishment of the 
idea of, 299. 

Sexual selection, 270 ; influence of, 
upon races of man, 270. 

Sexuality, origin of, 310. 

Shanklin, 193. 

Shooting, fondness for, 10, 15. 

Shrewsbury, schools at, 6, 8 ; return 
to, 140; early medical practice 
at, 12. 

Sigillaria^ 158. 

Silliman's Journal, reviews in, 225, 
235, 244, 314. 

Slavery, 137. 

Slaves, sympathy with, 287. 

Sleep-movements of plants, 316. 

Smith, Kev. Sydney, meeting with, 

Snipe, first, 10. 

Snowdon, ascent of, 15. 

Son, eldest, birth of, 149 ; observa* 
tions on, 149. 

South America, publication of the 
geological observations on, 15G. 

Species, accumulation of facts re- 
lating to, 39-41, 148; checks to 
the increase of, 175 ; mutability 
of, 176 ; progress of the theory of 
the, 165; differences with regard 
to the, in the two editions of the 
'Journal,* 170; extracts from 
Note-books on, 169; first sketch 
of the, 170; Essay of 1884 on 
the, 171. 

Spectator, review of the * Origin ' in 
the, 231. 

Spencer, Herbert, an evolutionist, 

Sprengel, C. K., on cross-fertilisa- 
tion of hermaphrodite fiowers, 

■ , * Das entdeckte Geheimniss 

der Natur,' 44. 

Stanhope, Lord, 36. 

Sterility, in heterostyled plants, 


Stendel's * Nomenclator,' 322. 
Stokes, Admiral Lort, 126. 
Strickland, H. E., letter to, on 

nomenclature, 159. 
• Struggle for Existence,' 40, 189. 
Style, 99 ; defects of, 201. 
Bnarez, T. H. Huxley's study of, 

Subsidence, theory of, 281. 
Suffering, evidence from, as to the 

existence of God, 57, 59, 60. 
Sulivan, Sir B. J., letter to, 325. 
, reminiscences of C. Darwin, 

Sundew, 47, see Drosera. 
Sydney, letter to J. 8. Henslow 

from, 138. 

Telkolooy, revival of, 297. 

and morphology, reconcilia- 
tion of, by Darwinism, 291, note. 

Tendrils of plants, irritability of 
the, 313. 

Tenerifte, 23 ; desire to visit, 129 ; 
projected excursion to, 114. 

Theological views, 236. 

Theology and Natural History, 

Thistle-seeds, conveyance of, by 
wind, 193. 

Thompson, Professor D'Arcy, litera- 
ture of the fertilisation of flowers, 

Thwaites, G. H. K., 230. 

Tierra del Fuego, 29. 

Times, review of the * Origin * in 
the, 221, 222: review of the 
♦ Descent of Man ' in the, 273 ; 
letter to, on vivisection, 21)0; 
article on Mr. Darwin in the, 

Title-page, proposed, of the * Origin 
of Species,' 197. 

Torquay, visit to (1861), 245. 

Toxodon, 142. 

Translations of the 'Origin* into 
French, Dutch and German, 

Transmutation of species, investiga- 
tions on the, 39 ; first note-bwk 
on the, 142. 

Trimorphism and dimorphism in 
plants, papers on, 45. 



Tropical forest, first sight of, 134. 
Turin, Royal Academy of, award 

of the Bressa prize by the, 293. 
Twining plants, 314. 

* Unfinished Book,' 180. 
Unitarianisra, Erasmus Darwin's 

definition of, 201. 
Unorthodoxy, 197. 

Valpabaiso, letter to Miss 8. Dar- 
win from, 139. 
Vanilla, 305. 
Variability, 201. 

* Variation of Animals and Plants 

under Domestication,* publica- 
tion of, 46, 265. 

* ,' reviews of the, in the 

Pall Mall Gazette, 267; in the 
Athenssum, 268. 

Vegetable Kingdom, cross- and 
self-fertilisation in the, 47. 

* Vestiges of Creation,' 167. 
Victoria Institute, analysis of the 

• Origin,' read before the, 264, 

Vivisection, 287-291 ; opinion of, 
288 ; commencement of agitation 
against, and Royal Commission 
on, 288 ; legislation on, 288. 

Vogt, Prof. Carl, on the origin of 
species, 271. 

Volcanic islands. Geological obser- 
vations on, publication of the, 
152 ; Prof. Geikies notes on the, 

Volcanoes and Coral-reefs, book on, 

Waqneb, Moritz, letter to, on the 
influence of isolation, 278. 

"Wallace, A. R., first essay on varia- 
bility of species, 41, 188 ; article 
in the ' Quarterly Review,' April, 
1869 . . 260; opinion of Pangenesis, 
266; review of the 'Expression 
of the Emotions,' 279. 

, letters to . — on a paper by 

Wallace, 182 ; on the ' Origin of 
Species,' 195, 209 ; on ' Warring- 
ton's paper at the Victoria In- 
stitute/ 264, note ; ou man, 268 ; 
on sexual selection, 269, 270 ; on 


Mr. Wright's pamphlet in answer 
to Mivart, 275 ; on Mivaxt's 
remarks and an article in the 

* Quarterly Review,' 276 ; on his 
criticism of Mivart's * Lessons 
from Nature,* 277 ; last letter to, 

Wallace, A. R., letter from, to Prof. 

A. Newton, 189. 
Warrington, Mr., Analysis of the 

* Origin ' read by, to the Victoria 
Institute, 264, note. 

Water-cure, at Ilklev, 206 ; at Mal- 
vern, 160; Moor Park, 82, 184. 

Watkins, Archdeacon, 106. 

Watson, H. C, charge of egotism 
against 0. Darwin, 246 ; on 
Natural Selection, 168. 

Wedgwood, Emma, married to 0. 
Darwin, 148. 

, Josiah, character of, 16. 

, Miss Julia, letter to, 62. 

, Susannah, married to R. W. 

Darwin, 1. 

Weir, J., Jenner, observations on 
white moths, 270. 

Westminster Abbey, funeral in, 329 ; 

* Westminster Review,' review of 
the ♦ Origin,' in the, by T. H. 
Huxley, 2.S1. 

Whale, Secondary, 218. 

Whewell, Dr., acquaintance with, 

Whitley, Rev. C, 19. 

Wiesner, Prof. Julius, criticisms of 
the 'Power of Movement in 
Plants,' 317 ; letter to, ou Move- 
ment in Plants, 317. 

Wilberforce, Bishop, his opinion of 
the 'Origin,' 227; speech at 
Oxford against the Darwinian 
theory, 237; review of the 

* Origin' in the 'Quarterly Re- 
view,' 238. 

WoUaston, T. V., review of the 
' Origin * in the « Annals,' 227. 

• Wonders of the World,' 10. 

Wood, Searles V., 230. 

Woodhouse, shooting at, 15. 

Work, 69 ; method of, 50, 91-99. 

, growing necessity of, 269. 

Worms, formation of vegetable- 
mould by the action of, 32,49, 285. 



Wright, Chauncey, article against 
Mivart's * Genesis of Species,' 
275, 276. 

Writing, manner of, 50, 97-99. 

Zachabias, Db., Otto, letter to, on 
the theory of evolution, 166. 


Zoology, lectures on, in Edinburgh, 

* Zoology of the Voyage of the 
BeagUj' arrangements for pub- 
lishing the, 143; Government 
grant obtained for the, 144 ; pub- 
lication of the, 31, 32.