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Frontispiece, Vol. II. 

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CHAPTER I. The Foundations of the ' Origin of 

Species ' 1837-1844 .... . . . 1 

CHAPTER II. The Growth of the 'Origin of Species' 

1843-1856 ........ 19 

CHAPTER III. The Unfinished Book May 1856-JuNE 

1858 ......... 67 

CHAPTER IV. The Writing of the ' Origin of Species' 

June 18, 1858-Nov. 1859 . . . . 115 

CHAPTER V. Professor Huxley on the Reception of 

the 'Origin of Species' . . . . .179 

CHAPTER VI. The Publication of the ' Origin of 

Species' Oct. 3, 1859-DEC. 31, 1859 . . . 205 

CHAPTER VII. The ' Origin of Species ' (continued) 

i860 ......... 256 

CHAPTER VIII. The Spread of Evolution 1861-1862 356 


Volume II. 

Frontispiece: Charles Darwin in 1874 (?). From the 
' Century Magazine ' : the Photograph by Captain 
L. Darwin, R.E. 

Facsimile of a Page from a Note-Book of 1837. Photo- 
lithographed by the Cambridge Scientific Instrument 
Company ...... to face page 5 



Volume II. 

P. 239, line 17 \for " [?] " read " E. R." The surmise given in the foot- 
note is incorrect. It appears from papers in the possession of 
Mr. J. Estlin Carpenter, that Dr. Carpenter urged on the Editor 
of the ' Edinburgh Review ' a purely scientific treatment of the 
' Origin of Species.' 

P. 246 note : for " Ichthyology " read " Ichnology." 

P. 289, line 22 : for " Crampton " read " Crompton." 

P. 356, line 6 : for " 3000 " read " 2000." 

P. 380, line 3 from foot -.for " in the Amazons " read " on the Amazons." 

P. 390, line 4 : for " direct in the " read " in the direct." 






[In the first volume, p. 82, the growth of the ' Origin of Species ' 
has been briefly described in my father's words. The letters 
given in the present and following chapters will illustrate and 
amplify the history thus sketched out. 

It is clear that, in the early part of the voyage of the Beagle 
he did not feel it inconsistent with his views to express him- 
self in thoroughly orthodox language as to the genesis of new 
species. Thus in 1834 he wrote* at Valparaiso: "I have 
already found beds of recent shells yet retaining their colour 
at an elevation of 1 300 feet, and beneath the level country is 
strewn with them. It seems not a very improbable conjecture 
that the want of animals may be owing to none having been 
created since this country was raised from the sea." 

This passage does not occur in the published 'Journal,' the 
last proof of which was finished in 1837; and this fact har- 
monizes with the change we know to have been proceeding in 
his views. But in the published ' Journal ' we find passages 
which show a point of view more in accordance with orthodox 

* MS. Journals, p. 468. 


theological natural history than with his later views. Thus, 
in speaking of the birds Synallaxis and Scytalopus (ist edit. 
p. 353 ; 2nd edit. p. 289), he says: "When rinding, as in 
this case, any animal which seems to play so insignificant 
a part in the great scheme of nature, one is apt to wonder 
why a distinct species should have been created." 

A comparison of the two editions of the ' Journal ' is in- 
structive, 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. 83), 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 written (1845). Thus the turning-point in the formation 
of his theory took place between the writing of the two 

I will first give a few passages which are practically the 
same in the two editions, and which are, therefore, chiefly of 
interest as illustrating his frame of mind in 1837. 

The case of the two species of Molothrus (ist edit. p. 61 ; 
2nd edit. p. 53) must have been one of the earliest instances 
noticed by him of the existence of representative species 
a phenomenon which we know ('Autobiography,' p. 8^,) struck 
him deeply. The discussion on introduced animals (ist edit. 
p. 139 ; 2nd edit. p. 120) shows how much he was impressed 
by the complicated interdependence of the inhabitants of a 
given area. 

An analogous point of view is given in the discussion 
(ist edit. p. 98 ; 2nd edit. p. 85) of the mistaken belief that 
large animals require, for their support, a luxuriant vegeta- 
tion ; the incorrectness of this view is illustrated by the com- 


parison of the fauna of South Africa and South America, and 
the vegetation of the two continents. The interest of the 
discussion is that it shows clearly our a priori ignorance of 
the conditions of life suitable to any organism. 

There is a passage which has been more than once quoted 
as bearing on the origin of his views. It is where he dis- 
cusses the striking difference between the species of mice on 
the east and west of the Andes (ist edit. p. 399) : " Unless we 
suppose the same species to have been created in two 
different countries, we ought not to expect any closer simi- 
larity between the organic beings on the opposite sides of 
the Andes than on shores separated by a broad strait of the 
sea." In the 2nd edit. p. 327, the passage is almost verbally 
identical, and is practically the same. 

There are other passages again which are more strongly 
evolutionary in the 2nd edit., but otherwise are similar to the 
corresponding passages in the ist edition. Thus, in describing 
the blind Tuco-tuco (ist edit. p. 60 ; 2nd edit. p. 52), in the 
first edition he makes no allusion to what Lamarck might 
have thought, nor is the instance used as an example of 
modification, as in the edition of 1845. 

A striking passage occurs in the 2nd edit. (p. 173) on the 
relationship between the " extinct edentata and the living 
sloths, ant-eaters, and armadillos." 

" This wonderful relationship in the same continent between 
the dead and the living, will, I do not doubt, hereafter throw 
more light on the appearance of organic beings on our earth, 
and their disappearance from it, than any other class of facts." 

This sentence does not occur in the 1st edit, but he was 
evidently profoundly struck by the disappearance of the 
gigantic forerunners of the present animals. The difference 
between the discussions in the two editions is most instructive. 
In both, our ignorance of the conditions of life is insisted on, 
but in the second edition, the discussion is made to lead up to 
a strong statement of the intensity of the struggle for life. 

B 2 


Then follows a comparison between rarity * and extinction,, 
which introduces the idea that the preservation and dominance 
of existing species depend on the degree in which they are 
adapted to surrounding conditions. In the first edition, he is 
merely "tempted to believe in such simple relations as varia- 
tion of climate and food, or introduction of enemies, or the 
increased number of other species, as the cause of the succes- 
sion of races," But finally (ist edit.) he ends the chapter by 
comparing the extinction of a species to the exhaustion and 
disappearance of varieties of fruit-trees, as though he thought 
that a mysterious term of life was impressed on each species 
at its creation. 

The difference of treatment of the Galapagos problem is of 
some interest. In the earlier book, the American type of the 
productions of the islands is noticed, as is the fact that the 
different islands possess forms specially their own, but the 
importance of the whole problem is not so strongly put 
forward. Thus, in the first edition, he merely says : 

"This similarity of type between distant islands and con- 
tinents, while the species are distinct, has scarcely been 
sufficiently noticed. The circumstance would be explained, 
according to the views of some authors, by saying that the 
creative power had acted according to the same law over a 
wide area." (ist edit. p. 474.) 

This passage is not given in the second edition, and the 
generalisations on geographical distribution are much wider 
and fuller. Thus he asks : 

" Why were their aboriginal inhabitants, associated ... in 
different proportions both in kind and number from those 
on the Continent, and therefore acting on each other in a 
different manner why were they created on American types 
of organisation ? " (2nd edit. p. 393.) 

* In the second edition, p. 146, of our ignorance of the causes of 
the destruction of Niata cattle by rarity or extinction. The passage 
droughts is given as a good example does not occur in the first edition. 


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

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NOTE-BOOK OF 1 837. 5 

The same difference of treatment is shown elsewhere in this 
chapter. Thus the gradation in the form of beak presented 
by the thirteen allied species of finch is described in the first 
edition (p. 461) without comment. Whereas in the second 
edition (p. 380) he concludes : 

" One might really fancy that from an original paucity of 
birds in this Archipelago, one species has been taken and 
modified for different ends." 

On the whole it seems to me remarkable that the difference 
between the two editions is not greater ; it is another proof of 
the author's caution and self-restraint in the treatment of his 
theory. After reading the second edition of the ' Journal,' we 
find with a strong sense of surprise how far developed were 
his views in 1837. We are enabled to form an opinion on 
this point from the note-books in which he wrote down 
detached thoughts and queries. I shall quote from the first 
note-book, completed between July 1837 and February 
1838: and this is the more worth doing, as it gives us an 
insight into the condition of his thoughts before the reading 
of Malthus. The notes are written in his most hurried style, 
so many words being omitted, that it is often difficult to 
arrive at the meaning. With a few exceptions (indicated by 
square brackets)* I have printed the extracts as written ; the 
punctuation, however, has been altered, and a few obvious 
slips corrected where it seemed necessary. The extracts are 
not printed in order, but are roughly classified.! 

" Propagation explains why modern animals same type as 
extinct, which is law, almost proved." 

" We can see why structure is common in certain countries 

* In the extracts from the note- tion is discussed, and where the 

book ordinary brackets represent ' ; Zoonomia " is mentioned. Many 

my father's parentheses. pages have been cut out of thenote- 

f On the first page of the note- book, probably for use in writing the 

book, is written " Zoonomia " ; this Sketch of 1844, and these would 

seems to refer to the first few pages have no doubt contained the most 

in which reproduction by gemma- interesting extracts. 


when we can hardly believe necessary, but if it was necessary 
to one forefather, the result would be as it is. Hence ante- 
lopes at Cape of Good Hope ; marsupials at Australia." 

" Countries longest separated greatest differences if sepa- 
rated from immersage, possibly two distinct types, but each 
having its representatives as in Australia." 

"Will this apply to whole organic kingdom when our planet 
first cooled ? " 

The two following extracts show that he applied the theory 
of evolution to the " whole organic kingdom " from plants to 

" If we choose to let conjecture run wild, then animals, our 
fellow brethren 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)." 

The following extracts are again concerned with an a priori 
view of the probability of the origin of species by descent 
" propagation," as he called it. 

" The tree of life should perhaps be called the coral of life, 
base of branches dead ; so that passages cannot be seen." 

" There never may have been grade between pig and tapir, 
yet from some common progenitor. Now if the intermediate 
ranks had produced infinite species, probably the series would 
have been more perfect." 

At another place, speaking of intermediate forms, he says : 

" Cuvier objects to propagation of species by saying, why 
have not some intermediate forms been discovered between 
Palseotherium, Megalonyx, Mastodon, and the species now 
living ? Now according to my view (in S. America) parent of 
all Armadilloes might be brother to Megatherium uncle 
now dead." 

NOTE-BOOK OF 1 837. 7 

Speaking elsewhere of intermediate 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 case of domestic animals was already 
present in his mind as bearing on the production of natural 
species. The disappearance of intermediate forms naturally 
leads up to the subject of extinction, with which the next 
extract begins. 

" It is a wonderful fact, horse, elephant, and mastodon, 
dying out about same time in such different quarters. 

" Will Mr. Lyell say that some [same ?] circumstance killed 
it over a tract from Spain to South America ? (Never.) 

" They die, without they change, like golden pippins ; it is 
a generation of species like generation of individuals. 

" Why does individual die ? To perpetuate certain peculi- 
arities (therefore adaptation), and obliterate accidental varieties, 
and to accommodate itself to change (for, of course, change, 
even in varieties, is accommodation). Now this argument 
applies to species. 

" If individual cannot propagate he has no issue so with 

"If species generate other species, their race is not utterly cut 
off: like golden pippins, if produced by seed, go on other- 
wise all die. 

" The fossil horse generated, in South Africa, zebra and 
continued perished in America. 

" All animals of same species are bound together just like 
buds of plants, which die at one time, though produced either 
sooner or later. Prove animals like plants trace gradation 
between associated and non-associated animals and the story 
will be complete." 

Here we have the view already alluded to of a term of life 
impressed on a species. 

But in the following note we get extinction connected with 


unfavourable variation, and thus a hint is given of natural 
selection : 

" With respect to extinction, we can easily see that [a] 
variety of [the] ostrich (Petise), may not be well adapted, 
and thus perish out ; or, on the other hand, like Orpheus [a 
Galapagos bird], being favourable, many might be produced. 
This requires [the] principle that the permanent variations 
produced by confined breeding and changing circumstances 
are continued and producefd] according to the adaptation of 
such circumstances, and therefore that death of species is a 
consequence (contrary to what would appear from America) 
of non-adaptation of circumstances." 

The first part of the next extract has a similar bearing. 
The end of the passage is of much interest, as showing that 
he had at this early date visions of the far-reaching character 
of his speculations : 

" With belief of transmutation and geographical grouping, 
we are led to endeavour to discover causes of change ; the 
manner of adaptation (wish of parents ? ?), instinct and struc- 
ture becomes full of speculation and lines of observation. 
View of generation being condensation,* test of highest or- 
ganisation intelligible .... My theory would give zest to 
recent and fossil comparative anatomy ; it would lead to the 
study of instincts, heredity, and mind-heredity, whole [of] 

" It would lead to closest examination of hybridity, regener- 
ation, causes of change in order to know what we have come 
from and to what we tend to what circumstances favour 
crossing and what prevents it this, and direct examination 
of direct passages of structure in species, might lead to laws 
of change, which would then be the main object of study, to 
guide our speculations." 

The following two extracts have a similar interest ; the 

* I imagine him to mean that a small number of the best organized 
each generation is " condensed " to individuals. 

NOTE-BOOK OF 1 837. 9 

second is especially interesting, as it contains the germ of 
the concluding sentence of the ' Origin of Species ' : * 

" Before the attraction of gravity discovered it might have 
been said it was as great a difficulty to account for the 
movement of all [planets] by one law, as to account for each 
separate one ; so to say that all mammalia were born from 
one stock, and since distributed by such means as we can 
recognise, may be thought to explain nothing. 

" Astronomers might formerly have said that God fore- 
ordered each planet to move in its particular destiny. In the 
same manner God orders each animal created with certain 
forms in certain countries ; but how much more simple and 
sublime [a] power let attraction act according to certain 
law, such are inevitable consequences let animals be created, 
then by the fixed laws of generation, such will be their 

" Let the powers of transportal be such, and so will be the 
forms of one country to another let geological changes go at 
such a rate, so will be the number and distribution of the 
species ! ! " 

The three next extracts are of miscellaneous interest : 

" When one sees nipple on man's breast, one does not say 
some use, but sex not having been determined so with useless 
wings under elytra of beetles born from beetles with wings, 
and modified if simple creation merely, would have been 
born without them." 

" In a decreasing population at any one moment fewer 
closely related (few species of genera) ; ultimately few genera 
(for otherwise the relationship would converge sooner), and 
lastly, perhaps, some one single one. Will not this account 

* ' Origin of Species ' (edit, i.), p. cycling on according to the fixed 

490 : " There is a grandeur in this law of gravity, from so simple a 

view of life, with its several powers, beginning endless forms most 

having been originally breathed beautiful and most wonderful have 

into a few forms or into one ; and been, and are being evolved." 
that whilst this planet has gone 


for the odd genera with few species which stand between 
great groups, which we are bound to consider the increasing 
ones ? " 

The last extract which I shall quote gives the germ of his 
theory of the relation between alpine plants in various parts 
of the world, in the publication of which he was forestalled 
by E. Forbes (see Vol. I. p. 88). He says, in the 1837 note- 
book, that alpine plants, " formerly descended lower, therefore 
[they are] species of lower genera altered, or northern plants." 

When we turn to the Sketch of his theory, written in 1844 
(still therefore before the second edition of the ' Journal ' 
was completed), we find an enormous advance made on the 
note-book of 1837. The Sketch is in fact a surprisingly com- 
plete presentation of the argument afterwards familiar to us 
in the ' Origin of Species.' There is some obscurity as to the 
date of the short Sketch which formed the basis of the 1844 
Essay. We know from his own words (Vol. I. p. 184), that it 
was in June 1842 that he first wrote out a short sketch of 
his views.* This statement is given with so much circum- 
stance that it is almost impossible to suppose that it contains 
an error of date. It agrees also with the following extract 
from his Diary. 

" 1842. May 18th. Went to Maer. 

"June 15th to Shrewsbury, and on 18th to Capel Curig. 
During my stay at Maer and Shrewsbury (five years after 
commencement) wrote pencil-sketch of species theory." 

Again in the introduction to the ' Origin,' p. 1, he writes, 
"after an interval of five years' work," [from 1837, i.e. in 1842,] 
" I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up 
some short notes." 

Nevertheless in the letter signed by Sir C. Lyell and 
Sir J. D. Hooker, which serves as an introduction to the joint 
paper of Messrs. C. Darwin and A. Wallace on the ' Tendency 

* This version I cannot find, and much of his MS., after it had been 
it was probably destroyed, like so enlarged and re-copied in 1844. 


of Species to form Varieties/ * the essay of 1844 (extracts 
from which form part of the paper) is said to have been 
"sketched in 1 839, and copied in 1844." This statement is 
obviously made on the authority of a note written in my 
father's hand across the Table of Contents of the 1844 Essay. 
It is to the following effect : "This was sketched in 1839, an d 
copied out in full, as here written and read by you in 1844." 
I conclude that this note was added in 1858, when the MS. 
was sent to Sir J. D. Hooker (see Letter of June 29, 1858, 
Vol. II. p. 1 19). There is also some further evidence on this side 
of the question. Writing to Mr. Wallace (Jan. 25, 1859) m y 
father says : " 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." The statement that the earliest 
sketch was written in 1839 nas been frequently made in 
biographical notices of my father, no doubt on the authority 
of the ' Linnean Journal,' but it must, I think, be considered 
as erroneous. The error may possibly have arisen in this 
way. In writing on the Table of Contents of the 1844 MS. 
that it was sketched in 1839, I think my father may have 
intended to imply that the framework of the theory was clearly 
thought out by him at that date. In the Autobiography 
(p. 88) he speaks of the time, "about 1839, when the theory 
was clearly conceived," meaning, no doubt, the end of 1838 
and beginning of 1839, when the reading of Malthus had 
given him the key to the idea of natural selection. But this 
explanation does not apply to the letter to Mr. Wallace ; and 
with regard to the passage f in the 'Linnean Journal' it is 
difficult to understand how it should have been allowed to 

* ' Linn. Soc. Journal,' 1858, footnote apologising for the style of 

P- 45- the extracts, on the ground that the 

f My father certainly saw the " work was never intended for pub- 
proofs of the paper, for he added a lication." 


remain as it now stands, conveying, as it clearly does, the 
impression that 1839 was the date of his earliest written sketch. 
The sketch of 1844 is written in a clerk's hand, in two 
hundred and .thirty-one pages folio, blank leaves being 
alternated with the MS. with a view to amplification. The 
text has been revised and corrected, criticisms being pencilled 
by himself on the margin. It is divided into two parts : I. " On 
the variation of Organic Beings under Domestication and in 
their Natural State." II. "On the Evidence favourable and 
opposed to the view that Species are naturally formed races 
descended from common Stocks." The first part contains the 
main argument of the ' Origin of Species.' It is founded, as is 
the argument of that work, on the study of domestic animals, 
and both the Sketch and the ' Origin ' open with a chapter 
on variation under domestication and on artificial selection. 
This is followed, in both essays, by discussions on variation 
under nature, on natural selection, and on the struggle for 
life. Here, any close resemblance between the two essays 
with regard to arrangement ceases. Chapter III. of the 
Sketch, which concludes the first part, treats of the varia- 
tions which occur in the instincts and habits of animals, 
and thus corresponds to some extent with Chapter VII. of 
the 'Origin' (1st edit.). It thus forms a complement to 
the chapters which deal with variation in structure. It seems 
to have been placed thus early in the Essay to prevent the 
hasty rejection of the whole theory by a reader to whom 
the idea of natural selection acting on instincts might seem 
impossible. This is the more probable, as the Chapter on 
Instinct in the ' Origin ' is specially mentioned (Introduction, 
p. 5) as one of the " most apparent and gravest difficulties on 
the theory." Moreover the chapter in the Sketch ends with 
a discussion, "whether any particular corporeal structures 

are so wonderful as to justify the rejection prima facie 

of our theory." Under this heading comes the discussion of 
the eye, which in the ' Origin ' finds its place in Chapter VI. 

SKETCH OF 1844. 13, 

under " Difficulties on Theory." The second part seems to 
have been planned in accordance with his favourite point of 
view with regard to his theory. This is briefly given in a 
letter to Dr. Asa Gray, November nth, 1859: "I cannot 
possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many 
classes of facts, as I think it certainly does explain. On these 
grounds I drop my anchor, and believe that the difficulties 
will slowly disappear." On this principle, having stated the 
theory in the first part, he proceeds to show to what extent 
various wide series of facts can be explained by its means. 

Thus the second part of the Sketch corresponds roughly 
to the nine concluding Chapters of the First Edition of the 
'Origin.' But we must exclude Chapter VII. ('Origin') on 
Instinct, which forms a chapter in the first part of the Sketch, 
and Chapter VIII. ('Origin') on Hybridism, a subject treated 
in the Sketch with 'Variation under Nature ' in the first part. 

The following list of the chapters of the second part of the 
Sketch will illustrate their correspondence with the final 
chapters of the ' Origin.' 

Chapter I. " On the kind of intermediateness necessary, 
and the number of such intermediate forms." 

This includes a geological discussion, and corresponds to 
parts of Chapters VI. and IX. of the ' Origin.' 

Chapter II. "The gradual appearance and disappearance 
of organic beings." Corresponds to Chapter X. of the 
' Origin.' 

Chapter III. " Geographical Distribution." Corresponds to 
Chapters XI. and XII. of the 'Origin.' 

Chapter IV. " Affinities and Classification of Organic 

Chapter V. " Unity of Type," Morphology, Embryology. 

Chapter VI. Rudimentary Organs. 

These three chapters correspond to Chapter XII. of the 
' Origin.' 

Chapter VII. Recapitulation and Conclusion. The final 


sentence of the Sketch, which we saw in its first rough 
form in the Note Book of 1837, closely resembles the final 
sentence of the ' Origin,' much of it being identical. The 
1 Origin ' is not divided into two " Parts," but we see traces of 
such a division having been present in the writer's mind, in 
this resemblance between the second part of the Sketch and 
the final chapters of the ' Origin.' That he should speak * of 
the chapters on transition, on instinct, on hybridism, and 
on the geological record, as forming a group, may be due to 
the division of his early MS. into two parts. 

Mr. Huxley, who was good enough to read the Sketch at 
my request, while remarking that the " main lines of argu- 
ment" and the illustrations employed are the same, points 
out that in the 1844 Essay, " much more weight is attached to 
the influence of external conditions in producing variation, 
and to the inheritance of acquired habits than in the 
' Origin.' " 

It is extremely interesting to find in the Sketch the first 
mention of principles familiar to us in the ' Origin of Species.' 
Foremost among these may be mentioned the principle of 
Sexual Selection, which is clearly enunciated. The important 
form of selection known as " unconscious," is also given. 
Here also occurs a statement of the law that peculiarities 
tend to appear in the offspring at an age corresponding to 
that at which they occurred in the parent. 

Professor Newton, who was so kind as to look through the 
1844 Sketch, tells me that my father's remarks on the migra- 
tion of birds, incidentally given in more than one passage, 
show that he had anticipated the views of some later writers. 

With regard to the general style of the Sketch, it is not 
to be expected that it should have all the characteristics of 
the ' Origin,' and we do not, in fact, find that balance and 
control, that concentration and grasp, which are so striking 
in the work of 1859. 

* ' Origin,' Introduction, p. 5. 


In the Autobiography (Vol. I. p. 84) my father has stated 
what seemed to him the chief flaw of the 1844 Sketch; he 
had overlooked "one problem of great importance," the 
problem of the divergence of .character. This point is dis- 
cussed in the ' Origin of Species,' but, as it may not be familiar 
to all readers, I will give a short account of the difficulty and 
its solution. The author begins by stating that varieties 
differ from each other less than species, and then goes on : 
" Nevertheless, according to my view, varieties are species in 
process of formation How then does the lesser dif- 
ference between varieties become augmented into the greater 
difference between species." * He shows how an analogous 
divergence takes place under domestication where an originally 
uniform stock of horses has been split up into race-horses, 
dray-horses, &c, and then goes on to explain how the same 
principle applies to natural species. "From the simple 
circumstance that the more diversified the descendants from 
any one species become in structure, constitution, and habits, 
by so much will they be better enabled to seize on many and 
widely diversified places in the polity of nature, and so be 
enabled to increase in numbers." 

The principle is exemplified by the fact that if on one plot 
of ground a single variety of wheat be sown, and on to 
another a mixture of varieties, in the latter case the produce 
is greater. More individuals have been able to exist because 
they were not all of the same variety. An organism becomes 
more perfect and more fitted to survive when by division 
of labour the different functions of life are performed by 
different organs. In the same way a species becomes more 
efficient and more able to survive when different sections of 
the species become differentiated so as to fill different stations. 

In reading the Sketch of 1844, I have found it difficult to 
recognise, as a flaw in the Essay, the absence of any definite 
statement of the principle of divergence. Descent with 

* ' Origin,' 1st edit. p. hi. 


modification implies divergence, and we become so habituated 
to a belief in descent, and therefore in divergence, that we 
do not notice the absence of proof that divergence is in itself 
an advantage. As shown in the Autobiography, my father 
in 1876 found it hardly credible that he should have over- 
looked the problem and its solution. 

The following letter will be more in place here than its 
chronological position, since it shows what was my father's 
feeling as to the value of the Sketch at the time of its 

C. Darwin 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 
one competent judge, it will be 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 ^400 to its publication, and further, will yourself, or 
through Hensleigh,* take trouble in promoting it. I wish 
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 also 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 

* Mr. H. Wedgwood. 

SKETCH OF 1844. 17 

zn deciphering 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 sugges- 
tions and early views, now useless, and many of the facts will 
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 him. As the editor must 
"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 if any good 
zoological aid), would be best of all. Without an editor will 
pledge himself to give up time to it, it would be of no use 
paying such a sum. 

* After Mr. Strickland's name ible. "Professor Owen would be 
comes the following sentence, which very good ; but I presume he would 
has been erased, but remains leg- not undertake such a work." 



" 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 of scraps 
of paper, then let my sketch be published as it is, stating 
that it was done several years ago * 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 of 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 thinking 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 


* The words u several years ago and," seem to have been added at a 
later date. 

( 19 ) 


LETTERS, 1 843-1 856. 

[The history of my father's life is told more completely in 
his correspondence with Sir J. D. Hooker than in any other 
series of letters ; and this is especially true of the history 
of the growth of the ' Origin of Species.' This, therefore, 
seems an appropriate place for the following notes, which 
Sir Joseph Hooker has kindly given me. They give, more- 
over, an interesting picture of his early friendship with my 
father : 

"My first meeting with Mr. Darwin was in 1839, in 

Trafalgar Square. I was walking with an officer who 

had been his shipmate for a short time in the Beagle seven 

years before, but who had not, I believe, since met him. 

I was introduced ; the interview was of course brief, and the 

memory of him that I carried away and still retain was that 

of a rather tall and rather broad-shouldered man, with 

a slight stoop, an agreeable and animated expression when 

talking, beetle brows, and a hollow but mellow voice ; and 

that his greeting of his old acquaintance was sailor-like 

that is, delightfully frank and cordial. I observed him well, 

for I was already aware of his attainments and labours, derived 

from having read various proof-sheets of his then unpublished 

' Journal.' These had been submitted to Mr. (afterwards Sir 

Charles) Lyell by Mr. Darwin, and by him sent to his father, 

Ch. Lyell, Esq., of Kinnordy, who (being a very old friend of 

my father, and taking a kind interest in my projected career 

as a naturalist) had allowed me to peruse them. At this time 

c 2 

20 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1843. 

I was hurrying on my studies, so as to take my degree before 
volunteering to accompany Sir James Ross in the Antarctic 
Expedition, which had just been determined on by the 
Admiralty ; and so pressed for time was I, that I used to 
sleep with the sheets of the ' Journal ' under my pillow, that 
I might read them between waking and rising. They im- 
pressed me profoundly, I might say despairingly, with the 
variety of acquirements, mental and physical, required in 
a naturalist who should follow in Darwin's footsteps, whilst 
they stimulated me to enthusiasm in the desire to travel 
and observe. 

" It has been a permanent source of happiness to me that 
I knew so much of Mr. Darwin's scientific work so many 
years before that intimacy began which ripened into feelings 
as near to those of reverence for his life, works, and cha- 
racter as is reasonable and proper. It only remains to add 
to this little episode that I received a copy of the ' Journal ' 
complete, a gift from Mr. Lyell, a few days before leaving 

" Very soon after the return of the Antarctic Expedition 
my correspondence with Mr. Darwin began (December, 1843) 
by his sending me a long letter, warmly congratulating 
me on my return to my family and friends, and expressing 
a wish to hear more of the results of the expedition, of which 
he had derived some knowledge from private letters of my 
own (written to or communicated through Mr. Lyell). Then, 
plunging at once into scientific matters, he directed my atten- 
tion to the importance of correlating the Fuegian Flora with 
that of the Cordillera and of Europe, and invited me to study 
the botanical collections which he had made in the Galapagos 
Islands, as well as his Patagonian and Fuegian plants. 

" This led to me sending him an outline of the conclusions 
I had formed regarding the distribution of plants in the 
southern regions, and the necessity of assuming the destruc- 
tion of considerable areas of land to account for the relations 


of the flora of the so-called Antarctic Islands. I do not 
suppose that any of these ideas were new to him, but they 
led to an animated and lengthy correspondence full of 

Here follows the letter (1843) to Sir J. D. Hooker above 
referred to.] 

My dear Sir, I had hoped before this time to have had 
the pleasure of seeing you and congratulating you on your 
safe return from your long and glorious voyage. But as I 
seldom go to London, we may not yet meet for some time 
without you are led to attend the Geological meetings. 

I am anxious to know what you intend doing with all your 
materials I had so much pleasure in reading parts of some 
of your letters, that I shall be very sorry if I, as one of the 
public, have no opportunity of reading a good deal more. 
I suppose you are very busy now and full of enjoyment : 
how well I remember the happiness of my first few months 
of England it was worth all the discomforts of many a gale ! 
But I have run from the subject, which made me write, of 
expressing my pleasure that Henslow (as he informed me 
a few days since by letter) has sent to you my small collec- 
tion of plants. You cannot think how much pleased I am, 
as I feared they would have been all lost, and few as they are, 
they cost me a good deal of trouble. There are a very few 
notes, which I believe Henslow has got, describing the 
habitats, &c, of some few of the more remarkable plants. 
I paid particular attention to the Alpine flowers of Tierra del 
Fuego, and I am sure I got every plant which was in flower 
in Patagonia at the seasons when we were there. I have long 
thought that some general sketch of the Flora of the point of 
land, stretching so far into the southern seas, would be very 
curious. Do make comparative remarks on the species allied 
to the European species, for the advantage of botanical 
ignoramuses like myself. It has often struck me as a curious 

22 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [l843- 

point to find out, whether there are many European genera 
in T. del Fuego which are not found along the ridge of the 
Cordillera; the separation in such case would be so enor- 
mous. Do point out in any sketch you draw up, what 
genera are American and what European, and how great 
the differences of the species are, when the genera are 
European, for the sake of the ignoramuses. 

I hope Henslow will send you my Galapagos plants (about 
which Humboldt even expressed to me considerable curiosity) 
I took much pains in collecting all I could. A Flora of this 
archipelago would, I suspect, offer a nearly parallel case to 
that of St. Helena, which has so long excited interest. 
Pray excuse this long rambling note, and believe me, my 

dear sir, yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

Will you be so good as to present my respectful com- 
pliments to Sir W. Hooker. 

[Referring to Sir J. D. Hooker's work on the Galapagos 
Flora, my father wrote in 1846 : 

" I cannot tell you how delighted and astonished I am at 
the results of your examination ; how wonderfully they 
support my assertion on the differences in the animals of the 
different islands, about which I have always been fearful." 

Again he wrote (1849) : 

" I received a few weeks ago your Galapagos papers,* and 
I have read them since being here. I really cannot express 
too strongly my admiration of the geographical discussion : 
to my judgment it is a perfect model of what such a paper 
should be ; it took me four days to read and think over. 
How interesting the Flora of the Sandwich Islands appears 
to be, how I wish there were materials for you to treat its 

* These papers include the re- and were published by the Linnean 
suits of Sir J. D. Hooker's examina- Society in 1849. 
tion of my father's Galapagos plants, 


flora as you have done the Galapagos. In the Systematic 
paper I was rather disappointed in not rinding general 
remarks on affinities, structures, &c, such as you often give 
in conversation, and such as De Candolle and St. Hilaire 
introduced in almost all their papers, and which make them 
interesting even to a non-Botanist." 

" Very soon afterwards [continues Sir J. D. Hooker] in a 
letter dated January 1844, the subject of the 'Origin of 
Species ' was brought forward by him, and I believe that I 
was the first to whom he communicated his then new ideas 
on the subject, and which being of interest as a contribution 
to the history of Evolution, I here copy from his letter " : ] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

[January nth, 1844.] 
. . . Besides a general interest about the southern lands, I 
have been now ever since my return engaged in a very pre- 
sumptuous work, and I know no one individual who would 
not say a very foolish one. I was so struck with the distri- 
bution 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 the opinion I started 
with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) 
immutable. Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of 
a " tendency to progression," " adaptations from the slow 
willing of animals," &c. ! 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 presump- 
tion !) the simple way by which species become exquisitely 
adapted to various ends. You will now groan, and think to 

24 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1844. 

yourself, "on what a man have I been wasting my time 
and writing to." I should, five years ago, have thought 
so. . . . 

[The following letter written on February 23, 1844, shows 
that the acquaintanceship with Sir J. D. Hooker was then 
fast ripening into friendship. The letter is chiefly of interest 
as showing the sort of problems then occupying my father's 
mind :] 

DEAR HOOKER, I hope you will excuse the freedom of my 
address, but I feel that as co-circum-wanderers and as fellow 
labourers (though myself a very weak one) we may throw 
aside some of the old-world formality. ... I have just finished 
a little volume on the volcanic islands which we visited. I 
do not know how far you care for dry simple geology, but I 
hope you will let me send you a copy. I suppose I can send 
it from London by common coach conveyance. 

... I am going to ask you some more questions, though I 
dare say, without asking them, I shall see answers in your 
work, when published, which will be quite time enough for 
my purposes. First for the Galapagos, you will see in my 
Journal, that the Birds, though peculiar species, have a most 
obvious S. American aspect : I have just ascertained the 
same thing holds good with the sea-shells. Is it so with 
those plants which are peculiar to this archipelago ; you state 
that their numerical proportions are continental (is not this a 
very curious fact?) but are they related in forms to S. 
America. Do you know of any other case of an archipelago, 
with the separate islands possessing distinct representative 
species ? I have always intended (but have not yet done so) 
to examine Webb and Berthelot on the Canary Islands for 
this object. Talking with Mr. Bentham, he told me that the 
separate islands of the Sandwich Archipelago possessed 
distinct representative species of the same genera of Labiatae : 
would not this be worth your enquiry ? How is it with the 

1 844.] GALAPAGOS FLORA. 2$ 

Azores ; to be sure the heavy western gales would tend to 
diffuse the same species over that group. 

I hope you will (I dare say my hope is quite superfluous) 
attend to this general kind of affinity in isolated islands, 
though I suppose it is more difficult to perceive this sort of 
relation in plants, than in birds or quadrupeds, the groups of 
which are, I fancy, rather more confined. Can St. Helena 
be classed, though remotely, either with Africa or S. America ? 
From some facts, which I have collected, I have been led to 
conclude that the fauna of mountains are either remarkably 
similar (sometimes in the presence of the same species and at 
other times of same genera), or that they are remarkably 
dissimilar ; and it has occurred to me that possibly part of 
this peculiarity of the St. Helena and Galapagos floras may 
be attributed to a great part of these two Floras being 
mountain Floras. I fear my notes will hardly serve to dis- 
tinguish much of the habitats of the Galapagos plants, but 
they may in some cases ; most, if not all, of the green, leafy 
plants come from the summits of the islands, and the thin 
brown leafless plants come from the lower arid parts : would 
you be so kind as to bear this remark in mind, when ex- 
amining my collection. 

I will trouble you with only one other question. In dis- 
cussion with Mr. Gould, I found that in most of the genera 
of birds which range over the whole or greater part of the 
world, the individual species have wider ranges, thus the Owl 
is mundane, and many of the species have very wide ranges. 
So I believe it is with land and fresh-water shells and I 
might adduce other cases. Is it not so with Cryptogamic 
plants ; have not most of the species wide ranges, in those 
genera which are mundane ? I do not suppose that the 
converse holds, viz. that when a species has a wide range, 
its genus also ranges wide. Will you so far oblige me by 
occasionally thinking over this? It would cost me vast 
trouble to get a list of mundane phanerogamic genera and 

26 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1844. 

then search how far the species of these genera are apt to 
range wide in their several countries ; but you might occa- 
sionally, in the course of your pursuits, just bear this in mind, 
though perhaps the point may long since have occurred to 
you or other Botanists. Geology is bringing to light interest- 
ing facts, concerning the ranges of shells ; I think it is pretty 
well established, that according as the geographical range of 
a species is wide, so is its persistence and duration in time. 
I hope you will try to grudge as little as you can the trouble 
of my letters, and pray believe me very truly yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I should feel extremely obliged for your kind offer of 
the sketch of Humboldt ; I venerate him, and after having had 
the pleasure of conversing with him in London, I shall still 
more like to have any portrait of him. 

[What follows is quoted from Sir J. D. Hooker's notes. 

" The next act in the drama of our lives opens with personal 
intercourse. This began with an invitation to breakfast with 
him at his brother's (Erasmus Darwin's) house in Park Street ; 
which was shortly afterwards followed by an invitation to 
Down to meet a few brother Naturalists. In the short 
intervals of good health that followed the long illnesses which 
oftentimes rendered life a burthen to him, between 1844 and 
1847, I had many such invitations, and delightful they were. 
A more hospitable and more attractive home under every 
point of view could not be imagined of Society there were 
most often Dr. Falconer, Edward Forbes, Professor Bell, and 
Mr. Waterhouse there were long walks, romps with the 
children on hands and knees, music that haunts me still. 
Darwin's own hearty manner, hollow laugh, and thorough 
enjoyment of home life with friends ; strolls with him all 
together, and interviews with us one by one in his study, to 
discuss questions in any branch of biological or physical 
knowledge that we had followed ; and which I at any rate 

1 844.] sir j. d. hooker's reminiscences. 27 

always left with the feeling that I had imparted nothing and 
carried away more than I could stagger under. Latterly, as 
his health became more seriously affected, I was for days and 
weeks the only visitor, bringing my work with me and 
enjoying his society as opportunity offered. It was an 
established rule that he every day pumped me, as he called 
it, for half an hour or so after breakfast in his study, when 
he first brought out a heap of slips with questions botanical, 
geographical, &c, for me to answer, and concluded by telling 
me of the progress he had made in his own work, asking my 
opinion on various points. I saw no more of him till about 
noon, when I heard his mellow ringing voice calling my 
name under my window this was to join him in his daily 
forenoon walk round the sand- walk.* On joining him I 
found him in a rough grey shooting-coat in summer, and 
thick cape over his shoulders in winter, and a stout staff in 
his hand ; away we trudged through the garden, where there 
was always some experiment to visit, and on to the sand- 
walk, round which a fixed number of turns were taken, during 
which our conversation usually ran on foreign lands and seas, 
old friends, old books, and things far off to both mind and 

" In the afternoon there was another such walk, after which 
he again retired till dinner if well enough to join the family ; 
if not, he generally managed to appear in the drawing-room, 
where seated in his high chair, with his feet in enormous 
carpet shoes, supported on a high stool he enjoyed the 
music or conversation of his family," 

Here follows a series of letters illustrating the growth 
of my father's views, and the nature of his work during this 

* See Vol. I. p. 115. 

28 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1844. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [1844}. 

. . . The conclusion, which I have come at is, that those 
areas, in which species are most numerous, have oftenest 
been divided and isolated from other areas, united and again 
divided ; a process implying antiquity and some changes in 
the external conditions. This will justly sound very hypo- 
thetical. I cannot give my reasons in detail ; but the most 
general conclusion, which the geographical distribution of all 
organic beings, appears to me to indicate, is that isolation is 
the chief concomitant or cause of the appearance of new 
forms (I well know there are some staring exceptions), 
Secondly, from seeing how often the plants and animals 
swarm in a country, when introduced into it, and from see- 
ing what' a vast number of plants will live, for instance in 
England, if kept free from weeds, and native plants, I have 
been led to consider that the spreading and number of the 
organic beings of any country depend less on its external 
features, than on the number of forms, which have been there 
originally created or produced. I much doubt whether you 
will find it possible to explain the number of forms by pro- 
portional differences of exposure ; and I cannot doubt if 
half the species in any country were destroyed or had not 
been created, yet that country would appear to us fully 
peopled. With respect to original creation or production of 
new forms, I have said that isolation appears the chief ele- 
ment. Hence, with respect to terrestrial productions, a tract 
of country, which had oftenest within the late geological pe- 
riods subsided and been converted into islands, and reunited, 
I should expect to contain most forms. 

But such speculations are amusing only to one's self, and in 
this case useless, as they do not show any direct line of obser- 
vation : if I had seen how hypothetical [is] the little, which I 


have unclearly written, I would not have troubled you with 
the reading of it. Believe me, at last not hypothetically, 

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, 1844. 

... I forget my last letter, but it must have been a very 
silly one, as it seems I gave my notion of the number of 
species being in great degree governed by the degree to 
which the area had been often isolated and divided ; I must 
have been cracked to have written it, for I have no evidence, 
without a person be willing to admit all my views, and then 
it does follow ; but in my most sanguine moments, all I 
expect, is that I shall be able to show even to sound Natur- 
alists, that there are two sides to the question of the immut- 
ability of species ; that facts 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 immutability. Agassiz 
lately has brought the strongest argument in favour of immut- 
ability. Isidore G. St. Hilaire has written some good Essays, 
tending towards the mutability-side, in the ' Suites a Buffon,' 
entitled " Zoolog. Generale." Is it not strange that the author 
of such a book as the ' Animaux sans Vertebres ' should 
have written that insects, which never see their eggs, should 
will (and plants, their seeds) to be of particular forms, so 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 wood-pecker to climb trees. I believe all these 
absurd views arise from no one having, as far as I know, 
approached the subject on the side of variation under domest- 

30 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1845. 

ication, and having studied all that is known about domestic- 
ation. I was very glad to hear your criticism on island-floras 
and on non-diffusion of plants : the subject is too long for a 
letter : I could defend myself to some considerable extent, 
but I doubt whether successfully in your eyes, or indeed in 
my own. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, [July, 1844.] 

... I am now reading a wonderful book for facts on 
variation Bronn, 'Geschichte der Natur.' It is stiff German : 
it forestalls me, sometimes I think delightfully, and some- 
times cruelly. You will be ten times hereafter more horrified 
at me than at H. Watson. 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). ... I must leave this 
letter till to-morrow, for I am tired ; but I so enjoy writing 
to you, that I must inflict a little more on you. 

Have you any good evidence for absence of insects in small 
islands ? I found thirteen species in Keeling Atoll. Flies 
are good fertilizers, and I have seen a microscopic Thrips 
and a Cecidomya take flight from a flower in the direction 
of another with pollen adhering to them. In Arctic countries 
a bee seems to go as far N. as any flower 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Shrewsbury [September, 1845]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, I write a line to say that Cosmos * 
arrived quite safely (N.B. One sheet came loose in Pt. I.), and 
to thank you for your nice note. I have just begun the intro- 
duction, and groan over the style, which in such parts is full 
half the battle. How true many of the remarks are {i.e. as 
far as I can understand the wretched English) on the scenery ; 
it is an exact expression of one's own thoughts. 

* A translation of Humboldt's ' Kosmos.' 


I wish I ever had any books to lend you in return for the 
many you have lent me. . . . 

All of what you kindly say about my species work does 
not alter one iota my long self-acknowledged presumption 
in accumulating facts and speculating on the subject of 
variation, without having worked out my due share of species. 
But now for nine years it has been anyhow the greatest 
amusement to me. 

Farewell, my dear Hooker, I grieve more than you can 
well believe, over our prospect of so seldom meeting. 

I have never perceived but one fault in you, and that you 
have grievously, viz. modesty ; you form an exception to 
Sydney Smith's aphorism, that merit and modesty have no 
other connection, except in their first letter. Farewell, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to L. Jenyns (Blomefield). 

Down, Oct. 1 2th [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 
require, in my case, some leisure and energy, 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, fills up every afternoon in the 
same manner. I am surprised that with all your parish 
affairs, you have had time to do all that which you have 
done. I shall be very glad to see your little work * (and 

* Mr. Jenyns' * Observations in lowed by a " Calendar of Periodic 

Natural History.' It is prefaced Phenomena in Natural History," 

by an Introduction on " Habits of with " Remarks on the importance 

observing as connected with the of such Registers." 
study of Natural History," and fol- 

32 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1845. 

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 you 
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 young 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 miist annually or 
occasionally be falling on every species, yet the means and 
period of such destruction is 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 con- 
clusion, but I have at least honestly and deliberately come to 
it. I shall not publish on this subject for several years. At 
present I am on the Geology of South America. I hope to 
pick up from your book some facts on slight variations in 
structure or instincts in the animals of your acquaintance. 

Believe me, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 


C. D arzvii 1 to L. Jenyns* 

Down, [1845?]. 
My DEAR JENYNS, I am very much obliged to you for 
the trouble you have taken in having written me so long 
a note. The question of where, when, and how the check 
to the increase of a given species falls appears to me par 
ticularly interesting, and our difficulty in answering it shows 
how really ignorant we are of the lives and habits of our most 
familiar species. I was aware of the bare fact of old birds 
driving away their young, but had never thought of the effect 
you so clearly point out, of local gaps in number being thus 
immediately filled up. But the original difficulty remains ; for 
if your farmers had not killed your sparrows and rooks, what 
would have become of those which now immigrate into your 
parish ? in the middle of England one is too far distant from 
the natural limits of the rook and sparrow to suppose that 
the young are thus far expelled from Cambridgeshire. The 
check must fall heavily at some time of each species' life ; 
for, if one calculates that only half the progeny are reared 
and bred, how enormous is the increase ! One has, however, 
no business to feel so much surprise at one's ignorance, when 
one knows how impossible it is without statistics to con- 
jecture the duration of life and percentage of deaths to births 
in mankind. If it could be shown that apparently the birds 
of passage which breed here and increase, return in the suc- 
ceeding years in about the same number, whereas those that 
come here for their winter and non-breeding season annually, 
come here with the same numbers, but return with greatly 
decreased numbers, one would know (as indeed seems 
probable) that the check fell chiefly on full-grown birds 
in the winter season, and not on the eggs and very young 
birds, which has appeared to me often the most probable 
period. If at any time any remarks on this subject should 

_* Rev. L. Blomefield. 

34 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1845 ? 

occur to you, I should be most grateful for the benefit of 

With respect to my far distant work on species, I must 
have expressed myself with singular inaccuracy if I led you 
to 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 deter- 
mining 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 presumptuous 
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 I 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, and believe me, 

Yours very truly, 

C. Darwin, 

C. Darwin to L. Jenyns, 

Down, Oct. 17th, 1846. 

Dear Jenyns, I have taken a most ungrateful length 
of time in thanking you for your very kind present of 
your ' Observations.' But I happened to have had in hand 
several other books, and have finished yours only a few days 
ago. I found it very pleasant reading, and many of your 
facts interested me much. I think I was more interested, 
which is odd, with your notes on some of the lower animals 
than on the higher ones. The introduction struck me as very 
good ; but this is what I expected, for I well remember being 
quite delighted with a preliminary essay to the first number 
of the ' Annals of Natural History.' I missed one discussion, 
and think myself ill-used, for I remember your saying you 
would make some remarks on the weather and barometer, 
as a guide for the ignorant in prediction. I had also hoped 
to have perhaps met with some remarks on the amount of 
variation in our common species. Andrew Smith once 
declared he would get some hundreds of specimens of larks 
and sparrows from all parts of Great Britain, and see whether, 
with finest measurements, he could detect any proportional 
variations in beaks or limbs, &c. This point interests me 
from having lately been skimming over the absurdly opposite 
conclusions of Gloger and Brehm ; the one making half-a- 
dozen species out of every common bird, and the other 

D 2 

36 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [ 1 84.6. 

turning so many reputed species into one. Have you ever 
done anything of this kind, or have you ever studied Gloger's 
or Brehm's works ? I was interested in your account of the 
martins, for I had just before been utterly perplexed by 
noticing just such a proceeding as you describe : I counted 
seven, one day lately, visiting a single nest and sticking dirt 
on the adjoining wall. I may mention that I once saw some 
squirrels eagerly splitting those little semi-transparent 
spherical galls on the back of oak-leaves for the maggot 
within ; so that they are insectivorous. A Cychrus rostratus 
once squirted into my eyes and gave me extreme pain ; and 
I must tell you what happened to me on the banks of the 
Cam, in my early entomological days : under a piece of 
bark I found two Carabi (I forget which), and caught one in 
each hand, when lo and behold I saw a sacred Panagcens crux 
major I I could not bear to give up either of my Carabi, and 
to lose Panag&us was out of the question ; so that in despair 
I gently seized one of the Carabi between my teeth, when to 
my unspeakable disgust and pain the little inconsiderate 
beast squirted his acid down my throat, and I lost both Carabi 
and Panagceus ! I was quite astonished to hear of a terres- 
trial Planaria ; for about a year or two ago I described in the 
' Annals of Natural History' several beautifully coloured 
terrestrial species of the Southern Hemisphere, and thought it 
quite a new fact. By the way, you speak of a sheep with a 
broken leg not having flukes : I have heard my father aver 
that a fever, or any serioiis accident, as a broken limb, will 
cause in a man all the intestinal worms to be evacuated. 
Might not this possibly have been the case with the flukes in 
their early state ? 

I hope you were none the worse for Southampton ; * I wish 

I had seen you looking rather fatter. I enjoyed my week 

extremely, and it did me good. I missed you the last few 

days, and we never managed to see much of each other ; but 

* The meeting of the British Association. 

1 849.] VARIABILITY. 37 

there were so many people there, that I for one hardly saw 
anything of any one. Once again I thank you very cordially 
for your kind present, and the pleasure it has given me, and 
believe me, 

Ever most truly yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I have quite forgotten to say how greatly interested I 
was with your discussion on the statistics of animals : when 
will Natural History be so perfect that such points as you 
discuss will be perfectly known about any one animal ? 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Malvern, June 13 [1849]. 

... At last I am going to press with a small poor 
first-fruit of my confounded Cirripedia, viz. the fossil ped- 
unculate cirripedia. You ask what effect studying species 
has had on my variation theories ; I do not think much I 
have felt some difficulties more. On the other hand, I have 
been struck (and probably unfairly from the class) with the 
variability of every part in some slight degree of every 
species. When the same organ is rigorously compared in 
many individuals, I always find some slight variability, and 
consequently that the diagnosis of species from minute 
differences is always dangerous. I had thought the same 
parts of the same species more resemble (than they do 
anyhow in Cirripedia) objects cast in the same mould. 
Systematic work would be easy were it not for this con- 
founded variation, which, however, is pleasant to me as 
a speculatist, though odious to me as a systematist. Your 
remarks on the distinctness (so unpleasant to me) of the 
Himalayan Rubi, willows, &c, compared with those of 
northern [Europe ?], &c, are very interesting ; if my rude 
species-sketch had any small share in leading you to these 




observations, it has already done good and ample service, and 
may lay its bones in the earth in peace. I never heard any- 
thing so strange as Falconer's neglect of your letters ; I am 
extremely glad you are cordial with him again, though it 
must have cost you an effort. Falconer is a man one must 
love. . . . May you prosper in every way, my dear Hooker. 

Your affectionate friend, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Danvin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Wednesday, [September, n. d.] 
. . . Many thanks for your letter received yesterday, which, 
as always, set me thinking : I laughed at your attack at my 
stinginess in changes of level towards Forbes,* being so 
liberal towards myself; but I must maintain, that I have 
never let down or upheaved our mother-earth's surface, for 
the sake of explaining any one phenomenon, and I trust I 
have very seldom done so without some distinct evidence. 
So I must still think it a bold step (perhaps a very true one) 
to sink into the depths of ocean, within the period of existing 
species, so large a tract of surface. But there is no amount 
or extent of change of level, which I am not fully prepared 
to admit, but I must say I should like better evidence, than 
the identity of a few plants, which possibly (I do not say 
probably) might have been otherwise transported. Particular 

* Edward Forbes, born in the 
Isle of Man 1815, died 1854. His 
best known work was his Report 
on the distribution of marine 
animals at different depths in the 
Mediterranean. An important 
memoir of his is referred to in my 
father's 'Autobiography,' p. 88. He 
held successively the posts of Cura- 
tor to the Geological Society's 
Museum, and Professor of Natural 
History in the Museum of Practical 

Geology ; shortly before he died he 
was appointed Professor of Natural 
History in the University of Edin- 
burgh. He seems to have im- 
pressed his contemporaries as a 
man of strikingly versatile and 
vigorous mind. The above allu- 
sion to changes of level refers to 
Forbes's tendency to explain the 
facts of geographical distribution 
by means of an active geological 



thanks for your attempt to get me a copy of ' L'Espece,' * and 
almost equal thanks for your criticisms on him : I rather 
misdoubted him, and felt not much inclined to take as gospel 
his facts. I find this one of my greatest difficulties with 
foreign authors, viz. judging of their credibility. How pain- 
fully (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, 
not hitherto collected. My only comfort is (as I mean to 
attempt the subject), that I have dabbled in several branches 
of Natural 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 the only 
exception, that I can think of, of an accurate describer of 
species, at least in the Invertebrate Kingdom, who has dis- 
believed 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 perhaps say) has Mr. D. . . . 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, September 25th [1853]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I have read your paper with great 
interest ; it seems all very clear, and will form an admirable 
introduction to the New Zealand Flora, or to any Flora in the 
world. How few generalizers there are among systematists ; 

* Probably Godron's essay, pub- in 1848-49, and afterwards as a 
lished by the Academy of Nancy separate book in 1859. 

40 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1853. 

I really suspect there is something absolutely opposed to each 
other and hostile in the two frames of mind required for 
systematising and reasoning on large collections of facts. 
Many of your arguments appear to me very well put, and, 
as far as my experience goes, the candid way in which you 
discuss the subject is unique. The whole will be very useful 
to me whenever I undertake my volume, though parts take 
the wind very completely out of my sails ; it will be ail nuts 
to me . . . for I have for some time determined to give the 
arguments on both sides (as far as I could), instead of arguing 
on the mutability side alone. 

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 disbelieving in the mere permanence of species has made 

much difference one way or the other ; in some few cases 

(if publishing 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, and 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. 

I am heartily glad to hear your Journal f is so much 
advanced ; how magnificently it seems to be illustrated ! 

* In ' Bleak House.' f Sir J. D. Hooker's ' Himalayan Journal.' 

1 853.] NEW ZEALAND FLORA. 4 1 

An ' Oriental Naturalist', with lots of imagination and not 
too much regard to facts, is just the man to discuss species! 
I think your title of c A Journal of a Naturalist in the East ' 
very good; but whether "in the Himalaya" would not be 
better, I have doubted, for the East sounds rather vague. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 


My DEAR HOOKER, I have no remarks at all worth 
sending you, nor, indeed, was it likely that I should, con- 
sidering how perfect and elaborated an essay it is.* As far 
as my judgment goes, it is the most important discussion 
on the points in question ever published. I can say no more. 
I agree with almost everything you say ; but I require much 
time to digest an essay of such quality. It almost made me 
gloomy, partly from feeling I could not answer some points 
which theoretically I should have liked to have been different, 
and partly from seeing so far better done than I could have 
done, discussions on some points which I had intended to 
have taken up. . . . 

I much enjoyed the slaps you have given to the provincial 
species-mongers. I wish I could have been of the slightest 
use : I have been deeply interested by the whole essay, and 
congratulate you on having produced a memoir which I 
believe will be memorable. I was deep in it when your 
most considerate note arrived, begging me not to hurry. I 
thank Mrs. Hooker and yourself most sincerely for your wish 
to see me. I will not let another summer pass without 
seeing you at Kew, for indeed I should enjoy it much. . . . 

You do me really more honour than I have any claim to, 
putting me in after Lyell on ups and downs. In a year 
or two's time, when I shall be at my species book (if I do 

* i 

New Zealand Flora,' 1853. 




not break down), I shall gnash my teeth and abuse you for 
having put so many hostile facts so confoundedly well. 

Ever yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

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 somewhat 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 Royal 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 acquaintances, and that I would endeavour to 
go oftener to London ; I was not then thinking of the Club, 
which, as far as any 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 

* 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 the 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 culti- 
vating the various branches of 
Natural Science, and who have 
contributed to its progress ; to in- 
crease 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. 

1 8 54-] HUMBOLDT AGASSIZ. 43 

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. Very many thanks for answers 
about Glaciers. I am very glad to hear of the second Edit.* 
so very soon ; but am not surprised, for I have heard of 
several, in our small circle, reading it with very much pleasure. 
I shall be curious to hear what Humboldt will say : it will, I 
should think, delight him, and meet with more praise from 
him than any other book of Travels, for I cannot remember 
one, which has so many subjects in common with him. What 
a wonderful old fellow he is. ... . By the way, I hope, 
when you go to Hitcham,| towards the end of May, you will 
be forced to have some rest. I am grieved to hear that all 
the bad symptoms have not left Henslow ; it is so strange 
and new to feel any uneasiness about his health. 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. . . . 
It is delightful to hear all that he says on Agassiz : how very 
singular it is that so eminently clever a man, with such 
immense knowledge on many branches of Natural History, 
should write as he does. Lyell told me that he was so 
delighted with one of his (Agassiz') lectures on progressive 
development, &c. &c, that he went to him afterwards and 
told him, " that it was so delightful, that he could not help 
all the time wishing it was true." I seldom see a Zoological 
paper from North America, without observing the impress of 
Agassiz' doctrines, another proof, by the way, of how great 
a man he is. 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. 

* Of the Himalayan Journal. f Henslow's living. 

44 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1854. 

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, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Nov. 5th [1854]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I was delighted to get your note 
yesterday. I congratulate you very heartily,* and whether 
you care much or little, I rejoice to see the highest scientific 
judgment-court in Great Britain recognise your claims. I do 
hope Mrs. Hooker is pleased, and E. desires me particularly 
to send her cordial congratulations. ... I pity you from the 
very bottom of my heart about your after-dinner speech, 
which I fear I shall not hear. Without you have a very 
much greater soul than I have (and I believe that you have), 
you will find the medal a pleasant little stimulus ; when work 
goes badly, and one ruminates that all is vanity, it is pleasant 
to have some tangible proof, that others have thought some- 
thing of one's labours. 

Good-bye, my dear Hooker, I can assure [you] that we 
both most truly enjoyed your and Mrs. Hooker's visit here. 

My dear Hooker, your sincere friend, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

March 7 [1855]. 
... I have just finished working well at Wollaston's f 
* Insecta Maderensia ' : it is an admirable work. There is a 

* On the award to him of the 1878. His health forcing him 

Royal Society's Medal. in early manhood to winter in 

t Thomas Vernon Wollaston, the south, he devoted himself to 

born March 9, 1821 ; died Jan. 4, a study of the Coleoptera of 




very curious point in the astounding proportion of Coleoptera 
that are apterous ; and I think I have guessed the reason, 
viz. that powers of flight would be injurious to insects inhab- 
iting a confined locality, and expose them to be blown to the 
sea : to test this, I find that the insects inhabiting the Dezerte 
Grande, a quite small islet, would be still more exposed to 
this danger, and here the proportion of apterous insects is 
even considerably greater than on Madeira proper. Wollaston 
speaks of Madeira and the other Archipelagoes as being 
"sure and certain witnesses of Forbes' old continent," and of 
course the Entomological world implicitly follows this view. 
But to my eyes it would be difficult to imagine facts more 
opposed to such a view. It is really disgusting and humil- 
iating to see directly opposite conclusions drawn from the 
same facts. 

I have had some correspondence with Wollaston on this 
and other subjects, and I find that he coolly assumes, (i) that 
formerly insects possessed greater migratory powers than 
now, (2) that the old land was specially rich in centres of 
creation, (3) that the uniting land was destroyed before the 
special creations had time to diffuse, and (4) that the land 
was broken down before certain families and genera had 
time to reach from Europe or Africa the points of land in 
question. Are not these a jolly lot of assumptions ? and yet 
I shall see for the next dozen or score of years Wollaston 

Madeira, the Cape de Verdes, 
and St. Helena, whence he deduced 
evidence in support of the belief 
in the submerged continent of 
'Atlantis.' In an obituary notice 
by Mr. Rye ('Nature,' 1878) he 
is described as working persis- 
tently " upon a broad conception of 
the science to which he was de- 
voted," while being at the same 
time "accurate, elaborate, and 
precise ad fiunctum, and naturally 

of a minutely critical habit." His 
first scientific paper was written 
when he was an undergraduate at 
Jesus College, Cambridge. While 
at the University, he was an Asso- 
ciate and afterwards a Member of 
the Ray Club : this is a small 
society which still meets once a 
week, and where the undergraduate 
members, or Associates, receive 
much kindly encouragement from 
their elders. 

46 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

quoted as proving the former existence of poor Forbes' 

I hope I have not wearied you, but I thought you would 
like to hear about this book, which strikes me as excellent in 
its facts, and the author a most nice and modest man. 

Most truly yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to W. D. Fox. 

Down, March 19th [1855]. 
My dear Fox, How long it is since we have had any 
communication, and I really want to hear how the world 
goes with you ; but my immediate object is to ask you to 
observe a point for me, and as I know now you are a very 
busy man with too much to do, I shall have a good chance 
of your doing what I want, as it would be hopeless to ask a 
quite idle man. As you have a Noah's Ark, I do not doubt 
that you have pigeons. (How I wish by any chance they were 
fantails !) Now what I want to know is, at what age nestling 
pigeons have their tail feathers sufficiently developed to be 
counted. I do not think I ever saw a young pigeon. I am 
hard at work at my notes collecting and comparing them, in 
order in some two or three years to write a book with all the 
facts and arguments, which I can collect, for and versus the 
immutability of species. I want to get the young of our 
domestic breeds, to see how young, and to what degree the 
differences appear. I must either breed myself (which is no 
amusement but a horrid bore to me) the pigeons or buy their 
young ; and before I go to a seller, whom I have heard of 
from Yarrell, I am really anxious to know something about 
their development, not to expose my excessive ignorance, 
and therefore be excessively liable to be cheated and gulled. 
With respect to the one point of the tail feathers, it is of 
course in relation to the wonderful development of tail feathers 
in the adult fantail. If you had any breed of poultry pure, I 


would beg a chicken with exact age stated, about a week or fort- 
night old ! to be sent in a box by post, if you could have the heart 
to kill one ; and secondly, would let me pay postage . . . Indeed, 
I should be very glad to have a nestling common pigeon sent, 
for I mean to make skeletons, and have already just begun 
comparing wild and tame ducks. And I think the results 
rather curious,* for on weighing the several bones very care- 
fully, when perfectly cleaned the proportional weights of the 
two have greatly varied, the foot of the tame having largely 
increased. How I wish I could get a little wild duck of a 
week old, but that I know is almost impossible. 

With respect to ourselves, I have not much to say ; we 
have now a terribly noisy house with the whooping cough, 
but otherwise are all well. Far the greatest fact about myself 
is that I have at last quite done with the everlasting barnacles. 
At the end of the year we had two of our little boys very ill 
with fever and bronchitis, and all sorts of ailments. Partly 
for amusement, and partly for change of air, we went to 
London and took a house for a month, but it turned out 
a great failure, for that dreadful frost just set in when we 
went, and all our children got unwell, and E. and I had 
coughs and colds and rheumatism nearly all the time. We 
had put down first on our list of things to do, to go and 
see Mrs. Fox, but literally after waiting some time to see 
whether the weather would not improve, we had not a day 
when we both could go out. 

I do hope before very long you will be able to manage 
to pay us a visit. Time is slipping away, and we are 
getting oldish. Do tell us about yourself and all your large 

I know you will help me if you can with information 

* " I have just been testing prac- find the tame-duck wing ought, ac- 

tically what disuse does in reducing cording to scale of wild prototype, 

parts ; I have made skeleton of to have its two wings 360 grains in 

wild and tame duck (oh, the smell weight, but it has it only 317." 

of well-boiled, high duck ! !) and I A letter to Sir J. D. Hooker, 1855. 

48 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

about the young pigeons ; and anyhow do write before very 

My dear Fox, your sincere old friend, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. Amongst all sorts of odds and ends, with which I am 
amusing myself, I am comparing the seeds of the variations 
of plants. I had formerly some wild cabbage seeds, which I 
gave to some one, was it to you ? It is a thousand to one it 
was thrown away, if not I should be very glad of a pinch of it. 

[The following extract from a letter to Mr. Fox (March 27th, 
1855) refers to the same subject as the last letter, and gives 
some account of the " species work :" " The way I shall kill 
young things will be to put them under a tumbler glass with a 
teaspoon of ether or chloroform, the glass being pressed down 
on some yielding surface, and leave them for an hour or two, 
young have such power of revivification. (I have thus killed 
moths and butterflies.) The best way would be to send them 
as you procure them, in pasteboard chip-boxes by post, on 
which you could write and just tie up with string ; and you will 
really make me happier by allowing me to keep an account 
of postage, &c. Upon my word I can hardly believe that 
any one could be so good-natured as to take such trouble 
and do such a very disagreeable thing as kill babies ; and I 
am very sure I do not know one soul who, except yourself, 
would do so. I am going to ask one thing more ; should 
old hens of any above poultry (not duck) die or become so 
old as to be 7iseless, I wish you would send her to me per 
rail, addressed to ' C. Darwin, care of Mr. Acton, Post-office, 
Bromley, Kent.' Will you keep this address ? as shortest 
way for parcels. But I do not care so much for this, as I 
could buy the old birds dead at Baily's to make skeletons. 
I should have written at once even if I had not heard from 
you, to beg you not to take trouble about pigeons, for Yarrell 
has persuaded me to attempt it, and I am now fitting up a 


place, and have written to Baily about prices, &c. &c. Some- 
time (when you are better) I should like very much to hear 
a little about your " Little Call Duck " ; why so called ? And 
where you got it ? and what it is like ? . . . I was so ignorant 
I did not even know there were three varieties of Dorking 
fowl : how do they differ ? . . . 

I forget whether I ever told you what the object of my 
present work is, it is to view all facts that I can master 
(eheu, eheu, how ignorant I find I am) in Natural History 
(as on geographical distribution, palaeontology, classification, 
hybridism, domestic animals and plants, &c. &c. &c.) to see 
how far they favour or are opposed to the notion that wild 
species are mutable or immutable : I mean with my utmost 
power to give all arguments and facts on both sides. I have 
a number of people helping me in every way, and giving me 
most valuable assistance ; but I often doubt whether the 
subject will not quite overpower me. 

So much for the quasi-business part of my letter. I am 
very very sorry to hear so indifferent an account of your 
health : with your large family your life is very precious, and 
I am sure with all your activity and goodness it ought to 
be a happy one, or as happy as can reasonably be expected 
with all the cares of futurity on one. 

One cannot expect the present to be like the old Crux- 
major days at the foot of those noble willow stumps, the 
memory of which I revere. I now find my little entomology, 
which I wholly owe to you, comes in very useful. I am very 
glad to hear that you have given yourself a rest from Sunday 
duties. How much illness you have had in your life ! 
Farewell, my dear Fox. I assure you I thank you heartily 
for your proffered assistance."] 

C. Darwin to W. D. Fox. 

Down, May 7th [1855]. 
My DEAR Fox, My correspondence has cost you a deal of 
trouble, though this note will not. I found yours on my return 

50 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

home 'on Saturday after a week's work in London. Whilst 
there I saw Yarrell, who told me he had carefully examined 
all points in the Call Duck, and did not feel any doubt 
about it being specifically identical, and that it had crossed 
freely with common varieties in St. James's Park. I should 
therefore be very glad for a seven-days' duckling and for one 
of the old birds, should one ever die a natural death. Yarrell 
told me that Sabine had collected forty varieties of the 
common duck ! . . . Well, to return to business ; nobody, I am 
sure, could fix better for me than you the characteristic age of 
little chickens ; with respect to skeletons, I have feared it 
would be impossible to make them, but I suppose I shall be 
able to measure limbs, &c, by feeling the joints. What you 
say about old cocks just confirms what I thought, and I will 
make my skeletons of old cocks. Should an old wild turkey 
ever die, please remember me ; I do not care for a baby tur- 
key, nor for a mastiff. Very many thanks for your offer. I 
have puppies of bull-dogs and greyhound in salt, and I have 
had cart-horse and race-horse young colts carefully mea- 
sured. Whether I shall do any good I doubt. I am getting 
out of my depth. Most truly yours, 

C. Darwin. 

[An extract from a letter to Mr. Fox may find a place 
here, though of a later date, viz. July, 1855 : 

" Many thanks for the seven days old white Dorking, and 
for the other promised ones. I am getting quite ' a chamber 
of horrors ; ' I appreciate your kindness even more than 
before, for I have done the black deed and murdered an 
angelic little fantail, and a pouter at ten days old. I tried 
chloroform and ether for the first, and though evidently a 
perfectly easy death, it was prolonged ; and for the second I 
tried putting lumps of cyanide of potassium in a very large 
damp bottle, half an hour before putting in the pigeon, 

1855.] PIGEON FANCYING. 5 1 

and the prussic acid gas thus generated was very quickly 

A letter to Mr. Fox (May 23rd, 1855) gives the first 
mention of my father's laborious piece of work on the 
breeding of pigeons : 

" I write now to say that I have been looking at some of 
our mongrel chickens, and I should say one week old would 
do very well. The chief points which I am, and have been 
for years, very curious about, is to ascertain whether the 
yotuig of our domestic breeds differ as much from each other 
as do their parents, and I have no faith in anything short 
of actual measurement and the Rule of Three. I hope and 
believe I am not giving so much trouble without a motive of 
sufficient worth. I have got my fantails and pouters (choice 
birds, I hope, as I paid 20s. for each pair from Baily) in a 
grand cage and pigeon-house, and they are a decided amuse- 
ment to me, and delight to H." 

In the course of my father's pigeon-fancying enterprise he 
necessarily became acquainted with breeders, and was fond of 
relating his experiences as a member of the Columbarian 
and Philoperistera Clubs, where he met the purest enthusiasts 
of the " fancy," and learnt much of the mysteries of their art. 
In writing to Mr. Huxley some years afterwards, he quotes 
from a book on Pigeons by Mr. J. Eaton, in illustration of 
the " extreme attention and close observation " necessary to 
be a good fancier. 

" In his [Mr. Eaton's] treatise, devoted to the Almond 
Tumbler alone, which is a sub-variety of the short-faced 
variety, which is a variety of the Tumbler, as that is of the 
Rock-pigeon, Mr. Eaton says : ' There are some of the 
young fanciers who are over-covetous, who go for all the 
five properties at once {i.e. the five characteristic points 
which are mainly attended to, C. D.), they have their reward 

E 2 

52 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

by getting nothing.' In short, it is almost beyond the human 
intellect to attend to all the excellencies of the Almond 
Tumbler ! 

" To be a good breeder, and to succeed in improving any 
breed, beyond everything enthusiasm is required. Mr. Eaton 
has gained lots of prizes, listen to him. 

" ' If it was possible for noblemen and gentlemen to know 
the amazing amount of solace and pleasure derived from the 
Almond Tumbler, when they begin to understand their {i.e. 
the tumbler's) properties, I should think that scarce any 
nobleman or gentleman would be without their aviaries of 
Almond Tumblers.' " 

My father was fond of quoting this passage, and always 
with a tone of fellow-feeling for the author, though, no doubt, 
he had forgotten his own wonderings as a child that " every 
gentleman did not become an ornithologist." ('Autobio- 
graphy,' p. 35.) 

To Mr. W. B. Tegetmeier, the well-known writer on poultry, 
&c, he was indebted for constant advice and co-operation. 
Their correspondence began in 1855, and lasted to 1881, 
when my father wrote : " I can assure you that I often look 
back with pleasure to the old days when I attended to 
pigeons, fowls, &c, and when you gave me such valuable 
assistance. I not rarely regret that I have had so little 
strength that I have not been able to keep up old acquaint- 
ances and friendships." My father's letters to Mr. Teget- 
meier consist almost entirely of series of questions relating 
to the different breeds of fowls, pigeons, &c., and are not, 
therefore, interesting. In reading through the pile of letters, 
one is much struck by the diligence of the writer's search for 
facts, and it is made clear that Mr. Tegetmeier's knowledge 
and judgment were completely trusted and highly valued by 
him. Numerous phrases, such as " your note is a mine of 
wealth to me," occur, expressing his sense of the value of 
Mr. Tegetmeier's help, as well as words expressing his warm 


appreciation of Mr. Tegetmeier's unstinting zeal and kindness, 
or his " pure and disinterested love of science." On the 
subject of hive-bees and their combs, Mr. Tegetmeier's help 
was also valued by my father, who wrote, "your paper on 
1 Bees-cells,' read before the British Association, was highly 
useful and suggestive to me." 

To work out the problems on the Geographical Distri- 
butions of animals and plants on evolutionary principles, he 
had to study 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 allude.] 

C. Darwin to W. D. Fox. 

Down, May 17th [1855]. 
My DEAR Fox, You will hate the very sight of my hand- 
writing ; but after this time I promise I will ask for nothing 
more, at least for a long time. As you live on sandy soil, 
have you lizards at all common ? If you have, should you 
think it too ridiculous to offer a reward for me for lizard's 
eggs to the boys in your school ; a shilling for every half- 
dozen, or more if rare, till you got two or three dozen and 
send them to me? If snake's eggs were brought in mistake 
it would be very well, for I want such also ; and we have 
neither lizards nor snakes about here. My object is to see 
whether such eggs will float on sea water, and whether they 
will keep alive thus floating for a month or two in my cellar. 
I am trying experiments on transportation of all organic 
beings that I can ; and lizards are found on every island, and 
therefore I am very anxious to see whether their eggs stand 
sea water. Of course this note need not be answered, without, 
by a strange and favourable chance, you can some day answer 
it with the eggs. Your most troublesome friend, 

C. Darwin. 

54 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

April 13th [1855]. 
... I have had one experiment some little time in 
progress which 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 aggravating 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 tempera- 
ture, cress, radish, cabbages, lettuces, carrots, and celery, and 
onion seed four great families. 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 irregularly, and a good 
many, I think, dead. One would have thought, from their 
native habitat, that the cabbage would have stood well. The 
Umbelliferae and onions seem to stand the salt well. I wash 
the seed before planting them. I have written to the 
Gardeners' Chronicle* though I doubt whether it was worth 

* A few words asking for infor- (p. 789) he sent a P.S. to his former 

mation. The results were published paper, correcting a misprint and 

in the ' Gardeners' Chronicle,' May adding a few words on the seeds of 

26, Nov. 24, 1855. In the same year the Leguminosae. A fuller paper 


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. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

[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!" 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 
so 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 ! 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, [1855.] 

My dear Hooker, You have been a very good man to 
exhale some of your satisfaction in writing two notes to me ; 

on the germination of seeds after treatment in salt water, appeared in the 
* Linnean Soc. Journal,' 1857, p. 130. 

56 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [ I S 5 5. 

you could not have taken a better line, in my opinion ; but as 
for showing your satisfaction in confounding my experiments > 
I assure you I am quite enough confounded those horrid 
seeds, which, as you truly observe, if they sink they won't 

I have written to Scoresby and have had a rather dry 
answer, but very much to the purpose, and giving me no 
hopes of any law unknown to me which might arrest their 
everlasting descent into the deepest depths of the ocean. By 
the way it was very odd, but I talked to Col. Sabine for half 
an hour on the subject, and could not make him see with 
respect to transportal the difficulty of the sinking question ! 
The bore is, if the confounded seeds will sink, I have been 
taking all this trouble in salting the ungrateful rascals for 

Everything has been going wrong with me lately ; the fish 
at the Zoolog. Soc. ate up lots of soaked seeds, and in 
imagination 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 equal to my own, all the seeds from their 

But I am not going to give up the floating yet : in first 
place I must try fresh seeds, though of course it seems far 
more probable that they will sink ; and secondly, as a last 
resource, I must believe in the pod or even whole plant or 
branch being washed into the sea ; with floods and slips and 

* In describing these troubles to " I find fish will greedily eat seeds 
Mr. Fox, my father wrote : " All of aquatic grasses, and that millet- 
nature is perverse and will not do seed put into fish and given to a 
as I wish it ; and just at present I stork, and then voided, will germi- 
wish I had my old barnacles to nate. So this is the nursery rhyme- 1 
work at, and nothing new." The of ' this is the stick that beats the 
experiment ultimately succeeded, pig,' &c. &c." 
and he wrote to Sir J. Hooker : 

1855.] SEEDS FLOATING. 57 

earthquakes ; this must continually be happening, and if kept 
wet, I fancy the pods, &c. &c, would not open and shed their 
seeds. Do try your Mimosa seed at Kew. 

I had intended to have asked you whether the Mimosa 
scandens and Giiilandina bondnc grows at Kew, to try fresh 
seeds. R. Brown tells me he believes four W. Indian seeds 
have been washed on shores of Europe. I was assured at 
Keeling Island that seeds were not rarely washed on shore : 
so float they must and shall ! What a long yarn I have been 

If you have several of the Loffoden seeds, do soak some in 
tepid water, and get planted with the utmost care : this is an 
experiment after my own heart, with chances 1000 to 1 against 
its success. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, May nth [1855]. 

My dear Hooker, I have just received your note. I 
am most sincerely and heartily glad at the news * it contains, 
and so is my wife. Though the income is but a poor one, 
yet the certainty, I hope, is satisfactory to yourself and Mrs. 
Hooker. As it must lead in future years to the Directorship, 
I do hope you look at it as a piece of good fortune. For my 
own taste I cannot fancy a pleasanter position, than the Head 
of such a noble and splendid place ; far better, I should think, 
than a Professorship in a great town. The more I think of 
it, the gladder I am. But I will say no more ; except that I 
hope Mrs. Hooker is pretty well pleased. . * . 

As the Gardeners' Chronicle put in my question, and 
took notice of it, I think I am bound to send, which I had 
thought of doing next week, my first report to Lindley to 
give him the option of inserting it ; but I think it likely that 
he may not think it fit for a Gardening periodical. When 

* The appointment of Sir J. D. Hooker as Assistant Director of the 
Royal Gardens at Kew. 

58 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

my experiments are ended (should the results appear worthy) 
and should the ' Linnean Journal ' not object to the previous 
publication of imperfect and provisional reports, I should be 
delighted to insert the final report there ; for it has cost me so 
much trouble, that I should think that probably the result 
was worthy of more permanent record than a newspaper ; 
but I think I am bound to send it first to Lindley. 

I begin to think the floating question more serious than the 
germinating one ; and am making all the enquiries which I 
can on the subject, and hope to get some little light on it . . . 

I hope you managed a good meeting at the Club. The 
Treasurership must be a plague to you, and I hope you will 
not be Treasurer for long : I know I would much sooner give 
up the Club than be its Treasurer. 

Farewell, Mr. Assistant Director and dear friend, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Danvin to J. D. Hooker. 

June 5th, 1855. 

.... Miss Thorley * and I are doing a little Botanical 
work ! for our amusement, and it does amuse me very much, 
viz. making a collection of all the plants, which grow in a field, 
which has been allowed to run waste for fifteen years, but 
which before was cultivated from time immemorial ; and we 
are also collecting all the plants in an adjoining and similar 
but cultivated field ; just for the fun of seeing what plants 
have arrived or died out. Hereafter we shall want a bit of 
help in naming puzzlers. How dreadfully difficult it is to 
name plants. 

What a remarkably nice and kind letter Dr. A. Gray has 
sent me in answer to my troublesome queries ; I retained 
your copy of his ' Manual ' till I heard from him, and when I 
have answered his letter, I will return it to you. 

I thank you much for Hedysarum : I do hope it is not very 

* A lady who was for many years a governess in the family. 


precious, for as I told you it is for probably a most foolish 
purpose. I read somewhere that no plant closes its leaves 
so promptly in darkness, and I want to cover it up daily for 
half an hour, and see if I can teach it to close by itself, or 

more easily than at first in darkness I cannot make 

out why you would prefer a continental transmission, as I 
think you do, to carriage by sea. I should have thought you 
would have been pleased at as many means of transmission 
as possible. For my own pet theoretic notions, it is quite 
indifferent whether they are transmitted by sea or land, as 
long as some tolerably probable way is shown. But it shocks 
my philosophy to create land, without some other and inde- 
pendent evidence. Whenever we meet, by a very few words 
I should, I think, more clearly understand your views. . . . 

I have just made out my first grass, hurrah ! hurrah ! I 
must confess that fortune favours the bold, for, as good luck 
would have it, it was the easy A nthoxanthum odoratum : 
nevertheless it is a great discovery ; I never expected to 
make out a grass in all my life, so hurrah ! It has done my 
stomach surprising good. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, [June?] 15th, [1855]. 

My dear Hooker, I just write one line to say that the 
Hedysarum is come quite safely, and thank you for it. 

You cannot imagine what amusement you have given me 
by naming those three grasses : I have just got paper to dry 
and collect all grasses. If ever you catch quite a beginner, 
and want to give him a taste for Botany, tell him to make 
a perfect list of some little field or wood. Both Miss Thorley 
and I agree that it gives a really uncommon interest to the 
work, having a nice little definite world to work on, instead of 
the awful abyss and immensity of all British Plants. 

Adios. I was really consummately impudent to express 




my opinion " on the retrograde step," * and I deserved a good 
snub, and upon reflection I am very glad you did not answer 
me in the Gardeners' Chronicle. 

I have been very much interested with the Florula. f 

[Writing on June 5th to Sir J. D. Hooker, my father 
mentions a letter from Dr. Asa Gray. The letter referred to 
was an answer to the following :] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray.% 

Down, April 25th [1855]. 

My DEAR Sir, I hope that you will remember that I had 
the pleasure of being introduced to you at Kew. I want to 
beg a great favour of you, for which I well know I can offer 
no apology. But the favour will not, I think, cause you much 
trouble, and will greatly oblige me. As I am no botanist, it 
will seem so absurd to you my asking botanical questions ; 
that I may premise that I have for several years been collect- 
ing facts on " variation," and when I find that any general 
remark seems to hold good amongst animals, I try to test 
it in Plants. [Here follows a request for information on 
American Alpine plants, and a suggestion as to publishing 
on the subject.] I can assure you that I perceive how pre- 
sumptuous it is in me, not a botanist, to make even the most 

* "To imagine such enormous 
geological changes within the period 
of the existence of now living beings, 
on no other ground but to account 
for their distribution, seems to me, 
in our present state of ignorance 
on the means of transportal, an 
almost retrograde step in science." 
Extract from the paper on ' Salt 
Water and Seeds ' in the Gardeners* 
Chronicle, May 26, 1855. . 

t Godron's l Florula Juvenalis,' 
which gives an interesting account of 

plants introduced in imported wooL 
% The well-known American 
Botanist. My father's friendship 
with Dr. Gray began with the cor- 
respondence of which the present is 
the first letter. An extract from a 
letter to Sir J. Hooker, 1857, shows 
that my father's strong personal 
regard for Dr. Gray had an early 
origin : " I have been glad to see 
A. Gray's letters ; there is always 
something in them that shows that 
he is a very lovable man." 


trifling suggestion to such a botanist as yourself; but from 
what I saw and have heard of you from our dear and kind 
friend Hooker, I hope and think that you will forgive me, and 
believe me, with much respect, 

Dear sir, yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, June 8th [1855]. 

My DEAR SIR, I thank you cordially for your remarkably 
kind letter of the 22nd ult., and for the extremely pleasant 
and obliging manner in which you have taken my rather 
troublesome questions. I can hardly tell you how much 
your list of Alpine plants has interested me, and I can now 
in some degree picture to myself the plants of your Alpine 
summits. The new edit, of your Manual is capital news for 
me. I know from your preface how pressed you are for 
room, but it would take no space to append (Eu) in brackets 
to any European plant, and, as far as I am concerned, this 
would answer every purpose.* From my own experience, 
whilst making out English plants in our manuals, it has often 
struck me how much interest it would give if some notion 
of their range had been given ; and so, I cannot doubt, your 
American inquirers and beginners would much like to know 
which of their plants were indigenous and which European. 
Would it not be well in the Alpine plants to append the very 
same addition which you have now sent me in MS. ? though 
here, owing to your kindness, I do not speak selfishly, but 
merely pro bono Americano publico. I presume it would be 
too troublesome to give in your manual the habitats of those 
plants found west of the Rocky Mountains, and likewise those 
found in Eastern Asia, taking the Yenesei' (?), which, if I 
remember right, according to Gmelin, is the main partition 

* This suggestion Dr. Gray adopted in subsequent editions. 

62 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

line of Siberia. Perhaps Siberia more concerns the northern 
Flora of North America. The ranges of the plants to the 
east and west, viz. whether most found are in Greenland and 
Western Europe, or in E. Asia, appears to me a very interest- 
ing point as tending to show whether the migration has been 
eastward or westward. Pray believe me that I am most 
entirely conscious that the only use of these remarks is to 
show a botanist what points a non-botanist is curious to 
learn ; for I think every one who studies profoundly a subject 
often becomes unaware [on] what points the ignorant require 
information. I am so very glad that you think of drawing up 
some notice on your geographical distribution, for the area 
of the Manual strikes me as in some points better adapted 
for comparison with Europe than that of the whole of North 
America. You ask me to state definitely some of the points 
on which I much wish for information ; but I really hardly 
can, for they are so vague ; and I rather wish to see what 
results will come out from comparisons, than have as yet 
defined objects. I presume that, like other botanists, you 
would give, for your area, the proportion (leaving out intro- 
duced plants) to the whole of the great leading families : this 
is one point I had intended (and, indeed, have done roughly) 
to tabulate from your book, but of course I could have done 
it only very imperfectly. I should also, of course, have ascer- 
tained the proportion, to the whole Flora, of the European 
plants (leaving out introduced) and of the separate great 
families, in order to speculate on means of transportal. By 
the way, I ventured to send a few days ago a copy of the 
Gardeners* Chronicle with a short report by me of some 
trifling experiments which I have been trying on the power 
of seeds to withstand sea water. I do not know whether 
it has struck you, but it has me, that it would be advisable 
for botanists to give in whole numbers, as well as in the 
lowest fraction, the proportional numbers of the families, thus 
I make out from your Manual that of the indigenous plants 


the proportion of the Umbelliferae are ,;f J8 =^- ; for, without 
one knows the whole numbers, one cannot judge how really 
close the numbers of the plants of the same family are in two 
distant countries ; but very likely you may think this super- 
fluous. Mentioning these proportional numbers, I may give 
you an instance of the sort of points, and how vague and 
futile they often are, which I attempt to work out . . . ; 
reflecting on R. Brown's and Hooker's remark, that near 
identity of proportional numbers of the great families in two 
countries, shows probably that they were once continuously 
united, I thought I would calculate the proportions of, for 
instance, the introduced Composite in Great Britain to all the 
introduced plants, and the result was = . In our abori- 
ginal or indigenous flora the proportion is ; and in many 
other cases I found an equally striking correspondence. I 
then took your Manual, and worked out the same question ; 
here I find in the Compositae an almost equally striking 
correspondence, viz. -^^ = \ in the introduced plants, and *f g % 
5= -J- m tne indigenous ; but when I came to the other 
families I found the proportion entirely different, showing 
that the coincidences in the British Flora were probably 
accidental ! 

You will, I presume, give the proportion of the species 
to the genera, i.e. show on an average how many species each 
genus contains ; though I have done this for myself. 

If it would not be too troublesome, do you not think it would 
be very interesting, and give a very good idea of your Flora, 
to divide the species into three groups, viz. (a) species com- 
mon to the old world, stating numbers common to Europe 
and Asia ; (b) indigenous species, but belonging to genera 
found in the Old World ; and (c) species belonging to genera 
confined to America or the New World ? To make (according 
to my ideas) perfection perfect, one ought to be told whether 
there are other cases, like Erica, of genera common in Europe 
or in Old World not found in your area. But honestly I feel 

64 GROWTH OF THE 'ORIGIN.' [1855. 

that it is quite ridiculous my writing to you at such length on 
the subject ; but, as you have asked me, I do it gratefully, and 
write to you as I should to Hooker, who often laughs at me 
unmercifully, and I am sure you have better reason to do so. 

There is one point on which I am most anxious for inform- 
ation, and I mention it with the greatest hesitation, and 
only in the full belief that you will believe me that I have 
not the folly and presumption to hope for a second that you 
will give it, without you can with very little trouble. The 
point can at present interest no one but myself, which makes 
the case wholly different from geographical distribution. The 
only way in which, I think, you possibly could do it with little 
trouble would be to bear in mind, whilst correcting your proof- 
sheets of the Manual, my question and put a cross or mark 
to the species, and whenever sending a parcel to Hooker to 
let me have such old sheets. But this would give you the 
trouble of remembering my question, and I can hardly hope 
or expect that you will do it. But I will just mention what I 
want ; it is to have marked the " close species " in a Flora, so 
as to compare in different Floras whether the same genera 
have "close species," and for other purposes too vague to 
enumerate. I have attempted, by Hooker's help, to ascertain 
in a similar way whether the different species of the same 
genera in distant quarters of the globe are variable or 
present varieties. The definition I should give of a " close 
species" was one that you thought specifically distinct, but 
which you could conceive some other good botanist might 
think only a race or variety ; or, again, a species that you 
had trouble, though having opportunities of knowing it well, 
in discriminating from some other species. Supposing that 
you were inclined to be so very kind as to do this, and could 
(which I do not expect) spare the time, as I have said, a 
mere cross to each such species in any useless proof-sheets 
would give me the information desired, which, I may add, 
I know must be vague. 




How can I apologise enough for all my presumption and 
the extreme length of this letter? The great good nature 
of your letter to me has been partly the cause, so that, as is 
too often the case in this world, you are punished for your 
good deeds. With hearty thanks, believe me, 

Yours very truly and gratefully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, 1 8th [July, 1855]. 

... I think I am getting a mild case about Charlock 
seed;* but just as about salting, ill luck to it, I cannot 
remember how many years you would allow that Charlock 
seed might live in the ground. Next time you write, show 
a bold face, and say in how many years, you think, Charlock 
seed would probably all be dead. A man told me the other 
day of, as I thought, a splendid instance, and splendid it 
was, for according to his evidence the seed came up alive out 
of the lower part of the London Clay ! ! ! I disgusted him by 
telling him that Palms ought to have come up. 

You ask how far I go in attributing organisms to a common 
descent : I answer I know not ; the way in which I intend 
treating the subject, is to show (as far as I can) the facts and 
arguments for and against the common descent of the species 
of the same genus ; and then show how far the same argu- 
ments tell for or against forms, more and more widely 
different : and when we come to forms of different orders and 

* In the Gardeners' Chronicle, 
185 5, p. 758, appeared a notice 
(half a column in length) by my 
father on the " Vitality of Seeds." 
The facts related refer to the " Sand- 
walk " ; the wood was planted in 
1846 on a piece of pasture land 
laid down as grass in 1840. In 
1855, on the soil being dug in 


several places, Charlock {Brassica 
sinapistrum) sprang up freely. The 
subject continued to interest him, 
and I find a note dated July 2nd, 
1874, in which my father recorded 
that forty-six plants of Charlock 
sprang up in that year over a space 
(14 x 7 feet) which had been dug 
to a considerable depth. 



classes, there remain only some such arguments as those which 
can perhaps be deduced from similar rudimentary structures, 
and very soon not an argument is left. 

[The following extract from a letter to Mr. Fox [Oct. 
1855* gives a brief mention of the last meeting of the British 
Association which he attended :] " I really have no news : 
the only thing we have done for a long time, was to go to 
Glasgow ; but the fatigue was to me more than it was worth, 
and E. caught a bad cold. On our return we stayed a 
single day at Shrewsbury, and enjoyed seeing the old place. 
I saw a little of Sir Philip f (whom I liked much), and he 
asked me 'why on earth I instigated you to rob his poultry- 
yard ?' The meeting was a good one, and the Duke of 
Argyll spoke excellently."] 

* In this year he published across a submarine undulatory sur- 

(' Phil. Mag.' x.) a paper " On the face." 

power of icebergs to make recti- f Sir P. Egerton was a neigh- 
linear uniformly-directed grooves bour of Mr. Fox. 

( 6/ ) 


MAY 1856 TO JUNE 1 858. 

[In the Autobiographical chapter (Vol. I. p. 84) 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 letters 
in the present chapter are chiefly concerned with the prepara- 
tion of this unfinished book. 

The work was begun on May 14th, and steadily continued 
up to June 1858, when it was interrupted by the arrival of 
Mr. Wallace's MS. During the two years which we are now 
considering, he wrote ten chapters (that is about one-haif) of 
the projected book. He remained for the most part at home, 
but paid several visits to Dr. Lane's Water- Cure Establish- 
ment at Moor Park, during one of which he made a pilgrimage 
to the shrine of Gilbert White at Selborne.] 


C. Darwin to C. Lyell 

May 3 [1856J. 
. . . With respect to your suggestion of a sketch of my 
views, I hardly know what to think, but will reflect on it, but 

F 2 


it goes against my prejudices. To give a fair sketch would be 
absolutely impossible, for every proposition requires such an 
array of facts. If I were to do anything, it could only refer 
to the main agency of change selection and perhaps point 
out a very few of the leading features, which countenance 
such a view, and some few of the main difficulties. But I do 
not know what to think ; I rather hate the idea of writing 
for priority, yet I certainly should be vexed if any one 
were to publish my doctrines before me. Anyhow, I thank 
you heartily for your sympathy. I shall be in London next 
week, and I will call on you on Thursday morning for one 
hour precisely, so as not to lose much of your time and my 
own ; but will you let me this time come as early as 9 o'clock, 
for I have much which I must do in the morning in my 
strongest time ? Farewell, my dear old patron. 


C. Darwin. 

By the way, three plants have come up out of the earth, 
perfectly enclosed in the roots of the trees. And twenty- 
nine plants in the table-spoonful of mud, out of the little 
pond ; Hooker was surprised at this, and struck with it, when 
I showed him how much mud I had scraped off one duck's feet. 

If I did publish a short sketch, where on earth should I 
publish it ? 

If I do not hear, I shall understand that I may come from 
9 to 10 on Thursday. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

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 

unphilosophical to give a resume, 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 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 be 

-really grateful for advice. I thought of giving up a couple of 

months and writing such a sketch, and trying to keep my 

judgment open whether or no to publish it when completed. 

It will be simply impossible for me 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 be 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, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

May nth [1856]. 
. . . Now for a more important I subject, viz. my own self: 
I am extremely glad you think well of a separate " Pre- 

* The interval of eighteen years, letter to 1855, not 1856, nevertheless 
from 1837 when he began to collect the latter seems the more probable 
facts, would bring the date of this date. 


liminary Essay" {i.e. if anything whatever is published; for 
Lyell seemed rather to doubt on this head)* ; but I cannot bear 
the idea of begging some Editor and Council to publish, and 
then perhaps to have to apologise humbly for having led them 
into a scrape. In this one respect I am in the state which, 
according to a very wise saying of my father's, is the only 
fit state for asking advice, viz. with my mind firmly made up, 
and then, as my father used to say, good advice was very 
comfortable, and it was easy to reject bad advice. But 
Heaven knows I am not in this state with respect to publish- 
ing at all any preliminary essay. It yet strikes me as quite 
unphilosophical to publish results without the full details 
which have led to such results. 

It is a melancholy, and I hope not quite true view of yours 
that facts will prove anything, and are therefore superfluous ! 
But I have rather exaggerated, I see, your doctrine. I do 
not fear being tied down to error, i.e. I feel pretty sure I 
should give up anything false published in the preliminary 
essay, in my larger work ; but I may thus, it is very true, do 
mischief by spreading error, which as I have often heard you 
say is much easier spread than corrected. I confess I lean 
more and more to at least making the attempt and drawing 
up a sketch and trying to keep my judgment, whether to 
publish, open. But I always return to my fixed idea that it 
is dreadfully unphilosophical to publish without full details. 
I certainly think my future work in full would profit by 
hearing what my friends or critics (if reviewed) thought of 
the outline. 

To any one but you I should apologise for such long discus- 
sion on so personal an affair ; but I believe, and indeed you 
have proved it by the trouble you have taken, that this would 

be superfluous. 

Yours truly obliged, 

Ch. Darwin. 

* The meaning of the sentence in parentheses is obscure. 


P.S. What you say (for I have just re-read your letter) 
that the Essay might supersede and take away all novelty 
and value from any future larger Book, is very true ; and 
that would grieve me beyond everything. On the other 
hand (again from Lyell's urgent advice), I published a pre- 
liminary sketch of the Coral Theory, and this did neither good 
nor harm. I begin most heartily to wish that Lyell had never 
put this idea of an Essay into my head. 

From a Letter to Sir C. Lyell [July, 1856]. 

" I am delighted that I may say (with absolute truth) that 
my essay is published at your suggestion, but I hope it will 
not need so much apology as I at first thought ; for I have 
resolved to make it nearly as complete as my present 
materials allow. I cannot put in all which you suggest, for 
it would appear too conceited." 

From a Letter to W. D. Fox. 

Down, June 14th [1856]. 
"... What you say about my Essay, I dare say is very true ; 
and it gave me another fit of the wibber-gibbers : I hope that 
I shall succeed in making it modest. One great motive is 
to get information on the many points on which I want it. 
But I tremble about it, which I should not do, if I allowed 
some three or four more years to elapse before publishing 
anything. . . ." 

[The following extracts from letters to Mr. Fox are worth 
giving, as showing how great was the accumulation of material 
which now had to be dealt with. 

June 14th [1856]. 
" Very many thanks for the capital information on cats ; I 
see I had blundered greatly, but I know I have somewhere 
your original notes ; but my notes are so numerous during 


nineteen years' collection, that it would take me at least a 
year to go over and classify them." 

Nov. 1856. "Sometimes I fear I shall break down, for my 
subject gets bigger and bigger with each month's work."] 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, 1 6th [June, 1856]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I am going to do the most impudent 
thing in the world. But my blood gets hot with passion and 
turns cold alternately at the geological strides, which many 
of your disciples are taking. 

Here, poor Forbes made a continent to [i.e. extending to] 
North America and another (or the same) to the Gulf weed ; 
Hooker makes one from New Zealand to South America and 
round the World to Kerguelen Land. Here is Wollaston 
speaking of Madeira and P. Santo " as the sure and certain 
witnesses of a former continent." Here is Woodward writes 
to me, if you grant a continent over 200 or 300 miles of ocean 
depths (as if that was nothing), why not extend a continent to 
every island in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans ? And all 
this within the existence of recent species ! If you do not 
stop this, if there be a lower region for the punishment of 
geologists, I believe, my great master, you will go there. 
Why, your disciples in a slow and creeping manner beat all 
the old Catastrophists who ever lived. You will live to be 
the great chief of the Catastrophists. 

There, I have done myself a great deal of good, and have 
exploded my passion. 

So my master, forgive me, and believe me, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. Don't answer this, I did it to ease myself. 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down [June] 17th, 1856. 
... I have been very deeply interested by Wollaston's book,* 
though I differ greatly from many of his doctrines. Did you 
ever read anything so rich, considering how very far he goes, 
.as his denunciations against those who go further : " most 
mischievous," " absurd," M unsound." Theology is at the 
bottom of some of this. I told him he was like Calvin 
burning a heretic. It is a very valuable and clever book in 
my opinion. He has evidently read very little out of his own 
line. I urged him to read the New Zealand essay. His 
Geology also is rather eocene, as I told him. In fact I wrote 
most frankly ; I fear too frankly ; he says he is sure that 
ultra-honesty is my characteristic : I do not know whether 
he meant it as a sneer ; I hope not. Talking of eocene geology, 
I got so wroth about the Atlantic continent, more especially 
from a note from Woodward (who has published a capital 
book on shells), who does not seem to doubt that every island 
in the Pacific and Atlantic are the remains of continents, sub- 
merged within period of existing species, that I fairly ex- 
ploded, and wrote to Lyell to protest, and summed up all the 
continents created of late years by Forbes (the head sinner !) 
yourself, Wollaston, and Woodward, and a pretty nice little 
extension of land they make altogether ! I am fairly rabid 
on the question and therefore, if not wrong already, am 
pretty sure to become so . . . 

I have enjoyed your note much. Adios, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. [June] 1 8th. Lyell has written me a capital letter on 
your side, which ought to upset me entirely, but I cannot 
say it does quite. 

Though I must try and cease being rabid and try to feel 

* i 

The Variation of Species,' 1856. 


humble, and allow you all to make continents, as easily as a. 
cook does pancakes. 

C. Darwin to C, LyelL 

Down, June 25th [1856]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I will have the following tremendous 
letter copied to make the reading easier, and as I want to 
keep a copy. 

As you say you would like to hear my reasons for being 
most unwilling to believe in the continental extensions of late 
authors, I gladly write them, as, without I am convinced of 
my error, I shall have to give them condensed in my essay, 
when I discuss single and multiple creation ; I shall therefore 
be particularly glad to have your general opinion on them. 
I may quite likely have persuaded myself in my wrath that 
there is more in them than there is. If there was much more 
reason to admit a continental extension in any one or two 
instances (as in Madeira) than in other cases, I should feel no 
difficulty whatever. But if on account of European plants, 
and littoral sea shells, it is thought necessary to join Madeira 
to the mainland, Hooker is quite right to join New Holland 
to New Zealand, and Auckland Island (and Raoul Island to 
N.E.), and these to S. America and the Falklands, and these 
to Tristan d'Acunha, and these to Kerguelen Land ; thus 
making, either strictly at the same time, or at different periods, 
but all within the life of recent beings, an almost circumpolar 
belt of land. So again Galapagos and Juan Fernandez must 
be joined to America ; and if we trust to littoral sea shells, the 
Galapagos must have been joined to the Pacific Islands (2400 
miles distant) as well as to America, and as Woodward seems 
to think all the islands in the Pacific into a magnificent con- 
tinent ; also the islands in the Southern Indian Ocean into 
another continent, with Madagascar and Africa, and perhaps 
India. In the North Atlantic, Europe will stretch half-way- 


across the ocean to the Azores, and further north right across. 
In short, we must suppose probably, half the present ocean 
was land within the period of living organisms. The Globe 
within this period must have had a quite different aspect. 
Now the only way to test this, that I can see, is to consider 
whether the continents have undergone within this same pe- 
riod such wonderful permutations. In all North and South 
and Central America, we have both recent and miocene (or 
eocene) shells, quite distinct on the opposite sides, and hence 
I cannot doubt that fundamentally America has held its place 
since at least, the miocene period. In Africa almost all the 
living shells are distinct on the opposite sides of the inter- 
tropical regions, short as the distance is compared to the range 
of marine mollusca, in uninterrupted seas ; hence I infer that 
Africa has existed since our present species were created. 
Even the isthmus of Suez and the Aralo-Caspian basin have 
had a great antiquity. So I imagine, from the tertiary depos- 
its, has India. In Australia the great fauna of extinct mar- 
supials shows that before the present mammals appeared.. 
Australia was a separate continent. I do not for one second 
doubt that very large portions of all these continents have: 
undergone great changes of level within this period, but yet I 
conclude that fundamentally they stood as barriers in the sea, 
where they now stand ; and therefore I should require the 
weightiest evidence to make me believe in such immense, 
changes within the period of living organisms in our oceans, 
where, moreover, from the great depths, the changes must 
have been vaster in a vertical sense. 

Secondly. Submerge our present continents, leaving a few 
mountain peaks as islands, and what will the character of the 
islands be ? Consider that the Pyrenees, Sierra Nevada, 
Apennines, Alps, Carpathians, are non-volcanic, Etna and 
Caucasus, volcanic. In Asia, Altai and Himalaya, I believe 
non-volcanic. In North Africa the non-volcanic, as I imagine, 
Alps of Abyssinia and of the Atlas. In South Africa, the 


Snow Mountains. In Australia, the non-volcanic Alps. In 
North America, the White Mountains, Alleghanies and Rocky- 
Mountains some of the latter alone, I believe, volcanic. In 
South America to the east, the non-volcanic [Silla] of Caracas, 
and Itacolumi of Brazil, further south the Sierra |Ventanas, 
and in the Cordilleras, many volcanic but not all. Now 
compare these peaks with the oceanic islands ; as far as 
known all are volcanic, except St. Paul's (a strange bedevilled 
rock), and the Seychelles, if this latter can be called oceanic, 
in the line of Madagascar ; the Falklands, only 500 miles off, 
are only a shallow bank ; New Caledonia, hardly oceanic, is 
another exception. This argument has to me great weight. 
Compare on a Geographical Map, islands which, we have 
several reasons to suppose, were connected with mainland, as 
Sardinia, and how different it appears. Believing, as I am 
inclined, that continents as continents, and oceans as oceans, 
arc of immense antiquity I should say that if any of the 
existing oceanic islands have any relation of any kind to 
continents, they are forming continents ; and that by the 
time they could form a continent, the volcanoes would be 
denuded to their cores, leaving peaks of syenite, diorite, or 
porphyry. But have we nowhere any last wreck of a con- 
tinent, in the midst of the ocean ? St. Paul's Rock, and such 
old battered volcanic islands, as St. Helena, may be ; but 
I think we can see some reason why we should have less 
evidence of sinking than of rising continents (if my view in 
my Coral volume has any truth in it, viz. : that volcanic 
outbursts accompany rising areas), for during subsidence 
there will be no compensating agent at work, in rising areas 
there will be the additional element of outpoured volcanic 

Thirdly. Considering the depth of the ocean, I was, before I 
got your letter, inclined vehemently to dispute the vast 
amount of subsidence, but I must strike my colours. With 
respect to coral reefs, I carefully guarded against its being 


supposed that a continent was indicated by the groups of 
atolls. It is difficult to guess, as it seems to me, the 
amount of subsidence indicated by coral reefs ; but in such 
large areas as the Lowe Archipelago, the Marshall Archi- 
pelago, and Laccadive group, it would, judging from the 
heights of existing oceanic archipelagoes, be odd, if some 
peaks of from 8000 to 10,000 feet had not been buried. Even 
after your letter a suspicion crossed me whether it would be 
fair to argue from subsidences in the middle of the greatest 
oceans to continents ; but refreshing my memory by talking 
with Ramsay in regard to the probable thickness in one vertical 
line of the Silurian and carboniferous formation, it seems there 
must have been at least 10,000 feet of subsidence during these 
formations in Europe and North America, and therefore 
during the continuance of nearly the same set of organic 
beings. But even 12,000 feet would not be enough for the 
Azores, or for Hooker's continent ; I believe Hooker does not 
infer a continuous continent, but approximate groups of 
islands, with, if we may judge from existing continents, not 
profotindly deep sea between them ; but the argument from 
the volcanic nature of nearly every existing oceanic island 
tells against such supposed groups of islands, for I presume 
he does not suppose a mere chain of volcanic islands belting 
the southern hemisphere. 

Fourthly. The supposed continental extensions do not seem 
to me, perfectly to account for all the phenomena of distri- 
bution on islands ; as the absence of mammals and Batra- 
chians ; the absence of certain great groups of insects on 
Madeira, and of Acacias and Banksias, &c, in New Zealand ; 
the paucity of plants in some cases, &c. Not that those who 
believe^ in various accidental means of dispersal, can explain 
most of these cases ; but they may at least say that these 
facts seem hardly compatible with former continuous land. 

Finally. For these several reasons, and especially con- 
sidering it certain (in which you will agree) that we are ex- 


tremely ignorant of means of dispersal, I cannot avoid think- 
ing that Forbes' ' Atlantis ' was an ill-service to science, as 
checking a close study of means of dissemination. I shall be 
really grateful to hear, as briefly as you like, whether these 
arguments have any weight with you, putting yourself in the 
position of an honest judge. I told Hooker I was going to 
write to you on this subject ; and I should like him to read 
this ; but whether he or you will think it worth time and 
postage remains to be proved. 

Yours most truly, 

Charles Darwin. 

[On July 8th he wrote to Sir Charles Lyell. 

" I am sorry you cannot give any verdict on Continental 
extensions ; and I infer that you think my argument of not 
much weight against such extensions. I know I wish I could 
believe so."] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, July 20th [1856]. 

... It is not a little egotistical, but I should like to tell 
you (and I do not think I have) how I view my work. 
Nineteen years (!) ago it occurred to me that whilst otherwise 
employed on Nat. Hist., I might perhaps do good if I noted 
any sort of facts bearing on the question of the origin of 
species, and this I have since been doing. Either species 
have been independently created, or they have descended 
from other species, like varieties from one species. I think it 
can be shown to be probable that man gets his most distinct 
varieties by preserving such as arise best worth keeping and 
destroying the others, but I should fill a quire if I were to go 
on. To be brief, I assume that species arise like our domestic 
varieties with much extinction ; and then test this hypothesis 
by comparison with as many general and pretty well-esta- 
blished propositions as I can find made out, in geographical 


distribution, geological history, affinities, &c. &c. And it 
seems to me that, supposing that such hypothesis were to 
explain such general propositions, we ought, in accordance 
with the common way of following all sciences, to admit it till 
some better hypothesis be found out. For to my mind to 
say that species were created so and so is no scientific explan- 
ation, only a reverent way of saying it is so and so. But it 
is nonsensical trying to show how I try to proceed, in the 
compass of a note. But as an honest man, I must tell you that 
I have come to the heterodox conclusion, that there are no 
such things as independently created species that species are 
only strongly defined varieties. I know that this will make 
you despise me. I do not much underrate the many huge 
difficulties on this view, but yet it seems to me to explain too 
much, otherwise inexplicable, to be false. Just to allude to 
one point in your last note, viz. about species of the same 
genus generally having a common or continuous area ; if they 
are actual lineal descendants of one species, this of course 
would be the case ; and the sadly too many exceptions (for 
me) have to be explained by climatal and geological changes. 
A fortiori on this view (but on exactly same grounds), all the 
individuals of the same species should have a continuous 
distribution. On this latter branch of the subject I have put 
a chapter together, and Hooker kindly read it over. I 
thought the exceptions and difficulties were so great that on 
the whole the balance weighed against my notions, but I was 
much pleased to find that it seemed to have considerable 
weight with Hooker, who said he had never been so much 
staggered about the permanence of species. 

I must say one word more in justification (for I feel sure 
that your tendency will be to despise me and my crotchets), 
that all my notions about how species change are derived 
from long-continued study of the works of (and converse 
with) agriculturists and horticulturists ; and I believe I 
see my way pretty clearly on the means used by nature to 


change her species and adapt them to the wondrous and ex- 
quisitely beautiful contingencies to which every living being- 
is exposed. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, July 30th, 1856. 

My DEAR HOOKER, Your letter is of much value to me, 
I was not able to get a definite answer from Lyell,* as you will 
see in the enclosed letters, though I inferred that he thought 
nothing of my arguments. Had it not been for this corre- 
spondence, I should have written sadly too strongly. You 
may rely on it I shall put my doubts moderately. There 
never was such a predicament as mine : here you continental 
extensionists would remove enormous difficulties opposed to- 
me, and yet I cannot honestly admit the doctrine, and must 
therefore say so. I cannot get over the fact that not a frag- 
ment of secondary or palaeozoic rock has been found on any 
island above 500 or 600 miles from a mainland. You rather 
misunderstand me when you think I doubt the possibility of 
subsidence of 20,000 or 30,000 feet ; it is only probability, con- 
sidering such evidence as we have independently of distribution. 
I have not yet worked out in full detail the distribution of 
mammalia, both identical and allied, with respect to the one 
element of depth of the sea ; but as far as I have gone, the 
results are to me surprisingly accordant with my very most 
troublesome belief in not such great geographical changes as 
you believe ; and in mammalia we certainly know more of 
means of distribution than in any other class. Nothing is so 
vexatious to me, as so constantly finding myself drawing 
different conclusions from better judges than myself, from 
the same facts. 

I fancy I have lately removed many (not geographical) 
great difficulties opposed to my notions, but God knows it 
may be all hallucination. 

* On the continental extensions of Forbes and others. 


Please return Lyell's letters. 

What a capital letter of Lyell's that to you is, and what a 
wonderful man he is. I differ from him greatly in thinking 
that those who believe that species are not fixed will multiply 
specific names : I know in my own case my most frequent 
source of doubt was whether others would not think this or 
that was a God-created Barnacle, and surely deserved a 
name. Otherwise I should only have thought whether the 
amount of difference and permanence was sufficient to justify 
a name : I am, also, surprised at his thinking it immaterial 
whether species are absolute or not : whenever it is proved 
that all species are produced by generation, by laws of change, 
what good evidence we shall have of the gaps in formations. 
And what a science Natural History will be, when we are in 
our graves, when all the laws of change are thought one of 
the most important parts of Natural History. 

I cannot conceive why Lyell thinks such notions as mine 
or of 'Vestiges,' will invalidate specific centres. But I must 
not run on and take up your time. My MS. will not, I fear, 
be copied before you go abroad. With hearty thanks. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. After giving much condensed, my argument versus 
continental extensions, I shall append some such sentence, 
as that two better judges than myself have considered these 
arguments, and attach no weight to them. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, August 5th [1856]. 

... I quite agree about Lyell's letters to me, which, 
though to me interesting, have afforded me no new light. 
Your letters, under the geological point of view, have been 
more valuable to me. You cannot imagine how earnestlv 
I wish I could swallow continental extension, but I cannot ; 



the more I think (and I cannot get the subject out of my 
head), the more difficult I find it. If there were only some 
half-dozen cases, I should not feel the least difficulty ; but 
the generality of the facts of all islands (except one or two) 
having a considerable part of their productions in common 
with one or more mainlands utterly staggers me. What a 
wonderful case of the Epacridae ! It is most vexatious, also* 
humiliating, to me that I cannot follow and subscribe to the 
way in which you strikingly put your view of the case. 
I look at your facts (about Eucalyptus, &c.) as damning' 
against continental extension, and if you like also damning 
against migration, or at least of enormous difficulty. I see 
the ground of our difference (in a letter I must put myself 
on an equality in arguing) lies, in my opinion, that scarcely 
anything is known of means of distribution. I quite agree 
with A. De Candolle's (and I dare say your) opinion that it 
is poor work putting together the merely possible means of 
distribution ; but I see no other way in which the subject can, 
be attacked, for I think that A. De Candolle's argument,, 
that no plants have been introduced into England except by 
man's agency, of no weight. I cannot but think that the 
theory of continental extension does do some little harm 
as stopping investigation of the means of dispersal, which, 
whether negative or positive, seems to me of value ; when 
negatived, then every one who believes in single centres will 
have to admit continental extensions. 

... I see from your remarks that you do not understand 
my notions (whether or no worth anything) about modifica- 
tion ; I attribute very little to the direct action of climate, &c. 
I suppose, in regard to specific centres, we are at cross 
purposes ; I should call the kitchen garden in which the red 
cabbage was produced, or the farm in which Bakewell made 
the Shorthorn cattle, the specific centre of these species t 
And surely this is centralisation enough ! 

I thank you most sincerely for all your assistance ; and 


whether or no my book may be wretched, you have done your 
best to make it less wretched. Sometimes I am in very good 
spirits and sometimes very low about it. My own mind is 
decided on the question of the origin of species ; but, good 
heavens, how little that is worth ! . . . 

[With regard to " specific centres," a passage from a letter 
dated July 25, 1856, from Sir Charles Lyell to Sir J. D. Hooker 
(' Life,' vol. ii. p. 216) is of interest : 

" I fear much that if Darwin argues that species are 
phantoms, he will also have to admit that single centres of 
dispersion are phantoms also, and that would deprive me 
of much of the value which I ascribe to the present provinces 
of animals and plants, as illustrating modern and tertiary 
changes in physical geography." 

He seems to have recognised, however, that the phantom 
doctrine would soon have to be faced, for he wrote in the 
same letter : " Whether Darwin persuades you and me to 
renounce our faith in species (when geological epochs are 
considered) or not, I foresee that many will go over to the 
indefinite modifiability doctrine." 

In the autumn my father was still working at geographical 
distribution, and again sought aid from Sir J. D. Hooker. 

"In the course of some weeks, you unfortunate wretch, you 
will have my MS. on one point of Geographical Distribution. 
I will, however, never ask such a favour again ; but in regard 
to this one piece of MS., it is of infinite importance to me for 
you to see it ; for never in my life have I felt such difficulty 
what to do, and I heartily wish I could slur the whole subject 

In a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker (June, 1856), the following 
characteristic passage occurs, suggested, no doubt, by the 

G 2 


kind of work which his chapter on Geographical Distribution 
entailed : 

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

C. Darwin to W. D. Fox, 

Oct. 3 [1856]. 

... I remember you protested against Lyell's advice 
of writing a sketch of my species doctrines. Well, when I 
began I found it such unsatisfactory work that I have 
desisted, 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. Thus far and no farther I shall follow Lyell's 
urgent advice. Your remarks weighed with me considerably. 
I find to my sorrow it will run to quite a big book. I have 
found my careful work at pigeons really invaluable, as en- 
lightening me on many points on variation under domesti- 
cation. The copious old literature, by which I can trace the 
gradual changes in the breeds of pigeons has been extra- 
ordinarily useful to me. I have just had pigeons and fowls 
alive from the Gambia ! Rabbits and ducks I am attending 
to pretty carefully, but less so than pigeons. I find most re- 
markable differences in the skeletons of rabbits. Have you 
ever kept any odd breeds of rabbits, and can you give me 
any details ? One other question. You used to keep hawks ; 
do you at all know, after eating a bird, how soon after they 
throw up the pellet ? 


No subject gives me so much trouble and doubt and diffi- 
culty as the means of dispersal of the same species of terrestrial 
productions on the oceanic islands. Land mollusca drive me 
mad, and I cannot anyhow get their eggs to experimentise their 
power of floating and resistance to the injurious action of 
salt water. I will not apologise for writing so much about 
my own doings, as I believe you will like to hear. Do some- 
time, I beg you, let me hear how you get on in health ; and 
if so i?iclined i let me have some words on call-ducks. 

My dear Fox, yours affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[With regard to his book he wrote (Nov. 10th) 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 acceleration I owe to you."] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Sunday [Oct. 1856]. 

My DEAR Hooker, The seeds are come all safe, many 
thanks for them. I was very sorry to run away so soon and 
miss any part of my most pleasant evening ; and I ran away 
like a Goth and Vandal without wishing Mrs. Hooker good- 
bye ; but I was only just in time, as I got on the platform 
the train had arrived. 

I was particularly glad of our discussion after dinner ; 
fighting a battle with you always clears my mind wonder- 
fully. I groan to hear that A. Gray agrees with you about 
the condition of Botanical Geography. All I know is that 
if you had had to search for light in Zoological Geography 
you would by contrast, respect your own subject a vast deal 


more than you now do. The hawks have behaved like 
gentlemen, and have cast up pellets with lots of seeds in 
them ; and I have just had a parcel of partridge's feet well 
caked with mud ! ! ! * Adios. 

Your insane and perverse friend, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Nov. 4th [1856]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, I thank you more cordially than you 
will think probable, for your note. Your verdict f has been 
a great relief. On my honour I had no idea whether or not 
you would say it was (and I knew you would say it very 
kindly) so bad, that you would have begged me to have 
burnt the whole. To my own mind my MS. relieved me 
of some few difficulties, and the difficulties seemed to me 
pretty fairly stated, but I had become so bewildered with 
conflicting facts, evidence, reasoning and opinions, that I felt 
to myself that I had lost all judgment. Your general verdict 
is incomparably more favourable than I had anticipated . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Nov. 23rd [1856]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I fear I shall weary you with letters, 
but do not answer this, for in truth and without flattery, I so 
value your letters, that after a heavy batch, as of late, I feel 
that I have been extravagant and have drawn too much 
money, and shall therefore have to stint myself on another 

When I sent my MS. I felt strongly that some preliminary 
questions on the causes of variation ought to have been sent 
you. Whether I am right or wrong in these points is quite a 

* The mud in such cases often f On the MS. relating to geo- 

contains seeds, so that plants are graphical distribution, 
thus transported. 


separate question, but the conclusion which I have come to, 
quite independently of geographical distribution, is that 
external conditions (to which naturalists so often appeal) do 
by themselves very little. How much they do is the point of 
all others on which I feel myself very weak. I judge from 
the facts of variation under domestication, and I may yet get 
more light. But at present, after drawing up a rough copy 
on this subject, my conclusion is that external conditions do 
.extremely little, except in causing mere variability. This 
mere variability (causing the child not closely to resemble its 
parent) I look at as very different from the formation of a 
marked variety or new species. (No doubt the variability is 
governed by laws, some of which I am endeavouring very 
obscurely to trace.) The formation of a strong variety or 
species I look at as almost wholly due to the selection of 
what may be incorrectly called chance variations or variability. 
This power of selection stands in the most direct relation to 
time, and in the state of nature can be only excessively slow. 
Again, the slight differences selected, by which a race or 
species is at last formed, stands, as I think can be shown 
(even with plants, and obviously with animals), in a far more 
important relation to its associates than to external conditions. 
Therefore, according to my principles, whether right or wrong, 
I cannot agree with your proposition that time, and altered 
conditions, and altered associates, are " convertible terms." I 
look at the first and the last as far more important : time 
being important only so far as giving scope to selection. 
God knows whether you will perceive at what I am driving. 
I shall have to discuss and think more about your difficulty of 
the temperate and sub-arctic forms in the S. hemisphere than 
I have yet done. But I am inclined to think that I am right 
(if my general principles are right), that there would be little 
tendency to the formation of a new species, during the period 
of migration, whether shorter or longer, though considerable 
'variability may have supervened. . . . 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Dec. 24th [1856]. 

. . . How I do wish I lived near you to discuss matters 
with. I have just been comparing definitions of species, and 
stating briefly how systematic naturalists work out their 
subjects. Aquilegia in the Flora Indica was a capital 
example for me. It is really laughable to see what different 
ideas are prominent in various naturalists' minds, when they 
speak of "species ;" in some, resemblance is everything and 
descent of little weight in some, resemblance seems to go for 
nothing, and Creation the reigning idea in some, descent is 
the key, in some, sterility an unfailing test, with others it is 
not worth a farthing. It all comes, I believe, from trying to 
define the undefinable. I suppose you have lost the odd 
black seed from the birds' dung, which germinated, anyhow, 
it is not worth taking trouble over. I have now got about a 
dozen seeds out of small birds' dung. Adios, 

My dear Hooker, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Jan. 1st [1857 ?] 

My DEAR Dr. Gray, I have received the second part of 
your paper,* and though I have nothing particular to say, I 
must send you my thanks and hearty admiration. The whole 
paper strikes me as quite exhausting the subject, and I quite 
fancy and flatter myself I now appreciate the character of 
your Flora. What a difference in regard to Europe your 
remark in relation to the genera makes ! I have been 
eminently glad to see your conclusion in regard to the species 
of large genera widely ranging ; it is in strict conformity with 

* ' Statistics of the Flora of the Northern United States.' Sillimaii's 
Journal, 1857. 

1 857.] TREES AND SHRUBS. 89 

the results I have worked out in several ways. It is of great 
importance to my notions. By the way you have paid me a 
great compliment : * to be simply mentioned even in such a 
paper I consider a very great honour. One of your con- 
clusions makes me groan, viz. that the line of connection of 
the strictly Alpine plants is through Greenland. I should 
extremely like to see your reasons published in detail, for it 
"riles" me (this is a proper expression, is it not?) dreadfully. 
Lyell told me, that Agassiz having a theory about when 
Saurians were first created, on hearing some careful observa- 
tions opposed to this, said he did not believe it, " for Nature 
never lied." I am just in this predicament, and repeat to 
you that, " Nature never lies," ergo, theorisers are always 
right. . . . 

Overworked as you are, I dare say you will say that I am 
an odious plague ; but here is another suggestion ! I was led 
by one of my wild speculations to conclude (though it has 
nothing to do with geographical distribution, yet it has with 
your statistics) that trees would have a strong tendency to have 
flowers with dioecious, monoecious or polygamous structure. 
Seeing that this seemed so in Persoon, I took one little 
British Flora, and discriminating trees from bushes according 
to Loudon, I have found that the result was in species, genera 
and families, as I anticipated. So I sent my notions to Hooker 
to ask him to tabulate the New Zealand Flora for this end, 
and he thought my result sufficiently curious, to do so ; and 
the accordance with Britain is very striking, and the more so, 
as he made three classes of trees, bushes, and herbaceous 
plants. (He says further he shall work the Tasmanian Flora 
on the same principle.) The bushes hold an intermediate 
position between the other two classes. It seems to me a 

* " From some investigations of range over a larger area than the 
his own, this sagacious naturalist species of small genera do." Asa 
inclines to think that large genera Gray, loc. cit. 


curious relation in itself, and is very much so, if my theory 
and explanation are correct.* 

With hearty thanks, your most troublesome friend, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, April 12th [1857]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, Your letter has pleased me much, 
for I never can get it out of my head, that I take unfair 
advantage of your kindness, as I receive all and give nothing. 
What a splendid discussion you could write on the whole 
subject of variation ! The cases discussed in your last note 
are valuable to me (though odious and damnable), as showing 
how profoundly ignorant we are on the causes of variation. 
I shall just allude to these cases, as a sort of sub-division 
of polymorphism a little more definite, I fancy, than the 
variation of, for instance, the Rubi, and equally or more 

I have just been putting my notes together on variations 
apparently due to the immediate and direct action of external 
causes ; and I have been struck with one result. The most 
firm sticklers for independent creation admit, that the fur of 
the same species is thinner towards the south of the range of 
the same species than to the north that the same shells are 
brighter-coloured to the south than north ; that the same 
[shell] is paler-coloured in deep water that insects are 
smaller and darker on mountains more livid and testaceous 
near the sea that plants are smaller and more hairy and with 
brighter flowers on mountains : now in all such, and other 
cases, distinct species in the two zones follow the same rule, 
which seems to me to be most simply explained by species, 
being only strongly marked varieties, and therefore following 

* See ' Origin,' ed. i. p. 100. 

1I857-] WATER-CURE. 91 

the same laws as recognised and admitted varieties. I mention 
all this on account of the variation of plants in ascending 
mountains ; I have quoted the foregoing remark only generally 
with no examples, for I add, there is so much doubt and dispute 
what to call varieties ; but yet I have stumbled on so many 
casual remarks on varieties of plants on mountains being so 
characterised, that I presume there is some truth in it. What 
think you ? Do you believe there is any tendency in varieties, 
.as generally so called, of plants to become more hairy, and 
with proportionally larger and brighter-coloured flowers in 
ascending a mountain ? 

I have been interested in my " weed garden," of 3 x 2 feet 
square : I mark each seedling as it appears, and I am 
astonished at the number that come up, and still more at 
the number killed by slugs, &c. Already 59 have been so 
killed ; I expected a good many, but I had fancied that this 
was a less potent check than it seems to be, and I attributed 
almost exclusively to mere choking, the destruction of the 
seedlings. Grass-seedlings seem to suffer much less than 

o o 

exogens. . . . 

C. Darwin to jf. D. Hooker. 

Moor Park, Farnham, [April (?) 1857.] 

My DEAR HOOKER, Your letter has been forwarded to 
me here, where I am undergoing hydropathy for a fortnight, 
having been here a week, and having already received an 
amount of good which is quite incredible to myself and quite 
unaccountable. I can walk and eat like a hearty Christian, 
and even my nights are good. I cannot in the least under- 
stand how hydropathy can act as it certainly does on me. 
It dulls one's brain splendidly ; I have not thought about 
a single species of any kind since leaving home. Your note 
has taken me aback ; I thought the hairiness, &c, of Alpine 
species was generally admitted ; I am sure I have seen it 


alluded to a score of times. Falconer was haranguing on 
it the other day to me. Meyen or Gay, or some such fellow 
(whom you would despise), I remember, makes some remark 
on Chilian Cordillera plants. Wimmer has written a little book 
on the same lines, and on varieties being so characterized in. 
the Alps. But after writing to you, I confess I was staggered 
by finding one man (Moquin-Tandon, I think) saying that 
Alpine flowers are strongly inclined to be white, and Linnaeus 
saying that cold makes plants apetalous, even the same 
species ! Are Arctic plants often apetalous ? My general 
belief from my compiling work is quite to agree with what 
you say about the little direct influence of climate ; and I 
have just alluded to the hairiness of Alpine plants as an ex- 
ception. The odoriferousness would be a good case for me if 
I knew of varieties being more odoriferous in dry habitats. 

I fear that I have looked at the hairiness of Alpine plants as 
so generally acknowledged that I have not marked passages, 
so as at all to see what kind of evidence authors advance. 
I must confess, the other day, when I asked Falconer, whether 
he knew of individual plants losing or acquiring hairiness 
when transported, he did not. But now this second, my 
memory flashes on me, and I am certain I have somewhere 
got marked a case of hairy plants from the Pyrenees losing 
hairs when cultivated at Montpellier. Shall you think me 
very impudent if I tell you that I have sometimes thought 
that (quite independently of the present case), you are a little 
too hard on bad observers ; that a remark made by a bad 
observer cannot be right ; an observer who deserves to be 
damned, you would utterly damn. I feel entire deference 
to any remark you make out of your own head ; but when in 
opposition to some poor devil, I somehow involuntarily feel 
not quite so much, but yet much deference for your opinion. 
I do not know in the least whether there is any truth in this 
my criticism against you, but I have often thought I would 
tell you it. 


I am really very much obliged for your letter, for, though I 
intended to put only one sentence and that vaguely, I should 
probably have put that much too strongly. 

Ever, my dear Hooker, yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. This note, as you see, has not anything requiring an 

The distribution of fresh-water molluscs has been a horrid 
incubus to me, but I think I know my way now ; when first 
hatched they are very active, and I have had thirty or forty 
crawl on a dead duck's foot ; and they cannot be jerked off, 
and will live fifteen and even twenty-four hours out of water. 

[The following letter refers to the expedition of the Austrian 
frigate Novara ; Lyell had asked my father for suggestions.] 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, Feb. nth [1857]. 
My DEAR Lyell, I was glad to see in the newspapers 
about the Austrian Expedition. I have nothing to add geolo- 
gically to my notes in the Manual.* I do not know whether 
the Expedition is tied down to call at only fixed spots. But 
if there be any choice or power in the scientific men to 
influence the places this would be most desirable. It is my 
most deliberate conviction that nothing would aid more, 
Natural History, than careful collecting and investigating all 
the productions of the most isolated islands, especially of the 
southern hemisphere. Except Tristan dAcunha and Ker- 
guelen Land, they are very imperfectly known ; and even at 
Kerguelen Land, how much there is to make out about the 
lignite beds, and whether there are signs of old Glacial action. 
Every sea-shell and insect and plant is of value from such 
spots. Some one in the Expedition especially ought to have 

* The article "Geology" in the 'Admiralty 'Manual of Scientific 


Hooker's New Zealand Essay. What grand work to explore 
Rodriguez, with its fossil birds, and little known productions 
of every kind. Again the Seychelles, which, with the Cocos 
so near, must be a remnant of some older land. The outer 
island of Juan Fernandez is little known. The investigation 
of these little spots by a band of naturalists would be grand ;; 
St. Paul's and Amsterdam would be glorious, botanically, and 
geologically. Can you not recommend them to get my 
' Journal ' and ' Volcanic Islands ' on account of the Galapagos. 
If they come from the north it will be a shame and a sin if 
they do not call at Cocos Islet, one of the Galapagos. I 
always regretted that I was not able to examine the great- 
craters on Albemarle Island, one of the Galapagos. In 
New Zealand urge on them to look out for erratic boulders 
and marks of old glaciers. 

Urge the use of the dredge in the Tropics ; how little or 
nothing we know of the limit of life downward in the hot 
seas ? 

My present work leads me to perceive how much the 
domestic animals have been neglected in out of the way 

The Revillagigedo Island off Mexico, I believe, has never 
been trodden by foot of naturalist. 

If the expedition sticks to such places as Rio, Cape 

of Good Hope, Ceylon and Australia, &c, it will not do 


Ever yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

[The following passage occurs in a letter to Mr. Fox,. 
February 22, 1857, and has reference to the book on Evolution 
on which he was still at work : 

" 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. Darwin to A. R. 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, 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 

* " On the Law that has regulated the Introduction of New Species.' r 
Ann. Nat. Hist, 1853. 


of the now very prevalent doctrine of all our domestic animals 
having descended from several wild stocks ; though I do not 
doubt that it is so in some cases. 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 attributed to such influences, but I fully believe that 
they are very slight. It is really impossible to explain my 
views (in the compass of a letter), on the causes and means of 
variation in a state 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 ! . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker? 

Moor Park, Saturday [May 2nd, 1857]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, You have shaved the hair off the 
Alpine plants pretty effectually. The case of the Anthyllis 
will make a " tie " with the believed case of Pyrenees plants 
becoming glabrous at low levels. If I do find that I have 
marked such facts, I will lay the evidence before you. 
I wonder how the belief could have originated ! Was it 
through final causes to keep the plants warm ? Falconer in 
talk coupled the two facts of woolly Alpine plants and 
mammals. How candidly and meekly you took my Jeremiad 
on your severity to second-class men. After I had sent 
it off, an ugly little voice asked me, once or twice, how much 
of my noble defence of the poor in spirit and in fact, was 
owing to your having not seldom smashed favourite notions 
of my own. I silenced the ugly little voice with contempt, 
but it would whisper again and again. I sometimes despise 

1 857.] VARIABILITY. 97 

myself as a poor compiler as heartily as you could do, though 
I do not despise my whole work, as I think there is enough 
known to lay a foundation for the discussion on the origin of 
species. I have been led to despise and laugh at myself 
as a compiler, for having put down that " Alpine plants have 
large flowers," and now perhaps I may write over these very 
words, "Alpine plants have small or apetalous flowers ! " . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [May] 16th [1857]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, You said I hope honestly that 
you did not dislike my asking questions on general points, 
you of course answering or not as time and inclination 
might serve. I find in the animal kingdom that .... 
any part or organ developed normally, {i.e. not a mon- 
strosity) in a species in any high or unusual degree, com- 
pared with the same part or organ in allied species, tends 
to be highly variable. I cannot doubt this from my mass 
of collected facts. To give an instance, the Cross-bill is very 
abnormal in the structure of its bill compared with other 
allied Fringillidse, and the beak is eminently variable. The 
Himantopus, remarkable from the wonderful length of its legs, 
is very variable in the length of its legs. I could give many 
most striking and curious illustrations in all classes ; so many 
that I think it cannot be chance. But I have none in the 
vegetable kingdom, owing, as I believe, to my ignorance. 
If Nepenthes consisted of one or two species in a group with 
a pitcher developed, then I should have expected it to have 
been very variable ; but I do not consider Nepenthes a case 
in point, for when a whole genus or group has an organ, 
however anomalous, I do not expect it to be variable, 
it is only when one or few species differ greatly in some one 
part or organ from the forms closely allied to it in all other 
respects, that I believe such part or organ to be highly vari- 



able. Will you turn this in your mind ? it is an important 
apparent law (!) for me. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I do not know how far you will care to hear, but 
I find Moquin-Tandon treats in his ' Teratologic ' on villosity 
of plants, and seems to attribute more to dryness than 
altitude ; but seems to think that it must be admitted that 
mountain plants are villose, and that this villosity is only 
in part explained by De Candolle's remark that the dwarfed 
condition of mountain plants would condense the hairs, and 
so give them the appearci7ice of being more hairy. He quotes 
Senebier, ' Physiologie Vegetale,' as authority I suppose 
the first authority, for mountain plants being hairy. 

If I could show positively that the endemic species were 
more hairy in dry districts, then the case of the varieties 
becoming more hairy in dry ground would be a fact for me. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, June 3rd [185 7 J. 
My DEAR HOOKER, I am going to enjoy myself by 
having a prose on my own subjects to you, and this is a 
greater enjoyment to me than you will readily understand, as 
I for months together do not open my mouth on Natural 
History. Your letter is of great value to me, and staggers me 
in regard to my proposition. I dare say the absence of 
botanical facts may in part be accounted for by the difficulty 
of measuring slight variations. Indeed, after writing, this 
occurred to me ; for I have Crucianella stylosa coming into 
flower, and the pistil ought to be very variable in length, and 
thinking of this I at once felt how could one judge whether it 
was variable in any high degree. How different, for instance, 
from the beak of a bird ! But I am not satisfied with this ex- 
planation, and am staggered. Yet I think there is something 

1857.] VARIABILITY. 99 

in the law ; I have had so many instances, as the following : 
I wrote to Wollaston to ask him to run through the Madeira 
Beetles and tell me whether any one presented anything very 
anomalous in relation to its allies. He gave me a unique case 
of an enormous head in a female, and then I found in his book, 
already stated, that the size of the head was astonishingly 
variable. Part of the difference with plants may be accounted 
for by many of my cases being secondary male or female 
characters but then I have striking cases with hermaphrodite 
Cirripedes. The cases seem to me far too numerous for 
accidental coincidences of great variability and abnormal de- 
velopment. I presume that you will not object to my put- 
ting a note saying that you had reflected over the case, and 
though one or two cases seemed to support, quite as many 
or more seemed wholly contradictory. This want of evidence is 
the more surprising to me, as generally I find any proposition 
more easily tested by observations in botanical works, which 
I have picked up, than in zoological works. I never dreamed 
that you had kept the subject at all before your mind. Alto- 
gether the case is one more of my many horrid puzzles. My 
obseivations, though on so infinitely a small scale, on the 
struggle for existence, begin to make me see a little clearer 
how the fight goes on. Out of sixteen kinds of seed sown on 
my meadow, fifteen have germinated, but now they are 
perishing at such a rate that I doubt whether more than one 
will flower. Here we have choking which has taken place 
likewise on a great scale, with plants not seedlings, in a bit of 
my lawn allowed to grow up. On the other hand, in a bit of 
ground, 2 by 3 feet, I have daily marked each seedling weed 
as it has appeared during March, April and May, and 357 have 
come up, and of these 277 have already been killed, chiefly by 
slugs. By the way, at Moor Park, I saw rather a pretty case 
of the effects of animals on vegetation : there are enormous 
commons with clumps of old Scotch firs on the hills, and 
about eight or ten years ago some of these commons were 

H 2 


enclosed, and all round the clumps nice young trees are 
springing up by the million, looking exactly as if planted, so 
many are of the same age. In other parts of the common, not 
yet enclosed, I looked for miles and not one young tree could 
be seen. I then went near (within quarter of a mile of the 
clumps) and looked closely in the heather, and there I found 
tens of thousands of young Scotch firs (thirty in one square 
yard) with their tops nibbled off by the few cattle which 
occasionally roam over these wretched heaths. One little tree, 
three inches high, by the rings appeared to be twenty-six years 
old, with a short stem about as thick as a stick of sealing-wax. 
What a wondrous problem it is, what a play of forces, determi- 
ning the kind and proportion of each plant in a square yard 
of turf ! It is to my mind truly wonderful. And yet we are 
pleased to wonder when some animal or plant becomes 

I am so sorry that you will not be at the Club. I see Mrs. 
Hooker is going to Yarmouth ; I trust that the health of your 
children is not the motive. Good-bye. 

My dear Hooker, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I believe you are afraid to send me a ripe Edwardsia 
pod, for fear I should float it from New Zealand to Chile ! ! ! 

C. Darwin to jf. D. Hooker. 

Down, June 5 [1857]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, I honour your conscientious care 
about the medals.* Thank God ! I am only an amateur (but 
a much interested one) on the subject. 

It is an old notion of mine that more good is done by giving 
medals to younger men in the early part of their career, than as 
a mere reward to men whose scientific career is nearly finished. 
Whether medals ever do any good is a question which does 

* The Royal Society's medals. 

1 857.] MEDALS. 101 

not concern us, as there the medals are. I am almost inclined 
to think that I would rather lower the standard, and give 
medals to young workers than to old ones with no especial 
claims. With regard to especial claims, I think it just 
deserving your attention, that if general claims are once 
admitted, it opens the door to great laxity in giving them. 
Think of the case of a very rich man, who aided solely with 
his money, but to a grand extent or such an inconceivable 
prodigy as a minister of the Crown who really cared for 
science. Would you give such men medals ? Perhaps 
medals could not be better applied than exclusively to such 
men. I confess at present I incline to stick to especial claims 
which can be put down on paper. . . . 

I am much confounded by your showing that there are not 
obvious instances of my (or rather Waterhouse's) law of 
abnormal developments being highly variable. I have been 
thinking more of your remark about the difficulty of judging 
or comparing variability in plants from the great general 
variability of parts. I should look at the law as more com- 
pletely smashed if you would turn in your mind for a little 
while for cases of great variability of an organ, and tell me 
whether it is moderately easy to pick out such cases ; for if 
they can be picked out, and, notwithstanding, do not coincide 
with great or abnormal development, it v/ould be a complete 
smasher. It is only beginning in your mind at the variability 
end of the question instead of at the abnormality end. Per- 
haps cases in which a part is highly variable in all the species 
of a group should be excluded, as possibly being something 
distinct, and connected with the perplexing subject of poly- 
morphism. Will you perfect your assistance by further 
considering, for a little, the subject this way ? 

I have been so much interested this morning in comparing 
all my notes on the variation of the several species of the genus 
Equus and the results of their crossing. Taking most strictly 
analogous facts amongst the blessed pigeons for my guide, 


I believe I can plainly see the colouring and marks of the 

grandfather of the Ass, Horse, Quagga, Hemionus and Zebra, 

some millions of generations ago ! Should not I [have] 

sneer[ed] at any one who made such a remark to me a few 

years ago ; but my evidence seems to me so good that I shall 

publish my vision at the end of my little discussion on this 


I have of late inundated you with my notions, you best of 

friends and philosophers. 


C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Moor Park, Farnham, June 25th [1857]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, This requires no answer, but I will 
ask you whenever we meet. Look at enclosed seedling 
gorses, especially one with the top knocked off. The leaves 
succeeding the cotyledons being almost clover-like in shape, 
seems to me feebly analogous to embryonic resemblances 
in young animals, as, for instance, the young lion being 
striped. I shall ask you whether this is so.* . . . 

Dr. Lanef and wife, and mother-in-law, Lady Drysdale, 
are some of the nicest people I have ever met. 

I return home on the 30th. Good-bye, my dear Hooker. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

[Here follows a group of letters, of various dates, bearing 
on the question of large genera varying.] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

March nth [1858]. 
... I was led to all this work by a remark of Fries, that 
the species in large genera were more closely related to each 

* See ' Power of Movements in Plants,' p. 414. 
f The physician at Moor Park. 


other than in small genera ; and if this were so, seeing that 

varieties and species are so hardly distinguishable, I concluded 

that I should find more varieties in the large genera than in 

the small. . . . Some day I hope you will read my short 

discussion on the whole subject. You have done me infinite 

service, whatever opinion I come to, in drawing my attention 

to at least the possibility or the probability of botanists 

recording more varieties in the large than in the small genera. 

It will be hard work for me to be candid in coming to my 


Ever yours, most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I shall be several weeks at my present job. The 
work has been turning out badly for me this morning, and I 
am sick at heart ; and, oh ! how I do hate species and varieties. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

July 14th [1857?] 

^ . . I write now to supplicate most earnestly a favour, 
viz. the loan of Borean, Flore du centre de la France, either 
1st or 2nd edition, last best ; also " Flora Ratisbonensis," by 
Dr. Furnrohr, in ' Naturhist. Topographie von Regensburg, 
1839.' If y u can possibly spare them, will you send them at 
once to the enclosed address. If you have not them, will 
you send one line by return of post : as I must try whether 
Kippist * can anyhow find them, which I fear will be nearly 
impossible in the Linnean Library, in which I know they are. 

I have been making some calculations about varieties, &c, 
and talking yesterday with Lubbock, he has pointed out to me 
the grossest blunder which I have made in principle, and 
which entails two or three weeks' lost work ; and I am at a 
dead-lock till I have these books to go over again, and see 

* The late Mr. Kippist was at this time in charge of the Linnean 
Society's Library. 


what the result of calculation on the right principle is. I am 

the most miserable, bemuddled, stupid dog in all England, 

and am ready to cry with vexation at my blindness and 


Ever yours, most miserably, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to John Lubbock. 

Down, [July] 14th [1857]. 

My DEAR Lubbock, You have done me the greatest 
possible service in helping me to clarify my brains. If I am 
as muzzy on all subjects as I am on proportion and chance, 
what a book I shall produce ! 

I have divided the New Zealand Flora as you suggested. 
There are 339 species in genera of 4 and upwards, and 323 in 
genera of 3 and less. 

The 339 species have 51 species presenting one or more 
varieties. The 323 species have only 37. Proportionately 
(339 : 3 2 3 :: 5 1 : 48'S) they ought to have had 48J species 
presenting vars. So that the case goes as I want it, but not 
strong enough, without it be general, for me to have much 
confidence in. I am quite convinced yours is the right way : 
I had thought of it, but should never have done it had it not 
been for my most fortunate conversation with you. 

I am quite shocked to find how easily I am muddled, for I 
had before thought over the subject much, and concluded my 
way was fair. It is dreadfully erroneous. 

What a disgraceful blunder you have saved me from. I 

heartily thank you. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. It is enough to make me tear up all my MS. and 
give up in despair. 

It will take me several weeks to go over all my materials. 
But oh, if you knew how thankful I am to you ! 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Aug. [1857]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, It is a horrid bore you cannot come 
soon, and I reproach myself that I did not write sooner. How 
busy you must be ! with such a heap of botanists at Kew. 
Only think, I have just had a letter from Henslow, saying he 
will come here between nth and 15th! Is not that grand? 
Many thanks about Furnrohr. I must humbly supplicate 
Kippist to search for it : he most kindly got Boreau for me. 

I am got extremely interested in tabulating, according to 
mere size of genera, the species having any varieties marked 
by Greek letters or otherwise : the result (as far as I have yet 
gone) seems to me one of the most important arguments I 
have yet met with, that varieties are only small species or 
species only strongly marked varieties. The subject is in 
many ways so very important for me ; I wish much you would 
think of any well-worked Floras with from 1000-2000 species, 
with the varieties marked. It is good to have hair-splitters 
and lumpers.* I have done, or am doing : 

Babington . . . . . "j 

Henslow ......> British Flora. 

London Catalogue. H. C. Watson . J 

Boreau .... France. 

Miquel .... Holland. 

Asa Gray U. States. 

TT , ( N. Zealand. 

Hooker . . . . { _ ._,.__ 

[ Fragment of Indian Flora. 

Wollaston .... Madeira insects. 

Has not Koch published a good German Flora ? Does he 
mark varieties ? Could you send it me ? Is there not some 
grand Russian Flora, which perhaps has varieties marked ? 
The Floras ought to be well known. 

* Those who make many species are the " splitters," and those who 
make few are the " lumpers." 


I am in no hurry for a few weeks. Will you turn this in 
your head, when, if ever, you have leisure ? The subject is 
very important for my work, though I clearly see many causes 
of error. . . . 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Feb. 21st [1859]. 

My DEAR Gray, My last letter begged no favour, this 
one does : but it will really cost you very little trouble to 
answer me, and it will be of very great service to me, 
owing to a remark made to me by Hooker, which I cannot 
credit, and which was suggested to him by one of my letters. 
He suggested my asking you, and I told him I would not 
give the least hint what he thought. I generally believe 
Hooker implicitly, but he is sometimes, I think, and he 
confesses it, rather over-critical, and his ingenuity in discover- 
ing flaws seems to me admirable. Here is my question : 
" Do you think that good botanists in drawing up a local 
Flora, whether small or large, or in making a Prodromus like 
De Candolle's, would almost universally, but unintentionally 
and unconsciously, tend to record {i.e. marking with Greek 
letters and giving short characters) varieties in the large or 
in the small genera ? Or would the tendency be to record the 
varieties about equally in genera of all sizes ? Are you your- 
self conscious on reflection that you have attended to, and 
recorded more carefully the varieties in large or small, or very 
small genera ? " 

I know what fleeting and trifling things varieties very often 
are ; but my query applies to such as have been thought 
worth marking and recording. If you could screw time to 
send me ever so brief an answer to this, pretty soon, it would 
be a great service to me. 

Yours most truly obliged, 

Ch. Darwin. 


P.S. Do you know whether any one has ever published 
any remarks on the geographical range of varieties of plants 
an comparison with the species to which they are supposed to 
belong? I have in vain tried to get some vague idea, and 
with the exception of a little information on this head given 
me by Mr. Watson in a paper on Land Shells in U. States, 
I have quite failed ; but perhaps it would be difficult for you 
to give me even a brief answer on this head, and if so I am 
not so unreasonable, / assure you, as to expect it. 

If you are writing to England soon, you could enclose other 
letters [for] me to forward. 

Please observe, the question is not whether there are more 
or fewer varieties in larger or smaller genera, but whether 
there is a stronger or weaker tendency in the minds of 
.botanists to record such in large or small genera. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, May 6th [1858]. 

... I send by this post my MS. on the "commonness," 
*" range," and " variation " of species in large and small genera. 
You have undertaken a horrid job in so very kindly offering 
to read it, and I thank you warmly. I have just corrected 
the copy, and am disappointed in finding how tough and 
obscure it is ; but I cannot make it clearer, and at present I 
loathe the very sight of it. The style of course requires 
further correction, and if published I must try, but as yet see 
not how, to make it clearer. 

If you have much to say and can have patience to consider 
the whole subject, I would meet you in London on the Phil. Club 
day, so as to save you the trouble of writing. For Heaven's 
sake, you stern and awful judge and sceptic, remember that 
my conclusions may be true, notwithstanding that Botanists 
may have recorded more varieties in large than in small 


genera. It seems to me a mere balancing of probabilities. 

Again I thank you most sincerely, but I fear you will find it 

a horrid job. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

[The letters now continue the history of the years 1857 
and 1858.] 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, Dec. 22nd, 1857. 
My DEAR Sir, I thank you for your letter of Sept. 27th. 
I am extremely glad to hear that you are attending to distri- 
bution in accordance with theoretical ideas. I am a firm 
believer that without speculation there is no good and original 
observation. Few travellers have attended to such points as 
you are now at work on ; and, indeed, the whole subject of 
distribution of animals is dreadfully behind that of plants. 
You say that you have been somewhat surprised at no notice 
having been taken of your paper in the Annals.* I cannot say 
that I am, for so very few naturalists care for anything beyond 
the mere description of species. But you must not suppose 
that your paper has not been attended to : two very good 
men, Sir C. Lyell, and Mr. E. Blyth at Calcutta, specially 
called my attention to it. Though agreeing with you on your 
conclusions in that paper, I believe I go much further than 
you ; but it is too long a subject to enter on my speculative 
notions. I have not yet seen your paper on the distribution 
of animals in the Am Islands. I shall read it with the 
utmost interest ; for I think that the most interesting quarter 
of the whole globe in respect to distribution, and I have long 
been very imperfectly trying to collect data for the Malay 
Archipelago. I shall be quite prepared to subscribe to your 

* " On the Law that has regulated the Introduction of New Species. 1 * 
Ann. Nat. Hist., 1855. 


doctrine of subsidence ; indeed, from the quite independent 
evidence of the Coral Reefs I coloured my original map (in my 
Coral volume) of the Aru Islands as one of subsidence, but 
got frightened and left it uncoloured. But I can see that you 
are inclined to go much further than I am in regard to the 
former connection of oceanic islands with continents. Ever 
since poor E. Forbes propounded this doctrine, it has been 
eagerly followed ; and Hooker elaborately discusses the 
former connection of all the Antarctic Islands and New Zea- 
land and South America. About a year ago I discussed this 
subject much with Lyell and Hooker (for I shall have to treat 
of it), and wrote out my arguments in opposition ; but you 
will be glad to hear that neither Lyell nor Hooker thought 
much of my arguments. Nevertheless, for once in my life, 
I dare withstand the almost preternatural sagacity of Lyell. 

You ask about land-shells on islands far distant from con- 
tinents : Madeira has a few identical with those of Europe, 
and here the evidence is really good, as some of them are sub- 
fossil. In the Pacific Islands there are cases of identity, which 
I cannot at present persuade myself to account for by intro- 
duction through man's agency ; although Dr. Aug. Gould has 
conclusively shown that many land-shells have thus been 
distributed over the Pacific by man's agency. These cases of 
introduction are most plaguing. Have you not found it so in 
the Malay Archipelago ? It has seemed to me in the lists of 
mammals of Timor and other islands, that several in all pro- 
bability have been naturalised. . . . 

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 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 Archi- 
pelago 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 myjvery 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. 

Pray believe me, my dear sir, yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to W. D. Fox. 

Feb. 8th [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 
Crcesus overwhelmed with my riches in facts, and I mean 
to make my book as perfect as ever I can. I shall not 
go to press at soonest for a couple of years. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Feb. 23rd [1858]. 

... I was not much struck with the great Buckle, and I 
admired the way you stuck up about deduction and induction. 
I am reading his book,* which, with much sophistry, as it 
seems to me, is wonderfully clever and original, and with 
astounding knowledge. 

I saw that you admired Mrs. Farrer's 'Questa tomba' of 

* ' The History of Civilisation.' 


Beethoven thoroughly; there is something grand in her sweet 

Farewell. I have partly written this note to drive bee's-cells 
out of my head ; for I am half-mad on the subject to try to 
make out some simple steps from which all the wondrous 
angles may result.* 

I was very glad to see Mrs. Hooker on Friday ; how well 
she appears to be and looks. 

Forgive your intolerable but affectionate friend, 

C. Darwin.. 

C. Danvin to W. D. Fox. 

Down, April 16th [1858J. 

My DEAR Fox, I want you to observe one point for me r 
on which I am extremely much interested, and which will give 
you no trouble beyond keeping your eyes open, and that is a. 
habit I know full well that you have. 

I find horses of various colours often have a spinal band or 
stripe of different and darker tint than the rest of the body ; 
rarely transverse bars on the legs, generally on the under-side 
of the front legs, still more rarely a very faint transverse 
shoulder-stripe like an ass. 

Is there any breed of Delamere forest ponies ? I have 
found out little about ponies in these respects. Sir P. Egerton, 
has, I believe, some quite thoroughbred chestnut horses ; have.- 
any of them the spinal stripe ? Mouse-coloured ponies, or 
rather small horses, often have spinal and leg bars. So have 
dun horses (by dun I mean real colour of cream mixed with 
brown, bay, or chestnut). So have sometimes chestnuts, but I 
have not yet got a case of spinal stripe in chestnut, race horse y 
or in quite heavy cart-horse. Any fact of this nature of such 
stripes in horses would be most useful to me. There is a. 

* He had much correspondence on this subject with the late Professor 
Miller of Cambridge. 


parallel case in the legs of the donkey, and I have collected 
some most curious cases of stripes appearing in various 
crossed equine animals. I have also a large mass of parallel 
facts in the breeds of pigeons about the wing bars. I stispect 
it will throw light on the colour of the primeval horse. So 
do help me if occasion turns up. . . . My health has been 
lately very bad from overwork, and on Tuesday I go for a 
fortnight's hydropathy. My work is everlasting. Farewell. 
My dear Fox, I trust you are well. Farewell, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darzvin to J. D. Hooker. 

Moor Park, Farnham [April 26th, 1858]. 
... I have just had the innermost cockles of my heart 
rejoiced by a letter from Lyell. I said to him (or he to me) 
that I believed from the character of the flora of the Azores, 
that icebergs must have been stranded there ; and that I ex- 
pected erratic boulders would be detected embedded between 
the upheaved lava-beds ; and I got Lyell to write to Hartung 
to ask, and now H. says my question explains what had 
astounded him, viz. large boulders (and some polished) of 
mica-schist, quartz, sandstone, &c, some embedded, and some 
40 and 50 feet above the level of the sea, so that he had 
inferred that they had not been brought as ballast. Is this 
not beautiful ? 

The water-cure has done me some good, but I [am] nothing 
to boast of to-day, so good-bye. 

My dear friend, yours, 

C, D. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Moor Park, Farnham, April 26th [1858]. 
My DEAR LYELL, I have come here for a fortnight's 
hydropathy, as my stomach had got, from steady work, into a 

1858.] FLOATING ICE. 113 

horrid state. I am extremely much obliged to you for send- 
ing me Hartung's interesting letter. The erratic boulders are 
splendid. It is a grand case of floating ice versus glaciers. 
He ought to have compared the northern and southern shores 
of the islands. It is eminently interesting to me, for I have 
written a very long chapter on the subject, collecting briefly 
all the geological evidence of glacial action in different parts 
of the world, and then at great length (on the theory of species 
changing) I have discussed the migration and modification of 
plants and animals, in sea and land, over a large part of the 
world. To my mind, it throws a flood of light on the whole 
subject of distribution, if combined with the modification of 
species. Indeed, I venture to speak with some little con- 
fidence on this, for Hooker, about a year ago, kindly read 
over my chapter, and though he then demurred gravely to 
the general conclusion, I was delighted to hear a week or two 
ago that he was inclined to come round pretty strongly to my 
views of distribution and change during the glacial period. I 
had a letter from Thompson, of Calcutta, the other day, which 
helps me much, as he is making out for me what heat our 
temperate plants can endure. But it is too long a subject for 
a note ; and I have written thus only because Hartung's note 
has set the whole subject afloat in my mind again. But I 
will write no more, for my object here is to think about 
nothing, bathe much, walk much, eat much, and read much 
novels. Farewell, with many thanks, and very kind remem- 
brance to Lady Lyell. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

Darwin to Mrs. Darwin. 

Moor Park, Wednesday, 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, 
VOL. 11. I 


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 
woodpeckers 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, 
philanthropical, 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 
Hungarian ; a thorough gentleman, formerly 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 Emperor of the French. The ver- 
April 1858 as an accessory to diet was " not guilty." 
Orsini's attempt on the life of the 



JUNE 1 8, 1858, TO NOVEMBER 1 859. 

[The letters given in the present chapter tell their story with 
sufficient clearness, and need but a few words of explanation. 
Mr. Wallace's Essay, referred to in the first letter, bore the 
title, ' On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely 
from the Original Type,' and was published in the Linnean 
Society's 'Journal' (1858, vol. iii. p. 53) as part of the joint 
paper of " Messrs. C. Darwin and A. Wallace," of which the 
full title was ' On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties ; 
and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural 
Means of Selection.' 

My father's contribution of the paper consisted of (1) Ex- 
tracts from the sketch of 1844; (2) part of a letter addressed 
to Dr. Asa Gray, dated September 5, 1857, and which is 
given at p. 120. 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. 

Referring 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 we 
highly approved, provided Mr. Darwin did not withhold from 
the public, as he was strongly inclined to do (in favour of 

I 2 


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 course, 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 science generally."] 


C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, 1 8th [June 1858]. 

MY DEAR Lyell, Some year or so ago you recommended 
me to read a paper by Wallace in the 'Annals,' * 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 be 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 ! Even his terms now stand as heads of my 
chapters. Please return me the MS., which he does not say 
he 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 amount to, will be smashed, though my book, 

* Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist., 1855. 


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, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, Friday [June 25, 1858]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I am very sorry to trouble you, busy 
as 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 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, an d 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 burn 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 I 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, 

C. Darwin. 

I will never trouble you or Hooker on the subject again. 

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down, 26th [June 1858]. 

My DEAR LYELL, 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 
abstract of your views till you received my communication. 
Is it fair to take advantage of my having freely, though 
unasked, 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 


Yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I have always thought you would make a first-rate 
Lord Chancellor ; and I now appeal to you as a Lord 

C. Darzvin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down, Tuesday [June 29, 1858]. 

.... I have received your letters. I cannot think now * 
on the subject, but soon will. But I can see that you have 
acted with more kindness, and so has Lyell, even than I could 
have expected from you both, most kind as you are. 

I can easily get my letter to Asa Gray copied, but it is too 

.... God bless you. You shall hear soon, as soon as I 
can think. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darzvin to J. D. Hooker. 

Tuesday night [June 29, 1858]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, 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 

* So soon after the death, from sense also it occurs in the ' Linnean 

scarlet fever, of his infant child. Journal/ where the sources of my 

t " Abstract " is here used in father's paper are described, 
the sense of " extract ; " in this 


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. 


C. Darwin. 

[The following letter is that already referred to as forming 
part of the joint paper published in the Linnean Society's 
4 Journal/ 1858] : 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray, 

Down, Sept.* 5th [1857]. 

My DEAR Gray, I forget the exact words which I used 
in my former letter, but I dare say I said that I thought you 
would utterly despise me when I told you what views I had 
arrived at, which I did because I thought I was bound as an 
honest man to do so. I should have been a strange mortal, 
seeing how much I owe to your quite extraordinary kindness, if 
in saying this I had meant to attribute the least bad feeling to 
you. Permit me to tell you that, before I had ever cor- 
responded with you, Hooker had shown me several of your 
letters (not of a private nature), and these gave me the 
warmest feeling of respect to you ; and I should indeed be 

* The date is given as October possession, on which he had written, 

in the ' Linnean Journal/ The " This was sent to Asa Gray 8 or 9 

extracts were printed from a dupli- months ago, I think October 1857." 
cate undated copy in my father's 

1858.] THE LETTER TO DR. GRAY. 121 

ungrateful if your letters to me, and all I have heard of you, 
had not strongly enhanced this feeling. But I did not feel in 
the least sure that when you knew whither I was tending, 
you might not think me so wild and foolish in my views (God 
knows, arrived at slowly enough, and I hope conscientiously), 
that you would think me worth no more notice or assistance. 
To give one example : the last time I saw my dear old friend 
Falconer, he attacked me most vigorously, but quite kindly, 
and told me, " You will do more harm than any ten Naturalists 
will do good. I can see that you have already corrupted and 
half-spoiled Hooker ! ! " Now when I see such strong feeling 
in my oldest friends, you need not wonder that I always ex- 
pect my views to be received with contempt. But enough and 
too much of this. 

I thank you most truly for the kind spirit of your last letter. 
I agree to every word in it, and think I go as far as almost 
any one in seeing the grave difficulties against my doctrine. 
With respect to the extent to which I go, all the arguments 
in favour of my notions fall rapidly away, the greater the scope 
of forms considered. But in animals, embryology leads me to 
an enormous and frightful range. The facts which kept me 
longest scientifically orthodox are those of adaptation the 
pollen-masses in asclepias the mistletoe, with its pollen 
carried by insects, and seed by birds the woodpecker, with 
its feet and tail, beak and tongue, to climb the tree and secure 
insects. To talk of climate or Lamarckian habit producing 
such adaptations to other organic beings is futile. This diffi- 
culty I believe I have surmounted. As you seem interested 
in the subject, and as it is an immense advantage to me to 
write to you and to hear, ever so briefly, what you think, 
I will enclose (copied, so as to save you trouble in reading) 
the briefest abstract of my notions on the means by which 
Nature makes her species. Why I think that species have 
really changed, depends on general facts in the affinities, 
embryology, rudimentary organs, geological history, and geo- 


graphical distribution of organic beings. In regard to my 
Abstract, you must take immensely on trust, each paragraph 
occupying one or two chapters in my book. You will, 
perhaps, think it paltry in me, when I ask you not to mention 
my doctrine ; the reason is, if any one, like the author of the 
' Vestiges/ were to hear of them, he might easily work them 
in, and then I should have to quote from a work perhaps 
despised by naturalists, and this would greatly injure any 
chance of my views being received by those alone whose 
opinions I value. [Here follows a discussion on " large 
genera varying," which has no direct connection with the 
remainder of the letter.] 

I. It is wonderful what the principle of Selection by Man, 
that is the picking out of individuals with any desired quality, 
and breeding from them, and again picking out, can do. 
Even breeders have been astonished at their own results. 
They can act on differences inappreciable to an uneducated 
eye. Selection has been methodically followed in Europe for 
only the last half century. But it has occasionally, and even 
in some degree methodically, been followed in the most 
ancient times. There must have been also a kind of uncon- 
scious selection from the most ancient times, namely, in the 
preservation of the individual animals (without any thought of 
their offspring) most useful to each race of man in his par- 
ticular circumstances. The "roguing," as nursery-men call the 
destroying of varieties, which depart from their type, is a kind 
of selection. I am convinced that intentional and occasional 
selection has been the main agent in making our domestic 
races. But, however this may be, its great power of modifi- 
cation has been indisputably shown in late times. Selection 
acts only by the accumulation of very slight or greater 
variations, caused by external conditions, or by the mere 
fact that in generation the child is not absolutely similar to 
its parent. Man, by this power of accumulating variations,, 
adapts living beings to his wants he may be said to make 

1858.] THE LETTER TO DR. GRAY. 12 


the wool of one sheep good for carpets, and another for 
cloth, &c. 

II. Now, suppose there was a being, who did not judge by 
mere external appearance, but could study the whole internal 
organisation who never was capricious who should go on 
selecting for one end during millions of generations, who will 
say what he might not effect ! In nature we have some slight 
variations, occasionally in all parts : and I think it can be 
shown that a change in the conditions of existence is the 
main cause of the child not exactly resembling its parents ;. 
and in nature, geology shows us what changes have taken 
place, and are taking place. We have almost unlimited time : 
no one but a practical geologist can fully appreciate this : 
think of the Glacial period, during the whole of which the 
same species of shells at least have existed ; there must 
have been during this period, millions on millions of 

III. I think it can be shown that there is such an unerring 
power at work, or Natural Selection (the title of my book), 
which selects exclusively for the good of each organic being. 
The elder De Candolle, W. Herbert, and Lyell, have written 
strongly on the struggle for life ; but even they have not 
written strongly enough. Reflect that every being (even the 
elephant) breeds at such a rate that, in a few years, or at most 
a few centuries or thousands of years, the surface of the earth 
would not hold the progeny of any one species. I have found 
it hard constantly to bear in mind that the increase of every 
single species is checked during some part of its life, or during 
some shortly recurrent generation. Only a few of those 
annually born can live to propagate their kind. What a 
trifling difference must often determine which shall survive 
and which perish ! 

IV. Now take the case of a country undergoing some 
change ; this will tend to cause some of its inhabitants to vary 
slightly ; not but what I believe most beings vary at all times 


enough for selection to act on. Some of its inhabitants will 
be exterminated, and the remainder will be exposed to the 
mutual action of a different set of inhabitants, which I believe 
to be more important to the life of each being than mere 
climate. Considering the infinitely various ways beings have 
to obtain food by struggling with other beings, to escape 
danger at various times of life, to have their eggs or seeds 
disseminated, &c. &c, I cannot doubt that during millions of 
generations individuals of a species will be born with some 
slight variation profitable to some part of its economy ; such 
will have a better chance of surviving, propagating this varia- 
tion, which again will be slowly increased by the accumulative 
action of natural selection ; and the variety thus formed will 
either coexist with, or more commonly will exterminate its 
parent form. An organic being like the woodpecker, or 
the mistletoe, may thus come to be adapted to a score of 
contingencies ; natural selection, accumulating those slight 
variations in all parts of its structure which are in any way 
useful to it, during any part of its life. 

V. Multiform difficulties will occur to every one on this 
theory. Most can, I think, be satisfactorily answered. 
" Natura non facit saltum " answer some of the most obvi- 
ous. The slowness of the change, and only a very few under- 
going change at any one time answers others. The extreme 
imperfections of our geological records answer others. 

VI. One other principle, which maybe called the principle 
of divergence, plays, I believe, an important part in the origin 
of species. The same spot will support more life if occupied 
by very diverse forms : we see this in the many generic forms 
in a square yard of turf (I have counted twenty species 
belonging to eighteen genera), or in the plants and insects, 
on any little uniform islet, belonging to almost as many 
genera and families as to species. We can understand this 
with the higher animals, whose habits we best understand. 
We know that it has been experimentally shown that a plot 

1858.] THE LETTER TO DR. GRAY. 125 

of land will yield a greater weight, if cropped with several 
species of grasses, than with two or three species. Now every 
single organic being, by propagating rapidly, may be said to 
be striving its utmost to increase in numbers. So it will be 
with the offspring of any species after it has broken into 
varieties, or sub-species, or true species. And it follows, I 
think, from the foregoing facts, that the varying offspring of 
each species will try (only few will succeed) to seize on as 
many and as diverse places in the economy of nature as 
possible. Each new variety or species when formed will 
generally take the place of, and so exterminate its less well- 
fitted parent. This, I believe, to be the origin of the classifi- 
cation or arrangement of all organic beings at all times. 
These always seem to branch and sub-branch like a tree 
from a common trunk ; the flourishing twigs destroying the 
less vigorous the dead and lost branches rudely representing 
extinct genera and families. 

This sketch is most imperfect ; but in so short a space I 
cannot make it better. Your imagination must fill up many 
wide blanks. Without some reflection, it will appear all 
rubbish ; perhaps it will appear so after reflection. 

C. D. 

P.S. This little abstract touches only the accumulative 
power of natural selection, which I look at as by far the most 
important element in the production of new forms. The laws 
governing the incipient or primordial variation (unimportant 
except as the groundwork for selection to act on, in which 
respect it is all important), I shall discuss under several 
heads, but I can come, as you may well believe, only to very 
partial and imperfect conclusions. 

[The joint paper of Mr. Wallace and my father was read at 
the Linnean Society on the evening of July 1st. Sir Charles 
Lyell and Sir J. D. Hooker were present, and both, I believe, 
made a few remarks, 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."] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, July 5th [1858]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, We are become more happy and 
less panic-struck, now that we have sent out of the house 
every child, and shall remove H., as soon as she can move. 
The first nurse became ill with ulcerated throat and quinsy, 
and the second is now ill with the scarlet fever, but, thank 
God, is recovering. You may imagine how frightened we 
have been. It has been a most miserable fortnight. Thank 
you much for your note, telling me that all had gone on 
prosperously at the Linnean Society. You must let me once 
again tell you how deeply I feel your generous kindness and 
Lyell's on this occasion. But in truth it shames me that 
you should have lost time on a mere point of priority. I 
shall be curious to see the proofs. I do not in the least 
understand whether my letter to A. Gray is to be printed ; 
I suppose not, only your note ; but I am quite indifferent, 
and place myself absolutely in your and Lyell's hands. 

I can easily prepare an abstract of my whole work, but I 
can hardly see how it can be made scientific for a Journal, 
without giving facts, which would be impossible. Indeed, a 
mere abstract cannot be very short. Could you give me any 


idea how many pages of the Journal could probably be spared 

me ? 

Directly after my return home, I would begin and cut my 
cloth to my measure. If the Referees were to reject it as not 
strictly scientific, I could, perhaps, publish it as a pamphlet. 

With respect to my big interleaved abstract,* would you 
send it any time before you leave England, to the enclosed 
address? If you do not go till August ^th-ioth, I should 
prefer it left with you. I hope you have jotted criticisms on 
my MS. on big Genera, &c, sufficient to make you remember 
your remarks, as I should be infinitely sorry to lose them. 
And I see no chance of our meeting if you go soon abroad. 
AVe thank you heartily for your invitation to join you : I can 
fancy nothing which I should enjoy more ; but our children 
are too delicate for us to leave ; I should be mere living 

Lastly, you said you would write to Wallace ; I certainly 
should much like this, as it would quite exonerate me : if you 
would send me your note, sealed up, I would forward it with 
my own, as I know the address, &c. 

Will you answer me some time about your notions of the 
length of my abstract. 

If you see Lyell, will you tell him how truly grateful I feel 
for his kind interest in this affair of mine. You must know that 
I look at it, as very important, for the reception of the view 
of species not being immutable, the fact of the greatest 
Geologist and Botanist in England taking any sort of interest 
in the subject : I am sure it will do much to break down 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

* The Sketch of 1844. 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Miss Wedgwood's, Hartfield, Tunbridge Wells, 

[July 13th, 1858]. 

My dear Hooker, 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 will 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 shall 
order Bentham ; is it not a pity that you should waste time 
in tabulating varieties ? for I can get the Down schoolmaster 
to do it on my return, and can tell you all the results. 

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, 
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, 

C. Darwin. 

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 Iwuse, and not 
field niggers) in their mouths ! 

I am inclined to think that it is a true generalisation that, 
when honey is secreted at one point of the circle of the corolla, 
if the pistil bends, it always bends into the line of the gangway 
to the honey. The Larkspur is a good instance, in contrast 
to Columbine, if you think of it, just attend to this little 

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

King's Head Hotel, Sandown, Isle of Wight. 

July 1 8th [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 otherwise. 

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 myself 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 
appearing 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, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[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.] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

King's Head Hotel, Sandown, Isle of Wight. 

July 21st [1858]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, 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 publica- 
tion. 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 be able till I re-read my MS. ; but you 
may rely on it that you never make a remark to me which is 

1858.] THE 'ABSTRACT.' 131 

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 have ordered Bentham, for, as says, it will be very 

curious to see a Flora written by a man who knows nothing 
of British plants ! ! 

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 way^ 
you have aided me ! 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

[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. 85) 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, Recommenced Abstract" The 
book was begun with the idea that it would be published as 
a paper, or series of papers, by the Linnean Society, and ii 
was only in the late autumn that it became clear that it 
must take the form of an independent volume.] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Norfolk House, Shanklin, Isle of Wight. 

Friday [July] 30th [1858]. 

My DEAR Hooker, Will you give the enclosed scrap t 

Sir William to thank him for his kindness ; and this gives m 

an excuse to amuse myself by writing to you a note, whic 

requires no answer. 

* That is to say, he would help prove too long for the Linnea 
to pay for the printing, if it should Society. 

K 2 


This is a very charming place, and we have got a very 
comfortable house. But, alas, I cannot say that the sea has 
done H. or L. much good. Nor has my stomach recovered 
from all our troubles. I am very glad we left home, for six 
children have now died of scarlet fever in Down. We return 
on the 14th of August. 

I have got Bentham,* and am charmed with it, and 
William (who has just started for a tour abroad) has been 
making out all sorts of new (to me) plants capitally. The 
little scraps of information are so capital . . . The English 
names in the analytical keys drive us mad : give them by 
all means, but why on earth [not] make them subordinate 
to the Latin ; it puts me in a passion. W. charged into the 
Compositse and Umbelliferae like a hero, and demolished 
ever so many in grand style. 

I pass my time by doing daily a couple of hours of my 
Abstract, and I find it amusing and improving work. I am 
now most heartily obliged to you and Lyell for having set 
me on this ; for I shall, when it is done, be able to finish my 
work with greater ease and leisure. I confess I hated the 
thought of the job ; and now I find it very unsatisfactory in 
not being able to give my reasons for each conclusion. 

It will be longer than I expected ; it will take thirty-five 
of my MS. folio pages to give an abstract on variation 
under domestication alone ; but I will try to put in nothing 
which does not seem to me of some interest, and which was 
once new to me. It seems a queer plan to give an abstract 
of an unpublished work ; nevertheless, I repeat, I am extremely 
glad I have begun in earnest on it. 

I hope you and Mrs. Hooker will have a very very pleasant 
tour. Farewell, my dear Hooker. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

* ' British Flora.' 

1858.] THE 'ABSTRACT.' 1 33 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Norfolk House, Shanklin, Isle of Wight. 

Thursday [Aug. 5, 1858]. 

My DEAR Hooker, I should think the note apologetical 
about the style of the Abstract was best as a note .... But 
I write now to ask you to send me by return of post the MS. 
on big genera, that I may make an abstract of a couple of 
pages in length. I presume that you have quite done with it, 
otherwise I would not for anything have it back. If you tie 
it with string, and mark it MS. for printing, it will not cost, 
I should think, more than \d. I shall wish much to say that 
you have read this MS. and concur ; but you shall, before I 
read it to the Society, hear the sentence. 

What you tell me after speaking with Busk about the length 
of the Abstract is an immense relief to me ; it will make the 
labour far less, not having to shorten so much every single 
subject ; but I will try not to be too diffusive. I fear it will 
spoil all interest in my book,* whenever published. The 
Abstract will do very well to divide into several parts : thus I 
have just finished " Variation under Domestication," in forty- 
four MS. pages, and that would do for one evening ; but I 
should be extremely sorry if all could not be published 

What else you say about my Abstract pleases me highly, 
but frightens me, for I fear I shall never be able to make 
it good enough. But how I do run on about my own affairs 
to you ! 

I was astonished to see Sir W. Hooker's card here two or 
three days ago : I was unfortunately out walking. Henslow, 
also, has written to me, proposing to come to Down on the 
9th, but alas, I do not return till the 13th, and my wife not till 
a week later ; so that I am also most sorry to think I shall 

* The larger book begun in 1856. 


not see you, for I should not like to leave home so soon. 
I had thought of goi 
hour or two to Kew. 

I had thought of going to London and running down for an 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Norfolk House, Shanklin, Isle of Wight. 

[August 1858.] 

My 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 we 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 (!) 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 ! 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. 

'fc> *- AA< - *-\_/.OL. . . I 


C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Aug. nth [1858]. 

My DEAR Gray, Your note of July 27th has just reached 
me in the Isle of Wight. It is a real and great pleasure to me 
to write to you about my notions ; and even if it were not so, 
I should be a most ungrateful dog, after all the invalu- 
able assistance which you have rendered me, if I did not do 
anything which you asked. 

I have discussed in my long MS. the later changes of 
climate and the effect on migration, and I will here give you 
an abstract of an abstract (which latter I am preparing of 
my whole work for the Linnean Society). I cannot give 
you facts, and I must write dogmatically, though I do not 
feel so on any point. I may just mention, in order that you 
may believe that I have some foundation for my views, that 
Hooker has read my MS., and though he at first demurred to 
my main point, he has since told me that further reflection 
and new facts have made him a convert. 

In the older, or perhaps newer, Pliocene age (a little 
before the Glacial epoch) the temperature was higher ; of 
this there can be little doubt ; the land, on a large scale, 
held much its present disposition : the species were mainly, 
judging from shells, what they are now. At this period 
when all animals and plants ranged iO or 15 nearer the 
poles, I believe the northern part of Siberia and of North 
America, being almost continuous, were peopled (it is quite 
possible, considering the shallow water, that Behring Straits 
were united, perhaps a little southward) by a nearly uniform 
fauna and flora, just as the Arctic regions now are. The 
climate then became gradually colder till it became what 
it now is ; and then the temperate parts of Europe and 
America would be separated, as far as migration is concerned, 
just as they now are. Then came on the Glacial period, 
driving far south all living things ; middle or even southern 


Europe being peopled with Arctic productions ; as the warmth 
returned, the Arctic productions slowly crawled up the moun- 
tains as they became denuded of snow ; and we now see on 
their summits the remnants of a once continuous flora and 
fauna. This is E. Forbes's theory, which, however, I may 
add, I had written out four years before he published. 

Some facts have made me vaguely suspect that between 
the glacial and the present temperature there was a period 
of slightly greater warmth. According to my modification- 
doctrines, I look at many of the species of North America 
which closely represent those of Europe, as having become 
modified since the Pliocene period, when in the northern part 
of the world there was nearly free communication between 
the old and new worlds. But now comes a more important 
consideration ; there is a considerable body of geological 
evidence that during the Glacial epoch the whole world was 
colder ; I inferred that, many years ago, from erratic boulder 
phenomena carefully observed by me on both the east and 
west coast of South America. Now I am so bold as to 
believe that at the height of the Glacial epoch, and when all 
Tropical productions mtist have been considerably distressed \ 
several temperate forms slowly travelled into the heart of the 
Tropics, and even reached the southern hemisphere; and some 
few southern forms penetrated in a reverse direction north- 
ward. (Heights of Borneo with Australian forms, Abyssinia 
with Cape forms.) Wherever there was nearly continuous high 
land, this migration would have been immensely facilitated ; 
hence the European character of the plants of Tierra del Fuego 
and summits of Cordilleras ; hence ditto on Himalaya. As the 
temperature rose, all the temperate intruders would crawl up 
the mountains. Hence the European forms on Nilgherries, 
Ceylon, summit of Java, Organ Mountains of Brazil. But 
these intruders being surrounded with new forms would be 
very liable to be improved or modified by natural selection, 
to adapt them to the new forms with which they had to 


compete ; hence most of the forms on the mountains of the 
Tropics are not identical, but representative forms of North 
temperate plants. 

There are similar classes of facts in marine productions. 
All this will appear very rash to you, and rash it may be ; 
but I am sure not so rash as it will at first appear to you : 
Hooker could not stomach it at all at first, but has become 
largely a convert. From mammalia and shallow sea, I believe 
Japan to have been joined to main land of China within no 
remote period ; and then the migration north and south 
before, during, and after the Glacial epoch would act on 
Japan, as on the corresponding latitude of China and the 
United States. 

I should beyond anything like to know whether you have 
any Alpine collections from Japan, and what is their character. 
This letter is miserably expressed, but perhaps it will suffice 
to show what I believe have been the later main migrations 
and changes of temperature. . . . 

C. Darwin 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 you, pray 
remember me very kindly to him. 

... I am working most steadily at my Abstract, but it 
grows to an inordinate length ; yet fully to 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. 

I have been reading with much interest your (as I believe 
it to be) capital memoir of R. Brown in the Gardeners' 
Chronicle. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Oct. 1 2th, 1858. 

... I have sent eight copies * by post to Wallace, and 
will keep the others for him, for I could not think of any one 
to send any to. 

I pray you not to pronounce too strongly against Natural 
Selection, till you have read my Abstract, for though I dare say 
you will strike out many difficulties, which have never occurred 
to me : yet you cannot have thought so fully on the subject 
as I have. 

I expect my Abstract will run into a small volume, which 
will have to be published separately. . . . 

What a splendid lot of work you have in hand. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Oct. 13th, 1858. 

... I have been a little vexed at myself at having asked 
you not "to pronounce too strongly against Natural Selection." 
I am sorry to have bothered you, though I have been much 
interested by your note in answer. I wrote the sentence 
without reflection. But the truth is, that I have so accustomed 
myself, partly from being quizzed by my non-naturalist rela- 
tions, to expect opposition and even contempt, that I forgot for 

* Of the joint paper by C. Darwin and A. R. Wallace. 

1858.] SIR J. D. HOOKER. 1 39 

the moment that you are the one living soul from whom I have 
constantly received sympathy. Believe [me] that I never forget 
for even a minute how much assistance I have received from 
you. You are quite correct that I never even suspected that 
my speculations were a "jam-pot" to you ; indeed, I thought, 
until quite lately, that my MS. had produced no effect on 
you, and this has often staggered me. Nor did I know that 
you had spoken in general terms about my work to our 
friends, excepting to dear old Falconer, who some few years 
ago once told me that I should do more mischief than any ten 
other naturalists would do good, [and] that I had half-spoiled 
you already ! All this is stupid egotistical stuff, and I write 
it only because you may think me ungrateful for not having 
valued and understood your sympathy ; which God knows is 
not the case. It is an accursed evil to a man to become so 
absorbed in any subject as I am in mine. 

I was in London yesterday for a few hours with Falconer, 
and he gave me a magnificent lecture on the age of man. We 
are not upstarts ; we can boast of a pedigree going far back 
in time coeval with extinct species. He has a grand fact of 
some large molar tooth in the Trias. 

I am quite knocked up, and am going next Monday to 
revive under Water-cure at Moor Park. 

My dear Hooker, yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Nov. 1858. 

.... I had vowed not to mention my everlasting 
Abstract to you again, for I am sure I have bothered you 
far more than enough about it ; but, as you allude to its 
publication, I may say that I have the chapters on Instinct 
and Hybridism to abstract, which may take a fortnight each ; 
and my materials for Palaeontology, Geographical Distribution, 


and Affinities, being less worked up, I dare say each of these 
will take me three weeks, so that I shall not have done at 
soonest till April, and then my Abstract will in bulk make 
a small volume. I never give more than one or two instances, 
and I pass over briefly all difficulties, and yet I cannot make 
my Abstract shorter, to be satisfactory, than I am now doing, 
and yet it will expand to a small volume. . . . 

[About this time my father revived his old knowledge of 
beetles in helping his boys in their collecting. He sent a 
short notice to the ' Entomologist's Weekly Intelligencer,' June 
25th, 1859, recording the capture of Licimis silphoides, Clytus 
mysticus, Pa?iagceus 4-pustulatus. The notice begins with 
the words, " We three very young collectors having lately 
taken in the parish of Down," &c, and is signed by three 
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 letters to Mr. Fox 
(November 13, 1858), and to Sir John Lubbock, illustrate 
this point :] 

C. Darwin to W. D. Fox. 

Down, Nov. 13th [1858]. 
. . . W., my son, is now at Christ's College, in the rooms 
above yours. My old Gyp, Impey, was astounded to hear 
that he was my son, and very simply asked, "Why, has 
he been long married ? " What pleasant hours those were 
when I used to come and drink coffee with you daily ! I 
am reminded of old days by my third boy having just begun 
collecting beetles, and he 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 . . . 

1858.] ENTOMOLOGY. 141 

C. Darwin to John Ltibbock. 

Thursday [before 1857]. 

Dear LUBBOCK, I do not know whether you care about 
beetles, but for the chance I send this in a bottle, which I 
never remember having seen ; though it is excessively rash 
to speak from a twenty-five-year old remembrance. When- 
ever we meet you can tell me whether you know it. . . . 

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 " ! to which toast at Cambridge I 
have drunk many a glass of wine. So again, " Floreat En- 
tomologia." N.B. I have not now been drinking any glasses 

full of wine. 



C. Darwin to Herbert Spencer, 

Down, Nov. 25th [1858]. 

DEAR SIR, I beg permission to thank you sincerely for 
your very kind present of your Essays.* I have already read 
several of them with much interest. Your remarks on the 
general argument of the so-called development theory seems 
to me admirable. I am at present preparing an Abstract of a 
larger work on the changes of species ; but I treat the subject 
simply as a naturalist, and not from a general point of view, 
otherwise, in my opinion, your argument could not have been 
improved on, and might have been quoted by me with great 
advantage. Your article on Music has also interested me 
much, for I had often thought on the subject, and had come 

* ' Essays, Scientific, Political, and Speculative/ by Herbert Spencer, 


to nearly the same conclusion with you, though unable to 
support the notion in any detail. Furthermore, by a curious 
coincidence, expression has been for years a persistent subject 
with me for loose speculation, and I must entirely agree with 
you that all expression has some biological meaning. I hope 
to profit by your criticism on style, and with very best thanks, 
I beg leave to remain, dear Sir, 

Yours truly obliged, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Dec. 24th [1858]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, Your news about your unsolicited 

salary and house is jolly, and creditable to the Government. 

My room (28 X 19), with divided room above, with all 

fixtures (and painted), not furniture, and plastered outside, 

cost about ,500. I am heartily glad of this news. 

Your facts about distribution are, indeed, very striking. 
I remember well that none of your many wonderful facts 
in your several works, perplexed me, for years, more than 
the migration having been mainly from north to south, and not 
in the reverse direction. I have now at last satisfied myself 
(but that is very different from satisfying others) on this 
head ; but it would take a little volume to fully explain 
myself. I did not for long see the bearing of a conclusion 
at which I had arrived, with respect to this subject. It is, 
that species inhabiting a very large area, and therefore exist- 
ing in large numbers, and which have been subjected to the 
severest competition with many other forms, will have 
arrived, through natural selection, at a higher stage of per- 
fection than the inhabitants of a small area. Thus I ex- 
plain the fact of so many anomalies, or what may be called 
" living fossils," inhabiting now only fresh water, having been 
beaten out, and exterminated in the sea, by more im- 


proved forms ; thus all existing Ganoid fishes are fresh water, 
as [are] Lepidosiren and Ornithorhynchus, &c. The plants of 
Europe with Asia, as being the largest territory, I look at as 
the most " improved," and therefore as being able to with- 
stand the less-perfected Australian plants ; though these could 
not resist the Indian. See how all the productions of New 
Zealand yield to those of Europe. I dare say you will think 
all this utter bosh, but I believe it to be solid truth. 

You will, I think, admit that Australian plants, flourishing 
so in India, is no argument that they could hold their own 
against the ten thousand natural contingencies of other plants, 
insects, animals, &c. &c. With respect to South-West Australia 
and the Cape, I am shut up, and can only d n the whole 

. . . You say you should like to see my MS., but you did 
read and approved of my long Glacial chapter, and I have 
not yet written my Abstract on the whole of the Geographical 
Distribution, nor shall I begin it for two or three weeks. 
But either Abstract or the old MS. I should be delighted to 
send you, especially the Abstract chapter. . . . 

I have now written 330 folio pages of my Abstract, and it 
will require 150-200; so that it will make a printed volume 
of 400 pages, and must be printed separately, which I think 
will be better in many respects. The subject really seems to 
me too large for discussion at any Society, and I believe 
religion would be brought in by men whom I know. 

I am thinking of a i2mo. volume, like Lyell's fourth or fifth 
edition of the ' Principles.' . . . 

I have written you a scandalously long note. So now 
good bye, my dear Hooker, 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Jan. 20th, 1859. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I should very much like to borrow 
Heer at some future time, for I want to read nothing per- 
plexing at present till my Abstract is done. Your last very 
instructive letter shall make me very cautious on the hyper- 
speculative points we have been discussing. 

When you say you cannot master the train of thoughts, 
I know well enough that they are too doubtful and obscure to 
be mastered. I have often experienced what you call the 
humiliating feeling of getting more and more involved in 
doubt, the more one thinks of the facts and reasoning on 
doubtful points. But I always comfort myself with thinking 
of the future, and in the full belief that the problems which we 
are just entering on, will some day be solved ; and if we just 
break the ground we shall have done some service, even if we 
reap no harvest. 

I quite agree that we only differ in degree about the means 
of dispersal, and that I think a satisfactory amount of accord- 
ance. You put in a very striking manner the mutation of our 
continents, and I quite agree ; I doubt only about our oceans. 

I also agree (I am in a very agreeing frame of mind) with 
your argumentum ad hominem, about the highness of the 
Australian Flora from the number of species and genera ; but 
here comes in a superlative bothering element of doubt, viz. 
the effects of isolation. 

The only point in which I presumptuously rather demur 
is about the status of the naturalised plants in Australia. I 
think Miiller speaks of their having spread largely beyond 
cultivated ground ; and I can hardly believe that our Euro- 
pean plants would occupy stations so barren that the native 
plants could not live there. I should require much evidence 
to make me believe this. I have written this note merely to 
thank you, as you will see it requires no answer. 

1 859.] MR. WALLACE. 145 

I have heard to my amazement this morning from Phillips 

that the Geological Council have given me the Wollaston 

Medal ! ! ! 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Jan. 23rd, 1859. 

... 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 
me 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 ! . . . 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, Jan. 25th [1859]. 

My dear Sir, 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 be. 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 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 
500 pages. Whenever published, I will, of course, send you a 
copy, and then you will see what I mean about the part 
which I believe selection has played with domestic produc- 



tions. It is a very different part, as you suppose, from that 
played by " Natural Selection." I sent oft^ by the same address 
as this note, a copy of the ' Journal of the Linnean Society/ 
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 have done so, though almost exclusively under one 
point of view, viz. to show that instincts vary, so that selec- 
tion 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, and those which have not had pupae, are most valuable 
for measurements and examination. Their edges should be 
well protected against abrasion. 

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 apo- 
logy were never for an instant intended for publication, into 
the shade. 

You ask about Lyell's 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 Principles,' 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 by 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, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, March 2nd [1859]. 

MY DEAR HOOKER, Here is an odd, though very little, 
fact. I think it would be hardly possible to name a bird 
which apparently could have less to do with distribution than 
a Petrel. Sir W. Milner, at St. Kilda, cut open some young 
nestling Petrels, and he found large, curious nuts in their crops ; 
I suspect picked up by parent birds from the Gulf stream. 
He seems to value these nuts excessively. I have asked him 
(but I doubt whether he will) to send a nut to Sir William 
Hooker (I gave this address for grandeur's sake) to see if any 
of you can name it and its native country. Will you please 
mention this to Sir William Hooker, and if the nut does ar- 
rive, will you oblige me by returning it to " Sir W. 
Milner, Bart, Nunappleton, Tadcaster," in a registered 
letter, and I will repay you postage. Enclose slip of paper 
with the name and country if you can, and let me hereafter 
know. Forgive me asking you to take this much trouble ; for 
it is a funny little fact after my own heart. 

Now for another subject. I have finished my Abstract of 
the chapter on Geographical Distribution, as bearing on my 
subject. I should like you much to read it ; but I say this, 
believing that you will not do so, if, as I believe to be the 
case, you are extra busy. On my honour, I shall not be 
mortified, and I earnestly beg you not to do it, if it will 
bother you. I want it, because I here feel especially unsafe, 
and errors may have crept in. Also, I should much like to 
know what parts you will most veliemently object to. I know 

L 2 


we do, and must, differ widely on several heads. Lastly, I 
should like particularly to know whether I have taken any- 
thing from you, which you would like to retain for first publi- 
cation ; but I think I have chiefly taken from your published 
works, and, though I have several times, in this chapter and 
elsewhere, acknowledged your assistance, I am aware that it 
is not possible for me in the Abstract to do it sufficiently.* 
But again let me say that you must not offer to read it if very 
irksome. It is long about ninety pages, I expect, when 
fully copied out. 

I hope you are all well. Moor Park has done me some good. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. Heaven forgive me, here is another question : How 
far am I right in supposing that with plants, the most import- 
ant characters for main divisions are embryological ? The 
seed itself cannot be considered as such, I suppose, nor the 
albumen, &c. But I suppose the cotyledons and their posi- 
tion, and the position of the plumule and the radicle, and the 
position and form of the whole embryo in the seed are 
embryological, and how far are these very important ? I wish 
to instance plants as a case of high importance of embryo- 
logical characters in classification. In the Animal Kingdom 
there is, of course, no doubt of this. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, March 5th [1859]. 

My DEAR Hooker, Many thanks about the seed . . . 
it is curious. Petrels at St. Kilda apparently being fed by 

" I never did pick any one's much do I owe to your writings and 

pocket, but whilst writing my pre- conversation, so much more than 

sent chapter I keep on feeling (even mere acknowledgments show." 

when differing most from you) just Letter to Sir J. D. Hooker, 1859. 
as if I were stealing from you, so 


seeds raised in the West Indies. It should be noted whether 
it is a nut ever imported into England. I am very glad you 
will read my Geographical MS. ; it is now copying, and it will 
(I presume) take ten days or so in being finished ; it shall be 
sent as soon as done. . . . 

I shall be very glad to see your embryological ideas on 
plants ; by the sentence which I sent you, you will see that 
I only want one sentence ; if facts are at all, as I suppose, 
and I shall see this from your note, for sending which very 
many thanks. 

I have been so poorly, the last three days, that I sometimes 
doubt whether I shall ever get my little volume done, though 
so nearly completed. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, March 15th [1859]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, I am pleased at what you say of my 
chapter. You have not attacked it nearly so much as I 
feared you would. You do not seem to have detected many 
errors. It was nearly all written from memory, and hence I 
was particularly fearful ; it would have been better if the 
whole had first been carefully written out, and abstracted 
afterwards. I look at it as morally certain that it must 
include much error in some of its general views. I will just 
run over a few points in your note, but do not trouble yourself 
to reply without you have something important to say. . . . 

... I should like to know whether the case of endemic 
bats in islands struck you ; it has me especially ; perhaps too 

With hearty thanks, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. You cannot tell what a relief it has been to me 
your looking over this chapter, as I felt very shaky on it. 
I shall to-morrow finish my last chapter (except a re- 


capitulation) on Affinities, Homologies, Embryology, &c., 
and the facts seem to me to come out very strong for 
mutability of species. 

I have been much interested in working out the chapter. 

I shall now, thank God, begin looking over old first chapters 
for press. 

But my health is now so very poor, that even this will take 
me long. 

C. Darwin to W. D. Fox. 

Down, [March] 24th [1859]. 

My DEAR Fox, It was very good of you to write to me 
in the midst of all your troubles, though you seem to have 
got over some of them, in the recovery of your wife's and 
your own health, I had not heard lately of your mother's 
health, and am sorry to hear so poor an account. But as 
she does not suffer much, that is the great thing ; for mere 
life I do not think is much valued by the old. What a time 
you must have had of it, when you had to go backwards 
and forwards. 

We are all pretty well, and our eldest daughter is improving. 
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 over- 
work 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 truth. How glad I should be if you could 
sometime come to Down ; especially when I get a little better, 


as I still hope to be. We have set up a billiard table, and I 
find it does me a deal of good, and drives the horrid species 
out of my head. Farewell, my dear old friend. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, March 28th [1859]. 

My DEAR Lyell, 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 
expression in Lady Lyell's note, I fancy that you have 
spoken to Murray. Is it so ? And is he willing to publish 
my Abstract ? If you will tell me whether anything, and 
what has passed, I will then write to him. Does he 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 first ask him to propose terms ? And what do you 
think would 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 be 
free and try to recover some health. 

My dear Lyell, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 


Very sincere thanks to you for standing my proxy for the 
Wollaston Medal 

P.S. Would you advise me to tell Murray that my book 
is not more &?z-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 Genesis. 








Charles Darwin, M.A. 



&C. &.C. &C. &C. 


C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, March 30th [1859]. 

My DEAR LYELL, 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 
references 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 : 

" Through natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races." 

Why I like the term is that it is constantly used in all 
works 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 truly and cordially thank you for your 
really valuable assistance. 

Yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darivin to J. D. Hooker. 

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 with- 
out 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 con- 
dition 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 found in 
conversation so great and surprising an interest amongst such 
men, and some O-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 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 be 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. 

My dear Hooker, your affectionate, 

C. Darwin. 

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. Darwi?i to Asa Gray. 

April 4th [1859]. 

.... You ask to see my sheets as printed off; I assure 
you that it will be the highest satisfaction to me to do so : I 
look at the request as a high compliment. I shall not, you 

1859.] DIFFICULTIES. 1 55 

may depend, forget a request which I look at as a favour. But 
(and it is a heavy " but " to me) it will be long before I go to 
press ; I can truly say I am never idle ; indeed, I work too 
hard for my much weakened health ; yet I can do only three 
hours of work daily, and I cannot at all see when I shall have 
finished : I have done eleven long chapters, but I have got 
some other very difficult ones : as palaeontology, classifica- 
tions, and embryology, &c, and I have to correct and add 
largely to all those done. I find, alas ! each chapter takes me 
on an average three months, so slow I am. There is no end 
to the necessary digressions. I have just finished a chapter 
on instinct, and here I found grappling with such a subject as 
bees' cells, and comparing all my notes made during twenty 
years, took up a despairing length of time. 

But I am running on about myself in a most egotistical 
style. Yet I must just say how useful I have again and again 
found your letters, which I have lately been looking over and 
quoting ! but you need not fear that I shall quote anything 
you would dislike, for I try to be very cautious on this 
head. I most heartily hope you may succeed in getting your 
" incubus " of old work off your hands, and be in some degree 
a free man 

Again let me say that I do indeed feel grateful to you . . . 

C. Darwin to J. Murray. 

Down, April 5th [1859]. 

My DEAR 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 be 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 car ef til messenger, a?id 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. 

You must take your own time, but the sooner you 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 XL, but please to inform 

me on this head. 

My dear Sir, yours sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, April nth [1859]. 

... I write one line to say that I heard from Murray 
yesterday, and he says he has read the first three chapters of 
one MS. (and this includes a very dull one, and he abides by 
his offer). 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 : 

" I have the old MS., otherwise, the loss would have killed 
me ! 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."] 

1 859.] STYLE. 157 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

[April or May, 1859.] 

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

I enclose a criticism, a taste of the future 

Rev. S, Haughtoris Address to the Geological Society, Dublin* 

"This speculation of Messrs. Darwin and Wallace would 
not be worthy of notice were it not for the weight of authority 
of the names {i.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. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, May nth [1859]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, 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, f I never for a moment 

* Feb. 9, 1858. mutual muddle with respect to each 

f " When I go over the chapter other, from starting from some 

I will see what I can do, but I fundamentally different notions." 

hardly know how I am obscure, Letter of May 6, 1859. 
and I think we are somehow in a 


thought we could not make our ideas clear to each other by 
talk, or if either of us had time to write in extenso. 

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. 
" Reversion " 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 

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 grandfather called 
Unitarianism, " a feather bed to catch a falling Christian." . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, May 18th [1859]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, My health has quite failed. I am 
off to-morrow for a week of Hydropathy. I am very very 
sorry to say that I cannot look over any proofs * in the week, 
as my object is to drive the subject out of my head. I shall 
return to-morrow week. If it be worth while, which probably 
it is not, you could keep back any proofs till my return home. 

In haste, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

* Of Sir J. D. Hooker's Introduction to the e Flora of Australia.' 

I859-] PROOF SHEETS. 159 

[Ten days later he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : 

"... I write one word to say that I shall return on 
Saturday, and if you have any proof-sheets to send, I shall 
be glad to do my best in any criticisms. 

I had . . . great prostration of mind and body, but entire 
rest, and the douche, and ' Adam Bede,' have together done 
me a world of good."] 

C. Darwin to J. Mtirray. 

Down, June 14th [1859]. 
My DEAR Sir, The diagram will do very well, and I 
will send it shortly to Mr. West to have a few trifling 
corrections made. 

I get on very slowly with proofs. I remember writing to 
you that I thought there would be not much correction. I 
honestly wrote what I thought, but 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 cor- 
rections 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, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I have been looking at the corrections, and consider- 
ing them. It seems to me that I shall put you to a quite unfair 
expense. If you please I should like to enter into some 
such arrangement as the following : When work completed, 
you to allow in the account a fairly moderately heavy charge 
for corrections, and all excess over that to be deducted from 
my profits, or paid by me individually. 


C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, June 21st [1859]. 

... I am working very hard, but get on slowly, for I find 
that my corrections are terrifically heavy, and the work most 
difficult to me. I have corrected 130 pages, and the volume 
will be about 500. I have tried my best to make it clear and 
striking, but very much fear that I have failed so many dis- 
cussions are and must be very perplexing. I have done my 
best. If you had all my materials, I am sure you would have 
made a splendid book. I long to finish, for I am nearly 
worn out. 

My dear Lyell, ever yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, 22nd [June, 1859]. 

My DEAR Hooker, I did not answer your pleasant note, 
with a good deal of news to me, of May 30th, as I have 
been expecting proofs from you. But now, having nothing 
particular to do, I will fly a note, though I have nothing 
particular to say or ask. Indeed, how can a man have any- 
thing to say, who spends every day in correcting accursed 
proofs ; and such proofs ! I have fairly to blacken them, and 
fasten slips of paper on, so miserable have I found the style. 
You say that you dreamt that my book was entertaining ; that 
dream is pretty well over with me, and I begin to fear that 
the public will find it intolerably dry and perplexing. But I 
will never give up that a better man could have made a 
splendid book out of the materials. I was glad to hear about 
Prestwich's paper.* My doubt has been (and I see Wright 

* Mr. Prestwich wrote on the animals in France. Proc. R. Soc, 
occurrence of flint instruments as- 1859. 
sociated with the remains of extinct 

1859J PROOF SHEETS. l6l 

has inserted the same in the ' Athenaeum ') whether the pieces 
of flint are really tools ; their numbers make me doubt, and 
when I formerly looked at Boucher de Perthe's drawings, I 
came to the conclusion that they were angular fragments 
broken by ice action. 

Did crossing the Acacia do any good ? I am so hard 
worked, that I can make no experiments. I have got only 
to 150 pages in first proof. 

Adios, my dear Hooker, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. ]\Iiirray. 

Down, July 25th [1859]. 

My DEAR Sir, I write to say that five sheets are returned 
to the printers ready to strike off, and two more sheets require 
only a revise ; so that I presume you will soon have to decide 
what number of copies to print oft". 

I am quite incapable of forming any opinion. I think I 
have got the style fairly good and clear, with infinite trouble. 
But whether the book will be successful to a degree to satisfy 
you, I really cannot conjecture. I heartily hope it may. 

My dear Sir, yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, Aug. 9th, 1859. 
My DEAR Mr. WALLACE, I received your letter and 
memoir * on the 7th, and will forward it to-morrow to the 
Linnean Society. But you will be aware that there is no 
meeting till the beginning of November. Your paper seems 
to me admirable in matter, style, and reasoning ; and I thank 

* This seems to refer to Mr. Geography of the Malay Archi- 
Wallace's paper, "On the Zoological pelago," 'Linn. Soc. Journ.,' i860. 



you for allowing me to read it. Had I read it some months 
ago, I should have profited by it for my forthcoming volume.. 
But my two chapters on this subject are in type, and, though 
not yet corrected, I am so wearied out and weak in health, 
that I am fully resolved not to add one word, and merely 
improve the style. So you will see that my views are nearly 
the same with yours, and you may rely on it that not one 
word shall be altered owing to my having read your ideas. 
Are you aware that Mr. W. Earl * [sic] published several years- 
ago the view of distribution of animals in the Malay Archi- 
pelago, in relation to the depth of the sea between the islands ? 
I was much struck with this, and have been in the habit of 
noting all facts in distribution in that archipelago, and else- 
where, in this relation. I have been led to conclude that 
there has been a good deal of naturalisation in the different 
Malay islands, and which I have thought, to a certain extent,, 
would account for anomalies. Timor has been my greatest 
puzzle. What do you say to the peculiar Felis there? I 
wish that you had visited Timor ; it has been asserted that a 
fossil mastodon's or elephant's tooth (I forget which) has been 
found there, which would be a grand fact. I was aware that 
Celebes was very peculiar ; but the relation to Africa is quite 
new to me, and marvellous, and almost passes belief. It is as 
anomalous as the relation of plants in S.W. Australia to the 
Cape of Good Hope. I differ wholly 'from you on the colonisa- 
tion of oceanic islands, but you will have every one else 
on your side. I quite agree with respect to all islands not- 
situated far in the ocean. I quite agree on the little occa- 
sional intermigration between lands [islands?] when once 
pretty well stocked with inhabitants, but think this does not 
apply to rising and ill-stocked islands. Are you aware that 
annually birds are blown to Madeira, the Azores (and to 
Bermuda from America) ? I wish I had given a fuller abstract 
of my reasons for not believing in Forbes's great continental 
* Probably Mr. W. Earle's paper, Geographical Soc. Journal, 1845. 

1 859.] HEALTH. 163 

extensions ; but it is too late, for I will alter nothing I am 
worn out, and must have rest. Owen, I do not doubt, will 
bitterly oppose us. . . . Hooker is publishing a grand In- 
troduction to the Flora of Australia, and goes the whole 
length. I have seen proofs of about half. With every 
good wish. 

Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Sept. 1st [1859]. 

... I am not surprised at your finding your Introduction 
very difficult. But do not grudge the labour, and do not say 
you "have burnt your fingers," and are "deep in the mud"; 
for I feel sure that the result will be well worth the labour. 
Unless I am a fool, I must be a judge to some extent of the 
value of such general essays, and I am fully convinced that 
yours are the most valuable ever published. 

I have corrected all but the last two chapters of my book, 
and hope to have done revises and all in about three weeks, 
and then I (or we all) shall start for some months' hydropathy ; 
my health has been very bad, and I am becoming as weak as a 
child, and incapable of doing anything whatever, except my 
three hours daily work at proof-sheets. God knows whether 
I shall ever be good for anything again, perhaps a long rest 
and hydropathy may do something. 

I have not had A. Gray's Essay, and should not feel up to 
criticise it, even if I had the impertinence and courage. You 
will believe me that I speak strictly the truth when I say 
that your Australian Essay is extremely interesting to me, 
rather too much so. I enjoy reading it over, and if you think 
my criticisms are worth anything to you, I beg you to send 
the sheets (if you can give me time for good days) ; but 
unless I can render you any little, however little assistance, 

M 2 


I would rather read the essay when published. Pray under- 
stand that I should be truly vexed not to read them, if you 
wish it for your own sake. 

I had a terribly long fit of sickness yesterday, which makes 
the world rather extra gloomy to-day, and I have an insanely 
strong wish to finish my accursed book, such corrections every 
page has required as I never saw before. It is so weariful, 
killing the whole afternoon, after 12 o'clock doing nothing 
whatever. But I will grumble no more. So farewell, we 
shall meet in the winter I trust. 

Farewell, my dear Hooker, your affectionate friend, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, Sept. 2nd [1859]. 

... I am very glad you wish to see my clean sheets : I should 
have offered them, but did not know whether it would bore 
you ; I wrote by this morning's post to Murray to send them. 
Unfortunately I have not got to the part which will interest 
you, I think most, and which tells most in favour of the view, 
viz. Geological Succession, Geographical Distribution, and espe- 
cially Morphology, Embryology and Rudimentary Organs. I 
will see that the remaining sheets, when printed off, are sent to 
you. But would you like for me to send the last and perfect 
revises of the sheets as I correct them ? if so, send me your 
address in a blank envelope. I hope that you will read all, 
whether dull (especially latter part of Chapter II.) or not, for 
I am convinced there is not a sentence which has not a 
bearing on the whole argument. You will find Chapter IV. 
perplexing and unintelligible, without the aid of the enclosed 
queer diagram,* of which I send an old and useless proof. I 
have, as Murray says, corrected so heavily, as almost to have 
re-written it ; but yet I fear it is poorly written. Parts are 

* The diagram illustrates descent with divergence. 


intricate ; and I do not think that even you could make them 
quite clear. Do not, I beg, be in a hurry in committing 
yourself (like so many naturalists) to go a certain length and 
no further ; for I am deeply convinced that it is absolutely 
necessary to go the whole vast length, or stick to the creation 
of each separate species ; I argue this point briefly in the last 
chapter. Remember that your verdict will probably have 
more influence 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 we now see them. But forgive me for running 
on about my hobby-horse. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, [Sept.] nth [1859]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I corrected the last proof yesterday, 
and I have now my revises, index, &c, which will take 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 Ilkley, 
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 hope to God, you do not think me a brute about your 

Farewell, yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell, 

Down, Sept. 20th [1859]. 

My dear Lyell. You once gave me intense pleasure, or 
rather delight, by the way you were interested, in a manner 
I never expected, in my Coral Reef 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. Although your previously felt doubts on the immutability 
of species, may have more influence in converting you (if you 
be converted) than my book ; yet as I regard your verdict 
as far more important in my own eyes, and I believe in the 
eyes of the world than of any other dozen men, I am 
naturally very anxious about it. Therefore let me beg you 
to keep your mind open till you receive (in perhaps a 
fortnight's time) my latter chapters, which are the most 

* Sir Charles was President of 
the Geological section at the meet- 
ing of the British Association at 
Aberdeen in 1859. The following 
passage occurs in the address : 
" On this difficult and mysterious 
subject a work will very shortly 
appear by Mr. Charles Darwin, the 
result of twenty years of observa- 
tions 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 varieties 

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 con- 
nected with the affinities, geographi- 
cal distribution, and geological suc- 
cession of organic beings, for which 
no other hypothesis has been able, 
or has even attempted to account." 

1 859-] ENCOURAGEMENT, l6/ 

important of all on the favourable side. The last chapter, 
which sums up, and balances in a mass, all the arguments 
contra and pro, will, I think, be useful to you. I cannot too 
strongly express my conviction of the general truth of my 
doctrines, and God knows I have never shirked a difficulty. 
I am foolishly anxious for your verdict, not that I shall be 
disappointed if you are not converted ; for I remember the 
long years it took me to come round ; but I shall be most 
deeply delighted if you do come round, especially if I have a 
fair share in the conversion, I shall then feel that my career 
is run, and care little whether I ever am good for anything 
again in this life. 

Thank you much for allowing me to put in the sentence 
about your grave doubt* So much and too much about 

I have read with extreme interest in the Aberdeen paper 
about the flint tools ; you have made the whole case far 
clearer to me ; I suppose that you did not think the evidence 
sufficient about the Glacial period. 

With cordial thanks for your splendid notice of my book. 
Believe me, my dear Lyell, your affectionate disciple, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to VV. D. Fox. 

Down, Sept. 23rd [1859]. 
My DEAR Fox, I was very glad to get your letter a few 
days ago. I was wishing to hear about you, but have been 
in such an absorbed, slavish, overworked state, that I had not 
heart without compulsion to write to any one or do anything 
beyond my daily work. Though your account of yourself is 
better, I cannot think it at all satisfactory, and I wish you 
would soon go to Malvern again. My father used to believe 
largely in an old saying that, if a man grew thinner between 

* As to the immutability of species, ' Origin,' ed. i., p. 310. 


fifty and sixty years of age, his chance of long life was poor, and 
that on the contrary it was a very good sign if he grew fatter ; 
so that your stoutness, I look at as a very good omen. My 
health has been as bad as it well could be all this summer ; and 
I have kept on my legs, only by going at short intervals to 
Moor Park ; but I have been better lately, and, thank Heaven, 
I have at last as good as done my book, having only the 
index and two or three revises to do. It will be published 
in the first week in November, and a copy shall be sent you. 
Remember it is only an Abstract (but has cost me above 
thirteen months to write ! !), and facts and authorities are far 
from given in full. I shall be curious to hear what you think 
of it, but I am not so silly as to expect to convert you. 
Lyell has read about half of the volume in clean sheets, and 
gives me very great kudos. He is wavering so much about 
the immutability of species, that I expect he will come round. 
Hooker has come round, and will publish his belief soon. So 
much for my abominable volume, which has cost me so much, 
labour that I almost hate it. On October 3rd I start for 
Ilkley, but shall take three days for the journey ! It is so 
late that we shall not take a house ; but I go there alone for 
three or four weeks ; then return home for a week and go to 
Moor Park for three or four weeks, and then I shall get a 
moderate spell of hydropathy ; and I intend, if I can keep to 
my resolution, of being idle this winter. But I fear ennui 
will be as bad as a bad stomach. . . . 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, Sept. 25th [1859]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I send by this post four corrected sheets. 
I have altered the sentence about the Eocene fauna being beaten 
by recent, thanks to your remark. But I imagined that it 
would have been clear that I supposed the climate to be 
nearly similar ; you do not doubt, I imagine, that the climate 


of the Eocene and recent periods in different parts of the 
world could be matched. Not that I think climate nearly so 
important as most naturalists seem to think. In my opinion 
no error is more mischievous than this. 

I was very glad to find that Hooker, who read over, in 
MS., my Geographical chapters, quite agreed in the view of 
the greater importance of organic relations. I should like 
you to consider p. JJ and reflect on the case of any organism 
in the midst of its range. 

I shall be curious hereafter to hear what you think of dis- 
tribution during the glacial and preceding warmer periods. 
I am so glad you do not think the Chapter on the Imperfec- 
tion of the Geological Record exaggerated ; I was more 
fearful about this chapter than about any part. 

Embryology in Chapter VIII. is one of my strongest points 
I think. But I must not bore you by running on. My mind 
is so wearisomely full of the subject. 

I do thank you for your eulogy at Aberdeen. I have 
been so 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. . . . 


C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. 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 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, you will come 
more and more round, the longer you keep the subject 
at all before your mind. I remember well how 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 be 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 suc- 
ceeded 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 me 
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. 

1 859.] FINISHED. 171 

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, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, Oct. 15th [1859]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, Be a good man and screw out time 
enough to write me a note and tell me a little about yourself, 
your doings, and belongings. 

Is your Introduction fairly finished ? I know you will abuse 
it, and I know well how much I shall like it. I have been 
here nearly a fortnight, and it has done me very much good, 
though I sprained my ankle last Sunday, which has quite 
stopped walking. All my family come here on Monday to 
stop three or four weeks, and then I shall go back to the great 
establishment, and stay a fortnight ; so that if I can keep my 
spirits, I shall stay eight weeks here, and thus give hydro- 
pathy a fair chance. Before starting here I was in an awful 
state of stomach, strength, temper, and spirits. My book has 
been completely finished some little time ; as soon as copies 
are ready, of course one will be sent you. I hope you will 
mark your copy with scores, so that I may profit by any 
criticisms. I should like to hear your general impression. 
From Lyell's letters, he thinks favourably of it, but seems 
staggered by the lengths to which I go. But if you go any 
considerable length in the admission of modification, I can see 
no possible means of drawing the line, and saying here you 
must stop. Lyell is going to reread my book, and I yet enter- 
tain hopes that he will be converted, or perverted, as he calls 
it. Lyell has been extremely kind in writing me three volume- 
like letters ; but he says nothing about dispersal during the 


Glacial period. I should like to know what he thinks on this 
head. I have one question to ask : Would it be any good to 
send a copy of my book to Decaisne ? and do you know any 
philosophical botanists on the Continent, who read English 
and care for such subjects? if so, give me their addresses. 
How about Andersson in Sweden ? You cannot think how 
refreshing it is to idle away the whole day, and hardly ever 
think in the least about my confounded book which half- 
killed me. I much wish I could hear of your taking a real 
rest. I know how very strong you are mentally, but I never 
will believe you can go on working as you have worked of 
late with impunity. You will some day stretch the string 
too tight. Farewell, my good, and kind, and dear friend, 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Danvin to T. H. Huxley. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, Oct. 15th [1859]. 

My DEAR HUXLEY, I am here hydropathising and 
coming to life again, after having finished my accursed book, 
which would have been easy work to any one else, but half- 
killed me. I have thought you would give me one bit of 
information, and I know not to whom else to apply ; viz., the 
addresses of Barrande, Von Siebold, Keyserling (I dare say 
Sir Roderick would know the latter). 

Can you tell me of any good and speculative foreigners to 
whom it would be worth while to send copies of my book, on 
the ' Origin of Species ' ? I doubt whether it is worth sending 
to Siebold. I should like to send a few copies about, but 
how many I can afford I know not yet till I hear what price 
Murray affixes. 

I need not say that I will send, of course, one to you, in 
the first week of November. I hope to send copies abroad 
immediately. I shall be intensely curious to hear what effect 

1 859.] RESTING AT ILKLEY. 1 73 

the book produces on you. I know that there will be much 
in it which you will object to, and I do not doubt many 
errors. I am very far from expecting to convert you to 
many of my heresies ; but if, on the whole, you and two or 
three others think I am on the right road, I shall not care 
what the mob of naturalists think. The penultimate chapter,* 
though I believe it includes the truth, will, I much fear, make 
you savage. Do not act and say, like Macleay versus 
Fleming, " I write with aqua fortis to bite into brass." 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwi?i to C. Lyell. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire. 

Oct. 20th [1859]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I have been reading over all your let- 
ters consecutively, and I do not feel that I have thanked you 
half enough for the extreme pleasure which they have given 
me, and for their utility. I see in them evidence of fluctua- 
tion in the degree of credence you give to the theory ; nor am 
I at all surprised at this, for many and many fluctuations I 
have undergone. 

There is one point in your letter which I did not notice, 
about the animals (and many plants) naturalised in Australia, 
which you think could not endure without man's aid. I can- 
not see how man does aid the feral cattle. But, letting that 
pass, you seem to think, that because they suffer prodigious 
destruction during droughts, they would all be destroyed. In 
the " grandes secos " of La Plata, the indigenous animals, such 
as the American deer, die by thousands, and suffer apparently 
as much as the cattle. In parts of India, after a drought, it 
takes ten or more years before the indigenous mammals get 

* Chapter XIII. is on Classification, Morphology, Embryology, and 
Rudimentary Organs. 


up to their full number again. Your argument would, I think, 
apply to the aborigines as well as to the feral. 

An animal or plant which becomes feral in one small ter- 
ritory might be destroyed by climate, but I can hardly 
believe so, when once feral over several large territories. 
Again, I feel inclined to swear at climate : do not think me 
impudent for attacking you about climate. You say you 
doubt whether man could have existed under the Eocene 
climate, but man can now withstand the climate of Esqui- 
maux-land and West Equatorial Africa; and surely you do 
not think the Eocene climate differed from the present 
throughout all Europe, as much as the Arctic regions differ 
from Equatorial Africa ? 

With respect to organisms being created on the American 
type in America, it might, I think, be said that they were 
so created to prevent them being too well created, so as 
to beat the aborigines ; but this seems to me, somehow, a 
monstrous doctrine. 

I have reflected a good deal on what you say on the neces- 
sity of continued intervention of creative power. I cannot see 
this necessity ; and its admission, I think, would make the 
theory of Natural Selection valueless. Grant a simple Arche- 
typal creature, like the Mud-fish or Lepidosiren, with the five 
senses and some vestige of mind, and I believe natural selection 
will account for the production of every vertebrate animal. 

Farewell ; forgive me for indulging in this prose, and 
believe me, with cordial thanks, 

Your ever attached disciple, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. When, and if, you reread, I supplicate you to write on 
the margin the word " expand," when too condensed, or " not 
clear," or " ? ". Such marks would cost you little trouble, and 
I could copy them and reflect on them, and their value 
would be infinite to me. 

1 S 59-] RESTING AT ILKLEY. 1 75 

My larger book will have to be wholly re-written, and not 
merely the present volume expanded ; so that I want to waste 
as little time over this volume as possible, if another edition 
be called for ; but I fear the subject will be too perplexing, as 
I have treated it, for general public. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire. 

Sunday [Oct. 23rd, 1859]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I congratulate you on your ' Intro- 
duction ' * being in fact finished. I am sure from what I read 
of it (and deeply I shall be interested in reading it straight 
through), that it must have cost you a prodigious amount of 
labour and thought. I shall like very much to see the sheet, 
which you wish me to look at. Now I am so completely a 
gentleman, that I have sometimes a little difficulty to pass the 
day ; but it is astonishing how idle a three weeks I have 
passed. If it is any comfort to you, pray delude yourself by 
saying that you intend " sticking to humdrum science." But 
I believe it just as much as if a plant were to say that, " I have 
been growing all my life, and, by Jove, I will stop growing." 
You cannot help yourself; you are not clever enough for that. 
You could not even remain idle, as I have done, for three 
weeks ! What you say about Lyell pleases me exceedingly ; 
I had not at all inferred from his letters that he had come so 
much round. I remember thinking, above a year ago, that if 
ever I lived to see Lyell, yourself, and Huxley come round, 
partly by my book, and partly by their own reflections, I 
should feel that the subject is safe, and all the world might 
rail, but that ultimately the theory of Natural Selection 
(though, no doubt, imperfect in its present condition, and 
embracing many errors) would prevail. Nothing will ever 
convince me that three such men, with so much diversified 

* 1 

Australian Flora.' 


knowledge, and so well accustomed to search for truth, could 
err greatly. I have spoken of you here as a convert made 
by me ; but I know well how much larger the share has been 
of your own self-thought. 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. 

But, how I am running on ! You see how idle I am ; but I 
have so enjoyed your letter that you must forgive me. With 
respect to migration during the Glacial period : I think Lyell 
quite comprehends, for he has given me a supporting fact. 
But, perhaps, he unconsciously hates (do not say so to him) 
the view, as slightly staggering him on his favourite theory of 
all changes of climate being due to changes in the relative 
position of land and water. 

I will send copies of my book to all the men specified by 
you ; . . . would you be so kind as to add title, as Doctor, 
or Professor, or Monsieur, or Von, and initials (when wanted), 
and addresses to the names on the enclosed list, and let 
me have it pretty soon, as towards the close of this week 
Murray says the copies to go abroad will be ready. I am 
anxious to get my view generally known, and not, I hope and 
think, for mere personal conceit 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, Oct. 25th [1859]. 
. . . Our difference on "principle of improvement" and 
" power of adaptation " is too profound for discussion by 
letter. If I am wrong, I am quite blind to my error. If 
I am right, our difference will be got over only by your 
re-reading carefully and reflecting on my first four chapters. 
I supplicate you to read these again carefully. The so-called 
improvement of our Shorthorn cattle, pigeons, &c, does not 
presuppose or require any aboriginal " power of adaptation," 
or " principle of improvement ; " it requires only diversified 

1 859-] NATURAL SELECTION. 1 77 

variability, and man to select or take advantage of those 
modifications which are useful to him ; so under nature any 
slight modification which chances to arise, and is useful to any 
creature, is selected or preserved in the struggle for life ; any 
modification which is injurious is destroyed or rejected ; any 
which is neither useful nor injurious will be left a fluctuating 
element. When you contrast natural selection and " improve- 
ment," you seem always to overlook (for I do not see how 
you can deny) that every step in the natural selection of each 
species implies improvement in that species in relation to its 
conditions of life. No modification can be selected without 
it be an improvement or advantage. Improvement implies, 
I suppose, each form obtaining many parts or organs, all 
excellently adapted for their functions. As each species is 
improved, and as the number of forms will have increased, if 
we look to the whole course of time, the organic condition of 
life for other forms will become more complex, and there will 
be a necessity for other forms to become improved, or they 
will be exterminated ; and I can see no limit to this process 
of improvement, without the intervention of any other and. 
direct principle of improvement. All this seems to me quite 
compatible with certain forms fitted for simple conditions, 
remaining unaltered, or being degraded. 

If I have a second edition, I will reiterate " Natural Selec- 
tion, and as a general consequence, Natural Improvement." 

As you go, as far as you do, I begin strongly to think, 
judging from myself, that you will go much further. How 
slowly the older geologists admitted your grand views on 
existing geological causes of change ! 

If at any time you think I can answer any question, it is a 
real pleasure to me to write. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 



. C. Darwin to J. 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. 

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 j2 8s. ? 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 offer to distribute the copies to 
my friends and assisters 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, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. Please do not forget to let me hear about two days 
before the copies are distributed. 

I do not know when I shall leave this place, certainly not 
for several weeks. Whenever I am in London I will call 
on you. 

( i/9 ) 




To the present generation, that is to say, the people a few 
years on the hither and thither side of thirty, the name of 
Charles Darwin stands alongside of those of Isaac Newton and 
Michael Faraday ; and, like them, calls up the grand ideal of 
a searcher after truth and interpreter of Nature. They think 
of him who bore it as a rare combination of genius, industry, 
and unswerving veracity, who earned his place among the 
most famous men of the age by sheer native power, in the 
teeth of a gale of popular prejudice, and uncheered by a 
sign of favour or appreciation from the official fountains of 
honour ; as one who, in spite of an acute sensitiveness to 
praise and blame, and notwithstanding provocations which 
might have excused any outbreak, kept himself clear of all 
envy, hatred, and malice, nor dealt otherwise than fairly and 
justly with the unfairness and injustice which was showered 
upon him ; while, to the end of his days, he was ready to 
listen with patience and respect to the most insignificant of 
reasonable objectors. 

And with respect to that theory of the origin of the forms of 
life peopling our globe, with which Darwin's name is bound up 
as closely as that of Newton with the theory of gravitation, 
nothing seems to be further from the mind of the present 
generation than any attempt to smother it with ridicule or 
to crush it by vehemence of denunciation. " The struggle for 

N 2 


existence," and " Natural selection," have become household 
words and every-day conceptions. The reality and the im- 
portance of the natural processes on which Darwin founds 
his deductions are no more doubted than those of growth 
and multiplication ; and, whether the full potency attributed 
to them is admitted or not, no one doubts their vast and far- 
reaching significance. Wherever the biological sciences are 
studied, the ' Origin of Species ' lights the path of the in- 
vestigator ; wherever they are taught it permeates the course 
of instruction. Nor has the influence of Darwinian ideas 
been less profound, beyond the realms of Biology. The 
oldest of all philosophies, that of Evolution, was bound hand 
and foot and cast into utter darkness during the millennium 
of theological scholasticism. But Darwin poured new life- 
blood into the ancient frame ; the bonds burst, and the 
revivified thought of ancient Greece has proved itself to be 
a more adequate expression of the universal order of things 
than any of the schemes which have been accepted by the 
credulity and welcomed by the superstition of seventy later 
generations of men. 

To any one who studies the signs of the times, the 
emergence 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. But the 
most effective weapons of the modern champions of Evolution 
were fabricated by Darwin ; and the ' Origin of Species ' has 
enlisted a formidable body of combatants, trained in the se- 
vere school of Physical Science, whose ears might have long 
remained deaf to the speculations of a priori philosophers. 

I do not think that any candid or instructed person will 
deny the truth of that which has just been asserted. He may 
hate the very name of Evolution, and may deny its pretensions 
as vehemently as a Jacobite denied those of George the Second. 
But there it is not only as solidly seated as the Hanoverian 


dynasty, but happily independent of Parliamentary sanction 
and the dullest antagonists have come to see that thcv have 
to deal with an adversary whose bones are to be broken by 
no amount of bad words. 

Even the theologians have almost ceased to pit the plain 
meaning of Genesis against the no less plain meaning of 
Nature. Their more candid, or more cautious, representatives 
have given up dealing with Evolution as if it were a damnable 
heresy, and have taken refuge in one of two courses. Either 
they deny that Genesis was meant to teach scientific truth, 
and thus save the veracity of the record at the expense of its 
authority ; or they expend their energies in devising the cruel 
ingenuities of the reconciler, and torture texts in the vain 
hope of making them confess the creed of Science. But when 
the peine forte et dure is over, the antique sincerity of the vener- 
able sufferer always reasserts itself. Genesis is honest to the 
core, and professes to be no more than it is, a repository of 
venerable traditions of unknown origin, claiming no scientific 
authority and possessing none. 

As my pen finishes these passages, I can but be 
amused to think what a terrible hubbub would have been 
made (in truth was made) about any similar expressions of 
opinion a quarter of a century ago. In fact, the contrast 
between the present condition of public opinion upon the 
Darwinian question ; between the estimation in which 
Darwin's views are now held in the scientific world ; between 
the acquiescence, or at least quiescence, of the theologians of 
the self-respecting order at the present day and the out- 
burst of antagonism on all sides in 1858-9, when the new 
theory respecting the origin of species first became known to 
the older generation to which I belong, is so startling that, 
except for documentary evidence, I should be sometimes 
inclined to think my memories dreams. I have a great 
respect for the younger generation myself (they can write our 
lives, and ravel out all our follies, if they choose to take the 



trouble, by and by), and I should be glad to be assured that 
the feeling is reciprocal ; but I am afraid that the story of our 
dealings with Darwin may prove a great hindrance to that 
veneration for our wisdom which I should like them to dis- 
play. We have not even the excuse that, thirty years ago, 
Mr. Darwin was an obscure novice, who had no claims on our 
attention. On the contrary, his remarkable zoological and 
geological investigations had long given him an assured posi- 
tion among the most eminent and original investigators of 
the day ; while his charming ' Voyage of a Naturalist ' had 
justly earned him a wide-spread reputation among the general 
public. I doubt if there was any man then living who had a 
better right to expect that anything he might choose to say 
on such a question as the Origin of Species would be listened 
to with profound attention, and discussed with respect ; and 
there was certainly no man whose personal character should 
have afforded a better safeguard against attacks, instinct with 
malignity and spiced with shameless impertinences. 

Yet such was the portion of one of the kindest and truest 
men that it was ever my good fortune to know ; and years 
had to pass away before misrepresentation, ridicule, and 
denunciation, ceased to be the most notable constituents of 
the majority of the multitudinous criticisms of his work which 
poured from the press. I am loth to rake any of these ancient 
scandals from their well-deserved oblivion ; but I must make 
good a statement which may seem overcharged to the present 
generation, and there is no piece justificative more apt for the 
purpose, or more worthy of such dishonour, than the article in 
the ' Quarterly Review ' for July i860* Since Lord Brougham 

* I was not aware when I wrote 
these passages that the authorship 
of the article had been publicly 
acknowledged. Confession unac- 
companied by penitence, however, 
affords no ground for mitigation of 
judgment ; and the kindliness with 

which Mr. Darwin speaks of his as- 
sailant, Bishop Wilberforce (Vol. II. 
PP- 3 2 5 1 329, 332) , is so striking an ex- 
emplification of his singular gentle- 
ness and modesty, that it rather 
increases one's indignation against 
the presumption of his critic. 


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 
expositors, 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 guess and speculation," and whose " mode of 
dealing with nature " is reprobated as " utterly dishonourable 
to Natural Science." And all this high and mighty talk, which 
would have been indecent in one of Mr. Darwin's equals, 
proceeds from a writer whose want of intelligence, or of con- 
science, or of both, is so great, that, by way of an objection to 
Mr. Darwin's views, he can ask, " Is it credible that all favour- 
able varieties of turnips are tending to become men ; " who is 
so ignorant of paleontology, that he can talk of the " flowers 
and fruits " of the plants of the carboniferous epoch ; of com- 
parative anatomy, that he can gravely affirm the poison appa- 
ratus of the venomous snakes to be " entirely separate from 
the ordinary laws of animal life, and peculiar to themselves ;" 
of the rudiments of physiology, that he can ask, " what 
advantage of life could alter the shape of the corpuscles into 
which the blood can be evaporated ? " Nor does the reviewer 
fail to flavour this outpouring of preposterous incapacity with 
a little stimulation of the odium tlieologiatm. Some inkling 
of the history of the conflicts between Astronomy, Geology, 
and Theology, leads him to keep a retreat open by the 
proviso that he cannot " consent to test the truth of Natural 
Science by the word of Revelation ; " but, for all that, he 
devotes pages to the exposition of his conviction that Mr. 
Darwin's theory " contradicts the revealed relation of the 
creation to its Creator," and is "inconsistent with the fulness 
of his glory." 

If I confine my retrospect of the reception of the ' Origin 
of Species ' to a twelvemonth, or thereabouts, from the time 


of its publication, I do not recollect anything quite so foolish 
and unmannerly as the ' Quarterly Review ' article, unless, 
perhaps, the address of a Reverend Professor to the Dublin 
Geological Society might enter into competition with it. But 
a large proportion of Mr. Darwin's critics had a lamentable 
resemblance to the ' Quarterly ' reviewer, in so far as they 
lacked either the will, or the wit, to make themselves masters 
of his doctrine ; hardly any possessed the knowledge required 
to follow him through the immense range of biological and 
geological science which the ' Origin ' covered ; while, too 
commonly, they had prejudged the case on theological 
grounds, and, as seems to be inevitable when this happens, 
eked out lack of reason by superfluity of railing. 

But it will be more pleasant and more profitable to consider 
those criticisms, which were acknowledged by writers of 
scientific authority, or which bore internal evidence of the 
greater or less competency and, often, of the good faith, of 
their authors. Restricting my survey to a twelvemonth, or 
thereabouts, after the publication of the ' Origin,' I find 
among such critics Louis Agassiz ; * Murray, an excellent 
entomologist ; Harvey, a botanist of considerable repute ; 
and the author of an article in the ' Edinburgh Review,' all 
strongly adverse to Darwin. Pictet, the distinguished and 
widely learned paleontologist of Geneva, treats Mr. Darwin 
with a respect which forms a grateful contrast to the tone of 
some of the preceding writers, but consents to go with him 

* "The arguments presented by from that now generally assigned 

Darwin in favor of a universal to them, I shall therefore consider 

derivation from one primary form the transmutation theory as a scien- 

of all the peculiarities existing now tific mistake, untrue in its facts, un- 

among living beings have not made scientific in its method, and mis- 

the slightest impression on my mind. chievous in its tendency." Silli- 

" Until the facts of Nature are man's 'Journal,' July i860, pp. 143, 

shown to have been mistaken by 154. Extract from the 3rd vol. of 

those who have collected them, and ' Contributions to the Natural His- 

that they have a different meaning tory of the United States.' 


only a very little way.* On the other hand, Lyell, up to 
that time a pillar of the anti-transmutationists (who regarded 
him, ever afterwards, as Pallas Athene may have looked 
at Dian, after the Endymion affair), declared himself a 
Darwinian, though not without putting in a serious caveat. 
Nevertheless, he was a tower of strength, and his courageous 
stand for truth as against consistency, did him infinite 
.honour. As evolutionists, sans p/wase, I do not call to mind 
among the biologists more than Asa Gray, who fought the 
battle splendidly in the United States ; Hooker, who was no 
less vigorous here ; the present Sir John Lubbock and my- 
self. Wallace was far away in the Malay Archipelago ; but, 
apart from his direct share in the promulgation of the 
theory of natural selection, no enumeration of the influences 
at work, at the time I am speaking of, would be com- 
plete without the mention of his powerful essay ' On the 
Law which has regulated the Introduction of New Species,' 
which was published in 1855. On reading it afresh, I have 
been astonished to recollect how small was the impression 
it made. 

In France, the influence of Elie de Beaumont and of Flourens, 
the former of whom is said to have " damned himself to 
everlasting fame " by inventing the nickname of " la science 
moussante " for Evolutionism,! to say nothing of the ill-will 
of other powerful members of the Institut, produced for a 

* "I see no serious objections to tions." ' Sur l'Origine de l'Espece. 

the formation of varieties by natural Par Charles Darwin.' 'Archives des 

.selection in the existing world, and Sc. de la Bibliotheque Universelle 

that, so far as earlier epochs are con- de Geneve,' pp. 242, 243, Mars i860, 

cerned, this law may be assumed f One is reminded of the effect 

to explain the origin of closely allied of another small academic epigram, 

species, supposing for this purpose a The so-called vertebral theory of 

very long period of time. the skull is said to have been nipped 

" With regard to simple varieties in the bud in France by the whisper 

and closely allied species, I believe of an academician to his neighbour, 

that Mr. Darwin's theory may that, in that case, one's head was a 

explain many things, and throw a "vertebre pensante" 
great light upon numerous ques- 


long time the effect of a conspiracy of silence ; and many 
years passed before the Academy redeemed itself from the 
reproach that the name of Darwin was not to be found on the 
list of its members. However, an accomplished writer, out of 
the range of academical influences, M. Laugel, gave an excel- 
lent and appreciative notice of the ' Origin ' in the ' Revue 
des Deux Mondes.' Germany took time to consider ; Bronn 
produced a slightly Bowdlerized translation of the ' Origin ' ; 
and ' Kladderadatsch ' cut his jokes upon the ape origin of 
man ; but I do not call to mind that any scientific notability 
declared himself publicly in i860.* None of us dreamed that, 
in the course of a few years, the strength (and perhaps I may add 
the weakness) of " Darwinismus " would have its most exten- 
sive and most brilliant illustrations in the land of learning. 
If a foreigner may presume to speculate on the cause of this 
curious interval of silence, I fancy it was that one moiety of 
the German biologists were orthodox at any price, and the 
other moiety as distinctly heterodox. The latter were evo- 
lutionists, a priori^ already, and they must have felt the dis- 
gust natural to deductive philosophers at being offered an 
inductive and experimental foundation for a conviction which 
they had reached by a shorter cut. It is undoubtedly trying 
to learn that, though your conclusions may be all right, your 
reasons for them are all wrong, or, at any rate, insufficient. 

On the whole, then, the supporters of Mr. Darwin's views 
in i860 were numerically extremely insignificant. There is not 
the slightest doubt that, if a general council of the Church 
scientific had been held at that time, we should have been con- 
demned by an overwhelming majority. And there is as little 
doubt that, if such a council gathered now, the decree would 
be of an exactly contrary nature. It would indicate a lack 

* However, the man who stands lutionist views. His phrase, " J'ai 

next to Darwin in his influence on enonce les memes idees . . . que 

modern biologists, K. E. von Bar, M. Darwin " (vol. ii. p. 329), is 

wrote to me, in August i860, ex- shown by his subsequent writings 

pressing his general assent to evo- to mean no more than this. 


of sense, as well as of modesty, to ascribe to the men of that 
generation less capacity or less honesty than their successors 
possess. What, then, are the causes which led instructed and 
fair-judging- men of that day to arrive at a judgment so 
different from that which seems just and fair to those who 
follow them ? That is really one of the most interesting of all 
questions connected with the history of science, and I shall 
try to answer it. I am afraid that in order to do so I must 
run the risk of appearing egotistical. However, if I tell my 
own story it is only because I know it better than that of 
other people. 

I think I must have read the ' Vestiges ' before I left Eng- 
land in 1846 ; but, if I did, the book made very little impres- 
sion upon me, and I was not brought into serious contact with 
the 'Species' question until after 1850. At that time, I had 
long done with the Pentateuchal cosmogony, which had been 
impressed upon my childish understanding as Divine truth, 
with all the authority of parents and instructors, and from 
which it had cost me many a struggle to get free. But my 
mind was unbiassed in respect of any doctrine which presented 
itself, if it professed to be based on purely philosophical and 
scientific reasoning. It seemed to me then (as it does now) 
that " creation," in the ordinary sense of the word, is perfectly 
conceivable. I find no difficulty in imagining that, at some 
former period, this universe was not in existence ; and that 
it made its appearance in six days (or instantaneously, if 
that is preferred), in consequence of the volition of some pre- 
existent Being. Then, as now, the so-called a priori argu- 
ments against Theism, and, given a Deity, against the 
possibility of creative acts, appeared to me to be devoid of 
reasonable foundation. I had not then, and I have not now, 
the smallest a priori objection to raise to the account of the 
creation of animals and plants given in ' Paradise Lost,' in 
which Milton so vividly embodies the natural sense of Genesis. 
Far be it from me to say that it is untrue because it is impos- 


sible. I confine myself to what must be regarded as a modest 
and reasonable request for some particle of evidence that the 
existing species of animals and plants did originate in that 
way, as a condition of my belief in a statement which appears 
to me to be highly improbable. 

And, by way of being perfectly fair, I had exactly the 
same answer to give to the evolutionists of 185 1-8. Within 
the ranks of the biologists, at that time, I 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 compelled respect, and who 
was, at the same time, a thorough-going evolutionist, was Mr. 
Herbert Spencer, whose acquaintance 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 justifiable. 

In those days I had never even heard of Treviranus' 
1 Biologie.' However, I had studied Lamarck attentively and 
I had read the ' Vestiges ' with due care ; but neither of them 
afforded me any good ground for changing my negative 
and critical attitude. As for the 'Vestiges,' I confess that 
the book simply irritated me by the prodigious ignorance 
and thoroughly unscientific habit of mind manifested by the 
writer. If it had any influence on me at all, it set me 
against Evolution ; and the only review I ever have qualms 


of conscience about, on the ground of needless savagery, is 
one I wrote on the ' Vestiges ' while under that influence. 

With respect to the ' Philosophic Zoologique,' it is no 
reproach to Lamarck to say that the discussion of the Species 
question in that work, whatever might be said for it in 1809, 
was miserably below the level of the knowledge of half a 
century later. In that interval of time the elucidation of 
the structure of the lower animals and plants had given rise 
to wholly new conceptions of their relations ; histology and 
embryology, in the modern sense, had been created ; physio- 
logy had been reconstituted ; the facts of distribution, 
geological and geographical, had been prodigiously multi- 
plied and reduced to order. To any biologist whose studies 
had carried him beyond mere species-mongering in 1850, one- 
half of Lamarck's arguments were obsolete and the other 
half erroneous, or defective, in virtue of omitting to deal with 
the various classes of evidence which had been brought to 
light since his time. Moreover his one suggestion as to the 
cause of the gradual modification of species effort excited 
by change of conditions was, on the face of it, inapplicable to 
the whole vegetable world. I do not think that any impartial 
judge who reads the ' Philosophie Zoologique' now, and who 
afterwards takes up Lyell's trenchant and effectual criticism 
(published as far back as 1830), will be disposed to allot 
to Lamarck a much higher place in the establishment of 
biological evolution than that which Bacon assigns to himself 
in relation to physical science generally, buccinator tantum* 

But, by a curious irony of fate, the same influence which 
led me to put as little faith in modern speculations on this 
subject, as in the venerable traditions recorded in the first two 
chapters of Genesis, was perhaps more potent than any other 

* Erasmus Darwin first promul- claims have failed to show that he, 

gated Lamarck's fundamental con- in any respect, anticipated the 

ceptions, and, with greater logical central idea of the ' Origin of 

consistency, he had applied them Species.' 
to plants. But the advocates of his 


in keeping alive a sort of pious conviction that Evolution, 
after all, would turn out true. I have recently read afresh 
the first edition of the 'Principles of Geology' ; and when I 
consider that this remarkable book had been nearly thirty 
years in everybody's hands, and that it brings home to any 
reader of ordinary intelligence a great principle and a great 
fact the principle, that the past must be explained by the 
present, unless good cause be shown to the contrary ; and the 
fact, that, so far as our knowledge of the past history of life 
on our globe goes, no such cause can be r shown * 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 successfully 
eliminated from sober geological speculation. 

In fact, no one was better aware of this than Lyell himself. f 
If one reads any of the earlier editions of the ' Principles ' 
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, 

* The same principle and the which was beyond our comprehen- 

same fact guide and result from sion ; it remained for Darwin to 

all sound historical investigation. accumulate proof that there is no 

Grote's 'History of Greece ' is a break between the incoming and the 

product of the same intellectual outgoing species, that they are the 

movement as Lyell's ' Principles/ work of evolution, and not of special 

f Lyell, with perfect right, claims creation. . . . 
this position for himself. He speaks "I had certainly prepared the 

of having "advocated a law of con- way in this country, in six editions 

tinuity even in the organic world, so of my work before the ' Vestiges of 

far as possible without adopting La- Creation' appeared in 1842 [1844], 

marck's theory of transmutation. . . . for the reception of Darwin's gradual 

" But while I taught that as often and insensible evolution of species." 

as certain forms of animals and ' Life and Letters,' Letter to 

plants disappeared, for reasons quite Haeckel, vol. ii. p. 436. Nov. 23, 

intelligible to us, others took their 1868. 
place by virtue of a causation 


I 9 I 

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 incomprehensible. 

In a letter addressed to Mantell (dated March 2, 1827), 
Lyell speaks of having just read Lamarck ; he expresses his 
delight at Lamarck's theories, and his personal freedom from 
any objections based on theological grounds. And though he 
is evidently alarmed at the pithecoid origin of man involved 
in Lamarck's doctrine, he observes : 

" But, after all, what changes species may really undergo ! 
How impossible will it be to distinguish and lay down a line, 
beyond which some of the so-called extinct species have 
never passed into recent ones." 

Again, the following remarkable passage occurs in the post- 
script of a letter addressed to Sir John Herschel in 1836 : 

" In regard to the origination of new species, I am very 
glad to find that you think it probable that it may be carried 
on through the intervention of intermediate causes. I left this 
rather to be inferred, not thinking it worth while to offend a 
certain class of persons by embodying in words what would 
only be a speculation." * He goes on to refer to the criticisms 
which have been directed against him on the ground that, by 
leaving species to be originated by miracle, he is inconsistent 
with his own doctrine of uniformitarianism ; and he leaves it 

* In the same sense, see the letter 
to Whewell, March 7, 1837, vol. ii., 
p. 5 : 

" In regard to this last subject 
[the changes from one set of animal 
and vegetable species to another] . . . 
you remember what Herschel said 
in his letter to me. If I had stated 
as plainly as he has done the possi- 
bility of the introduction or origina- 

tion of fresh species being a natural, 
in contradistinction to a miraculous 
process, I should have raised a host 
of prejudices against me, which are 
unfortunately opposed at every step 
to any philosopher who attempts to 
address the public on these mys- 
terious subjects." See also letter to 
Sedgwick, Jan. 20, 1838, vol. ii. 

P- 35- 


to be understood that he had not replied, on the ground of his 
general objection to controversy. 

Lyell's contemporaries were not without some inkling of 
his esoteric doctrine. Whewell's ' History of the Inductive 
Sciences,' whatever its philosophical value, is always worth 
reading and always interesting, if under no other aspect than 
that of an evidence of the speculative limits within which a 
highly-placed divine might, at that time, safely range at 
will. In the course of his discussion of uniformitarianism, the 
encyclopaedic Master of Trinity observes : 

" Mr. Lyell, indeed, has spoken of an hypothesis that 'the 
successive creation of species may constitute a regular part of 
the economy of nature,' but he has nowhere, I think, so 
described this process as to make it appear in what depart- 
ment of science we are to place the hypothesis. Are these 
new species created by the production, at long intervals, of 
an offspring different in species from the parents ? Or are 
the species so created produced without parents? Are they 
gradually evolved from some embryo substance ? Or do they 
suddenly start from the ground, as in the creation of the 
poet? . . . 

" Some selection of one of these forms of the hypothesis, 
rather than the others, with evidence for the selection, is 
requisite to entitle us to place it among the known causes of 
change, which in this chapter we are considering. The bare 
conviction that a creation of species has taken place, whether 
once or many times, so long as it is unconnected with our 
organical sciences, is a tenet of Natural Theology rather 
than of Physical Philosophy." * 

The earlier part of this criticism appears perfectly just and 
appropriate ; but, from the concluding paragraph, Whewell 
evidently imagines that by " creation " Lyell means a preter- 
natural intervention of the Deity ; whereas the letter to 
Herschel shows that, in his own mind, Lyell meant natural 

* Whewell's ' History,' vol. iii. p. 639-640 (ed. 2, 1847). 



causation ; and I see no reason to doubt * that, if Sir Charles 
could have avoided the inevitable corollary of the pithecoid 
origin of man for which, to the end of his life, he entertained 
a profound antipathy he would have advocated the efficiency 
of causes now in operation to bring about the condition of the 
organic world, as stoutly as he championed that doctrine in 
reference to inorganic nature. 

The fact is, that a discerning eye might have seen that 
some form or other of the doctrine of transmutation was 
inevitable, from the time when the truth enunciated by William 

* The following passages in 
Lyell's letters appear to me decisive 
on this point : 

To Darwin, Oct. 3, 1859 (ii. 325), 
on first reading the ' Origin.' 

" 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 
instant, [instead] of a purely un- 
known and imaginary one, such as 
the word ' creation,' all the conse- 
quences must follow." 

To Darwin, March 15, 1863 
(vol. ii. p. 365). 

" I remember that it was the con- 
clusion he [Lamarck] came to about 
man that fortified me thirty years 
ago against the great impression 
which his arguments at first made 
on my mind, all the greater because 
Constant Prevost, a pupil of Cuvier's 
forty years ago, told me his con- 
viction ' that Cuvier thought species 
not real, but that science could not 


advance without assuming that they 
were so.' " 

To Hooker, March 9, 1863 (vol. 
ii. p. 361), in reference to Darwin's 
feeling about the ' Antiquity of Man.' 

"He [Darwin] seems much dis- 
appointed that I do not go farther 
with him, or do not speak out 
more. I can only say that I have 
spoken out to the full extent of my 
present convictions, 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 Dar- 
win, and are even now against 
Huxley." He speaks 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 arch- 
angel ruined.' " 

See the same sentiment in the 
letter to Darwin, March 11, 1863, 
P- 363 : 

"I think the old 'creation' is 
almost as much required as ever, 
but of course it takes a new form 
if Lamarck's views improved by 
yours are adopted." 



Smith, that successive strata are characterised by different 
kinds of fossil remains, became a firmly established law of 
nature. No one has set forth the speculative consequences 
of this generalisation better than the historian of the ' Induc- 
tive Sciences ' : 

" But the study of geology opens to us the spectacle of 
many groups of species which have, in the course of the earth's 
history, succeeded each other at vast intervals of time ; one 
set of animals and plants disappearing, as it would seem, 
from the face of our planet, and others, which did not before 
exist, becoming the only occupants of the globe. And the 
dilemma then presents itself to us anew : either we must 
accept the doctrine of the transmutation of species, and must 
suppose that the organized species of one geological epoch 
were transmuted into those of another by some long-con- 
tinued agency of natural causes ; or else, we must believe in 
many successive acts of creation and extinction of species, 
out of the common course of nature ; acts which, therefore, 
we may properly call miraculous." * 

Dr. Whewell decides in favour of the latter conclusion. And 
if any one had plied him with the four questions which he 
puts to Lyell in the passage already cited, all that can be said 
now is that he would certainly have rejected the first. But 
would he really have had the courage to say that a Rhinoceros 
ticJwrJiinus, for instance, " was produced without parents ; " or 
was " evolved from some embryo substance ; " or that it 
suddenly started from the ground like Milton's lion "pawing 
to get free his hinder parts " ? I permit myself to doubt 
whether even the Master of Trinity's well-tried courage 
physical, intellectual, and moral would have been equal to 
this feat. No doubt the sudden concurrence of half-a-ton of 
inorganic molecules into a live rhinoceros is conceivable, and 
therefore may be possible. But does such an event lie 

* Whevvell's f History of the In- vol. iii. p. 624-625. See, for the 
ductive Sciences.' Ed. ii., 1847, author's verdict, pp. 638-39. 


sufficiently within the bounds of probability to justify the 
belief in its occurrence on the strength of any attainable, or, 
indeed, imaginable, evidence ? 

In view of the assertion (often repeated in the early days 
of the opposition to Darwin) that he had added nothing to 
Lamarck, it is very interesting to observe that the possibility 
of a fifth alternative, in addition to the four he has stated, has 
not dawned upon Dr. Whewell's mind. The suggestion that 
new species may result from the selective action of external 
conditions upon the variations from their specific type which 
individuals present and which we call "spontaneous," because 
we are ignorant of their causation is as wholly unknown to 
the historian of scientific ideas as it was to biological spe- 
cialists before 1858. But that suggestion is the central idea 
of the ' Origin of Species,' and contains the quintessence of 

Thus, looking back into the past, it seems to me that my 
own position of critical expectancy was just and reasonable, 
and must have been taken up, on the same grounds, by many 
other persons. If Agassiz told me that the forms of life 
which had successivelv tenanted the globe were the incarna- 
tions of successive thoughts of the Deity ; and that He had 
wiped out one set of these embodiments by an appalling 
geological catastrophe as soon as His ideas took a more 
advanced shape, I found myself not only unable to admit the 
accuracy of the deductions from the facts of paleontology, 
upon which this astounding hypothesis was founded, but I 
had to confess my want of any means of testing the correctness 
of his explanation^ them. And besides that, I could by no 
means see what the explanation explained. Neither did it 
help me to be told b by an eminent anatomist that species had 
succeeded one another in time, in virtue of " a continuously 
operative creational law." That seemed to me to be no more 
than saying that species had succeeded one another, in the 
form of a vote-catching resolution, with " law " to please the 

O 2 


man of science, and " creational " to draw the orthodox. So 
I took refuge in that " tJidtige Skepsis " which Goethe has so 
well defined ; and, reversing the apostolic precept to be all 
things to all men, I usually defended the tenability of the 
received doctrines, when I had to do with the transmuta- 
tionists ; and stood up for the possibility of transmutation 
among the orthodox thereby, no doubt, increasing an already 
current, but quite undeserved, reputation for needless com- 

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-ques- 
tion ; and the humorous smile which accompanied his gentle 
answer, that such was not altogether his view, long haunted 
and puzzled me. But it would seem that four or five years' 
hard work had enabled me to understand what it meant ; 
for Lyell,* writing to Sir Charles Bunbury (under date of 
April 30, 1S56), says: 

" When Huxley, Hooker, and Wollaston were at Darwin's 
last week they (all four of them) ran a tilt against species 
further, I believe, than they are prepared to go." 

I recollect nothing of this beyond the fact of meeting Mr. 
Wollaston ; and except for Sir Charles' distinct assurance 
as to " all four," I should have thought my ontrectiidance was 
probably a counterblast to Wollaston's conservatism. With 
regard to Hooker, he was already, like Voltaire's Habakkuk, 
"capable de tout" in the way of advocating Evolution. 

As I have already said, I imagine that most of those of my 
contemporaries who thought seriously about the matter, were 
very much in my own state of mind inclined to say to 
both Mosaists and Evolutionists, " a plague on both your 

* ' Life and Letters/ vol. ii. p. 212. 


houses ! " and disposed to turn aside from an interminable and 
apparently fruitless discussion, to labour in the fertile fields 
of ascertainable fact. And I may, therefore, further suppose 
that the publication of the Darwin and Wallace papers in 
1858, and still more that of the 'Origin' in 1859, had the 
effect upon them of the flash of light, which to a man who 
has lost himself in a dark night, suddenly reveals a road 
which, whether it takes him straight home or not, certainly 
goes his way. That which we were looking for, and could 
not find, was a hypothesis respecting the origin of known 
organic forms, which assumed the operation of no causes but 
such as could be proved to be actually at work. We wanted, 
not to pin our faith to that or any other speculation, but to 
get hold of clear and definite conceptions which could be 
brought face to face with facts and have their validity tested. 
The ' Origin ' provided us with the working hypothesis we 
sought. Moreover, it did the immense service of freeing 
us for ever from the dilemma refuse to accept the creation 
hypothesis, and what have you to propose that can be accepted 
by any cautious reasoner? In 1857, I had no answer ready, 
and I do not think that any one else had. A year later, we 
reproached ourselves with dulness for being perplexed by 
such an inquiry. My reflection, when I first made myself 
master of the central idea of the ' Origin/ was, " How ex- 
tremely stupid not to have thought of that ! ' I suppose that 
Columbus' companions said much the same when he made 
the egg stand on end. The facts of variability, of the struggle 
for existence, of adaptation to conditions, were notorious 
enough ; but none of us had suspected that the road to the 
heart of the species problem lay through them, until Darwin 
and Wallace dispelled the darkness, and the beacon-fire of 
the ' Origin ' guided the benighted. 

Whether the particular shape which the doctrine of evolu- 
tion, as applied to the organic world, took in Darwin's hands, 
would prove to be final or not, was, to me, a matter of indiffer- 


ence. In my earliest criticisms of the ' Origin ' I ventured to 
point out that its logical foundation was insecure so long as 
experiments in selective breeding had not produced varieties 
which were more or less infertile ; and that insecurity remains 
up to the present time. But, with any and every critical doubt 
which my sceptical ingenuity could suggest, the Darwinian 
hypothesis remained incomparably more probable than the 
creation hypothesis. And if we had none of us been able to 
discern the paramount significance of some of the most patent, 
and notorious of natural facts, until they were, so to speak, 
thrust under our noses, what force remained in the dilemma 
creation or nothing? It was obvious that, hereafter, the 
probability would be immensely greater, that the links of 
natural causation were hidden from our purblind eyes, than 
that natural causation should be incompetent to produce all 
the phenomena of nature. The only rational course for those 
who had no other object than the attainment of truth, was to 
accept " Darwinism " as a working hypothesis, and see what 
could be made of it. Either it would prove its capacity to 
elucidate the facts of organic life, or it would break down under 
the strain. This was surely the dictate of common sense ; 
and, for once, common sense carried the day. The result has 
be sn that complete volte-face of the whole scientific world, 
which must seem so surprising to the present generation. I 
do not mean to say that all the leaders of biological science 
have avowed themselves Darwinians ; but I do not think 
that there is a single zoologist, or botanist, or palaeontologist, 
among the multitude of active workers of this generation, 
who is other than an evolutionist, profoundly influenced by 
Darwin's views. Whatever may be the ultimate fate of the 
particular theory put forth by Darwin, I venture to affirm that,, 
so far as my knowledge goes, all the ingenuity and all the 
learning of hostile critics has not enabled them to adduce a 
solitary fact, of which it can be said, this is irreconcilable with 
the Darwinian theory. In the prodigious variety and com- 


plexity of organic nature, there are multitudes of phenomena 
which are not deducible from any generalisations we have yet 
reached. But the same may be said of every other class of 
natural objects. I believe that astronomers cannot yet get 
the moon's motions into perfect accordance with the theory 
of gravitation. 

It would be inappropriate, even if it were possible, to dis- 
cuss the difficulties and unresolved problems which have 
hitherto met the evolutionist, and which will probably continue 
to puzzle him for many generations to come, in the course of 
this brief history of the reception of M r. Darwin's great work. 
But there are two or three objections cf a more general 
character, based, or supposed to be based, upon philosophical 
and theological foundations, which were loudly expressed in 
the early days of the Darwinian controversy, and which, 
though they have been answered over and over again, crop 
up now and then at the present day. 

The most singular of these, perhaps immortal, fallacies, 
which live on, Tithonus-like, when sense and force have long 
deserted them, is that which charges Mr. Darwin with having 
attempted to reinstate the old pagan goddess, Chance. It is 
said that he supposes variations to come about " by chance," 
and that the fittest survive the " chances " of the stru^crle for 
existence, and thus "chance" is substituted for providential 
It is not a little wonderful that such an accusation as this 
should be brought against a writer who has, over and over 
again, warned his readers that when he uses the word " spon- 
taneous," he merely means that he is ignorant of the cause of 
that which is so termed ; and whose whole theory crumbles 
to pieces if the uniformity and regularity of natural causation 
for illimitable past ages is denied. But probably the best 
answer to those who talk of Darwinism meaning the rei^n of 
" chance," is to ask them what they themselves understand by 


" chance." Do they believe that anything in this universe 
happens without reason or without a cause ? Do they really 
conceive that any event has no cause, and could not have 
been predicted by any one who had a sufficient insight into 
the order of Nature? If they do, it is they who are the 
inheritors of antique superstition and ignorance, and whose 
minds have never been illumined by a ray of scientific 
thought. The one act of faith in the convert to science, is 
the confession of the universality of order and of the absolute 
validity, in all times and under all circumstances, of the law 
of causation. This confession is an act of faith, because, 
by the nature of the case, the truth of such propositions is 
not susceptible of proof. But such faith is not blind, but 
reasonable ; because it is invariably confirmed by experi- 
ence, and constitutes the sole trustworthy foundation for all 

If one of these people, in whom the chance-worship of our 
remoter ancestors thus strangely survives, should be within 
reach of the sea when a heavy gale is blowing, let him betake 
himself to the shore and watch the scene. Let him note the 
infinite variety of form and size of the tossing waves out at 
sea ; or of the curves of their foam-crested breakers, as they 
dash against the rocks ; let him listen to the roar and scream 
of the shingle as it is cast up and torn down the beach ; or 
look at the flakes of foam as they drive hither and thither 
before the wind ; or note the play of colours, which answers 
a gleam of sunshine as it falls upon their myriad bubbles. 
Surely here, if anywhere, he will say that chance is supreme, 
and bend the knee as one who has entered the very penetralia 
of his divinity. But the man of science knows that here, as 
everywhere, perfect order is manifested ; that there is not a 
curve of the waves, not a note in the howling chorus, not a 
rainbow-glint on a bubble, which is other than a necessary 
consequence of the ascertained laws of nature ; and that with 
a sufficient knowledge of the conditions, competent physico- 


mathematical skill could account for, and indeed predict, 
/every one of these " chance " events. 

A second very common objection to Mr. Darwin's views 
was (and is), that they abolish Teleology, and eviscerate the 
argument from design. It is nearly twenty years since I 
ventured to offer some remarks on this subject, and as my 
arguments have as yet received no refutation, I hope I may 
be excused for reproducing them. I observed, " that the doc- 
trine of Evolution is the most formidable opponent of all the 
commoner and coarser forms of Teleology. But perhaps the 
most remarkable service to the philosophy of Biology ren- 
dered 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 re- 
member 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. This proposition is 
that the whole world, living and not living, is the result of the 
mutual interaction, according to definite laws, of the forces * 
possessed by the molecules of which the primitive nebulosity 
of the universe was composed. If this be true, it is no less 
certain that the existing world lay potentially in the cosmic 
vapour, and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a know- 
ledge of the properties of the molecules of that vapour, have 
predicted, say the state of the fauna of Britain in 1869, with 
as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the 
vapour of the breath on a cold winter's day 

.... The teleological and the mechanical views of nature 
are not, necessarily, mutually exclusive. On the contrary, the 
more purely a mechanist the speculator is, the more firmly 

* I should now like to substitute the word powers for " forces." 


does he assume a primordial molecular arrangement of which 
all the phenomena of the universe are the consequences,, 
and the more completely is he thereby at the mercy of the 
teleologist, who can always defy him to disprove that this 
primordial molecular arrangement was not intended to evolve 
the phenomena of the universe." * 

The acute champion of Teleology, Paley, saw no difficulty 
in admitting that the "production of things" may be the 
result of trains of mechanical dispositions fixed beforehand 
by intelligent appointment and kept in action by a power at 
the centre, f that is to say, he proleptically accepted the modern 
doctrine of Evolution ; and his successors might do well to 
follow their leader, or at any rate to attend to his weighty 
reasonings, before rushing into an antagonism which has no 
reasonable foundation. 

Having got rid of the belief in chance and the disbelief in 
design, as in no sense appurtenances of Evolution, the third 
libel upon that doctrine, that it is anti-theistic, might perhaps 
be left to shift for itself. But the persistence with which 
many people refuse to draw the plainest consequences from 
the propositions they profess to accept, renders it advisable 
to remark that the doctrine of Evolution is neither Anti- 
theistic nor Theistic. It simply has no more to do with Theism 
than the first book of Euclid has. It is quite certain that a 
normal fresh-laid egg contains neither cock nor hen ; and it 
is also as certain as any proposition in physics or morals, that 
if such an egg is kept under proper conditions for three 
weeks, a cock or hen chicken will be found in it. It is also 
quite certain that if the shell were transparent we should be 
able to watch the formation of the young fowl, day by day, 
by a process of evolution, from a microscopic cellular germ 
to its full size and complication of structure. Therefore 

* The " Genealogy of Animals " f ' Natural Theology,' chap. 

('The Academy,' 1S69), reprinted xxiii. 
in ' Critiques and Addresses.' 


Evolution, in the strictest sense, is actually going on in this 
and analogous millions and millions of instances, wherever 
living creatures exist. Therefore, to borrow an argument 
from Butler, as that which now happens must be consistent 
with the attributes of the Deity, if such a Being exists, 
Evolution must be consistent with those attributes. And, if 
so, the evolution of the universe, which is neither more nor less 
explicable than that of a chicken, must also be consistent 
with them. The doctrine of Evolution, therefore, does not 
even come into contact with Theism, considered as a philo- 
sophical doctrine. That with which it does collide, and with 
which it is absolutely inconsistent, is the conception of 
creation, which theological speculators have based upon the 
history narrated in the opening of the book of Genesis. 

There is a greal deal of talk and not a little lamentation 
about the so-called religious difficulties which physical science 
has created. In theological science, as a matter of fact, it 
has created none. Not a solitary problem presents itself to 
the philosophical Theist, at the present day, which has not 
existed from the time that philosophers began to think out 
the logical grounds and the logical consequences of Theism. 
All the real or imaginary perplexities which flow from the 
conception of the universe as a determinate mechanism, are 
equally involved in the assumption of an Eternal, Omnipotent 
and Omniscient Deity. The theological equivalent of the 
scientific conception of order is Providence ; and the doctrine 
of determinism follows as surely from the attributes of fore- 
knowledge assumed by the theologian, as from the universality 
of natural causation assumed by the man of science. The 
angels in ' Paradise Lost ' would have found the task of en- 
lightening Adam upon the mysteries of " Fate, Foreknow- 
ledge, and Free-will," not a whit more difficult, if their pupil 
had been educated in a " Real-schule " and trained in every 
laboratory of a modern university. In respect of the great 
problems of Philosophy, the post-Darwinian generation is, 


in one sense, exactly where the prae-Darwinian generations 
were. They remain insoluble. But the present generation 
has the advantage of being better provided with the means 
of freeing itself from the tyranny of certain sham solutions. 

The known is finite, the unknown infinite ; intellectually 
we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean 
of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to 
reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent 
and the solidity of our possessions. And even a cursory 
glance at the history of the biological sciences during the 
last quarter of a century is sufficient to justify the assertion, 
that the most potent instrument for the extension of the 
realm of natural knowledge which has come into men's hands, 
since the publication of Newton's ' Principia,' is Darwin's 
' Origin of Species.' 

It was badly received by the generation to which it was 
first addressed, and the outpouring of angry nonsense to which 
it gave rise is sad to think upon. But the present generation 
will probably behave just as badly if another Darwin should 
arise, and inflict upon them that which the generality of man- 
kind most hate the necessity of revising their convictions. 
Let them, then, be charitable to us ancients ; and if they 
behave no better than the men of my day to some new 
benefactor, let them recollect that, after all, our wrath did not 
come to much, and vented itself chiefly in the bad language 
of sanctimonious scolds. Let them as speedily perform a 
strategic right-about-face, and follow the truth wherever it 
leads. The opponents of the new truth will discover, as those 
of Darwin are doing, that, after all, theories do not alter facts, 
and that the universe remains unaffected even though texts 
crumble. Or, it may be, that, as history repeats itself, their 
happy ingenuity will also discover that the new wine is 
exactly of the same vintage as the old, and that (rightly 
viewed) the old bottles prove to have been expressly made 
for holding it. 

( -os ) 4^^& 



OCTOBER 3, 1859, TO DECEMBER 3 1, 1 859. 


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

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

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

* Part of this letter is 'given in the ' Life of Sir Charles Lyell,' vol. ii. 
p. 325- 


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 substan- 
tial argument throughout so many pages ; the condensation 
immense, too great perhaps for the uninitiated, but an effective 
and important preliminary statement, which will admit, even 
before your detailed proofs appear, of some occasional useful 
exemplification, such as your pigeons and cirripedes, of which 
you make such excellent use. 

I mean that, when, as I fully expect, a new edition is soon 
called for, you may here and there insert an actual case to 
relieve the vast number of abstract propositions. So far as 
I am concerned, I am so well prepared to take your state- 
ments 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 unknpwn and imagin- 
ary 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 Rudimentar} r 
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 

In the first place, at p. 480, it cannot surely be said that 

1859.] lyell's congratulations. 207 

the most eminent naturalists have rejected the view of the 
mutability of species ? You do not mean to ignore G. St. 
Hilaire and Lamarck. As to the latter, you may say, that in 
regard to animals you substitute natural selection for volition 
to a certain considerable extent, but in his theory of the 
changes of plants he could not introduce volition ; he may, 
no doubt, have laid an undue comparative stress on changes 
in physical conditions, and too little on those of contending 
organisms. He at least was for the universal mutability of 
species and for a genealogical link between the first and the 
present. The men of his school also appealed to domestic- 
ated 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 
eye," not by means analogous to man's reason, or rather by 
some power immeasurably superior to human reason, but 
by superinduced variation like those of which a cattle-breeder 
avails himself. Pages would be required thus to state an 
objection and remove it. It would be better, as you wish to 
persuade, to say nothing. Leave out several sentences, and 
in a future edition bring it out more fully. Between the 
throwing down of such a stumbling-block in the way of the 
reader, and the passage to the working ants, in p. 460, there 
,are pages required ; and these ants are a bathos to him before 
he has recovered from the shock of being called upon to 
believe the eye to have been brought to perfection, from a 
state of blindness or purblindness, by such variations as we 
witness. I think a little omission would greatly lessen the 
objectionableness of these sentences if you have not time to 
recast and amplify. 

.... But these are small matters, mere spots on the sun. 
Your comparison of the letters retained in words, when 

* In the published copies of the first edition, p. 480, the words are 
"" eminent living naturalists." 


no longer wanted for the sound, to rudimentary organs is 
excellent, as both are truly genealogical. 

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

You enclose your sheets in old MS., so the Post Office very 
properly charge them, as letters, 2d. extra. I wish all their 
fines on MS. were worth as much. I paid 4s. 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 affectionately yours, 

Chas. Lyell. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 

October nth [1859]. 

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

1 859.] LYELL'S CRITICISMS. 209 

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

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



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

" Must you not assume a primeval creative power which 
does not act with uniformity ', or how could man supervene ? " 
I am not sure that I understand your remarks which follow 
the above. We must, under present knowledge, assume the 
creation of one or of a few forms in the same manner as philo- 
sophers assume the existence of a power of attraction without 
any explanation. But I entirely reject, as in my judgment 
quite unnecessary, any subsequent addition " of new powers 
and attributes and forces;" or of any "principle of improve- 
ment," except in so far as every character which is naturally 
selected or preserved is in some way an advantage or improve- 
ment, otherwise it would not have been selected. If I were 
convinced that I required such additions to the theory of 
natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish, but I have firm 
faith in it, as I cannot believe, that if false, it would explain so 

1 859.] LYELL'S CRITICISMS. 211 

many whole classes of facts, which, if I am in my senses, it 
seems to explain. As far as I understand your remarks and 
illustrations, you doubt the possibility of gradations of intel- 
lectual powers. Now, it seems to me, looking to existing 
animals alone, that we have a very fine gradation in the intel- 
lectual powers of the Vertebrata, with one rather wide gap (not 
half so wide as in many cases of corporeal structure), between 
say a Hottentot and an Ourang, even if civilised as much 
mentally as the dog has been from the wolf. I suppose that 
you do not doubt that the intellectual powers are as important 
for the welfare of each being as corporeal structure ; if so, I 
can see no difficulty in the most intellectual individuals of a 
species being continually selected ; and the intellect of the 
new species thus improved, aided probably by effects of 
inherited mental exercise. I look at this process as now 
going on with the races of man ; the less intellectual races 
being exterminated. But there is not space to discuss this 
point. If I understand you, the turning-point in our difference 
must be, that you think it impossible that the intellectual 
powers of a species should be much improved by the con- 
tinued natural selection of the most intellectual individuals. 
To show how minds graduate, just reflect how impossible 
every one has yet found it, to define the difference in mind 
of man and the lower animals ; the latter seem to have the 
very same attributes in a much lower stage of perfection than 
the lowest savage. I would give absolutely nothing for the 
theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions 
at any one stage of descent. I think Embryology, Homo- 
logy, Classification, &c. &c, show us that all vertebrata have 
descended from one parent ; how that parent appeared we 
know not. If you admit in ever so little a degree, the 
explanation which I have given of Embryology, Homology 
and Classification, you will find it difficult to say : thus far 
the explanation holds good, but no further; here we must 
call in "the addition of new creative forces." I think you 

P 2 


will be driven to reject all or admit all : I fear by your letter 
it will be the former alternative ; and in that case I shall feel 
sure it is my fault, and not the theory's fault, and this will 
certainly comfort me. With regard to the descent of the 
great Kingdoms (as Vertebrata, Articulata, &c.) from one 
parent, I have said in the conclusion, that mere analogy 
makes me think it probable ; my arguments and facts are 
sound in my judgment only for each separate kingdom. 

The forms which are beaten inheriting some inferiority i7i 
common. I dare say I have not been guarded enough, but 
might not the term inferiority include less perfect adaptation 
to physical conditions ? 

My remarks apply not to single species, but to groups or 
genera ; the species of most genera are adapted at least to 
rather hotter, and rather less hot, to rather damper and dryer 
climates ; and when the several species of a group are beaten 
and exterminated by the several species of another group, it 
will not, I think, generally be from each new species being 
adapted to the climate, but from all the new species having 
some common advantage in obtaining sustenance, or escaping 
enemies. As groups are concerned, a fairer illustration than 
negro and white in Liberia would be the almost certain future 
extinction of the genus ourang by the genus man, not owing 
to man being better fitted for the climate, but owing to the 
inherited intellectual inferiority of the Ourang-genus to Man- 
genus, by his intellect, inventing fire-arms and cutting down 
forests. I believe, from reasons given in my discussion, that 
acclimatisation is readily effected under nature. It has taken 
me so many years to disabuse my mind of the too great import- 
ance of climate its important influence being so conspicuous, 
whilst that of a struggle between creature and creature is so 
hidden that I am inclined to swear at the North Pole, and 
as Sydney Smith said, even to speak disrespectfully of the 
Equator. I beg you often to reflect (I have found nothing 
so instructive) on the case of thousands of plants in the 

1859.] lyell's criticisms. 213 

middle point of their respective ranges, and which, as we 
positively know, can perfectly well withstand a little more 
heat and cold, a little more damp and dry, but which in 
the metropolis of their range do not exist in vast numbers, 
although, if many of the other inhabitants were destroyed 
[they] would cover the ground. We thus clearly see that 
their numbers are kept down, in almost every case, not by 
climate, but by the struggle with other organisms. All this 
you will perhaps think very obvious ; but, until I repeated it 
to myself thousands of times, I took, as I believe, a wholly 
wrong view of the whole economy of nature. . . . 

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

Rudimentary Organs. On the theory of Natural Selection 
there is a wide distinction between Rudimentary Organs and 
what you call germs of organs, and what I call in my bigger 
book " nascent " organs. An organ should not be called rudi- 
mentary unless it be useless as teeth which never cut through 
the gums the papillae, representing the pistil in male flowers, 
wing of Apteryx, or better, the little wings under soldered 
elytra. These organs are now plainly useless, and a fortiori, 
they would be useless in a less developed state. Natural Selec- 
tion acts exclusively by preserving successive slight, tiseful 
modifications. Hence Natural Selection cannot possibly make 
a useless or rudimentary organ. Such organs are solely due 
to inheritance (as explained in my discussion), and plainly 
bespeak an ancestor having the organ in a useful condition. 
They may be, and often have been, worked in for other pur- 
poses, and then they are only rudimentary for the original 
function, which is sometimes plainly apparent. A nascent 
organ, though little developed, as it has to be developed must 
be useful in every stage of development. As we cannot 
prophesy, we cannot tell what organs are now nascent ; and 


nascent organs will rarely have been handed down by certain 
members of a class from a remote period to the present day, 
for beings with any important organ but little developed, will 
generally have been supplanted by their descendants with the 
organ well developed. The mammary glands in Ornitho- 
rhynchus may, perhaps, be considered as nascent compared 
with the udders of a cow Ovigerous frena, in certain cirripedes, 
are nascent branchiae in [illegible] the swim bladder is almost 
rudimentary for this purpose, and is nascent as a lung. The 
small wing of penguin, used only as a fin, might be nascent 
as a wing ; not that I think so ; for the whole structure of the 
bird is adapted for flight, and a penguin so closely resembles 
other birds, that we may infer that its wings have probably 
been modified, and reduced by natural selection, in accordance 
with its sub-aquatic habits. Analogy thus often serves as a 
guide in distinguishing whether an organ is rudimentary or 
nascent. I believe the Os coccyx gives attachment to certain 
muscles, but I cannot doubt that it is a rudimentary tail. 
The bastard wing of birds is a rudimentary digit ; and I 
believe that if fossil birds are found very low down in the 
series, they will be seen to have a double or bifurcated wing. 
Here is a bold prophecy ! 

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

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




so slight a degree, shaken any of your objections. Farewell. 
With my cordial thanks for your long letters and valuable 

Believe me, yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to L. Agassiz* 

Down, November nth [1859]. 

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

I beg leave to remain, 

Yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

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

" I have seldom been more deeply 
gratified than by receiving your 
most kind present of ' Lake Su- 
perior.' I had heard of it, and had 
much wished to read it, but I con- 
fess that it was the very great 
honour of having in my posses- 
sion a work with your autograph 
as a presentation copy, that has 
given me such lively and sincere 
pleasure. I cordially thank you 
for it. I have begun to read it 
with uncommon interest, which I 
see will increase as I go on." 


C. Darwin to A. De Candolle. 

Down, November nth [1859]. 

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

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

Yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwi?i to Hugh Falconer. 

Down, November nth [1859]. 

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

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

Lord, how savage you will be, if you read it, and how you 
will long to crucify me alive ! I fear it will produce no other 

* Jessie Allen, sister of Mrs. Josiah Wedgwood of Maer. 


effect on you ; but if it should stagger you in ever so slight 
a degree, in this case, I am fully convinced that you will 
become, year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immut- 
ability of species. With this audacious and presumptuous 


I remain, my dear Falconer, 

Yours most truly, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, November nth [1859]. 

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

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

C. Darwin to jf. S. Henslow. 

Down, November nth, 1859. 
My DEAR HENSLOW, I have told Murray to send a copy 
of my book on Species to you, my dear old master in Natural 


History ; I fear, however, that you will not approve of your 
pupil in this case. The book in its present state does not 
show the amount of labour which I have bestowed on the 

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

If you are in even so slight a degree staggered (which I 
hardly expect) on the immutability of species, then I am 
convinced with further reflection you will become more and 
more staggered, for this has been the process through which 
my mind has gone. My dear Henslow, 

Yours affectionately and gratefully, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to John Ltibbock. 


Ilkley, Yorkshire, 
Saturday [November 12th, 1859]. 

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

* The present Sir John Lubbock. 


give up the idea that each flash was caused by the direct 
hand of God. 

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

Yours very truly, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to John Ltibbock. 

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

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

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

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

Farewell, with our joint thanks to Mrs. Lubbock and 

yourself. Adios. 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to L. Jenyns* 

Ilkley, Yorkshire. 
November 13th, 1859. 

My DEAR JENYNS, I must thank you for your very kind 

note forwarded to me from Down. I have been much out 

of health this summer, and have been hydropathising here for 

the last six weeks with very little good as yet. I shall stay 

* Now Rev. L. Blomefield. 


here for another fortnight at least. Please remember that my 
book is only an abstract, and very much condensed, and, to 
be at all intelligible, must be carefully read. I shall be very 
grateful for any criticisms. But I know perfectly well that 
you will not at all agree with the lengths which I go. It took 
long years to convert me. I may, of course, be egregiously 
wrong ; but I cannot persuade myself that a theory which 
explains (as I think it certainly does) several large classes of 
facts, can be wholly wrong ; notwithstanding the several diffi- 
culties which have to be surmounted somehow, and which 
stagger me even to this day. 

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

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

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Ilkley, November 13th, 1859. 

My DEAR Sir, I have told Murray to send you by post 
(if possible) a copy of my book, and I hope that you will 
receive it at nearly the same time with this note. (N.B. I 
have got a bad finger, which makes me write extra badly.) 
If you are so inclined, I should very much like to hear your 
general impression of the book, as you have thought so pro- 
foundly 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 

1 859.] MR. WALLACE. 221 

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 Wells, where 
I have been with my family for the last six weeks, and shall 
stay for some few weeks longer. As yet I have profited 
very little. God knows when I shall have strength for my 
bigger 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, 

Charles Darwin. 

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. D. Fox. 

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

I like the place very much, and the children have 

enjoyed it much, and it has done my wife good. It did H. 
good at first, but she has gone back again. I have had a 
series of calamities ; first a sprained ankle, and then a badly 

* Mr. Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago, 


swollen whole leg and face, much rash, and a frightful succes- 
sion of boils four or five at once. I have felt quite ill, and 
have little faith in this " unique crisis," as the doctor calls it, 

doing me much good You will probably have 

received, or will very soon receive, my weariful book on 
species. I naturally believe it mainly includes the truth, but 
you will not at all agree with me. Dr. Hooker, whom I con- 
sider one of the best judges in Europe, is a complete convert, 
and he thinks Lyell is likewise; certainly, judging from Lyell's 
letters to me on the subject, he is deeply staggered. Farewell. 
If the spirit moves you, let me have a line. . . . 

C. Darwin to W. B. Carpenter. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 

November 18th [1859]. 

My dear Carpenter, I must thank you for your letter 
on my own account, and, if I know myself, still more warmly 
for the subject's sake. As you seem to have understood my 
last chapter without reading the previous chapters, you must 
have maturely and most profoundly self-thought out the sub- 
ject; for I have found the most extraordinary difficulty in 
making even able men understand at what I was driving. 
There will be strong opposition to my views. If I am in the 
main right (of course including partial errors unseen by me), 
the admission of my views will depend far more on men, like 
yourself, with well-established reputations, than on my own 
writings. Therefore, on the supposition that when you have 
read my volume you think the view in the main true, I thank 
and honour you for being willing to run the chance of unpopu- 
larity by advocating the view. I know not in the least 
whether any one will review me in any of the Reviews. I do 
not see how an author could enquire or interfere ; but if you 
are willing to review me anywhere, I am sure from the admira- 
tion which I have long felt and expressed for your ' Compara- 

1 859.] DR. CARPENTER. 223 

tive Physiology,' that your review will be excellently done, and 
will do good service in the cause for which I think I am not 
selfishly deeply interested. I am feeling very unwell to-day, 
and this note is badly, perhaps hardly intelligibly, expressed ; 
but you must excuse me, for I could not let a post pass> 
without thanking you for your note. You will have a tough 
job even to shake in the slightest degree Sir H. Holland. I 
do not think (privately I say it) that the great man has know- 
ledge enough to enter on the subject. Pray believe me with 

Yours truly obliged, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to W. B. Carpenter. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 

November 19th [1859]. 

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


themselves of the truth of the foolishest doctrines, I feel 
sometimes a little frightened, whether I may not be one of 
these monomaniacs. 

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, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to jf. D. Hooker. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 

Sunday [November, 1859]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I have just read a review on my 
book in the Athenoeum* and it excites my curiosity much 
who is the author. If you should hear who writes in the 
Athenceum I wish you would tell me. It seems to me well 
done, but the reviewer gives no new objections, and, being 
hostile, passes over every single argument in favour of the 
doctrine, ... I fear from the tone of the review, that I have 
written in a conceited and cocksure style,f which shames 
me a little. There is another review of which I should like 
to know the author, viz. of H. C. Watson in the 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 Ouatrefages, who is inclined to go a 
long way with us. He says that he exhibited in his lecture 
a diagram closely like mine ! 

* Nov. 19, 1859. ulties "more or less confidently." 
t The Reviewer speaks of the % A review of the fourth volume 

author's u evident self-satisfaction," of Watson's ' Cybele Britannica,' 

and of his disposing of all diffic- Card. C/iron., 1859, p. 911. 


I shall stay here one fortnight more, and then go to Down, 

staying on the road at Shrewsbury a week. I have been very 

unfortunate : out of seven weeks I have been confined for five 

to the house. This has been bad for me, as I have not been 

able to help thinking to a foolish extent about my book. If 

some four or five good men came round nearly to our view, I 

shall not fear ultimate success. I long to learn what Huxley 

thinks. Is your Introduction* published ? I suppose that you 

will sell it separately. Please answer this, for I want an 

extra copy to send away to Wallace. I am very bothersome, 


Yours affectionately, 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [November 21st, 1859]. 

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

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

I had hoped to have come up for the Club to-morrow, but 
very much doubt whether I shall be able. Ilkley seems to 
have done me no essential good. I attended the Bench on 

* Introduction to the ' Flora of Australia.' 


Monday, and was detained in adjudicating some troublesome 
cases 1 J hours longer than usual, and came home utterly 
knocked up, and cannot rally. I am not worth an old 

button Many thanks for your pleasant note. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

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

H\ C. Watson to C. Darwin. 

Thames Ditton, November 21st [1859]. 

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

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

2nd. You will perhaps need, in some degree, to limit or 
modify, possibly in some degree also to extend, your present 
applications of the principle of natural selection. Without 
going to matters of more detail, it strikes me that there is 
one considerable primary inconsistency, by one failure in the 
analogy between varieties and species ; another by a sort of 
barrier assumed for nature on insufficient grounds, and arising 
from " divergence." These may, however, be faults in my 

1859.] H - c - WATSON. 227 

own mind, attributable to yet incomplete perception of your 
views. And I had better not trouble you about them before 
again reading the volume. 

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

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

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

Very sincerely, 

Hewett C. Watson. 

* " Almost-man." 

Q 2 


J. D. Hooker to C. Darwin, 

Athenaeum, 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 suc- 
cessful. 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 com- 
pliment 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 com- 
pliments, and if I am dishonest enough to be pleased with 
what I don't deserve, it must just pass. How different the 
book reads from the MS. I see I shall have much to talk 
over with you. Those lazy printers have not finished my 
luckless Essay ; which, beside your book, will look like a 
ragged handkerchief beside a Royal Standard . . . 
All well, ever yours affectionately, 

Jos. D. Hooker. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire [November, 1859]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I cannot help it, I must thank you 

for your affectionate and most kind note. My head will be 

turned. By Jove, I must try and get a bit modest. I was 

a little chagrined by the review.* I hope it was not . 

* This refers to the review book, leaves the author to "the 

in the AthencEiwi, Nov. 19, 1859, mercies of the Divinity Hall, the 

where the reviewer, after touching College, the Lecture Room, and 

on the theological aspects of the the Museum." 

1S59] TIIE 'ATHENAEUM.' 229 

As advocate, he might think himself justified in giving the 
argument only on one side. But the manner in which he 
drags in immortality, and sets the priests at me, and leaves 
me to their mercies, is base. He would, on no account, burn 
me, but he will get the wood ready, and tell the black beasts 
how to catch me. ... It would be unspeakably grand if 
Huxley were to lecture on the subject, but I can see this is a 
mere chance ; Faraday might think it too unorthodox. 

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

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, 

C. D. 

C. Darwin to C. Lye 11. 

Ilkley Wells, Yorkshire, 

November 23rd [1859]. 

My DEAR Lyell, You seemed to have worked admirably 
on the species question ; there could not have been a better 
plan than reading up on the opposite side. I rejoice pro- 
foundly that you intend admitting the doctrine of modifica- 
tion in your new edition ;* nothing, I am convinced, could be 
more important for its success. I honour you most sincerely. 
To have maintained in the position of a master, one side of a 
question for thirty years, and then deliberately give it up, is a 

* It appears from Sir Charles lished till 1865. He was, however, 

Lyell's published letters that he in- at work on the ' Antiquity of Man' 

tended to admit the doctrine of in i860, and had already deter- 

evolution in a new edition of the mined to discuss the ' Origin ' at 

' Manual,' but this was not pub- the end of the book. 


fact to which I much doubt whether the records of science offer 
a parallel. For myself, also, I rejoice profoundly ; for, thinking 
of so many cases of men pursuing an illusion for years, often 
and often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have 
asked myself whether I may not have devoted my life to a 
phantasy. Now I look at it as morally impossible that in- 
vestigators of truth, like you and Hooker, can be wholly 
wrong, and therefore I rest in peace. Thank you for criti- 
cisms, which, if there be a second edition, I will attend to. 
I have been thinking that if I am much execrated as an 
atheist, &c, whether the admission of the doctrine of natural 
selection could injure your works ; but I hope and think not, 
for, as far as I can remember, the virulence of bigotry is 
expended on the first offender, and those who adopt his views 
are only pitied as deluded, by the wise and cheerful bigots. 

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

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

Charles Darwin. 


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

T. H. Huxley to C. Darwin. 

Jermyn Street, W., 

November 23rd, 1859. 

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

Since I read Von Bar's * 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 sup- 
port of Chapter IX., and most parts of Chapters X., XL, 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 
with all the principles laid down in them. I think you have 
demonstrated a true cause for the production of species, and 
have thrown the onus probandi, that species did not arise in 
the way you suppose, on your adversaries. 

But I feel that I have not yet by any means fully 
realized the bearings of those most remarkable and original 

* Karl Ernst von Baer, b. 1792, my. He practically founded the 
d. at Dorpat 1876 one of the most modern science of embryology. 
distinguished biologists of the cent- 


Chapters III., IV. and V., and I will write no more about 
them just now. 

The only objections that have occurred to me are, 1st that 
you have loaded yourself with an unnecessary difficulty in 
adopting Natura 11011 facit saltum so unreservedly. . . . And 
2nd, it is not clear to me why, if continual physical conditions 
are of so little moment as you suppose, variation should 
occur at all. 

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

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

I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness. 

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

Ever yours faithfully, 

T. H. Huxley. 

C. Danvin to T. H. Huxley. 

Ilkley, Nov. 25 [1859], 

My DEAR HUXLEY, Your letter has been forwarded to 
me from Down. Like a G^ood 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 

1 859.] MR. HUXLEY'S ADHERENCE. 233 

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 exces- 
sively anxious for your verdict. I am now contented, and 
can sing my "nunc dimittis." What a joke it would be if I 
pat you on the back when you attack some immovable crea- 
tionists ! 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, 

C. Darwin. 

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

Erasmus Darwin to C. Darwin. 

November 23rd [1859]. 

DEAR CHARLES, I am so much weaker in the head, that 
I hardly know if I can write, but at all events I will jot down 
a few things that the Dr.* has said. He has not read much 
above half, so as he says he can give no definite conclusion, 
and it is my private belief he wishes to remain in that state. 
. . . He is evidently in a dreadful state of indecision, and 
keeps stating that he is not tied down to either view^ and that 
he has always left an escape by the way he has spoken of 

* Dr., afterwards Sir Henry Holland. 


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 
slight blot, which I also observed, that in speaking of the 
slave-ants carrying one another, you change the species 
without giving notice first, and it makes one turn back. . . . 

. . . For myself I really think it is the most interesting 
book I ever read, and can only compare it to the first know- 
ledge of chemistry, getting into a new world or rather behind 
the scenes. To me the geographical distribution, I mean the 
relation of islands to continents is the most convincing of the 
proofs, and the relation of the oldest forms to the existing 
species. I dare say I don't feel enough the absence of 
varieties, but then I don't in the least know if everything 
now living were fossilized whether the 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, 

E. A. D. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Ilkley, November [24th, 1859]. 

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

This morning I heard also from Murray that he sold the 
whole edition * the first day to the trade. He wants a new 
-edition instantly, and this utterly confounds me. Now, under 

* First edition, 1250 copies. 

1 859.] NEW EDITION. 235 

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,* 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 

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

My dear Lyell, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

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

The proposed translation was not made, and a second 
plan fell through in the following year. He wrote to M. de 

* The passage was omitted in the second edition. 


Quatrefages : " The gentleman who wished to translate my 
' Origin of Species ' has failed in getting a publisher. 
Bailliere, Masson, and Hachette all rejected it with contempt. 
It was foolish and presumptuous in me, hoping to appear in a 
French dress ; but the idea would not have entered my head 
had it not been suggested to me. It is a great loss. I must 
console myself with the German edition which Prof. Bronn is 
bringing out." * 

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Ilkley, [November 25th, 1859]. 

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

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

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

My kind friend, farewell, yours, 

C. Darwin. 

* See letters to Bronn, p. 276. 

1 359-] 



C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 

December 2nd [1859]. 

My DEAR Lyell, Every note which you have sent me has 
interested me much. Pray thank Lady Lyell for her remark. 
In the chapters she refers to, I was unable to modify the pas- 
sage in accordance to your suggestion ; but in the final 
chapter I have modified three or four. Kingsley, in a note * 
to me, had a capital paragraph on such notions as mine being 
not opposed to a high conception of the Deity. I have inserted 
it as an extract from a letter to me from a celebrated author 
and divine. I have put in about nascent organs. I had the 
greatest difficulty in partially making out Sedgwick's letter, and 
I dare say I did greatly underrate its clearness. Do what I 
could, I fear I shall be greatly abused. In answer to Sedg- 
wick's remark that my book would be " mischievous," I asked 
him whether truth can be known except by being victorious 
over all attacks. But it is no use. H. C. Watson tells me 
that one zoologist says he will read my book, " but I will never 
believe it." What a spirit to read any book in ! Crawford 
writes to me that his notice f will be hostile, but that " he will 
not calumniate the author." He says he has read my book, 
" at least such parts as he could understand." He sent me 
some notes and suggestions (quite unimportant), and they 
show me that I have unavoidably done harm to the subject, 
by publishing an abstract. He is a real Pallasian ; nearly all 
our domestic races descended from a multitude of wild species 
now commingled. I expected Murchison to be outrageous. 

* The letter is given at Vol. II. 
p. 287. 

f John Crawford, orientalist, eth- 
nologist, &c, b. 1783, d. 1868. The 
review appeared in the Examiner, 
and, though hostile, is free from 
bigotry, as the following citation 
will show : " We cannot help saying 

that piety must be fastidious indeed 
that objects to a theory the ten- 
dency of which is to show that all 
organic beings, man included, are 
in a perpetual progress of ameliora- 
tion, and that is expounded in the 
reverential language which we have 


How little he could ever have grappled with the subject 
of denudation ! How singular so great a geologist should 
have so unphilosophical a mind ! I have had several notes 

from , very civil and less decided. Says he shall not 

pronounce against me without much reflection, perhaps will 
say nothing on the subject. X. says he will go to that part 
of hell, which Dante tells us is appointed for those who are 
neither on God's side nor on that of the devil. 

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

Yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

" I must thank you for your extremely kind notice of my 
book in ' Macmillan.' No one could receive a more delightful 

1 859.] REVIEWS. 239 

and honourable compliment. I had not heard of your 
Lecture, owing to my retired life. You attribute much too 
much to me from our mutual friendship. You have explained 
my leading idea with admirable clearness. What a gift you 
have of writing (or more properly thinking) clearly."] 

C Darwin to W. B. Carpenter. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 

December 3rd [1859]. 

My DEAR CARPENTER, I am perfectly delighted at your 
letter. It is a great thing to have got a great physiologist on 
our side. I say " our " for we are now a good and compact 
body of really good men, and mostly not old men. In the 
long-run we shall conquer. I do not like being abused, but I 
feel that I can now bear it ; and, as I told Lyell, I am well 
convinced that it is the first offender who reaps the rich 
harvest of abuse. You have done an essential kindness in 
checking the odium theologicum in the [?] * It much pains 
all one's female relations and injures the cause. 

I look at it as immaterial whether we go quite the same 
lengths ; and I suspect, judging from myself, that you will go 
further, by thinking of a population of forms like Ornitho- 
rhynchus, and by thinking of the common homological and 
embryological structure of the several vertebrate orders. But 
this is immaterial. I quite agree that the principle is every- 
thing. In my fuller MS. I have discussed a good many 
instincts ; but there will surely be more unfilled gaps here 
than with corporeal structure, for we have no fossil instincts, 
and know scarcely any except of European animals. When 
I reflect how very slowly I came round myself, I am in truth 
astonished at the candour shown by Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, 

* This must refer to Carpenter's number of the ' National Review,' 
critique, which would now have i860, and in which the odium theo- 
been ready to appear in the January logicum is referred to. 


and yourself. In my opinion it is grand. I thank you cor- 
dially for taking the trouble of writing a review for the 
' National.' God knows I shall have few enough in any 
degree favourable.* 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Saturday [December 5th, 1859]. 
... I have had a letter from Carpenter this morning. He 
reviews me in the ' National.' He is a convert, but does not 
go quite so far as I, but quite far enough, for he admits that 
all birds are from one progenitor, and probably all fishes and 
reptiles from another parent. But the last mouthful chokes 
him. He can hardly admit all vertebrates from one parent. 
He will surely come to this from Homology and Embryology. 
I look at it as grand having brought round a great physio- 
logist, for great I think he certainly is in that line. How 
curious I shall be to know what line Owen will take: dead 
against us, I fear ; but he wrote me a most liberal note on the 
reception of my book, and said he was quite prepared to 
consider fairly and without prejudice my line of argument. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, Saturday"[December 12th, 1859]. 

... I had very long interviews with , which perhaps 

you would like to hear about. ... I infer from several 
expressions that, at bottom, he goes an immense way with 

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 

* See a letter to Dr. Carpenter, Vol. II. p. 262. 

1 859.] CRITICISM. 24I 

nearly all points, than that I should toss up a penny and get 
heads twenty times running. I asked him what he thought 
the weakest part. He said he had no particular objection to 
any part. He added : 

" If I must criticise, I should say, we do not want to know 
what Darwin believes and is convinced of, but what he can 
prove." I agreed most fully and truly that I have probably 
greatly sinned in this line, and defended my general line of 
argument of inventing a theory and seeing how many classes 
of facts the theory would explain. I added that I would 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 objec- 
tion, that the book was too teres atque rotundus that it ex- 
plained everything, and that it was improbable in the highest 
degree that I should succeed in this. I quite agree with this 
rather queer objection, and it comes to this that my book 
must be very bad or very 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 discourage- 

C. Darwin to JoJin Lubbock. 

December 14th [1859]. 

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

My book has been as yet very much more successful 
than I ever dreamed of: Murray is now printing 3000 copies. 
Have you finished it ? If so, pray tell me whether you are 



with me on the general issue, or against me. If you are 
against me, I know well how honourable, fair, and candid an 
opponent I shall have, and which is a good deal more than 
I can say of all my opponents, . . . 

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

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

J. D. Hooker to C. Darwin. 

Kew [1859]. 

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

* See, however, Vol. II. p. 22S. 

i3 5 9.] 



in the ' English Churchman/ short and not at all entering 
into discussion, but praising you and your book, and talking 
patronizingly of the doctrine ! . . . Bentham and Henslow 
will still shake their heads, I fancy. . . . 

Ever yours affectionately, 

Jos. D. Hooker. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, December 14th [1859]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, Your approval of my book, for many 
-reasons, gives me intense satisfaction ; but I must make some 
allowance for your kindness and sympathy. Any one with 
ordinary faculties, if he had patience enough and plenty of 
time, could have written my book. You do not know how I 
admire your and Lyell's generous and unselfish sympathy ; I 
do not believe either of you would have cared so much about 
your own work. My book, as yet, has been far more suc- 
cessful than I ever even formerly ventured in the wildest day- 
dreams to anticipate. We shall soon be a good body of 
working men, and shall have, I am convinced, all young and 
rising naturalists on our side. I shall be intensely interested 
to hear whether my book produces any effect on A. Gray ; 
from what I heard at Lyell's, I fancy your correspondence has 
brought him some way already. I fear that there is no 
chance of Bentham being staggered. Will he read my book ? 
Has he a copy? I would send him one of the reprints if he 
has not. Old J. E. Gray,* at the British Museum, attacked 
me in fine style : " You have just reproduced Lamarck's doc- 

* John Edward Gray (born 1800, 
died 1875) was the son of S. F. 
Gray, author of the ' Supplement 
rto the Pharmacopoeia.' In 1821 he 
published in his father's name ' The 
Natural Arrangement of British 
Plants,' one of the earliest works in 
English on the natural method. In 
.1824 he became connected with the 

Natural History Department of the 
British Museum, and was appointed 
Keeper of the Zoological collections 
in 1840. He was the author of 
' Illustrations of Indian Zoology,' 
'The Knowsley Menagerie,' &c, 
and of innumerable descriptive 
Zoological papers. 

R 2 


trine, and nothing else, and here Lyell and others have been 
attacking him for twenty years, and because you (with a sneer 
and laugh) say the very same thing, they are all coming 
round ; it is the most ridiculous inconsistency, &c, &c." 

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

Farewell, my kind and dear friend, 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, December 21st [1859]. 

My DEAR Gray, I have just received your most kind, 
long, and valuable letter. I will write again in a few days, for 
I am at present unwell and much pressed with business :. 

1 859-] AMERICAN EDITION. 245 

to-day's note is merely personal. I should, for several reasons, 

be very glad of an American Edition. I have made up my 

mind to be well abused ; but I think it of importance that my 

notions should be read by intelligent men, accustomed to 

scientific argument, though not naturalists. It may seem 

absurd, but I think such men will drag after them those 

naturalists who have too firmly fixed in their heads that a 

species is an entity. The first edition of 1250 copies was sold 

on the first day, and now my publisher is printing off, as 

rapidly as possible, 3000 more copies. I mention this solely 

because it renders probable a remunerative sale in America. 

I should be infinitely obliged if you could aid an American 

reprint ; and could make, for my sake and the publisher's, any 

arrangement for any profit. The new edition is only a reprint, 

yet I have made a few important corrections. I will have 

the clean sheets sent over in a few days of as many sheets as 

are printed off, and the remainder afterwards, and you can do 

anything you like, if nothing, there is no harm done. I 

should be glad for the new edition to be reprinted and not the 

old. In great haste, and with hearty thanks, 

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 
I will write soon again. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, 22nd [December, 1859], 
MY DEAR Lyell, Thanks about " Bears," * a word of ill- 
omen to me. 

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

I am very glad of your remarks on Hooker, f I have not yet 

* See ' Origin,' ed. i., p. 184. wide botanical experience, and 

f Sir C. Lyell wrote to Sir J. D. think it goes very far to raise the 

Hooker, Dec. 19, 1S59 (' Life,' ii. variety-making hypothesis to the 

p. 327) : " I have just finished the rank of a theory, as accounting for 

reading of your splendid Essay [the the manner in which new species 

' Flora of Australia '] on the origin enter the world." 
of species, as illustrated by your 


got the Essay. The parts which I read in sheets seemed to> 
me grand, especially the generalization about the Australian- 
flora itself. How superior to Robert Brown's celebrated 
essay ! I have not seen Naudin's paper,* and shall not be 
able till I hunt the libraries. I am very anxious to see it. 
Decaisne seems to think he gives my whole theory. I do 
not know when I shall have time and strength to grapple- 
with Hooker. . . . 

P.S. I have heard from Sir W. Jardine :f his criticisms are 
quite unimportant ; some of the Galapagos so-called species 
ought to be called varieties, which I fully expected ; some of 
the sub-genera, thought to be wholly endemic, have been found 
on the Continent (not that he gives his authority), but I do 
not make out that the species are the same. His letter is. 
brief and vague, but he says he will write again. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [23rd December, 1859]! 

My DEAR HOOKER, I received last night your ' Intro- 
duction,' for which very many thanks ; I am surprised to see 

* 'Revue Horticole,' 1852. See 
Historical Sketch in the later edi- 
tions of the ' Origin of Species.' 

t Jardine, Sir William, Bart., 
b. 1800, d. 1874, was the son of 
Sir A. Jardine of Applegarth, Dum- 
friesshire. He was educated at 
Edinburgh, and succeeded to the 
title on his father's decease in 1821. 
He published, jointly with Mr. 
Prideaux J. Selby, Sir Stamford 
Raffles, Dr. Horsfield, and other 
ornithologists, ' Illustrations of Or- 
nithology,' and edited the ' Na- 
turalist's Library,' in 40 vols, which 
included the four branches : Mam- 
malia, Ornithology, Ichthyology, 
and Entomology. Of these 40 vols. 
14 were written by himself. In 

1836 he became editor of the ' Maga- 
zine of Zoology and Botany,' which,, 
two years later, was transformed 
into ' Annals of Natural History,' 
but remained under his direction. 
For Bonn's Standard Library he 
edited White's ' Natural History of 
Selborne.' Sir W. Jardine was also* 
joint editor of the ' Edinburgh 
Philosophical Journal,' and was 
author of ' British Salmonidae,' 
' Ichthyology of Annandale,' ' Me- 
moirs of the late Hugh Strickland,' 
' Contributions to Ornithology,' 
c Ornithological Synonyms,' &c. 
(Taken from Ward, ' Men of the 
Reign,' and Cates, ' Dictionary of 
General Biography.') 

1 859-] NAUDIN. 247 

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

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

independence or priority. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

A. Sedgwick* to C. Darwin. 

Cambridge, December 24th, 1859. 

My DEAR Darwin, I write to thank you for your work on 
the ' Origin of Species.' It came, I think, in the latter part 

* Rev. Adam Sedgwick, Wood- the University of Cambridge. Born 
vardian Professor of Geology in 1785, died 1873. 


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

I do not state this to fill space (though I believe that 
Nature does abhor a vacuum), but to prove that my reply and 
my thanks are sent to you by the earliest leisure I have, though 
that is but a very contracted opportunity. If I did not think 
you a good-tempered and truth-loving man, I should not tell 
you that (spite of the great knowledge, store of facts, capital 
views of the correlation of the various parts of organic nature, 
admirable hints about the diffusion, through wide regions, of 
many related organic beings, &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 assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, 
why then express them in the language and arrangement 

1859.] SEDGWICK. 249 

of philosophical induction ? As to your grand principle 
natural selection what is it but a secondary consequence of 
supposed, or known, primary facts ? Development is a better 
word, because more close to the cause of the fact ? For you 
do not deny causation. I call (in the abstract) causation the 
will of God ; and I can prove that He acts for the good of 
His creatures. He also acts by laws which we can study 
and comprehend. Acting by law, and under what is called 
final causes, comprehends, I think, your whole principle. 
You write of " natural selection " as if it were done 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 have stated admirably, though 
admitted by all naturalists and denied by no one of common 
sense. We all admit development as a fact of history : but 
how came it about? Here, in language, and still more in 
logic, we are point-blank at issue. There is a moral or meta- 
physical 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 classification 
of such laws, whether we consider one side of nature or the 
other. You have ignored this link ; and, if I do not mistake 
your meaning, you have done your best in one or two preg- 
nant cases to break it. Were it possible (which, thank God, it is 
not) to break it, humanity, in my mind, would suffer a damage 
that might brutalize it, and sink the human race into a lower 
grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since 
its written records tell us of its history. Take the case of the 
bee-cells. If your development produced the successive 
modification of the bee and its cells (which no mortal can 
prove), final cause would stand good as the directing cause 
under which the successive generations acted and gradually 
improved. Passages in your book, like that to which I have 


alluded (and there are others almost as bad), greatly shocked 
my moral taste. I think, in speculating on organic descent, 
you over-state the evidence of geology ; and that you under- 
state it while you are talking of the broken links of your 
natural pedigree : but my paper is nearly done, and I must 
go to my lecture-room. Lastly, then, I greatly dislike the con- 
cluding 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 con- 
demned in the author of the ' Vestiges ') and prophecy of things 
not yet in the womb of time, nor (if we are to trust the accumu- 
lated experience of human sense and the inferences of its 
logic) ever likely to be found anywhere but in the fertile womb 
of man's imagination. And now to say a word about a son of 
a monkey and an old friend of yours : I am better, far better, 
than I was last year. I have been lecturing three days 
a week (formerly I gave six a week) without much fatigue, 
but I find by the loss of activity and memory, and of all pro- 
ductive powers, that my bodily frame is sinking slowly towards 
the earth. But I have visions of the future. They are as 
much a part of myself as my stomach and my heart, and these 
visions are to have their antitype in solid fruition of what is 
best and greatest. But on one condition only that I humbly 
accept God's revelation of Himself both in His works and in 
His word, and do my best to act in conformity with that 
knowledge which He only can give me, and He only can 
sustain me in doing. If you and I do all this, we shall meet 
in 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. 

1859.] CREATION. 251 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, Dec. 25th [1859]. 

My DEAR HUXLEY, One part of your note has pleased 
me so much that I must thank you for it. Not only Sir 
H. H. [Holland], but several others, have attacked me about 
analogy leading to belief in one primordial created form.* 
(By which I mean only that we know nothing as yet [of] how 
life originates.) I thought I was universally condemned on 
this head. But I answered that though perhaps it would 
have been more prudent not to have put it in, I would not 
strike it out, as it seemed to me probable, and I give it on 
no other grounds. You will see in your mind the kind of 
arguments which made me think it probable, and no one 
fact had so great an effect on me as your most curious remarks 
on the apparent homologies of the head of Vertebrata and 

You have done a real good turn in the Agency business \ 
(I never before heard of a hard-working, unpaid agent besides 
yourself), in talking with Sir H. H., for he will have great 
influence over many. He floored me from my ignorance 
about the bones of the ear, and I made a mental note to ask 
you what the facts were. 

With hearty thanks and real admiration for your generous- 
zeal for the subject. 

Yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

You may smile about the care and precautions I have taken 
about my ugly MS. ; % it is not so much the value I set on 

* ' Origin,' edit. i. p. 484. into which life was first breathed." 

"Therefore I should infer from f "My General Agent" was a 

analogy that probably all the sobriquet applied at this time by 

organic beings which have ever my father to Mr. Huxley, 

lived on this earth have descended % Manuscript left with Mr. Hux- 

from some one primordial form, ley for his perusal. 


them, but the remembrance of the intolerable labour for 
instance, in tracing the history of the breeds of pigeons. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, 25th [December, 1859]. 

... I shall not write to Decaisne ; * I have always had 
a strong feeling that no one had better defend his own 
priority. I cannot say that I am as indifferent to the subject 
as I ought to be, but one can avoid doing anything in 

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

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

Farewell, yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

December 28th, 1859. 
. . . Have you seen the splendid essay and notice of my 
book in the Times ?\ I cannot avoid a strong suspicion that 
it is by Huxley ; but I never heard that he wrote in the 
Times. It will do grand service, . . . 

* With regard to Naudin's paper in the ' Revue Horticole,' 1852. 
t Dec. 26th. 



2 :^ 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, Dec. 28th [1S59]. 

My DEAR HUXLEY, Yesterday evening-, when I read the 
Times of a previous day, I was amazed to find a splendid 
essay and review of me. Who can the author be ? I am 
intensely curious. It included an eulogium of me which quite 
touched me, though I am not vain enough to think it all 
deserved. The author is a literary man, and German scholar. 
He has read my book very attentively ; but, what is very 
remarkable, it seems that he is a profound naturalist. He 
knows my Barnacle-book, and appreciates it too highly. 
Lastly, he writes and thinks with quite uncommon force and 
clearness ; and what is even still rarer, his writing is seasoned 
with most pleasant wit. We all laughed heartily over some 
of the sentences. I was charmed with those unreasonable 
mortals, who know anything, all thinking fit to range them- 
selves on one side.* Who can it be ? Certainly I should 
have said that there was only one man in England who could 
have written this essay, and that you were the man. But I 
suppose I am wrong, and that there is some hidden genius of 
great calibre. For how could you influence Jupiter Olympius 
and make him give three and a half columns to pure science ? 
The old fogies will think the world will come to an end. 
Well, whoever the man is, he has done great service to the 
cause, far more than by a dozen reviews in common peri- 
odicals. The grand way he soars above common religious 

* The reviewer proposes to pass 
by the orthodox view, according to 
which the phenomena of the organic 
world are " the immediate product 
of a creative fiat, and consequently 
are out of the domain of science 
altogether." And he does so " with 
less hesitation, as it so happens 
that those persons who are prac- 

tically conversant with the facts of 
the case (plainly a considerable 
advantage) have always thought 
fit to range themselves " in the 
category of those holding " views 
which profess to rest on a scientific 
basis only, and therefore admit 
of being argued to their conse- 


prejudices, and the admission of such views into the Times, 
I look at as of the highest importance, quite independently of 
the mere question of species. If you should happen to be 
acquainted with the author, for Heaven-sake tell me who 
he is? 

My dear Huxley, yours most sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

[It is impossible to give in a short space an adequate idea 
of Mr. Huxley's article in the Times of December 26. It is 
.admirably planned, so as to claim for the ' Origin ' a respectful 
hearing, and it abstains from anything like dogmatism in 
;asserting the truth of the doctrines therein upheld. A few pas- 
sages may be quoted : " That this most ingenious hypothesis 
enables us to give a reason for many apparent anomalies in the 
distribution of living beings in time and space, and that it is not 
contradicted by the main phenomena of life and organisation, 
appear to us to be unquestionable." Mr. Huxley goes on to 
recommend to the readers of the ' Origin ' a condition of 
" thdtige Skepsis " a state of " doubt which so loves truth 
that it neither dares rest in doubting, nor extinguish itself 
by unjustified belief." The final paragraph is in a strong 
^contrast to Professor Sedgwick and his "ropes of bubbles" 
(see p. 298). Mr. Huxley writes : " Mr. Darwin abhors mere 
speculation as nature abhors a vacuum. He is as greedy of 
cases and precedents as any constitutional lawyer, and all the 
principles he lays down are capable of being brought to the 
test of observation and experiment. The path he bids us 
follow professes to be not a mere airy track, fabricated of 
ideal cobwebs, but a solid and broad bridge of facts. If it be 
so, it will carry us safely over many a chasm in our know- 
ledge, and lead us to a region free from the snares of those 
fascinating but barren virgins, the Final Causes, against whom 
.a high authority has so justly warned us." 

There can be no doubt that this powerful essay, appearing 

1859.] THE 'times' review. 255 

as it did in the leading daily Journal, must have had a strong 
influence on the reading public. Mr. Huxley allows me to 
quote from a letter an account of the happy chance that threw 
into his hands the opportunity of writing it. 

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

" I was too anxious to seize upon the opportunity thus 
offered of giving the book a fair chance with the multitudinous 
readers of the Times to make any difficulty about condi- 
tions ; 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 

" 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 con- 
fidence in the publication of this little history, if you think it 
worth the space it will occupy."] 


THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES' {continued). 


I EXTRACT a few entries from my father's Diary : 

"Jan. 7th. The second edition, 3000 copies, of 'Origin 

was published." 

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

States was 2500 copies." 

My father has here noted down the sums received for the 

First Edition . . . . . . \%o o o 

Second Edition .. .. .. 636 13 4 

816 13 4 

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

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


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, January 3rd [i860]. 

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

.... The invading Indian Flora is very interesting, but I 
think the fact you mention towards the close of the essay 
that the Indian vegetation, in contradistinction to the Ma- 
layan vegetation, is found in low and level parts of the Malay 
Islands, greatly lessens the difficulty which at first (page 1) 
seemed so great. There is nothing like one's own hobby- 
horse. I suspect it is the same case as of glacial migration, 
and of naturalised production of production of greater area 

* ' Australian Flora. 

258 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

conquering those of lesser ; of course the Indian forms would 
have a greater difficulty in seizing on the cool parts of Aus- 
tralia. I demur to your remarks (page 1), as not " conceiving 
anything in soil, climate, or vegetation of India," which could 
stop the introduction of Australian plants. Towards the close 
of the essay (page civ), you have admirable remarks on our 
profound ignorance of the cause of possible naturalisation 
or introduction ; I would answer p. 1, by a later page, viz. 
p. civ. 

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


from Australia to New Zealand, and therefore floatation seems 
the only possible means ; but yet I maintain that we do not 
know enough to argue on the question, especially as we do 
not know the main fact whether the seeds of Australian 
orders are killed by sea-water. 

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

.... The list of naturalised plants is extremely interest- 
ing, but why at the end, in the name of all that is good and 
bad, do you not sum up and comment on your facts ? Come, I 
will have a sneer at you in return for the many which you will 
have launched at this letter. Should you [not] have remarked 
on the number of plants naturalised in Australia and the 
United States under extremely different climates, as showing 
that climate is so important, and [on] the considerable 
sprinkling of plants from India, North America, and South 
Africa, as showing that the frequent introduction of seeds is 
so important ? With respect to " abundance of unoccupied 
ground in Australia," do you believe that European plants 
introduced by man now grow on spots in Australia which 
were absolutely bare ? But I am an impudent dog, one must 
defend one's own fancy theories against such cruel men as 
you. I dare say this letter will appear very conceited, but 
one must form an opinion on what one reads with attention, 
and in simple truth, I cannot find words strong enough to 
express my admiration of your essay. 

My dear old friend, yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

s 2 

260 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

P.S. I differ about the Saturday Review* One cannot 
expect fairness in a reviewer, so I do not complain of all 
the other arguments besides the ' Geological Record ' being 
omitted. Some of the remarks about the lapse of years are 
very good, and the reviewer gives me some good and well- 
deserved raps confound it. I am sorry to confess the truth : 
but it does not at all concern the main argument. That was 
a nice notice in the Gardeners' Chronicle. I hope and imagine 
that Lindley is almost a convert. Do not forget to tell me 
if Bentham gets at all more staggered. 

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down [January 4th, i860]. 
My DEAR L. Gardeners' Chronicle returned safe. Thanks 
for note. I am beyond measure glad that you get more 
and more roused on the subject of species, for, as I have 
always said, I am well convinced that your opinions and 
writings will do far more to convince the world than mine. 
You will make a grand discussion on man. You are very bold 
in this, and I honour you. I have been, like you, quite sur- 
prised at the want of originality in opposed arguments and 
in favour too. Gwyn Jeffreys attacks me justly in his letter 
about strictly littoral shells not being often embedded at least 

* Saturday Review, Dec. 24, remarks that, "if a million of cen- 

1859. The hostile arguments of turies, more or less, is needed for 

the reviewer are geological, and he any part of his argument, he feels 

deals especially with the denuda- no scruple in taking them to suit 

tion of the Weald. The reviewer his purpose." 




in Tertiary deposits. I was in a muddle, for I was thinking 

of Secondary, yet Chthamalus applied to Tertiary 

Possibly you might like to see the enclosed note * from 

Whewell, merely as showing that he is not horrified with us. 

You can return it whenever you have occasion to write, so as 

not to waste your time. 

C. D. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down [January 4th ? i860]. 

I have had a brief note from Keyserling,f but not 

worth sending you. He believes in change of species, grants 
that natural selection explains well adaptation of form, but 
thinks species change too regularly, as if by some chemical 
law, for natural selection to be the sole cause of change. 
I can hardly understand his brief note, but this is I think 
the upshot. 

I will send A. Murray's paper whenever published.^ 

* Dr. Whewell wrote (Jan. 2, 
i860) : "... I cannot, yet at least, 
become a convert. But there is so 
much of thought and of fact in 
what you have written that it is 
not to be contradicted without 
careful selection of the ground and 
manner of the dissent." Dr. Whe- 
well dissented in a practical manner 
for some years, by refusing to allow 
a copy of the ' Origin of Species ' 
to be placed in the Library of 
Trinity College. 

f Count Keyserling, geologist, 
joint author with Murchison of the 
1 Geology of Russia,' 1845 ; and 
mentioned in Prof. Geikie's ' Life 
of Murchison.' 

X The late Andrew Murray 
wrote two papers on the ' Origin ' 
in the Proc. R. Soc. Edin. i860. 
The one referred to here is dated 
Jan. 16, i860. The following is 

quoted from p. 6 of the separate 
copy : " But the second, and, as it 
appears to me, by much the most 
important phase of reversion to 
type (and which is practically, if 
not altogether ignored by Mr. Dar- 
win), is the instinctive inclination 
which induces individuals of the 
same species by preference to inter- 
cross with those possessing the 
qualities which they themselves 
want, so as to preserve the purity 
or equilibrium of the breed. . . . 
It is trite to a proverb, that tall 
men marry little women ... a man 
of genius marries a fool . . . and 
we are told that this is the result 
of the charm of contrast, or of 
qualities admired in others because 
we do not possess them. I do not 
so explain it. I imagine it is the 
effort of nature to preserve the 
typical medium of the race." 

262 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

It includes speculations (which perhaps he will modify) so rash, 
and without a single fact in support, that had I advanced them 
he or other reviewers would have hit me very hard. I am 
sorry to say that I have no " consolatory view " on the dignity 
of man. I am content that man will probably advance, and 
care not much whether we are looked at as mere savages in a 
remotely distant future. Many thanks for your last note. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darzvin to W. B. Carpenter. 

Down, January 6th [i860] ? 

My dear Carpenter, I have just read your excellent 
article in the ' National.' It will do great good ; especially if it 
becomes known as your production. It seems to me to give 
an excellently clear account of Mr. Wallace's and my views. 
How capitally you turn the flanks of the theological opposers 
by opposing to them such men as Bentham and the more 
philosophical of the systematists ! I thank you sincerely for 
the extremely honourable manner in which you mention me. 
I should have liked to have seen some criticisms or remarks 
on embryology, on which subject you are so well instructed. 
I do not think any candid person can read your article with- 
out being much impressed with it. The old doctrine of 
immutability of specific forms will surely but slowly die away. 
It is a shame to give you trouble, but I should be very much 
obliged if you could tell me where differently coloured eggs 
in individuals of the cuckoo have been described, and their 
laying in twenty-seven kinds of nests. Also do you know 
from your own observation that the limbs of sheep imported 

i36o.] rev. l. elomefield. 263 

into the West Indies change colour ? I have had detailed in- 
formation about the loss of wool ; but my accounts made the 
change slower than you describe. 

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

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Danvin to L. jfenyns* 

Down, January 7th, i860. 

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

The imperfection of the Geological Record is one of the 

greatest difficulties During the earliest period the 

record would be most imperfect, and this seems to me 
sufficiently to account for our not finding intermediate forms 
between the classes in the same great kingdoms. It was 
certainly rash in me putting in my belief of the probability of 
all beings having descended from one primordial form ; but 
as this seems yet to me probable, I am not willing to strike 
it out. Huxley alone supports me in this, and something 
could be said in its favour. With respect to man, I am very 
far from wishing to obtrude my belief; but I thought it 
dishonest to quite conceal my opinion. Of course it is 

* Rev. L. Blomefield. 




open to every one to believe that man appeared by a 
separate miracle, though I do not myself see the necessity or 

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

My dear Jenyns, yours most sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 


C. Darwin to C. 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 f 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 summary, 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 cannot refer you to tables of mortality of children, 
&c. &c. I have notes somewhere, but I have not the least 
idea where to hunt, and my notes would now be old. I shall 
be truly glad to read carefully any MS. on man, and give my 
opinion. You used to caution me to be cautious about man. 

* The second edition of 3000 
copies of the ' Origin ' was pub- 
lished on January 7th. 

f This 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 discus- 
sion 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. 

i860.] second edition. 265 

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 w r hole volume ; 
although by the sentence (p. 489, new edition *) I show that 
I believe man is in the same predicament with other animals. 
It is in fact impossible to doubt it. I have thought (only 
vaguely) on man. With respect to the races, one of my best 
chances of truth has broken down from the impossibility of 
getting facts. I have one good speculative line, but a man 
must have entire credence in Natural Selection before he will 
even listen to it. Psychologically, I have done scarcely any- 
thing. Unless, indeed, expression of countenance can be 
included, and on that subject I have collected a good many 
facts, and speculated, but I do not suppose I shall ever 
publish, but it is an uncommonly curious subject. By the 
w r ay I sent off a lot of questions the day before yesterday 
to Tierra del Fuego on expression ! I suspect (for I have 
never read it) that Spencer's ' Psychology ' has a bearing on 
Psychology as we should look at it. By all means read the 
Preface, in about 20 pages, of Hensleigh Wedgwood's new 
Dictionary, on the first origin of Language ; Erasmus would 
lend it. I agree about Carpenter, a very good article, but 
with not much original. . . . Andrew Murray has criticised, 
in an address to the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, the 
notice in the ' Linnean Journal,' and "has disposed of" the 
whole theory by an ingenious difficulty, which I was very 
stupid not to have thought of; for I express surprise at more 
and analogous cases not being known. The difficulty is, that 
amongst the blind insects of the caves in distant parts of the 
world there are some of the same genus, and yet the genus is 
not found out of the caves or living in the free world. I have 
little doubt that, like the fish Amblyopsis, and like Proteus in 
Europe, these insects are " wrecks of ancient life," or " living 
fossils," saved from competition and extermination. But that 

* First edition, p. 488. 

266 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

formerly seeing insects of the same genus roamed over the 
whole area in which the cases are included. 

Farewell, yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

Here is a pleasant genealogy for mankind. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, January 14th [i860]. 

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

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

. . . What a grand immense benefit you conferred on me 
by getting Murray to publish my book. I never till to-day 
realised that it was getting widely distributed ; for in a letter 
from a lady to-day to E., she says she heard a man enquiring 
for it at the Raihvay Station! II 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 !!!.... 

* c Classification of the Mammalia,' 1859. 

iS6o.] 'gardeners' chronicle.' 267 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

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 the 
honourable and noble things you say of me and it. I was a 
good deal surprised at Lindley hitting on some of the remarks, 
but I never dreamed of you. I admired it chiefly as so well 
adapted to tell on the readers of the Gardeners" Chronicle ; 
but now I admire it in another spirit. Farewell, with hearty 
thanks. ; . . . Lyell is going at man with an audacity that 
frightens me. It is a good joke ; he used always to caution 
me to slip over man. 

[In the Gardeners* Chronicle > Jan. 21, i860, appeared a 
short letter from my father, which was called forth by 
Mr. Westwood's communication to the previous number of 
the journal, in which certain phenomena of cross-breeding are 
discussed in relation to the ' Origin of Species.' Mr. West- 
wood wrote in reply (Feb. n), and adduced further evidence 
against the doctrine of descent, such as the identity of the 
figures of ostriches on the ancient " Egyptian records," with 
the bird as we now know it. The correspondence is hardly 
worth mentioning, except as one of the very few cases in 
which my father was enticed into anything resembling a 

* Gardeners' Chronicle, i860, plete impartiality, so as not to 
Referred to above, at p. 260. Sir commit Lindley. 
J. D. Hooker took the line of com- 

268 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

Asa Gray to J. D. Hooker. 

Cambridge, Mass., 

January 5th, i860. 

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

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

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

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

Agassiz, when I saw him last, had read but a part of it. 
He says it is poor very poor 1 1 (entre nous). The fact [is] 
he is very much annoyed by it, ... . and I do not wonder 
at it. To bring all ideal system 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 
' Silliman's Journal ' (the more so that I suspect Agassiz means 
to come out upon it) for the next (March) No., and I am now 
setting about it (when I ought to be every moment working 
the Exploring] Expedition Composite, which I know far more 
about). And really it is no easy job as you may well imagine. 

i860.] dr. gray's approval. 269 

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. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, January 28th [i860]. 

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

I have been absent from home for a few days, and so could 
not earlier answer your letter to me of the 10th of January. 
You have been extremely kind to take so much trouble and 
interest about the edition. It has been a mistake of my 
publisher not thinking of sending over the sheets. I had 
entirely and utterly forgotten your offer of receiving the 
sheets as printed off. But I must not blame my publisher, 
for had I remembered your most kind offer I feel pretty sure 
I should not have taken advantage of it ; for I never dreamed 
of my book being so successful with general readers : I believe 
I should have laughed at the idea of sending the sheets to 

After much consideration, and on the strong advice of Lyell 
and others, I have resolved to have the present book as it is 
(excepting correcting errors, or here and there inserting short 

* In a letter to Mr. Murray, 1 S60, but yet in such terms that it is in fact 

my father wrote : " I am amused a fine advertisement ! " This seems 

by Asa Gray's account of the excite- to refer to a lecture given before 

ment my book has made amongst the Mercantile Library Associa- 

naturalists in the U. States. Agassiz tion. 
has denounced it in a newspaper, 

270 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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 unwilling to take up time in making 
corrections for an American edition. I enclose a list of a few 
corrections in the second reprint, which you will have received 
by this time complete, and I could send four or five corrections 
or additions of equally small importance, or rather of equal 
brevity. I also intend to write a short preface with a brief 
history of the subject. These I will set about, as they must 
some day be done, and I will send them to you in a short time 
the few corrections first, and the preface afterwards, unless 
I hear that you have given up all idea of a separate edition. 
You will then be able to judge whether it is worth having 
the new edition with your reviezu prefixed. Whatever be the 
nature of your review, I assure you I should feel it a great 
honour to have my book thus preceded 

Asa Gray to C. Darwin. 

Cambridge, January 23rd, i860. 

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

The Appletons being thus out with their reprint, the Boston 
house declined to go on. So I wrote to the Appletons takin 


iS6o.] dr. gray's criticisms. 271 

them at their word, offering to aid their reprint, to give them 
the use of the alterations in the London reprint, as soon as I 
find out what they are, &c. &c. And I sent them the first 
leaf, and asked them to insert in their future issue the addi- 
tional matter from Butler,* which tells just right. So there 
the matter stands. If you furnish any matter in advance of 
the London third edition, I will make them pay for it. 

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

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

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

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

Style clear and good, but now and then wants revision for 
little matters (p. 97, self-fertilises itself, &c). 

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

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

* A quotation from Butler's tion is placed with the passages 
' Analogy,' on the use of the word from Whewell and Bacon on p. ii, 
natural, which in the second edi- opposite the title-page. 

272 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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

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

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

Enough for the present. 

I am not insensible to your compliments, the very 

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

I am free to say that I never learnt so much from one book 

as I have from yours. There remain a thousand things I long 

to say about it. 

Ever yours, 

Asa Gray. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

[February? i860.] 

Now I will just run through some points in your 

letter. What you say about my book gratifies me most deeply, 

i860.] historical sketch. 273 

and I wish I could feel all was deserved by me. I quite think 
a review from a man, who is not an entire convert, if fair and 
moderately favourable, is in all respects the best kind of 
review. About the weak points I agree. The eye to this 
day gives me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine 
known gradations, my reason tells me I ought to conquer 
the cold shudder. 

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

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

My dear Gray, yours most sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [January 31st, i860]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, I have resolved to publish a little 
sketch of the progress of opinion on the change of species. 
Will you or Mrs. Hooker do me the favour to copy one 
sentence out of Naudin's paper in the ' Revue Horticole,' 
1852, p. 103, namely, that on his principle of Finalite. Can 





you let me have it soon, with those confounded dashes over 

the vowels put in carefully ? Asa Gray, I believe, is going to 

get a second edition of my book, and I want to send this little 

preface over to him soon. I did not think of the necessity of 

having Naudin's sentence on finality, otherwise I would have 

copied it. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. I shall end by just alluding to your Australian 
Flora Introduction. What was the date of publication : 
December 1859, or January i860? Please answer this. 

My preface will also do for the French edition, which, I 
believe, is agreed on. 

C. Darwin to J, D, Hooker. 

February [i860]. 

.... As the ' Origin ' now stands, Harvey's * is a good 
hit against my talking so much of the insensibly fine grada- 
tions ; and certainly it has astonished me that I should be 
pelted with the fact, that I had not allowed abrupt and great 
enough variations under nature. It would take a good deal 
more evidence to make me admit that forms have often 
changed by saltum. 

* William Henry Harvey was 
descended from a Quaker family of 
Youghal, and was born in Feb- 
ruary, 181 1, at Summerville, a 
country house on the banks of the 
Shannon. He died at Torquay in 
1866. In 1835, Harvey went to 
Africa (Table Bay) to pursue his 
botanical studies, the results of 
which were given in his ' Genera of 
South African Plants.' In 1838, 
ill-health compelled him to obtain 
leave of absence, and return to 
England for a time ; in 1840 he 
returned to Cape Town, to be again 

compelled by illness to leave. In 
1843 he obtained the appointment 
of Botanical Professor at Trinity 
College, Dublin. In 1854, 1855, 
and 1856 he visited Australia, New 
Zealand, the Friendly and Fiji 
Islands. In 1857 Dr. Harvey 
reached home, and was appointed 
the successor of Professor Allman 
to the Chair of Botany in Dublin 
University. He was author of 
several botanical works, princi- 
pally on Algae. (From a Memoir 
published in 1869.) 

i860.] DR. HARVEY. 275 

Have you seen Wollaston's attack in the ' Annals'? * The 
stones are beginning to fly. But Theology has more to do 
with these two attacks than Science. . . . 

[In the above letter a paper by Harvey in the Gardeners' 
Chronicle, Feb. 18, i860, is alluded to. He describes a case 
of monstrosity in Begonia frigida, in which the " sport " 
differed so much from a normal Begonia that it might have 
served as the type of a distinct natural order. Harvey goes 
on to argue that such a case is hostile to the theory of natural 
selection, according to which changes are not supposed to 
take place per saltum, and adds that " a few such cases would 
overthrow it [Mr. Darwin's hypothesis] altogether." In the 
following number of the Gardeners Chronicle Sir J. D. Hooker 
showed that Dr. Harvey had misconceived the bearing of the 
Begonia case, which he further showed to be by no means 
calculated to shake the validity of the doctrine of modification 
by means of natural selection. My father mentions the 
Begonia case in a letter to Lyell (Feb. 18, i860) : 

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

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

Down [February 26th, i860]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, Your answer to Harvey seems to me 
admirably good. You would have made a gigantic fortune as 

* 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' i860. 

T 2 

276 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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

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

Farewell, my dear master in my own subject, 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

[The following letters refer to the first translation (i860) of 
the ' Origin of Species ' into German, which was superintended 
by H. G. Bronn, a good zoologist and palaeontologist, who 
was at the time at Freiburg, but afterwards Professor at 
Heidelberg. I have been told that the translation was not a 
success, it remained an obvious translation, and was cor- 
respondingly unpleasant to read. Bronn added to the trans- 
lation an appendix on the difficulties that occurred to him. 
For instance, how can natural selection account for differences 
between species, when these differences appear to be of no 
service to their possessors ; e.g., the length of the ears and 
tail, or the folds in the enamel of the teeth of various species 
of rodents? Krause, in his book, ' Charles Darwin,' p. 91, 
criticises Bronn's conduct in this matter, but it will be seen 
that my father actually suggested the addition of Bronn's 


remarks. A more serious charge against Bronn made by 
Krause (pp. cit. p. 8y) is that he left out passages of which he 
did not approve, as, for instance, the passage (' Origin,' first 
edition, p. 488) " Light will be thrown on the origin of man 
and his history." I have no evidence as to whether my 
father did or did not know of these alterations.] 

C. Darwin to H. G. Bronn. 

Down, Feb. 4 [i860]. 

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

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

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

Yours, truly obliged, 

C. Darwin. 

* Second edition. 

2/8 THE ' ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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

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

C. Darwin to H. G. Bronn. 

Down, Feb. 14 [i860]. 

My dear and much honoured Sir, I thank you 
cordially for your extreme kindness in superintending the 
translation, I have mentioned this to some eminent scientific 
men, and they all agree that you have done a noble and 
generous service. If I am proved quite wrong, yet I comfort 
myself in thinking that my book may do some good, as truth 
can onl}- r be known by rising victorious from every attack. I 
thank you also much for the review, and for the kind manner 
in which you speak of me. I send with this letter some cor- 
rections and additions to M. Schweitzerbart, and a short 
historical preface. I am not much acquainted with German 
authors, as I read German very slowly ; therefore I do not 
know whether any Germans have advocated similar views 
with mine ; if they have, would you do me the favour to insert 
a foot-note to the preface ? M. Schweitzerbart has now the 
reprint ready for a translator to begin. Several scientific men 
have thought the term " Natural Selection " good, because its 
meaning is not obvious, and each man could not put on it his 
own interpretation, and because it at once connects variation 
under domestication and nature. Is there any analogous 
term used by German breeders of animals ? " Adelung," 
ennobling, would, perhaps, be too metaphorical. It is folly in 
me, but I cannot help doubting whether " Wahl der Lebens- 
weise " expresses my notion. It leaves the impression on my 


mind of the Lamarckian doctrine (which I reject) of habits of 
life being all-important. Man has altered, and thus improved 
the English race-horse by selecting successive fleeter indi- 
viduals ; and I believe, owing to the struggle for existence, 
that similar slight variations in a wild horse, if advantageous 
to it, would be selected or preserved by nature ; hence Natural 
Selection. But I apologise for troubling you with these 
remarks on the importance of choosing good German terms 
for " Natural Selection." With my heartfelt thanks, and with 
sincere respect, 

I remain, dear Sir, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to H. G. Broun. 

Down July 14 [i860]. 

Dear AND HONOURED Sir, On my return home, after an 
absence of some time, I found the translation of the third 
part * of the ' Origin,' and I have been delighted to see a final 
chapter of criticisms by yourself. I have read the first few 
paragraphs and final paragraph, and am perfectly contented, 
indeed more than contented, with the generous and candid 
spirit with which you have considered my views. You speak 
with too much praise of my work. I shall, of course, care- 
fully read the whole chapter ; but though I can read descrip- 
tive books like Gaertner's pretty easily, when any reasoning 
comes in, I find German excessively difficult to understand. 
At some future time I should very much like to hear how my 
book has been received in Germany, and I most sincerely 
hope M. Schweitzerbart will not lose money by the publica- 
tion. Most of the reviews have been bitterly opposed to me 
in England, yet I have made some converts, and several 
naturalists who would not believe in a word of it, are now 

* The German translation was published in three pamphlet-like 


coming slightly round, and admit that natural selection may 
have done something. This gives me hope that more will 
ultimately come round to a certain extent to my views. 

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

Dear Sir, yours gratefully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down [February 12th, i860]. 

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

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

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

[The lecture referred to in the last letter was given at the 
Royal Institution, February 10, i860. The following letter 
was written in reply to Mr. Huxley's request for information 
about breeding, hybridisation, &c. It is of interest as giving 
a vivid retrospect of the writer's experience on the subject.] 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Ilkley, Yorks, Nov. 27 [1859]. 
My DEAR HUXLEY, Gartner grand, Kolreuter grand, but 
papers scattered through many volumes and very lengthy. I 

i860.] pigeon fanciers. 281 

had to make an abstract of the whole. Herbert's volume on 
Amaryllidacese very good, and two excellent papers in the 
' Horticultural Journal.' For animals, no resume to be trusted 
at all ; facts are to be collected from all original sources.* 
I fear my MS. for the bigger book (twice or thrice as long 
as in present book), with all references, would be illegible, 
but it would save you infinite labour ; of course I would 
gladly lend it, but I have no copy, so care would have to be 
taken of it. But my accursed handwriting would be fatal, 
I fear. 

About breeding, I know of no one book. I did not think 
well of Lowe, but I can name none better. Youatt I look at 
as a far better and more practical authority ; but then his views 
and facts are scattered through three or four thick volumes. 
I have picked up most by reading really numberless special 
treatises and all agricultural and horticultural journals ; but 
it is a work of long years. The difficulty is to know what to 
trust. No one or two statements are worth a farthing ; the 
facts are so complicated. I hope and think I have been 
really cautious in what I state on this subject, although all 
that I have given, as yet, is far too briefly. I have found it 
very important associating with fanciers and breeders. For 
instance, I sat one evening in a gin palace in the Borough 
amongst a set of pigeon fanciers, when it was hinted that 
Mr. Bull had crossed his Pouters with Runts to gain size ; and 

* This caution is exemplified in proved subsequently to be quite 

the following extract from an earlier sterile ; well, compiler the first, 

letter to Professor Huxley : "The Chevreul, says that the hybrids were 

inaccuracy of the blessed gang (of propagated for seven generations 

which I am one) of compilers passes inter se. Compiler second (Morton) 

all bounds. Monsters have fre- mistakes the French name, and 

quently been described as hybrids gives Latin names for two more 

without a tittle of evidence. I must distinct geese, and says Chevreul 

give one other case to show how himself propagated them inter se 

we jolly fellows work. A Belgian for seven generations ; and the latter 

Baron (I forget his name at this statement is copied from book to 

moment) crossed two distinct geese book." 
and got seven hybrids, which he 

282 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

if you had seen the solemn, the mysterious, and awful shakes 
of the head which all the fanciers gave at this scandalous 
proceeding, you would have recognised how little crossing 
has had to do with improving breeds, and how dangerous for 
endless generations the process was. All this was brought 
home far more vividly than by pages of mere statements, &c. 
But I am scribbling foolishly. I really do not know how to 
advise about getting up facts on breeding and improving 
breeds. Go to Shows is one way. Read all treatises on any 
one domestic animal, and believe nothing without largely 
confirmed. For your lectures I can give you a few amusing 
anecdotes and sentences, if you want to make the audience 

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

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

Yours very tired, 

C. Darwin. 

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

" I have said that the man of science is the sworn inter- 
preter of nature in the high court of reason. But of what 
avail is his honest speech, if ignorance is the assessor of the 
judge, and prejudice the foreman of the jury ? I hardly know 

i860.] MR. HUXLEY'S LECTURE. 283 

of a great physical truth, whose universal reception has not 
been preceded by an epoch in which most estimable per- 
sons have maintained that the phenomena investigated were 
directly dependent on the Divine Will, and that the attempt 
to investigate them was not only futile, but blasphemous. 
And there is a wonderful tenacity of life about this sort of 
opposition to physical science. Crushed and maimed in every 
battle, it yet seems never to be slain ; and after a hundred 
defeats it is at this day as rampant, though happily not so 
mischievous, as in the time of Galileo. 

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down [February 15th, i860]. 

... I am perfectly convinced (having read this morning) 
that the review in the ' Annals ' * is by Wollaston ; no one 
else in the world would have used so many parentheses. I 

* Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist, 
third series, vol. 5, p. 132. My 
father has obviously taken the ex- 
pression " pestilent " from the fol- 
lowing passage (p. 13S) : " But who 
is this Nature, we have a right to 
ask, who has such tremendous 
power, and to whose efficiency such 
marvellous performances are as- 
cribed ? 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. 

i860.] wollaston's review. 285 

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 read. 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 Rudimentary Organs, &c. I read Wallace's 
paper in MS.,f and thought it admirably good ; he does 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 confirmation. . . . 

Henslow is staying here ; I have had some talk with him ; 
he is in much the same state as BunburyJ and will go a very 
little way with us, but brings up no real argument against going 
further. He also shudders at the eye ! It is really curious 
(and perhaps is an argument in our favour) how differently 
different opposers view the subject. Henslow used to rest his 
opposition on the imperfection of the Geological Record, 
but he now thinks nothing of this, and says I have got well 
out of it ; I wish I could quite agree with him. Baden Powell 
says he never read anything so conclusive as my statement 
about the eye ! ! A stranger writes to me about sexual selec- 
tion, 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 

* Another version of the words f " On the Zoological Geography- 
is given by Lyell, to whom they of the Malay Archipelago." Linn, 
were spoken, viz. "the most il- Soc. Journ. i860, 
logical book ever written." ' Life/ X The late Sir Charles Bunbury, 
vol. ii. p. 358. well known as a Palaso-botanist. 

286 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

far as I do, yet he can give no good reason why he should 
not. It is funny how each man draws his own imaginary line 
at which to halt. It reminds me so vividly what I was told * 
about you when I first commenced geology to believe a 
little, but on no account to believe all. 

Ever yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, February 18th [i860]. 
My dear Gray, I received about a week ago two sheets 
of your Review ;f read them, and sent them to Hooker ; they 
are now returned and re-read with care, and to-morrow I 
send them to Lyell. Your Review seems to me admirable ; 
by far the best which I have read. I thank you from my 
heart both for myself, but far more for the subject's sake. 
Your contrast between the views of Agassiz and such as mine 
is very curious and instructive.^ By the way, if Agassiz 
writes anything on the subject, I hope you will tell me. I am 
charmed with your metaphor of the streamlet never running 
against the force of gravitation. Your distinction between 
an hypothesis and theory seems to me very ingenious ; but I 
do not think it is ever followed. Every one now speaks of the 
undulatory theory of light ; yet the ether is itself hypothetical, 
and the undulations are inferred only from explaining the 
phenomena of light. Even in the theory of gravitation is the 
attractive power in any way known, except by explaining 
the fall of the apple, and the movements of the Planets ? It 
seems to me that an hypothesis is developed into a theory 
solely by explaining an ample lot of facts. Again and again I 

* By Professor Henslow. regards the origin of species and 
t The ' American Journal of their present general distribution 
Science and Arts,' March i860. over the world as equally primor- 
Reprinted in ' Darwiniana,' 1876. dial, equally supernatural ; that of 
% The contrast is briefly summed Darwin as equally derivative, equal- 
up thus : "The theory of Agassiz ly natural." ' Darwiniana,' p. 14. 

i860.] clerical opinions. 287 

thank you for your generous aid in discussing a view, about 
which you very properly hold yourself unbiassed. 

My dear Gray, yours most sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

C. Kingsley to C. Darwin. 

Eversley Rectory, Winchfield, 

November 18th, 1S59. 

Dear Sir, I have to thank you for the unexpected 
honour of your book. That the Naturalist whom, of all 
naturalists living, I most wish to know and to learn from, 
should have sent a scientist like me his book, encourages me 
at least to observe more carefully, and 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 azves me ; 
both with the heap of facts and the prestige of your name, 
and also with the clear intuition, that if you be right, I must 
give up much that I have believed and written. 

In that I care little. Let God be true, and every man a 
liar ! Let us know what is, and, as old Socrates has it, eireo-Oat, 
tco \6yq> follow up the villainous shifty fox of an argument, 
into whatsoever unexpected bogs and brakes he may lead us, 
if we do but run into him at last. 

From two common superstitions, at least, I shall be free 
while judging of your 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. 

288 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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

Be it as it may, I shall prize your book, both for itself, 

and as a proof that you are aware of the existence of such a 

person as 

Your faithful servant, 


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

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

" His views on this subject were very much to the same effect 
from his side. Of course any conversations we may have had 
on purely religious subjects are as sacredly private now as in 
his life ; but the quaint conclusion of one may be given. We 
had been speaking of the apparent contradiction of some sup- 
posed discoveries with the Book of Genesis ; he said, ' you 
are (it would have been more correct to say you ought to be) 
a theologian, I am a naturalist, the lines are separate. I en- 
deavour to discover facts without considering what is said in 
the Book of Genesis. I do not attack Moses, and I think 
Moses can take care of himself.' To the same effect he wrote 
more recently, ' I cannot remember that I ever published a 

i860.] clerical opinions. 289 

word directly against religion or the clergy ; but if you were 
to read a little pamphlet which I received a couple of days 
ago by a clergyman, you would laugh, and admit that I had 
some excuse for bitterness. After abusing me for two or three 
pages, in language sufficiently plain and emphatic to have 
satisfied any reasonable man, he sums up by saying that he 
has vainly searched the English language to find terms to 
express his contempt for me and all Darwinians.' In another 
letter, after I had left Down, he writes, ' We often differed, 
but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can 
differ and yet feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing 
[of] which I should feel very proud, if any one could say [it] 
of me.' 

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

C. Danvin to C. Lyell. 

Down, February 23rd [i860]. 

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

With respect to Bronn's objection that it cannot be shown 
how life arises, and likewise to a certain extent Asa Gray's 
remark that natural selection is not a vera causa, I was much 



interested by finding accidentally in Brewster's ' Life of 
Newton,' that Leibnitz objected to the law of gravity because 
Newton could not show what gravity itself is. As it has. 
chanced, I have used in letters this very same argument, 
little knowing that anyone 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 fur- 
ther objected that the law of gravity was opposed to Natural 
Religion ! Is this not curious ? I really think I shall use the 
facts for some introductory remarks for my bigger book. 

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

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

I thank you much for your most pleasant letter. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

i860.] progress of opinion. 291 

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, February 25th [i860]. 

I cannot help wondering at your zeal about my 

book. I declare to heaven you seem to care as much about 
my book as I do myself. You have no right to be so 
eminently unselfish ! I have taken off my spit [i.e. file] a 
letter of Ramsay's, as every geologist convert I think very 
important. By the way, I saw some time ago a letter from 
H. D. Rogers* to Huxley, in which he goes very far with 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Saturday March 3rd, [i860]. 

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

I was much interested by your last note. ... I think you 
expect too much in regard to change of opinion on the sub- 
ject of Species. One large class of men, more especially I 
suspect of naturalists, never will care about any general ques- 
tion, 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 

* Professor of Geology in the University of Glasgow. Born in the 
United States 1809, died 1866. 

U 2 




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. 
The outsiders, as you say, are strong. 

You say that you think that Bentham is touched, "but, 
like a wise man, holds his tongue." Perhaps you only mean 
that he cannot decide, otherwise I should think such silence 
the reverse of magnanimity ; for if others behaved the same 
way, how would opinion ever progress ? It is a dereliction of 
actual duty.f 

I am so glad to hear about Thwaites.J ... I have had an 
astounding letter from Dr. Boott ; it might be turned into 
ridicule against him and me, so I will not send it to any one. 
He writes in a noble spirit of love of truth. 

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

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

Farewell, my dear Hooker, yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. Is not Harvey in the class of men who do not at all 
care for generalities ? I remember your saying you could 

* See table of names, p. 293. 

t In a subsequent letter to Sir 
J. D. Hooker (March 12th, i860), 
my father wrote, " I now quite un- 
derstand Bentham's silence." 

X Dr. G. J. K. Thwaites, who 
was born in 181 1, established a 
reputation in this country as an 
expert microscopist and an acute 
observer, working especially at 
cryptogamic botany. On his ap- 
pointment as Director of the 
Botanic Gardens at Peradenyia, 
Ceylon, Dr. Thwaites devoted him- 
self to the flora of Ceylon. As a 

result of this he has left numerous 
and valuable collections, a descrip- 
tion of which he embodied in his 
' Enumeratio Plantarum Zeylaniae ' 
(1864). Dr. Thwaites was a Fellow 
of the Linnean Society, but beyond 
the above facts, little seems to have 
been recorded of his life. His death 
occurred in Ceylon on September 
nth, 1882, in his seventy-second 
year. Athentzum, October 14th, 
1882, p. 500. 

The letter is enthusiastically 
laudatory, and obviously full of 
genuine feeling. 




not cret him to write on Distribution. I have found his 
works very unfruitful in every respect. 

[Here follows the memorandum referred to :] 


Zoologists and 







H. D. Rogers. 

J. Lubbock. 

L. Jenyns 
(to large extent). 

Sir H. Holland 
(to large extent). 

H. C. Watson. 

Asa Gray 
(to some extent). 

Searles Wood.J 

Dr. Boott 
(to large extent). 


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

G. Bentham to Francis Darwin, 

25 Wilton Place, S.W., 

May 30th, 1882. 

My DEAR Sir. In compliance with your note which I 
received last night, I send herewith the letters I have from 
your father. I should have done so on seeing the general 
request published in the papers, but that I did not think 
there were any among them which could be of any use to 
you. Highly flattered as I was by the kind and friendly 
notice with which Mr. Darwin occasionally honoured me, I 

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

f Joseph Beete Jukes, M.A., 
F.R.S., born 181 1, 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 after- 

wards appointed Director of the 
Geological Survey of Ireland. He 
was the author of many papers, 
and of more than one good hand- 
book of geology. 

% Searles Valentine Wood, born 
Feb. 14, 1798, died 1880. Chiefly 
known for his work on the Mollusca 
of the ' Crag.' 

294 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

was never admitted into his intimacy, and he therefore never 
made any communications to me in relation to his views and 
labours. I have been throughout one of his most sincere 
admirers, and fully adopted his theories and conclusions, 
notwithstanding the severe pain and disappointment they at 
first occasioned me. On the day that his celebrated paper 
was read at the Linnean Society, July 1st, 1858, a long paper 
of mine had been set down for reading, in which, in com- 
menting on the British Flora, I had collected a number of 
observations and facts illustrating what I then believed to be 
a fixity in species, however difficult it might be to assign their 
limits, and showing a tendency of abnormal forms produced 
by cultivation or otherwise, to withdraw within those original 
limits when left to themselves. Most fortunately my paper 
had to give way to Mr. Darwin's, and when once that was 
read, I felt bound to defer mine for reconsideration ; I began 
to entertain doubts on the subject, and on the appearance of 
the ' Origin of Species,' I was forced, however reluctantly, to 


give up my long-cherished convictions, the results of much 
labour and study, and I cancelled all that part of my paper 
which urged original fixity, and published only portions of 
the remainder in another form, chiefly in the * Natural History 
Review.' I have since acknowledged on various occasions 
my full adoption of Mr. Darwin's views, and chiefly in my 
Presidential Address of 1863, and in my thirteenth and last 
address, issued in the form of a report to the British Associa- 
tion at its meeting at Belfast in 1874. 

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

Yours very sincerely, 

George Bentham. 

i860.] evolution and history. 295 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down [March] 12th [i860]. 

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

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


C. Darwin. 

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


C. Darwin to J. Prestzvick* 

Down, March 12th [i860]. 

... At some future time, when you have a little leisure, 
and when you have read my ' Origin of Species,' I should 
esteem it a singular favour if you w r ould send me any general 
.criticisms. I do not mean of unreasonable length, but such 

* Now Professor of Geology in the University of Oxford. 

296 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

as you could include in a letter. I have always admired your 
various memoirs so much that I should be eminently glad to 
receive your opinion, which might be of real service to me. 

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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, April 3 [i860 J. 

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

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 formations, instead of its being 
an almost universally admitted dogma. But my dear old 
friend Sedgwick, with his noble heart, is old, and is rabid with 
indignation. It is hard to please every one ; you may 
remember that in my last letter I asked you to leave out 
about the Weald denudation : I told Jukes this (who is head 
man of the Irish geological survey), and he blamed me much, 
for he believed every word of it, and thought it not at all 
exaggerated ! In fact, geologists have no means of gauging 
the infinitude of past time. There has been one prodigy of a 

* See the quotations which follow the present letter. 

1 860.] 



review, namely, an opposed one (by Pictet,* the palaeontologist, 
in the Bib. Universelle of Geneva) which is perfectly fair and 
just, and I agree to every word he says; our only difference 
being that he attaches less weight to arguments in favour, 
and more to arguments opposed, than I do. Of all the op- 
posed 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 your- 
self ! It has done me muck too good service ever to appear 
in that rank in my eyes. But I fear I shall weary you with 
so much about my book. I should rather think there was a 
good chance of my becoming the most egotistical man in all 
Europe ! What a proud pre-eminence ! Well, you have 
helped to make me so, and therefore you must forgive me if 
you can. 

My dear Gray, ever yours most gratefully, 

C. Darwin. 

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

" I now feel certain that Sedgwick is the author of the 
article in the Spectator. No one else could use such abusive 
terms. And what a misrepresentation of my notions ! Any 
ignoramus would suppose that I had first broached the 

* Frangois Jules Pictet, in the 
' Archives des Sciences de la Bib- 
liotheque Universelle,' Mars i860. 
The article is written in a courteous 
and considerate tone, and con- 
cludes by saying that the ' Origin ' 
will be of real value to naturalists, 
especially if they are not led away 
by its seductive arguments to be- 
lieve in the dangerous doctrine of 
modification. A passage which 
seems to have struck my father as 
being valuable, and opposite which 
he has made double pencil marks 

and written the word " good," is 
worth quoting : " La theorie de 
M. Darwin s'accorde mal avec 
l'histoire des types a formes bien 
tranchees et definies qui paraissent 
n'avoir vecu que pendant un temps 
limite. On en pourrait citer des 
centaines d'exemples, tel que les 
reptiles volants, les ichthyosaures, 
les belemnites, les ammonites, &c." 
Pictet was born in 1809, died 1872 ; 
he was Professor of Anatomy and 
Zoology at Geneva. 

29$ THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

doctrine, that the breaks between successive formations 
marked long intervals of time. It is very unfair. But poor 
dear old Sedgwick seems rabid on the question. " Demo- 
ralised understanding ! " If ever I talk with him I will tell 
liim that I never could believe that an inquisitor could be a 
good man ; but now I know that a man may roast another, 
and yet have as kind and noble a heart as Sedgwick's." 

The following passages are taken from the review : 

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

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

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

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

i860.] dr. carpenter. 299 

In a review in the December number of ' Macmillan's 
Magazine,' i860, Fawcett vigorously defended my father 
from the charge of employing a false method of reasoning ; a 
charge which occurs in Sedgwick's review, and was made at 
the time ad nauseam, in such phrases as : " This is not the 
true Baconian method." Fawcett repeated his defence at the 
meeting of the British Association in 1861.*] 

C. Darwin to W. B. Carpenter. 

Down, April 6th [i860]. 

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

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

* See an interesting letter from Henry Fawcett/ 1886, p. 101. 
any father in Mr. Stephen's 'Life of \ April i860. 

300 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, April 10th [i860]. 

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

Carpenter speaks of you in thoroughly proper terms. There 
is a brilliant review by Huxley, * with capital hits, but I do 
not know that he much advances the subject. I think I have 
convinced him that he has hardly allowed weight enough to 
the case of varieties of plants being in some degrees sterile. 

To diverge from reviews : Asa Gray sends me from Wyman 
(who will write), a good case of all the pigs being black in the 
Everglades of Virginia. On asking about the cause, it seems 
(I have got capital analogous cases) that when the black pigs 
eat a certain nut their bones become red, and they suffer to a 
certain extent, but that the white pigs lose their hoofs and 
perish, " and we aid by selection, for we kill most of the young 
white pigs." This was said by men who could hardly read. 
By the way, it is a great blow to me that you cannot admit 
the potency of natural selection. The more I think of it, the 
less I doubt its power for great and small changes. I have 

just read the ' Edinburgh/ f 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, 

* 'Westminster Review,' April i860, 
t ' Edinburgh Review,' April i86d. 


and very bitter against Hooker. So we three enjoyed it 
together. Not that I really enjoyed it, for it made me 
uncomfortable for one night ; but I have got quite over it 
to-day. It requires much study to appreciate all the bitter 
spite of many of the remarks against me ; indeed I did not 
discover all myself. It scandalously misrepresents many 
parts. He misquotes some passages, altering words within 
inverted commas. . . . 

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

Now for a curious thing about my book, and then I have 
done. In last Saturday's Gardeners Chronicle* 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 ! Erasmus always said that surely 
this would be shown to be the case some day. Anyhow, one 
may be excused in not having discovered the fact in a work 
on Naval Timber. 

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

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [April 13th, i860]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, Questions of priority so often lead to 
odious quarrels, that I should esteem it a great favour if you 

* April 7th, i860. 




would read the enclosed.* If you think it proper that I 
should send it (and of this there can hardly be any question), 
and if you think it full and ample enough, please alter the 
date to the day on which you post it, and let that be soon. 
The case in the Gardeners' Chronicle seems a little stronger 
than in Mr. Matthew's book, for the passages are therein 
scattered in three places ; but it would be mere hair-splitting 
to notice that. If you object to my letter, please return it ; 
but I do not expect that you, will, but I thought that you 
would not object to run your eye over it. My dear Hooker, 
it is a great thing for me to have so good, true, and old a 
friend as you. I owe much for science to my friends. 

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

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

* My father wrote (Gardeners' 
Chronicle, i860, p. 362, April 21st) : 
" I have been much interested by 
Mr. Patrick Matthew's communi- 
cation in the number of your paper 
dated April 7th. I freely acknow- 
ledge that Mr. Matthew has anti- 
cipated by many years the ex- 
planation 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 edi- 
tion of my work is called for, I will 
insert to the foregoing effect." In 
spite of my father's recognition of 
his claims, Mr. Matthew remained 
unsatisfied, and complained that 
an article in the ' Saturday Analyst 
and Leader ' was " scarcely fair in 
alluding to Mr. Darwin as the 
parent of the origin of species, 
seeing that I published the whole 
that Mr. Darwin attempts to prove, 
more than twenty-nine years ago." 
Saturday Analyst and Leader y 
Nov. 24, i860. 


Lyell in his letter remarked that you seemed to him as if 
you were overworked. Do, pray, be cautious, and remembcr 
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. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, April [i860]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I was very glad to get your nice long- 
letter from Torquay. A press of letters prevented me writing 
to Wells. I was particularly glad to hear what you thought 
about not noticing [the ' Edinburgh ' review. Hooker and 
Huxley thought it a sort of duty to point out the alteration of 
quoted citations, and there is truth in this remark ; but I so 
hated the thought that I resolved not to do so. I shall come 
up to London on Saturday the 14th, for Sir B. Brodie's party, 
as I have an accumulation of things to do in London, and will' 
(if I do not hear to the contrary) call about a quarter before 
ten on Sunday morning, and sit with you at breakfast, but 
will not sit long, and so take up much of your time. I must say 
one more word about our quasi-theological controversy about 
natural selection, and let me have your opinion when we meet 
in London. Do you consider that the successive variations in 
the size of the crop of the Pouter Pigeon, which man has accu- 
mulated to please his caprice, have been due to "the creative and 
sustaining powers of Brahma ? " In the sense that an omni- 
potent and omniscient Deity must order and know everything,, 
this must be admitted ; yet, in honest truth, I can hardly 
admit it. It seems preposterous that a maker of a universe 
should care about the crop of a pigeon solely to please man's 
silly fancies. But if you agree with me in thinking such an 
interposition of the Deity uncalled for, I can see no reason 
whatever for believing in such interpositions in the case of 
natural beings, in which strange and admirable peculiarities 


have been naturally selected for the creature's own benefit. 

Imagine a Pouter in a state of nature wading into the water 

and then, being buoyed up by its inflated crop, sailing about 

in search of food. What admiration this would have excited 

adaptation to the laws of hydrostatic pressure, &c. &c. For 

the life of me I cannot see any difficulty in natural selection 

producing the most exquisite structure, if such structure can 

be arrived at by gradation, and I know from experience how 

hard it is to name any structure towards which at least some 

gradations are not known. 

Ever vours, 

C. Darwin. 

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." 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [April 18th, i860]. 

My dear Hooker, I return 's letter. . . . Some of 

my relations say it cannot possibly be 's article,* because 

the reviewer speaks so very highly of . Poor dear simple 

folk ! My clever neighbour, Mr. Norman, says the article is 
so badly written, with no definite object, that no one will 
read it. . . . Asa Gray has sent me an article f from the 
United States, clever, and dead against me. But one argu- 
ment is funny. The reviewer says, that if the doctrine were 
true, geological strata would be full of monsters which have 
failed. A very clear view this writer had of the struggle for 
existence ! 

* The ' Edinburgh Review.' where the author says that we ought 
t 'North American Review,' to find " an infinite number of other 
April i860. " By Professor Bowen," varieties gross, rude, and purpose- 
is written on my father's copy. The less the unmeaning creations of 
passage referred to occurs at p. 488, an unconscious cause." 


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

We think you must by mistake have taken with your own 
numbers of the ' National Review ' my precious number.* 
I wish you would look. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, April 25th [i860]. 

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

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

* This no doubt refers to the January number, containing Dr. 
Carpenter's review of the ' Origin.' 


306 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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

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

Yours always truly and gratefully, 

C Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down [May 8th, i860]. 

I have sent for the ' Canadian Naturalist.' If I 

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

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

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


Pigeon Manuscript ; but, from one cause or another, I get on 
very slowly. . . . 

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

My dear Lyell, yours gratefully, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [May 13th, i860]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, I return Henslow, which I was very 
;glad to see. How good of him to defend me.* I will write 
and thank him. 

As you said you w r ere curious to hear Thomson's f opinion, 
I send his kind letter. He is evidently a strong opposer to us. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [May 15th, 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 case- 
hardened. As for the old fogies in Cambridge, it really signi- 
fies nothing. I look at their attacks as a proof that our work 
is worth the doing. It makes me resolve to buckle on my 

* Against Sedgwick's attack son's ' Flora Indica,' 1855. 
before the Cambridge Philosophical % These remarks do not apply to 

Society. Dr. Harvey, who was, however, in 

t Dr. Thomas Thomson, the a somewhat similar position. See 

Indian botanist. He was a col- p. 313. 
laborateur in Hooker and Thom- 

X 2 

308 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

armour. I see plainly that it will be a long uphill fight. 
But think of Lyell's progress with Geology. One thing I 
see most plainly, that without Lyell's, yours, Huxley's, and 
Carpenter's aid, my book would have been a mere flash in 
the pan. But if we all stick to it, we shall surely gain the 
day. And I now see that the battle is worth fighting. I 
deeply hope that you think so. Does Bentham progress 
at all ? I do not know what to say about Oxford. * 
I should like it much with you, but it must depend on 
health. . . . 

Yours most affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, May 18th [i860]. 

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

Henslow informs me that Sedgwick f and then Professor 
Clarke [sic] J made a regular and savage onslaught on my 
book lately at the Cambridge Philosophical Society, but 
Henslow seems to have defended me well, and maintained 
that the subject was a legitimate one for investigation. Since 

* His health prevented him from % The late William Clark, Pro- 
going to Oxford for the meeting of fessor of Anatomy. My father 
the British Association. seems to have misunderstood his 

t Sedgwick's address is given informant. I am assured by Mr. 

somewhat abbreviated in The J. W. Clark that his father (Prof. 

Cambridge Chronicle, May 19th, Clark) did not support Sedgwick in 

i860. the attack. 

i860.] REVIEWS. 309 

then Phillips * has given lectures at Cambridge on the same 
subject, but treated it very fairly. How splendidly Asa Gray 
is fighting the battle. The effect on me of these multiplied 
attacks is simply to show me that the subject is worth fight- 
ing for, and assuredly I will do my best. ... I hope all the 
attacks make you keep up your courage, and courage you 
assuredly will require. . . . 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, May 18th, i860. 

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

* John Phillips, M.A., F.R.S., Succession of Life on the earth.' 

born 1800, died 1874, from the The Rede Lecturer is appointed 

effects of a fall. Professor of Geo- annually by the Vice-Chancellor, 

logy at King's College, London, and is paid by an endowment left 

and afterwards at Oxford. He in 1524 by Sir Robert Rede, Lord 

gave the ' Rede ' lecture at Cam- Chief Justice, in the reign of 

bridge on May 15th, i860, on 'The Henry VIII. 



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

Your sincere well-wisher, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin 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 plea- 
sant 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- 
ledgement I send one. If you have any further communi- 
cation to the Appletons, pray express my acknowledgement 
for [their] generosity ; for it is generosity in my opinion. I 
am not at all surprised at the sale diminishing ; my extreme 

* Hermann Schaaffhausen 'Ueber Vereins, Bonn, 1853. See ' Origin 
Bestandigkeit und Umwandlung Historical Sketch, 
der Arten. 5 Verhandl. d. Naturhist. 




surprise is at the greatness of the sale. No doubt the public 
has been shamefully imposed on ! for they bought the book 
thinking that it would be nice easy reading. I expect the sale 
to stop soon in England, yet Lyell wrote to me the other day 
that calling at Murray's he heard that fifty copies had gone in 
the previous forty-eight hours. I am extremely glad that you 
will notice in 'Silliman' the additions in the 'Origin.' Judging 
from letters (and I have just seen one from Thwaites to 
Hooker), and from remarks, the most serious omission in my 
book was not explaining how it is, as I believe, that all forms 
do not necessarily advance, how there can now be simple organ- 
isms still existing. ... I hear there is a very severe review on 
me in the ' North British,' by a Rev. Mr. Dunns,* a Free Kirk 
minister, and dabbler in Natural History. I should be very 
glad to see any good American reviews, as they are all more 
or less useful. You say that you shall touch on other reviews, 
Huxley told me some time ago that after a time he would 
write a review on all the reviews, whether he will I know not. 
If you allude to the ' Edinburgh,' pray notice some of the 
points which I will point out on a separate slip. In the 
Saturday Review (one of our cleverest periodicals) of May 
5th, p. 573, there is a nice article on [the 'Edinburgh'] 
review, defending Huxley, but not Hooker ; and the latter, 
I think, [the ' Edinburgh ' reviewer] treats most ungenerously.! 
But surely you will get sick unto death of me and my 

With respect to the theological view of the question. This 
is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no inten- 

* This statement as to author- 
ship was made on the authority of 
Robert Chambers. 

f 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 capit- 
ally, and understands well his sub- 
ject. I wish he had slapped [the 
' Edinburgh ' reviewer] a little bit 

312 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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 Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their 
feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat 
should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity 
in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the 
other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this won- 
derful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to 
conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am 
inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, 
with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out 
of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all 
satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too 
profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well 
speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and 
believe what he can. Certainly I agree with you that my 
views are not at all necessarily atheistical. The lightning kills 
a man, whether a good one or bad one, owing to the exces- 
sively complex action of natural laws. A child (who may 
turn out an idiot) is born by the action of even more complex 
laws, and I can see no reason why a man, or other animal, 
may not have been aboriginally produced by other laws, and 
that all these laws may have been expressly designed by 
an omniscient Creator, who foresaw every future event and 
consequence. But the more I think the more bewildered I 
become ; as indeed I have probably shown by this letter. 
Most deeply do I feel your generous kindness and interest. 

Yours sincerely and cordially, 

Charles Darwin. 

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


S l 5 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, May 30th [i860]. 
My DEAR HOOKER, I return Harvey's letter, I have been 
very glad to see the reason why he has not read your Essay. 




I feared it was bigotry, and I am glad to see that he goes a 
little way {very much further than I supposed) with us. . . . 

I was not sorry for a natural opportunity of writing to 
Harvey, just to show that I was not piqued at his turning 
me and my book into ridicule,* not that I think it was a pro- 
ceeding which I deserved, or worthy of him. It delights me 
that you are interested in watching the progress of opinion 
on the change of Species ; I feared that you were weary of 
the subject ; and therefore did not send A. Gray's letters. 
The battle rages furiously in the United States. Gray 
says he was preparing a speech, which would take 1 \ hours to 
deliver, 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. As for the 
progress of opinion, I clearly see that it will be excessively 
slow, almost as slow as the change of species. ... I am 
getting wearied at the storm of hostile reviews and hardly any 
useful. . . . 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, Friday night [June 1st, i860]. 

. . . Have you seen Hopkins f in the new 'Fraser'? the 
public will, I should think, find it heavy. He will be dead 

* A " serio-comic squib," read 
before the ' Dublin University 
Zoological and Botanical Associa- 
tion,' Feb. 17, i860, and privately 
printed. My father's presentation 
copy is inscribed, " With the writer's 
repentance, Oct. i860." 

t William Hopkins died in 1866, 
" in his seventy-third year." He 
began life with a farm in Suffolk, 
but ultimately entered, compara- 
tively late in life, at Peterhouse, 
Cambridge ; he took his degree in 

1827, and afterwards became an 
Esquire Bedell of the University. 
He was chiefly known as a mathe- 
matical " coach," and was eminently 
successful in the manufacture of 
Senior Wranglers. Nevertheless 
Mr. Stephen says (' Life of Fawcett,' 
p. 26) that he " was conspicuous 
for inculcating " a " liberal view of 
the studies of the place. He en- 
deavoured to stimulate a philoso- 
phical interest in the mathematical, 
sciences, instead of simply rousing 




3 l > 

against me as you prophesied ; but he is generously civil to 
me personally. * On his standard of proof, natural science 
would never progress, for without the making of theories 
I am convinced there would be no observation. 

.... I have begun reading the ' North British,' \ which 
so far strikes me as clever. 

Phillips's Lecture at Cambridge is to be published. 

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

I have had a note from poor Blyth, % of Calcutta, who is 

an ardour for competition." He 
contributed many papers on geolo- 
gical and mathematical subjects to 
the scientific journals. He had a 
strong influence for good over the 
younger men with whom he came in 
contact. The letter which he wrote 
to Henry Fawcett on the occasion 
of his blindness illustrates this. Mr. 
Stephen says (' Life of Fawcett,' 
p. 48) that by " this timely word of 
good cheer," Fawcett was roused 
from " his temporary prostration," 
and enabled to take a " more cheer- 
ful and resolute tone." 

* ' Fraser's Magazine,' June i860. 
My father, no doubt, refers to the 
following passage, p. 752, where 
the Reviewer expresses his " full 
participation in the high respect in 
which the author is universally held, 
both as a man and a naturalist ; 
and the more so, because in the 
remarks which will follow in the 
second part of this Essay we shall 
be found to differ widely from him 
as regards many of his conclusions 
and the reasonings on which he 

has founded them, and shall claim 
the full right to express such differ- 
ences of opinion with all that free- 
dom which the interests of scientific 
truth demands, and which we are 
sure Mr. Darwin would be one of 
the last to refuse to any one pre- 
pared to exercise it with candour 
and courtesy." Speaking of this 
review, my father wrote to Dr. Asa 
Gray : " I have remonstrated with 
him [Hopkins] for so coolly saying 
that I base my views on what I 
reckon as great difficulties. Any 
one, by taking these difficulties 
alone, can make a most strong case 
against me. I could myself write 
a more damning review than has 
as yet appeared ! " A second notice 
by Hopkins appeared in the July 
number of ' Fraser's Magazine.' 

t May i860. 

% Edward Blyth, born 1810, died 
1873. Hi s indomitable love of 
natural history made him neglect 
the druggist's business with which 
he started in life, and he soon got 
into serious difficulties. After sup- 




much disappointed at hearing that Lord Canning will not 
grant any money ; so I much fear that all your great pains 
will be thrown away. Blyth says (and he is in many 
respects a very good judge) that his ideas on Species are 
quite revolutionized .... 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hookei'. 

Down, June 5th [i860]. 

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

Have you seen 's abusive article on me ? ... It outdoes 

even the ' North British ' and ' Edinburgh ' in misapprehension 
and misrepresentation. I never knew anything so unfair as 
in discussing cells of bees, his ignoring the case of Melipona, 
which builds combs almost exactly intermediate between hive 

and humble bees. What has done that he feels so 

immeasurably superior to all us wretched naturalists, and 
to all political economists, including that great philosopher 
Malthus? This review, however, and Harvey's letter have 
convinced me that I must be a very bad explainer. Neither 

porting himself for a few years as a 
writer on Field Natural History, 
he ultimately went out to India as 
Curator of the Museum of the R. 
Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, where the 
greater part of his working life was 
spent. His chief publications were 
the monthly reports made as part 
of his duty to the Society. He had 
stored in his remarkable memory a 
wonderful wealth of knowledge, 
especially with regard to the mam- 
malia and birds of India know- 

ledge of which he freely gave to 
those who asked. His letters to my 
father give evidence of having been 
carefully studied, and the long list 
of entries after his name in the 
index to ' Animals and Plants/ 
show how much help was received 
from him. His life was an unpros- 
perous and unhappy one, full of 
money difficulties and darkened by 
the death of his wife after a few 
years of marriage. 

1 86a] ATTACKS. 317 

really understand what I mean by Natural Selection. I am 
inclined to give up the attempt as hopeless. Those who do 
not understand, it seems, cannot be made to understand. 

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

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, June 6th [i860]. 

... It consoles me that sneers at Malthus, for that 

clearly shows, mathematician though he may be, he cannot 
understand common reasoning. By the way what a dis- 
couraging example Malthus is, to show during what long 
years the plainest case may be misrepresented and mis- 
understood. I have read the ' Future ' ; how curious it is 
that several of my reviewers should advance such wild 
arguments, as that varieties of dogs and cats do not 
mingle ; and should bring up the old exploded doctrine of 
definite analogies ... I am beginning to despair of ever 
making the majority understand my notions. Even Hopkins 




does not thoroughly. By the way, I have been so much 
pleased by the way he personally alludes to me. I must 
be a very bad explainer. I hope to Heaven that you will 
succeed better. Several reviews and several letters have 
shown me too clearly how little I am understood. I suppose 
" natural selection " was a bad term ; but to change it now, 
I think, would make confusion worse confounded, nor can I 
think of a better ; " Natural Preservation " would not imply 
a preservation of particular varieties, and would seem a 
truism, and would not bring man's and nature's selection 
under one point of view. I can only hope by reiterated 
explanations finally to make the matter clearer. If my MS. 
spreads out, I think I shall publish one volume exclusively 
on variation of animals and plants under domestication. 
I want to show that I have not been quite so rash as many 

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

* The late J. A. Lowell in the 
1 Christian Examiner ' (Boston, 

U. S.), May, i860. 

t See footnote, ante, p. 261. 

i860.] schaaffhausen. 319 

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

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

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down [June 14th, i860]. 

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

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

I have expressly stated that I believe physical conditions 
have a more direct effect on plants than on animals. But the 


* J. A. Lowell in the 'Christian Examiner,' May iS6o. 

320 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860.. 

more I study, the more I am led to think that natural selec- 
tion regulates, in a state of nature, most trifling differences. 
As squared stone, or bricks, or timber, are the indispensable 
materials for a building, and influence its character, so is 
variability not only indispensable but influential. Yet in the 
same manner as the architect is the all important person, 
in a building, so is selection with organic bodies 

[The meeting of the British Association at Oxford in i860 
is famous for two pitched battles over the ' Origin of Species/ 
Both of them originated in unimportant papers. On Thurs- 
day, June 28, Dr. Daubeny of Oxford made a communication, 
to Section D : " On the final causes of the sexuality of plants, 
with particular reference to Mr. Darwin's work on the ' Origin 
of Species.' " Mr. Huxley was called on by the President, but 
tried (according to the Athenseum report) to avoid a discus- 
sion, on the ground "that a general audience, in which senti- 
ment would unduly interfere with intellect, was not the public 
before which such a discussion should be carried on." How- 
ever, the subject was not allowed to drop. Sir R. Owen 
(I quote from the Athenseiun, July 7, i860), who "wished to 
approach this subject in the spirit of the philosopher," ex- 
pressed his " conviction that there were facts by which the 
public could come to some conclusion with regard to the pro- 
babilities 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 com- 
pared with the brains of the very lowest and most proble- 
matical of the Quadrumana." Mr. Huxley replied, and 
gave these assertions a "direct and unqualified contradic- 
tion," pledging himself to "justify that unusual procedure 
elsewhere," * a pledge which he amply fulfilled.f On Friday 
there was peace, but on Saturday 30th, the battle arose with 

* ' Man's Place in Nature,' by f See the ' Nat. Hist. Review/ 

T. H. Huxley, 1863, p. 114. 1861. 


redoubled fury over a paper by Dr. Draper of New York, 
on the ' Intellectual development of Europe considered with 
reference to the views of Mr. Darwin.' 

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

" The excitement was tremendous. The Lecture-room, in 
which it had been arranged that the discussion should be held, 
proved far too small for the audience, and the meeting 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 
w r ould have been impossible to have accommodated the rush to 
hear the oratory of the bold Bishop. Professor Henslow, the 
President of Section D, occupied the chair, and wisely an- 
nounced in limine that none who had not valid arguments to 
bring forward on one side or the other, would be allowed to 
address the meeting : a caution that proved necessary, for no 
fewer than four combatants had their utterances burked by 
him, because of their indulgence in vague declamation. 

"The Bishop was up to time, and spoke for full half-an- 
hour with inimitable spirit, emptiness and unfairness. It was 
evident from his handling of the subject that he had been 
* crammed ' up to the throat, and that he knew nothing at first 
hand ; in fact, he used no argument not to be found in his 
' Quarterly ' article. He ridiculed Darwin badly, and Huxley 
savagely, but all in such dulcet tones, so persuasive a manner, 
and in such well-turned periods, that I who had been inclined 
to blame the President for allowing a discussion that could 
serve no scientific purpose, now forgave him from the bottom 
of my heart. Unfortunately the Bishop, hurried along on the 
current of his own eloquence, so far forgot himself as to push 
his attempted advantage to the verge of personality in a tell- 
ing passage in which he turned round and addressed Huxley : 
I forget the precise words, and quote from Lyell. ' The 
Bishop asked whether Huxley was related by his grand- 


322 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

father's or grandmother's side to an ape.'* Huxley replied to 
the scientific argument of his opponent with force and elo- 
quence, and to the personal allusion with a self-restraint, that 
gave dignity to his crushing rejoinder." 

Many versions of Mr. Huxley's speech were current : the 
following report of his conclusion is from a letter addressed 
by the late John Richard Green, then an undergraduate, to 
a fellow-student, now Professor Boyd Dawkins. " I asserted, 
and I repeat, that a man has no reason to be ashamed of 
having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor 
whom I should feel shame in recalling, it would be a man, a 
man of restless and versatile intellect, who, not content with 
an equivocal f success in his own sphere of activity, plunges 
into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaint- 
ance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and dis- 
tract the attention of his hearers from the real point at issue 
by eloquent digressions, and skilled appeals to religious 
prejudice." % 

The letter above quoted continues : 

" The excitement was now at its height ; a lady fainted and 
had to be carried out, and it was some time before the dis- 
cussion was resumed. Some voices called for Hooker, and 
his name having been handed up, the President invited him to 
give his view of the theory from the Botanical side. This he 
did, demonstrating that the Bishop, by his own showing, had 
never grasped the principles of the ' Origin,' and that he was 
absolutely ignorant of the elements of botanical science. The 
Bishop made no reply, and the meeting broke up. 

" There was a crowded conversazione in the evening at the 

* Lyell's ' Letters,' vol. ii. p. 335. % Mr. Favvcett wrote (' Mac- 

f Professor Victor Cams, who millan's Magazine,' i860) : 

has a distinct recollection of the "The retort was so justly deserved 

scene, does not remember the word and so inimitable in its manner , 

equivocal. He believes, too, that that no one who was present can 

Lyeli's version of the ape sentence ever forget the impression that it 

is slightly incorrect. made." 


rooms of the hospitable and genial Professor of Botany, Dr. 
Daubeny, where the almost sole topic was the battle of the 
' Origin,' and I was much struck with the fair and unpre- 
judiced 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 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Sudbrook Park, 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 know, from your letter, 
that you will agree with from the bottom of your heart. 
. . . How I should have liked to have wandered about 
Oxford with you, if I had been well enough ; and how still 
more I should have liked to have heard you triumphing 
over the Bishop. I am astonished at your success and 
audacity. It is something unintelligible to me how any one 
can argue in public like orators do. I had no idea you had 
this power. I have read lately so many hostile views, that I 
was beginning to think that perhaps I was wholly in the 

wrong, and that was right when he said the whole subject 

would be forgotten in ten years ; but now that I hear that you 
and Huxley will fight publicly (which I am sure I never 
could do), I fully believe that our cause will, in the long- 
run, prevail. I am glad I was not in Oxford, for I should 
have been overwhelmed, with my [health] in its present state. 

Y 2 

324 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

C. Darwin to T. H Huxley. 

Sudbrook Park, Richmond, 

July 3rd (i860). 

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

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

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

[July i860.] 

I have just read the ' Quarterly.' * It is uncom- 
monly clever ; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural 

* 'Quarterly Review,' July i860. terly Review,' 1874." The passage 

The article in question was by from the 'Anti-Jacobin' gives the 

Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and history of the evolution of space 

was afterwards published in his from the " primaeval point or 

" Essays Contributed to the ' Ouar- punctum saliens of the universe," 

1 86a] 



parts, and brings forward well all the difficulties. It quizzes 
me quite splendidly by quoting the 'Anti-Jacobin' versus 
my Grandfather. You are not alluded to, nor, strange to say, 

Huxley ; and I can plainly see, here and there, 's hand. 

The concluding pages will make Lyell shake in his shoes. 
By Jove, if he sticks to us, he will be a real hero. Good- 
night. Your well-quizzed, but not sorrowful, and affectionate 
friend. C. D. 

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

which is conceived to have moved 
" forward in a right line, ad infini- 
tum, till it grew tired ; after which 
the right line, which it had gene- 
rated, would begin to put itself in 
motion in a lateral direction, de- 
scribing an area of infinite extent. 
This area, as soon as it became 
conscious of its own existence, 
would begin to ascend or descend 
according as its specific gravity 
would determine it, forming an 
immense solid space filled with 
vacuum, and capable of containing 
the present universe." 

The following (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 assump- 
tion is no small evil. We trust 
that he is mistaken in believing 
that he may count Sir C. Lyell as 
one of his converts. We know, 
indeed, the strength of the tempta- 
tions 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 an- 
noyed by an article written with 
the Bishop's accustomed vigour, a 
mixture of argument and ridicule. 
Mr. Darwin was writing on some 
parish matter, and put a postscript 
' If you have not seen the last 
1 Quarterly,' do get it ; the Bishop 
of Oxford has made such capital 
fun of me and my grandfather. 
By a curious coincidence, when I 
received the letter, I was staying 
in the same house with the Bishop, 
and showed it to him. He said, ' I 
am very glad he takes it in that 
way, he is such a capital fellow.' " 


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

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

C. Darwin 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 Proc. 
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 admire these discussions, I think, almost more than your 
article in Silliman's Journal. Every single word seems 
weighed carefully, and tells like a 32-pound shot. It makes 
me much wish (but I know that you have not time) that 
you could write more in detail, and give, for instance, the 
facts on the variability of the American wild fruits. The 
Athenaeum has the largest circulation, and I have sent my 
copy to the editor with a request that he would republish 
the first discussion ; I much fear he will not, as he reviewed 
the subject in so hostile a spirit ... I shall be curious (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. 

* April 10, i860. Dr. Gray Bowen and Prof. Agassiz." It was 

criticised in detail " several of the reprinted in the Athenceum, Aug. 4, 

positions taken at the preceding i860, 
meeting by Mr. [J. A.] Lowell, Prof. 





.... Henslow* and Daubeny are shaken. I hear from 
Hooker that he hears from Hochstetter that my views are 
making very considerable progress in Germany, and the good 
workers are discussing the question. Bronn at the end of his 
translation has a chapter of criticism, but it is such difficult 
German that I have not yet read it. Hopkins's review in 
* Fraser ' is thought the best which has appeared against us. 
I believe that Hopkins is so much opposed because his course 
of study has never led him to reflect much on such subjects 
as geographical distribution, classification, homologies, &c, 
so that he does not feel it a relief to have some kind of 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Hartfield [Sussex], July 30th [i860]. 

I had lots of pleasant letters about the Brit. 

Assoc, and our side seems to have got on very well. There 
has been as much discussion on the other side of the Atlantic 
as on this. No one I think understands the whole case better 
than Asa Gray, and he has been fighting nobly. He is a 
capital reasoner. I have sent one of his printed discussions 
to our Athenseum, and the editor says he will print it. The 
' Quarterly ' has been out some time. It contains no malice, 
which is wonderful. ... It makes me say many things which 

* Professor Henslow was men- 
tioned in the December number of 
1 Macmillan's Magazine' as being 
an adherent of Evolution. In con- 
sequence of this he published, in 
the February number of the follow- 
ing year, a letter defining his posi- 
tion. This he did by means of an 
extract from a letter addressed to 
him by the Rev. L. Jenyns (Blome- 
field) which " very nearly," as he 
says, expressed his views. Mr. 
Blomefield wrote, " I was not 
aware that you had become a 

convert to his (Darwin's) theory, 

and can hardly suppose you have 

accepted it as a whole, though, like 

myself, you may go to the length of 

imagining that many of the smaller 

groups, both of animals and plants, 

may at some remote period have 

had a common parentage. I do not 

with some say that the whole of his 

theory cannot be true but that it 

is very far from proved ; and I 

doubt its ever being possible to 

prove it." 

328 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

I do not say. At the end it quotes all your conclusions against 
Lamarck, and makes a solemn appeal to you to keep firm in 

the true faith. I fancy it will make you quake a little. 

has ingeniously primed the Bishop (with Murchison) against 
you as head of the uniformitarians. The only other review 
worth mentioning, which I can think of, is in the third No. of 
the ' London Review,' by some geologist, and favourable for a 
wonder. It is very ably done, and I should like much to 
know who is the author. I shall be very curious to hear on 
your return whether Bronn's German translation of the 
1 Origin ' has drawn any attention to the subject. Huxley 
is eager about a ' Natural History Review,' which he and 
others are going to edit, and he has got so many first-rate 
assistants, that I really believe he will make it a first-rate 
production. I have been doing nothing, except a little 
botanical work as amusement. I shall hereafter be very 
anxious to hear how your tour has answered. I expect your 
book on the geological history of Man will, with a vengeance, 
be a bomb-shell. I hope it will not be very long delayed. 
Our kindest remembrances to Lady Lyell. This is not 
worth sending, but I have nothing better to say. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to F. Watkins. * 

Down, July 30th, [i860}. 

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

My book has been well abused, praised, and splendidly 
quizzed by the Bishop of Oxford ; but from what I see of its 

* See Vol. I. p. 168. 

1 86a] von baer. 329 

influence on really good workers in science, I feel confident 
that, in the main, I am on the right road. With respect to 
your question, I think the arguments are valid, showing that 
all animals have descended from four or five primordial 
forms ; and that analogy and weak reasons go to show that 
all have descended from some single prototype. 

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

Believe me, yours most sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

T. H. Huxley to C. Darwin. 

August 6th, i860. 

My DEAR Darwin, I have to announce a new and great 
ally for you 

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

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

The treatise to which Von Bar refers he gave me when over 

* See footnote, Vol. II. p. 186. 




here, but I have not been able to lay hands on it since this 
letter reached me two days ago. When I find it I will let you 
know what there is in it. 

Ever yours faithfully, 

T. H. Huxley. 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, August 8 [i860]. 

My dear Huxley Your note contained magnificent 
news, and thank you heartily for sending it me. Von 
Baer weighs down with a vengeance all the virulence of [the 
* Edinburgh' reviewer] and weak arguments of Agassiz. If 
you write to Von Baer, for heaven's sake tell him that we 
should think one nod of approbation on our side, of the 
greatest value ; and if he does write anything, beg him to 
send us a copy, for I would try and get it translated and 
published in the Atheuseum and in ' Silliman ' to touch up 

Agassiz Have you seen Agassiz's weak metaphysical 

and theological attack on the ' Origin ' in the last ' Silliman ' ?* 
I would send it you, but apprehend it would be less trouble 
for you to look at it in London than return it to me. R. 
Wagner has sent me a German pamphlet, f giving an abstract 
of Agassiz's ' Essay on Classification,' " mit Riicksicht auf 
Darwins Ansichten," &c. &c. He won't go very " dangerous 
lengths," but thinks the truth lies half-way between Agassiz 
and the ' Origin.' As he goes thus far he will, nolens 

* The ' American Journal of 
Science and Arts' (commonly called 
i Silliman's Journal'), July i860. 
Printed from advanced sheets of 
vol. iii. of ' Contributions to the 
Nat. Hist, of the U. S.' My father's 
copy has a pencilled " Truly ' : 
opposite the following passage : 
" Unless Darwin and his followers 
succeed in showing that the struggle 

for life tends to something beyond 
favouring the existence of certain 
individuals over that of other indi- 
viduals, they will soon find that 
they are following a shadow." 

f ' Louis Agassiz's Prinzipien der 
Classification, &c, mit Riicksicht 
auf Darwins Ansichten. Separat- 
Abdruck aus den Gottingischen 
gelehrten Anzeigen,' 1860. 

i860.] AGASSIZ, WAGNER. 33 1 

volens, have to go further. He says he is going to review 
me in [his] yearly Report. My good and kind agent for the 
propagation of the Gospel i. e. the devil's gospel. 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, August nth [i860]. 

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

says that has played on the Bishop, and made him 

strike whatever note he liked ; he has wished to make the 
article as disagreeable to you as possible. I will send the 
AtJienseum in a day or two. 

As you wish to hear what reviews have appeared, I may 
mention that Agassiz has fired off a shot in the last ' Silliman/ 
not good at all, denies variations and rests on the perfection 
of Geological evidence. Asa Gray tells me that a very clever 
friend has been almost converted to our side by this review 
of Agassiz's . . . Professor Parsons * has published in 
the same ' Silliman ' a speculative paper correcting my 
notions, worth nothing. In the ' Highland Agricultural 
Journal ' there is a review by some Entomologist, not worth 
much. This is all that I can remember. . . . As Huxley 
says, the platoon firing must soon cease. Hooker and 

* Theophilus Parsons, Professor of Law in Harvard University. 

33 2 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

Huxley, and Asa Gray, I see, are determined to stick to the 
battle and not give in ; I am fully convinced that whenever 
you publish, it will produce a great effect on all trimmers, and 
on many others. By the way I forgot to mention Daubeny's 
pamphlet,* very liberal and candid, but scientifically weak. 
I believe Hooker is going nowhere this summer ; he is ex- 
cessively busy . . . He has written me many, most nice 
letters. I shall be very curious to hear on your return some 
account of your Geological doings. Talking of Geology, you 
used to be interested about the " pipes " in the chalk. About 
three years ago a perfectly circular hole suddenly appeared 
in a flat grass field to everyone's astonishment, and was filled 
up with many waggon loads of earth ; and now two or three 
days ago, again it has circularly subsided about two feet 
more. How clearly this shows what is still slowly going on. 
This morning I recommenced work, and am at dogs ; when 
I have written my short discussion on them, I will have it 
copied, and if you like, you can then see how the argument 
stands, about their multiple origin. As you seemed to think 
this important, it might be worth your reading ; though I do 
not feel sure that you will come to the same probable con- 
elusion that I have done. By the way, the Bishop makes a 
very telling case against me, by accumulating several instances 
where I speak very doubtfully ; but this is very unfair, as in 
such cases as this of the dog, the evidence is and must be 
very doubtful. . . . 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, August u [i860]. 

My DEAR Gray, On my return home from Sussex about 
a week ago, I found several articles sent by you. The first 

* ' Remarks on the final causes work on the " Origin of Species." ' 
of the sexuality of plants with par- Brit. Assoc. Report, i860, 
ticular reference to Mr. Darwin's 

i860.] agassiz. 333 

article, from the 'Atlantic Monthly,' I am very glad to 
possess. By the way, the editor of the AtJienseum* has 
inserted your answer to Agassiz, Bowen, and Co., and when 
I therein read them, I admired them even more than at first. 
They really seemed to me admirable in their condensation, 
force, clearness and novelty. 

I am surprised that Agassiz did not succeed in writing 
something better. How absurd that logical quibble " if 
species do not exist, how can they vary ? " As if any one 
doubted their temporary existence. How coolly he assumes 
that there is some clearly defined distinction between indi- 
vidual differences and varieties. It is no wonder that a man 
who calls identical forms, when found in two countries, dis- 
tinct species, cannot find variation in nature. Again, how 
unreasonable to suppose that domestic varieties selected by 
man for his own fancy (p. 147) should resemble natural 
varieties or species. The whole article seems to me poor ; it 
seems to me hardly worth a detailed answer (even if I could 
do it, and I much doubt whether I possess your skill in 
picking out salient points and driving a nail into them), and 
indeed you have already answered several points. Agassiz's 
name, no doubt, is a heavy weight against us. . . . 

If you see Professor Parsons, will you thank him for the 
extremely liberal and fair spirit in which his Essay f is written. 
Please tell him that I reflected much on the chance of favour- 
able monstrosities (i.e. great and sudden variation) arising. I 
have, of course, no objection to this, indeed it would be a great 
aid, but I did not allude to the subject, for, after much labour, 
I could find nothing which satisfied me of the probability of 
such occurrences. There seems to me in almost every case 
too much, too complex, and too beautiful adaptation, in every 
structure to believe in its sudden production. I have alluded 
under the head of beautifully hooked seeds to such possi- 
bility. Monsters are apt to be sterile, or not to transmit 

* Aug. 4, i860. f ' Silliman's Journal/ July i860. 

334 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

monstrous peculiarities. Look at the fineness of gradation in 
the shells of successive sub-stages of the same great forma- 
tion ; I could give many other considerations which made me 
doubt such view. It holds, to a certain extent, with domestic 
productions no doubt, where man preserves some abrupt 
change in structure. It amused me to see Sir R. Murchison 
quoted as a judge of affinities of animals, and it gave me a 
cold shudder to hear of any one speculating about a true 
crustacean giving birth to a true fish ! * 

Yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, September 1st [i860]. 

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

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

* Parsons, loc. cit. p. 5, speaking nearly a fish that some of its ova 

of Pterichthys and Cephalaspis, may have become fish ; or, if itself 

sa y S: " Now is it too much to infer a fish, was so nearly a crustacean 

from these facts that either of these that it may have been born from 

animals, if a crustacean, was so the ovum of a crustacean ? " 

i860.] lyell's criticisms. 335 

continuously united with the mainland ; it was mere base 
subservience, and terror of Hooker and Co. 

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

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

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

I have often speculated on antiquity of islands, but not 
with your precision, or at all under the point of view of 
Natural Selection not having done what might have been 
anticipated. The argument of littoral Miocene shells at the 
Canary Islands is new to me. I was deeply impressed (from 

336 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.* [i860. 

the amount of the denudation) [with the] antiquity of St. 
Helena, and its age agrees with the peculiarity of the flora. 
With respect to bats at New Zealand (N.B. There are two or 
three European bats in Madeira, and I think in the Canary 
Islands) not having given rise to a group of non-volant bats, 
it is, now you put the case, surprising ; more especially as 
the genus of bats in New Zealand is very peculiar, and there- 
fore has probably been long introduced, and they now speak 
of Cretacean fossils there. But the first necessary step has to 
be shown, namely, of a bat taking to feed on the ground, or 
anyhow, and anywhere, except in the air. I am bound to 
confess I do know one single such fact, viz. of an Indian species 
killing frogs. Observe, that in my wretched Polar Bear case, 
I do show the first step by which conversion into a whale 
"would be easy," "would offer no difficulty"!! So with seals, 
I know of no fact showing any the least incipient variation of 
seals feeding on the shore. Moreover, seals wander much ; 
I searched in vain, and could not find one case of any species 
of seal confined to any islands. And hence wanderers would 
be apt to cross with individuals undergoing any change on an 
island, as in the case of land birds of Madeira and Bermuda. 
The same remark applies even to bats, as they frequently 
come to Bermuda from the mainland, though about 600 miles 
distant. With respect to the Amblyrhynchus of the Gala- 
pagos, one may infer as probable, from marine habits being 
so rare with Saurians, and from the terrestrial species being 
confined to a few central islets, that its progenitor first arrived 
at the Galapagos ; from what country it is impossible to say, 
as its affinity I believe is not very clear to any known species. 
The offspring of the terrestrial species was probably rendered 
marine. Now in this case I do not pretend I can show 
variation in habits ; but we have in the terrestrial species a 
vegetable feeder (in itself a rather unusual circumstance), 
largely on .lichens, and it would not be a great change for 
its offspring to feed first on littoral algae and then on sub- 

i860.] lyell's criticisms. 337 

marine algae. I have said what I can in defence, but yours 
is a good line of attack. We should, however, always re- 
member that no change will ever be effected till a variation 
in the habits or structure or of both chance to occur in the 
right direction, so as to give the organism in question an 
advantage over other already established occupants of land 
or water, and this may be in any particular case indefinitely 
long. I am very glad you will read my dogs MS., for it will 
be important to me to see what you think of the balance of 
evidence. After long pondering on a subject it is often 
hard to judge. With hearty thanks for your most interesting 
letter. Farewell. 

My dear old master, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, September 2nd [1S60]. 

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

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

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



earnest. Very striking letter altogether and it rejoices the 
cockles of my heart. 

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

Yours ever affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Sept. 10 [i860]. 

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

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

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

[Dr. Gray wrote three articles in the 'Atlantic Monthly ' for 
* Dr. Gray in the ' Atlantic Monthly ' for July, i860. 

i860.] lyell's criticisms. 339 

July, August, and October, which were reprinted as a pam- 
phlet in 1861, and now form chapter iii. in ' Darwiniana ' (1876), 
with the heading 'Natural Selection not inconsistent with 
Natural Theology.'] 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, September 12th [i860]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I never thought of showing your letter 
to any one. I mentioned in a letter to Hooker that I had 
been much interested by a letter of yours with original objec 
tions, founded chiefly on Natural Selection not having done 

so much as might have been expected In your letter 

just received, you have improved your case versus Natural 
Selection ; and it would tell with the public (do not be 
tempted by its novelty to make it too strong) ; yet it seems 
to me, not really very killing, though I cannot answer your 
case, especially, why Rodents have not become highly de- 
veloped in Australia. You must assume that they have 
inhabited Australia for a very long period, and this may or 
may not be the case. But I feel that our ignorance is so 
profound, why one form is preserved with nearly the same 
structure, or advances in organisation or even retrogrades, or 
becomes extinct, that I cannot put very great weight on the 
difficulty. Then, as you say often in your letter, we know 
not how many geological ages it may have taken to make any 
great advance in organisation. Remember monkeys in the 
Eocene formations : but I admit that you have made out an 
excellent objection and difficulty, and I can give only un- 
satisfactory and quite vague answers, such as you have 
yourself put ; however, you hardly put weight enough on 
the absolute necessity of variations first arising in the right 
direction, videlicet, of seals beginning to feed on the shore. 

I entirely agree with what you say about only one species 
of many becoming modified. I remember this struck me 

z 2 

340 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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

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

I see that you do allude in the last page, as a difficulty, to 
Marsupials not having become Placentals in Australia ; but 
this I think you have no right at all to expect ; for we ought 
to look at Marsupials and Placentals as having descended 
from some intermediate and lower form. The argument of 
Rodents not having become highly developed in Australia 
(supposing that they have long existed there) is much stronger. 
I grieve to see you hint at the creation " of distinct successive 
types, as well as of a certain number of distinct aboriginal 
types." Remember, if you admit this, you give up the em- 
bryological argument (the weightiest of all to me), and the 

i860.] pedigree of mammalia. 341 

morphological or homological argument. You cut my throat, 
and your own throat ; and I believe will live to be sorry for it. 
So much for species. 

The striking extract which E. copied was your own writing ! ! 
in a note to me, many long years ago which she copied and 
sent to Mme. Sismondi ; and lately my aunt, in sorting her 

letters, found E.'s and returned them to her I have 

been of late shamefully idle, i.e. observing * instead of writing, 
and how much better fun observing is than writing. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne, 

Sunday [September 23rd, i860]. 

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

I have a very decided opinion that all mammals must have 
descended from a single parent. Reflect on the multitude of 
details, very many of thern of extremely little importance to 
their habits (as the number of bones of the head, &c, covering 
of hair, Identical embryological development, &c. &c). Now 
this large amount of similarity I must look at as certainly 
due to inheritance from a common stock. I am aware that 
some cases occur in which a similar or nearly similar organ 
has been acquired by independent acts of natural selection. 
But in most of such cases of these apparently so closely 
similar organs, some important homological difference may be 
detected. Please read p. 193, beginning, " The electric organs," 

* Drosera. 

342 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

and trust me that the sentence, " In all these cases of two very- 
distinct species/' &c. &c., was not put in rashly, for I went 
carefully into every case. Apply this argument to the whole 
frame, internal and external, of mammifers, and you will see 
why I think so strongly that all have descended from one 
progenitor. I have just re-read your letter, and I am not 
perfectly sure that I understand your point. 

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

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

I do not think that the multiple origin of dogs goes against 

the single origin of man All the races of man are so 

infinitely closer together than to any ape, that (as in the case 
of descent of all mammals from one progenitor), I should look 
at all races of men as having certainly descended from one 
parent. I should look at it as probable that the races of men 
were less numerous and less divergent formerly than now, 
unless, indeed, some lower and more aberrant race even than 
the Hottentot has become extinct. Supposing, as I do for 
one believe, that our dogs have descended from two or three 



A i 

wolves, jackals, &c. ; yet these have, on our vieiv, descended 
from a single remote unknown progenitor. With domestic 
dogs the question is simply whether the whole amount of 
difference has been produced since man domesticated a single 
species ; or whether part of the difference arises in the state 










A \ 

* \ 

V i 

/I \ 

/ 1 

I \ 

it \ 


' 1 1 

i * 


' 1 * 

t * 


' I 1 

\ ? 


; \ 

/ / h 

i o 


* 1 



u <* 



1 1 ' 
1 1 

'. 2 *, 


', . 


Q U 




I \ 



1 ^ 

o u 





















LOWLY developed: 





( ' 1 

1 1 
1 1 
1 1 






of nature. Agassiz and Co. think the negro and Caucasian 
are now distinct species, and it is a mere vain discussion 
whether, when they were rather less distinct, they would, on 
this standard of specific value, deserve to be called species. 

344 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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

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

Most truly yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Sept. 26 [i860]. 

.... I have had a letter of fourteen folio pages from 
Harvey against my book, with some ingenious and new 
remarks ; but it is an extraordinary fact that he does not 
understand at all what I mean by Natural Selection. I have 
begged him to read the Dialogue in next ' Silliman,' as you 
never touch the subject without making it clearer. I look at 
it as even more extraordinary that you never say a word or 
use an epithet which does not express fully my meaning. 
Now Lyell, Hooker, and others, who perfectly understand my 

i860.] cirripedes. 345 

book, yet sometimes use expressions to which I demur. Well, 
your extraordinary labour is over ; if there is any fair amount 
of truth in my view, I am well assured that your great labour 
has not been thrown away. . . . 

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne, 

Friday evening [September 28th, i860]. 

.... I am very glad to hear about the Germans reading 
my book. No one will be converted who has not independ- 
ently begun to doubt about species. 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 difficult dissection that even 
Huxley failed. It is chiefly the interpretation which I put on 
parts that is so wrong, and not the parts which I describe. 
But they were gigantic blunders, and why I say all this is be- 
cause Krohn, instead of crowing at all, pointed out my errors 
with the utmost gentleness and pleasantness. I have always 

* There are two papers by Aug. xxv. and xxvi. My father has re- 

Krohn, one on the Cement Glands, marked that he " blundered dread- 

and the other on the development fully about the cement glands," 

of Cirripedes, ' Wiegmann's Archiv,' ' Autobiography,' p. 81. 

346 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

meant to write to him and thank him. I suppose Dr. 
Krohn, Bonn, would reach him. 

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

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

Talking of " natural selection ;" if I had to commence de 

novo, I would have used " natural preservation." For I find 

men like Harvey of Dublin cannot understand me, though he 

has read the book twice. Dr. Gray of the British Museum 

remarked to me that, "selection was obviously impossible with 

plants ! No one could tell him how it could be possible ! " 

And he may now add that the author did not attempt it to 

him ! 

Yours ever affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darzvin to C. Lyell. 

15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne, 

October 8th [i860]. 

My DEAR Lyell, I send the [English] translation of 
Bronn,* the first part of the chapter with generalities and praise 
is not translated. There are some good hits. He makes an 
apparently, and in part truly, telling case against me, says 

* A MS. translation of Bronn's his German translation of the 
chapter of objections at the end of ' Origin of Species.' 

i860.] bronn's objections. 347 

that I cannot explain why one rat has a longer tail and 
another longer ears, &c. But he seems to muddle in assuming 
that these parts did not all vary together, or one part so 
insensibly before the other, as to be in fact contemporaneous. 
I might ask the creationist whether he thinks these differences 
in the two rats of any use, or as standing in some relation from 
laws of growth ; and if he admits this, selection might come 
into play. He who thinks that God created animals unlike 
for mere sport or variety, as man fashions his clothes, will 
not admit any force in my argumentum ad hominem. 

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

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

I have ordered Dr. Bree,* and will lend it to you, if you like, 
and if it turns out good. 

I am very glad that I misunderstood you about 

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

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

* e 

Species not Transmutable,' by C. R. Bree, 1S60. 


C. Darwin to J. M. RodwelL 


15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne. 

November 5th [i860]. 

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

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

* Rev. J. M. Rodwell, who was corner of which she is scratching." 

at Cambridge with my father, re- f " Cats with blue eyes are in- 

members him saying : " It strikes variably deaf," ' Origin of Species,' 

me that all our knowledge about ed. i. p. 12. 

the structure of our earth is very % William Kirby, joint author 

much like what an old hen would with Spence, of the well-known ' In- 

know of a hundred acre field, in a troduction to Entomology,' 181S. 

1 860.] REVIEWS. 349 

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

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

Yours sincerely obliged, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

November 20th [1S60]. 
.... I have not had heart to read Phillips * yet, or a 
tremendous long hostile review by Professor Bowen in the 
4to Mem. of the American Academy of Sciences.f (By the 
way, I hear Agassiz is going to thunder against me in the 
next part of the ' Contributions.') Thank you for telling me of 
the sale of the 'Origin,' of which I had not heard. There will 
be some time, I presume, a new edition, and I especially want 
your advice on one point, and you know I think you the 
wisest of men, and I shall be absolutely guided by your advice. 
It has occurred to me, that it would perhaps be a good plan 
to put a set of notes (some twenty to forty or fifty) to the 
1 Origin,' which now has none, exclusively devoted to errors 
of my reviewers. It has occurred to me that where a reviewer 
has erred, a common reader might err. Secondly, it will 
show the reader that he must not trust implicitly to reviewers. 
Thirdly, when any special fact has been attacked, I should like 

* ( Life on the Earth.' Religion and Moral Philosophy, at 

f "Remarks on the latest form Harvard University. 'American 

of the Development Theory." By Academy of Arts and Sciences,' 

Francis Bowen, Professor of Natural vol. viii. 




to defend it. I would show no sort of anger. I enclose a 
mere rough specimen, done without any care or accuracy 
done from memory alone to be torn up, just to show the 
sort of thing that has occurred to me. Will yon do me the 
great kindness to consider this well ? 

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

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

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

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

* The confounded Wealden Cal- 
culation to be struck out, and a 
note to be inserted to the effect 
that I am convinced of its inac- 
curacy from a review in the 

Saturday Review, and from 
Phillips, as I see in his Table of 
Contents that he alludes to it. 

* Mr. Hopkins (' Fraser,' vol. , 
p. ) states I am quoting only 
from vague memory that, "I argue 
in favour of my views from the 
extreme imperfection of the Geo- 
logical Record," and says this is 
the first time in the History of 
Science he has ever heard of igno- 
rance being adduced as an argu- 
ment. But I repeatedly admit, in 
the most emphatic language which 
I can use, that the imperfect evi- 
dence which Geology offers in re- 
gard to transitorial forms is most 
strongly opposed to my views. 
Surely there is a wide difference in 
fully admitting an objection, and 
then in endeavouring to show that 
it is not so strong as it at first ap- 
pears, and in Mr. Hopkins's asser- 
tion that I found my argument on 
the Objection. 

* I would also put a note to 





Natural Selection," and show how 
variously it has been misunder- 

* A writer in the ' Edinburgh 
Philosophical Journal ' denies my 
statement that the Woodpecker of 
La Plata never frequents trees. I 
observed its habits during two 
years, but, what is more to the 
purpose, Azara, whose accuracy all 
admit, is more emphatic than I am 
in regard to its never frequenting 
trees. Mr. A. Murray denies that 
it ought to be called a woodpecker ; 
it has two toes in front and two 
behind, pointed tail feathers, a long 

pointed tongue, and the same 
general form of body, the same 
manner of flight, colouring and 
voice. It was classed, until re- 
cently, in the same genus Picus 
with all other woodpeckers, but 
now has been ranked as a distinct 
genus amongst the Picidse. It 
differs from the typical Picus only 
in the beak, not being quite so 
strong, and in the upper mandible 
being slightly arched. I think 
these facts fully justify my state- 
ment that it is " in all essential 
parts of its organisation " a Wood- 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, Nov. 22 [i860]. 

My dear Huxley, For heaven's sake don't write an 
anti-Darwinian article ; you would do it so confoundedly 
well. I have sometimes amused myself with thinking how 
I could best pitch into myself, and I believe I could give two 

or three good digs ; but I will see you first, before I will 

try. I shall be very impatient to see the Review.* If it 
succeeds it may really do much, very much good 

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

* The first number of the new appeared in 1861. 
series of the 'Nat. Hist. Review' \ The 3rd edition. 




C. Danviu to C. Lyell. 

Down, November 24th [i860]. 

My DEAR LYELL, I thank you much for your letter. I 
had got to take pleasure in thinking how I could best snub 
my reviewers ; but I was determined, in any case, to follow 
your advice, and, before I had got to the end of your letter, I 
was convinced of the wisdom of your advice.* What an 
advantage it is to me to have such friends as you. I shall 
follow every hint in your letter exactly. 

I have just heard from Murray ; he says he sold 700 copies 
at his sale, and that he has not half the number to supply ; so 
that I must begin at once, j . . . . 

P.S. I must tell you one little fact which has pleased me. 
You may remember that I adduce electrical organs of fish as 
one of the greatest difficulties which have occurred to me, and 

notices the passage in a singularly disingenuous spirit. 

Well, McDonnell, of Dublin (a first-rate man), writes to me 
that he felt the difficulty of the whole case as overwhelming 
against me. Not only are the fishes which have electric 
organs very remote in scale, but the organ is near the head in 
some, and near the tail in others, and supplied by wholly 
different nerves. It seems impossible that there could be any 
transition. Some friend, who is much opposed to me, seems 
to have crowed over McDonnell, who reports that he said to 
himself, that if Darwin is right, there must be homologous 
organs both near the head and tail in other non-electric fish. 

* "I get on slowly with my new 
edition. I find that your advice 
was excellent. I can answer all 
reviews, without any direct notice 
of them, by a little enlargement 
here and there, with here and there 
a new paragraph. Broun alone I 
shall treat with the respect of 


his objections with his 
name. I think I shall improve my 
book a good deal, and add only 
some twenty pages." From a 
letter to Lyell, December 4th, i860, 
t On the third edition of the 
' Origin of Species,' published in 
April 1 86 1. 

i860.] design. 353 

He set to work, and, by Jove, he has found them ! * so that 
some of the difficulty is removed ; and is it not satisfactory 
that my hypothetical notions should have led to pretty dis- 
coveries ? McDonnell seems very cautious ; he says, years 
must pass before he will venture to call himself a believer in 
my doctrine, but that on the subjects which he knows well, 
viz. Morphology and Embryology, my views accord well, and 
throw light on the whole subject. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, November 26th, i860. 

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

* ' On an organ in the Skate, pedo,' by R. McDonnell, ' Nat. 
which appears to be the homologue Hist Review,' 1861, p. 57. 
of the electrical organ of the Tor- 

VOL. II. 2 A 

354 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

used its abnormal tail for some special end, as to sail before 
the wind, unlike other birds, every one would have said, 
" What a beautiful and designed adaptation." Again, I say 
I am, and shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle. 

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

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

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, Dec. 2nd [i860]. 

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

I entirely agree with you, that the difficulties on my 
notions are terrific, yet having seen what all the Reviews have 
said against me, I have far more confidence in the general 
truth of the doctrine than I formerly had. Another thing 

* ( 

Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,' vol. viii. 

i860.] dr. gray's pamphlet. 355 

gives me confidence, viz. that some who went half an inch 

with me now go further, and some who were bitterly opposed 

are now less bitterly opposed. And this makes me feel a 

little disappointed that you are not inclined to think the 

general view in some slight degree more probable than you 

did at first. This I consider rather ominous. Otherwise I 

should be more contented with your degree of belief. I can 

pretty plainly see that, if my view is ever to be generally 

adopted, it will be by young men growing up and replacing 

the old workers, and then young ones finding that they can 

group facts and search out new lines of investigation better 

on the notion of descent, than on that of creation. But 

forgive me for running on so egotistically. Living so solitary 

as I do, one gets to think in a silly manner of one's own 


Ever yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker 

Down, December nth [i36o]. 

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

David Forbes has been carefully working the 

Geology of Chile, and as I value praise for accurate observa- 
tion far higher than for any other quality, forgive (if you can) 
the insufferable vanity of my copying the last sentence in his 
note : " I regard your Monograph on Chile as, without ex- 
ception, one of the finest specimens of Geological enquiry." 
I feel inclined to strut like a Turkey-cock ! 

2 A 2 





[The beginning of the year 1861 saw my father with the 
third chapter of 'The Variation of Animals and Plants' still 
on his hands. It had been begun in the previous August, 
and was not finished until March 1 861. He was, however, for 
part of this time (I believe during December i860 and 
January 1861) engaged in a new edition (3000 copies) of the 
1 Origin/ which was largely corrected and added to, and was 
published in April 1861. 

With regard to this, the third edition, he wrote to Mr. Murray 
in December i860 : 

" 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- 
torical Sketch of the Recent 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 

* The Historical Sketch had al- man edition (footnote, p. 1) that it 

ready appeared in the first German was his critique in the ' N. Jahrbuch 

edition (i860) and the American fur Mineralogie ' that suggested the 

edition. Bronn states in the Ger- idea of such a sketch to my father. 

l86l.] TRANSLATIONS. 357 

impress of the author's personal character in the obvious wish 
to do full justice to all his predecessors, though even in 
this respect it has not escaped some adverse criticism. 

Towards the end of the present year (1861), the final 
arrangements for the first French edition of the ' Origin ' were 
completed, and in September a copy of the third English 
edition was despatched to Mdlle. Clemence Royer, who under- 
took the work of translation. The book was now spreading 
on the Continent, a Dutch edition had appeared, and, as we 
have seen, a German translation had been published in i860. 
In a letter to Mr. Murray (September 10, 1861), he wrote, 
" My book seems exciting much attention in Germany, 
judging from the number of discussions sent me." The 
silence had been broken, and in a few years the voice of 
German science was to become one of the strongest of the 
advocates of evolution. 

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

On July 1, he started, with his family, for Torquay, where 
he remained until August 27 a holiday which he 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 cliffed coast-line in the neighbourhood of 
Anstey's Cove. 

During the Torquay holiday, and for the remainder of the 
year, he worked at the fertilisation of orchids. This part of 
the year 1861 is not dealt with in the present chapter, because 
(as explained in the preface) the record of his life, as told in 
his letters, seems to become clearer when the whole of his 
botanical work is placed together and treated separately. 




The present series of chapters will, therefore, include only 
the progress of his works in the direction of a general 
amplification of the ' Origin of Species ' e.g., the publication, 
of 'Animals and Plants,' ' Descent of Man,' &c] 

C, Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Jan. 15 [1861]. 

My DEAR HOOKER, The sight of your handwriting always 
rejoices the very cockles of my heart 

I most fully agree to what you say about Huxley's Article,* 

and the power of writing The whole review seems to 

me excellent. How capitally Oliver has done the resume 
of botanical books. Good Heavens, how he must have 
read ! . . . . 

I quite agree that Phillips | is unreadably dull. You need 
not attempt Bree. J . . . . 

* ' Natural History Review,' 1861, 
p. 67, " On the Zoological Relations 
of Man with the Lower Animals." 
This memoir had its origin in a 
discussion at the previous meeting 
of the British Association, when 
Professor Huxley felt himself " com- 
pelled to give a diametrical contra- 
diction to certain assertions respect- 
ing the differences which obtain 
between the brains of the higher 
apes and of man, which fell from 
Professor Owen." But in order 
that his criticisms might refer to 
deliberately recorded words, he 
bases them on Professor Owen's 
paper, " On the Characters, &c, of 
the Class Mammalia," read before 
the Linnean Society in February 
and April, 1857, in which he pro- 
posed to place man not only in a 
distinct order, but in " a distinct 
sub-class of the Mammalia" the 

t ' Life on the Earth ' (i860), by 

Prof. Phillips, containing the sub- 
stance of the Rede Lecture (May 

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

iS6i.] criticism. 359 

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

February 2, 1861. 

My DEAR LYELL, I have thought you would like to read 
the enclosed passage in a letter from A. Gray (who is printing 
his reviews as a pamphlet,* and will send copies to England), 
as I think his account is really favourable in a high degree 
to us : 

" I wish I had time to write you an account of the lengths 
to which Bowen and Agassiz, each in their own way, are 
going. The first denying all heredity (all transmission except 
specific) whatever. The second coming near to deny that we 
are genetically descended from our great-great-grandfathers ; 
and insisting that evidently affiliated languages, e.g. Latin, 
Greek, Sanscrit, owe none of their similarities to a com- 
munity of origin, are all autochthonal ; Agassiz admits that 

* " Natural Selection not incon- August, and October, i860; pub- 
sistent with Natural Theology," from lished by Triibner. 
the 'Atlantic Monthly' for July, 


the derivation of languages, and that of species or forms, 
stand on the same foundation, and that he must allow the 
latter if he allows the former, which I tell him is perfectly- 

Is not this marvellous ? 

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Feb. 4 [1861]. 

My DEAR Hooker, I was delighted to get your long 
chatty letter, and to hear that you are thawing towards 
science. I almost wish you had remained frozen rather 
longer ; but do not thaw too quickly and strongly. No one 
can work long as you used to do. Be idle ; but I am a 
pretty man to preach, for I cannot be idle, much as I wish it, 
and am never comfortable except when at work. The word 
holiday is written in a dead language for me, and much I 
grieve at it. We thank you sincerely for your kind sympathy 

about poor H. [his daughter] She has now come up to 

her old point, and can sometimes get up for an hour or two 
twice a day .... Never to look to the future or as little as 
possible is becoming our rule of life. What a different thing 
life was in youth with no dread in the future ; all golden, if 
baseless, hopes. 

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

I have been doing little, except finishing the new edition 

l86l.] MR. BATES. 36l 

of the ' Origin/ and crawling on most slowly with my 
volume of 'Variation under Domestication.' .... 

[The following letter refers to Mr. Bates's paper, " Contri- 
butions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazon Valley," in the 
4 Transactions] of the Entomological Society.' vol. 5, N.S.* 
Mr. Bates points out that with the return, after the glacial 
period, of a warmer climate in the equatorial regions, the 
4t species then living near the equator would retreat north 
and south to their former homes, leaving some of their con- 
geners, slowly modified subsequently ... to re-people the zone 
they had forsaken." In this case the species now living at 
the equator ought to show clear relationship to the species 
inhabiting the regions about the 25th parallel, whose distant 
relatives they would of course be. But this is not the case, 
and this is the difficulty my father refers to. Mr. Belt has 
offered an explanation in his ' Naturalist in Nicaragua ' 
(1874), p. 266. "I believe the answer is that there was much 
extermination during the glacial period, that many species 
(and some genera, &c, as, for instance, the American horse), 
did not survive it ... . but that a refuge was found for 
many species on lands now below the ocean, that were 
uncovered by the lowering of the sea, caused by the immense 
quantity of water that was locked up in frozen masses on the 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, 27th [March 1861]. 

MY DEAR HOOKER, I had intended to have sent you 
Bates's article this very day. I am so glad you like it. I have 
been extremely much struck with it. How well he argues, 
and with what crushing force against the glacial doctrine. 
I cannot wriggle out of it : I am dumbfounded ; yet I do 
believe that some explanation some day will appear, and I 

* The paper was read Nov. 24, i860. 


cannot give up equatorial cooling. It explains so much and 
harmonises with so much. When you write (and much in- 
terested I shall be in your letter) please say how far floras 
are generally uniform in generic character from o to 
25 N. and S. 

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

Here is a good joke : H. C. Watson (who, I fancy and hope, 
is going to review the new edition * of the ' Origin ') says that 
in the first four paragraphs of the introduction, the words " I," 
" me," " my," occur forty-three times ! I was dimly conscious 
of the accursed fact. He says it can be explained 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. 

/ am, my dear Hooker, ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, [April] 23? [1861.] 

.... I quite agree with what you say on Lieutenant 
Hutton's Review f (who he is I know not) ; it struck me as 
very original. He is one of the very few who see that the 
change of species cannot be directly proved, and that the 
doctrine must sink or swim according as it groups and 
explains phenomena. It is really curious how few judge it in 
this way, which is clearly the right way. I have been much 

* Third edition of 2000 copies, Hutton, of the Staff College. The 

published in April 1861. ' Geologist' was afterwards merged 

t In the ' Geologist,' 1861, p. 132, in the ' Geological Magazine.' 
by Lieutenant Frederick Wollaston 




interested by Bentham's paper* in the N. H. R., but it 
would not, of course, from familiarity, strike you as it did me. 
I liked the whole ; all the facts on the nature of close and 
varying species. Good Heavens ! to think of the British 
botanists turning up their noses, and saying that he knows 
nothing of British plants ! I was also pleased at his remarks 
on classification, because it showed me that I wrote truly on 
this subject in the ' Origin.' I saw Bentham at the Linnean 
Society, and had some talk with him and Lubbock, and 
Edgeworth, Wallich, and several others. I asked Bentham 
to give us his ideas of species ; whether partially with us or 
dead against us, he would write excellent matter. He made 
no answer, but his manner made me think he might do so if 
urged ; so do you attack him. Every one was speaking with 
affection and anxiety of Henslow.j I dined with Bell at the 

Linnean Club, and liked my dinner Dining out is 

such a novelty to me that I enjoyed it. Bell has a real good 
heart. I liked Rolleston's paper, but I never read anything 
so obscure and not self-evident as his ' Canons.' { . . . . I 
called on R. Chambers, at his very nice house in St. John's 
Wood, and had a very pleasant half-hour's talk ; he is really 
a capital fellow. He made one good remark and chuckled 
over it, that the laymen universally had treated the contro- 
versy on the ' Essays and Reviews ' as a merely professional 
subject, and had not joined in it, but had left it to the clergy. 
I shall be anxious for your next letter about Henslow. Fare- 
well, with sincere sympathy, my old friend, 

C. Darwin. 

* a 

On the Species and Genera 
of Plants, &c," 'Natural History 
Review,' 1861, p. 133. 

f Prof. Henslow was in his last 

t George Rolleston,M.D., F.R.S., 
b. 1829, d. 1 88 1. Linacre Professor 
of Anatomy and Physiology at Ox- 

ford. A man of much learning, 
who left but few published works, 
among which may be mentioned 
his handbook, ' Forms of Animal 
Life.' For the ' Canons,' see ' Nat. 
Hist. Review,' 1861, p. 206. 

Sir Joseph Hooker was Prof. 
Henslow's son-in-law. 


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

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

C. Darwin to C Lyell. 

Down, April 12 [1861]. 

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

It is an especial relief to hear that you think the French 
superficial deposits are deltoid and semi-marine ; but two days 
ago I was saying to a friend, that the unknown manner of the 
accumulation of these deposits, seemed the great blot in all 
the work done. I could not stomach debacles or lacustrine 
beds. It is grand. I remember Falconer told me that he 

* i 

Antiquity of Man,' fourth edition, p. 214. 

l86l.] LYELL'S WORK. 365 

thought some of the remains in the Devonshire caverns were 
pre-glacial, and this, I presume, is now your conclusion for the 
older celts with hyena and hippopotamus. It is grand. 
What a fine long pedigree you have given the human 
race ! 

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

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

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

* I.e. to read them before the Linnean Society. 




C. Darwin to Thomas Davidson* 

Down, April 26, 1861. 

My DEAR Sir, I hope that you will excuse me for ven- 
turing to make a suggestion to you which I am perfectly well 
aware it is a very remote chance that you would adopt I do 
not know whether you have read my ' Origin of Species ' ; in 
that book I have made the remark, which I apprehend will 
be universally admitted, that" as a whole, the fauna of any 
formation is intermediate in character between that of the 
formations above and below. But several really good judges 
have remarked to me how desirable it would be that this 
should be exemplified and worked out in some detail 
and with some single group of beings. Now every one will 
admit that no one in the world could do this better than you 
with Brachiopods. The result might turn out very unfavour- 
able to the views which I hold ; if so, so much the better for 
those who are opposed to me.f But I am inclined to suspect 
that on the whole it would be favourable to the notion of 
descent with modification ; for about a year ago, Mr. Salter % 
in the museum in Jermyn Street, glued on a board some 

* Thomas Davidson, F.R.S., 
born in Edinburgh, May 17, 18 17 ; 
died 1885. His researches were 
chiefly connected with the sciences 
of geology and palaeontology, and 
were directed especially to the 
elucidation of the characters, classi- 
fication, history, geological and 
geographical distribution of recent 
and fossil Brachiopoda. On this 
subject he brought out an important 
work, ' British Fossil Brachiopoda,' 
5 vols. 4to. (Cooper, ' Men of the 
Time,' 1884.) 

f " Mr. Davidson is not at all a 
full believer in great changes of 
species, which will make his work 
all the more valuable." C. Dar- 

win to R. Chambers (April 30, 

% John William Salter; b. 1820, 
d. 1869. He entered the service of 
the Geological Survey in 1846, and 
ultimately became its Palaeonto- 
logist, on the retirement of Edward 
Forbes, and gave up the office 
in 1863. He was associated with 
several well-known naturalists in 
their work with Sedgwick, Mur- 
chison, Lyell, Ramsay, and Huxley. 
There are sixty entries under his 
name in the Royal Society Cata- 
logue. The above facts are taken 
from an obituary notice of Mr. 
Salter in the ' Geological Maga- 
zine,' 1S69. 


Spirifers, &c, from three palaeozoic stages, and arranged them 
in single and branching lines, with horizontal lines marking 
the formations (like the diagram in my book, if you know 
it), and the result seemed to me very striking, though I was 
too ignorant fully to appreciate the lines of affinities. I 
longed to have had these shells engraved, as arranged by 
Mr. Salter, and connected by dotted lines, and would have 
gladly paid the expense : but I could not persuade Mr. Salter 
to publish a little paper on the subject. I can hardly doubt 
that many curious points would occur to any one thoroughly 
instructed in the subject, who would consider a group of 
beings under this point of view of descent with modification. 
All those forms which have come down from an ancient 
period very slightly modified ought, I think, to be omitted, 
and those forms alone considered which have undergone 
considerable change at each successive epoch. My fear is 
whether brachiopods have changed enough. The absolute 
amount of difference of the forms in such groups at the 
opposite extremes of time ought to be considered, and how 
far the early forms are intermediate in character between 
those which appeared much later in time. The antiquity of 
a group is not really diminished, as some seem vaguely to 
think, because it has transmitted to the present day closely 
allied forms. Another point is how far the succession of each 
genus is unbroken, from the first time it appeared to its 
extinction, with due allowance made for formations poor in 
fossils. I cannot but think that an important essay (far more 
important than a hundred literary reviews) might be written 
by one like yourself, and without very great labour. I know 
it is highly probable that you may not have leisure, or not 
care for, or dislike the subject, but I trust to your kindness 
to forgive me for making this suggestion. If by any extra- 
ordinary good fortune you were inclined to take up this 
notion, I would ask you to read my Chapter X. on Geo- 
logical Succession. And I should like in this case to be 


permitted to send you a copy of the new edition, just pub- 
lished, in which I have added and corrected somewhat in 
Chapters IX. and X. 

Pray excuse this long letter, and believe me, 

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to Thomas Davidson. 

Down, April 30, 1861. 

My DEAR Sir, I thank you warmly for your letter ; I did 
not in the least know that you had attended to my work. I 
assure you that the attention which you have paid to it, con- 
sidering your knowledge and the philosophical tone of your 
mind (for I well remember one remarkable letter you wrote 
to me, and have looked through your various publications), 
I consider one of the highest, perhaps the very highest, com- 
pliments which I have received. I live so solitary a life that 
I do not often hear what goes on, and I should much like to 
know in what work you have published some remarks on my 
book. I take a deep interest in the subject, and I hope not 
simply an egotistical interest ; therefore you may believe how 
much your letter has gratified me ; I am perfectly contented 
if any one will fairly consider the subject, whether or not he 
fully or only very slightly agrees with me. Pray do not 
think that I feel the least surprise at your demurring to a 
ready acceptance ; in fact, I should not much respect anyone's 
judgment who did so : that is, if I may judge others from 
the long time which it has taken me to go round. Each 
stage of belief cost me years. The difficulties are, as you say, 
many and very great ; but the more I reflect, the more they 
seem to me to be due to our underestimating our ignorance. 
I belong so much to old times that I find that I weigh 


the difficulties from the imperfection of the geological 
record, heavier than some of the younger men. I find, to 
my astonishment and joy, that such good men as Ramsay, 
Jukes, Geikie, and one old worker, Lyell, do not think that 
I have in the least exaggerated the imperfection of the 
record.* If my views ever are proved true, our current geo- 
logical views will have to be considerably modified. My 
greatest trouble is, not being able to weigh the direct effects 
of the long-continued action of changed conditions of life 
without any selection, with the action of selection on mere 
accidental (so to speak) variability. I oscillate much on this 
head, but generally return to my belief that the direct action 
of the conditions of life have not been great. At least 
this direct action can have played an extremely small part 
in producing all the numberless and beautiful adaptations in 
every living creature. With respect to a person's belief, what 
does rather surprise me is that any one (like Carpenter) 
should be willing to go so very far as to believe that all birds 
may have descended from one parent, and not go a little 
farther and include all the members of the same great division ; 
for on such a scale of belief, all the facts in Morphology and 
in Embryology (the most important in my opinion of all sub- 
jects) become mere Divine mockeries I cannot express 

how profoundly glad I am that some day you will publish 
your theoretical view on the modification and endurance of 

* Professor Sedgwick treated this I will interpolate long periods to 
part of the ' Origin of Species ' account for all the changes. I say, 
very differently, as might have in reply, if you deny my conclusion, 
been expected from his vehement grounded on positive evidence, I 
objection to Evolution in general. toss back your conclusion, derived 
In the article in the Spectator of from negative evidence, the in- 
March 24, i860, already noticed, flated cushion on which you try to 
Sedgwick wrote : "We know the bolster up the defects of your hypo- 
complicated organic phenomena of thesis." [The punctuation of the 
the Mesozoic (or Oolitic) period. imaginary dialogue is slightly al- 
It defies the transmutationist at tered from the original, which is 
every step. Oh ! but the docu- obscure in one place.] 
ment, says Darwin, is a fragment ; 

VOL. II. 2 B 


Brachiopodous species ; I am sure it will be a most valuable 
contribution to knowledge. 

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

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

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

In the autumn of i860, and the early part of 1861, my 
father had a good deal of correspondence with Professor 
Asa Gray on a subject to which reference has already been 
made the publication, in the form of a pamphlet, of Pro- 
fessor Gray's three articles in the July, August, and October 
numbers of the 'Atlantic Monthly,' i860. The pamphlet was 
published by Messrs. Triibner, with reference to whom my 
father wrote, " Messrs. Triibner have been most liberal and 
kind, and say they shall make no charge for all their trouble. 
I have settled about a few advertisements, and they will 
gratuitously insert one in their own periodicals." 

The reader will find these articles republished in Dr. Gray's 
' Darwiniana,' p. 87, under the title "Natural Selection not 
inconsistent with Natural Theology." The pamphlet found 
many admirers among those most capable of judging of its 
merits, and my father believed that it was of much value in 
lessening opposition, and making converts to Evolution. His 

* Lyell, ' Antiquity of Man,' first edition, p. 428. 

i36l] dr. gray's pamphlet descent theory. 371 

high opinion of it is shown not only in his letters, but by the 
fact that he inserted a special notice of it in a most prominent 
place in the third edition of the ' Origin.' Lyell, among 
others, recognised its value as an antidote to the kind of 
criticism from which the cause of Evolution suffered. Thus 
my father wrote to Dr. Gray : " Just to exemplify the use 
of your pamphlet, the Bishop of London was asking Lyell 
what he thought of the review in the ' Quarterly,' and Lyell 
answered, ' Read Asa Gray in the ' Atlantic' " It comes out 
very clearly that in the case of such publications as Dr. Gray's, 
my father did not rejoice over the success of his special view 
of Evolution, viz. that modification is mainly due to Natural 
Selection ; on the contrary, he felt strongly that the really 
important point was that the doctrine of Descent should be 
accepted. Thus he wrote to Professor Gray (May 1 1, 1863), 
with reference to Lyell's 'Antiquity of Man ' : 

" You speak of Lyell as a judge ; now what I complain of 
is that he declines to be a judge .... I have sometimes 
almost wished that Lyell had pronounced against me. When 
I say ' me,' I only mean change of species by descent. That 
seems to me the turning-point. Personally, of course, I care 
much about Natural Selection ; but that seems to me utterly 
unimportant, compared to the question of Creation or Modifi- 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, April 11 [1861]. 

My DEAR Gray, I was very glad to get your photograph : 
I am expecting mine, which I will send off as soon as it 
comes. It is an ugly affair, and I fear the fault does not lie 

with the photographer Since writing last, I have had 

several letters full of the highest commendation of your Essay; 
all agree that it is by far the best thing written, and I do not 
doubt it has done the ' Origin ' much good. I have not yet 
heard how it has sold. You will have seen a review in the 

2 B 2 


Gardeners Chronicle. Poor dear Henslow, to whom I owe 
much, is dying, and Hooker is with him. Many thanks for 
two sets of sheets of your Proceedings. I cannot understand 
what Agassiz is driving at. You once spoke, I think, of 
Professor Bowen as a very clever man. I should have thought 
him a singularly unobservant man from his writings. He 
never can have seen much of animals, or he would have seen 
the difference of old and wise dogs and young ones. His 
paper about hereditariness beats everything. Tell a breeder 
that he might pick out his worst i?idividual animals and 
breed from them, and hope to win a prize, and he would think 
you . . . insane. 

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


whose soul was nearer heaven." 

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

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

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


give my thoughts as they arose, for you or Jenyns to use as 
you think fit. 

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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, June 5 [1861]. 

My DEAR GRAY, I have been rather extra busy, so have 
been slack in answering your note of May 6th. I hope you 
have received long ago the third edition of the * Origin.' .... 
I have heard nothing from Triibner of the sale of your Essay, 
hence fear it has not been great ; I wrote to say you could 
supply more. I sent a copy to Sir J. Herschel, and in his 
new edition of his * Physical Geography ' he has a note on 
the ' Origin of Species,' and agrees, to a certain limited extent, 

but puts in a caution on design much like yours 

I have been led to think more on this subject of late, and 
grieve to say that I come to differ more from you. It is not 
that designed variation makes, as it seems to me, my deity 
" Natural Selection " superfluous, but rather from studying, 
lately, domestic variation, and seeing what an enormous field 
of undesigned variability there is ready for natural selection 
to appropriate for any purpose useful to each creature. 

I thank you much for sending me your review of Phillips.* 
I remember once telling you a lot of trades which you ought 
to have followed, but now I am convinced that you are a born 
reviewer. By Jove, how well and often you hit the nail on 
the head ! You rank Phillips's book higher than I do, or than 
Lyell does, who thinks it fearfully retrograde. I amused 
myself by parodying Phillips's argument as applied to do- 
mestic variation ; and you might thus prove that the duck or 

* i 

Life on the Earth,' i860. 



pigeon has not varied because the goose has not, though more 
anciently domesticated, and no good reason can be assigned 
why it has not produced many varieties 

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

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

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

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

l86l.] DR. FALCONER HARVEY. 375 

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 exposi- 
tion, 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, 

H. Falconer. 

C. Darwin to Hugh Falconer. 

Down [June 24, 1861]. 
My DEAR FALCONER. I have just received your note, and 
by good luck a day earlier than properly, and I lose not a 
moment in answering you, and thanking you heartily for your 
offer of the valuable specimen ; but I have no aquarium and 
shall soon start for Torquay, so that it would be a thousand 
pities that I should 'have it. Yet I should certainly much 
like to see it, but I fear it is impossible. Would not the Zoo- 
logical Society be the best place ? and then the interest which 
many would take in this extraordinary animal would repay 
you for your trouble. 

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

Yours affectionately and gratefully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to jf. D. Hooker. 

2 Hesketh Crescent, Torquay, 

July 13 [1861]. 

... I hope Harvey is better ; I got his review * of me a 

day or two ago, from which I infer he must be convalescent ; 

* The ' Dublin Hospital Gazette,' 
May 15, 1 86 1. The passage re- 

ferred to is at p. 150. 


it's very good and fair ; but it is funny to see a man argue on 
the succession of animals from Noah's Deluge ; as God did 
not then wholly destroy man, probably he did not wholly 
destroy the races of other animals at each geological period t 
I never expected to have a helping hand from the Old 
Testament. . . . 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

2, Hesketh Crescent, Torquay, 

July 20 [1861]. 

My DEAR Lyell. I sent you two or three days ago a 
duplicate of a good review of the ' Origin ' by a Mr. Maw,* 
evidently a thoughtful man, as I thought you might like to 
have it, as you have so many. . . . 

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

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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, September 17 [1861 ?] 

MY DEAR Gray. I thank you sincerely for your very long 
and interesting letter, political and scientific, of August 27th 

* Mr. George Maw, of Benthall pretentious notices, on which fre- 

Hall. The review was published quently occur my father's brief o/-, 

in the 'Zoologist,' July, 1861. On or " nothing new." 

the back of my father's copy f William Pengelly, the geo- 

is written, " Must be consulted logist, and well-known explorer of 

before new edit, of Origin ' " words the Devonshire caves, 
which are wanting on many more 


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

well studied Olmsted 

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

.37 8 SPREAD OF EVOLUTION. [l86l. 

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

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

Your unmerciful correspondent, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darzvin to H. W. Bates. 

Down, Dec. 3 [1861]. 

My DEAR Sir. I thank you for your extremely interesting 
letter, and valuable references, though God knows when I 
shall come again to this part of my subject. One cannot of 
course judge of style when one merely hears a paper,* but 
yours seemed to me very clear and good. Believe me that I 
estimate its value most highly. Under a general point of view, 
I am quite convinced (Hooker and Huxley took the same 
view some months ago) that a philosophic view of nature can 
solely be driven into naturalists by treating special subjects 
as you have done. Under a special point of view, I think you 
have solved one of the most perplexing problems which 
could be given to solve. I am glad to hear from Hooker 

* On Mimetic Butterflies, read 1861. For my father's opinion of 
before the Linnean Soc, Nov. 21, it when published, see p. 391. 

1 86 1.] MR. BATES. 379 

that the Linnean Society will give plates if you can get 
drawings. . . . 

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

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

What / think I can do will be to tell you whether parts 
had better be shortened. It is good, I think, to dash "in 
medias res," and work in later any descriptions of country, or 
any historical details which may be necessary. Murray likes 


lots of wood-cuts give some by all means of ants. The 
public appreciate monkeys our poor cousins. What sexual 
differences are there in monkeys ? Have you kept them 
tame? if so, about their expression. I fear that you will 
hardly read my vile hand-writing, but I cannot without killing, 
trouble write better. 

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

I was a little disappointed in Wallace's book * on the. 
Amazon ; hardly facts enough. On other hand, in Gosse's 
book f there is not reasoning enough to my taste. Heaven 
knows whether you will care to read all this scribbling. . . . 

I am glad you had a pleasant day with Hooker,J he is an 
admirably good man in every sense. 

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

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

Mr. Bates's book, ' The Naturalist in the Amazons,' was 
published in 1863, but the following letter may be given here 
rather than in its due chronological position : ] 

* 'Travels on the Amazon and (Dec. 1861), my father wrote: "I 

Rio Negro,' 1853. am very glad to hear that you like 

f Probably the ' Naturalist's So- Bates. I have seldom in my life 

journ in Jamaica/ 185 1. been more struck with a man's 

% In a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker power of mind." 


C. Darwin to H. W. Bates. 

Down, April 18, 1863. 

Dear Bates, I have finished 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 Forest 
scenery.* It is a grand book, and whether or not it sells 
quickly, it will last. You have spoken out boldly on Species ; 
and boldness on the subject seems to get rarer and rarer. 
How beautifully illustrated it is. The cut on the back is 
most tasteful. I heartily congratulate you on its publication. 

The Athencenm\ was rather cold, as it always is, and inso- 
lent in the highest degree about your leading facts. Have 
you seen the Reader ? I can send it to you if you have not 
seen it. . . . 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Dec. 11 [1861]. 
My DEAR Gray, Many and cordial thanks for your two 
last most valuable notes. What a thing it is that when you 
receive this we may be at war, and we two be bound, as good 
patriots, to hate each other, though I shall find this hating 
you very hard work. How curious it is to see two countries, 
just like two angry and silly men, taking so opposite a view 
of the same transaction ! I fear there is no shadow of 
doubt we shall fight, if the two Southern rogues are not given 

* In a letter to Lyell my father Travels ever published in England. 

wrote : " He [i.e. Mr. Bates] is He is bold about Species, &c, 

second only to Humboldt in de- and the Athenesum coolly says 

scribing a tropical forest." ' he bends his facts ' for this pur- 

t "I have read the first volume pose. ; ' (From a letter to Sir J. D. 

of Bates's Book ; it is capital, and Hooker.) 
I think the best Natural History 


up.* And what a wretched thing it will be if we fight on the 
side of slavery. No doubt it will be said that we fight to get 
cotton ; but I fully believe that this has not entered into the 
motive in the least. Well, thank Heaven, we private indi- 
viduals have nothing to do with so awful a responsibility. 
Again, how curious it is that you seem to think that you can 
conquer the South ; and I never meet a soul, even those who 
would most wish it, who thinks it possible that is, to conquer 
and retain it. I do not suppose the mass of people in your 
country will believe it, but I feel sure if we do go to war it 
will be with the utmost reluctance by all classes, Ministers of 
Government and all. Time will show, and it is no use writing 
or thinking about it. I called the other day on Dr. Boott, 
and was pleased to find him pretty well and cheerful. I see, 
by the way, he takes quite an English opinion of American 
affairs, though an American in heart.f Buckle might write 
a chapter on opinion being entirely dependent on longitude ! 

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

Yours most cordially, 

C. Darwin. 

* The Confederate Commis- Nov. 8, 1861. The news that the 

sioners Slidell and Mason were U.S. agreed to release them reached 

forcibly removed from the Trent, England on Jan. 8, 1862. 

a West India mail steamer, on f Dr. Boott was born in the U.S.. 

1 862.] BOURNEMOUTH. 383; 


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

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

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

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

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


C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, [Jan. ?] 14 [1862]. 

My DEAR HUXLEY, I am heartily glad of your success in 
the North,* and thank you for your note and slip. By Jove 
you have attacked Bigotry in its stronghold. I thought you 
would have been mobbed. I am so glad that you will 
publish your Lectures. You seem to have kept a due medium 
between extreme boldness and caution. I am heartily glad 
that all went off so well. I hope Mrs. Huxley is pretty well. 
. . . . I must say one word on the Hybrid question. No 
doubt you are right that here is a great hiatus in the argu- 
ment ; yet I think you overrate it you never allude to the 
excellent evidence of varieties of Verbascum and Nicotiana 
being partially sterile together. It is curious to me to read 
(as I have to-day) the greatest crossing Gardener utterly 
pooh-poohing the distinction which Botanists make on this 
head, and insisting how frequently crossed varieties produce 
sterile offspring. Do oblige me by reading the latter half of 
my Primula paper in the ' Linn. Journal,' for it leads me to 
suspect that sterility will hereafter have to be largely viewed 
as an acquired or selected character a view which I wish I 
had had facts to maintain in the ' Origin.' f . . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Jan. 25 [1862]. 

MY DEAR HOOKER, Many thanks for your last Sunday's 
letter, which was one of the pleasantest I ever received in my 
life. We are all pretty well redivivus, and I am at work 
again. I thought it best to make a clean breast to Asa 

* This refers to two of Mr. Nature.' 
Huxley's lectures, given before the \ The view here given will be 

Philosophical Institution of Edin- discussed in the chapter on hetero- 

burgh in 1862. The substance of styled plants, 
them is given in ' Man's Place in 

1 862.] 



Gray ; and told him that the Boston dinner, &c. &c, had 
quite turned my stomach, that I almost thought it would be 
good for the peace of the world if the United States were 
split up ; on the other hand, I said that I groaned to think of 
the slave-holders being triumphant, and that the difficulties 
of making a line of separation were fearful. I wonder what 
he will say Your notion of the Aristocrat being ken- 
speckle, and the best men of a good lot being thus easily 
selected is new to me, and striking. The ' Origin ' having made 
you in fact a jolly old Tory, made us all laugh heartily. I 
have sometimes speculated on this subject ; primogeniture* is 
dreadfully opposed to selection ; suppose the first-born bull 
was necessarily made by each farmer the begetter of his 
stock ! On the other hand, as you say, ablest men are con- 
tinually raised to the peerage, and get crossed with the older 
Lord-breeds, and the Lords continually select the most 
beautiful and charming women out of the lower ranks ; so 
that a good deal of indirect selection improves the Lords. 
Certainly I agree with you the present American row has a 
very Torifying influence on us all. I am very glad to hear 
you are beginning to print the ' Genera ;' it is a wonderful 
satisfaction to be thus brought to bed, indeed it is one's chief 
satisfaction, I think, though one knows that another bantling 
will soon be developing. . . . 

C. Darwin to Maxwell Masters.] 

Down, Feb. 26 [1862]. 
My DEAR Sir, I am much obliged to you for sending me 

* My father had a strong feeling 
as to the injustice of primogeniture, 
and in a similar spirit was often 
indignant over the unfair wills that 
appear from time to time. He 
would declare energetically that if 
he were law-giver no will should be 
valid that was not published in the 


testator's lifetime ; and this he 
maintained would prevent much of 
the monstrous injustice and mean- 
ness apparent in so many wills. 

f Dr. Masters is a well-known 
vegetable teratologist, and has been 
for many years the editor of the 
Gardeners' Chronicle. 

2 C 



your article,* which I have just read with much interest. The 
History, and a good deal besides, was quite new to me. It 
seems to me capitally done, and so clearly written. You 
really ought to write your larger work. You speak too 
generously of my book ; but I must confess that you have 
pleased me not a little ; for no one, as far as I know, has ever 
remarked on what I say on classification, a part, which 
when I wrote it, pleased me, With many thanks to you for 
sending me your article, pray believe me, 

My dear Sir, yours sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

C. Dar iv in to Asa Gray. 

Down, March 15 [1862]. 

My DEAR Gray, Thanks for the newspapers (though they 
did contain digs at England), and for your note of Feb. 1 8th. 
It is really almost a pleasure to receive stabs from so smooth, 
polished and sharp a dagger as your pen. I heartily wish I 
could sympathise more fully with you, instead of merely 
hating the South. We cannot enter into your feelings ; if 
Scotland were to rebel, I presume we should be very wrath, 
but I do not think we should care a penny what other nations 

* A paper on "Vegetable Mor- 'British and Foreign Medico-Chi- 
phology," by Dr. Masters, in the rurgical Review ' for 1862. 

1 362.] 



thought. The millennium must come before nations love each 
other ; but try and do not hate me. Think of me, if you will 
as a poor blinded fool. I fear the dreadful state of affairs 

must dull your interest in Science 

I believe that your pamphlet has done my book great good ; 
and I thank you from my heart for myself; and believing 
that the views arc 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. One of the best men, 
though at present unknown, who has taken up these views, 
is Mr. Bates ; pray read his ' Travels in Amazonia,' when they 
appear ; they will be very good, judging from MS. of the first 
two chapters. 

Again I say, do not hate me. 

Ever yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 


C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

1 Carlton Terrace, Southampton,! 
Aug. 22 [1862]. 

.... I heartily hope that you will be out in October. 
. . . . You say that the Bishop and Owen will be down on 
you ; the latter hardly can, for I was assured that Owen 
in his Lectures this spring advanced as a new idea that 

* In June, 1862, my father wrote 
to Dr. Gray : " I received, 2 or 3 
days ago, a French translation of 
the ' Origin,' by a Madlle. Royer, 
who must be one of the cleverest 
and oddest women in Europe : is 
an ardent Deist, and hates Chris- 
tianity, and declares that natural 
selection and the struggle for life 
will explain all morality, nature of 
man, politics, &c. &c! She makes 

some very curious and good hits, 
and says she shall publish a book 
on these subjects." Madlle. Royer 
added foot-notes to her translation, 
and in many places where the author 
expresses great doubt, she explains 
the difficulty, or points out that no 
real difficulty exists. 

f The house of his son William. 

% I.e. ' The Antiquity of Man.' 


wingless birds had lost their wings by disuse, also that 
magpies stole spoons, &c., from a remnant of some instinct 
like that of the Bower-Bird, which ornaments its playing- 
passage with pretty feathers. Indeed, I am told that he 
hinted plainly that all birds are descended from one .... 

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

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

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

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

Looking to the ' Origin,' I see that I state that the pro- 
ductions of the land seem to change quicker than those of 
the sea (Chapter X., p. 339, 3rd edition), and I add there is 
some reason to believe that organisms considered high in the 
scale change quicker than those that are low. I remember 
writing these sentences after much deliberation I 


remember well feeling much hesitation about putting in even 

the guarded sentences which I did. My doubts, I remember, 

related to the rate of change of the Radiata in the Secondary 

formation, and of the Foraminifera in the oldest Tertiary 


Good night, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, Oct. 1 [1862]. 

.... I found here * a short and very kind note of Fal- 
coner, with some pages of his ' Elephant Memoir,' which will 
be published, in which he treats admirably on long persistence 
of type. I thought he was going to make a good and crush- 
ing attack on me, but, to my great satisfaction, he ends by 
pointing out a loophole, and adds,t "with him I have no faith 
that the mammoth and other extinct elephants made their 

appearance suddenly The most rational view seems 

to be that they are the modified descendants of earlier pro- 
genitors, &c." This is capital. There will not be soon one 
good palaeontologist who believes in immutability. Falconer 
does not allow for the Proboscidean group being a failing one, 
and therefore not likely to be giving off new races. 

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

[In his letters to Sir J. D. Hooker, about the end of this 

* On his return from Bourne- clearer. The passage begins as 

mouth. follows : " The inferences which I 

f Falconer, " On the American draw from these facts are not op- 
Fossil Elephant," in the ' Nat. Hist. posed to one of the leading pro- 
Review,' 1863, p. 81. The words positions of Darwin's theory. With 
preceding those cited by my father him," &c. (Sec. 
make the meaning of his quotation 


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

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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Nov. 6 [1862]. 

My DEAR Gray, When your note of October 4th and 13th 
(chiefly about Max Miiller) arrived, I was nearly at the end 
of the same book,* and had intended recommending you to 
read it. I quite agree that it is extremely interesting, but the 
latter part about the first origin of language much the least 
satisfactory. It is a marvellous problem. .... [There are] 
covert sneers at me, which he seems to get the better of 
towards the close of the book. I cannot quite see how it 
will forward " my cause," as you call it ; but I can see how 
any one with literary talent (I do not feel up to it) could 
make great use of the subject in illustration.! What pretty 
metaphors you would make from it ! I wish some one would 

* 'Lectures on the Science of Also by Prof. Schleicher, whose 

Language,' 1st edit. 1861. pamphlet was fully noticed in the 

t Language was treated in the Reader, Feb. 27, 1864 (as I learn 

manner here indicated by Sir C. from one of Prof. Huxley's 'Lay 

Lyell in the ' Antiquity of Man.' Sermons '). 

1 862.] 



keep a lot of the most noisy monkeys, half free, and study 
their means of communication ! 

A book has just appeared here which will, I suppose, make 
a noise, by Bishop Colenso,* who, judging from extracts, 
smashes most of the Old Testament. Talking of books, I am 
in the middle of one which pleases me, though it is very 
innocent food, viz. Miss 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. 
Does it not hurt your Yankee pride that we thrash you so 
confoundedly ? I am sure Mrs. Gray will stick up for your 
own weeds. Ask her whether they are not more honest, 
downright good sort of weeds. The book gives an extremely 
pretty picture of one of your villages ; but I see your autumn, 
though so much more gorgeous than ours, comes on sooner, 
and that is one comfort 

C. Darwin to H. IV. Bates. 

Down, Nov. 20, [1862]. 

Dear BATES, I have justf finished, after several reads, your 
paper, f In my opinion it is one of the most remarkable and 

* ' The Pentateuch and Book of 
Joshua critically examined,' six 
parts, 1862-71. 

t This refers to Mr. Bates's 
paper, " Contributions to an Insect 
Fauna of the Amazons Valley ' : 
(' Linn. Soc. Trans.' xxiii., 1862), in 
which the now familiar subject of 
mimicry was founded. My father 
wrote a short review of it in the 
'Natural History Review,' 1863, 
p. 219, parts of which occur almost 
verbatim in the later editions of 
the ' Origin of Species.' A striking 
passage occurs showing the difficul- 
ties 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 natur- 
alists 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 par- 
ticular case, moreover, the crea- 
tionist will meet with special diffi- 
culties ; for many of the mimicking 
forms of Leptalis can be shown by 
a graduated series to be merely 




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 con- 
sumed much time. I am rejoiced that I passed over the 
whole subject in the ' Origin,' for I should have made a pre- 
cious mess of it. You have most clearly stated and solved 
a wonderful problem. No doubt with most people this will 
be the cream of the paper ; but I am not sure that all your 
facts and reasonings on variation, and on the segregation of 
complete and semi-complete species, is not really more, or 
at least as valuable, a part. I never conceived the process 
nearly so clearly before ; one feels present at the creation of 
new forms. I wish, however, you had enlarged a little more 
on the pairing of similar varieties ; a rather more numerous 
body of facts seems here wanted. Then, again, what a host 
of curious miscellaneous observations there are as on related 

varieties of one species ; other mi- 
mickers are undoubtedly distinct 
species, or even distinct genera. 
So again, some of the mimicked 
forms can be shown to be merely 
varieties ; but the greater number 
must be ranked as distinct species. 
Hence the creationist will have to 
admit that some of these forms 
have become imitators, by means 
of the laws of variation, whilst 
others he must look at as separately 
created under their present guise ; 
he will further have to admit that 
some have been created in imita- 
tion of forms not themselves created 
as we now see them, but due to the 

laws of variation ! Prof. Agassiz, 
indeed, would think nothing of this 
difficulty ; for he believes that not 
only each species and each variety, 
but that groups of individuals, 
though identically the same, when 
inhabiting distinct countries, have 
been all separately created in due 
proportional numbers to the wants 
of each land. Not many natur- 
alists will be content thus to be- 
lieve 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." 

1 862.] mimicry. 393 

sexual and individual variability : these will some day, if I 
live, be a treasure to me. 

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

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

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 


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