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[From a photograph by Messrs. Elliott and Fry 

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ng an Autobiographical Chapter 







'8 THE 




Including an Autobiographical Chapter 








Authorized Edition. 




I. — The Publication of the 'Origin of Species '—Oct. 3, 

1859, to Dec. 31, 1859 1 

II. — The 'Origin of Species' {continued) — 1860 . . -5* 
III. — The Spread of Evolution — 1861-1862 .... 149 
IV. — The Spread of Evolution. 'Variation of Animals • 

and Plants'— 1863-1866 186 

V. — The Publication of the 'Variation of Animais and 
Plants under Domestication' — January 1867-JuNE 

1868 242 

VI. — Work on 'Man'— 1864-18 70 271 

VII. — The Publication of the 'Descent of Man.' Work 

on 'Expression' — 1871-1873 311 

VIII. — Miscellanea, including Second Editions of 'Coral 
Reefs/ the * Descent of Man,' and the 'Varia- 
tions of Animals and Plants' — 1874 and 1875 . 359 
IX. — Miscellanea (continued). A Revival of Geological 
Work — The Book on Earthworms — Life of Eras- 
mus Darwin — Miscellaneous Letters — 1876-1882 . 388 


X.— Fertilisation of Flowers — 1839-1880 .... 429 
XL — The 'Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation in 

the Vegetable Kingdom ' — 1866-1877 . . . 463 
XII. — 'Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same 

Species' — 1860-1878 469 



XIII.— Climbing and Insectivorous Plants — 1863-1875 . . 484 

XIV. — The * Power of Movement in Plants' — 1878-1881 . 502 

XV.— Miscellaneous Botanical Letters— 1873-1882 . .511 

XVI.— Conclusion 526 


I.— The Funeral in Westminster Abbey . . . .531 
II.— List of Works by C. Darwin . . . . . .533 

III. — Portraits 542 

IV. — Honours, Degrees, Societies, &c 544 


Charles Darwin in 1881. From a photograph by Messrs. 

Elliott and Fry Frontispiece, 

Facsimile of a page from a note-book of 1337. Photo-litho- 
graphed by the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Com- 
pany Face p. 1 






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facsimile of a page from 

a nole book of 1837. 
('See transcript opposite) 


led to comprehend true affinities. My theor 
zest to recent & Fossil Comparativ 
to study of mstin 

id to 1 

:ld thL 1 of study, to gu 





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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 & 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. 





The Publication of the ' Origin of Species. 5 
October 3, 1859, t0 December 31, 1859. 


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

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

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


C. Lye 11 to C. Darwin* 

October 3d, 1859. 

My dear Darwin,— I have just finished your volume 
and right glad I am that I did my best with Hooker to per- 
suade 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 effect- 
ive 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 unknown 
and imaginary one, such as the word " Creation," all the 
consequences must follow. 

I fear I have not time to-day, as I am just leaving this 
place, to indulge in a variety of comments, and to say how 
much I was delighted with Oceanic Islands — Rudimentary 
Organs — Embryology — the genealogical key to the Natural 

* Part of this letter is given in the \ Life of Sir Charles Lyell/ vol. iL 
P- 325. 


System, Geographical Distribution, and if I went on I should 
be copying the heads of all your chapters. But I will say a 
word of the Recapitulation, in case some slight alteration, 
or, at least, omission of a word or two be still possible in that. 

In the first place, at p. 480, it cannot surely be said that 
the most eminent naturalists have rejected the view of the 
mutability of species? You do not mean to ignore G. St. 
Hilaire and Lamarck. As to the latter, you may say, that in 
regard to animals you substitute natural selection for volition 
to a certain considerable extent, but in his theory of the 
changes of plants he could not introduce 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 domesti- 
cated 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 be- 
fore 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 

* In the published copies of the first edition, p. 480, the words are 
" eminent living naturalists." 


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 no 
longer wanted for the sound, to rudimentary organs is excel- 
lent, as both are truly genealogical. 

The want of peculiar birds in Madeira is a greater diffi- 
culty than seemed to me allowed for. I could cite passages 
where you show that variations are superinduced from the 
new circumstances of new colonists, which would require 
some Madeira birds, like those of the Galapagos, to be pe- 
culiar. 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 
3d, and still longer of 4th. I wrote a line with the missing 
proof-sheet to Scarborough. I have adopted most thankfully 
all your minor corrections in the last chapter, and the greater 
ones as far as I could with little trouble. I damped the 
opening passage about the eye (in my bigger work I show 
the gradations in structure of the eye) by putting merely 
"complex organs." But you are a pretty Lord Chancellor to 


tell the barrister on one side how best to win the cause ! 
The omission of " living " before eminent naturalists was a 
dreadful blunder. 

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

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 CandohVs results (though he does not 
see its full importance), that thoroughly well naturalised 
[plants] are in general very different from the aborigines 
(belonging in large proportion of cases to non indigenous 
genera) is most important always to bear in mind. Once for 


all, I am sure, you will understand that I thus write dogmati- 
cally 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 con- 
ditions, whilst the offspring of this very monad might become 
fitted for more complex conditions. The one primordial 
prototype of all living and extinct creatures may, it is possi- 
ble, be now alive ! Moreover, as you say, higher forms might 
be occasionally degraded, the snake Typhlops seems (? !) to 
have the habits of earth-worms. So that fresh creatures of 
simple forms seem to me wholly superfluous. 

" 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 crea- 
tion 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 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 father 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 differ- 
ence must be, that you think it impossible that the intellec- 
tual powers of a species should be much improved by the 
continued natural selection of the most intellectual individ- 
uals. To show how minds graduate, just reflect how impos- 
sible every one has yet found it, to define the difference in 
mind of man and the lower animals ; the latter seem to have 
the very same attributes in a much lower stage of perfection 
than the lowest savage. I would give absolutely nothing for 
the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous 
additions at any one stage of descent. I think Embryology, 
Homology, Classification, &c, &c, show us that all verte- 
brata have descended from one parent ; how that parent 
appeared we know not. If you admit in ever so little a 
degree, the explanation which I have given of Embryology, 
Homology and Classification, you will find it difficult to say : 
thus far the explanation holds good, but no further ; here we 
must call in " the addition of new creative forces. ,, I think 
you will be driven to reject all or admit all : I fear by your 
letter it will be the former alternative ; and in that case I 


shall feel sure it is my fault, and not the theory's fault, and 
this will certainly comfort me. With regard to the descent 
of the great Kingdoms (as Vertebrata, Articulata, &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. 

Hie forms which are beaten inheriting some inferiority in 
common. — I dare say I have not been guarded enough, but 
might not the term inferiority include less perfect adapta- 
tion 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 impor- 
tance of climate — its important influence being so conspicu- 
ous, 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 noth- 
ing so instructive) on the case of thousands of plants in the 
middle point of their respective ranges, and which, as we 
positively know, can perfectly well withstand a little more 
heat and cold, a little more damp and dry, but which in 
the metropolis of their range do not exist in vast numbers, 


although if many of the other inhabitants were destroyed 
[they] would cover the ground. We thus clearly see that 
their numbers are kept down, in almost every case, not by 
climate, but by the struggle with other organisms. All this 
you will perhaps think very obvious ; but, until I repeated it 
to myself thousands of times, I took, as I believe, a wholly 
wrong view of the whole economy of nature. . . . 

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

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 
rudimentary unless it be useless — as teeth which never cut 
through the gums — the papillae, representing the pistil in 
male flowers, wing of Apteryx, or better, the little wings 
under soldered elytra. These organs are now plainly useless, 
and a fortiori, they would be useless in a less developed 
state. Natural Selection acts exclusively by preserving 
successive slight, //^////modifications. Hence Natural Selec- 
tion cannot possibly make a useless or rudimentary organ. 
Such organs are solely due to inheritance (as explained in 
my discussion), and plainly bespeak an ancestor having the 
organ in a useful condition. They may be, and often have 
been, worked in for other purposes, and then they are only 
rudimentary for the original function, which is sometimes 
plainly apparent. A nascent organ, though little developed, 
as it has to be developed must be useful in every stage of 
development. As we cannot prophesy, we cannot tell what 
organs are now nascent ; and nascent organs will rarely have 
been handed down by certain members of a class from a re- 
mote period to the present day, for beings with any im- 
portant organ but little developed, will generally have 
been supplanted by their descendants with the organ well 
developed. The mammary glands in Ornithorhynchus may, 
perhaps, be considered as nascent compared with the udders 


of a cow — Ovigerous frena, in certain cirripedes, are nascent 
branchiae — in [illegible] the swim bladder is almost rudi- 
mentary 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 re- 
sembles other birds, that we may infer that its wings have prob- 
ably been modified, and reduced by natural selection, in ac- 
cordance with its sub-aquatic habits. Analogy thus often 
serves as a guide in distinguishing whether an organ is rudi- 
mentary or nascent. I believe the Os coccyx gives attachment 
to certain muscles, but I can not doubt that it is a rudiment- 
ary 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 diffi- 
culties and solving them — as far more important than reading 
my book. If you think enough, I expect you will be per- 
verted, 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 can- 
not 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 objec- 
tions. Farewell With my cordial thanks for your long let- 
ters and valuable remarks, 

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 errone- 
ous 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. 

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 inade- 
quate manner, by which I can testify to you the extreme 

* Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, born at Mortier, on the lake of Morat 
in Switzerland, on May 28, 1807. He emigrated to America in 1846, 
where he spent the rest of his life, and died 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 Superior.' I had heard of it, and had much 
wished to read it, but I confess that it was the very great honour of having 
in my possession a work with your autograph as a presentation copy that 
has given me such lively and sincere pleasure. I cordially thank you for 
it. I have begun to read it with uncommon interest, which I see will in- 
crease as I go on." 



interest which I have felt, and the great advantage which I 
have derived, from studying your grand and noble work on 
Geographical Distribution. Should you be induced to read 
my volume, I venture to remark that it will be intelligible 
only by reading the whole straight through, as it is very much 
condensed. It would be a high gratification to me if any 
portion interested you. But I am perfectly well aware that 
you will entirely disagree with the conclusion at which I 
have arrived. 

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

Yours, very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Hugh Falconer. 

Down, November nth [1859]. 
My dear Falconer, — I have told Murray to send you a 
copy of my book on the i Origin of Species,' which as yet 
is only an abstract. 

If you read it, you must read it straight through, other- 
wise from its extremely condensed state it will be unin- 

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

I remain, my dear Falconer, 
Yours most truly, 

Charles Darwin. 

* Jessie Allen, sister of Mrs Josiah Wedgwood of Maer. 

1859-] GRAY— HENSLOW. 1 3 

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 i Origin of Species ' to be sent 
you. I know how you are pressed for time ; but if you can 
read it, I shall be infinitely gratified .... If ever you do 
read it, and can screw out time to send me (as I value your 
opinion so highly), however short a note, telling me what you 
think its weakest and best parts, I should be extremely grate- 
ful. As you are not a geologist, you will excuse my conceit 
in telling you that Lyell highly approves of the two Geologi- 
cal chapters, and thinks that on the Imperfection of the Geo- 
logical 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 J. 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 Lubbock* 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 
Saturday [November 12th, 1859]. 

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

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

Yours very truly, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to John Lubbock. 

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 

* The present Sir John Lubbock. 

I859-] LUBBOCK— JENYNS. 1 5 

to Brighton. I meant merely to thank you sincerely for wish- 
ing 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 Z. 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 
here for another fortnight at least. Please remember that my 
book is only an abstract, and very much condensed, and, to 
be at all intelligible, must be carefully read. I shall be very 
grateful for any criticisms. But I know perfectly well that 
you will not at all agree with the lengths which I go. It took 
long years to convert me. I may, of course, be egregiously 
wrong ; but I cannot persuade myself that a theory which 
explains (as I think it certainly does) several large classes 
of facts, can be wholly wrong ; notwithstanding the several 
difficulties which have to be surmounted somehow, and which 
stagger me even to this day. 

I wish that my health had allowed me to publish in 

* Now Rev. L. Blomefield. 


extenso ; if ever I get strong enough I will do so, as the 
greater part is written out, and of which MS. the present 
volume is an abstract. 

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

Yours very sincerely, 

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 
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. Slater that your 
paper on the Malay Archipelago has been read at the Linnean 
Society, and that he was extremely much interested by it. 

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

I sincerely hope that you keep your health ; I suppose 

I859-] FOX.— CARPENTER. 1 7 

that you will be thinking of returning * soon with your mag- 
nificent 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 com- 
plete convert. If I can convert Huxley I shall be content. 

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 swollen whole leg and face, much rash, and a frightful 
succession of boils — four or five at once. I have felt quite 
ill, and have little faith in this " unique crisis/' as the doctor 

calls it, doing me much good You will probably 

have received, or will very soon receive, my weariful book on 
species. I naturally believe it mainly includes the truth, but 
you will not at all agree with me. Dr. Hooker, whom I con- 
sider one of the best judges in Europe, is a complete con- 
vert, and he thinks Lyell is likewise ; certainly, judging from 
LyelFs 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 

* Mr. Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago. 


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 in my views will depend far more on men, like 
yourself, with well-established reputations, than on my own 
writings. Therefore, on the supposition that when you have 
read my volume you think the view in the main true, I thank 
and honour you for being willing to run the chance of un- 
popularity 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 admi- 
ration which I have long felt and expressed for your i Com- 
parative 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. Hol- 
land. I do not think (privately I say it) that the great man 
has knowledge enough to enter on the subject. Pray believe 
me with sincerity, Yours truly obliged, 

C. Darwin. 

P. S. — As you are not a practical geologist, let me add 
that Lyeli 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, anji have persuaded them- 
selves of the truth of the foolishest doctrines, I feel sometimes 
a little frightened, whether I may not be one of these mono- 

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

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. £>. Hooker. 

Ilkley, Yorkshire, 

Sunday [November, 1859]. 

My dear Hooker, — I have just read a review on my 
book in the Athenceutn* 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 Gardener's 

* Nov. 19, 1859. 

\ The Reviewer speaks of the author's " evident self-satisfaction," and 
of his disposing of all difficulties M more or less confidently." 


Chronicle. Some of the remarks are like yours, and he does 
deserve punishment ; but surely the review is too severe. 
Don't you think so ? 

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

I shall stay here one fortnight more, and then go to Down, 
staying on the road at Shrewsbury a week. I have been very 
unfortunate : out of seven weeks I have been confined for 
five to the house. This has been bad for me, as I have not 
been able to help thinking to a foolish extent about my book. 
If some four or five good men came round nearly to our view, 
I shall not fear ultimate success. I long to learn what Hux- 
ley 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, farewell. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, December 21st, 1859. 

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

I hate to hear you abuse your own work. I, on the con- 

* Introduction to the ' Flora of Australia/ 

I859-] H - c - WATSON. 21 

trary, so sincerely value all that you have written. It is an 
old and firm conviction of mine, that the Naturalists who 
accumulate facts and make many partial generalisations are 
the real benefactors of science. Those who merely accumu- 
late facts I cannot very much respect. 

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

2nd. You will perhaps need, in some degree, to limit or 


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

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

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

* " Almost-man." 

1859.] THE 'ATHEN.EUM.' 23 

still widening hiatus. But how greatly this, with your chro- 
nology of animal life, will shock the ideas of many men ! 

Very sincerely, 

Hewett C. Watson. 

/. D. Hooker to C. Darwin. 

Athenaeum, Monday [Nov. 21st, 1859]. 

My dear Darwin, — I am a sinner not to have written 
you ere this, if only to thank you for your glorious book — 
what a mass of close reasoning on curious facts and fresh 
phenomena — it is capitally written, and will be very success- 
ful. 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 compli- 
ment 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 . As 

advocate, he might think himself justified in giving the argu- 
ment 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. Lyell. 

Ilkley Wells, Yorkshire, 

November 23 [1859]. 

My dear Lyell, — You seemed to have worked admira- 
bly on the species question; there could not have been a 
better plan than reading up on the opposite side. I rejoice 
profoundly that you intend admitting the doctrine of modifi- 
cation in your new edition ; f nothing, I am convinced, could 
be more important for its success. I honour you most sin- 
cerely. To have maintained in the position of a master, one 

* This refers to the review in the Athenceum^ Nov. 19, 1859, where 
the reviewer, after touching on the theological aspects of the book, leaves 
the author to " the mercies of the Divinity Hall, the College, the Lecture 
Room, and the Museum." 

f It appears from Sir Charles Lyell's published letters that he intended 
to admit the doctrine of evolution in a new edition of the \ Manual,' but 

1859.] c - LYELL. 25 

side of a question for thirty years, and then deliberately give 
it up, is a fact to which I much doubt whether the records of 
science offer a parallel. For myself, also, I rejoice pro- 
foundly ; for, thinking of so many cases of men pursuing an 
illusion for years, often and often a cold shudder has run 
through me, and I have asked myself whether I may not have 
devoted my life to a phantasy. Now I look at it as morally 
impossible that investigators of truth, like you and Hooker, 
can be wholly wrong, and therefore I rest in peace. Thank 
you for criticisms, which, if there be a second edition, I will 
attend to. I have been thinking that if I am much execrated 
as an atheist, &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 origi- 
nated since man domesticated the species. In the case of 
multiple origins part of the difference was produced under 
natural conditions. I should infinitely prefer the theory of 
single origin in all cases, if facts would permit its reception. 
But there seems to me some a priori improbability (seeing 
how fond savages are of taming animals), that throughout all 
times, and throughout all the world, that man should have 
domesticated one single species alone, of the widely distrib- 
uted genus Canis. Besides this, the close resemblance of 
at least three kinds of American domestic dogs to wild spe- 
cies still inhabiting the countries where they are now domes- 
ticated, seem to almost compel admission that more than one 
wild Canis has been domesticated by man. 

this was not published till 1865. He was, however, at work on the 'An- 
tiquity of Man ' in i860, and had already determined to discuss the ' Ori- 
gin ' at the end of the book. 


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 support 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. 

* Karl Ernst von Baer, b. 1792, d. at Dorpat 1876 — one of the most 
distinguished biologists of the century. He practically founded the mod- 
ern science of embryology. 


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

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

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

I trust you will not' allow yourself to be in any way dis- 
gusted or annoyed by the considerable abuse and misrepre- 
sentation 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. Darwin to T. H. Huxley, 

Ilkley, Nov. 25th [1859]. 
My dear Huxley, — Your letter has been forwarded to 
me from Down. Like a good Catholic who has received 
extreme unction, I can now sing " nunc dimittis." I should 
have been more than contented with one quarter of what you 
have said. Exactly fifteen months ago, when I put pen to 


paper for this volume, I had awful misgivings ; and thought 
perhaps I had deluded myself, like so many have done, and 
I then fixed in my mind three judges, on whose decision I 
determined mentally to abide. The judges were Lyell, 
Hooker, and yourself. It was this which made me so 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- 
tionist ! 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 similar- 
ity. On classification I fear we shall split. Did you per- 
ceive the argumentum ad hominem Huxley about kangaroo 
and bear ? 

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. f has said. He has not read 
much above half, so as he says he can give no definite con- 
clusion, and it is my private belief he wishes to remain in 
that state. . . . He is evidently in a dreadful state of inde- 
cision, and keeps stating that he is not tied down to either 
view, and that he has always left an escape by the way he 
has spoken of varieties. I happened to speak of the eye be- 

* His brother. f Dr., afterwards Sir Henry Holland. 

1859.J NEW EDITION. 29 

fore 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 conceivabil- 
ity. He mentioned a slight blot, which I also observed, that 
in speaking of the slave-ants carrying one another, you 
change the species without giving notice first, and it makes 
one turn back. . . . 

. . . For myself I really think it is the most interesting 
book I ever read, and can only compare it to the first 
knowledge of chemistry, getting into a new world or rather 
behind the scenes. To me the geographical distribution, I 
mean the relation of islands to continents, is the most con- 
vincing 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 paleontolo- 
gists 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 
water-cure, with all nervous power directed to the skin, I 

* First edition, 1250 copies. 


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. 
Quatrefages has written to me, saying he agrees largely with 
my views. He is an excellent naturalist. I am pressed for 
time. Will you give us one line about the whales ? Again 
I thank you for never-tiring advice and assistance ; I do in 
truth reverence your unselfish and pure love of truth. 

My dear Lyell, ever yours, 

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 scien- 
tific man to look over the translation. . . . You might say 
that, though I am a very poor French scholar, I could detect 
any scientific mistake, and would read over the French 

The proposed translation was not made, and a second 
plan fell through in the following year. He wrote to M. de 
Quatrefages : " The gentleman who wished to translate my 

* The passage was omitted in the second edition. 


' Origin of Species ' has failed in getting a publisher. 
Balliere, Masson, and Hachette all rejected it with con- 
tempt. It was foolish and presumptuous in me, hoping to 
appear in a French dress ; but the idea would not have en- 
tered 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 con- 
temporary Zoologists : " How I should like to know whether 
Milne Edwards had read the copy which I sent him, and 
whether he thinks I have made a pretty good case on our 
side of the question. There is no naturalist in the world for 
whose opinion I have so profound a respect. Of course I 
am not so silly as to expect to change his opinion. "] 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Ilkley, [November 26th, 1859]. 

My dear Lyell, — I have received your letter of the 
24th. It is no use trying to thank you ; your kindness is 
beyond thanks. I will certainly leave out the whale and 
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 exceed • 
ed my wildest hopes. 

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

My kind friend, farewell, yours, 

C. Darwin. 

* See letters to Bronn, p. 70. 


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 mod- 
ify the passage in accordance with 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 Sedgwick's remark that my book would be 
u mischievous," I asked him whether truth can be known ex- 
cept 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, u 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, Ci at least such parts as he 
could understand." He sent me some notes and sugges- 
tions (quite unimportant), and they show me that I have un- 
avoidably done harm to the subject, by publishing an ab- 
stract. He is a real Pallasian ; nearly all our domestic 
races descended from a multitude of wild species now com- 

* The letter is given at p. 82. 

t John Crawford, orientalist, ethnologist, &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 tendency of which 
is to show that all organic beings, man included, are in a perpetual prog- 
ress of amelioration, and that is expounded in the reverential language 
which we have quoted.'* 


mingled. I expected Murchison to be outrageous. How 
little he could ever have grappled with the subject of denu- 
dation ! How singular so great a geologist should have so 
unphilosophical a mind ! I have had several notes from 

, very civil and less decided. Says he shall not pronounce 

against me without much reflection, perhaps will say nothing 

on the subject. X. says will go to that part of hell, 

which Dante tells us is appointed for those who are neither 
on God's side nor on that of the devil. 

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

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 break- 

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

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


truth." My father was evidently deeply pleased by Mr. Hux- 
ley's words, and wrote : 

" I must thank you for your extremely kind notice of my 
book in ' Macmillan.' No one could receive a more de- 
lightful 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 E. R.* 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 Orni- 
thorhyncus, 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, 

* This must refer to Carpenter's critique which would now have been 
ready to appear in the January number of the Edinburgh Review, i86o 5 
and in which the odium theologicum is referred to. 

I859-] SIR J. D. HOOKER. 35 

and know scarcely any except of European animals. When 
I reflect how very slowly I came round myself, I am in truth 
astonished at the candour shown by Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, 
and yourself. In my opinion it is grand. I thank you cor- 
dially for taking the trouble of writing a review for the 
1 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 physiolo- 
gist, for great I think he certainly is in that line. How curi- 
ous 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. 

J. D. Hooker to C. Darwin. 

Kew, Monday. 
Dear Darwin, — You have, I know, been drenched with 
letters since the publication of your book, and I have hence 
forborne to add my mite. I hope now that you are well 
through Edition II., and I have heard that you were flour- 
ishing 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 

* See a letter to Dr. Carpenter, p. 57. 


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 
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 
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 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 that I agree with you in all respects." 
I said I thought it no more likely that I should be right in 
nearly all points, than that I should toss up a penny and get 
heads twenty times running. I asked him what he thought 
the weakest part. He said he had no particular objection to 
any part. He added : — 

" If I must criticise, I should say, ' we do not want to know 
what Darwin believes and is convinced of, but what he can 

I859-] NEW EDITION. 37 

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 u 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 roticndus — 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 roundabout channel, that Herschel says 
my book" is the law of higgledy-piggledy." What this ex- 
actly means I do not know, but it is evidently very con- 
temptuous. If true this is a great blow and discouragement. 

C. Darwin to John 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 muck move 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. 


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 Musuem, attacked 
me in fine style : " You have just reproduced Lamarck's doc- 
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 

* John Edward Gray (born 1800, died 1875) was the son of S. F. Gray, 
author of the Supplement to the Pharmacopoeia.' In 1821 he published 
in his father's name ' The Natural Arrangement of British Plants,' one of 
the earliest works in English on the natural method. In 1824 he became 
connected with the Natural History Department of the British Museum, 
and was appointed Keeper of the Zoological collections in 1840. He was 
the author of c Illustrations of Indian Zoology,' ' The Knowsley Menage- 
rie,' &c, and of innumerable descriptive Zoological papers. 


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 

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 : 
to-day's note is merely personal. I should, for several rea- 
sons, 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, accus- 
tomed 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 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,J and 
shall not be able till I hunt the libraries. I am very anxious 

* See ■ Origin,' ed. i., p. 184. 

f Sir C. Lyell wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker, Dec. 19, 1859 (' Life,' ii. p. 
327) : " I have just finished the reading of your splendid Essay [the 
1 Flora of Australia '] on the origin of species, as illustrated by your wide 
botanical experience, and think it goes very far to raise the variety- making 
hypothesis to the rank of a theory, as accounting for the manner in which 
new species enter the world." 

% " Revue Horticole,' 1852 See Historical Sketch in the later edi- 
tions of the ' Origin of Species.' 

I859-] NAUDIN. 41 

to see it. Decaisne seems to think he gives my whole the- 
ory. I do not know when I shall have time and strength to 
grapple with Hooker. . . . 

P. S. — I have heard from Sir W. Jardine : * 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 author- 
ity), 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 fc Intro- 
duction,' for which very many thanks ; I am surprised to see 
how big it is : I shall not be able to read it very soon. It 
was very good of you to send Naudin, for I was very curi- 
ous 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 

* Jardine, Sir William, Bart, b. 1800, d. 1874, was the son of Sir A. 
Jardine of Applegarth, Dumfriesshire. He was educated at Edinburgh, 
and succeeded to the title on his father's decease in 182 1. He published, 
jointly with Mr. Prideaux J. Selby, Sir Stamford Raffles, Dr. Horsfield, 
and other ornithologists, * Illustrations of Ornithology,' and edited the 
* Naturalist's Library,' in 40 vols., which included the four branches : 
Mammalia, Ornithology, Ichnology, and Entomology. Of these 40 vols. 
14 were written by himself. In 1836 he became editor of the ' Magazine 
of Zoology and Botany,' which, two years later, was transformed into 
1 Annals of Natural History,' but remained under his direction. For 
Bohn's Standard Library he edited White's ' Natural History of Selborne.' 
Sir W. Jardine was also joint editor of the ' Edinburgh Philosophical 
Journal,' and was author of ' British Salmonidae,' ' Ichthyology of Annan- 
dale,' ' Memoirs of the late Hugh Strickland,' ' Contributions to Ornithol- 
ogy,' ' Ornithological Synonyms,' &c. — (Taken from Ward, ' Men of the 
Reign,' and Cates, ' Dictionary of General Biography.') 


certainly prove exactly the same as mine. But I cannot find 
one word like the struggle for existence and natural selection. 
On the contrary, he brings in his principle (p. 103) of final- 
ity (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 through- 
out 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 
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 — 1 st, in preparing for my lecture; 2ndly, in attending 

* Rev. Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of Geology in the 
University of Cambridge. Born 1785, died 1873. 

I859-] SEDGWICK. 43 

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 ad- 
journing 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 mischiev- 
ous. You have deserted — after a start in that tram-road of 
all solid physical truth — the true method of induction, and 
started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins's 
locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon. Many of 
your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can 
neither be proved nor disproved, why then express them in 
the language and arrangement of philosophical induction ? 
As to your grand principle — natural selection— what is it but 
a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary 
facts ! Development is a better word, because more close to 
the cause of the fact ? For you do not deny causation. I 
call (in the abstract) causation the will of God ; and I can 
prove that He acts for the good of His creatures. He also 

acts by laws which we can study and comprehend. Acting 


by law, and under what is called final causes, comprehends, I 
think, your whole principle. You write of " natural selec- 
tion " as if it were done consciously by the selecting agent. 
'Tis but a consequence of the presupposed development, and 
the subsequent battle for life. This view of nature you have 
stated admirably, though admitted by all naturalists and de- 
nied by no one of common sense. We all admit develop- 
ment as a fact of history : but how came it about ? Here, in 
language, and still more in logic, we are point-blank at issue. 
There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well a 
physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly. 
'Tis the crown and glory of organic science that it does 
through final cause ', link material and moral ; and yet does 
not allow us to mingle them in our first conception of laws, 
and our classification of such laws, whether we consider one 
side of nature or the other. You have ignored this link ; 
and ? if I do not mistake your meaning, you have done your 
best in one or two pregnant cases to break it. Were it pos- 
sible (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 develop- 
ment 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 gen- 
erations 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 talk- 
ing of the broken links of your natural pedigree : but my 
paper is nearly done, and I must go to my lecture-room. 
Lastly, then, I greatly dislike the concluding chapter — not as 
a summary, for in that light it appears good — but I dislike it 
from the tone of triumphant confidence in which you appeal 
to the rising generation (in a tone I condemned in the au- 

I859-] CREATION. 45 

thor of the ' Vestiges ') and prophesy of things not yet in the 
womb of time, nor (if we are to trust the accumulated experi- 
ence 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 mon- 
key and an old friend of yours : I am better, far better, than 
I was last year. I have been lecturing three days a week 
(formerly I gave six a week) without much fatigue, but I find 
by the loss of activity and memory, and of all productive 
powers, that my bodily frame is sinking slowly towards the 
earth. But I have visions of the future. They are as much 
a part of myself as my stomach and my heart, and these vis- 
ions are to have their antitype in solid fruition of what is 
best and greatest. But on one condition only — that I hum- 
bly 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. 

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 
II. 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 

* ' Origin/ edit. i. p. 484. — " Therefore I should infer from analogy that 
probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have 
descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first 


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, arid 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. ; f it is not so much the value I set on 
them, but the remembranee 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 

* " My General Agent " was a sobriquet applied at this time by my 
father to Mr. Huxley. 

f Manuscript left with Mr. Huxley for his perusal. 

% With regard to Naudin's paper in the ' Revue Horticole,' 1852. 

1859.] THE ■ TIMES' REVIEW. 47 

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 2* 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, . . . 

C. Darwin to T H Huxley. 

Down, Dec. 28th [1859]. 
My dear Huxley, — Yesterday evening, when I read the 
Times of a previous day, I was amazed to find a splendid 
essay and review of me. Who can the author be ? I am 
intensely curious. It included an eulogium of me which quite 
touched me, though I am not vain enough to think it all 
deserved. The author is a literary man, and German scholar. 
He has read my book very attentively; but, what is very 
remarkable, it seems that he is a profound naturalist. He 
knows my Barnacle-book, and appreciates it too highly. 
Lastly, he writes and thinks with quite uncommon force and 

* Dec. 26th. 


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 
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 i Origin ' a respect- 
ful hearing, and it abstains from anything like dogmatism m 
asserting the truth of the doctrinces therein upheld. A few 
passages may be quoted : — " That this most ingenious 

* 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 alto- 
gether." And he does so "with less hesitation, as it so happens that 
those persons who are practically conversant with the facts of the case 
(plainly a considerable advantage) have always thought tit to range them- 
selves " 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- 

I859-] THE ' TIMES' REVIEW. 49 

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 
1 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. 92). 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 
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 according- 
ly, 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 multitudi- 
nous 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 asser- 
tions 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 connec- 
tion with the review, I suppose there will be no breach of 
confidence in the publication of this little history, if you think 
it worth the space it will occupy."] 

the i 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 .. .. .. ^180 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 i 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- 

* * Australian Flora.' 



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 admira- 
bly 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 + V 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 
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 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 marvel- 
lous. 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 con- 
tinuously, 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 
power of trans-oceanic migration. You do not know 
whether or not the absent orders have seeds which are 
killed by sea-water, like almost all Leguminosae, and like 
another order which I forget. Birds do not migrate from 
Australia to New Zealand, and therefore floatation seems the 
only possible means ; but yet I maintain that we do not know 
enough to argue on the question, especially as we do not 
know the main fact whether the seeds of Australian orders 
are killed by sea-water. 

The discussion on European Genera is profoundly inter- 
esting; 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 excessive- 
ly wish to know, on the notion of Glacial Migration, how much 
modification has taken place in Australia. I had better ex- 
plain 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 have re- 
marked on the number of plants naturalised in Australia and 
the United States under extremely different climates, as show- 
ing 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 ex- 
press my admiration of your essay. 

My dear old friend, yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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 all the more staggered. 

* Saturday Review ', Dec. 24, 1859. The hostile arguments of the re- 
viewer are geological, and he deals especially with the denudation of the 
Weald. The reviewer remarks that, " if a million of centuries, more or 
less, is needed for any part of his argument, he feels no scruple in taking 
them to suit his purpose." 


With respect to tropical plants during the Glacial period, 
I throw in your teeth your own facts, at the base of the Hima- 
laya, 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 surprised at 
the want of originality in opposed arguments and in favour 
too. Gwyn Jeffreys attacks me justly in his letter about 
strictly littoral shells not being often embedded at least in 
Tertiary deposits. I was in a muddle, for I was thinking of 
Secondary, yet Chthamalus applied to Tertiary 

Possibly you might like to see the enclosed note * 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. 

* Dr. Whewell wrote (Jan. 2, i860) : "... I cannot, yet at least, be- 
come a convert, But there is so much of thought and of fact in what you 
have written that it is not to be contradicted without careful selection of 
the ground and manner of the dissent." Dr. Whewell dissented in a prac- 
tical manner for some years, by refusing to allow a copy of the ' Origin of 
Species ' to be placed in the Library of Trinity College. 


C. Darwin to C. Lye 11. 

Down, [January 4th? i860]. 

I have had a brief note from Keyserling,* 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 chemi- 
cal law, for natural selection to be the sole cause of change. 
I can hardly understand his brief note, but this is I think the 

I will send A. Murray's paper whenever pub- 
lished, f It includes speculations (which he perhaps will 
modify) so rash, and without a single fact in support, that 
had I advanced them he or other reviewers would have hit 
me very hard. I am sorry to say that I have no " consolatory 
view " on the dignity of man. I am content that man will 
probably advance, and care not much whether we are looked 
at as mere savages in a remotely distant future. Many thanks 

for your last note. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

I have received, in a Manchester newspaper, rather a good 
squib, showing that I have proved "might is right," and there- 

* Joint author with Murchison of the ' Geology of Russia,' 1845. 

t The late Andrew Murray wrote two papers on the 4 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. Darwin), is 
the instinctive inclination which induces individuals of the same species 
by preference to intercross with those possessing the qualities which they 
themselves want, so as to preserve the purity or equilibrium of the breed. 
. . . It is trite to a proverb, that tall men marry little women ... a man 
of genius marries a fool . . . and we are told that this is the result of the 
charm of contrast, or of qualities admired in others because we do not pos- 
sess them. I do not so explain it. I imagine it it is the effort of nature 
to preserve the typical medium of the race." 

i86o.l REV. L. BLOMEFIELD. 57 

fore that Napoleon is right, and every cheating tradesman is 
also right. 

C. Darwin 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 sincere- 
ly for the extremely honourable manner in which you mention 
me. I should have liked to have seen some criticisms or re- 
marks on embryology, on which subject you are so well in- 
structed. I do not think any candid person can read your 
article without being much impressed with it. The old doc- 
trine 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 col- 
oured 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 im- 
ported into the West Indies change colour ? I have had de- 
tailed information about the loss of wool ; but my accounts 
made the change slower than you describe. 

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

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Z. Jenyns* 

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 

* Rev. L. Blomefield. 

58 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' |"i86o. 

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 you 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 tacts 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 suffi- 
cient to account for our not finding intermediate forms be- 
tween the classes in the same great kingdoms. It was cer- 
tainly rash in me putting in my belief of the probability of 
all beings having descended from one primordial form; but 
as this seems yet to me probable, I am not willing to strike 
it out. Huxley alone supports me in this, and something 
could be said in its favour. With respect to man, I am very 
far from wishing to obtrude my belief; but I thought it 
dishonest to quite conceal my opinion. Of course it is 
open to every one to believe that man appeared by a sepa- 
rate 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. 

i860.] SECOND EDITION. 59 

C. Darwin to C. Lye 11. 

Down, January 10th [i860]. 
.... It is perfectly true that I owe nearly all the correc- 
tions * 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 
inadvertance) mentioned Wallace towards the close of the 
book in the summary, not that any one has noticed this to me. 
I have now put in Wallace's name at 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. 
I suspect I shall have to return the caution a hundred fold ! 
Yours will, no doubt, be a grand discussion ; but it will 
horrify th^ world at first more than my whole volume ; 
although by the sentence (p. 489, new edition J) 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- 

* The second edition of 3000 copies of the ' Origin ' was published 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 discussion closes with the sentence : " So that it is not im- 
probable 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. 

% First edition, p. 488. 


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 
way, I sent off a lot of questions the day before yesterday 
to Tierra del Fuego on expression ! I suspect (for I have 
never read it) that Spencer's ' Psychology ' has a bearing on 
Psychology as we should look at it. By all means read the 
Preface, in about 20 pages, of Hensleigh Wedgwood's new 
Dictionary on the first origin of Language ; Erasmus would 
lend it. I agree about Carpenter, a very good article, but 
with not much original. . . . Andrew Murray has criticised, 
in an address to the Botanical Society of Edinburg, the 
notice in the ' Linnean Journal/ and " has disposed of " the 
whole theory by an ingenious difficulty, which I was very 
stupid not to have thought of ; for I express surprise at more 
and analogous cases not being known. The difficulty is, that 
amongst the blind insects of the caves in distant parts of the 
world there are some of the same genus, and yet the genus is 
not found out of the caves or living in the free world. I have 
little doubt that, like the fish Amblyopsis, and like Proteus in 
Europe, these insects are " wrecks of ancient life,'' or " living 
fossils," saved from competition and extermination. But 
that formerly seeing insects of the same genus roamed over 
the whole area in which the cases are included. 

Farewell, yours affectionately, 

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 high- 
est 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 Railway Station! ! ! at Waterloo Bridge ; and the 
bookseller said that he had none till the new edition was out. 
The bookseller said he had not read it, but had heard it was 
a very remarkable book !!!.... 

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 of my book ! I thought it f 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 

* * Classification of the Mammalia,' 1859. 

f Gardeners Chronicle, i860. Referred to above, at p. 54. Sir J. D. 
Hooker took the line of complete impartiality, so as not to commit Lindley, 


so well adapted to tell on the readers of the Gardeners' 
Chronicle ; but now I admired it in another spirit. Farewell, 
with hearty thanks. . . . Lyell is going at man with an au- 
dacity that frightens me. It is a good joke ; he used always 
to caution me to slip over man. 

[In the Gardeners 1 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 ' Orig'n of Species/ Mr. West- 
wood wrote in reply (Feb. 11) and adduced further evidence 
against the doctrine of descent, such as the identity of the 
figures of ostriches on the ancient " Egyptian records/' with 
the bird as we now know it. The correspondence is hardly 
worth mentioning, except as one of the very few cases in 
which my father was enticed into anything resembling a con- 

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 inter- 
esting matter — thoroughly digested — well expressed — close, 
cogent, and taken as a system it makes out a better case than 
I had supposed possible. . . . 

i860.] DR. GRAY'S APPROVAL. 63 

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

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 Compositae, which I know far 
more about). And really it is no easy job, as you may well 

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

C. 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 America.* 

After much consideration, and on the strong advice of 
Lyell and others, I have resolved to leave the present book as 
it is (excepting correcting errors, or here and there inserting 
short sentences) and to use all my strength, which is but little, 
to bring out the first part (forming a separate volume, with 
index, &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 re- 
ceived by this time complete, and I could send four or five 
corrections or additions of equally small importance, or rather 
of equal brevity. I also intend to write a short preface with 
a brief history of the subject. These I will set about, as they 
must some day be done, and I will send them to you in a short 
time — the few corrections first, and the preface afterwards, 
unless I hear that you have given up all idea of a separate 
edition. You will then be able to judge whether it is worth 
having the new edition with your review prefixed. Whatever 
be the nature of your review, I assure you I should feel it a 
great honour to have my book thus preceded. . . . 

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 re- 
print, and of the stir I had made for- a reprint in Boston, 

* In a letter to Mr. Murray, i860, my father wrote : — " I am amused 
by Asa Gray's account of the excitement -my book has made amongst 
naturalists in the U. States. Agassiz has denounced it in a newspaper, 


Well, all looked pretty well, when, lo, we found that a second 
New York publishing house had announced a reprint also ! 
I wrote then to both New York publishers, asking them to 
give way to the author and his reprint of a revised edition. 
I got an answer from the Harpers that they withdraw — from 
the Appletons that they had got the book out (and the next 
day I saw a copy); but that, "if the work should have any 
considerable sale, we certainly shall be disposed to pay the 
author reasonably and liberally." 

The Appletons being thus out with their reprint, the Bos- 
ton house declined to go on. So I wrote to the Appletons 
taking them at their word, offering to aid their reprint, to 
give them the use of the alterations in the London reprint, as 
soon as I find out what they are, &c. &c. And I sent 
them the first leaf, and asked them to insert in their future 
issue the additional matter from Butler,* which tells just 
right. So there the matter stands. If you furnish any mat- 
ter in advance of the London third edition, I will make them 
pay for it. 

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

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

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

To fulfil your request, I ought to tell you what I think 
the weakest, and what the best, part of your book. But this 
is not easy, nor to be done in a word or two. The best part, 
I think, is the whole, i. e. its plan and treatment, the vast 
amount of facts and acute inferences handled as if you had a 

but yet in such terms that it is in fact a fine advertisement ! " This seems 
to refer to a lecture given before the Mercantile Library Association. 

* A quotation from Butler's ' Analogy/ on the use of the word natural, 
which in the second edition is placed with the passages from Whewell and 
Bacon on p. li, opposite the title-page. 


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 con- 
clusions, as a probable hypothesis at least. 

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 sup- 
pose 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 an- 
nounced myself a convert ; nor could I say the latter, with 

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

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

Enough for the present. 

I am not insensible to your compliments, the 

very high compliment which you pay me in valuing my opin- 
ion. 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. 

L 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, 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 

68 THE ■ ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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, 1860], 
My dear Hooker,— I have resolved to publish a little 
sketch of the progress of opinion on the change of species. 
Will you or Mrs. Hooker do me the favour to copy one 
sentence out of Naudin's paper in the ' Revue Horticole,' 
1852, 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, / 
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- 

* William Henry Harvey was descended from a Quaker family of 
Youghal, and was born in February, 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 

i860.] DR. HARVEY. 69 

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 sal turn. 

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 " dif- 
fered 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 Be- 
gonia 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 

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, an d 1856 
he visited Australia, New Zealand, the Friendly and Fiji Islands. In 
1857 Dr. Harvey reached home, and was appointed the successor of Pro- 
fessor Allman to the Chair of Botany in Dublin University. He was 
author of several botanical works, principally on Algae. — (From a Memoir 
published in 1869.) 

* 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' i860. 


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 the 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 
a barrister. What an omission of Harvey's about the gradu- 
ated 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 pre- 
sume to such cases as Aspicarpa) is excellent, for the mons- 
trous Begonia no doubt in all details would be Begonia. I 
did not think of this, nor of the retrograde step from separ- 
ated 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 superin- 
tended 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 of the difficulties that occurred to him. 
For instance, how can natural selection account for differ- 
ences 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 actuilly suggested the addition of Bronn's re- 
marks. A more serious charge against Bronn made by Krause 
{op. cit. p. 87) 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 l 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 i Neues Jahrbuch 
fur Mineralogie,' and still more for speaking to Schweitzer- 
bart about a translation ; for I am most anxious that the great 
and intellectual German people should know something about 
my book. 

I have told my publisher to send immediately a copy of 
the new* edition to Schweitzerbart, and I have written to 
Schweitzerbart that I gave up all right to profit for myself, so 
that I hope a translation will appear. I fear that*the book 
will be difficult to translate, and if you could advise Schweit- 
zerbart about a good translator, it would be of very great 

* Second edition. 


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. 

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

How interesting you could make the work by editing (I do 
not mean translating) the work, and appending notes of refu- 
tation 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 cor- 
dially for your extreme kindness in superintending the trans- 
lation. I have mentioned this to some eminent scientific men, 
and they all agree that you have done a noble and generous 
service. If I am proved quite wrong, yet I comfort myself 
in thinking that my book may do some good, as truth can 
only be known by rising victorious from every attack. I 
thank you also much for the review, and for the kind manner 
in which you speak of me. I send with this letter some cor- 
rections and additions to M. Schweitzerbart, and a short his- 
torical 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 in- 
sert 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, be- 


cause 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 anal- 
ogous 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 individ- 
uals ; and I believe, owing to the struggle for existence, that 
similar slight variations in a wild horse, if advantageous to it y 
would be selected ox preserved by nature ; hence Natural Selec- 
tion. But I apologise for troubling you with these remarks 
on the importance of choosing good German terms for " Nat- 
ural Selection/' With my heartfelt thanks, and with sincere 

I remain, dear Sir, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin, 

C. Darwin to H. G. Bronn. 

Down, July 14 [1860J. 
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 

* The German translation was published in three pamphlet-like 


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 
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 
had to make an abstract of the whole. Herbert's volume on 
Amaryllidaceae very good, and two excellent papers in the 
' Horticultural Journal/ For animals, no resume to be trusted 
at all ; facts are to be collected from all original sources.* 
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 

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 

* This caution is exemplified in the following extract from an earlier 
letter to Professor Huxley : — " The inaccuracy of the blessed gang (of 
which I am one) of compilers passes all bounds. Monsters have frequently 
been described as hybrids without a tittle of evidence. I must give one 
other case to show how we jolly fellows work. A Belgian Baron (I forget 
his name at this moment) crossed two distinct geese and got seven hybrids, 
which he proved subsequently to be quite sterile ; well, compiler the first, 
Chevreul, says that the hybrids were propagated for seven generations 
inter se. Compiler second (Morton) mistakes the French name, and gives 
Latin names for two more distinct geese, and says Chevreul himself propa- 
gated them inter se for seven generations ; and the latter statement is 
copied from book to book." 


that I have given, as yet, is far too briefly. I have found it 
very important associating with fanciers and breeders. For 
instance, I sat one evening in a gin palace in the Borough 
amongst a set of pigeon fanciers, when it was hinted that 
Mr. Bull had crossed his Pouters with Runts to gain size; and 
if you had seen the solemn, the mysterious, and awful shakes 
of the head which all the fanciers gave at this scandalous 
proceeding, you would have recognised how little crossing 
has had to do with improving breeds, and how dangerous for 
endless generations the process was. All this was brought 
home far more vividly than by pages of mere statements, &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 Ramsey is on 
our side, for he is, in my opinion, a first-rate geologist. I sent 
him a copy. I hope he got it. I shall be very curious to 
hear whether any effect has been produced on Prestwich ; I 
sent him a copy, not as a friend, but owing to a sentence or 
two in some paper, which made me suspect he was doubting. 

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

Yours very tired, . 

C. Darwin. 

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

14 1 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 
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 hu- 
mility : 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 revo- 
lutions of thought and practice as great as those which the 
sixteenth witnessed Through what trials and sore contests 
the civilised world will rnve 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 dis- 
cussion 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 ap- 
plication 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: — 

1 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 

have written to him, and told him that the " pestilent " fellow 

* Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist, third series, vol. 5, p. 132. My father 
has obviously taken the expression " pestilent " from the following passage 
(p. 138) : " But who is this Nature, we have a right to ask, who has such 
tremendous power, and to whose efficiency such marvellous performances 
are ascribed ? What are her image and attributes, when dragged from her 
wordy lurking-place ? Is she aught but a pestilent abstraction, like dust 
cast in our eyes to obscure the workings of an Intelligent First Cause of 
all ? " The reviewer pays a tribute to my father's candour, " so manly 
and outspoken as almost to ' cover a multitude of sins.' " The parentheses 
(to which allusion is made above) are so frequent as to give a characteristic 
appearance to Mr. Wollaston's pages. 


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 s.ea determining distribution. . . . The most curious 
point in the paper seems to me that about the African charac- 
ter of the Celebes productions, but I should require further 
confirmation. . . . 

Henslow is staying here ; I have had some talk with him ; 
he is in much the same state as Bunbury, J 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 differ- 
ently different opposers view the subject. Henslow used to 
rest his opposition on the imperfection of the Geological Rec- 
ord, 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 state- 
ment about the eye ! ! A stranger writes to me about sexual 
selection, and regrets that I boggle about such a trifle as the 
brush of hair on the male turkey, and so on. As L. Jenyns 
has a really philosophical mind, and as you say you like to 
see everything, I send an old letter of his. In a later letter 
to Henslow, which I have seen, he is more candid than any 
opposer I have heard of, for he says, though he cannot go so 
far as I do, yet he can give no good reason why he should not 

* Another version of the words is given by Lyell, to whom they were 
spoken, viz. " the most illogical book ever written." — ' Life,' vol. ii. p. 358. 

\ " On the Zoological Geography of the Malay Archipelago." — Linn. 
Soc. Journ. i860. 

% The late Sir Charles Bunbury, well known as a Palseo-botanist. 


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 y but on no account to believe all. 

Ever yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray, 

Down, February 1 8th [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. J 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 hypotheti- 
cal, and the undulations are inferred only from explaining the 
phenomena of light. Even in the theory of gravitation is the 
attractive power in any way known, except by explaining the 
fall of the apple, and the movements of the Planets ? It seems 
to me that an hypothesis is developed into a theory solely by 
explaining an ample lot of facts. Again and again I thank 

* By Professor Henslow. 

f The ' American Journal of Science and Arts,' March, i860. Re- 
printed in ' Darwiniana,' 1876. 

% The contrast is briefly summed up thus : " The theory of Agassiz re- 
gards the origin of species and their present general distribution over the 
world as equally primordial, equally supernatural ; that of Darwin as 
equally derivative, equally natural." — ' Darwiniana,' p. 14. 


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 with 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, 1859. 

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

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

In that I care little. Let God be true, and every man a 
liar ! Let us know what is, and, as old Socrates has it, 
eweo-Oat rw Aoya>— follow up the villainous shifty fox of an ar- 
gument, into whatsoever unexpected bogs and brakes he may 
lead us, if we do but run into him at last. 

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

(1.) I have long since, from watching the crossing of do- 
mesticated animals and plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma 
of the permanence of species. 

g 2 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 
te?npore 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, 

C. Kingsley. 

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

" We never attacked each other. Before I knew Mr. Dar- 
win 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 supposed discoveries with the Book of Genesis ; he 
said, ' you are (it would have been more correct to say you 
ought to be) a theologian, I am a naturalist, the lines are 
separate. I endeavour to discover facts without considering 
what is said in the Book of Genesis. I do not attack Moses^ 
and I think Moses can take care of himself/ To the same 
effect he wrote more recently, 'I cannot remember that I 
ever published a word directly against religion or the clergy; 
but if you were to read a little pamphlet which I received a 


couple of days ago by a clergyman, you would laugh, and ad- 
mit that I had some excuse for bitterness. After abusing me 
for two or three pages, in language sufficiently plain and em- 
phatic 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 Darwini- 
ans.' In another letter, after I had left Down, he writes, 
4 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 din- 
ner-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. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down, February 23rd [i860]. 

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

With respect to Bronn's objection that it cannot be shown 
how life arises, and likewise to a certain extent Asa Gray's 
remark that natural selection is not a vera causa, I was much 
interested by finding accidentally in Brewster's ' Life of 
Newton,' that Leibnitz objected to the law of gravity because 
Newton could not show what gravity itself is. As it has 
chanced, I have used in letters this very same argument, 


little knowing that any one had really thus objected to the 
law of gravity Newton answers by saying that it is philoso- 
phy to make out the movements of a clock, though you do 
not know why the weight descends to the ground. Leibnitz 
further objected that the law of gravity was opposed to Natu- 
ral Religion ! Is this not curious ? I really think I shall use 
the facts for some introductory remarks for my bigger book. 

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

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

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 phi- 
losophy of the argument better than almost any one, at the 
close of the letter. I could make nothing of Dana's idealistic 
notions about species; but then, as Wollaston says, I have 
not a metaphysical head. 

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

Wollaston misrepresents "accidentally, to a wonderful ex- 
tent, some passages in my book. He reviewed, without relook- 
ing 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 [/. 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 
us. . . . 

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 
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. 

* Professor of Geology in the University of Glasgow. Born in the 
United States 1809, died 1866. 
f See table of names, p. 87. 


You say that you think that Benthan 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.* 

I am so glad to hear about Thwaites.f ... I have had an 
astounding letter from Dr. Boott ; J 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 
not get him to write on Distribution. I have found his works 
very unfruitful in every respect. 

[Here follows the memorandum referred to :] 

* In a subsequent letter to Sir J. D. Hooker (March 12th, i860), my 
father wrote, " I now quite understand Bentham's silence." 

f Dr. G. J. K. Thwaites, who was born in 181 1, established a reputa- 
tion in this country as an expert microscopist, and an acute observer, work- 
ing especially at cryptogamic botany. On his appointment as Director of 
the Botanic Gardens at Peradenyia, Ceylon, Dr. Thwaites devoted himself 
to the flora of Ceylon. As a result of this he has left numerous and valu- 
able collections, a description of which he embodied in his ' Enumeratio 
Plantarum Zeylaniae ' (1864). Dr. Thwaites was a Fellow of the Linnean 
Society, but beyond the above facts little seems to have been recorded of 
his life. His death occurred in Ceylon on September nth, 1882, in his 
seventy-second year. Athen<zurn, October 14th, 1882, p. 500. 

% The letter is enthusiastically laudatory, and obviously full of genuine 





H. D. Rogers. 

Zoologists and 


J. Lubbock. 

L. Jenyns 
(to large extent). 

Searles Wood 4 



Sir H. Holland 
(to large extent). 



H. C, Watson. 

Asa Gray 
(to some extent). 

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 re- 
ceived last night, I send herewith the letters I have from your 
father. I should have done so on seeing the general request 
published in the papers, but that I did not think there were 
any among them which could be of any use to you. Highly 
flattered as I was by the kind and friendly notice with which 
Mr. Darwin occasionally honoured me, I was never admitted 
into his intimacy, and he therefore never made any com- 
munications to me in relation to his views and labours. I 
have been throughout one of his most sincere admirers, and 

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

f Joseph Beete Jukes, M. A., F. R. S., born 1811, died 1869. He was 
educated at Cambridge, and from 1842 to 1846 he acted as naturalist to 
H. M. S. Fly, on an exploring expedition in Australia and New Guinea. 
He was afcerwards 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, T798, died 1880. Chiefly 
known for his work on the Mollusca of the ' Crag.' 


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 commencing 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 show- 
ing 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 enter- 
tain 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. 

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 LyeH'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 
you. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. Presiwich* 

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 would send me any general 
criticisms. I do not mean of unreasonable length, but such 
as you could include in a letter. I have always admired your 
various memoirs so much that I should be eminently glad to 
receive your opinion, which might be of real service to me. 

Pray do not suppose that I expect to convert or pervert 
you ; if I could stagger you in ever so slight a degree I 
should be satisfied ; nor fear to annoy me by severe criticisms, 
for I have had some hearty kicks from some of my best 

* Now Professor of Geology in the University of Oxford. 


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 3rd [1S60], 
.... 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 re- 
member that in my last letter I asked you to leave out 
about the Weald denudation : I told Jukes this (who is head 
man of the Irish geological survey), and he blamed me much, 
for he believed every word of it, and thought it not at all 
exaggerated ! In fact, geologists have no means of gauging 
the infinitude of past time. There has been one prodigy of a 
review, namely, an opposed one (by Pictet,f the palaeontologist, 
in the Bib. Universelle of Geneva) which is perfectly fair and 

* See the quotations which follow the present letter. 

f Francois Jules Pictet, in the ' Archives des Sciences de la Biblio- 
theque Universelle,' Mars i860. The article is written in a courteous and 
considerate tone, and concludes by saying that the ' Origin ' will be of 
real value to naturalists, especially if they are not led away by its seduc- 
tive arguments to believe in the dangerous doctrine of modification. A 
passage which seems to have struck my father as being valuable, and op- 
posite which he has made double pencil marks and written the word 
"good," is worth quoting: " La theorie de M. Darwin s'accorde mal avec 

i860.] PICTET.— SEDGWICK. gj. 

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 much too good service ever to appear 
in that rank in my eyes. But I fear I shall weary you with 
so much about my book. I should rather think there was a 
good chance of my becoming the most egotistical man in all 
Europe ! What a proud pre-eminence ! Well, you have 
helped to make me so and therefore you must forgive me if 
you can. 

My dear Gray, ever yours most gratefully, 

C. Darwin. 

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

" 1 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 doc- 
trine, that the breaks between successive formations marked 
long intervals of time. It is very unfair. But poor dear old 
Sedgwick seems rabid on the question. " Demoralised under- 
standing ! " If ever I talk with him I will tell him that I 
never could believe that an inquisitor could be a good man ; 
but now I know that a man may roast another, and yet have 
as kind and noble a heart as Sedgwick's." 

The following passages are taken from the review : 

" I need hardly go on any further with these objections. 
But I cannot conclude without expressing my detestation of 

l'liistoire des types a formes bien tranchees et definies qui paraissent 
n'avoir vecu que pendant un temps limite. On en pourrait citer des cen- 
taines d'exemples, tel que les reptiles volants, les ichthyosaures, les be- 
lemnites, les ammonites, &c." Pictet was born in 1809, died 1872 ; he 
was Professor of Anatomy and Zoology at Geneva. 



the theory, because of its unflinching materalism ; — because 
it has deserted the inductive track, the only track that leads 
to physical truth ; — because it utterly repudiates final causes, 
and thereby indicates a demoralised understanding on the 
part of its advocates. ,, 

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

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

" But any startling and (supposed) novel paradox, 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 in- 
vestigation, they will be likely to conclude that what is 
(apparently) original, must be a production of original genius, 
and that anything very much opposed to prevailing notions 
must be a grand discovery, — in short, that whatever comes 
from the ' bottom of a well ' must be the ' truth ' supposed to 
be hidden there." 

In a review in the December number of i 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.*] 

* See an interesting letter from my father in Mr. Stephen's * Life of 
Henry Fawcett,' 1886, p. 101. 

i860.] DR. CARPENTER. 93 

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/* 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 knowl- 
edge 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. 

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 i Medical and Chirurg. Review/ very good 

* April i860. 

g4 THE ' ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

and well balanced, but not brilliant. He discusses Hooker's 
books at as great length as mine, and makes excellent ex- 
tracts ; 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 

To diverge from reviews : Asa Gray sends me from Wy- 
man (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 l 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, 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. 

* Westminster Review,' April i860, 
f .' Edinburgh Review,' April i860. 


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 success- 
ful. 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 


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 would read the enclosed, f If you think it proper that I 

* April 7th, i860. 

f My father wrote [Gardeners' Chronicle, i860, p. 362, April 21st) : " I 
have been much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's communication in 
the number of your paper dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that Mr. 
Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I have 
offered of the origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I 
think that no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any 
other naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how brief- 
ly 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 apol- 
ogies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of this publication. If an- 

9 6 THE ■ ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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. Per- 
haps it is selfish, but to answer and think more on the subject 
is too unpleasant. I am so sorry that Huxley by my means 
has been thus atrociously attacked. I do not suppose you 
much care about the gratuitous attack on you. 

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

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 

other edition of my work is called for, I will insert to the foregoing 
effect." In spite of my father's recognition of his claims, Mr. Matthew re- 
mained unsatisfied, and complained that an article in the 4 Saturday Ana- 
lyst 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, Nov. 24, i860. 


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 altera- 
tion of quoted citations, and there is truth in this remark ; 
but I so hated the thought that I resolved not to do so. I 
shall come up to London on Saturday the 14th, for Sir B. 
Brodie's party, as I have an accumulation of things to do in 
London, and will (if I do not hear to the contrary) call about 
a quarter before ten on Sunday morning, and sit with you at 
breakfast, but will not sit long, and so take up much of your 
time. I must say one more word about our quasi-theological 
controversy about natural selection, and let me have your 
opinion when we meet in London. Do you consider that the 
successive variations in the size of the crop of the Pouter 
Pigeon, which man has accumulated to please his caprice, 
have been due to "the creative and sustaining powers of 
Brahma ? " In the sense that an omnipotent and omniscient 
Deity must order and know everything, this must be admit- 
ted ; 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 believ- 
ing 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 yours, 

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 sim- 
ple folk ! My clever neighbour, Mr. Norman, says the arti- 
cle 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 ! 

.... 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. J 
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 

* The * Edinburgh Review.' 

f ' North American Review,' April, i860. " By Professor Bowen," is 
written on my father's copy. The passage referred to occurs at p. 488, 
where the author says that we ought to find " an infinite number of other 
varieties — gross, rude, and purposeless — the unmeaning creations of an un- 
conscious cause." 

% This no doubt refers to the January number, containing Dr. Car- 
penter's review of the ' Origin.' 


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 1 st, by M. Laugel, said to be a very clever man. 

Hooker, about a fortnight ago, stayed here a few days, and 
was very pleasant ; but I think he overworks himself. What 
a gigantic undertaking, I imagine, his and Bentham's ' Genera 
Plantarum ' will be ! I hope he will not get too much 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 sing 1 2 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 mi- 
grated 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. 

* Against Sedgwick's attack before the Cambridge Philosophical Society. 


As you said you were curious to hear Thomson's * opinion, 
I send his kind letter. He is evidently a strong opposer 
to us 

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. f 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 
armour. I see plainly tnat 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. J 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 

* Dr. Thomas Thomson the Indian Botanist. He was a collabora- 
teur in Hooker and Thomson's Flora Indica. 1855. 

f These remarks do not apply to Dr. Harvey, who was, however, in a 
somewhat similar position. See p. 107. 

% His health prevented him from going to Oxford for the meeting of 
the British Association. 


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* and then Professor 
Clarke [sic] f made a regular and savage onslaught on my 
book lately at the Cambridge Philosophical Society, but 
Henslow seems to have defended me well, and maintained 
that the subject was a legitimate one for investigation. Since 
then Phillips J 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 

* Sedgwick's address is given somewhat abbreviated in The Cambridge 
Chronicle, May 19th, i860. 

f The late William Clark, Professor of Anatomy. My father seems 
to have misunderstood his informant. I am assured by Mr. J. W. Clark 
that his father (Prof. Clark) did not support Sedgwick in the attack. 

% John Phillips, M. A., F. R. S., born 1800, died 1874, from the effects 
of a fall. Professor of Geology at King's College, London, and afterwards 
at Oxford. He gave the ' Rede ' lecture at Cambridge on May 15th, i860, 
on ' The Succession of Life on the earth.' The Rede Lecturer is appointed 
annually by the Vice-Chancellor, and is paid by an endowment left in 1524 
by Sir Robert Rede, Lord Chief Justice, in the reign of Henry VIII. 

i860.] REVIEWS. IO3 

branches of natural science. ... I think geologists are more 
easily converted than simple naturalists, because more accus- 
tomed 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 jeal- 
ousy. How nobly free you seem to be of this common failing 
of mankind. But you speak far too modestly of yourself. 
You would, if you had my leisure, have done the work just as 

well, perhaps better, than I have done it 

. . . Agassiz sends me a personal civil message, but 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. 

* Hermann Schaaff hausen ' Ueber Bestandigkeit und Umwandlung der 
Arten.' Verhandl. d. Naturhist. Vereins, Bonn, 1853. See 'Origin,' His- 
torical Sketch. 


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 Apple- 
ton's account. For the chance of your wishing for a formal 
acknowledgment I send one. If you have any further com- 
munication to the Appietons, pray express my acknowledg- 
ment for [their] generosity ; for it is generosity in my opinion. 
I am not at all surprised at the sale diminishing; my extreme 
surprise is at the greatness of the sale. No doubt the public 
has been shamefully imposed on ! for they bought the book 
thinking that it would be nice easy reading. I expect the sale 
to stop soon in England, yet Lyell wrote to me the other day 
that calling at Murray's he heard that fifty copies had gone in 
the previous forty-eight hours. I am extremely glad that you 
will notice in ' Silliman ' the additions in the ' Origin.' Judg- 
ing 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 or- 
ganisms 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 '] re- 

* This statement as to authorship was made on the authority of Robert 


view, 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 reviewers. 
With respect to the theological view of the question. This 
is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no inten- 
tion to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as 
plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of 
design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to 
me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself 
that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly 
created the 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 con- 
clude that everything is the result of brute force. I am in- 
clined 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 

* In a letter to Mr. Huxley my father wrote : M Have you seen the last 
Saturday Review ? I am very glad of the defence of you and of myself. 
I wish the reviewer had noticed Hooker. The reviewer, whoever he is, is 
a jolly good fellow, as this review and the last on me showed. He writes 
capitally, and understands well his subject. I wish he had slapped [the 
'Edinburgh' reviewer] a little bit harder." 

106 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

omniscient Creator, who foresaw every future event and con- 
sequence. But the more I think the more bewildered I be- 
come ; as indeed I probably have 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 ' : 

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

He falsely applies what I said (too rudely) about " blind- 
ness of preconceived opinions " to those who believe in crea- 
tion, 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 seems to have been 
many discussions with Agassiz and others at the meetings. 
Agassiz pities me much at being so deluded. As for the 
progress of opinion, I clearly see that it will be excessively 
slow, almost as slow as the change of species. ... I am 
getting wearied at the storm of hostile reviews and hardly any 
useful. ... 

* A " serio-comic squib," read before the ' Dublin University Zoologi- 
cal and Botanical Association,' Feb. 17, i860, and privately printed. My 
father's presentation copy is inscribed, " With the writer's repentance^ Oct. 



C. Darwin to C. Lye 11. 

Down, Friday night [June 1st, i860]. 
. . . Have you seen Hopkins * in the new ' Fraser ' ? the 
public will, I should think, find it heavy. He will be dead 
against me, as you prophesied ; but he is 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. 

* William Hopkins died in 1866, "in his seventy-third year." He be- 
gan life with a farm in Suffolk, but ultimately entered, comparatively late 
in life, at Peterhouse, Cambridge ; he took his degree in 1827, and after- 
ward became an Esquire Bedell of the University. He was chiefly known 
as a mathematical " coach," and was eminently successful in the manufac- 
ture of Senior Wranglers. Nevertheless Mr. Stephen says (' Life of Faw- 
cett,' p. 26) that he "was conspicuous for inculcating" a " liberal view of 
the studies of the place. He endeavored to stimulate a philosophical in- 
terest in the mathematical sciences, instead of simply rousing an ardour 
for competition." He contributed many papers on geological and mathe- 
matical 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 illus- 
trates 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 cheerful and resolute tone." 

f ' Fraser's Magazine,' June i860. My father, no doubt, refers to the 
following passage, p. 752, where the Reviewer expresses his " full partici- 
pation in the high respect in which the author is universally held, both as 
a man and a naturalist ; and the more so, because in the remarks which 
will follow in the second part of this Essay we shall be found to differ 
widely from him as regards many of his conclusions and the reasonings on 
which he has founded them, and shall claim the full right to express such 
differences of opinion with all that freedom which the interests of scientific 
truth demands, and which we are sure Mr. Darwin would be one of the 
last to refuse to any one prepared to exercise it with candour and courtesy." 
Speaking of this review, my father wrote to Dr. Asa Gray: " I have remon- 
strated 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 

i860.] ATTACKS. IO9 

.... 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 ap- 
proves of my book. 

I have had a note from poor Blyth, f of Calcutta, who 
is much disappointed at hearing that Lord Canning will not 
grant any money ; so I much fear that all your great pains 
will be thrown away. Blyth says (and he is in many respects 
a very good judge) that his ideas on species are quite revo- 
lutionized. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

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 

more damning review than has as yet appeared ! " A second notice by 
Hopkins appeared in the July number of ' Fraser's Magazine.' 

* May i860. 

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


on. But I seriously beg you not to write to me unless so 
inclined ; for busy as you are, and seeing many people, the 
case is very different between us. . . . 

Have you seen 's abusive article on me ? ... It out- 
does even the ' North British ' and ' Edinburgh ' in misap- 
prehension 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 natur- 
alists, and to all political economists, including that great 
philosopher Malthus ? This review, however, and Harvey's 
letter have convinced me that I must be a very bad explainer. 
Neither really understand what I mean by Natural Selec- 
tion. I am inclined to give up the attempt as hopeless. 
Those who do not understand, it seems, cannot be made to 

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 (/. 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 success- 
ful 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 . . . 

i860.] ATTACKS. 1 1 1 

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 misunder- 
stood. 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 under- 
stand my notions. Even Hopkins does not thoroughly. By 
the way, I have been so much pleased by the way he person- 
ally 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 un- 
derstood. 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 Preserva- 
tion " 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 domes- 
tication. I want to show that I have not been quite so rash 
as many suppose. 

Though weary of reviews, I should like to see Lowell's * 
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 

* The late J. A. Lowell in the * Christian Examiner ' (Boston, U. S., 
May, i860. 


structures. I have stated in my volume that it is hardly 
possible to know which, u e. whether instinct or structure, 
change first by insensible steps. Probably sometimes in- 
stinct, 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 ! *) 

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 fal- 
lacy, 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 f is pleasantly written, but it is clear 
that he is not a naturalist. He quite overlooks the impor- 
tance of the accumulation of mere individual differences, and 
which, I think I can show, is the great agency of change 

* See footnote, ante, p. 56. 

f J. A. Lowell in the ' Christian Examiner,' May i860. 

i860.] SCHAAFi HAUSEN. 1 1 3 

under domestication. I have not finished Schaaffhausen, as 
1 read German so badly. I have ordered a copy for myself, 
and should like to keep yours till my own arrives, but will re- 
turn 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 wx>rds. Your last note was very inter- 
esting and consolatory to me. 

I have expressly stated that I believe physical conditions 
have a more direct effect on plants than on animals. But the 
more I study, the more I am led to think that natural 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 varia- 
bility 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 Athenmirn 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 Athenceum^ July 7, i860), who "wished to ap- 
proach this subject in the spirit of the philosopher," expressed 
his " conviction that there were facts by which the public 
could come to some conclusion with regard to the probabili- 
ties of the truth of Mr. Darwin's theory." He went on to 

1 14 THE ' ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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 contradiction," 
pledging himself to "justify that unusual procedure else- 
where/' * a pledge which he amply fulfilled. f On Friday 
there was peace, but on Saturday 30th, the battle arose with 
redoubled fury over a paper by Dr. Draper of New York, on 
the * Intellectual development of Europe considered with ref- 
erence to the views of Mr. Darwin.' 

The following account is from an eye-witness of the scene, 
" The excitement was tremendous. The Lecture-room, in 
which it had been arranged that the discussion should be held, 
proved far too small for the audience, and the meeting ad- 
journed to the Library of the Museum, which was crammed 
to suffocation long before the champions entered the lists. 
The numbers were estimated at from 700 to 1000. Had it 
been term-time, or had the general public been admitted, it 
would have been impossible to have accommodated the rush 
to hear the oratory of the bold Bishop. 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, 

* ' Man's Place in Nature,' by T. H. Huxley, 1863, p. 114. 
\ See the 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1861. 


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- 
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 

The letter above quoted continues : 

14 The excitement was now at its height ; a lady fainted 
and had to be carried out, and it was some time before the 
discussion was resumed. Some voices called for Hooker, and 
his name having been handed up, the President invited him 

* Lyell's ' Letters/ vol. ii. p. 335. 

t Prof. V. Carus, who has a distinct recollection of the scene, does not 
remember the word equivocal. He believes too that Lyell's version of the 
" ape " sentence is slightly incorrect. 


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 sci- 
ence. The Bishop made no reply, and the meeting broke up. 
" There was a crowded conversazione in the evening at 
the rooms of the hospitable and genial Professor of Botany, 
Dr. Daubeny, where the almost sole topic was the battle of 
the 'Origin,' and I was much struck with the fair and 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 

* With regard to the Bishop's 4 Quarterly Review,' my father wrote : 
11 These very clever men think they can write a review with a very 
slight knowledge of the book reviewed or subject in question." 


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. 

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. The article in question was by Wil- 
berforce, Bishop of Oxford, and was afterwards published in his " Essays 

n 8 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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. 

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

Contributed to the 'Quarterly Review,' 1874." The passage from the 
4 Anti-Jacobin ' gives the history of the evolution of space from the " pri- 
maeval point or punctum saliens of the universe," which is conceived to 
have moved " forward in a right line, ad infinitum, till it grew tired ; 
after which the right line, which it had generated, would begin to put it- 
self in motion in a lateral direction, describing an area of infinite extent. 
This area, as soon as it became conscious of its own existence, would be- 
gin 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 assumption is no small evil. We trust that he is mis- 
taken in believing that he may count Sir C. Lyell as one of his converts. 
We know, indeed, that the strength of the temptations which he can bring 
to bear upon his geological brother. . . . Yet no man has been more dis- 
tinct and more logical in the denial of the transmutation of species than 
Sir C. Lyell, and that not in the infancy of his scientific life, but in its full 
vigour and' maturity." The Bishop goes on to appeal to Lyell, in order 
that with his help " this flimsy speculation may be as completely put down 
as was what in spite of all denials we must venture to call its twin though 
less instructed brother, the ' Vestiges of Creation.' " 

With reference to this article, Mr. Brodie Innes, my father's old friend 
and neighbour, writes : — " Most men would have been annoyed by an ar- 
ticle written with the Bishop's accustomed vigour, a mixture of argument 


" 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 
Athenczum has the largest circulation, and I have sent my 
copy to the editor with a request that he would republish 
the first discussion ; I much fear he will not, as he reviewed 
the subject in so hostile a spirit. ... I shall be curious [to 
see] and will order the August number, as soon as I know that 
it contains your review of Reviews. My conclusion is that 

and ridicule. Mr. Darwin was writing on some parish matter, and put a 
postscript — * If you have not seen the last 'Quarterly,' do get it; the 
Bishop of Oxford has made such capital fun of me and my grandfather/ 
By a curious coincidence, when I received the letter, I was staying in the 
same house with the Bishop, and showed it to him. He said, ' I am very 
glad he takes it in that way, he is such a capital fellow.' " 

* April 10, i860. Dr. Gray criticised in detail " several of the positions 
taken at the preceding meeting by Mr. [J. A.] Lowell, Prof. Bowen and 
Prof. Agassiz." It was reprinted in the Athenceum, Aug. 4, i860. 

120 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

you have made a mistake in being a botanist, you ought 
to have been a lawyer. 

.... 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. Danvin 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 Athenceuni, and the editor says he will print it. The 
' Quarterly ' has been out some time. It contains no malice, 

* Professor Henslow was mentioned in the December number of ' Mac- 
millan's Magazine ' as being an adherent of Evolution. In consequence 
of this he published, in the February number of the following year, a let- 
ter denning his position. This he did by means of an extract from a let- 
ter addressed to him by the Rev. L. Jenyns (Blomefield) which " very 
nearly," as he says, expressed his views. Mr. Blomefield wrote, " I was 
not aware that you had become a convert to his (Darwin's) theory, and can 
hardly suppose you have accepted it as a whole, though, like myself, you 
may go to the length of imagining that many of the smaller groups, both of 
animals and plants, may at some remote period have had a common parent- 
age. 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." 


which is wonderful. ... It makes me say many things which 
I do not say. At the end it quotes all your conclusions against 
Lamarck, and makes a solemn appeal to you to keep firm in 

the true faith. I fancy it will make you quake a little. 

has ingeniously primed the Bishop (with Murchison) against 
you as head of the uniformitarians. The only other review 
worth mentioning, which I can think of, is in the third No. of 
the ' London Review,' by some geologist, and favorable for a 
wonder. It is very ably done, and I should like much to 
know who is the author. I shall be very curious to hear on 
your return whether Bronn's German translation of the 
* Origin ' has drawn any attention to the subject. Huxley 
is eager about a 4 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 
influence on really good workers in science, I feel confident 

* See Vol. I. p. 144. 

122 THE ' ORIGIN OF SPECIES/ [i860. 

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 io 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 terri- 
ble 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 trouve- 
rez, 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 obje^^ 

The treatise to which Von Bar refers he gave me when over 
here, but I have not been able to lay hands on it since this 

* See footnote, Vol. I. p. 540. 

i860.] VON BAER. 12 $ 

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 Athenczuni 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 ab- 
stract of Agassiz's i Essay on Classification/ " mit Riicksicht 
auf Darwins Ansichten, ,, &c. &c. He won't go very " dan- 
gerous lengths/' but thinks the truth lies half-way between 
Agassiz and the ' Origin/ As he goes thus far he will, nolens 
volens, have to go further. He says he is going to review 

* The * American Journal of Science and Arts* (commonly called *Sil- 
liman's Journal '), July i860. Printed from advanced sheets of vol. iii. of 
1 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 some- 
thing beyond favouring the existence of certain individuals over that of 
other individuals, 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 ge- 
lehrten Anzeigen,' i860. 


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 
AthencEum 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 
Huxley, and Asa Gray, I see, are determined to stick to the 
battle and not give in ; I am fully convinced that whenever 

* Theophilus Parsons, Professsor of Law in Harvard University, 

i860.] AGASSIZ, WAGNER. I2 c; 

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 conclu- 
sion 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 n [i860]. 
My dear Gray, — On my return home from Sussex about 
a week ago, I found several articles sent by you. The first 
article, from the ' Atlantic Monthly/ I am very glad to 
possess. By the way, the editor of the Athenceum\ has 
inserted your answer to Agassiz, Bowen, and Co., and when 

* ' Remarks on the final causes of the sexuality of plants with particu- 
lar reference to Mr. Darwin's work on the " Origin of Species." ' — Brit. 
Assoc. Report, i860. 

f Aug. 4, i860. 


I therein read them, I admired them even more than at first. 
They really seemed to be admirable in their condensation, 
force, clearness and novelty. 

I am surprised that Agassiz did not succeed in writing 
something better. How absurd that logical quibble — " if 
species do not exist, how can they vary?" As if any one 
doubted their temporary existence. How coolly he assumes 
that there is some clearly defined distinction between 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 * is written. 
Please tell him that I reflected much on the chance of favour- 
able monstrosities (/. 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, tobelieve 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 
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 

* t 

Silliman's Journal,' July, i860. 

i860.] THE GALAPAGOS. 12/ 

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 
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 sur- 
vive 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 

* Parson's,/^, cit. p. 5, speaking of Pterichthys and Cephalaspis, says : — 
" Now is it too much to infer from these facts that either of these animals, 
if a crustacean, was so nearly a fish that some of its ova may have become 
fish ; or, if itself a fish, was so nearly a crustacean that it may have been 
born from the ovum of a crustacean ? " 


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 dur- 
ing their existence as atolls. 

I cannot conceive any existing reptile being converted 
into a mammal. From homologies I should look at it as cer- 
tain 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 charac- 
ters (and in a less degree bird character) with mammalian. 
We must imagine some form as intermediate, as is Lepidosi- 
ren 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 in- 
heritance 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 an- 
ticipated. The argument of littoral Miocene shells at the 
Canary Islands is new to me. I was deeply impressed (from 
the amount of the denudation) [with the] antiquity of St. 
Helena, and its age agrees with the peculiarity of the flora. 
With respect to bats at New Zealand (N. B. There are two 
or three European bats in Madeira, and I think in the Canary 
Islands) not having given rise to a group of non-volant bats, 
it is, now you put the case, surprising ; more especially as 
the genus of bats in New Zealand is very peculiar, and there- 

i860.] LYELL'S CRITICISMS. 1 29 

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 wan- 
der 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 Ma- 
deira 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 Ambly- 
rhynchus of the Galapagos, one may infer as probable, from 
marine habits being so rare with Saurians, and from the ter- 
restrial species being confined to a few central islets, that its 
progenitor first arrived at the Galapagos ; from what country 
it is impossible to say, as its affinity I believe is not very 
clear to any known species. The offspring of the terrestrial 
species was probably rendered marine. Now in this case I 
do not pretend I can show variation in habits ; but we have 
in the terrestrial species a vegetable feeder (in itself a rather 
unusual circumstance), largely on lichens, and it would not 
be a great change for its offspring to feed first on littoral 
algae and then on submarine algae. I have said what I can 
in defence, but yours is a good line of attack. We should, 
however, always remember that no change will ever be 
effected till a variation in the habits or structure or of both 
chance to occur in the right direction, so as to give the organ- 
ism in question an advantage over other already established 
occupants of land or water, and this may be in any particu- 
lar 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 

130 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

of the balance of evidence. After long pondering on a sub- 
ject 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 [i860]. 

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 ex- 
tremely 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 lit- 
tle 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 

* Dr. Gray in the ' Atlantic Monthly ' for July, i860. 


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 mon- 
ster 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 strong- 
est single class of facts in favour of change of forms, and not 
one, I think, of my reviewers has alluded to this. Variation 
not coming on at a very early age, and being inherited at not 
a very early corresponding period, explains, as it seems to 
me, the grandest of all facts in natural history, or rather in 
zoology, viz. the resemblance of embryos. 

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

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down, September I2th [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 

132 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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 devel- 
oped in Australia. You must assume that they have inhab- 
ited Australia for a very long period, and this may or may 
not be the case. But I feel that our ignorance is so pro- 
found, why one form is preserved with nearly the same struct- 
ure, or advances in organisation or even retrogrades, or be- 
comes 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 unsat- 
isfactory and quite vague answers, such as you have yourself 
put ; however, you hardly put weight enough on the abso- 
lute necessity of variations first arising in the right direction, 
videlicet, of seals beginning to feed on the shore. 

I entirely agree with what you say about only one species 
of many becoming modified. I remember this struck me 
much when tabulating the varieties of plants, and I have a 
discussion somewhere on this point. It is absolutely implied 
in my ideas of classification and divergence that only one or 
two species, of even large genera, give birth to new species ; 
and many whole genera become wholly extinct. .... Please 
see 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 modi- 
fied ; 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 Austral- 
ian 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 interme- 
diate 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 succes- 
sive types, as well as of a certain number of distinct aborigi- 
nal types." Remember, if you admit this, you give up the 
embryological argument {the 7veightiest of all to me), and the 
morphological or homological argument. You cut my throat, 
and your own throat; and I believe will live to be sorry for 
it. So much for species. 

The striking extract which E. copied was your own writ- 
ing ! ! 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 

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 be- 
fore starting here. You speak of saving me trouble in an- 

* Drosera. 

134 THE ■ ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

swering. Never think of this, for I look at every letter of 
yours as an honor 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 spe- 
cies ! . . . . 

I have a very decided opinion that all mammals must 
have descended from a single parent. Reflect on the multi- 
tude of details, very many of them of extremely little impor- 
tance 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 nat- 
ural selection. But in most of such cases of these apparent- 
ly so closely similar organs, some important homological dif- 
ference may be detected. Please read p. 193, beginning, 
" The electric organs," 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 con- 
jecture 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 antiq- 
uity 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 







/ \> 








V \ 



,♦' i 








/ » 

/ \ 

4 \ 

• » \ 

■ ' \ 
. *. * 



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 

136 THE 'ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

the single origin of man All the races of man are so 

infinitely closer together than to any ape, that (as in the case 
of descent of all mammals from one progenitor), I should 
look at all races of men as having certainly descended from 
one parent. I should look at it as probable that the races of 
men were less numerous and less divergent formerly than 
now, unless, indeed, some lower and more aberrant race even 
than the Hottentot has become extinct. Supposing, as I do 
for one believe, that our dogs have descended from two or 
three wolves, jackals, &c: ; yet these have, on our view, de- 
scended from a single remote unknown progenitor. With 
domestic dogs the question is simply whether the whole 
amount of difference has been produced since man domesti- 
cated a single species ; or whether part of the difference 
arises in the state of nature. Agassiz and Co. think the 
negro and Caucasian are now distinct species, and it is a 
mere vain discussion whether, when they were rather less 
distinct, they would, on this standard of specific value, de- 
serve to be called species. 

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

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 now well-established reptiles, millions of ages might elapse 
before reptiles could become highly developed on a scale 
equal to mammals ; and, on the principle of inheritance, 

i860.] LETTER TO ASA GRAY. 1 37 

they would make some quite new class, and not mammals ; 
though possibly more intellectual ! I have not an idea that 
you will care for this letter, so speculative. 

Most truly yours, 

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 
book, yet sometimes use expressions to which I demur. Well, 
your extraordinary labour is over; if there is any fair amount 
of truth in my view, I am well assured that your great labour 
has not been thrown away. . . . 

I yet hope and almost believe, that the time will- come 
when you will go further, in believing a very large amount of 
modification of species, than you did at first or do now. Can 
you tell me whether you believe further or more firmly than 
you did at first ? I should really like to know this. I can 
perceive in my immense correspondence with Lyell, who 
objected to much at first, that he has, perhaps 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 
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., 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 

* There are two papers by Aug. Krohn, one on the Cement Glands, 
and the other on the development of Cirripedes, ' Wiegmann's Archiv,' 
xxv. and xxvi. My father has remarked that he a blundered dreadfully 
about the cement glands," ' Autobiography,' p. 66- 


novo, I would have used " natural preservation/' For I find 

men like Harvey of Dublin cannot understand me, though he 

has road 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. Darwin 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 
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 in- 
sensibly 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 peri- 
ods, 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. 

* A MS. translation of Bronn's chapter of objections at the end of his 
German translation of the ' Origin of Species.' 


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 en- 
tirely. . . '. . 

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

C. Darwin to J. M. Ro dwell. \ 

15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne. 

November 5th [i860]. 

Mv 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 : J 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 re- 

* * Species not Transmutable,' by C. R. Bree, i860. 

f Rev. J. M. Rodwell, who was at Cambridge with my father, remem- 
bers him saying : — " It strikes me that all our knowledge about the struct- 
ure of our earth is very much like what an old hen would know of a hun- 
dred acre field, in a corner of which she is scratching." 

% " Cats with blue eyes are invariably deaf," ' Origin of Species,' ed. i. 
p. 12. 

# William Kirby, joint author with Spence, of the well-known * Intro- 
duction to Entomology/ 18 18. 

i860.] REVIEWS. I4I 

member, 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. Herschel saying to me, I wish 
some one would treat language as Lyell has treated geology. 
What a linguist you must be to translate the Koran ! Having 
a vilely bad head for languages, I feel an awful respect for 

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 let- 
ter written in haste, pray believe me, my dear Sir, 

Yours sincerely obliged, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C, Lyell. 

November 20th [i860]. 
.... 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 

* * Life on the Earth.' 

f " Remarks on the latest form of the Development Theory." By 
Francis Bowen, Professor of Natural Religion and Moral Philosophy, at 
Harvard University. * American Academy of Arts and Sciences,' vol. viii. 

I4 2 THE < ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

way, I hear Agassiz is going to thunder against me in the 
next part of the ' Contributions/) Thank you for telling me 
of the sale of the ' Origin/ of which I had not heard. There 
will be some time, I presume, a new edition, and I especially 
want your advice on one point, and you know I think you 
the wisest of men, and I shall be absolutely guided by your 
advice. It has occurred to me, that it would perhaps be a 
good plan to put a set of notes (some twenty to forty or fifty) 
to the ' Origin/ which now has none, exclusively devoted to 
errors of my reviewers. It has occurred to me that where a 
reviewer has erred, a common reader might err. Secondly, 
it will show the reader that he must not trust implicitly to 
reviewers. Thirdly, when any special fact has been attacked, 
I should like to defend it. I would show no sort of anger. 
I enclose a mere rough specimen, done without any care or 
accuracy — done from memory alone — to be torn up, just to 
show the sort of thing that has occurred to me. Will you 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 vol- 
ume 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 saying that the " dorsal vertebrae of 
I explain the structure of the cells pigeons vary in number, and dis- 
of the Hive Bee by " the exploded putes the fact." I nowhere even 
doctrine of pressure." But I do not allude to the dorsal vertebrae, only 
say one word which directly or indi- to the sacral and caudal vertebrae, 
rectly can be interpreted into any * The ' Edinburgh ' Reviewer 
reference to pressure. throws a doubt on these organs be- 

* The * Edinburgh ' Reviewer ing the Branchiae of Cirripedes. 
(vol. , p. ) quotes my work as 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 inaccuracy from a 
review in the Saturday Review^ and 
from Phillips, as I see in his Table 
of Contents that he alludes to it. 

* Mr. Hopkins (' Fraser,' 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 ignorance be- 
ing adduced as an argument. But 
I repeatedly admit, in the most em- 
phatic language which I can use, 
that the imperfect evidence which 
Geology offers in regard to transito- 
rial forms is most strongly opposed 
to my views. Surely there is a wide 
difference in fully admitting an ob- 
jection, and then in endeavoring to 
show that it is not so strong as it at 
first appears, and in Mr. Hopkins's 
assertion that I found my argument 
on the Objection. 

* I would also put a note to 
" Natural Selection," and show how 
variously it has been 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 pur- 
pose, Azara, whose accuracy all ad- 
mit, is more emphatic than I am in 
regard to its never frequenting trees. 
Mr. A. Murray denies that it ought 
to be called a woodpecker ; it has 
two toes in front and two behind, 
pointed tail feathers, a long pointed 
tongue, and the same general form 
of body, the same manner of flight, 
colouring and voice. It was classed, 
until recently, in the same genus — 
Picus — with all other woodpeckers, 
but now has been ranked as a dis- 
tinct genus amongst the Picidae. It 
differs from the typical Picus only 
in the beak, not being quite so 
strong, and in the upper mandible 
being slightly arched. I think these 
facts fully justify my statement that 
it is " in all essential parts of its or- 
ganisation " a Woodpecker.] 

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 f of the ' Origin/ [Murray] says the 
Reviews have not improved the sale. I shall always think 
those early reviews, almost entirely yours, did the subject an 
enormous service. If you have any important suggestions or 
criticisms to make on any part of the ' Origin,' I should, of 
course, be very grateful for [them]. For I mean to correct 
as far as I can, but not enlarge. How you must be wearied 
with and hate the subject, and it is God's blessing if you do 
not get to hate me. Adios. 

C. Darwin 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.J 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. # .... 

* The first number of the new series of the 4 Nat. Hist. Review ' ap- 
peared in 1861. 

f The 3rd edition. 

\ u I get on slowly with my new edition. I find that your advice was 
excellent. I can answer all reviews, without any direct notice of them, by 
a little enlargement here and there, with here and there a new paragraph. 
Bronn alone I shall treat with the respect of giving his objections with his 
name. I think I shall improve my book a good deal, and add only some 
twenty pages." — From a letter to Lyell, December 4th, i860. 

* On the third edition of the 4 Origin of Species,' published in April 

i860.] DESIGN. I45 

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 disingenu- 
ous spirit. Well, McDonnell, of Dublin (a first-rate man), 
writes to me that he felt the difficulty of the whole case as 
overwhelming against me. Not only are the fishes which 
have electric organs very remote in scale, but the organ is 
near the head in some, and near the tail in others, and 
supplied by wholly different nerves. It seems impossible 
that there could be any transition. Some friend, who is 
much opposed to me, seems to have crowed over McDonnell, 
who reports that he said to himself, that if Darwin is right, 
there must be homologous organs both near the head and tail 
in other non-electric fish. He set to work, and, by Jove, 
he has found them ! * so that some of the difficulty is re- 
moved ; and is it not satisfactory that my hypothetical no- 
tions should have led to pretty discoveries ? McDonnell 
seems very cautious ; he says, years must pass before he will 
venture to call himself a believer in my doctrine, but that on 
the subjects which he knows well, viz., Morphology and Em- 
bryology, my views accord well, and throw light on the whole 

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 ' ; 

* ' On an organ in the Skate, which appears to be the homologue of the 
electrical organ of the Torpedo,' by R. McDonnell, * Nat. Hist. Review/ 
1861, p. 57. 

I 4 6 THE ' ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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 cru- 
cial 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 
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 ! 

* ' Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences/ vol. viii. 

i860.] DR. GRAY'S PAMPHLET. 147 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, Dec. 2nd [i860]. 

.... I have got fairly sick of hostile reviews. Never- 
theless, they have been of use in showing me when to expati- 
ate a little and to introduce a few new discussions. Of course 
I will send you a copy of the new edition. 

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

Ever yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down, December nth [i860]. 
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, 

I4 8 THE ■ ORIGIN OF SPECIES.' [i860. 

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 ! 


Spread of Evolution. 


[The beginning of the year 1861 saw my father with the 
third chapter of ' The Variation of Animals and Plants ' still 
on his hands. It had been begun in the previous August, 
and was not finished until March 1861. He was, however, for 
part of this time (I believe during December i860 and 
January 1861) engaged in a new edition (2000 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 already appeared in the first German 
edition (i860) and the American edition. Bronn states in the German 
edition (footnote, p. 1) that it was his critique in the * N. Jahrbuch fiir 
Mineralogie ' that suggested the idea of such a sketch to my father. 


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 i 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 
chapter of ' Animals and Plants/ Thus in his Diary occur 
the laconic entries, "May 16, Finished Fowls (eight weeks) ; 
May 31, Ducks." 

On July 1, he started, with his family, for Torquay, where 
he remained until August 27 — a holiday which he character- 
istically enters in his diary as " eight weeks and a day." The 
house he occupied was in Hesketh Crescent, a pleasantly 
placed tow 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 

i86i.] HUXLEY'S ARTICLE. 151 

amplification of the * Origin of Species ' — e.g., the publication 
of ' Animals and Plants/ c 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 Ariicle,* 

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 f is unreadably dull. You need 
not attempt Bree.J .... 

* ' Natural History Review,' 1861, p. 67, M On the Zoological Rela- 
tions of Man with the Lower Animals." This memoir had its origin in a 
discussion at the previous meeting of the British Association, when Pro- 
fessor Huxley felt himself " compelled to give a diametrical contradiction 
to certain assertions respecting the differences which obtain between the 
brains of the higher apes and of man, which fell from Professor Owen/' 
But in order that his criticisms might refer to deliberately recorded words, 
he bases them on Professor Owen's paper, " On the Characters, &c, of the 
Class Mammalia," read before the Linnean Society in February and April, 
1857, in which he proposed to place man not only in a distinct order, but 
in " a distinct sub-class of the Mammalia " — the Archencephala. 

f ' Life on the Earth ' (i860), by Prof. Phillips, containing the sub- 
stance of the Rede Lecture (May i860). 

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


If you come across Dr. Freke on ' Origin of Species by 
means of Organic Affinity,' read a page here and there. . . . 
He tells the reader to observe [that his result] has been ar- 
rived 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 
1 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, 1 86 1. 

My dear Lyell, — I have thought you would like to read 
the enclosed passage in a letter from A. Gray (who is print- 
ing his reviews as a pamphlet,* and will send copies to Eng- 
land), as I think his account is really favourable in 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 ex- 
cept specific) whatever. The second coming near to deny 
that we are genetically descended from our great-great-grand- 
fathers ; and insisting that evidently affiliated languages, e. g. 
Latin, Greek, Sanscrit, owe none of their similarities to a 
community of origin, are all autochthonal ; Agassiz admits 
that the derivation of languages, and that of species or forms, 

* " Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology," from 
the ' Atlantic Monthly ' for July, August, and October, i860 ; published by 

i86i.] MR. BATES. 1 53 

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 sci- 
ence. 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 writ- 
ten 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 be- 
coming our rule of life. What a different thing life was in 
youth with no dread in the future'; all golden, if baseless, 

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

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

[The following letter refers to Mr. Bates's paper, "Contri- 


butions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazon Valley," in the 
'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 
"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 un- 
covered 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. Z>. 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 doc- 
trine. I cannot wriggle out of it : I am dumbfounded ; yet 
I do believe that some explanation some day will appearand 
I cannot give up equatorial cooling. It explains so much 
and harmonises with so much. When you write (and much 
interested I shall be in your letter) please say how far floras 
are generally uniform in generic character from o° to 25 ° N. 
and S. 

* The paper was read Nov. 24, i860. 

i86i.] MR. BATES. 1 55 

Before reading Bates, I had become thoroughly dissatis- 
fied with what I wrote to you. 1 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 ex- 
plained phrenologically, which I suppose civilly means, that 
I am the most egotistically self-sufficient man alive ; perhaps 
so. I wonder whether he will print this pleasing fact ; it 
beats hollow the parentheses in Wollaston's writing. 
/ 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 ? [186 1.] 
.... 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 ex- 
plains phenomena. It is really curious how few judge it in 
this way, which is clearly the right way. I have been much 
interested by Bentham's paper \ 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 

* Third edition of 2000 copies, published in April, 1 86 1. 

f In the 'Geologist,' 1861, p. 132, by Lieutenant Frederick Wollaston 
Hutton, now Professor of Biology and Geology at Canterbury College, 
New Zealand. 

± "On the Species and Genera of Plants, &c," 'Natural History Re- 
view,' 1861, p. 133. 


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, AV allien, and several others. I asked Bentham 
to give us his ideas of species ; whether partially with us or 
dead against us, he would write excellent matter. He made 
no answer, but his manner made me think he might do so if 
urged ; so do you attack him. Every one was speaking with 
affection and anxiety of Henslow.* I dined with Bell at the 

Linnean Club, and liked my dinner Dining out is 

such a novelty to me that I enjoyed it. Bell has a real good 
heart. I liked Rolleston's paper, but I never read anything 
so obscure and not self-evident as his ' Canons. 'f .... 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.J 
Farewell, with sincere sympathy, my old friend, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. — We are very much obliged for the ' London Re- 
view.' We like reading much of it, and the science is in- 
comparably better than in the Athenceum. 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 Athenceum and 

* Prof. Henslow was in his last illness. 

f George Rolleston, M. D., F. R. S., b. 1829, d. 1881. Linacre Pro- 
fessor of Anatomy and Physiology at Oxford. A man of much learning, 
who left but few published works, among which may be mentioned his 
handbook, ' Forms of Animal Life.' For the' Canons,' see ' Nat. Hist. Re- 
view,' 1861, p. 206. 

% Sir Joseph Hooker was Prof. Henslow's son-in-law. 

i86i.] LYELL'S WORK. ^7 

the Gardener s Chronicle, but I have taken them in for so 
many years, that I cannot give them up. 

[The next letter refers to Lyell's visit to the Biddenham 
gravel-pits near Bedford in April 1861. The visit was made 
at the invitation of Mr. James Wyatt, who had recently dis- 
covered two stone implements " at the depth of thirteen feet 
from the surface of the soi], ,, resting " immediately 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 phenomena — the 
antique tools, the extinct mammalia, and the glacial forma- 

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 man. 

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 lacus- 
trine beds. It is grand. I remember Falconer told me that 
he thought some of the remains in the Devonshire caverns 
were pre-glacial, and this, I presume, is now your conclusion 
for the older celts with hyena and hippopotamus. It is grand. 
What a fine long pedigree you have given the human race ! 

I am sure I never thought of parallel roads having been 
accumulated during subsidence. I think I see some 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 

* ' Antiquity of Man/ fourth edition, p. 214, 


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 intention- 
ally. I have left the responsibility with Busk whether or no 
to read the letters.* 

C. Darwin to Thomas Davidson. \ 

Down, April 26, 1 86 1. 
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, w T hich I apprehend will 
be universally admitted, that as a whole, the fauna of any 
formation is intermediate in character between that of the 

* /. e. to read them before the Linnean Society. 

f Thomas Davidson, F.R.S., born in Edinburgh, May 17, 1817 ; died 
T885. His researches were chiefly connected with the sciences of geology 
and palaeontology, and were directed especially to the elucidation of the 
characters, classification, history, geological and geographical distribution 
of recent and fossil Brachiopoda. On this subject he brought out an im- 
portant work, 4 British Fossil Brachiopoda,' 5 vols. 4to. (Cooper, ' Men of 
the Time,' 1884.) 


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 ad- 
mit 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.* 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 f 
in the Musuem in Jermyn Street, glued on a board some 
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 

* " Mr. Davidson is not at all a full believer in great changes of species, 
which will make his work all the more valuable." — C. Darwin to R. Cham- 
bers (April 30, 1861). 

f John William Salter ; b. 1820, d. 1869. He entered the service of 
the Geological Survey in 1846, and ultimately became its Palaeontologist, 
on the retirement of Edward Forbes, and gave up the office in 1863. He 
was associated with several well-known naturalists in their work — with 
Sedgwick, Murchison, Lyell, Ramsay, and Huxley. There are sixty en- 
tries under his name in the Royal Society Catalogue. The above facts 
are taken from an obituary notice of Mr. Salter in the * Geological Maga- 
zine/ 1869. 


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, 1 would ask you to read my Chapter X. on Geologi- 
cal Succession. And I should like in this case to be per- 
mitted to send you a copy of the new edition, just published, 
in which I have added and corrected somewhat in Chapters 
IX. and X. 

Pray excuse this long letter, and believe me, 

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully, 

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 

* Professor Sedgwick treated this part of the ' Origin of Species ' very 
differently, as might have been expected from his vehement objection to 
Evolution in general. In the article in the Spectator of March 24, i860, 
already noticed, Sedgwick wrote : " We know the complicated organic 
phenomena of the Mesozoic (or Oolitic) period. It defies the trasmuta- 
tionist at every step. Oh ! but the document, says Darwin, is a fragment ; 
I will interpolate long periods to account for all the changes. I say, in re- 
ply, if you deny my conclusion, grounded on positive evidence, I toss back 
your conclusion, derived from negative evidence, — the inflated cushion on 
which you try to bolster up the defects of your hypothesis." [The punc- 
tuation of the imaginary dialogue is slightly altered from the original, 
which is obscure in one place.] 


of the long-continued action of changed conditions of life 
without any selection, with the action of selection on mere 
accidental (so to speak) variability. I oscillate much on this 
head, but generally return to my belief that the direct action 
of the conditions of life has not been great. At least 
this direct action can have played an extremely small part 
in producing all the numberless and beautiful adaptations in 
every living creature. With respect to a person's belief, what 
does rather surprise me is that any one (like Carpenter) 
should be willing to go so very far as to believe that all birds 
may have descended from one parent, and not go a little 
farther and include all the members of the same great division ; 
for on such a scale of belief, all the facts in Morphology and 
in Embryology (the most important in my opinion of all 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 
Brachiopodous species ; I am sure it will be a most vgj.uaoie 
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 

* Lyell, * Antiquity of Man,' first edition, p. 428. 


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 i 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 
1 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 
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, i Read Asa Gray in the ' Atlantic.' " It comes out 
very clearly that in the case of such publications as Dr. Gray's, 
my father did not rejoice over the success of his special view 
of Evolution, viz. that modification is mainly due to Natural 
Selection ; on the contrary, he felt strongly that the really 
important point was that the doctrine of Descent should be 
accepted. Thus he wrote to Professor Gray (May 11, 1863), 
with reference to Lyell's ' Antiquity of Man ' : — 

"' You speak of Lyell as a judge ; now what I complain of 
is that he declines to be a judge. ... I have sometimes 
almost wished that Lyell had pronounced against me. When 
I say * me,' I only mean change of species by descent. That 
seems to me the turning-point. Personally, of course, I care 


much about Natural Selection ; but that seems to me utterly- 
unimportant, compared to the question of Creation or 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 
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 Pro- 
fessor Bowen as a very clever man. I should have thought 
him a singularly unobservant man from his writings. He 
never can have seen much of animals, or he would have 
seen the difference of old and wise dogs and young ones. 
His paper about hereditariness beats everything. Tell a 
breeder that he might pick out his worst individual animals 
and breed from them, and hope to win a prize, and he would 
think you insane. 

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

My father wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker on hearing of Hens- 

i86i.] . HENSLOW'S DEATH. ^65 

low's death, " I fully believe a better man never walked this 

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

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

u You will see that I have exceeded your request, but, as 
I said when I began, I took pleasure in writing my impres- 
sion 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 Trubner 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 

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 domes- 
tic variation ; and you might thus prove that the duck or 
pigeon has not varied because the goose has not, though more 
anciently domesticated, and no good reason can be assigned 
why it has not produced many varieties 

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

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

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

Hugh Falconer to C. Darivin. 

31 Sackville St., W., Jwe 23, 1861. 
My dear Darwin. — I have been to Adelsberg cave and 
brought back with me a live Proteus anguinus, designed for 
you from the moment I got it ; i.e. if you have got an 
aquarium and would care to have it. I only returned last 
night from the continent, and hearing from your brother that 

* « 

Life on the Earth,' i860. 

x86i.] DR. FALCONER. 167 

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 Columbidse — say a Pouter or a Tumbler. 

My dear Darwin, I have been rambling through the north 
of Italy, and Germany lately. Everywhere have I heard 
your views and your admirable essay canvassed — the views of 
course often dissented from, according to the special bias of 
the speaker — but the work, its honesty of purpose, grandeur 
of conception, felicity of illustration, and courageous 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, 

Cil Darwin. 


C. Darwin to J. 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 ; 
it's very good and fair ; but it is funny to see a man argue on 
the succession of animals from Noah's Deluge ; as God did 
not then wholly destroy man, probably he did not wholly 
destroy the races of other animals at each geological period ! 
I never expected to have a helping hand from the Old 
Testament. . . . 

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,f 
evidently a thoughtful man, as I thought you might like to 
have it, as you have so many. . . . 

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

I saw Mr. Pengelly J 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 

* The ' Dublin Hospital Gazette,' May 15, 1861. The passage re- 
ferred to is at p. 150. 

f Mr. George Maw, of Benthall Hall. The review was published in 
the ' Zoologist,' July, 1861. On the back of my father's copy is written, 
" Must be consulted before new edit, of ' Origin ' " — words which are want- 
ing on many more pretentious notices, on which frequently occur my 
father's brief o/-, or "nothing new." 

% William Pengelly, the geologist, and well-known explorer of the 
Devonshire caves. 

i86i.] AMERICAN WAR— DESIGN. ifig 

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 
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. 

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. Darwin 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 

* On Mimetic Butterflies, read before the Linnean Soc, Nov. 21, 1861. 
For my father's opinion of it when published, see p. 183. 

i86ij MR. BATES. 171 

solely be driven into naturalists by treating special subjects 
as you have done. Under a special point of view, I think you 
have solved one of the most perplexing problems which 
could be given to solve. I am glad to hear from Hooker 
that the Linnean Society will give . plates if you can get 
drawings. . . . 

Do not complain of want of advice during your travels ; I 
dare say part of your great originality of views may be due to 
the necessity of self-exertion of thought. I can understand 
that your reception at the British Museum would damp you ; 
they are a very good set of men, but not the sort to appre- 
ciate your work. In fact I have long thought that too much 
systematic work [and] description somehow blunts the facul- 
ties. The general public appreciates a good dose of reason- 
ing, 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 you. 

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 kill- 
ing 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 on the Amazons,' was 

* ' Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro,' 1853. 

f Probably the ' Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica,' 185 1. 

\ In a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker (Dec. 1861), my father wrote : "lam 
very glad to hear that you like Bates. I have seldom in my life been more 
struck with a man's power of mind." 


published in 1865, but the following letter may be given here 
rather than in its due chronological position :] 

C. Darwin to H. W. JSates. 

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 w T hether 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 Athenceum f 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 

* In a letter to Lyell my father wrote : " He [i. e. Mr. Bates] is second 
only to Humboldt in describing a tropical forest." 

f " I have read the first volume of Bates's Book ; it is capital, and I 
think the best Natural History Travels ever published in England. He 
is bold about Species, &c, and the Athenceum coolly says 'he bends his 
facts ' for this purpose."— (From a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker.) 


of the same transaction ! I fear there is no shadow of doubt 
we shall fight if the two Southern rogues are not given 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 longi- 
tude ! 

. . . 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, 

* The Confederate Commissioners Slidell and Mason were forcibly re- 
moved from the Trent, a West India mail steamer on Nov. 8, 1861. The 
news that the U. S. agreed to release them reached England on Jan. 8 t 

f Dr. Boott was born in the U. S. 

i862.] BOURNEMOUTH. 1 75 

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. 


[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 
wrote — 

" I must just recur to stamps ; my little man has calcu- 
lated 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 r 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 homoeopa- 
thy or by the law of spirality. Book fell dead in Germany. 
Therefore would I translate it and publish it in England. "] 


C. Darwin to T. II. 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 medi- 
um 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 Gray; 

* This refers to two of Mr. Huxley's lectures, given before the Philo- 
sophical Institution of Edinburgh in 1 862. The substance of them is 
given in ' Man's Place in Nature.' 

f The view here given will be discussed in the chapter on hetero-styled 


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; 
en the other hand, I said that I groaned to think of the 
slave-htlders 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 n'ecessarily 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 beau- 
tiful and charming women out of the lower ranks ; so that a 
good deal of indirect selection improves the Lords. Certain- 
ly 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 satis- 
faction 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. ... 

* 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 ap- 
pear from time to time. He would declare energetically that if he were 
law-giver no will should be valid that was not published in the testator's 
lifetime ; and this he maintained would prevent much of the monstrous 
injustice and meanness apparent in so many wills. 


C. Darwin to Maxivell Masters, * 

Down, Feb. 26 [1862]. 
My dear Sir, — I am much obliged to you for sending 
me your article,f 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 gen- 
erously 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 sec- 
ond volume of Buckle's ' History of Civilization.' The fol- 
lowing strongly expressed opinion about it may be worth 
quoting :— 

" Have you read Buckle's second volume? it has inter- 
ested 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 lan- 
guage that ever lived, let the other be who he may."] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, March 15 [1862]. 
Mv dear Gray, — Thanks for the newspapers (though 
they did contain digs at England), and for your note of Feb. 

* Dr. Masters is a well-known vegetable teratologist, and has been for 
many years the editor of the Gardeners' Chronicle. 

f Refers to a paper on " Vegetable Morphology," by Dr. Masters, in 
the 4 British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review ' for 1862. 

1862.] GRAY'S PAMPHLET. iyg 

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

I believe that your pamphlet has done my book great good ; 
and I thank you from my heart for myself ; and believing 
that the views are in large part true, I must think that you 
have done natural science a good turn. Natural Selection 
seems to be making a little progress in England and on 
the Continent ; a new German edition is called for, and a 
French* 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. 

* In June, 1862, my father wrote to Dr. Gray : " I received, 2 or 3 
days ago, a French translation of the ' Origin,' by a Madlle. Royer, who 
must be one of the cleverest and oddest women in Europe : is an ardent 
Deist, and hates Christianity, and declares that natural selection and the 
struggle for life will explain all morality, nature of man, politics, &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 transla- 
tion, and in many places where the author expresses great doubt, she ex- 
plains the difficulty, or points out that no real difficulty exists. 


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 
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 Hookers 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 mod- 
ification than a group which is generally more variable. 

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

* The house of his son William. 
\ I.e.' The Antiquity of Man.' 


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, 3d edition), and I add there is 
some reason to believe that organisms considered high in the 
scale change quicker than those that are low. I remember 

writing these sentences after much deliberation I 

remember well feeling much hesitation about putting in even 
the guarded sentences which I did. My doubts, I remember, 
related to the rate of change of the Radiata in the Secondary 
formation, and of the Foraminifera in the oldest Tertiary 

beds 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 i 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, f "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. 

* On his return from Bournemouth. 

f Falconer, " On the American Fossil Elephant," in the ' Nat. Hist. 
Review,' 1863, p. 81. The words preceding those cited by my father 
make the meaning of his quotation clearer. The passage begins as follows : 
" The inferences which I draw from these facts are not opposed to one of 
the leading propositions of Darwin's theory. With him," &c. &c. 


He adds that he does not think Natural Selection suffices. 
I do not quite see the force of his argument, and he appar- 
ently 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 
year, are occasional notes on the progress of the ' Variation 
of Animals and Plants/ Thus on November 24th he wrote: 
" I hardly know why I am a little sorry, but my present 
work is leading me to believe rather more in the direct action 
of physical conditions. I presume I regret it, because it 
lessens the glory of natural selection, and is so confoundedly 
doubtful. Perhaps I shall change again when I get all my 
facts under one point of view, and a pretty hard job this 
will be." 

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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Nov. 6 [1862]. 
My dear Gray, — When your note of October 4th and 13th 
(chiefly about Max Mliller) 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 

* ' Lectures on the Science of Language, 1st edit. 1861. 

1862.] BOOKS— MIMICRY. ^3 

make great use of the subject in illustration.* What pretty 
metaphors you would make from it ! I wish some one would 
keep a lot of the most noisy monkeys, half free, and study 
their means of communication ! 

A book has just appeared here which will, I suppose, 
make a noise, by Bishop Colenso,f who, judging from ex- 
tracts, 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. W. Bates. 

Down, Nov. 20 [1862]. 
Dear Bates, — I have just finished, after several reads, 
your paper. J In my opinion it is one of the most remarkable 

* Language was treated in the manner here indicated by Sir C. Lyell 
in the ' Antiquity of Man.' Also by Prof. Schleicher, whose pamphlet was 
fully noticed in the Reader, Feb. 27, 1864 (as I learn from one of Prof. 
Huxley's * Lay Sermon's '). 

f ' The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined,' six parts, 

% 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 
in this review almost verbatim in the later editions of the 'Origin of Spe- 
cies.' A striking passage occurs showing the difficulties of the case from a 
creationist's point of view : — 

11 By what means, it may be asked, have so many butterflies of the Ama- 
zonian region acquired their deceptive dress ? Most naturalists will answer 


and admirable papers I ever read in my life. The mimetic 
cases are truly marvellous, and you connect excellently a 
host of analogous facts. The illustrations are beautiful, and 
seem very well chosen ; but it would have saved the reader 
not a little trouble, if the name of each had been engraved 
below each separate figure. No doubt this would have put 
the engraver into fits, as it would have destroyed the beauty 
of the plate. I am not at all surprised at such a paper hav- 
ing consumed much time. I am rejoiced that I passed over 
the whole subject in the * Origin/ for I should have made 
a precious mess of it. You have most clearly stated and 
solved a wonderful problem. No doubt with most people 
this will be the cream of the paper ; but I am not sure that 
all your facts and reasonings on variation, and on the segre- 
gation 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 

that they were thus clothed from the hour of their creation — an answer 
which will generally be so far triumphant that it can be met only by long- 
drawn arguments ; but it is made at the expense of putting an effectual bar 
to all further inquiry. In this particular case, moreover, the creationist will 
meet with special difficulties ; for many of the mimicking forms of Leptalis 
can be shown by a graduated series to be merely varieties of one species ; 
other mimickers are undoubtedly distinct species, or even distinct genera. 
So again, some of the mimicked forms can be shown to be merely varie- 
ties ; but the greater number must be ranked as distinct species. Hence 
the creationist will have to admit that some of these forms have become 
imitators, by means of the laws of variation, whilst others he must look at 
as separately created under their present guise ; he will further have to 
admit that some have been created in imitation of forms not themselves 
created as we now see them, but due to the laws of variation? Prof. 
Agassiz, indeed, would think nothing of this difficulty ; for he believes that 
not only each species and each variety, but that groups of individuals, 
though identically the same, when inhabiting distinct countries, have been 
all separately created in due proportional numbers to the wants of each 
land. Not many naturalists will be content thus to believe that varieties 
and individuals have been turned out all ready made, almost as a manu- 
facturer turns out toys according to the temporary demand of the market." 

1862.] MIMICRY. 185 

a little more on the pairing of similar varieties ; a rather 
more numerous body of facts seems here wanted. Then, 
again, what a host of curious miscellaneous observations there 
are — as on related sexual and individual variability : these 
will some day, if I live, be a treasure to me. 

With respect to mimetic resemblance being so common 
with insects, do you not think it may be connected with their 
small size ; they cannot defend themselves ; they cannot es- 
cape 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 resem- 
blances. 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, 


The Spread of Evolution. 

' Variation of Animals and Plants. 5 


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

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

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

"Dr. Brinton has been here (recommended by Busk) ; he 
does not believe my brain or heart are primarily affected, but 
I have been so steadily going down hill, I cannot help doubt- 
ing whether I can ever crawl a little uphill again. Unless I 
can, enough to work a little, I hope my life may be very 

1863.] CIRRIPEDES. i%j 

short, for to lie on a sofa all day and do nothing but give 
trouble to the best and kindest of wives and good dear chil- 
dren is dreadful." 

The minor works in this year were a short paper in the 
' Natural History Review ' (N.S. vol. iii. p. 115), entitled "On 
the so-called Auditory-Sac of Cirripedes," and one in the 
* Geological Society's Journal ' (vol. xix), on the " Thickness 
of the Pampaean Formation near Buenos Ayres." The paper 
on Cirripedes was called forth by the criticisms of a German 
naturalist Krohn,* and is of some interest in illustration of 
my father's readiness to admit an error. 

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

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

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

" I am very glad you like Huxley's lectures. I have been 
very much struck with them, especially with the ' Philosophy 
of Induction.' I have quarrelled with him for overdoing 
sterility and ignoring cases from Gartner and Kolreuter about 

* Krohn stated that the structures described by my father as ovaries 
were in reality salivary glands, also that the oviduct runs down to the ori- 
fice described in the 'Monograph of the Cirripedia' as the auditory 

f Kingsley's ' Life,' ii, p. 171. 


sterile varieties. His Geology is obscure ; and I rather doubt 
about man's mind and language. But it seems to me ad- 
mirably done, and, as you say, " Oh my," about the praise of 
the ' Origin/ I can't help liking it, which makes me rather 
ashamed of myself." 

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

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Nov. 5 [1864]. 

I want to make a suggestion to you, but which may prob- 
ably have occurred to you. was reading your Lectures 

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

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

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

1863.] TEXT BOOKS. ^9 

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

My dear Huxley, 

Yours affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

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

The series of letters will continue the history of the year 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Jan. 3 [1863]. 

My dear Hooker. — I am burning with indignation and 
must exhale. ... I could not get to sleep till past 3 last 
night for indignation.* .... 

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

* It would serve no useful purpose if I were to go into the matter which 
so strongly roused my father's anger. It was a question of literary dishon- 
esty, in which a friend was the sufferer, but which in no way affected him- 


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

Good-night. Ever yours. 

C. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to Julius von Haast. 

Down, Jan. 22 [1863]. 
Dear Sir, — I thank you most sincerely for sending me 
your Address and the Geological Report. f I have seldom in 

* Sir Julius von Haast was a German by birth, but had long been resi- 
dent in New Zealand. He was, in 1862, Government Geologist to the 
Province of Canterbury. 

f Address to the ' Philosophical Institute of Canterbury (N. Z.).' The 

i863.] SIR J. VON HAAST. i g i 

my life read anything more spirited and interesting than your 
address. The progress of your colony makes one proud, and 
it is really admirable to see a scientific institution founded in 
so young a nation. I thank you for the very honorable 
notice of my ' Origin of Species/ You will easily believe 
how much I have been interested by your striking facts on 
the old glacial period, and I suppose the world might be 
searched in vain for so grand a display of terraces. You 
have, indeed, a noble field for scientific research and dis- 
covery. I have been extremely much interested by what you 
say about the tracks of supposed [living] mammalia. Might 
I ask, if you succeed in discovering what the creatures are, 
you would have the great kindness to inform me ? Perhaps 
they may turn out something like the Solenhofen bird 
creature, with its long tail and fingers, with claws to its 
wings ! I may mention that in South America, in com- 
pletely uninhabited regions, I found spring rat-traps, baited 
with cheese, were very successful in catching the smaller 
mammals. I would venture to suggest to you to urge on 
some of the capable members of your institution to observe 
annually the rate and manner of spreading of European 
weeds and insects, and especially to observe what native 
plants most fail j this latter point has never been attended to. 
Do the introduced hive-bees replace any othe^r insect ? &c. 
All such points are, in my opinion, great desiderata in 
science. What an interesting discovery that of the remains 
of prehistoric man ! 

Believe me, dear Sir, 

With the most cordial respect and thanks, 
Yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

"Report" is given in The New Zealand Government Gazette, Province of 
Canterbury \ Oct. 1862. 


C. Darwin to Camille Dareste* 

Down, Feb. 16 [1863]. 
Dear and respected Sir. — I thank you sincerely for 
your letter and your pamphlet. I had heard (I think in one 
of M. Quatrefage's books) of your work, and was most 
anxious to read it, but did not know where to find it. You 
could not have made me a more valuable present. I have 
only just returned home, and have not yet read your work ; 
when I do if I wish to ask any questions I will venture to 
trouble you. Your approbation of my book on Species has 
gratified me extremely. Several naturalists in England, 
North America, and Germany, have declared that their 
opinions on the subject have in. some degree been modified, 
but as far as I know, my book has produced no effect what- 
ever in France, and this makes me the more gratified by your 
very kind expression of approbation. Pray believe me, dear 
Sir, with much respect, 

Yours faithfully and obliged, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Feb. 24 [1863]. 
My dear Hooker. — I am astonished at your note, I have 
not seen the Athenceum,\ but I have sent for it, and may get 
it to-morrow ; and will then say what I thinks 

* Professor Dareste is a well-known worker in Animal Teratology. He 
was in 1863 living at Lille, but has since then been called to Paris. My 
father took a special interest in Dareste's work on the production of mon- 
sters, as bearing on the causes of variation. 

f In the 'Antiquity of Man,' first edition, p. 480, Lyell criticised some- 
what severely Owen's account of the difference between the Human and 
Simian brains. The number of the Atkenceum here referred to (1863, p. 
262) contains a reply by Professor Owen to Lyell's strictures. The sur- 
prise expressed by my father was at the revival of a controversy which 
every one believed to be closed. Prof. Huxley {Medical Times, Oct. 25, 

1863.] 'ANTIQUITY OF MAN.' I93 

I have read Lyell's book. [' The Antiquity of Man.'] 
The whole certainty struck me as a compilation, but of the 
highest class, for when possible the facts have been verified 
on the spot, making it almost an original work. The Glacial 
chapters seem to me best, and in parts magnificent. I could 
hardly judge about Man, as all the gloss of novelty was com- 
pletely worn off. But certainly the aggregation of the evi- 
dence produced a very striking effect on my mind. The 
chapter comparing language and changes of species, seems 
most ingenious and interesting. He has shown great skill in 
picking out salient points in the argument for change of 
species ; but I am deeply disappointed (I do not mean per- 
sonally) to find that his timidity prevents him giving any 
judgment. . . . From all my communications with him I 
must ever think that he has really entirely lost faith in the 
immutability of species ; and yet one of his strongest sen- 
tences is nearly as follows : "If it should ever* be rendered 
highly probable that species change by variation and natural 
selection," &c, &c. I had hoped he would have guided the 
public as far as his own belief went. . . . One thing does 
please me on this subject, that he seems to appreciate your 
work. No doubt the public or a part may be induced to 
think that as he gives to us a larger space than to Lamarck, 
he must think there is something in our viewsr When read- 
ing the brain chapter, it struck me forcibly that if he had 
said openly that he believed in change of species, and as a 
consequence that man was derived from some Quadruma- 
nous animal, it would have been very proper to have dis- 
cussed by compilation the differences in the most important 
organ, viz. the brain. As it is, the chapter seems to me to 
come in rather by the head and shoulders. I do not think 
(but then I am as prejudiced as Falconer and Huxley, or 

1862, quoted in ' Man's Place in Nature,' p. 117) spoke of the " two years 
during which this preposterous controversy has dragged its weary length." 
And this no doubt expressed a very general feeling. 
* The italics are not Lyell's. 


more so) that it is too severe ; it struck me as given with 
judicial force. It might perhaps be said with truth that he 
had no business to judge on a subject on which he knows 
nothing ; but compilers must do this to a certain extent. 
(You know I value and rank high compilers, being one my- 
self !) I have taken you at your word, and scribbled at great 
length. If I get the Athenceum to-morrow, I will add my 
impression of Owen's letter. 

.... The Lyells are coming here on Sunday evening to 
stay till Wednesday. I dread it, but I must say how much 
disappointed I am that he has not spoken out on species, still 
less on man. And the best of the joke is that he thinks he 
has acted with the courage of a martyr of old. I hope I may 
have taken an exaggerated view of his timidity, and shall 
particularly be glad of your opinion on this head.* When 
I got his book I turned over the pages, and saw he had dis- 
cussed the subject of species, and said that I thought he 
would do more to convert the public than all of us, and now 
(which makes the case worse for me) I must, in common 
honesty, retract. I wish to Heaven he had said not a word 
on the subject. 

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

. . . Lyell's memory plays him false when he says all 
anatomists were astonished at Owen's paper ; f it was often 
quoted with approbation. I well remember Lyell's admira- 
tion at this new classification! (Do not repeat this.) I re- 
member it, because, though I knew nothing whatever about 

* On this subject my father wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker : <4 Cordial 
thanks for your deeply interesting letters about Lyell, Owen, and Co. I 
cannot say how glad I am to hear that I have not been unjust about the 
species-question towards Lyell. I feared I had been unreasonable." 

f " On the Characters, &c, of the Class Mammalia." ■ Linn. Soc. Jour- 
nal,' ii, 1858. 

1863.] * ANTIQUITY OF MAN.' 195 

the brain, I felt a conviction that a classification thus founded 
on a single character would break down, and it seemed to 
me a great error not to separate more completely the Mar- 
supialia. . . . 

What an accursed evil it is that there should be all this 
quarreling within, what ought to be, the peaceful realms of 

I will go to my own present subject of inheritance and 
forget it all for a time. Farewell, my dear old friend, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, Feb. 23 [1863]. 

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

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

I read Cairns's excellent Lecture,* which shows so well 
how your quarrel arose from Slavery. It made me for a time 
wish honestly for the North ; but I could never help, though I 
tried, all the time thinking how we should be bullied and 

* Prof. J. E. Cairns, * The Slave Power, &c. : an attempt to explain the 
real issues involved in the American contest.' 1862, 


forced into a war by you, when you were triumphant. But I 
do most truly think it dreadful that the South, with its 
accursed slavery, should triumph, and spread the evil. I think 
if I had power, which thank God, I have not, I would let you 
conquer the border States, and all west of the Mississippi, and 
then force you to acknowledge the cotton States. For do 
you not now begin to doubt whether you can conquer and 
hold them ? I have inflicted a long tirade on you. 

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

Yours most truly, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, March 6, [1863]. 
... I have been of course deeply interested by your book.* 
I have hardly any remarks worth sending, but will scribble a 
little on what most interested me. But I will first get out 
what I hate saying, viz., that I have been greatly disappointed 
that you have not given judgment and spoken fairly out what 
you think about the derivation of species. I should have 
been contented if you had boldly said that species have not 
been separately created, and had thrown as much doubt as 
you like on how far variation and natural selection suffices. 
I hope to Heaven I am wrong (and from what you say about 
Whewell it seems so), but I cannot see how your chapters can 
do more good than an extraordinary able review. I think 
the Parthenon is right, that you will leave the public in a fog. 
No doubt they may infer that as you give more space to 
myself, Wallace, and Hooker, than to Lamarck, you think 
more of us. But I had always thought that your judgment 

* ' Antiquity of Man.' 

1863.] ' ANTIQUITY OF MAN.' jgy 

would have been an epoch in the subject. All that is over 
with me, and I will only think on the admirable skill with 
which you have selected the striking points, and explained 
them. No praise can be too strong, in my opinion, for the 
inimitable chapter on language in comparison with species. 

* p. 505 — A sentence at the top of the page makes me 
groan. . . . 

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

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

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

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

* After speculating on the sudden appearance of individuals far above 
the average of the human race, Lyell asks if such leaps upwards in the 
scale of intellect may not " have cleared at one bound the space which 
separated the higher stage of the unprogressive intelligence of the inferior 
animals from the first and lowest form of improvable reason manifested by 


C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down, 12 [March, 1863]. 
My Dear Lyell, — I thank you for your very interesting 
and kind, I may say, charming letter. I feared you might be 
huffed for a little time with me. I know some men would 
have been so. I have hardly any more criticisms, anyhow, 
worth writing. But I may mention that I felt a little surprise 
that old B. de Perthes * was not rather more honourably men- 
tioned. I would suggest whether you could not leave out 
some references to the ' Principles ; ' one for the real student 
is as good as a hundred, and it is rather irritating, and gives 
a feeling of incompleteness to the general reader to be often 
referred to other books. As you say that you have gone as far 
as you believe on the species question, I have not a word to 
say ; but I must feel convinced that at times, judging from 
conversation, expressions, letters, &c, you have as completely 
given up belief in immutability of specific forms as I have 
done. I must still think a clear expression from you, if you 
could have given it, would have been potent with the public, 
and all the more so, as you formerly held opposite opinions. 
The more I work the more satisfied I become with variation 
and natural selection, but that part of the case I look at as 
less important, though more interesting to me personally. As 
you ask for criticisms on this head (and believe me that 
I should not have made them unasked), I may specify 
(pp. 412, 413) that such words as u Mr. D. labours to show," 
" is believed by the author to throw light/' would lead a 
common reader to think that you yourself do not at all agree, 
but merely think it fair to give my opinion. Lastly, you 
refer repeatedly to my view as a modification of Lamarck's 
doctrine of development and progression. If this is your 
deliberate opinion there is nothing to be said, but it does 
not seem so to me. Plato, Buffon, my grandfather before 

* Born 1788, died 1868. See footnote, p. 200. 

1863.] 'ANTIQUITY OF MAN.' I99 

Lamarck, and others, propounded the obvious views that if 
species were not created separately they must have descended 
from other species, and I can see nothing else in common 
between the * Origin ' and Lamarck. I believe this way of 
putting the case is very injurious to its acceptance, as it 
implies necessary progression, and closely connects Wallace's 
and my views with what I consider, after two deliberate 
readings, as a wretched book, and one from which (I well 
remember my surprise) I gained nothing. But I know you 
rank it higher, which is curious, as it did not in the least 
shake your belief. But enough, and more than enough. 
Please remember you have brought it all down on yourself ! ! 

I am very sorry to hear about Falconer's " reclamation. " * 
I hate the very word, and have a sincere affection for him. 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 


Down [March 13, 1863]. 
I should have thanked you sooner for the Athenceum and 
very pleasant previous note, but I have been busy, and not a 
little uncomfortable from frequent uneasy feeling of fullness, 
slight pain and tickling about the heart. But as I have no 
other symptoms of heart complaint I do not suppose it is 
affected I have had a most kind and delightfully can- 
did letter from Lyell, who says he spoke out as far as he be- 

* " Falconer, whom I referred to oftener than to any other author, says 
I have not done justice to the part he took in resuscitating the cave ques- 
tion, and says he shall come out with a separate paper to prove it. I of- 
fered to alter anything in the new edition, but this he declined."— C. Lyell 
to C. Darwin, March n, 1863 ; Ly ell's ' Life,' vol. ii. p. 364. 

f ' Man's Place in Nature,' 1863. 


lieves. I have no doubt his belief failed him as he wrote, for 
I feel sure that at times he no more believed in Creation than 
you or I. I have grumbled a bit in my answer to him at his 
always classing my work as a modification of Lamarck's, 
which it is no more than any author who did not believe in 
immutability of species, and did believe in descent. I am 
very sorry to hear from Lyell that Falconer is going to pub- 
lish a formal reclamation of his own claims. . . . 

It is cruel to think of it, but we must go to Malvern in 
the middle of April ; it is ruin to me.* . . . 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, March 17 [1863]. 

My dear Lyell, — I have been much interested by your 
letters and enclosure, and thank you sincerely for giving me 
so much time when you must be so busy. What a curious 
letter from B. de P. [Boucher de Perthes]. He seems per- 
fectly satisfied, and must be a very amiable man. I know 
something about his errors, and looked at his book many 
years ago, and am ashamed to think that I concluded the 
whole was rubbish ! Yet he has done for man something 
like what Agassiz did for glaciers.f 

I cannot say that I agree with Hooker about the public 
not liking to be told what to conclude, if coming fro??i one in 
your position. But I am heartily sorry that I was led to make 
complaints, or something very like complaints, on the man- 
ner in which you have treated the subject, and still more so 
anything about myself. I steadily endeavour never to forget 
my firm belief that no one can at all judge about his own 

* He went to Hartfield in Sussex, on April 27, and to Malvern in the 

f In his * Antiquites Celtiques' (1847), Boucher de Perthes described 
the flint tools found at Abbeville with bones of rhinoceros, hycena, &c. 
" But the scientific world had no faith in the statement that works of art, 
however rude, had been met with in undisturbed beds of such antiquity." 
(' Antiquity of Man/ first edition, p. 95). 

1863.] 'ANTIQUITY OF MAN.' 201 

work. As for Lamarck, as you have such a man as Grove 
with you, you are triumphant ; not that I can alter my opin- 
ion that to me it was an absolutely useless book. Perhaps 
this was owing to my always searching books for facts, per- 
haps from knowing my grandfather's earlier and identically 
the same speculation. I will only further say that if I can 
analyse my own feelings (a very doubtful process), it is near- 
ly as much for your sake as for my own, that I so much wish 
that your state of belief could have permitted you to say 
boldly and distinctly out that species were not separately 
created. I have generally told you the progress of opinion, 
as I have heard it, on the species question, A first-rate Ger- 
man naturalist * (I now forget the name !), who has lately 
published a grand folio, has spoken out to the utmost extent 
on the ' Origin/ De Candolle, in a very good paper on 
"Oaks/' goes, in Asa Gray's opinion, as far as he himself 
does ; but De Candolle, in writing to me, says we, " we think 
this and that ; " so that I infer he really goes to the full ex- 
tent with me, and tells me of a French good botanical palae- 
ontologist (name forgotten), f who writes to De Candolle that 
he is sure that my views will ultimately prevail. But I did 
not intend to have written all this. It satisfies me with the 
final results, but this result, I begin to see, wffl take two or 
three lifetimes. The entomologists are enough to keep the 
subject back for half a century. I really pity your having to 
balance the claims of so many eager aspirants for notice ; it 
is clearly impossible to satisfy all. . . . Certainly I was struck 
with the full and due honour you conferred on Falconer. 
I have just had a note from Hooker. ... I am heartily glad 
that you have made him so conspicuous ; he is so honest, so 
candid, and so modest. . . . 

I have read . I could find nothing to lay hold of, 

* No doubt Haeckel, whose monograph on the Radiolaria was pub- 
lished in 1862. In the same year Professor W. Preyer of Jena published 
a Dissertation on A lea impennis, which was one of the earliest pieces of 
special work on the basis of the ' Origin of Species.' 

f The Marquis de Saporta. 


which in one sense I am very glad of, as I should hate a con- 
troversy ; but in another sense I am very sorry for, as I long 
to be in the same boat with all my friends. ... I am hearti- 
ly glad the book is going off so well. 

Ever yours, 

C* Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down [March 29, 1863]. 
. . . Many thanks for Athenceum, received this morning, 
and to be returned to-morrow morning. Who would have 
ever thought of the old stupid Athenceum taking to Oken-like 
transcendental philosophy written in Owenian style ! * . . . . 
It will be some time before we see u slime, protoplasm, &c.," 
generating a new animal.f But I have long regretted that I 

* This refers to a review of Dr. Carpenter's € Introduction to the study 
of Foraminifera, ' that appeared in the Athence urn of March 28, 1863 (p. 
417). The reviewer attacks Dr. Carpenter's views in as much as they sup- 
port the doctrine of Descent ; and he upholds spontaneous generation 
(Heterogeny) in place of what Dr. Carpenter, naturally enough, believed 
in, viz. the genetic connection of living and extinct Foraminifera. In the 
next number is a letter by Dr. Carpenter, which chiefly consists of a pro- 
test against the reviewer's somewhat contemptuous classification of Dr. 
Carpenter and my father as disciple and master. In the course of the let- 
ter Dr. Carpenter says — p. 461 : — 

" Under the influence of his foregone conclusion that I have accepted 
Mr. Darwin as my master, and his hypothesis as my guide, your reviewer 
represents me as blind to the significance of the general fact stated by me, 
that ' there has been no advance in the foraminiferous type from the palaeo- 
zoic period to the present time/ But for such a foregone conclusion he 
would have recognised in this statement the expression of my conviction 
that the present state of scientific evidence, instead of sanctioning the idea 
that the descendants of the primitive type or types of Foraminifera can ever 
rise to any higher grade, justifies the anti- Darwinian inference, that how- 
ever widely they diverge from each other and from their originals, they 
still remain Foraminifera" 

\ On the same subject my father wrote in 1871 : " It is often said that 
all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now 
present, which could ever have been present. But if (and oh ! what a big 

1863.] THE 'ATHEN^ZUM/ 203 

truckled to public opinion, and used the Pentateuchal term 
of creation,* by which I really meant " appeared " by some 
wholly unknown process. It is mere rubbish, thinking at 
present of the origin of life ; one might as well think of the 
origin of matter. 

C. Darwin to J, D. Hooker. 

Down, Friday night [April 17, 1863]. 

My dear Hooker, — I have heard from Oliver that you 
will be now at Kew, and so I am going to amuse myself by 
scribbling a bit. I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed your 
tour. I never in my life saw anything like the spring flowers 
this year. What a lot of interesting things have been lately 
published. I liked extremely your review of De Candolle. 
What an awfully severe article that by Falconer on Lyell ; \ 
I am very sorry for it ; I think Falconer on his side does not 

if !) we could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia 
and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, &c, present, that a proteine 
compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex 
changes, at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or 
absorbed, which would not have been the case before living#ereatures were 

* This refers to a passage in which the reviewer of Dr. Carpenter's 
books speaks of " an operation of force," or " a concurrence of forces which 
have now no place in nature," as being, a a creative force, in fact, which 
Darwin could only express in Pentateuchal terms as the primordial form 
* into which life was first breathed.' " The conception of expressing a 
creative force as a primordial form is the Reviewer's. 

f Athenceum, April 4, 1863, p. 459. The writer asserts that justice has 

not been done either to himself or Mr. Prestwich — that Lyell has not made 

it clear that it was their original work which supplied certain material for 

the l Antiquity of Man.' Falconer attempts to draw an unjust distinction 

between a " philosopher " (here used as a polite word for compiler) like 

Sir Charles Lyell, and original observers, presumably such as himself, and 

Mr. Prestwich. Ly ell's reply was published in the Athenceum, April 18, 

1863. It ought to be mentioned that a letter from Mr. Prestwich (Athe- 

ncBwn, p. 555), which formed part of the controversy, though of the nature 

of a reclamation, was written in a very different spirit and tone from Dr, 




do justice to old Perthes and Schmerling. .... I shall be 
very curious to see how he [Lyell] answers it to-morrow. (I 
have been compelled to take in the Athenaeum for a while.) I 
am very sorry that Falconer should have written so spitefully, 
even if there is some truth in his accusations ; I was rather 
disappointed in Carpenter's letter, no one could have given a 
better answer, but the chief object of his letter seems to me 
to be to show that though he has touched pitch he is not de- 
filed. No one would suppose he went so far as to believe all 
birds came from one progenitor. I have written a letter to 
the Athenaeum,* (the first and last time I shall take such a step) 
to say, under the cloak of attacking Heterogeny, a word in 
my own defence. My letter is to appear next week, so the 
Editor says ; and I mean to quote Lyell's sentence f in his 
second edition, on the principle if one puffs oneself, one had 
better puff handsomely. . . . 

* Athenceum^ 1863, p. 554: " The view given by me on the origin or 
derivation of species, whatever its weaknesses may be, connects (as has 
been candidly admitted by some of its opponents, such as Pictet, Bronn, 
&c), by an intelligible thread of reasoning, a multitude of facts: such as 
the formation of domestic races by man's selection, — the classification and 
affinities of all organic beings, — the innumerable gradations in structure 
and instincts, — the similarity of pattern in the hand, wing, or paddle of 
animals of the same great class, — the existence of organs become rudimen- 
tary by disuse, — the similarity of an embryonic reptile, bird, and mammal, 
with the retention of traces of an apparatus fitted for aquatic respiration ; 
the retention in the young calf of incisor teeth in the upper jaw, &c. — the 
distribution of animals and plants, and their mutual affinities within the 
same region, — their general geological succession, and the close relation- 
ship of the fossils in closely consecutive formations and within the same 
country ; extinct marsupials having preceded living marsupials in Aus- 
tralia, and armadillo-like animals having preceded and generated armadil- 
loes in South America, — and many other phenomena, such as the gradual 
extinction of old forms and their gradual replacement by new forms better 
fitted for their new conditions in the struggle for life. When the advocate 
of Heterogeny can thus connect large classes of facts, and not until then, 
he will have respectful and patient listeners." 

f See the next letter. 


C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, April 18 [1863]. 
My dear Lyell, — I was really quite sorry that you had 
sent me a second copy * of your valuable book. But after a 
few hours my sorrow vanished for this reason : I have written 
a letter to the Athenceurn, in order, under the cloak of attack- 
ing the monstrous article on Heterogeny, to say a word for 
myself in answer to Carpenter, and now I have inserted a 
few sentences in allusion to your analagous objection f about 
bats on islands, and then with infinite slyness have quoted 
your amended sentence, with your parenthesis (" as I fully 
believe ") J ; I do not think you can be annoyed at my doing 
this, and you see, that I am determined as far as I can, that 
the public shall see how far you go. This is the first time I 
have ever said a word for myself in any journal, and it shall, 
I think, be the last. My letter is short, and no great things. 
I was extremely concerned to see Falconer's disrespectful 
and virulent letter. I like extremely your answer just read ; 
you take a lofty and dignified position, to which you are so 

well entitled. § 

■ -+ 

* The second edit, of the * Antiquity of Man' was published a few 
months after the first had appeared. 

f Lyell objected that the mammalia (e.g. bats and seals) which alone 
have been able to reach oceanic islands ought to have become modified 
into various terrestrial forms fitted to fill various places in their new home. 
My father pointed out in the Athceenum that Sir Charles has in some measu 
answered his own objection, and went on to quote the "amended sen- 
tence" (' Antiquity of Man,' 2nd Edit. p. 469) as showing how far Lyell 
agreed with the general doctrines of the ' Origin of Species ' : " Yet we 
ought by no means to undervalue the importance of the step which will 
have been made, should it hereafter become the generally received opin- 
ion of men of science (as I fully expect it will) that the past changes of 
the organic world have been brought about by the subordinate agency of 
such causes as Variation and Natural Selection." In the first edition the 
words " as I fully expect it will," do not occur. 

% My father here quotes Lyell incorrectly ; see the previous foot- 

§ In a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker he wrote : " I much like Lyell's letter. 


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

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

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

Down, May 5 [1863]. 
I hope that you will grant me space to own that your 
reviewer is quiet correct when he states that any theory of 
descent will connect, " by an intelligible thread of reasoning," 
the several generalizations before specified. I ought to have 
made this admission expressly; with the reservation, how- 

But all this squabbling will greatly sink scientific men. I have seen sneers 
already in the Times." 

**It is to this affair that the extract from a letter to Falconer, given 
vol. i. p. 134, refers. 


ever, that, as far as I can judge, no theory so well explains 
or connects these several generalizations (more especially the 
formation of domestic races in comparison with natural spe- 
cies, the principles of classification, embryonic resemblance, 
&c.) as the theory, or hypothesis, or guess, if the reviewer so 
likes to call it, of Natural Selection. Nor has any other 
satisfactory explanation been ever offered of the almost per- 
fect adaptation of all organic beings to each other, and to 
their physical conditions of life. Whether the naturalist 
believes in the views given by Lamarck, by Geoffroy St. 
Hilaire, by the author of the ' Vestiges,' by Mr. Wallace and 
myseif, or in any other such view, signifies extremely little in 
comparison with the admission that species have descended 
from other species, and have not been created immutable ; 
for he who admits this as a great truth has a wide field 
opened to him for further inquiry. I believe, however, from 
what I see of the progress of opinion on the Continent, and 
in this country, that the theory of Natural Selection will 
ultimately be adopted, with, no doubt, many subordinate 
modifications and improvements. 

Charles Darwin. 

[In the following, he refers to the above letter to^he Athe- 
naeum, .•] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Leith Hill Place, 

Saturday [May II, 1863]. 

My dear Hooker, — You give good advice about not 
writing in newspapers ; I have been gnashing my teeth at my 

own folly ; and this not caused by — 's sneers, which 

were so good that I almost enjoyed them. I have written 
once again to own to a certain extent of truth in what he 
says, and then if I am ever such a fool again, have no mercy 
on me. I have read the squib in Public Opinion ; * it is capi- 

* Public Opinion, April 23, 1863. A lively account of a police case, in 
which the quarrels of scientific men are satirised. Mr. John Bull gives 
evidence that — 


tal ; if there is more, and you have a copy, do lend it. It 
shows well that a scientific man had better be trampled in 
dirt than squabble. I have been drawing diagrams, dissect- 
ing shoots, and muddling my brains to a hopeless degree 
about the divergence of leaves, and have of course utterly 
failed. But I can see that the subject is most curious, and 
indeed astonishing 

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

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

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

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

" The gentleman smiled, shook his head, and stated that he regretted 
to say that no class of men paid so little attention to the opinions of the 
clergy as that to which these unhappy men belonged." 

1863.] MR. BENTHAM. 209 

C. Darwin to G. Bentham. 

Down, May 22 [1863]. 

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

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

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 


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

C. Darwin to G. Benthani. 

Down, June 19 [1863]. 
My dear Bentham, — I have been extremely much pleased 
and interested by your address, which you kindly sent me. 
It seems to be excellently done, with as much judicial calm- 
ness and impartiality as the Lord Chancellor could have 
shown. But whether the " immutable " gentlemen would 
agree with the impartiality may be doubted, there is too much 
kindness shown towards me, Hooker, and others, they might 
say. Moreover I verily believe that your address, written as 
it is, will do more to shake the unshaken and bring on those 
leaning to our side, than anything written directly in favor of 
transmutation. I can hardly tell why it is, but your address 
has pleased me as much as Lyell's book disappointed me, 
that is, the part on species, though so cleverly written. I 
agree with all your remarks on the reviewers. By the way, 
Lecoq * is a believer in the change of species. I, for one, can 

* Author of ' G£ographie Botanique.' 9 vols. 1854-58. 

1864.] ILLNESS. 211 

conscientiously declare that I never feel surprised at any one 
sticking to the belief of immutability ; though I am often not 
a little surprised at the arguments advanced on this side. I 
remember too well my endless oscillations of doubt and diffi- 
culty. It is to me really laughable when I think of the years 
which elapsed before I saw what I believe to be the explana- 
tion of some parts of the case ; I believe it was fifteen years 
after I began before I saw the meaning and cause of the di- 
vergence of the descendants of any one pair. You pay me 
some most elegant and pleasing compliments. There is much 
in your address which has pleased me much, especially your 
remarks on various naturalists. I am so glad that you have 
alluded so honourably to Pasteur. I have just read over this 
note ; it does not express strongly enough the interest which 
I have felt in reading your address. You have done, I be- 
lieve, a real good turn to the right side. Believe me, dear 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 


[In my father's diary for 1864 is the entry, " 111 all Janu- 
ary, February, March/' About the middle of Aprif(seven 
months after the beginning of the illness in the previous 
autumn) his health took a turn for the better. As soon as he 
was able to do any work, he began to write his papers on 
Lythrum, and on Climbing Plants, so that the work which 
now concerns us did not begin until September, when he 
again set to work on 'Animals and Plants.' A letter to Sir 
J. D. Hooker gives some account of the re-commencement 
of the work : " I have begun looking over my old MS., and 
it is as fresh as if I had never written it ; parts are astonish- 
ingly dull, but yet worth printing, I think ; and other parts 
strike me as very good. I am a complete millionaire in odd 
and curious little facts, and I have been really astounded at 
my own industry whilst reading my chapters on Inheritance 
and Selection. God knows when the book will ever be com- 


pleted, for I find that I am very weak and on ray best days 
cannot do more than one or one and a half hours' work. It 
is a good deal harder than writing about my dear climbing 

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

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

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

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

He wrote to Mr. Huxley : — 

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

Sir Charles Lyell, writing to my father in November 1864 
(' Life,' vol. ii. p. 384), speaks of the supposed malcontents 
as being afraid to crown anything so unorthodox as the 
'Origin.' But he adds that if such were their feelings "they 
had the good sense to draw in their horns." It appears, how- 

1864.] COPLEY MEDAL. 21 3 

ever, from the same letter, that the proposal to give the Cop- 
ley Medal to my father in the previous year failed owing to 
a similar want of courage — to Lyell's great indignation. 

In the Reader, December 3, 1864, General Sabine's presi- 
dential address at the Anniversary Meeting is reported at 
some length. Special weight was laid on my father's work 
in Geology, Zoology, and Botany, but the ' Origin of Species ' 
is praised chiefly as containing "a. mass of observations," &c. 
It is curious that as in the case of his election to the French 
Institute, so in this case, he was honored not for the great 
work of his life, but for his less important work in special 
lines. The paragraph in General Sabine's address which re- 
fers to the ' Origin of Species,' is as follows : — 

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

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

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


C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, Oct. 3 [1864]. 

My dear Huxley, — If I do not pour out my admiration 
of your article * on Kolliker, I shall explode. I never read 
anything better done. I had much wished his article an- 
swered, and indeed thought of doing so myself, so that I con- 
sidered several points. You have hit on all, and on some in 
addition, and oh ! by Jove, how well you have done it. As 
I read on and came to point after point on which I had 
thought, I could not help jeering and scoffing at myself, to 
see how infinitely better you had done it than I could have 
done. Well, if any one, who does not understand Natural 
Selection, will read this, he will be a blockhead if it is not as 
as clear as daylight. Old Flourens f was hardly worth the 
powder and shot ; but how capitally you bring in about the 
Academician, and your metaphor of the sea-sand is inimitable. 

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

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

" M. Darwin continue: * Aucune distinction absolue n'a 
£te et ne peut etre £tablie entre les especes et les varietesf 

* "Criticisms on the Origin of Species," 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1864. 
Republished in 'Lay Sermons,' 1870, p. 328. The work of Professor 
Kolliker referred to is ' Ueber die Darwin'sche Schopfungstheorie' (Leip- 
zig, 1864). Toward Professor Kolliker my father felt not only the respect 
due to so distinguished a naturalist (a sentiment well expressed in Pro- 
fessor Huxley's review), but he had also a personal regard for him, and 
often alluded with satisfaction to the visit which Professor Kolliker paid 
at Dow T n. 

f ' Examen du livre de M. Darwin sur l'origine des especes.' Par P. 
Flourens. 8vo. Paris, 1864. 

1865.] M. FLOURENS. 21 5 

Je vous ai deja dit que vous vous trompiez; une distinction 
absolue separe les varietes d'avec les especes." Mr. Huxley 
remarks on this, " Being devoid of the blessings of an Acade- 
my in England, we are unaccustomed to see our ablest men 
treated in this way even by a Perpetual Secretary." After 
demonstrating M. Flourens' misapprehension of Natural Se- 
lection, Mr. Huxley says, " How one knows it all by heart, 
and with what relief one reads at p. 65, 'Je laisse M. Dar- 
win/ " 

On the same subject my father wrote to Mr. Wallace : — 
"A great gun, Flourens, has written a little dull book 
against me which pleases me much, for it is plain that our 
good work is spreading in France. He speaks of the 
" engouement " about this book [the ' Origin 'J "so full of 
empty and presumptuous thoughts." The passage here al- 
luded to is as follows : — 

" Enfln Touvrage' de M. Darwin a paru. On ne peut 
qu'etre frappe du talent de l'auteur. Mais que d'idees ob- 
scures, que d'idees fausses ! Quel jargon metaphysique jete 
mal a propos dans Thistoire naturelle, qui tombe dans le 
galimatias des qu'elle sort des idees claires, des idees justes. 
Quel langage pretentieux et vide ! Quelles personifications 
pueriles et surannees ! O lucidite ! O solidite* de Pesprit 
francais, que devenez-vous ? "] 


[This was again a time of much ill-health, but towards the 
close of the year he began to recover under the care of the 
late Dr. Bence-Jones, who dieted him severely, and as he 
expressed it, " half-starved him to death." He was able to 
work at ' Animals and Plants ' until nearly the end of April, 
and from that time until December he did practically no work, 
with the exception of looking over the ' Origin of Species ' 
for a second French edition. He wrote to Sir J* D. Hooker : 
— " I am, as it were, reading the ' Origin * for the first time, 
for I am correcting for a second French edition : and upon 


my life, my dear fellow, it is a very good book, but oh ! my 
gracious, it is tough reading, and I wish it were done." * 

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

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, January 22, 1865. 
My dear Lyell, — I thank you for your very interesting 
letter. I have the true English instinctive reverence for rank, 
and therefore liked to hear about the Princess Royal. f You 
ask what I think of the Duke's address, and I shall be glad to 
tell you. It seems to me extremely clever, like everything I 
have read of his ; but I am not shaken — perhaps you will say 
that neither gods nor men could shake me. I demur to the 
Duke reiterating his objection that the brilliant plumage of 
the male humming-bird could not have been acquired through 
selection, at the same time entirely ignoring my discussion 
(p. 93, 3rd edition) on beautiful plumage being acquired 

* Towards the end of the year my father received the news of a new 
convert to his views, in the person of the distinguished American natural- 
ist Lesquereux. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : " I have had an enormous 
letter from Leo Lesquereux (after doubts, I did not think it worth send- 
ing you) on Coal Flora. He wrote some excellent articles in ' Silliman ' 
against ' Origin ' views ; but he says now, after repeated reading of the 
book, he is a convert ! " 

f " I had ... an animated conversation on Darwinism with the Prin- 
cess Royal, who is a worthy daughter of her father, in the reading of good 
books, and thinking of what she reads. She was very much au fait at the 
'Origin,' and Huxley's book, the \ Antiquity,' &c."— (Lyell's ■ Life,' vol. 
ii. p. 385.) 

1865.] DUKE OF ARGYLL. 217 

through sexual selection. The duke may think this insuffi- 
cient, but that is another question. All analogy makes me 
quite disagree with the Duke that the difference in the beak, 
wing and tail, are not of importance to the several species. 
In the only two species which I have watched, the difference 
in flight and in the use of the tail was conspicuously great. 

The Duke, who knows my Orchid book so well, might 
have learnt a lesson of caution from it, with respect to his 
doctrine of differences for mere variety or beauty. It may be 
confidently said that no tribe of plants presents such grotesque 
and beautiful differences, which no one until lately, con- 
jectured were of any use ; but now in almost every case I 
have been able to show their important service. It should 
be remembered that with humming-birds or orchids, a modi- 
fication in one part will cause correlated changes in other 
parts. I agree with what you say about beauty. I formerly 
thought a good deal on the subject, and was led quite to 
repudiate the doctrine of beauty being created for beauty's 
sake. I demur also to the Duke's expression of " new 
births." That may be a very good theory, but it is not mine, 
unless indeed he calls a bird born with a beak ToT tri °f an 
inch longer than usual " a new birth ; " but this is not the 
sense in which the term would usually be understood. The 
more I work the more I feel convinced that it is by the 
accumulation of such extremely slight variations that new 
species arise. I do not plead guilty to the Duke's charge 
that I forget that natural selection means only the preserva- 
tion of variations which independently arise.* I have ex- 
pressed this in as strong language as I could use, but it would 
have been infinitely tedious had I on every occasion thus 
guarded myself. I will cry " peccavi " when I hear of the 
Duke or you attacking breeders for saying that man has 

* " Strickly speaking, therefore, Mr. Darwin's theory is not a theory on 
the Origin of Species at all, but only a theory on the causes which lead to 
the relative success and failure of such new forms as may be born into the 
world." — Scotsman, Dec. 6, 1864. 


made his improved shorthorns, or pouter pigeons, or ban- 
tams. And I could quote still stronger expressions used by- 
agriculturists. Man does make his artificial breeds, for his 
selective power is of such importance relatively to that of the 
slight spontaneous variations. But no one will attack breeders 
for using such expressions, and the rising generation will not 
blame me. 

Many thanks for your offer of sending me the 4 Ele- 
ments.' * I hope to read it all, but unfortunately reading 
makes my head whiz more than anything else. I am able 
most days to work for two or three hours, and this makes all 
the difference in my happiness. I have resolved not to be 
tempted astray, and to publish nothing till my volume on 
Variation is completed. You gave me excellent advice about 
the footnotes in my Dog chapter, but their alteration gave 
me infinite trouble, and I often wished all the dogs, and I 
fear sometimes you yourself, in the nether regions. 

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

Yours affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

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

[In his autobiographical sketch my father has remarked 
(p. 36) that owing to certain early memories he felt the hon- 
our of being elected to the Royal and Royal Medical Socie- 
ties of Edinburgh " more than any similar honour/' The 
following extract from a letter to Sir Joseph Hooker refers 
to his election to the former of these societies. The latter 
part of the extract refers to the Berlin Academy, to which he 
was elected in 1878 : — 

" Here is a really curious thing, considering that Brewster 
is President and Balfour Secretary. I have been elected 
Honorary Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. And 

* Sixth edition in one volume. 

i86 5 .] LYELL'S 'ELEMENTS/ 219 

this leads me to a third question. Does the Berlin Academy 
of Sciences send their Proceedings to Honorary Members ? 
I want to know, to ascertain whether I am a member ; I sup- 
pose not, for I think it would have made some impression 
on me ; yet I distinctly remember receiving some diploma 
signed by Ehrenberg. I have been so careless ; I have lost 
several diplomas, and now I want to know what Societies I 
belong to, as I observe every [one] tacks their titles to their 
names in the catalogue of the Royal Soc."] 

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down, Feb. 21 [1865]. ' 

My dear Lyell, — I have taken a long time to thank you 
very much for your present of the * Elements/ 

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

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

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

I want to make a suggestion to you. I found the weight 

of your volume intolerable, especially when lying down, so 

with great boldness cut it into two pieces, and took it out of 

its cover; now could not Murray without any other change 



add to his advertisement a line saying, " if bound in two vol- 
umes, one shilling or one shilling and sixpence extra." You 
thus might originate a change which would be a blessing to 
all weak-handed readers. 

Believe me, my dear Lyell, 

Yours most sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

Originate a second real blessing and have the edges of the 
sheets cut like a bound book.* 

C. Darwin to John Lubbock. 

Down, June 11 [1865]. 

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

I do sincerely wish you all success in your election and in 

* This was a favourite reform of my father's. He wrote to the A the- 
nceum on the subject, Feb. 5, 1867, pointing out how that a book cut, even 
carefully, with a paper knife collects dust on its edges far more than a ma- 
chine-cut book. He goes on to quote the case of a lady of his acquaint- 
ance who was in the habit of cutting books with her thumb, and finally 
appeals to the Athenaum to earn the gratitude of children "who have to 
cut through dry and pictureless books for the benefit of their elders." He 
tried to introduce the reform in the case of his own books, but found the 
conservatism of booksellers too strong for him. The presentation copies, 
however, of all his later books were sent out with the edges cut. 

f * Prehistoric Times,' 1865. 

1865.] FRITZ MULLER. 221 

politics; but after reading this last chapter, you must let me 
say : oh, dear ! oh, dear ! oh dear ! 

Yours affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. — You pay me a superb compliment,* but I fear you 
will be quizzed for it by some of your friends as too exag- 

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

C. Darwin to &\ Miiller. 

Down, August 10 [1865]. 
My bear Sir, — I have been for a long time so ill that I 
have only just finished hearing read aloud your work on spe- 
cies. And now you must permit me to thank you cordially 
for the great interest with which I have read it. You have 
done admirable service in the cause in which we both believe. 
Many of your arguments seem to me excellent, and many of 
your facts wonderful. Of the latter, nothing has surprised 
me so much as the two forms of males. I have lately inves- 
tigated the cases of dimorphic plants, and I should much like 
to send you one or two of my papers if I knew how. I did 

* * Prehistoric Times,' p. 487, where the words, " the discoveries of a 
Newton or a Darwin/' occur. 


send lately by post a paper on climbing plants, as an experi- 
ment to see whether it would reach you. One of the points 
which has struck me most in your paper is that on the differ- 
ences in the air-breathing apparatus of the several forms. 
This subject appeared to me very important when I formerly 
considered the electric apparatus of fishes. Your observa- 
tions on Classification and Embryology seem to me very good 
and original. They show what a wonderful field there is for 
enquiry on the development of Crustacea, and nothing has 
convinced me so plainly what admirable results we shall ar- 
rive at in Natural History in the course of a few years. What 
a marvellous range of structure the Crustacea present, and 
how well adapted they are for your enquiry ! Until reading 
your book I knew nothing of the Rhizocephala ; pray look at 
my account and figures of Anelasma, for it seems to me that 
this latter cirripede is a beautiful connecting link with the 

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

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

Believe me, dear Sir, with sincere respect, 

Yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. — I do not know whether you care at all about plants, 
but if so, I should much like to send you my little work on 

* See vol. ii., pp. 138, 187. 


the ' Fertilization of Orchids/ and I think I have a German 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Thursday, 27th [Sept., 1865]. 
My dear Hooker, — I had intended writing this morning 
to thank Mrs. Hooker most sincerely for her last and several 
notes about you, and now your own note in your hand has 
rejoiced me. To walk between five and six miles is splendid, 
with a little patience you must soon be well. I knew you had 
been very ill, but I hardly knew how ill, until yesterday, when 
Bentham (from the Cranworths*) called here, and I was able 
to see him for ten minutes. He told me also a little about 
the last days of your father ; f I wish I had known your father 
better, my impression is confined to his remarkably cordial, 
courteous, and frank bearing. I fully concur and understand 
what you say about the difference of feeling in the loss of a 
father and child. I do not think any one could love a father 
much more than I did mine, and I do not believe three or 
four days ever pass without my still thinking of him, but his 
death at eighty-four caused me nothing of that insufferable 
grief J which the loss of poor dear Annie caused. And this 

* Robert Rolfe, Lord Cranworth, and Lord Chancellor of England, 
lived at Holwood, near Down. 

f Sir William Hooker ; b. 1785, d. 1865. He took charge of the 
Royal Gardens at Kew, in 1840, when they ceased to be the private gar- 
dens of the Royal Family. In doing so, he gave up his professorship at 
Glasgow — and with it half of his income. He founded the herbarium and 
library, and within ten years he succeeded in making the gardens the first 
in the world. It is, thus, not too much to say that the creation of the es- 
tablishment at Kew is due to the abilities and self-devotion of Sir William 
Hooker. While, for the subsequent development of the gardens up to 
their present magnificent condition, the nation must thank Sir Joseph 
Hooker, in whom the same qualities are so conspicuous. 

\ I may quote here a passage from a letter of November, 1863. It was 


seems to me perfectly natural, for one knows that for years 
previously that one's father's death is drawing slowly nearer 
and nearer, while the death of one's child is a sudden and 
dreadful wrench. What a wonderful deal you read ; it is a 
horrid evil for me that I can read hardly anything, for it 
makes my head almost immediately begin to sing violently. 
My good womenkind read to me a great deal, but I dare not 
ask for much science, and am not sure that I could stand it. 
I enjoyed Tylor* extremely, and the first part ofLecky;f 
but I think the latter is often vague, and gives a false appear- 
ance of throwing light on his subject by such phrases as 
"spirit of the age," "spread of civilization," &c. I confine 
my reading to a quarter or half hour per day in skimming 
through the back volumes of the Annals and Magazine of 
Natural History, and find much that interests me. I miss 
my climbing plants very much, as I could observe them when 
very poorly. 

I did not enjoy the i Mill on the Floss ' so much as you, 
but from what you say we will read it again. Do you know 
' Silas Marner ' ? it is a charming little story ; if you run 
short, and like to have it, we could send it by post. . . . We 
have almost finished the first volume of Palgrave,J and I like 
it much ; but did you ever see a book so badly arranged ? 
The frequency of the allusions to what will be told in the 
future are quite laughable. ... By the way, I was very 
much pleased with the foot-note # about Wallace in Lubbock's 
last chapter. I had not heard that Huxley had backed up 

written to a friend who had lost his child : " How well I remember your 
feeling, when we lost Annie. It was my greatest comfort that I had never 
spoken a harsh word to her. Your grief has made me shed a few teati 
over our poor darling ; but believe me that these tears have lost that un- 
utterable bitterness of former days." 

* ' Researches into the Early History of Mankind,' by E B. Tylor. 1865. 
f ' The Rise of Rationalism in Europe,' by W. E. H. Lecky. 1865. 

X William Gifford Palgrave's * Travels in Arabia,' published in 1865. 

# The passage which seems to be referred to occurs in the text (p. 47q) 
of ' Prehistoric Times.' It expresses admiration of Mr. Wallace's paper in 

1865.] DR. WELLS— CANON FARRAR. 225 

Lubbock about Parliament. . . . Did you see a sneer some 
time ago in the Times about how incomparably more interest- 
ing politics were compared with science even to scientific 
men ? Remember what Trollope says, in * Can you Forgive 
her/ about getting into Parliament, as the highest earthly 
ambition. Jeffrey, in one of his letters, I remember, says 
that making an effective speech in Parliament is a far grander 
thing than writing the grandest history. All this seems to 
me a poor short-sighted view. I cannot tell you how it has 
rejoiced me once again seeing your handwriting — my best of 

old friends. 

Yours affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[In October he wrote Sir J. D. Hooker : — 
u Talking of the l Origin,' a Yankee has called my atten- 
tion to a paper attached to Dr. Wells's famous i Essay on 
Dew/ which was read in 1813 to the Royal Soc, but not 
[then] printed, in which he applies most distinctly the prin- 
ciple of Natural Selection to the Races of Man. So poor old 
Patrick Matthew is not the first, and he cannot, or ought not, 
any longer to put on his title-pages, ' Discoverer of the prin- 
ciple of Natural Selection ' ! "] 

C. Darwin to F. W. Farrar* 

Down, Nov. 2 [1865 ?]. 
Dear Sir, — As I have never studied the science of lan- 
guage, it may perhaps seem presumptuous, but I cannot re- 
sist the pleasure of telling you what interest and pleasure I 
have derived from hearing read aloud your volume. f 

I formerly read Max Miiller, and thought his theory (if it 
deserves to be called so) both obscure and weak ; and now, 

the * Anthropological Review ' (May, 1864), and speaks of the author's 
" characteristic unselfishness " in ascribing the theory of Natural Selection 
M unreservedly to Mr. Darwin." 

* Canon of Westminster. 

f * Chapters on Language,' 1865. 


after hearing what you say, I feel sure that this is the case, 
aad that your cause will ultimately triumph. My indirect 
interest in your book has been increased from Mr. Hensleigh 
Wedgwood, whom you often quote, being my brother-in-law. 

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

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

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

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

C. Darwin. 


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

" Continued correcting chapters of ' Domestic Animals.' 

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

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

Nov. 21st. — Finished i Pangenesis.' 

Dec. 21st. — Finished re-going over all chapters, and sent 
them to printers. 

Dec. 22nd. — Began concluding chapter of book." 

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

There seems to have been a gradual mending in his 

1866.] PANGENESIS. 227 

health; thus he wrote to Mr. Wallace (January 1866) : — 
" My health is so far improved that I am able to work one or 
two hours a day." 

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

" The new edition of the 4 Origin ' has caused me two 
great vexations. I forgot Bates's paper on variation,* but I 
remembered in time his mimetic work, and now, strange to 
say, I find I have forgotten your Arctic paper ! I know how 
it arose ; I indexed for my bigger work, and never expected 
that a new edition of the ' Origin ' would be wanted. 

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

In connection with his work on * The Variation of Ani- 
mals and Plants,' I give here extracts from three letters ad- 
dressed to Mr. Huxley, which are of interest as giving some 
idea of the development of the theory of ' Pangenesis,' ulti- 
mately published in 1868 in the book in question :] 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, May 27, [1865 ?]. 

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

The case stands thus : in my next book I shall publish 
long chapters on bud- and seminal-variation, on inheritance, 

* This appears to refer to " Notes on South American Butterflies/ 1 
Trans, Entomolog. Soc., vol. v. (n.s.). 


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

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

July 12, [1865?]. 
My dear Huxley, — I thank you most sincerely for hav- 
ing so carefully considered my MS. It has been a real act 
of kindness. It would have annoyed me extremely to have 
re-published Buffon's views, which I did not know of, but I 
will get the book; and if I have strength I will also read 
Bonnet. I do not doubt your judgment is perfectly just, 
and I will try to persuade myself not to publish. The whole 
affair is much too speculative ; yet I think some such view 
will have to be adopted, when I call to mind such facts as 
the inherited effects of use and disuse, &c. But I will try to 
be cautious. . . . 

My dear Huxley, — Forgive my writing in pencil, as I 
can do so lying down. I have read Buffon : whole pages 

1866.] PANGENESIS. 229 

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

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

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, July 5 [1866]. 

My dear Wallace, — I have been much interested by 

your letter, which is as clear as daylight. I fully agree with 

all that you say on the advantages of H. Spencer's excellent 

expression of "the survival of the fittest."* This, however, 

* Extract from a letter of Mr. Wallace's, July 2, 1866: "The term 
* survival of the fittest ' is the plain expression of the fact ; ' natural selec- 
tion' is a metaphorical expression of it, and to a certain degree indirect 
and incorrect, since . . . Nature . . . does not so much select special 
varieties as exterminate the most unfavourable ones." 


had not occurred to me till reading your letter. It is, how- 
ever, a great objection to this term that it cannot be used as 
a substantive governing a verb ; and that this is a real ob- 
jection I infer from H. Spencer continually using the words, 
natural selection. I formerly thought, probably in an exag- 
gerated degree, that it was a great advantage to bring into con- 
nection natural and artificial selection ; this indeed led me to 
use a term in common, and I still think it some advantage. 
I wish I had received your letter two months ago, for I would 
have worked in "the survival, &c.,' , often in the new edition 
of the ' Origin,' which is now almost printed off, and of which 
I will of course send you a copy. I will use the term in 
my next book on Domestic Animals, &c, from which, by the 
way, I plainly see that you expect much^ too much. The term 
Natural Selection has now been so largely used abroad and 
at home, that I doubt whether it could be given up, and with 
all its faults I should be sorry to see the attempt made. 
Whether it will be rejected must now depend "on the sur- 
vival of the fittest. ,, As in time the term must grow intelli- 
gible the objections to its use will grow weaker and weaker. 
I doubt whether the use of any term would have made the 
subject intelligible to some minds, clear as it is to others ; 
for do we not see even to the present day Malthus on Popu- 
lation absurdly misunderstood ? This reflection about Mal- 
thus has often comforted me when I have been vexed at the 
misstatement of my views. As for M. Janet,* he is a meta- 
physician, and such gentlemen are so acute that I think they 
often misunderstand common folk. Your criticism on the 
double sense f in which I have used Natural Selection is new 
to me and unanswerable ; but my blunder has done no harm, 
for I do not believe that any one, excepting you, has ever 

* This no doubt refers to Janet's ' Materialisme Contemporain.' 
f " I find you use * Natural Selection ' in two senses. 1st, for the sim- 
ple preservation of favourable and rejection of unfavourable variations, in 
which case it is equivalent to the * survival of the fittest/ — and 2ndly, for 
the effect or change produced by this preservation." Extract from Mr, 
Wallace's letter above quoted. 


observed it. Again, I agree that I have said too much about 
" favourable variations; " but I am inclined to think that you 
put the opposite side too strongly ; if every part of every 
being varied, I do not think we should see the same end, or 
object, gained by such wonderfully diversified means. 

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

Believe me, my dear Wallace, yours sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Aug. 30 [1866]. 

My dear Hooker, — I was very glad to get your note 
and the Notts. Newspaper. I have seldom been more pleased 
in my life than at hearing how successfully your lecture* 
went off. Mrs. H. Wedgwood sent us an account, saying 
that you read capitally, and were listened too with profound 
attention and great applause. She says, when your final 
allegory f began, " for a minute or two we were all mystified, 
and then came such bursts of applause from the audience. 
It was thoroughly enjoyed amid roars of laughter and noise, 
making a most brilliant conclusion. " 

I am rejoiced that you will publish your lecture, and felt 
sure that sooner or later it would come to this, indeed it 

* At the Nottingham meeting of the British Association, Aug. 27, 1866. 
The subject of the lecture was * Insular Floras.' See Gardener's Chronicle, 

f Sir Joseph Hooker allegorized the Oxford meeting of the British 
Association as the gathering of a tribe of savages who believed that the 
new moon was created afresh each month. The anger of the priests and 
medicine man at a certain heresy, according to which the new moon is but 
the offspring of the old one, is excellently given. 


would have been a sin if you had not done so. I am espe- 
cially rejoiced as you give the arguments for occasional trans- 
port, with such perfect fairness ; these will now receive a 
fair share of attention, as coming from you a professed bota- 
nist. Thanks also for Grove's address ; as a whole it strikes 
me as very good and original, but I was disappointed in the 
part about Species ; it dealt in such generalities that it would 

apply to any view or no view in particular 

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

whole meeting. 

Yours affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to Victor Carus. 

Down, November 10, 1866. 
My dear Sir, — I thank you for your extremely kind 
letter. I cannot express too strongly my satisfaction that you 
have undertaken the revision of the new edition, and I feel 
the honour which you have conferred on me. I fear that 
you will find the labour considerable, not only on account of 
the additions, but I suspect that Bronn's translation is very 
defective, at least I have heard complaints on this head from 

1866,] PROF. VICTOR CARUS. 233 

quite a large number of persons. It would be a great gratifi- 
cation to me to know that the translation was a really good 
one, such as I have no doubt you will produce. According 
to our English practice, you will be fully justified in entirely 
omitting Bronn's Appendix, and I shall be very glad of its 
omission. A new edition may be looked at as a new work. 
.... You could add anything of your own that you liked, 
and I should be much pleased. Should you make any addi- 
tions or append notes, it appears to me that Nageli " Ent- 
stehung und Begriff," &c.,* would be worth noticing, as one of 
the most able pamphlets on the subject. I am, however, far 
from agreeing with him that the acquisition of certain char- 
acters which appear to be of no service to plants, offers any 
great difficulty, or affords a proof of some innate tendency 
in plants towards perfection. If you intend to notice this 
pamphlet, I should like to write hereafter a little more in 
detail on the subject. 

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

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

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

I remain, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — I should be very much pleased to possess your 
photograph, and I send mine in case you should like to have 
a copy. 

* ' Entstehung und Begriff der Naturhistorischen Art.' An Address 
given at a public meeting of the ' R. Academy of Sciences' at Munich, 
Mar. 28, 1865. 


C. Darwin to C. Nageli* 

Down, June 12 [1866]. 

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

Many of your criticisms on my views are the best which I 
have met with, but I could answer some, at least to my own 
satisfaction ; and I regret extremely that I had not read your 
pamphlet before printing my new edition. On one or two 
points, I think, you have a little misunderstood me, though I 
dare say I have not been cautious in expressing myself. The 
remark which has struck me most, is that on the position of 
the leaves not having been acquired through natural selec- 
tion, from not being of any special importance to the plant. 
I well remember being formerly troubled by an analogous 
difficulty, namely, the position of the ovules, their anatropous 
condition, &c. It was owing to forgetfulness that I did not 
notice this difficulty in the ' Origin/ f Although I can offer 
no explanation of such facts, and only hope to see that they 
may be explained, yet I hardly see how they support the 
doctrine of some law of necessary development, for it is not 

* Professor of Botany at Munich. 

f Nageli's Essay is noticed in the 5th edition. 

1866.] NAGELI ON SPECIES. 235 

clear to me that a plant, with its leaves placed at some par- 
ticular angle, or with its ovules in some particular position, 
thus stands higher than another plant. But I must apologise 
for troubling you with these remarks. 

As I much wish to possess your photograph, I take the 
liberty of enclosing my own, and with sincere respect I re- 
main, dear Sir, Yours faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

To Dr. Falconer. 

August 26 [1863]. 

u Do you remember telling me that I ought to study Phyllo- 
taxy ? well I have often wished you at the bottom of the sea ; 
for I could not resist, and I muddled my brains with dia- 
grams, &c, and specimens, and made out, as might have 
been expected, nothing. Those angles are a most wonderful 
problem and I wish I could see some one give a rational ex- 
planation of them. ,, 

To Dr. Asa Gray. 

May 11 [1861]. 

" If you wish to save me from a miserable death, do tell 
me why the angles |-, -J, f, -§-, &c ., series occur, and no other 
angles. It is enough to drive the quietest man mad. Did 
you and some mathematician * publish some paper on, the 
subject? Hooker says you did; where is it? 

* Probably my father was thinking of Chauncey Wright's work on 
Phyllotaxy, in Gould's 'Astronomical Journal/ No. 99, 1856, and in the 
* Mathematical Monthly,' 1859. These papers are mentioned in the ' Let- 
ters of Chauncey Wright.' Mr. Wright corresponded with my father on 
the subject. 



To Dr. Asa Gray. 

[May 3T, 1863?]. 

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

My father also corresponded with Dr. Hubert Airy and 
was interested in his views on the subject, published in the 
Royal Soc. Proceedings, 1873, p. 176. 

We now return to the year 1866. 

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

" You will shriek at me when you hear that I have just 
subscribed to the Jamaica Committee." * 

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

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

* He subscribed £\o. 

x866.] GOVERNOR EYRE. 237 

room and sat on my bed, and said that he had not been able 
to sleep from the thought that he had been so angry with me, 
and after a few more kind words he left me." 

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

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

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

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

" I have always remembered the following little incident 
as a good example of Mr. Darwin's extreme solicitude on the 
score of accuracy. One evening at Down there was a gen- 
eral conversation upon the difficulty of explaining the evolu- 
tion of some of the distinctively human emotions, especially 
those appertaining to the recognition of beauty in natural 
scenery. I suggested a view of my own upon the subject, 
which, depending upon the principle of association, required 
the supposition that a long line of ancestors should have in- 
habited regions, the scenery of which is now regarded as 
beautiful. Just as I was about to observe that the chief diffi- 
culty attaching to my hypothesis arose from feelings of the 
sublime (seeing that these are associated with awe, and might 


therefore be expected not to be agreeable), Mr. Darwin an- 
ticipated the remark, by asking how the hypothesis was to 
meet the case of these feelings. In the conversation which 
followed, he said the occasion in his own life, when he was 
most affected by the emotions of the sublime was when he 
stood upon one of the summits of the Cordillera, and sur- 
veyed the magnificent prospect all around. It seemed, as he 
quaintly observed, as if his nerves had become fiddle-strings, 
and had all taken to rapidly vibrating. This remark was 
only made incidentally, and the conversation passed into 
some other branch. About an hour afterwards Mr. Darwin 
retired to rest, while I sat up in the smoking-room with one 
of his sons. We continued smoking and talking for several 
hours, when at about one o'clock in the morning the door 
gently opened and Mr. Darwin appeared, in his slippers and 
dressing-gown. As nearly as I can remember, the following 
are the words he used : — 

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

" This was all he had come to say, and it was evident that 
he had come to do so, because he thought that the fact of his 
feeling ' most sublime in forests ' was more in accordance 
with the hypothesis which we had been discussing, than the 
fact which he had previously stated. Now, as no one knew 
better than Mr. Darwin the difference between a speculation 
and a fact, I thought this little exhibition of scientific con- 
scientiousness very noteworthy, where the only question con- 
cerned was of so highly speculative a character. I should not 
have been so much impressed if he had thought that by his 
temporary failure of memory he had put me on a wrong scent 
in any matter of fact, although even in such a case he is the 

1866.] DISTRIBUTION. 239 

only man I ever knew who would care to get out of bed at 
such a time at night in order to make the correction immedi- 
ately, instead of waiting till next morning. But as the cor- 
rection only had reference to a flimsy hypothesis, I certainly 
was very much impressed by this display of character."] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, December 10 [1866]. 

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

.... I am heartily glad you are taking up the Distribu- 
tion of Plants in New Zealand, and suppose it will make 
part of your new book. Your view, as I understand it, 
that New Zealand subsided and formed two or more small 
islands, and then rose again, seems to me extremely proba- 
ble When I puzzled my brains about New Zealand, I 

remember I came to the conclusion, as indeed I state in the 
1 Origin/ that its flora, as well as that of other southern lands, 
had been tinctured by an Antarctic flora, which must have ex- 
isted before the Glacial period. I concluded that New Zea- 
land never could have been closely connected with Australia, 
though I supposed it had received some few Australian forms 
by occasional means of transport. Is there any reason to 
suppose that New Zealand could have been more closely 
connected with South Australia during the glacial period, 
when the Eucalypti, &c, might have been driven further 
North ? Apparently there remains only the line, which I 

# < 

Principles of Biology.' 


think you suggested, of sunken islands from New Caledonia. 

Please remember that the Edwardsia was certainly drifted 

there by the sea. 

I remember in old days speculating on the amount of life, 

i.e. of organic chemical change, at different periods. There 

seems to me one very difficult element in the problem, 

namely, the state of development of the organic beings at each 

period, for I presume that a Flora and Fauna of cellular 

cryptogamic plants, of Protozoa and Radiata would lead to 

much less chemical change than is now going on. But I have 

scribbled enough. 

Yours affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

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

C. Darwin to T. River s.\ 

Down, December 28 [1866?] 
My dear Sir, — Permit me to thank you cordially for 
your most kind letter. For years I have read with interest 

* " Mr. Dyer in ' Charles Darwin,' " Nature Series, 1882, p. 39. 
f The late Mr. Rivers was an eminent horticulturist and writer on 


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

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

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

My dear Sir, yours sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 


the publication of the * variation of animals and 
plants under domestication.' 

January 1867, to June 1868. 

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

" I cannot tell you how sorry I am to hear of the enor- 
mous size of my book.* I fear it can never pay. But I can- 
not shorten it now ; nor, indeed, if I had foreseen its length, 
do I see which parts ought to have been omitted. 

" If you are afraid to publish it, say so at once, I beg you, 
and I will consider your note as cancelled. If you think fit, 
get any one whose judgment you rely on, to look over some 
of the more legible chapters, namely, the Introduction, and 
on dogs and plants, the latter chapters being in my opinion, 
the dullest in the book. . . . The list of chapters, and the 
inspection of a few here and there, would give a good judge 

* On January 9 he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : " I have been these 
last few days vexed and annoyed to a foolish degree by hearing that my 
MS. on Dom. An. and Cult. Plants will make 2 vols., both bigger than the 
* Origin.' The volumes will have to be full-sized octavo, so I have writ- 
ten to Murray to suggest details to be printed in small type. But I feel 
that the size is quite ludicrous in relation to the subject. I am ready to 
swear at myself and at every fool who writes a book." 


a fair idea of the whole book. Pray do not publish blindly, 
as it would vex me all my life if I led you to heavy loss." 

Mr. Murray referred the MS. to a literary friend, and, in 
spite of a somewhat adverse opinion, willingly agreed to pub- 
lish the book. My father wrote : — 

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

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

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

"I began this book [in the] beginning of i860 (and then 
had some MS.), but owing to interruptions from my illness, 
and illness of children ; from various editions of the ' Origin/ 
and Papers, especially Orchis book and Tendrils, I have 
spent four years and two months over it." 

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

In 1867 ne received the distinction of being made a 
knight of the Prussian Order " Pour le Merite." * He seems 

* The Order " Pour le Merite " was founded in 1740 by Frederick II. 
by the re-christening of an "Order of Generosity," founded in 1665. It 
was at one time strictly military, having been previously both civil and 
military, and in 1840 the Order was again opened to civilians. The order 
consists of thirty members of German extraction, but distinguished foreign- 
ers are admitted to a kind of extraordinary membership. Faraday, Her- 
schel, and Thomas Moore, have belonged to it in this way. From the 


not to have known how great the distinction was, for in June 
1868 he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : — 

"What a man you are for sympathy. I was made 
" Eques " some months ago, but did not think much about it. 

Now, by Jove, we all do ; but you, in fact, have knighted 


The letters may now take up the story.] 

C. Darwin to J. JD. Hooker. 

Down, February 8 [1867]. 
My dear Hooker, — I am heartily glad that you have 
been offered the Presidentship of the British Association, for 
it is a great honour, and as you have so much work to do, I 
am equally glad that you have declined it. I feel, however, 
convinced that you would have succeeded very well ; but if 
I fancy myself in such a position, it actually makes my blood 
run cold. I look back with amazement at the skill and taste 
with which the Duke of Argyll made a multitude of little 
speeches at Glasgow. By the way, I have not seen the 
Duke's book,* but I formerly thought that some of the arti- 
cles which appeared in periodicals were very clever, but not 
very profound. One of these was reviewed in the Saturday 
Review f some years ago, and the fallacy of some main argu- 
ment was admirably exposed, and I sent the article to you, 
and you agreed strongly with it. . . . There was the other 
day a rather good review of the Duke's book in the Spectator, 
and with a new explanation, either by the Duke or the re- 
viewer (I could not make out which), of rudimentary organs, 
namely, that economy of labour and material was a great 

thirty members a chancellor is elected by the king (the first officer of this 
kind was Alexander v. Humboldt) ; and it is the duty of the chancellor to 
notify a vacancy in the Order to the remainder of the thirty, who then 
elect by vote the new member — but the king has technically the appoint- 
ment in his own hands. 

* ' The Reign of Law/ 1867. 

f Sat. Review ■, Nov. 15, 1862, * The Edinburgh Review on the Su- 
pernatural.' Written by my cousin, Mr. Henry Parker. 

1867.] 'REIGN OF LAW.' 245 

guiding principle with God (ignoring waste of seed and of 
young monsters, &c), and that making a new plan for the 
structure of animals was thought, and thought was labour, 
and therefore God kept to a uniform plan, and left rudiments. 
This is no exaggeration. In short, God is a man, rather 
cleverer than us. ... I am very much obliged for the Nation 
(returned by this post) ; it is admirably good. You say I al- 
ways guess wrong, but I do not believe any one, except Asa 
Gray, could have done the thing so well. I would bet even, 
or three to two, that it is Asa Gray, though one or two pas- 
sages staggered me. 

I finish my book on ' Domestic Animals,' &c, by a single 
paragraph, answering, or rather throwing doubt, in so far as 
so little space permits, on Asa Gray's doctrine that each 
variation has been specially ordered or led along a beneficial 
line. It is foolish to touch such subjects, but there have been 
so many allusions to what I think about the part which God 
has played in the formation of organic beings,* that I 
thought it shabby to evade the question. ... I have even 
received several letters on the subject. ... I overlooked 
your sentence about Providence, and suppose I treated it as 
Buckland did his own theology, when his Bridgewater Treat- 
ise was read aloud to him for correction. . . . 

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

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

* Prof. Judd allows me to quote from some notes which he has kindly 
given me : — " Lyell once told me that he had frequently been asked if 
Darwin was not one of the most unhappy of men, it being suggested that 
his outrage upon public opinion should have filled him with remorse." Sir 
Charles Lyell must have been able, I think, to give a satisfactory answer 
on this point. Professor Judd continues : — 

" I made a note of this and other conversations of Lyell's at the time. 


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

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

That God is a personal and Infinitely good Being. 

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

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

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

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

At the present time such statements must appear strange to any one wh* 
does not recollect the revolution in opinion which has taken place during 
the last 23 years [1882]." 


in a difficulty, than that she should puzzle too long over 
adverse and probably mistaken or thoughtless criticisms. 

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

[My father replied as follows :] 

Down, December 14, [1866]. 

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

Yours very faithfully, 
Charles Darwin. 


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

[The next letter discusses the ' Reign of Law/ referred 
to a few pages back :] 

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down, June 1 [1867]. 

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

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

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

1867.] GERMAN 'ORIGIN/ 249 

C. Darwin to J. Victor Carus. 

Down, February 17 [1867]. 
My dear Sir, — I have read your preface with care. It 
seems to me that you have treated Bronn with complete 
respect and great delicacy, and that you have alluded to your 
own labour with much modesty. I do not think that any of 
Bronn's friends can complain of what you say and what you 
have done. For my own sake, I grieve that you have not 
added notes, as I am sure that I should have profited much 
by them; but as you have omitted Bronn's objections, I 
believe that you have acted with excellent judgment and 
fairness in leaving the text without comment to the inde- 
pendent verdict of the reader. I heartily congratulate you 
that the main part of your labour is over ; it would have been 
to most men a very troublesome task, but you seem to have 
indomitable powers of work, judging from those two wonder- 
ful and most useful volumes on zoological literature * edited 
by you, and which I never open without surprise at their ac- 
curacy, and gratitude for their usefulness. I cannot suffi- 
ciently tell you how much I rejoice that you were persuaded 
to superintend the translation of the present edition of my 
book, for I have now the great satisfaction of knowing that 
the German public can judge fairly of its merits and de- 

With my cordial and sincere thanks, believe me, 
My dear Sir, yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[The earliest letter which I have seen from my father to 
Professor Haeckel, was written in 1865, and from that time 
forward they corresponded (though not, I think, with any regu- 
larity) up to the end of my father's life. His friendship with 
Haeckel was not merely growth of correspondence, as was 

* i 

Bibliotheca Zoologica/ 1861. 


the case with some others, for instance, Fritz Miiller. Haeckel 
paid more than one visit to Down, and these were thoroughly 
enjoyed by my father. The following letter will serve to 
show the strong feeling of regard which he entertained for his 
correspondent — a feeling which I have often heard him em- 
phatically express, and which was warmly returned. The 
book referred to is Haeckel's ' Generelle Morphologic,' pub- 
lished in 1866, a copy of which my father received from the 
author in January 1867. 

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

Mr. Huxley, writing in 1869, paid a high tribute to Pro- 
fessor Haeckel as the Coryphaeus of the Darwinian move- 
ment in Germany. Of his ' Generelle Morphologic/ " an 
attempt to work out the practical application " of the doctrine 
of Evolution to their final results, he says that it has the 
" force and suggestiveness, and . . . systematising power 
of Oken without his extravagance. " Professor Huxley also 
testifies to the value of Haeckel's 6 Schopfungs-Geschichte ' as 
an exposition of the ' Generelle Morphologie ' " for an edu- 
cated public." 

Again, in his ' Evolution in Biology,' f Mr. Huxley wrote : 

* ■ Charles Darwin und sein Verhaltniss zu Deutschland,' 1885. 
f An article in the ' Encyclopaedia Britannica,' 9th edit., reprinted in 
* Science and Culture,' 1881, p. 298. 


" Whatever hesitation may, not unfrequently, be felt by less 
daring minds, in following Haeckel in many of his specula- 
tions, his attempt to systematise the doctrine of Evolution, 
and to exhibit its influence as the central thought of modern 
biology, cannot fail to have a far-reaching influence on the 
progress of science. ,, 

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

C. Darwin to E. Haeckel. 

Down, May 21, 1867. 

Dear Haeckel. — Your letter of the 18th has given me 

great pleasure, for you have received what I said in the most 

kind and cordial manner. You have in part taken what I 

said much stronger than I had intended. It never occurred 

to me for a moment to doubt that your work, with the whole 

subject so admirably and clearly arranged, as well as fortified 

by so many new facts and arguments, would not advance our 

common object in the highest degree. All that I think is 

that you will excite anger, and that anger so completely 

blinds every one, that your arguments would have no chance 

of influencing those who are already opposed to our views. 

Moreover, I do not at all like that you, towards whom I feel 


so much friendship, should unnecessarily make enemies, and 
there is pain and vexation enough in the world without more 
being caused. But I repeat that I can feel no doubt that 
your work will greatly advance our subject, and I heartily 
wish it could be translated into English, for my own sake and 
that of others. With respect to what you say about my ad- 
vancing too strongly objections against my own views, some 
of my English friends think that I have erred on this side ; 
but truth compelled me to write what I did, and I am inclined 
to think it was good policy. The belief in the descent theory 
is slowly spreading in England,* even amongst those who can 
give no reason for their belief. No body of men were at first 
so much opposed to my views as the members of the London 
Entomological Society, but now I am assured that, with the 
exception of two or three old men, all the members concur 
with me to a certain extent. It has been a great disappoint- 
ment to me that I have never received your long letter writ- 
ten to me from the Canary Islands. I am rejoiced to hear 
that your tour, which seems to have been a most interesting 
one, has done your health much good. I am working away 
at my new book, but make very slow progress, and the work 
tries my health, which is much the same as when you were 

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

Believe me, my dear Haeckel, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

* In October 1867 he wrote to Mr. Wallace : — " Mr. Warrington has 
lately read an excellent and spirited abstract of the ' Origin ' before the 
Victoria Institute, and as this is a most orthodox body, he has gained the 
name of the Devil's Advocate. The discussion which followed during 
three consecutive meetings is very rich from the nonsense talked. If you 
would care to see the number I could send it you." 

1867.] FRITZ MULLER. 253 

C, Darwin to F. Miiller. 

Down, July 31 [1867^ 
My dear Sir, — I received a week ago your letter of 
June 2, full as usual of valuable matter and specimens. It 
arrived at exactly the right time, for I was enabled to give a 
pretty full abstract of your observations on the plant's own 
pollen being poisonous. I have inserted this abstract in the 
proof-sheets in my chapter on sterility, and it forms the most 
striking part of my whole chapter.* I thank you very sin- 
cerely for the most interesting observations, which, however, 
I regret that you did not publish independently. I have been 
forced to abbreviate one or two parts more than I wished. 
. . . Your letters always surprise me, from the number of 
points to which you attend. I wish I could make my letters 
of any interest to you, for I hardly ever see a naturalist, and 
live as retired a life as you in Brazil. With respect to mi- 
metic plants, I remember Hooker many years ago saying he 
believed that there were many, but I agree with you that 
it would be most difficult to distinguish between mimetic 
resemblance and the effects of peculiar conditions. Who 
can say to which of these causes to attribute the several 
plants with heath-like foliage at the Cape of Good Hope ? 
Is it not also a difficulty that quadrupeds appear to recognise 
plants more by their [scent] than their appearance ? What I 
have just said reminds me to ask you a question. Sir J. Lub- 
bock brought me the other day what appears to be a terres- 
trial Planaria (the first ever found in the northern hem- 
isphere) and which was coloured exactly like our dark- 
coloured slugs. Now slugs are not devoured by birds, like 
the shell-bearing species, and this made me remember that I 
found the Brazilian Planariae actually together with striped 
Vaginuli which I believe were similarly coloured. Can you 
throw any light on this ? I wish to know, because I was 
puzzled some months ago how it would be possible to ac- 

* In ' The Variation of Animals and Plants. 


count for the bright colours of the Planariae in reference to 
sexual selection. By the way, I suppose they are herma- 

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

Yours very sincerely, 
Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, July 18 [1867]. 

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

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

* The 2nd volume of the 10th Edit, of the * Principles.' 

1867.] ENCOURAGEMENT. 255 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, August 22 [1867]. 

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

I cannot help still regretting that you have ever looked at 
the slips, for I hope to improve the whole a good deal. It is 
surprising to me, and delightful, that you should care in the 
least about the plants. Altogether you have given me one of 
the best cordials I ever had in my life, and I heartily thank 
you. I despatched this morning the French edition. f The 
introduction was a complete surprise to me, and I dare say 
has injured the book in France ; nevertheless ... it shows, 
I think, that the woman is uncommonly clever. Once again 
many thanks for the renewed courage with which I shall at- 
tack the horrid proof-sheets. 

Yours affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

* The proofs of * Animals and Plants/ which Lyell was then reading. 

\ Of the 4 Origin.' It appears that my father was sending a copy of 
the French edition to Sir Charles. The introduction was by Mdlle. 
Royer, who translated the book. 


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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, October 16 [1867]. 
My dear Gray, — I send by this post clean sheets of Vol. 
I. up to p. 336, and there are only 411 pages in this vol. I 
am very glad to hear that you are going to review my book ; 
but if the Nation * is a newspaper I wish it were at the bot- 
tom of the sea, for I fear that you will thus be stopped re- 
viewing me in a scientific journal. The first volume is all 
details, and you will not be able to read it ; and you must 
remember that the chapters on plants are written for natural- 
ists who are not botanists. The last chapter in Vol. I. is, 
however, I think, a curious compilation of facts ; it is on 
bud-variation. In Vol. II. some of the chapters are more 
interesting; and I shall be very curious to hear your verdict 
on the chapter on close inter-breeding. The chapter on what 
I call Pangenesis will be called a mad dream, and I shall be 
pretty well satisfied if you think it a dream worth publishing; 
but at the bottom of my own mind I think it contains a great 
truth. I finish my book with a semi-theological paragraph, 
in which I quote and differ from you ; what you will think of 
it, I know not. . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, November 17 [1867]. 
My dear Hooker, — Congratulate me, for I have finished 
the last revise of the last sheet of my book. It has been an 
awful job : seven and a half months correcting the press : the 
book, from much small type, does not look big, but is really 
very big. I have had hard work to keep up to the mark, but 

* The book was reviewed by Dr. Gray in the Nation, Mar. 19, 1868. 

1868.] PUBLICATION. 257 

during the last week only few revises came, so that I have 
rested and feel more myself. Hence, after our long mutual 
silence, I enjoy myself by writing a note to you, for the sake 
of exhaling, and hearing from you. On account of the 
index,* I do not suppose that you will receive your copy till 
the middle of next month. I shall be intensely anxious to 
hear what you think about Pangenesis ; though I can see how 
fearfully imperfect, even in mere conjectural conclusions, it 
'is ; yet it has been an infinite satisfaction to me somehow to 
connect the various large groups of facts, which I have long 
considered, by an intelligible thread. I shall not be at all 
surprised if you attack it and me with unparalleled ferocity. 
It will be my endeavor to do as little as possible for some 
time, but [I] shall soon prepare a paper or two for the Lin- 
nean Society. In a short time we shall go to London for ten 
days, but the time is not yet fixed. Now I have told you a 
deal about myself, and do let me hear a good deal about your 
own past and future doings. Can you pay us a visit, early in 
December ? .... I have seen no one for an age, and heard 
no news. 

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


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

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

* The index was made by Mr. W. S. Dallas ; I have often heard my 
father express his admiration of this excellent piece of work. 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

February 3 [1868]. 
... I am very much pleased at what you say about my 
Introduction ; after it was in type I was as near as possible 
cancelling the whole. I have been for some time in despair 
about my book, and if I try to read a few pages I feel fairly 
nauseated, but do not let this make you praise it ; for I have 
made up my mind that it is not worth a fifth part of the 
enormous labour it has cost me. I assure you that all that is 
worth your doing (if you have time for so much) is glancing 
at Chapter VI., and reading parts of the later chapters. The 
facts on self-impotent plants seem to me curious, and I have 
worked out to my own satisfaction the good from crossing and 
evil from interbreeding, I did read Pangenesis the other 
evening, but even this, my beloved child, as I had fancied, 
quite disgusted me. The devil take the whole book ; and 
yet now I am at work again as hard as I am able. It is really 
a great evil that from habit I have pleasure in hardly anything 
except Natural History, for nothing else makes me forget my 
ever-recurrent uncomfortable sensations. But I must not 
howl any more, and the critics may say what they like ; I 
did my best, and man can do no more. What a splendid 
pursuit Natural History would be if it was all observing and 
no writing ! . . . . 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, February 10 [1868]. 
My dear Hooker, — What is the good of having a friend, 
if one may not boast to him ? I heard yesterday that Mur- 
ray has sold in a week the whole edition of 1500 copies of my 
book, and the sale so pressing that he has agreed with Clowes 
to get another edition in fourteen days ! This has done me 
a world of good, for I had got into a sort of dogged hatred 
of my book. And now there has appeared a review in the 
Pall Mall which has pleased me excessively, more perhaps 

1868.] REVIEWS. 259 

than is reasonable. I am quite content, and do not care how 

much I may be pitched into. If by any chance you should 

hear who wrote the article in the Pall Mall, do please tell 

me ; it is some one who writes capitally, and who knows the 

subject. I went to luncheon on Sunday, to Lubbock's, partly 

in hopes of seeing you, and, be hanged to you, you were not 


Your cock-a-hoop friend, 

C. D. 

[Independently of the favourable tone of the able series 
of notices in the Pall Mall Gazette (Feb. 10, 15, 17, 1868), 
my father may well have been gratified by the following pas- 
sages : — 

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

And again in the third notice, Feb. 17 : — 

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

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

C. Darwin to J. Z). Hooker. 

Down, February 23 [1868]. 
My dear Hooker, — I have had almost as many letters 
to write of late as you can have, viz. from 8 to 10 per diem, 


chiefly getting up facts on sexual selection, therefore I have 
felt no inclination to write to you, and now I mean to write 
solely about my book for my own satisfaction, and not at all 
for yours. The first edition was 1500 copies, and now the 
second is printed off ; sharp work. Did you look ar the re- 
view in the Athenceum* showing profound contempt of me? 
... It is a shame that he should have said that I have taken 
much from Pouchet, without acknowledgment ; for I took 
literally nothing, there being nothing to take. There is a 
capital review in the Gardeners' Chronicle which will sell the 
book if anything will. I don't quite see whether I or the 
writer is in a muddle about man causing variability. If a 
man drops a bit of iron into sulphuric acid he does not cause 
the affinities to come into play, yet he may be said to make 
sulphate of iron. I do not know how to avoid ambiguity. 

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

I fear Pangenesis is stillborn ; Bates says he has read it 
twice, and is not sure that he understands it. H. Spencer 
says the view is quite different from his (and this is a great 
relief to me, as I feared to be accused of plagiarism, but 

* Athenceum, February 15, 1868. My father quoted Pouchet's assertion 
that "variation under domestication throws no light on the natural modifi- 
cation of species." The reviewer quotes the end of a passage in which my 
father declares that he can see no force in Pouchet's arguments, or rather 
assertions, and then goes on : " We are sadly mistaken if there are not 
clear proofs in the pages of the book before us that, on the contrary, Mr. 
Darwin has perceived, felt, and yielded to the force of the arguments or 
assertions of his French antagonist." The following may serve as samples 
of the rest of the review : — 

11 Henceforth the rhetoricians will have a better illustration of anti-cli- 
max than the mountain which brought forth a mouse, ... in the dis- 
coverer of the origin of species, who tried to explain the variation of 
pigeons ! 

" A few summary words. On the ' Origin of Species ' Mr. Darwin has 
nothing, and is never likely to have anything, to say ; but on the vastly 
important subject of inheritance, the transmission of peculiarities once ac- 
quired through successive generations, this work is a valuable store-house 
of facts for curious students and practical breeders." 

1868.] REVIEWS. 261 

utterly failed to be sure what he meant, so thought it safest 
to give my view as almost the same as his), and he says he is 
not sure he understands it. . . . Am I not a poor devil ? yet 
I took such pains, I must think that I expressed myself 
clearly. Old Sir H. Holland says he has read it twice, and 
thinks it very tough ; but believes that sooner or later " some 
view akin to it " will be accepted. 

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

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

This letter is written for my own satisfaction, and not for 

yours. So bear it. 

Yours affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. Newton* 

Down, February 9 [1870]. 

Dear Newton, — I suppose it would be universally held 
extremely wrong for a defendant to write to a Judge to 
express his satisfaction at a judgment in his favour ; and yet 
I am going thus to act. I have just read what you have said 
in the ' Record ' f about my pigeon chapters, and it has grati- 
fied me beyond measure. I have sometimes felt a little dis- 
appointed that the labour of so many years seemed to be 
almost thrown away, for you are the first man capable of 

* Prof, of Zoology at Cambridge. 

f ' Zoological Record.' The volume for 1868, published Dec. 1869. 


forming a judgment (excepting partly Quatrefages), who 

seems to have thought anything of this part of "my work. 

The amount of labour, correspondence, and care, which the 

subject cost me, is more than you could well suppose. I 

thought the article in the Athenceum was very unjust ; but 

now I feel amply repaid, and I cordially thank you for your 

sympathy and too warm praise. What labour you have 

bestowed on your part of the ' Record ' ! I ought to be 

ashamed to speak of my amount of work. I thoroughly 

enjoyed the Sunday, which you and the others spent here, 


I remain, dear Newton, yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, February 27 [1868]. 

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

I shall be very glad to hear at some future day your criti- 
cisms on the " causes of variability." Indeed I feel sure that 
I am right about sterility and natural selection. ... I do not 
quite understand your case, and we think that a word or two 
is misplaced. I wish sometime you would consider the case 
under the following point of view : — If sterility is caused or 

1868.] PANGENESIS. 263 

accumulated through natural selection, then as every degree 
exists up to absolute barrenness, natural selection must have 
the power of increasing it. Now take two species, A and B, 
and assume that they are (by any means) half-sterile, i.e. 
produce half the full number of offspring. Now try and 
make (by natural selection) A and B absolutely sterile when 
crossed, and you will find how difficult it is. I grant indeed, 
it is certain, that the degree of sterility of the individuals A 
and B will vary, but any such extra-sterile individuals of, we 
will say A, if they should hereafter breed with other indi- 
viduals of A, will bequeath no advantage to their progeny, by 
which these families will tend to increase in number over 
other families of A, which are not more sterile when crossed 
with B. But I do not know that I have made this any clearer 
than in the chapter in my book. It is a most difficult bit of 
reasoning, which I have gone over and over again on paper 
with diagrams. 

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

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, February 28 [1868]. 
My dear Hooker, — I have been deeply interested by 
your letter, and we had a good laugh over Huxley's remark, 
which was so deuced clever that you could not recollect it. I 
cannot quite follow your train of thought, for in the last page 
you admit all that I wish, having apparently denied all, or 
thought all mere words in the previous pages of your note ; 
but it may be my muddle. I see clearly that any satisfaction 
which Pan may give will depend on the constitution of each 
man's mind. If you have arrived already at any similar 
conclusion, the whole will of course appear stale to you. I 
heard yesterday from Wallace, who says (excuse horrid 


vanity), " I can hardly tell you how much I admire the 
chapter on ' Pangenesis/ It is a. positive comfort to me to 
have any feasible explanation of a difficulty that has always 
been haunting me, and I shall never be able to give it up till 
a better one supplies its place, and that I think hardly possi- 
ble, &c." Now his foregoing [italicised] words express my 
sentiments exactly and fully : though perhaps I feel the 
relief extra strongly from having during many years vainly 
attempted to form some hypothesis. When you or Huxley 
say that a single cell of a plant, or the stump of an amputa- 
ted limb, have the " potentiality " of reproducing the whole 
— or "diffuse an influence/' these words give me no positive 
idea ; — but when it is said that the cells of a plant, or stump, 
include atoms derived from every other cell of the whole 
organism and capable of development, I gain a distinct idea. 
But this idea would not be worth a rush, if it applied to one 
case alone ; but it seems to me to apply to all the forms of 
reproduction — inheritance — metamorphosis — to the abnormal 
transposition of organs — to the direct action of the male ele- 
ment on the mother plant, &c. Therefore I fully believe 
that each cell does actually throw off an atom or gemmule of 
its contents ; — but whether or not, this hypothesis serves as 
a useful connecting link for various grand classes of physio- 
logical facts, which at present stand absolutely isolated. 

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

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

i868.] PANGENESIS. 265 

C. Darwin to W. Ogle* 

Down, March 6 [1868]. 

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

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

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

C. Darwin to Victor Car us. 

Down, March 21 [1868]. 
... I am very much obliged to you for sending me so 
frankly your opinion on Pangenesis, and I am sorry it is un- 
favourable, but I cannot quite understand your remark on 
pangenesis, selection, and the struggle for life not being more 
methodical. I am not at all surprised at your unfavourable 
verdict ; I know many, probably most, will come to the same 
conclusion. One English Review says it is much too com- 
plicated. . . . Some of my friends are enthusiastic on the 
hypothesis. ... Sir C. Lyell says to every one, " You may 
not believe in ' Pangenesis,' but if you once understand it, you 
will never get it out of your mind. ,, And with this criticism 

* Dr. William Ogle, now the Superintendent of Statistics to the 


I am perfectly content. All cases of inheritance and re- 
version and development now appear to me under a new 
light. . . . 

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

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

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, May 8 [1868]. 

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

. . . Your article in the Nation [Mar. 19] seems to me very 
good, and you give an excellent idea of Pangenesis — an infant 
cherished by few as yet, except his tender parent, but which 
will live a long life. There is parental presumption for you ! 

1868.] MR. BENTHAM. 267 

You give a good slap at my concluding metaphor:* un- 
doubtedly I ought to have brought in and contrasted natural 
and artificial selection ; but it seemed so obvious to me that 
natural selection depended on contingencies even more com- 
plex than those which must have determined the shape of 
each fragment at the base of my precipice. What I wanted 
to show was that in reference to pre-ordainment whatever 
holds good in the formation of a pouter pigeon holds good in 
the formation of a natural species of pigeon. 1 cannot see 
that this is false. If the right variations occurred, and no 
others, natural selection would be superfluous. A reviewer in 
an Edinburgh paper, who treats me with profound contempt, 
says on this subject that Professor Asa Gray could with the 
greatest ease smash me into little pieces. f 

Believe me, my dear Gray, ' 

Your ungrateful but sincere friend, 
Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to G. Benthcwi. 

Down, June 23, 1868. 

My dear Mr. Bentham, — As your address J is somewhat 
of the nature of a verdict from a judge, I do not know whether 

* A short abstract of the precipice metaphor is given at p. 307, vol. i. 
Dr. Gray's criticism on this point is as follows : <4 But in Mr. Darwin's 
parallel, to meet the case of nature according to his own view of it, not 
only the fragments of rock (answering to variation) should fall, but the edi- 
fice (answering to natural selection) should rise, irrespective of will or 
choice ! " But my father's parallel demands that natural selection shall be 
the architect, not the edifice — the question of design only comes in with 
regard to the form of the building materials. 

f The Daily Review, April 27, 1868. My father has given rather a 
highly coloured version of the reviewer's remarks : " We doubt not that 
Professor Asa Gray . . . could show that natural selection ... is simply 
an instrument in the hands of an omnipotent and omniscient creator." 
The reviewer goes on to say that the passage in question is a " very melan- 
choly one," and that the theory is the "apotheosis of materialism." 

% Presidential Address to the Linnean Society. 


it is proper for me to do so, but I must and will thank v you 

for the pleasure which you have given me. I am delighted at 

what you say about my book. 1 got so tired of it, that for 

months together I thought myself a perfect fool for having 

given up so much time in collecting and observing little facts, 

but now I do not care if a score of common critics speak as 

contemptuously of the book as did the Athenceutn. I feel 

justified in this, for I have so complete a reliance on your 

judgment that I feel certain that I should have bowed to your 

judgment had it been as unfavourable as it is the contrary. 

What you say about Pangenesis quite satisfies me, and is as 

much perhaps as any one is justified in saying. I have read 

your whole Address with the greatest interest. It must have 

cost you a vast amount of trouble. With cordial thanks, 

1 pray believe me, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

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

t868.] M. GAUDRY. 269 

C. Darwin to F. Milller. 

Down, March 16 [1868]. 
My dear Sir, — Your brother, as you will have heard from 
him, felt so convinced that you would not object to a transla- 
tion of * Fur Darwin,' * that I have ventured to arrange for a 
translation. Engelmann has very liberally offered me cliches 
of the woodcuts for 22 thalers ; Mr. Murray has agreed to 
bring out a translation (and he is our best publisher) on com- 
mission, for he would not undertake the work on his own 
risk ; and I have agreed with Mr. W. S. Dallas* (who has 
translated Von Siebold on Parthenogenesis, and many Ger- 
man works, and who writes very good English) to translate 
the book. He thinks (and he is a good judge) that it is im- 
portant to have some few corrections or additions, in order 
to account for a translation appearing so lately [i.e. at such a 
long interval of time] after the original; so that I hope you 
will be able to send some 

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

C. Darwin to A. Gaudry. 

Down, January 21 [1868]. 
Dear Sir, — I thank you for your interesting essay on the 
influence of the Geological features of the country on the 
mind and habits of the Ancient Athenians,f and for your 
very obliging letter. I am delighted to hear that you intend 
to consider the relations of fossil animals in connection with 
their genealogy ; it will afford you a fine field for the exercise 
of your extensive knowledge and powers of reasoning. Your 

* In a letter to Fritz Miiller, my father wrote : — " I am vexed to see 
that on the title my name is more conspicuous than yours, which I espe- 
cially objected to, and I cautioned the printers after seeing one proof." 

f This appears to refer to M. Gaudry's paper translated in the * GeoL 
Mag.,' 1868, p. 372. 


belief will I suppose, at present, lower you in the estimation 
of your countrymen ; but judging from the rapid spread in 
all parts of Europe, excepting France, of the belief in the 
common descent of allied species, I must think that this 
belief will before long become universal. How strange it is 
that the country which gave birth to Bufifon, the elder 
Geoffroy, and especially to Lamarck, should now cling so 
pertinaciously to the belief that species are immutable cre- 

My work on Variation, &c, under domestication, will ap- 
pear in a French translation in a few months' time, and I will 
do myself the pleasure and honour of directing the publisher 
to send a copy to you to the same address as this letter. 
With sincere respect, I remain, dear sir, 
Yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to W. Preyer* 

March 31, 1868. 
. ... I am delighted to hear that you uphold the doctrine 
of the Modification of Species, and defend my views. The 
support which I receive from Germany is my chief ground 
for hoping that our views will ultimately prevail. To the 
present day I am continually abused or treated with con- 
tempt by writers of my own country ; but the younger natural- 
ists are almost all on my side, and sooner or later the public 
must follow those who make the subject their special .study. 
The abuse and contempt of ignorant writers hurts me very 
little. . . . 

* Now Professor of Physiology at Jena. 


Work on i Man.' 


[In the autobiographical chapter (vol. i. p. 76), my father 
gives the circumstances which led to his writing the ' Descent 
of Man/ He states that his collection of facts, begun in 1837 
or 1838, was continued for many years without any definite 
idea of publishing on the subject. The following letter to 
Mr. Wallace shows that in the period of ill-health and de- 
pression about 1864 he despaired of ever being able to do so :] 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, [May?] 28 [1864]. 

Dear Wallace, — I am so much better that I have just 
finished a paper for Linnean Society ; * but I am not yet at 
all strong, I felt much disinclination to write, and therefore 
you must forgive me for not having sooner thanked you for 
your paper on 'Man,'f received on the nth. But first let 
me say that I have hardly ever in my life been more struck 
by any paper than that on ' Variation/ &c. &c, in the Reader. \ 
I feel sure that such papers will do more for the spreading of 
our views on the modification of species than any separate 
Treatises on the simple subject itself. It is really admirable; 
but you ought not in the Man paper to speak of the theory 

* On the three forms, &c, of Lythrum. 
f ' Anthropological Review/ March 1864. 

\ Reader, Ap. 16, 1864. "On the Phenomena of Variation," &c. Ab- 
stract of a paper read before the Linnean Society, March 17, 1864. 

272 WORK ON ■ MAN/ [1864. 

as mine ; it is just as much yours as mine. One correspond- 
ent has already noticed to me your " high-minded " conduct 
on this head. But now for your Man paper, about which I 
should like to write more than I can. The great leading 
idea is quite new to me, viz. that during late ages, the mind 
will have been modified more than the body ; yet I had got 
as far as to see with you that the struggle between the races 
of man depended entirely on intellectual and moral qualities. 
The latter part of the paper I can designate only as grand 
and most eloquently done. I have shown your paper to two 
or three persons who have been here, and they have been 
equally struck with it. I am not sure that I go with you on 
all minor points : when reading Sir G. Grey's account of the 
constant battles of Australian savages, I remember thinking 
that natural selection would come in; and likewise with the 
Esquimaux, with whom the art of fishing and managing ca- 
noes is said to be hereditary. I rather differ on the rank, 
under a classificatory point of view, which you assign to man ; 
I do not think any character simply in excess ought ever to 
be used for the higher divisions. Ants would not be sepa- 
rated from other hymenopterous insects, however high the 
instinct of the one, and however low the instincts of the other. 
With respect to the differences of race, a conjecture has oc- 
curred to me that much may be due to the correlation of 
complexion (and consequently hair) with constitution. As- 
sume that a dusky individual best escaped miasma, and you 
will readily see what I mean. I persuaded the Director- 
General of the Medical Department of the Army to send 
printed forms to the surgeons of all regiments in tropical 
countries to ascertain this point, but I dare say I shall never 
get any returns. Secondly, I suspect that a sort of sexual 
selection has been the most powerful means of changing the 
races of man. I can show that the different races have a 
widely different standard of beauty. Among savages the 
most powerful men will have the pick of the women, and they 
will generally leave the most descendants. I have collected 
a few notes on man, but I do not suppose that I shall ever 

1867.] MR. WALLACE. 273 

use them. Do you intend to follow out your views, and it 
so, would you like at some future time to have my few refer- 
ences and notes ? I am sure I hardly know whether they are 
of any value, and they are at present in a state of chaos. 

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

Believe me, dear Wallace, yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

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

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

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

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


WORK ON 'MAN.' [1867. 

est, which makes me forget for some hours every day my 
accursed stomach.'' 

The work on Man was interrupted by illness in the early 
summer of 1868, and he left home on July 16th for Fresh- 
water, in the Isle of Wight, where he remained with his 
family until August 21st. Here he made the acquaintance 
of Mrs. Cameron. She received the whole family with open- 
hearted kindness and hospitality, and my father always re- 
tained a warm feeling of friendship for her. She made an 
excellent photograph of him, which was published with the 
inscription written by him : " I like this photograph very 
much better than any other which has been taken of me." 
Further interruption occurred in the autumn so that continu- 
ous work on the ' Descent of Man ' did not begin until 1869. 
The following letters give some idea of the earlier work in 
1867 :] 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, February 22, [1867?] 
My dear Wallace, — I am hard at work on sexual selec- 
tion, and am driven half mad by the number of collateral 
points which require investigation, such as the relative num- 
ber of the two sexes, and especially on polygamy. Can you 
aid me with respect to birds which have strongly marked sec- 
ondary sexual characters, such as birds of paradise, humming- 
birds, the Rupicola, or any other such cases ? Many gallina- 
ceous birds certainly are polygamous. I suppose that birds 
may be known not to be polygamous if they are seen during 
the whole breeding seasion to associate in pairs, or if the 
male incubates or aids in feeding the young. Will you have 
the kindness to turn this in your mind ? But it is a shame 
to trouble you now that, as I am heartily glad to hear, you are 
at work on your Malayan travels. I am fearfully puzzled 
how far to extend your protective views with respect to the 
females in various classes. The more I work the more im- 
portant sexual selection apparently comes out. 


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

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, February 23 [1867]. 

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

C. Darwin. 

2/6 WORK ON ' MAN.' [1867. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, February 26 [1867]. 

My dear Wallace, — Bates was quite right ; you are the 
man to apply to in a difficulty. I never heard anything more 
ingenious than your suggestion,* and I hope you may be able 
to prove it true. That is a splendid fact about the white 
moths ; it warms one's very blood to see a theory thus almost 
proved to be true.f With respect to the beauty of male but- 
terflies, I must as yet think that it is due to sexual selection. 
There is some evidence that dragon-flies are attracted by 
bright colours ; but what leads me to the above belief is, so 
many male Orthoptera and Cicadas having musical instru- 
ments. This being the case, the analogy of birds makes me 
believe in sexual selection with respect to colour in insects. 
I wish I had strength and time to make some of the experi- 
ments suggested by you, but I thought butterflies would not 
pair in confinement. I am sure I have heard of some such 
difficulty. Many years ago I had a dragon-fly painted with 
gorgeous colours, but I never had an opportunity of fairly 
trying it. 

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

By the way, there is another subject which I shall intro- 
duce in my essay, namely, expression of countenance. Now, 

* The suggestion that conspicuous caterpillars or perfect insects (e. g. 
white butterflies), which are distasteful to birds, are protected by being 
easily recognised and avoided. See Mr. Wallace's * Natural Selection,' 
2nd edit., p. 117. 

f Mr. Jenner Weir's observations published in the Transactions of the 
Entomolog. Soc. (1S69 and 1870) give strong support to the theory in 


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

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, March [1867]. 
My dear Wallace, — I thank you much for your two 
notes. The case of Julia Pastrana* is a splendid addition to 
my other cases of correlated teeth and hair, and I will add it 
in correcting the press of my present volume. Pray let me 
hear in the course of the summer if you get any evidence 
about the gaudy caterpillars. I should much like to give 
(or quote if published) this idea of yours, if in any way sup- 
ported, as suggested by you. It will, however, be a long 
time hence, for I can see that sexual selection is growing 
into quite a large subject, which I shall introduce into my 
essay on Man, supposing that I ever publish it. I had 
intended giving a chapter on man, inasmuch as many call 
him (not quite truly) an eminently domesticated animal, but 
I found the subject too large for a chapter. Nor shall I be 
capable of treating the subject well, and my sole reason for 
taking it up is, that I am pretty well convinced that sexual 
selection has played an important part in the formation of 
races, and sexual selection has always been a subject which 
has interested me much. I have been very glad to see your 
impression from memory on the expression of Malays. I 
fully agree with you that the subject is in no way an im- 
portant one ; it is simply a " hobby-horse " with me, about 
twenty-seven years old ; and after thinking that I would write 

* A bearded woman having an irregular double set of teeth. ' Animals 
and Plants,* vol. ii. p. 328. 

278 WORK ON 'MAN.' [1868. 

an essay on man, it flashed on me that I could work in some 
" supplemental remarks on expression. " After the horrid, 
tedious, dull work of my present huge, and I fear unreadable, 
book ['The Variation of Animals and Plants'], I thought I 
would amuse myself with my hobby-horse. The subject is, 
I think, more curious and more amenable to scientific treat- 
ment than you seem willing to allow. I want, anyhow, to 
upset Sir C. Bell's view, given in his most interesting work, 
'The Anatomy of Expression,' that certain muscles have 
been given to man solely that he may reveal to other men 
his feelings. I want to try and show how expressions have 
arisen. That is a good suggestion about newspapers, but my 
experience tells me that private applications are generally 
most fruitful. I will, however, see if I can get the queries 
inserted in some Indian paper. I do not know the names or 
addresses of any other papers. 

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

many thanks, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to F. Miiller. 

Down, February 22 [1867]. 
. . . Many thanks for all the curious facts about the un- 
equal number of the sexes in Crustacea, but the more I in- 
vestigate this subject the deeper I sink in doubt and difficulty. 
Thanks also for the confirmation of the rivalry of Cicadae. I 
have often reflected with surprise on the diversity of the means 
for producing music with insects, and still more with birds. 
We thus get a high idea of the importance of song in the ani- 
mal kingdom. Please to tell me where I can find any account 
of the auditory organs in the Orthoptera. Your facts are 


quite new to me. Scudder has described an insect in the 
Devonian strata, furnished with a stridulating apparatus. 
I believe he is to be trusted, and, if so, the apparatus is of 
astonishing antiquity. After reading Landois's paper I have 
been working at the stridulating organ in the Lamellicorn 
beetles, in expectation of finding it sexual ; but I have only 
found it as yet in two cases, and in these it was equally de- 
veloped in both sexes. I wish you would look at any of 
your common lamellicorns, and take hold of both males 
and females, and observe whether they make the squeaking 
or grating noise equally. If they do not, you could, perhaps, 
send me a male and female in a light little box. How 
curious it is that there should be a special organ for an object 
apparently so unimportant as squeaking. Here is another 
point ; have you any toucans ? if so, ask any trustworthy 
hunter whether the beaks of the males, or of both sexes, are 
more brightly coloured during the breeding season than at 
other times of the year. . . . Heaven knows whether I shall 
ever live to make use of half the valuable facts which you 
have communicated to me ! Your paper on Balanus ar- 
matus, translated by Mr. Dallas, has just appeared in our 
' Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' and I have read 
it with the greatest interest. I never thought that I should 
live to hear of a hybrid Balanus ! I am very glad that you 
have seen the*cement tubes; they appear to me extremely 
curious, and, as far as I know, you are the first man who has 
verified my observations on this point. 

With most cordial thanks for all your kindness, my dear 

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. De Candolle. 

Down, July 6, 1868. 
My dear Sir, — I return you my sincere thanks for your 
long letter, which I consider a great compliment, and which 
is quite full of most interesting facts and views. Your 

2g WORK ON ' MAN.' [1868. 

references and remarks will be of great use should a new 
edition of my book * be demanded, but this is hardly prob- 
able, for the whole edition was sold within the first week, 
and another large edition immediately reprinted, which I 
should think would supply the demand for ever. You ask 
me when I shall publish on the ' Variation of Species in a 
State of Nature.' 1 have had the MS. for another volume 
almost ready during several years, but I was so much 
fatigued by my last book that I determined to amuse myself 
by publishing a short essay on the 4 Descent of Man.' I was 
partly led to do this by having been taunted that I concealed 
my views, but chiefly from the interest which I had long 
taken in the subject. Now this essay has branched out into 
some collateral subjects, and I suppose will take me more 
than a year to complete. I shall then begin on ' Species/ 
but my health makes me a very slow workman. I hope that 
you will excuse these details, which I have given to show 
that you will have plenty of time to publish your views first, 
which will be a great advantage to me. Of all the curious 
facts which you mention in your letter, I think that of the 
strong inheritance of the scalp-muscles has interested me 
most. I presume that you would not object to my giving 
this very curious case on your authority. As I believe all 
anatomists look at the scalp-muscles as a remnant of the 
Panniculus carnosus which is common to all the lower quad- 
rupeds, I should look at the unusual development and inheri- 
tance of these muscles as probably a case of reversion. Your 
observation on so many remarkable men in noble families 
having been illegitimate is extremely curious ; and should I 
ever meet any one capable of writing an essay on this subject, 
I will mention your remarks as a good suggestion. Dr. 
Hooker has several times remarked to me that morals and 
politics would be very interesting if discussed like any branch 
of natural history, and this is nearly to the same effect with 
your remarks. . . . 

* ■ Variation of Animals and Plants/ 

1868.] „ AGASSIZ. 2 8l 

C. Darwin to L. Agassiz. 

Down, August 19, 1868. 

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

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

Yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, Sunday, August 23 [1868]. 

My dear old Friend, — I have received your note. I 

can hardly say how pleased I have been at the success of 

your address,* and of the whole meeting. I have seen the 

Times, Telegraph, Spectator, and Athenceum, and have heard 

* Sir Joseph Hooker was President of the British Association at the 
Norwich Meeting in 1868. 

282 WORK ON 'MAN/ 1 1868. 

of other favourable newspapers, and have ordered a bundle. 
There is a " chorus of praise." The Times reported miserably, 
i.e. as far as errata was concerned ; but I was very glad at 
the leader, for I thought the way you brought in the mega- 
lithic monuments most happy.* I particularly admired Tyn- 
dall's little speech. f . . . The Spectator pitches a little into 
you about Theology, in accordance with its usual spirit. . . . 
Your great success has rejoiced my heart. I have just 
carefully read the whole address in the Athenceum ; and 
though, as you know, I liked it very much when you read it 
to me, yet, as I was trying all the time to find fault, I missed 
to a certain extent the effect as a whole ; and this now 
appears to me most striking and excellent. How you must 
rejoice at all your bothering labour and anxiety having had 
so grand an end. I must say a word about myself ; never 
has such a eulogium been passed on me, and it makes me 
very proud. I cannot get over my amazement at what you 
say about my botanical work. By Jove, as far as my memory 
goes, you have strengthened instead of weakened some of the 
expressions. What is far more important than anything per- 
sonal, is the conviction which I feel that you will have im- 
mensely advanced the belief in the evolution of species. 
This will follow from the publicity of the occasion, your posi- 
tion, so responsible, as President, and your own high reputa- 
tion. It will make a great step in public opinion. I feel sure, 
and I had not thought of this before. The Athenceum takes 
your snubbing \ with the utmost mildness. I certainly do 
rejoice over the snubbing, and hope [the reviewer] will feel 
it a little. Whenever you have spare time to write again, 
tell me whether any astronomers § took your remarks in ill 

* The British Association was desirous of interesting the Government 
in certain modern cromlech builders, the Khasia race of East Bengal, in 
order that their megalithic monuments might be efficiently described. 

f Professor Tyndall was President of Section A. 

% Sir Joseph Hooker made some reference to the review of ' Animals 
and Plants ' in the Athenceum of Feb. 15, 1868. 

§ In discussing the astronomer's objection to Evolution, namely that 

1868.] THE 'ATHEN.EUM.' 283 

part ; as they now stand they do not seem at all too harsh 
and presumptuous. Many of your sentences strike me as 
extremely felicitous and eloquent. That of Lyell's " under- 
pinning," * is capital. Tell me, was Lyell pleased ? I am so 
glad that you remembered my old dedication.! Was Wallace 
pleased ? 

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

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

Yours ever affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

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

" In my opinion Dr. Joseph Dalton Hooker need take no 
notice of the attack in the Athenceum in reference to Mr. 
Charles Darwin. What an ass the man is to think he cuts 
one to the quick by giving one's Christian name in full. How 
transparently false is the statement that my sole groundwork 

our globe has not existed for a long enough period to give time for the 
as umed transmutation of living beings, Hooker challenged Whe well's 
dictum that, astronomy is the queen of sciences — the only perfect science. 

* After a eulogium on Sir Charles Lyell's heroic renunciation of his 
old views in accepting Evolution, Sir J. D. Hooker continued, " Well may 
he be proud of a superstructure, raised on the foundations of an insecure 
doctrine, when he finds that he can underpin it and substitute a new 
foundation ; and after all is finished, survey his edifice, not only more 
secure but more harmonious in its proportion than it was before." 

\ The * Naturalist's Voyage ' was dedicated to Lyell. 

% See p. 274. 


284 WORK ON 'MAN. [1868. 

is from pigeons, because I state I have worked them out more 
fully than other beings ! He muddles together two books of 

The following letter refers to a paper * by Judge Caton, 
of which my father often spoke with admiration :] 

C. Darwin to John D. Caton. 

Down, September 18, 1868. 

Dear Sir, — I beg leave to thank you very sincerely for 
your kindness in sending me, through Mr. Walsh, your ad- 
mirable paper on American Deer. 

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

Yours faithfully and obliged, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The following extract from a letter (Sept. 24, 1868) to 
the Marquis de Saporta, the eminent palseo-botanist, refers 
to the growth of evolutionary views in France : — f 

"As I have formerly read with great interest many of 
your papers on fossil plants, you may believe with what high 

'""'Transactions of the Ottawa Academy of Natural Sciences,' 1868. 
By John D. Caton, late Chief Justice of Illinois. 

f In 1868 he was pleased at being asked to authorise a French transla- 
tion of his ' Naturalist's Voyage/ 

1868.] HAECKEL'S BOOKS. 28$ 

satisfaction I hear that you are a believer in the gradual evo- 
lution of species. I had supposed that my book on the 
' Origin of Species ' had made very little impression in 
France, and therefore it delights me to hear a different state- 
ment from you. All the great authorities of the Institute 
seem firmly resolved to believe in the immutability of spe- 
cies, and this has always astonished me. . . . Almost the one 
exception, as far as I know, is M. Gaudry, and I think he 
will be soon one of the chief leaders in Zoological Palaeon- 
tology in Europe ; and now I am delighted to hear that in 
the sister department of Botany you take nearly the same 

C. Darwin to E. Haeckel. 

Down, Nov. 19 [1868]. 

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

The second point is to congratulate you on the projected 
translation of your great work,* about which I heard from 
Huxley last Sunday. I am heartily glad of it, but how it has 
been brought about, I know not, for a friend who supported 
the supposed translation at Norwich, told me he thought 
there would be no chance of it. Huxley tells me that you 

* * Generelle Morphologic/ 1866. No English translation of this book 
has appeared. 

2 86 WORK ON ' MAN.' [1868. 

consent to omit and shorten some parts, and I am confident 
that this is very wise. As I know your object is to instruct 
the public, you will assuredly thus get many more readers in 
England. Indeed, I believe that almost every book would 
be improved by condensation. I have been reading a good 
deal of your last book,* and the style is beautifully clear and 
easy to me ; but why it should differ so much in this respect 
from your great work I cannot imagine. I have not yet read 
the first part, but began with the chapter on Lyell and myself, 
which you will easily believe pleased me very much, I think 
Lyell, who was apparently much pleased by your sending 
him a copy, is also much gratified by this chapter.f Your 
chapters on the affinities and genealogy of the animal king- 
dom strike me as admirable and full of original thought. 
Your boldness, however, sometimes makes me tremble, but 
as Huxley remarked, some one must be bold enough to make 
a beginning in drawing up tables of descent. Although you 
fully admit the imperfection of the geological record, yet 
Huxley agreed with me in thinking that you are sometimes 
rather rash in venturing to say at what periods the several 
groups first appeared. I have this advantage over you, that 
I remember how wonderfully different any statement on this 
subject made 20 years ago, would have been to what would 
now be the case, and I expect the next 20 years will make 
quite as great a difference. Reflect on the monocotyle- 
donous plant just discovered in the primordial formation in 

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

Believe me, my dear Hackel, your sincere friend, 

Charles Darwin. 

* ' Die Naturliche Schopfungs-Geschichte,' 1868. It was translated 
and published in 1876, under the title, ' The History of Creation.' 

f See Lyell's interesting letter to Haeckel. i Life of Sir C. Lyell,' ii. 
P. 435- 


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

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

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


[At the beginning of the year he was at work in preparing 
the fifth edition of the ' Origin. ' This work was begun on 
the day after Christmas, 1868, and was continued for "forty- 
six days," as he notes in his diary, i.e. until February 10th, 
1869. He then, February nth, returned to Sexual Selection, 
and continued at this subject (excepting for ten days given 
up to Orchids, and a week in London), until June 10th, when 
he went with his family to North Wales, where he remained 
about seven weeks, returning to Down on July 31st. 

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

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

u We have been here for ten days, how I wish it was pos- 
sible for you to pay us a visit here ; we have a beautiful 
house with a terraced garden, and a really magnificent view 

288 WORK ON ■ MAN.' [1869. 

of Cader, right opposite. Old Cader is a grand fellow, and 
shows himself off superbly with every changing light. We 
remain here till the end of July, when the H. Wedgwoods 
have the house. I have been as yet in a very poor way ; it 
seems as soon as the stimulus of mental work stops, my whole 
strength gives way. As yet I have hardly crawled half a 
mile from the house, and then have been fearfully fatigued. 
It is enough to make one wish oneself quiet in a comfortable 

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

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

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

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

The late Mr. Fleeming Jenkin's review, on the i Origin of 
Species/ was published in the ' North Britfsh Review' for 
June 1867. It is not a little remarkable that the criticisms, 

1869.] FLEEMING JENKIN. 289 

which my father, as I believe, felt to be the most valuable 
ever made on his views should have come, not from a pro- 
fessed naturalist but from a Professor of Engineering. 

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

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

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

A somewhat severe critique on the fifth edition, by Mr. 
John Robertson, appeared in the Athenceum, August 14, 1869. 
The writer comments with some little bitterness on the suc- 
cess of the ' Origin : ' " Attention is not acceptance. Many 

2Q0 WORK ON 'MAN.' [1869. 

editions do not mean real success. The book has sold ; the 
guess has been talked over ; and the circulation and discus- 
sion sum up the significance of the editions." Mr. Robert- 
son makes the true, but misleading statement : " Mr. Darwin 
prefaces his fifth English edition with an Essay, which he 
calls ' An Historical Sketch/ &c." As a matter of fact the 
Sketch appeared in the third edition in 1861. 

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

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

C. Darwin to Victor Carus. 

Down, May 4, 1869. 

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

Thus I have been led to place somewhat more value on 
the definite and direct action of external conditions ; to think 
the lapse of time, as measured by years, not quite so great as 
most geologists have thought ; and to infer that single varia- 


tions are of even less importance, in comparison with indi- 
vidual differences, than I formerly thought. I mention these 
points because I have been thus led to alter in many places 
a few words ; and unless you go through the whole new edi- 
tion, one part will not agree with another, which would be a 
great blemish. ... 

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

He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : — 

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

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

292 WORK ON 'MAN.' [1869. 

Down, March 3, 1869. 
Dear Sir, — I am very much obliged to you for your 
kindness in sending me your spirited and interesting lecture ; 
if a layman had delivered the same address, he would have 
done good service in spreading what, as I hope and believe, 
is to a large extent the truth ; but a clergyman in delivering 
such an address does, as it appears to me, much more good 
by his power to shake ignorant prejudices, and by setting, if 
I may be permitted to say so, an admirable example of lib- 

With sincere respect, I beg leave to remain, 

Dear Sir, yours faithfully and obliged, 

Charles Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin io F. Miiller. 

Down, February 22 [1869?] 
. . . Although you have aided me to so great an extent in 
many ways, I am going to beg for any information on two 
other subjects. I am preparing a discussion on "Sexual Se- 
lection, " and I want much to know how low down in the ani- 
mal scale sexual selection of a particular kind extends. Do 
you know of any lowly organised animals, in which the sexes 
are separated, and in which the male differs from the female 
in arms of offence, like the horns and tusks of male mammals, 
or in gaudy plumage and ornaments, as with birds and but- 
terflies ? I do not refer to secondary sexual characters, by 
which the male is able to discover the female, like the plumed 
antennae of moths, or by which the male is enabled to seize 
the female, like the curious pincers described by you in some 
of the lower Crustaceans. But what I want to know is, how 

1869.] DR. H. THIEL. 293 

low in the scale sexual differences occur which require some 
degree of self-consciousness in the males, as weapons by 
which they fight for the female, or ornaments which attract 
the opposite sex. Any differences between males and females 
which follow different habits of life would have to be ex- 
cluded. I think you will easily see what I wish to learn. A 
priori, it would never have been anticipated that insects 
would have been attracted by the beautiful colouring of the 
opposite sex, or, by the sounds emitted by the various musical 
instruments of the male Orthoptera. I know no one so likely 
to answer this question as yourself, and should be grateful for 
any information, however small. 

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

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

C. Darwin to H. ThieL 

Down, February 25 1869. 
Dear Sir, — On my return home after a short absence, I 
found your very courteous note, and the pamphlet,* and I 

* ' Ueber einige Formen der Landwirthschaftlichen Genossenschaften.* 
By Dr. H. Thiel, then of the Agricultural Station at Poppelsdorf. 

294 WORK ON ' MAN.' [1869. 

hasten to thank you for both, and for the very honourable 
mention which you make of my name. You will readily be- 
lieve how much interested I am in observing that you apply 
to moral and social questions analogous views to those which 
I have used in regard to the modification of species. It did 
not occur to me formerly that my views could be extended 
to such widely different, and most important, subjects. With 
much respect, I beg leave to remain, dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully and obliged, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, March 19 [1869]. 
My dear Huxley, — Thanks for your ' Address/ * Peo- 
ple complain of the unequal distribution of wealth, but it is a 
much greater shame and injustice that any one man should 
have the power to write so many brilliant essays as you have 
lately done. There is no one who writes likes you. ... If I 
were in your shoes, I should tremble for my life. I agree 
with all you say, except that I must think that you draw 
too great a distinction between the evolutionists and the uni- 

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

Ever yours, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace, 

Down, March 22 [1869]. 
My dear Wallace, — I have finished your book ; f it 
seems to me excellent, and at the same time most pleasant to 
read. That you ever returned alive is wonderful after all 

* In his ' Anniversary Address ' to the Geological Society, 1869, Mr. 
Huxley criticised Sir William Thomson's paper (' Trans. Geol. Soc, Glas- 
gow,' vol. iii.) "On Geological Time." 

f ' The Malay Archipelago,' &c, 1869. 

1869.] MR. WALLACE ON LYELL. 295 

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

[The following letter refers to Mr. Wallace's article in the 
April number of the ' Quarterly Review/* 1869, which to a 
large extent deals with the tenth edition of Sir Charles Lyell's 
' Principles/ published in 1867 and 1868. The review con- 
tains a striking passage on Sir Charles Lyell's confession of 
evolutionary faith in the tenth edition of his ' Principles/ 
which is worth quoting : " The history of science hardly pre- 
sents so striking an instance of youthfulness of mind in ad- 
vanced life as is shown by this abandonment of opinions so 
long held and so powerfully advocated; and if we bear in 
mind the extreme caution, combined with the ardent love of 
truth which characterise every work which our author has 
produced, we shall be convinced that so great a change was 
not decided on without long and anxious deliberation, and 

* My father wrote to Mr. Murray : " The article by Wallace is inimit- 
ably good, and it is a great triumph that such an article should appear in 

the * Quarterly,' and will make the Bishop of Oxford and gnash their 


296 work on 'man; [1869. 

that the views now adopted must indeed be supported by ar- 
guments of overwhelming force. If for no other reason than 
that Sir Charles Lyell in his tenth edition has adopted it, the 
theory of Mr. Darwin deserves an attentive and respectful 
consideration from every earnest seeker after truth."] 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace, 

Down, April 14, 1869. 

My dear Wallace, — I have been wonderfully interested 
by your article, and I should think Lyell will be much grati- 
fied by it. I declare if I had been editor, and had the power 
of directing you, I should have selected for discussion the 
very points which you have chosen. I have often said to 
younger geologists (for I began in the year 1830) that they 
did not know what a revolution Lyell had effected ; neverthe- 
less, your extracts from Cuvier have quite astonished me. 
Though not able really to judge, I am inclined to put more 
confidence in Croll than you seem to do ; but I have been 
much struck by many of your remarks on degradation. 
Thomson's views of the recent age of the world have been for 
some time one of my sorest troubles, and so I have been glad 
to read what you say. Your exposition of Natural Selection 
seems to me inimitably good ; there never lived a better ex- 
pounder than you. I was also much pleased at your dis- 
cussing the difference between our views and Lamarck's. One 
sometimes sees the odious expression, " Justice to myself 
compels me to say," &c, but you are the only man I ever 
heard of who persistently does himself an injustice, and never 
demands justice. Indeed, you ought in the review to have 
alluded to your paper in the i Linnean Journal/ and I feel 
sure all our friends will agree in this. But you cannot 
" Burke " yourself, however much you may try, as may be 
seen in half the articles which appear. I was asked but the 
other day by a German professor for your paper, which I 
sent him. Altogether I look at your article as appearing in 
the ' Quarterly ' as an immense triumph for our cause. I pre- 

1869.] MAN. 297 

sume that your remarks on Man are those to which you 
alluded in your note. If you had not told me I should have 
thought that they had been added by some one else. As you 
expected, I differ grievously from you, and I am very sorry 
for it. I can see no necessity for calling in an additional and 
proximate cause in regard to man.* But the subject is too 
long for a letter. I have been particularly glad to read your 
discussion because I am now writing and thinking much 
about man. 

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

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

my dear Wallace, 

Yours ever sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to C. Lyell. 

Down, May 4 [1869]. 

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

I hope that you get on well with your work, and have sat- 
isfied yourself on the difficult point of glacier lakes. Thank 

* Mr. Wallace points out that any one acquainted merely with the 
" unaided productions of nature," might reasonably doubt whether a dray- 
horse, for example, could have been developed by the power of man direct- 
ing the " action of the laws of variation, multiplication, and survival, for 
his own purpose. We know, however, that this has been done, and we 
must therefore admit the possibility that in the development of the human 
race, a higher intelligence has guided the same laws for nobler ends." 

298 WORK ON 'MAN.' [1869. 

heaven, I have finished correcting the new edition of the 
' Origin,' and am at my old work of Sexual Selection. 

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

My dear Lyell, ever yours sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. L. A. de Quatrefages. 

Down, May 28 [1869 or 1870]. 
Dear Sir, — I have received and read your volume,* and 
am much obliged for your present. The whole strikes me as 
a wonderfully clear and able discussion, and I was much 
interested by it to the last page. It is impossible that any 
account of my views could be fairer, or, as far as space per- 
mitted, fuller, than that which you have given. The way in 
which you repeatedly mention my name is most gratifying to 
me. When I had finished the second part, I thought that 
you had stated the case so favourably that you would make 
more converts on my side than on your own side. On read- 
ing the subsequent parts I had to change my sanguine view. 
In these latter parts many of your strictures are severe 
enough, but all are given with perfect courtesy and fairness. 
I can truly say I would rather be criticised by you in this 
manner than praised by many others. I agree with some of 
your criticisms, but differ entirely from the remainder ; but I 
will not trouble you with any remarks. I may, however, say, 
that you must have been deceived by the French translation, 

* Essays reprinted from the ' Revue des Deux Mondes,' under the title 
1 Histoire Naturelle Generale,' &c, 1869. 

1869.] MR. HUXLEY ON HAECKEL. 299 

as you infer that I believe that the Parus and the Nuthatch 
(or Sitta) are related by direct filiation. I wished only to 
show by an imaginary illustration, how either instincts or 
structures might first change. If you had seen Cam's Magel- 
lanicus alive you would have perceived how foxlike its appear- 
ance is, or if you had heard its voice, I think that you would 
never have hazarded the idea that it was a domestic dog run 
wild ; but this does not much concern me. It is curious how 
nationality influences opinion ; a week hardly passes without 
my hearing of some naturalist in Germany who supports my 
views, and often puts an exagg rated value on my works ; 
whilst in France I have not heard of a single zoologist, except 
M. Gaudry (and he only partially), who supports my views. 
But I must have a good many readers as my books are trans- 
lated, and I must hope, notwithstanding your strictures, that 
I may influence some embryo naturalists in France. 

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

Yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, October 14 [1869]. 
My dear Huxley, — I have been delighted to see your 
review of Hackel,* and as usual you pile honours high on my 
head. But I write now {requiring no answer) to groan a little 
over what you have said about rudimentary organs. f Many 
heretics will take advantage of what you have said. I cannot 

* A review of Haeckel's ' Schopfungs-Geschichte.' The Academy, 1869. 
Reprinted in ' Critiques and Addresses,' p. 303. 

f In discussing Teleology and Haeckel's " Dysteleology," Prof. Huxley 

says : — " Such cases as the existence of lateral rudiments of toes, in the 

foot of a horse, place us in a dilemma. For either these rudiments are of 

no use to the animals, in which case . . . they surely ought to have dis- 


300 WORK ON 'MAN.' [1870. 

but think that the explanation given at p. 541 of the last 
edition of the i Origin ' of the long retention of rudimentary 
organs and of their greater relative size during early life, is 
satisfactory. Their final and complete abortion seems to me 
a much greater difficulty. Do look in my ' Variations under 
Domestication,' vol. ii. p. 397, at what Pangenesis suggests on 
this head, though I did not dare to put in the ' Origin/ 
The passage bears also a little on the struggle between the 
molecules or gemmules.* There is likewise a word or two 
indirectly bearing on this subject at pp. 394-395. It won't 
take you five minutes, so do look at these passages. I am 
very glad that you have been bold enough to give your idea 
about Natural Selection amongst the molecules, though I can 
not quite follow you. 

1870 AND BEGINNING OF 1871. 

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

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

C. Darwin to E. Ray Lankester. 

Down, March 15 [1870]. 
My dear Sir, — I do not know whether you will consider 
me a very troublesome man, but I have just finished your 

appeared ; or they are of some use to the animal, in which case they are 
of no use as arguments against Teleology." — ('Critiques and Addresses,' 
p. 308.) 

* " It is a probable hypothesis, that what the world is to organisms in 
general, each organism is to the molecules of which it is composed. Mul- 
titudes of these having diverse tendencies, are competing with one another 
for opportunity to exist and multiply ; and the organism, as a whole, is as 
much the product of the molecules which are victorious as the Fauna, or 
Flora, of a country is the product of the victorious organic beings in it."— 
('Critiques and Addresses,' p. 309.) 


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

I remain, yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, April 20 [1870]. 
My dear Wallace, — I have just received your book, 
and read the preface. There never has been passed on me, 
or indeed on any one, a higher eulogium than yours. I wish 
that I fully deserved it. Your modesty and candour are very 
far from new to me. I hope it is a satisfaction to you to 
reflect — and very few things in my life have been more satis- 
factory to me — that we have never felt any jealousy towards 
each other, though in one sense rivals. I believe that I can 
say this of myself with truth, and I am absolutely sure that 
it is true of you. 

* ' Comparative Longevity.' 

3 02 WORK ON ' MAN.' [1870, 

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

Believe me, my dear Wallace, to remain, 

Yours very cordially, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to A, Gunther* 

March 23, [1870?] 
Dear Gunther, — As. I do not know Mr. Ford's address, 
will you hand him this note, which is written solely to express 
my unbounded admiration of the woodcuts. I fairly gloat 
over them. The only evil is that they will make all the other 
woodcuts look very poor ! They are all excellent, and for 
the feathers I declare I think it the most wonderful woodcut 
I ever saw ; I can not help touching it to make sure that it is 
smooth. How I wish to see the two other, and even more 
important, ones of the feathers, and the four [of] reptiles, &c. 
Once again accept my very sincere thanks for all your kind- 
ness. I am greatly indebted to Mr. Ford. Engravings have 
always hitherto been my greatest misery, and now they are a 

real pleasure to me. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P. S. — I thought I should have been in press by this time, 
but my subject has branched off into sub-branches, which 

* Dr. Gunther, Keeper of Zoology in the British Museum, 

1870.] DR. GUNTHER'S HELP. 303 

have cost me infinite time, and heaven knows when I shall 
have all my MS ready ; but I am never idle. 

C. Darwin to A. Giinther. 

May 15 [1870]. 
My dear Dr. Gunther, — Sincere thanks. Your answers 
are wonderfully clear and complete. I have some analogous 
questions on reptiles, &c, which I will send in a few days, 
and then I think I shall cause no more trouble. I will get 
the books you refer me to. The case of the Solenostoma* is 
magnificent, so exactly analogous to that of those birds in 
which the female is the more gay, but ten times better for me, 
as she is the incubator. As I crawl on with the successive 
classes I am astonished to find how similar the rules are about 
the nuptial or " wedding dress " of all animals. The subject 
has begun to interest me in an extraordinary degree ; but I 
must try not to fall into my common error of being too 
speculative. But a drunkard might as well say he would 
drink a little and not too much ! My essay, as far as fishes, 
batrachians and reptiles are concerned, will be in fact yours, 
only written by me. With hearty thanks. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, September 23 [undated]. 
My dear Wallace, — I am very much obliged for all your 
trouble in writing me your long letter, which I will keep by 

* In most of the Lophobranchii the male has a marsupial sack in which 
the eggs are hatched, and in these species the male is slightly brighter col- 
oured than the female. But in Solenostoma the female is the hatcher, and 
is also the more brightly coloured. — ' Descent of Man,' ii. 21. 

304 WORK ON 'MAN.' [1870. 

me and ponder over. To answer it would require at least 
200 folio pages ! If you could see how often I have re-written 
some pages you would know how anxious I am to arrive as 
near as I can to the truth. I lay great stress on what I know 
takes place under domestication ; I think we start with 
different fundamental notions on inheritance. I find it is 
most difficult, but not I think impossible, to see how, for in- 
stance, a few red feathers appearing on the head of a male 
bird, and which are at first transmitted to both sexes, could 
come to be transmitted to males alone. It is not enough that 
females should be produced from the males with red feathers, 
which should be destitute of red feathers ; but these females 
must have a latent tendency to produce such feathers, other- 
wise they would cause deterioration in the red head-feathers 
of their male offspring. Such latent tendency would be 
shown by their producing the red feathers when old, or dis- 
eased in their ovaria. But I have no difficulty in making the 
whole head red if the few red feathers in the male from the 
first tended to be sexually transmitted. I am quite willing 
to admit that the female may have been modified, either at 
the same time or subsequently, for protection by the accumu- 
lation of variations limited in their transmission to the female 
sex. I owe to your writings the consideration of this latter 
point. But I cannot yet persuade myself that females alone 
have often been modified for protection. Should you grudge 
the trouble briefly to tell me whether you believe that the 
plainer head and less bright colours of 9 chaffinch,* the less 
red on the head and less clean colours of 9 goldfinch, the 
much less red on the breast of 9 bull-finch, the paler crest of 
golden-crested wren, &c, have been acquired by them for 
protection. I cannot think so any more than I can that the 
considerable differences between 9 and 8 house sparrow, or 
much greater brightness of $ Parus ccendeus (both of which 
build under cover) than of 9 Parus, are related to protection. 
I even mis-doubt much whether the less blackness of 9 black- 
bird is for protection. 

* The symbols $ $ stand for male and female. 

1S70J SEDGWICK. 305 

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

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

I fear this letter will trouble you to read it. A very short 
answer about your belief in regard to the 9 finches and gal- 
linaceae would suffice. 

Believe me, my dear Wallace, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, May 25 [1870]. 
.... Last Friday we all went to the Bull Hotel at 
Cambridge to see the boys, and for a little rest and enjoy- 
ment. The backs of the Colleges are simply paradisaical. On 
Monday I saw Sedgwick, who was most cordial and kind ; in 
the morning I thought his brain was enfeebled ; in the evening 
he was brilliant and quite himself. His affection and kind- 
ness charmed us all. My visit to him was in one way un- 
fortunate ; for after a long sit he proposed to take me to the 
museum, and I could not refuse, and in consequence he utterly 

306 WORK ON ' MAN.' [187a 

prostrated me ; so that we left Cambridge next morning, and 
I have not recovered the exhaustion yet. Is it not humiliating 
to be thus killed by a man of eighty-six, who evidently never 
dreamed that he was killing me ? As he said to me, " Oh, 1 
consider you as a mere baby to me ! " I saw Newton several 
times, and several nice friends of F.'s. But Cambridge with- 
out dear Henslow was not itself ; I tried to get to the two 
old houses, but it was too far for me. . . . 

C. Darwin to B. J. Sulivan* 

Down, June 30 [1870]. 
My dear Sulivan, — It was very good of you to write to 
me so long a letter, telling me much about yourself and your 
children, which I was extremely glad to hear. Think what a 
benighted wretch I am, seeing no one and reading but little 
in the newspapers, for I did not know (until seeing the paper 
of your Natural History Society) that you were a K.C.B. 
Most heartily glad I am that the Government have at last 
appreciated your most just claim for this high distinction. On 
the other hand, I am sorry to hear so poor an account of your 
health ; but you were surely very rash to do all that you did 
and then pass through so exciting a scene as a ball at the 
Palace. It was enough to have tired a man in robust health. 
Complete rest will, however, I hope, quite set you up again. 
As for myself, I have been rather better of late, and if noth- 
ing disturbs me I can do some hours' work every day. I shall 
this autumn publish another book partly on man, which I 
dare say many will decry as very wicked. I could have 
travelled to Oxford, but could no more have withstood the 
excitement of a commemoration \ than I could a ball at 

* Admiral Sir James Sulivan was a lieutenant on board the Beagle. 

f This refers to an invitation to receive the honorary degree of D.C.L. 
He was one of those nominated for the degree by Lord Salisbury on as- 
suming the office of Chancellor of the University of Oxford. The fact 
that the honour was declined on the score of ill-health was published in 
the Oxford University Gazette, June 17, 1870. 


Buckingham Palace. Many thanks for your kind remarks 
about my boys. Thank God, all give me complete satisfac- 
tion ; my fourth stands second at Woolwich, and will be an 
Engineer Officer at Christmas. My wife desires to be very 
kindly remembered to Lady Sulivan, in which I very sincere- 
ly join, and in congratulation about your daughter's marriage. 
We are at present solitary, for all our younger children are 
gone a tour in Switzerland. I had never heard a word about 
the success of the T. del Fuego mission. It is most wonder- 
ful, and shames me, as I always prophesied utter failure. It 
is a grand success. I shall feel proud if your Committee 
think fit to elect me an honorary member of your society. 
With all good wishes and affectionate remembrances of ancient 

Believe me, my dear Sulivan, 

Your sincere friend, 

Ch. Darwin. 

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

u Your article in the Daily News of yesterday induces me 
to give you a correct statement of the connection between the 
South American Missionary Society and Mr. Charles Darwin, 
my old friend and shipmate for five years. I have been 

* I quote a ' Leaflet,' published by the Society. 

3 o8 WORK ON ' MAN.' [1870. 

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

* It seems to have been in 1867. 


C. Darwin to John Lubbock, 

Down, July 17, 1870. 

My dear Lubbock, — As I hear that the Census will be 
brought before the House to-morrow, I write to say how 
much I hope that you will express your opinion on the de- 
sirability of queries in relation to consanguineous marriages 
being inserted. As you are aware, I have made experiments 
on the subject during several years ; and it is my clear con- 
viction that there is now ample evidence of the existence of a great 
physiological law, rendering an enquiry with reference to mankind 
of much importance. In England and many parts of Europe the 
marriages of cousins are objected to from their supposed injurious 
consequences ; but this belief rests on no direct evidence. It is 
therefore manifestly desirable that the belief should either be proved 
false, or should be confirmed, so that in this latter case the 
marriages of cousins might be discouraged. If the proper 
queries are inserted, the returns would show whether married 
cousins have in their households on the night of the census 
as many children as have parents who are not related ; and 
should the number prove fewer, we might safely infer either 
lessened fertility in the parents, or which is more probable, 
lessened vitality in the offspring. 

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

Believe me, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

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




The subject of cousin marriages was afterwards investi- 
gated by my brother.* The results of this laborious piece 
of work were negative ; the author sums up in the sen- 
tence : — 

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

* " Marriages between First Cousins in England, and their EfFects ?: 
By George Darwin. 'Journal of the Statistical Society,' June, 1875. 

Publication of the ' Descent of Man. 

Work on ' Expression.' 


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

He also wrote to Dr. Gray : — 

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

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

Nothing can give a better idea (in small compass) of the 




growth of Evolutionism and its position at this time, than a 
quotation from Mr. Huxley * : — 

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

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

In Mr. James Hague's pleasantly written article, " A Rem- 
iniscence of Mr. Darwin " (' Harper's Magazine,' October 
1884), he describes a visit to my father u early in 1871,"! 
shortly after the publication of the ' Descent of Man.' Mr. 
Hague represents my father as " much impressed by the gen- 

* 'Contemporary Review,' 1871. 

f It must have been at the end of February, within a week after the 
publication of the book. 


eral assent with which his views had been received, " and as 
remarking that " everybody is talking about it without being 

Later in the year the reception of the book is described 
in different language in the ' Edinburgh Review':* "On 
every side it is raising a storm of mingled wrath, wonder, 
and admiration." 

With regard to the subsequent reception of the ' Descent 
of Man/ my father wrote to Dr. Dohrn, February 3, 1872 : — 

u I did not know until reading your article, f that my 
' Descent of Man ' had excited so much furore in Germany. 
It has had an immense circulation in this country and in 
America, but has met the approval of hardly any naturalists 
as far as I know. Therefore I suppose it was a mistake on 
my part to publish it ; but, anyhow, it will pave the way for 
some better work." 

The book on the ' Expression of the Emotions ' was begun 
on January 17th, 187 1, the last proof of the ' Descent of Man ' 
having been finished on January 15th. The rough copy was 
finished by April 27th, and shortly after this (in June) the 
work was interrupted by the preparation of a sixth edition of 
the ' Origin.' In November and December the proofs of the 
* Expression ' book were taken in hand, and occupied him 
until the following year, when the book was published. 

Some references to the work on Expression have occurred 
in letters already given, showing that the foundation of the 
book was, to some extent, laid down for some years before he 
began to write it. Thus he wrote to Dr. Asa Gray, April 15, 
1867 :— 

" I have been, lately getting up and looking over my old 
notes on Expression, and fear that I shall not make so much 
of my hobby-horse as I thought I could ; nevertheless, it 

* July 1 871. An adverse criticism. The reviewer sums up by saying 
that: "Never perhaps in the history of philosophy have such wide gen- 
eralisations been derived from such a small basis of fact." 

f In 'Das Ausland.' 


seems to me a curious subject which has been strangely 

It should, however, be remembered that the subject had 
been before his mind, more or less, from 1837 or 1838, as 
I judge from entries in his early note-books. It was in 
December, 1839, that he began to make observations on 

The work required much correspondence, not only with 
missionaries and others living among savages, to whom he 
sent his printed queries, but among physiologists and phy- 
sicians. He obtained much information from Professor 
Donders, Sir W. Bowman, Sir James Paget, Dr. W. Ogle, 
Dr. Crichton Browne, as well as from other observers. 

The first letter refers to the i Descent of Man.'] 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, January 30 [1871]. 
My dear Wallace, — Your note * has given me very great 
pleasure, chiefly because I was so anxious not to treat you 
with the least disrespect, and it is so difficult to speak fairly 
when differing from any one. If I had offended you, it 
would have grieved me more than you will readily believe. 
Secondly, I am greatly pleased to hear that Vol. I. interests 

* In the note referred to, dated January 27, Mr. Wallace wrote : — 
" Many thanks for your first volume which I have just finished reading 
through with the greatest pleasure and interest ; and I have also to thank 
you for the great tenderness with which you have treated me and my 

The heresy is the limitation of natural selection as applied to man. 
My father wrote (' Descent of Man,' i. p. 137) : — " I cannot therefore un- 
derstand how it is that Mr. Wallace maintains that ' natural selection 
could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to that 
of an ape.' " In the above quoted letter Mr. Wallace wrote : — " Your 
chapters on ' Man ' are of intense interest, but as touching my special 
heresy not as yet altogether convincing, though of course I fully agree 
with every word and every argument which goes to prove the evolution or 
development of man out of a lower form." 

I87i.] 'DESCENT OF MAN.' 315 

you ; I have got so sick of the whole subject that I felt in 
utter doubt about the value of any part. I intended, when 
speaking of females not having been specially modified for 
protection, to include the prevention of characters acquired 
by the S being transmitted to ? ; but I now see it would 
have been better to have said li specially acted on," or some 
such term. Possibly my intention may be clearer in Vol. II. 
Let me say that my conclusions are chiefly founded on the 
consideration of all animals taken in a body, bearing in mind 
how common the rules of sexual differences appear to be in 
all classes. The first copy of the chapter on Lepidoptera 
agreed pretty closely with you. I then worked on, came back 
to Lepidoptera, and thought myself compelled to alter it- 
finished Sexual Selection and for the last time went over 
Lepidoptera, and again I felt forced to alter it. I hope to 
God there will be nothing disagreeable to you in Vol. II., and 
that I have spoken fairly of your views ; I am fearful on this 
head, because I have just read (but not with sufficient care) 
Mivart's book,* and I feel absolutely certain that he meant to 
be fair (but he was stimulated by theological fervour) ; yet I 
do not think he has been quite fair. . . . The part which, I 
think, will have most influence is where he gives the whole 
series of cases like that of the whalebone, in which we can- 
not explain the gradational steps ; but such cases have no 
weight on my mind — if a few fish were extinct, who on earth 
would have ventured even to conjecture that lungs had 
originated in a swim-bladder ? In such a case as the Thy- 
lacine, I think he was bound to say that the resemblance of 
the jaw to that of the dog is superficial ; the number and 
correspondence and development of teeth being widely dif- 
ferent. I think again when speaking of the necessity of 
altering a number of characters together, he ought to have 
thought of man having power by selection to modify simul- 
taneously or almost simultaneously many points, as in making 
a greyhound or racehorse — as enlarged upon in my \ Domes- 

* * The Genesis of Species/ by St. G. Mivart, 1871. 



tic Animals.' Mivart is savage or contemptuous about my 
"moral sense," and so probably will you be. I am extremely 
pleased that he agrees with my position, as far as animal na- 
ture is concerned, of man in the series ; or if anything, thinks 
I have erred in making him too distinct. 

Forgive me for scribbling at such length. You have put 
me quite in good spirits ; I did so dread having been unin- 
tentionally unfair towards your views. I hope earnestly the 
second volume will escape as well. I care now very little 
what others say. As for our not quite agreeing, really in 
such complex subjects, it is almost impossible for two men 
who arrive independently at their conclusions to agree fully, 
it would be unnatural for them to do so. 

Yours ever, very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[[Professor Haeckel seems to have been one of the first to 
write to my father about the * Descent of Man/ I quote 
.from his reply : — 

"I must send you a few words to thank you for your in- 
teresting, and I may truly say, charming letter. I am de- 
lighted that you approve of my book, as far as you have read 
it. I felt very great difficulty and doubt how often I ought 
to allude to what you have published ; strictly speaking every 
idea, although occurring independently to me, if published by 
you previously ought to have appeared as if taken from your 
works, but this would have made my book very dull reading ; 
and I hoped that a full acknowledgment at the beginning 
would suffice.* I cannot tell you how glad I am to find that 
I have expressed my high admiration of your labours with 

* In the introduction to the 'Descent of Man' the author wrote: — 
"This last naturalist [Haeckel] . . . has recently . . . published his 
VNaturliche Schopfungs-geschichte,' in which he fully discusses the gene- 
alogy of man. If this* work had appeared before my essay had been writ- 
ten, I should pijobably.never have completed it. Almost all the conclusions 
at which I have arrived, I find confirmed by this naturalist, whose knowl- 
edge on many points is_ much, fuller than mine." 

1871.] MR. WALLACE'S REVIEW. 317 

sufficient clearness ; I am sure that I have not expressed it 
too strongly/'] 

C. Darwin to A, R % Wallace. 

Down, March 16, 1871. 
My dear Wallace, — I have just read your grand re- 
view.* It is in every way as kindly expressed towards my- 
self as it is excellent in matter. The Lyells have been here, 
and Sir C. remarked that no one wrote such good scientific 
reviews as you, and as Miss Buckley added, you delight in 
picking out all that is good, though very far from blind to 
the bad. In all this I most entirely agree. I shall always 
consider your review as a great honour ; and however much 
my book may hereafter be abused, as no doubt it will be, 
your review will console me, notwithstanding that we differ 
so greatly. I will keep your objections to my views in my 
mind, but I fear that the latter are almost stereotyped in my 
mind. I thought for long weeks about the inheritance and 
selection difficulty, and covered quires of paper with notes in 
trying to get out of it, but could not, though clearly seeing 
that it would be a great relief if I could. I will confine my- 
self to two or three remarks. I have been much impressed 
with what you urge against colour f in the case of insects, 
having been acquired through sexual selection. I always 
saw that the evidence was very weak ; but I still think, if it 
be admitted that the musical instruments of insects have been 
gained through sexual selection, that there is not the least 
improbability in colour having been thus gained. Your argu- 
ment with respect to the denudation of mankind and also to 
insects, that taste on the part of one sex would have to re- 

* Academy, March 15, 187 1. 

f Mr. Wallace says that the pairing of butterflies is probably deter- 
mined by the fact that one male is stronger-winged, or more pertinacious 
than the rest, rather than by the choice of the females. He quotes the 
case of caterpillars which are brightly coloured and yet sexless. Mr. Wal- 
lace also makes the good criticism that the * Descent of Man* consists of 
two books mixed together. 


main nearly the same during many generations, in order that 
sexual selection should produce any effect, I agree to ; and I 
think this argument would be sound if used by one who de- 
nied that, for instance, the plumes of birds of Paradise had 
been so gained. I believe you admit this, and if so I do not 
see how your argument applies in other cases. I have recog- 
nized for some short time that I have made a great omission 
in not having discussed, as far as I could, the acquisition of 
taste, its inherited nature, and its permanence within pretty 
close limits for long periods. 

[With regard to the success of the ' Descent of Man/ I 
quote from a letter to Professor Ray Lankester (March 22, 


" I think you will be glad to hear, as a proof of the in- 
creasing liberality of England, that my book has sold wonder- 
fully .... and as yet no abuse (though some, no doubt, will 
come, strong enough), and only contempt even in the poor 
old Athenceum" 

As to reviews that struck him he wrote to Mr. Wallace 
(March 24, 1871) : — 

" There is a very striking second article on my book in 
the Pall Mall, % The articles in the Spectator* have also in- 
terested me much." 

On March 20 he wrote to Mr. Murray : — 

" Many thanks for the Nonconformist [March 8, 1871]. I 
like to see all that is written, and it is of some real use. If 
you hear of reviewers in out-of-the-way papers, especially the 
religious, as Record, Guardian, Tablet, kindly inform me. It 
is wonderful that there has been no abuse \ as yet, but I 

* Spectator, March 11 and 18, 1871. With regard to the evolution of 
conscience the reviewer thinks that my father comes much nearer to the 
" kernel of the psychological problem " than many of his predecessors. 
The second article contains a good discussion of the bearing of the book 
on the question of design, and concludes by finding in it a vindication of 
Theism more wonderful than that in Paley's ' Natural Theology.' 

f " I feel a full conviction that my chapter on man will excite attention 

i8 7 i.] REVIEWS. 319 

suppose I shall not escape. On the whole, the reviews have 
been highly favourable." 

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Murray (April 
13, 1871) refers to a review in the Times.\ 

"I have no idea who wrote the Times review. He has no 
knowledge of science, and seems to me a wind-bag full of 
metaphysics and classics, so that I do net much regard his 
adverse judgment, though I suppose it will injure the sale." 

A review of the ' Descent of Man/ which my father spoke 
of as "capital," appeared in the Saturday Review (Mar. 4 
and 11, 1 871). A passage from the first notice (Mar. 4) may 
be quoted in illustration of the broad basis as regards general 
acceptance, on which the doctrine of Evolution now stood : 
" He claims to have brought man himself, his origin and con- 
stitution, within that unity which he had previously sought 
to trace through all lower animal forms. The growth of 
opinion in the interval, due in chief measure to his own in- 
termediate works, has placed the discussion of this problem 
in a position very much in advance of that held by it fifteen 
years ago. The problem of Evolution is hardly any longer to 
be treated as one of first principles ; nor has Mr. Darwin to 
do battle for a first hearing of his central hypothesis, upborne 
as it is by a phalanx of names full of distinction and promise, 
in either hemisphere." 

The infolded point of the human ear, discovered by Mr. 
Woolner, and described in the ' Descent of Man,' seems 
especially to have struck the popular imagination ; my father 
wrote to Mr. Woolner: — 

and plenty of abuse, and I suppose abuse is as good as praise for selling a 
book." — (From a letter to Mr. Murray, Jan. 31, 1867.) 

\ Times, April 7 and 8, 187 1. The review is not only unfavourable as 
regards the book under discussion, but also as regards Evolution in general, 
as the following citation will show : " Even had it been rendered highly 
probable, which we doubt, that the animal creation has been developed 
into its numerous and widely different varieties by mere evolution, it would 
still require an independent investigation of overwhelming force and com- 
pleteness to justify the presumption that man is but a term in this self- 
evolving series." 


" The tips to the ears have become quite celebrated. One 
reviewer (' Nature ') says they ought to be called, as I sug- 
gested in joke, Angulus Woolnerianus* A German is very 
proud to find that he has the tips well developed, and I 
believe will send me a photograph of his ears."] 

C. Darwin to John Brodie Innes.\ 

Down, May 29 [1871]. 
My dear Innes, — I have been very glad to receive your 
pleasant letter, for to tell you the truth, I have sometimes 
wondered whether you would not think me an outcast and a 
reprobate after the publication of my last book [' Descent ']. J 
I do not wonder at all at your not agreeing with me, for a 
good many professed naturalists do not. Yet when I see in 
how extraordinary a manner the judgment of naturalists has 
changed since I published the ' Origin/ I feel convinced that 
there will be in ten years quite as much unanimity about man, 
as far as his corporeal frame is concerned. . . . 

[The following letters addressed to Dr. Ogle deal with 
the progress of the work on expression.] 

Down, March 12 [1871]. 
My dear Dr. Ogle, — I have received both your letters, 
and they tell me all that I wanted to know in the clearest 
possible way, as, indeed, all your letters have ever done. I 
thank you cordially. I will give the case of the murderer * 
in my hobby-horse essay on expression. I fear that the Eu- 
stachian tube question must have cost you a deal of labour ; 

* ' Nature ' Ap. 6, 1871. The term suggested is Angulus Woolnerii. 
f Rev. J. Brodie Innes, of Milton Brodie, formerly Vicar of Down. 
|Ina former letter of my father's to Mr. Innes : — " We often differed, 

but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can differ and yet 
feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing which I should feel very 
proud of, if any one could say it of me." 

* ' Expression of the Emotions,' p. 294. The arrest of a murderer, as 
witnessed by Dr. Ogle in a hospital. 

i8 7 i.] EXPRESSION. 321 

it is quite a complete little essay. It is pretty clear that the 
mouth is not opened under surprise merely to improve the 
hearing. Yet why do deaf men generally keep their mouths 
open ? The other day a man here was mimicking a deaf 
friend, leaning his head forward and sideways to the speaker, 
with his mouth well open; it was a lifelike representation of 
a deaf man. Shakespeare somewhere says : " Hold your 
breath, listen" or "hark," I forget which. Surprise hurries 
the breath, and it seems to me one can breathe, at least hur- 
riedly, much quieter through the open mouth than through 
the nose. I saw the other day you doubted this. As objec- 
tion is your province at present, I think breathing through 
the nose ought to come within it likewise, so do pray consider 
this point, and let me hear your judgment. Consider the 
nose to be a flower to be fertilised, and then you will make 
out all about it.* I have had to allude to your paper on 
1 Sense of Smell ; ' f is the paging right, namely, 1, 2, 3 ? If 
not, I protest by all the gods against the plan followed by 
some, of having presentation copies falsely paged ; and so 
does Rolleston, as he wrote to me the other day. In haste. 

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to W. Ogle, 

Down, March 25 [1871]. 
My dear Dr. Ogle, — You will think me a horrid bore, 
but I beg you, in relation to a new point for observation, to 
imagine as well as you can that you suddenly come across 
some dreadful object, and act with a sudden little start, a 
shudder of horror ; please do this once or twice, and observe 
yourself as well as you can, and afterwards read the rest of 
this note, which I have consequently pinned down. I find, 
to my surprise, whenever I act thus my platysma contracts. 

• * Dr. Ogle had corresponded with my father on his own observations 
on the fertilisation of flowers. 
f Medico-chirurg. Trans, liii. 


Does yours ? (N.B. — See what a man will do for science ; I 
began this note with a horrid lib, namely, that I want you to 
attend to a new point.*) I will try and get some persons 
thus to act who are so lucky as not to know that they even 
possess this muscle, so troublesome for any one making out 
about expression. Is a shudder akin to the rigor or shiver- 
ing before fever? If so, perhaps the platysma could be ob- 
served in such cases. Paget told me that he had attended 
much to shivering, and had written in MS. on the subject, 
and been much perplexed about it. He mentioned that pass- 
ing a catheter often causes shivering. Perhaps I will write 
to him about the platysma. He is always most kind in aiding 
me in all ways, but he is so overworked that it hurts my con- 
science to trouble him, for I have a conscience, little as you 
have reason to think so. Help me if you can, and forgive 
me. Your murderer case has come in splendidly as the acme 
of prostration from fear. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Dr. Ogle. 

Down, April 29 [1871]. 
My dear Dr. Ogle, — I am truly obliged for all the great 
trouble which you have so kindly taken. I am sure you have 
no cause to say that you are sorry you can give me no definite 
information, for you have given me far more than I ever ex- 
pected to get. The action of the platysma is not very im- 
portant for me, but I believe that you will fully understand 
(for I have always fancied that our minds were very similar) 
the intolerable desire I had not to be utterly baffled. Now I 
know that it sometimes contracts from fear and from shud- 
dering, but not apparently from a prolonged state of fear 
such as the insane suffer 

* The point was doubtless described as a new one, to avoid the possi- 
bility of Dr. Ogle's attention being directed to the platysma, a muscle 
which had been the subject of discussion in other letters. 

1871.] EXPRESSION. 323 

[Mr. Mivart's ' Genesis of Species/ — a eontribution to the 
literature of Evolution, which excited much attention — was 
published in 1871, before the appearance of the ' Descent of 
Man.' To this book the following letter (June 21, 187 1) from 
the late Chauncey Wright * to my father refers] : 

" I send . . . revised proofs of an article which will be 
published in the July number of the ' North American Re- 
view/ sending it in the hope that it will interest or even be 
of greater value to you. Mr. Mivart's book [' Genesis of 
Species '] of which this article is substantially a review, seems 
to me a very good background from which to present the 
considerations which I have endeavoured to set forth in the 
article, in defence and illustration of the theory of Natural 
Selection. My special purpose has been to contribute to the 
theory by placing it in its proper relations to philosophical 
inquiries in general. ,, f 

With regard to the proofs received from Mr. W r right, my 
father wrote to Mr. Wallace :] 

Down, July 9 [1871]. 
My dear Wallace, — I send by this post a review by 
Chauncey Wright, as I much want your opinion of it as soon 
as you can send it. I consider you an incomparably better 
critic than I am. The article, though not very clearly 
written, and poor in parts from want of knowledge, seems 
to me admirable. Mivart's book is producing a great effect 

* Chauncey Wright was. born at Northampton, Massachusetts, Sept. 20, 
1830, and came of a family settled in that town since 1654. He became in 
1852 a computer in the Nautical Almanac office at Cambridge, Mass., and 
lived a quiet uneventful life, supported by the small stipend of his office, 
and by what he earned from his occasional articles, as well as by a little 
teaching. He thought and read much on metaphysical subjects, but on 
the whole with an outcome (as far as the world was concerned) not com- 
mensurate to the power of his mind. He seems to have been a man of 
strong individuality, and to have made a lasting impression on his friends. 
He died in Sept., 1875. 

t ' Letters of Chauncey Wright,' by J. B. Thayer. Privately printed, 
1878, p. 230. 


against Natural Selection, and more especially against me. 
Therefore if you think the article even somewhat good I will 
write and get permission to publish it as a shilling pamphlet, 
together with the MS. additions (enclosed), for which there 
was not room at the end of the review. . . . 

I am now at work at a new and cheap edition of the 
' Origin,' and shall answer several points in Mivart's book, 
and introduce a new chapter for this purpose ; but I treat the 
subject so much more concretely, and I dare say less philo- 
sophically, than Wright, that we shall not interfere with each 
other. You will think me a bigot when I say, after studying 
Mivart, I was never before in my life so convinced of the 
general (i. e. not in detail) truth of the views in the ' Origin/ 
I grieve to see the omission of the words by Mivart, detected 
by Wright.* I complained to Mivart that in two cases he 
quotes only the commencement of sentences by me, and thus 
modifies my meaning ; but I never supposed he would have 
omitted words. There are other cases of what I consider 
unfair treatment. I conclude with sorrow that though he 
means to be honourable he is so bigoted that he cannot act 
fairly. . . . 

C. Darwin to Chauncey Wright. 

Down, July 14, 18 71. 
My dear Sir, — I have hardly ever in my life read an 
article which has given me so much satisfaction as the review 
which you have been so kind as to send me. I agree to al- 
most everything which you say. Your memory must be won- 
derfully accurate, for you know my works as well as I do 
myself, and your power of grasping other men's thoughts is 
something quite surprising ; and this, as far as my experience 

* * North American Review,' vol. 113, pp. 83, 84. Chauncey Wright 
points out that the words omitted are " essential to the point on which he 
[Mr. Mivart] cites Mr. Darwin's authority." It should be mentioned that 
the passage from which words are omitted is not given within inverted 
commas by Mr. Mivart. 

1871.] 'GENESIS OF SPECIES/ 325 

goes, is a very rare quality. As I read on I perceived how 
you have acquired this power, viz. by thoroughly analyzing 
each word. 

. . . Now I am going to beg a favour. Will you pro- 
visionally give me permission to reprint your article as a 
shilling pamphlet ? I ask only provisionally, as I have not 
yet had time to reflect on the subject. It would cost me, 1 
fancy, with advertisements, some ^20 or ^30 ; but the 
worst is that, as I hear, pamphlets never will sell. And this 
makes me doubtful. Should you think it too much trouble 
to send me a title for the chance ? The title ought, I think, 
to have Mr. Mivart's name on it. 

... If you grant permission and send a title, you will 
kindly understand that I will first make further enquiries 
whether there is any chance of a pamphlet being read. 
Pray believe me yours very sincerely obliged, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[The pamphlet was published in the autumn, and on Oc- 
tober 23 my father wrote to Mr. Wright : — 

" It pleases me much that you are satisfied with the ap- 
pearance of your pamphlet. I am sure it will do our cause 
good service ; and this same, opinion Huxley has expressed 
to me. (' Letters of Chauncey Wright,' p. 235)"] 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, July 12 [1871]. 
.... I feel very doubtful how far I shall succeed in an- 
swering Mivart, it is so difficult to answer objections to 
doubtful points, and make the discussion readable. I. shall 
make only a selection. The worst of it is, that I cannot 
possibly hunt through all my references for isolated points, it 
would take me three weeks of intolerably hard work. I wish 
I had your power of arguing clearly. At present I feel sick 
of everything, and if I could occupy my time and forget my 
daily discomforts, or rather miseries, I would never publish 


another word. But I shall cheer up, I dare say, soon, having 
only just got over a bad attack. Farewell ; God knows why 
I bother you about myself. I can say nothing more about 
missing-links than what I have said. I should rely much on 
pre-silurian times; but then comes Sir W. Thomson like an 
odious spectre. Farewell. 

. . . There is a most cutting review of me in the ' Quar- 
terly ';* I have only read a few pages. The skill and style 
make me think of Mivart. I shall soon be viewed as the 
most despicable of men. This ' Quarterly Review ' tempts 
me to republish Ch. Wright, even if not read by any one, just 
to show some one will say a word against Mivart, and that 
his (i.e. Mivart's) remarks ought not to be swallowed without 
some reflection. . . . God knows whether my strength and 
spirit will last out to write a chapter versus Mivart and others; 
I do so hate controversy and feel I shall do it so badly. 

[The above-mentioned ' Quarterly ' review was the subject 
of an article by Mr. Huxley in the November number of the 
' Contemporary Review.' Here, also, are discussed Mr. Wal- 
lace's ' Contribution to the Theory of Natural Selection/ and 
the second edition of Mr. Mivart 's ' Genesis of Species.' 
What follows is taken from Mr. Huxley's article. The 
1 Quarterly ' reviewer, though being to some extent an evolu- 
tionist, believes that Man " differs more from an elephant or 
a gorilla, than do these from the dust of the earth on which 
they tread." The reviewer also declares that my father has 
" with needless opposition, set at naught the first principles 
of both philosophy and religion." Mr. Huxley passes from 
the ' Quarterly ' reviewer's further statement, that there is no 
necessary opposition between evolution and religion, to the 
more definite position taken by Mr. Mivart, that the orthodox 
authorities of the Roman Catholic Church agree in distinctly 
asserting derivative creation, so that " their teachings har- 
monize with all that modern science can possibly require." 
Here Mr. Huxley felt the want of that " study of Christian 

* July 1871. 

1871.] 'QUARTERLY REVIEW.' 327 

philosophy " (at any rate, in its Jesuitic garb), which Mr. 
Mivart speaks of, and it was a want he at once set to work to 
fill up. He was then staying at St. Andrews, whence he wrote 
to my father : — 

" By great good luck there is an excellent library here, 
with a good copy of Suarez,* in a dozen big folios. Among 
these I dived, to the great astonishment of the librarian, and 
looking into them ' as the careful robin eyes the delver's toil ' 
(vide i Idylls'), 1 carried off the two venerable clasped vol- 
umes which were most promising." Even those who know 
Mr. Huxley's unrivalled power of tearing the heart out of a 
book must marvel at the skill with which he has made Suarez 
speak on his side. " So I have come out," he wrote, "in the 
new character of a defender of Catholic orthodoxy, and up- 
set Mivart out of the mouth of his own prophet." 

The remainder of Mr. Huxley's critique is largely occu- 
pied with a dissection of the ' Quarterly ' reviewer's psychol- 
ogy, and his ethical views. He deals, too, with Mr. Wal- 
lace's objections to the doctrine of Evolution by natural 
causes when applied to the mental faculties of Man. Finally, 
he devotes a couples of pages to justifying his description of 
the ' Quarterly ' reviewer's " treatment of Mr. Darwin as alike 
unjust and unbecoming." 

It will be seen that the two following letters were written 
before the publication of Mr. Huxley's article.] 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley, 

Down, September 21 [1871]. 
My dear Huxley, — Your letter has pleased me in many 
ways, to a wonderful degree. . . . What a wonderful man you 
are to grapple with those old metaphisico-divinity books. It 
quite delights me that you are going to some extent to answer 
and attack Mivart. His book, as you say, has produced a 
great effect ; yesterday I perceived the reverberations from it, 
even from Italy. It was this that made me ask Chauncey 

* The learned Jesuit on whom Mr. Mivart mainly relies. 


Wright to publish at my expense his article, which seems 
to me very clever, though ill-written. He has not knowledge 
enough to grapple with Mivart in detail. I think there can 
be no shadow of doubt that he is the author of the article in 
the ' Quarterly Review ' ... I am preparing a new edition 
of the 'Origin,' and shall introduce a new chapter in answer 
to miscellaneous objections, and shall give up the greater part 
to answer Mivart's cases of difficulty of incipient structures 
being of no use : and I find it can be done easily. He never 
states his case fairly, and makes wonderful blunders. . . . 
The pendulum is now swinging against our side, but I feel 
positive it will soon swing the other way ; and no mortal man 
will do half as much as you in giving it a start in the right 
direction, as you did at the first commencement. God for- 
give me for writing so long and egotistical a letter ; but it 
is your fault, for you have so delighted me ; I never dreamed 
that you would have time to say a word in defence of the 
cause which you have so often defended. It will be a long 
battle, after we are dead and gone. . . . Great is the power 
of misrepresentation. ... 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, September 30 [1871]. 
My dear Huxley,— It was very good of you to send the 
proof-sheets, for I was very anxious to read your article. I 
have been delighted with it. How you do smash Mivart's 
theology : it is almost equal to your article versus Comte— * 
that never can be transcended. ... But I have been pre- 
eminently glad to read your discussion on [the ' Quarterly ' 
reviewer's] metaphysics, especially about reason and his de- 
finition of it. I felt sure he was wrong, but having only 

* ■ Fortnightly Review/ 1869. With regard to the relations of Posi- 
tivism to Science my father wrote to Mr. Spencer in 1875 : " How curi- 
ous and amusing it is to see to what an extent the Positivists hate all men 
of science ; I fancy they are dimly conscious what laughable and gigantic 
blunders their prophet made in predicting the course of science." 

1871.] MR. HUXLEY'S REVIEW. 329 

common observation and sense to trust to, I did not know 
what to say in my second edition of my • Descent/ Now a 
footnote and reference to you will do the work. . . . For me, 
this is one of the most important parts of the review. But for 
pleasure, I have been particularly glad that my few words * 
on the distinction, if it can be so called, between Mivart's two 
forms of morality, caught your attention. I am so pleased 
that you take the same view, and give authorities for it ; but I 
searched Mill in vain on this head. How well you argue the 
whole case. I am mounting climax on climax ; for after all 
there is nothing, I think, better in your whole review than 
your arguments v. Wallace on the intellect of savages. I must 
tell you what Hooker said to me a few years ago. " When I 
read Huxley, I feel quite infantile in intellect. ,, By Jove I 
have felt the truth of this throughout your review. What a 
man you are. There are scores of splendid passages, and 
vivid flashes of wit. I have been a good deal more than 
merely pleased by the concluding part of your review ; and 
all the more, as I own I felt mortified by the accusation of 
bigotry, arrogance, &c, in the ' Quarterly Review/ But I 
assure you, he may write his worst, and he will never mortify 
me again. 

My dear Huxley, yours gratefully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to F. Muller. 

Haredene, Albury, August 2 [18 71]. 
My dear Sir, — Your last letter has interested me greatly; 
it is wonderfully rich in facts and original thoughts. First, 
let me say that I have been much pleased by what you say 
about my book. It has had a. very large sale; but I have 
been much abused for it, especially for the chapter on the 
moral sense ; and most of my reviewers consider the book as 
a poor affair. God knows what its merits may really be ; all 

* ' Descent of Man/ vol. i. p. 87. A discussion on the question whether 
an act done impulsively or instinctively can be called moral. 


that I know is that I did my best. With familiarity I think 
naturalists will accept sexual selection to a greater extent 
than they now seem inclined to do. I should very much like 
to publish your letter, but I do not see how it could be made 
intelligible, without numerous coloured illustrations, but I will 
consult Mr. Wallace on this head. I earnestly hope that you 
keep notes of all your letters, and that some day you will 
publish a book : l Notes of a Naturalist in S. Brazil/ or some 
such title. Wallace will hardly admit the possibility of 
sexual selection with Lepidoptera, and no doubt it is very 
improbable. Therefore, I am very glad to hear of your cases 
(which I will quote in the next edition) of the two sets of 
Hesperiadae, which display their wings differently, according 
to which surface is coloured. I cannot believe that such dis- 
play is accidental and purposeless. ... 

No fact of your letter has interested me more than that 
about mimicry. It is a capital fact about the males pursuing 
the wrong females. You put the difficulty of the first steps in 
imitation in a most striking and convincing manner. Your 
idea of sexual selection having aided protective imitation 
interests me greatly, for the same idea had occurred to me in 
quite different cases, viz. the dulness of all animals in the 
Galapagos Islands, Patagonia, &c, and in some other cases ; 
but I was afraid even to hint at such an idea. Would you 
object to my giving some such sentence as follows : il F. 
Mliller suspects that sexual selection may have come into 
play, in aid of protective imitation, in a very peculiar manner, 
which will appear extremely improbable to those who do not 
fully believe in sexual selection. It is that the appreciation 
of certain colour is developed in those species which fre- 
quently behold other species thus ornamented." Again let 
me thank you cordially for your most interesting letter. . . . 

1872.] 'PRIMITIVE CULTURE.' 33 1 

C. Darwin to E. B. Tybr* 

Down [Sept. 24, 1871]. 
My dear Sir, — I hope that you will allow me to have the 
pleasure of telling you how greatly I have been interested by 
your ' Primitive Culture,' now that I have finished it. It 
seems to me a most profound work, which will be certain to 
have permanent value, and to be referred to for years to come. 
It is wonderful how you trace animism from the lower races 
up to the religious belief of the highest races. It will make 
me for the future look at religion — a belief in the soul, &c. — 
from a new point of view. How curious, also, are the survi- 
vals or rudiments of old customs. . . . You will perhaps be 
surprised at my writing at so late a period, but I have had the 
book read aloud to me, and from much ill-health of late could 
only stand occasional short reads. The undertaking must 
have cost you gigantic labour. Nevertheless, I earnestly hope 
that you may be induced to treat morals in the same enlarged 
yet careful manner, as you have animism. I fancy from the 
last chapter that you have thought of this. No man could do 
the work so well as you, and the subject assuredly is a most 
important and interesting one. You must now possess refer- 
ences which would guide you to a sound estimation of the 
morals of savages ; and how writers like Wallace, Lubbock, 
&c, &c, do differ on this head. Forgive me for troubling 
you, and believe me, with much respect, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 


[At the beginning of the year the sixth edition of the 
1 Origin/ which had been begun in June, 1871, was nearly 
completed. The last sheet was revised on January 10, 1872, 
and the book was published in the course of the month. 
This volume differs from the previous ones in appearance 

* Keeper of the Museum, and Reader in Anthropology at Oxford. 


and size — it consists of 458 pp. instead of 596 pp. and is 
a few ounces lighter ; it is printed on bad paper, in small 
type, and with the lines unpleasantly close together. It had, 
however, one advantage over previous editions, namely that 
it was issued at a lower price. It is to be regretted that this 
the final edition of the ' Origin ' should have appeared in 
so unattractive a form ; a form which has doubtless kept off 
many readers from the book. 

The discussion suggested by the i Genesis of Species ' was 
perhaps the most important addition to the book. The ob- 
jection that incipient structures cannot be of use was dealt 
with in some detail, because it seemed to the author that 
this was the point in Mr. Mivart's book which has struck 
most readers in England. 

It is a striking proof of how wide and general had become 
the acceptance of his views that my father found it necessary 
to insert (sixth edition, p. 424), the sentence : " As a record 
of a former state of things, I have retained in the foregoing 
paragraphs and also elsewhere, several sentences which imply 
that naturalists believe in the separate creation of each 
species ; and I have been much censured for having thus 
expressed myself. But undoubtedly this was the general 
belief when the first edition of the present work appeared. . . 
Now things are wholly changed, and almost every naturalist 
admits the great principle of evolution. ,, 

A small correction introduced into this sixth edition is 
connected with one of his minor papers : " Note on the habits 
of the Pampas Woodpecker." * In the fifth edition of the 
* Origin,' p. 220, he wrote : — 

" Yet as I can assert not only from my own observation, 
but from that of the accurate Azara, it [the ground wood- 
pecker] never climbs a tree." The paper in question was a 
reply to Mr. Hudson's remarks on the woodpecker in a pre- 
vious number of the same journal. The last sentence of 
my father's paper is worth quoting for its temperate tone : 

* Zoolog. Soc. Proc. 1870. 


u Finally, I trust that Mr. Hudson is mistaken when he says 
that any one acquainted with the habits of this bird might be 
induced to believe that I ' had purposely wrested the truth ' 
in order to prove my theory. He exonerates me from this 
charge ; but I should be loath to think that there are many 
naturalists who, without any evidence, would accuse a fellow- 
worker of telling a deliberate falsehood to prove his theory." 
In the sixth edition, p. 142, the passage runs " in certain 
large districts it does not climb trees." And he goes on to 
give Mr. Hudson's statement that in other regions it does 
frequent trees. 

One of the additions in the sixth edition (p. 149), was a 
reference to Mr. A. Hyatt's and Professor Cope's theory of 
"acceleration." With regard to this he wrote (October 10, 
1872) in characteristic words to Mr. Hyatt: — 

" Permit me to take this opportunity to express my sincere 
regret at having committed two grave errors in the last 
edition of my * Origin of Species,' in my allusion to yours and 
Professor Cope's views on acceleration and retardation of de- 
velopment. I had thought that Professor Cope had preceded 
you ; but I now well remember having formerly read with 
lively interest, and marked, a paper by you somewhere in my 
library, on fossil Cephalapods with remarks on the subject. 
It seems also that I have quite misrepresented your joint 
view. This has vexed me much. I confess that I have 
never been able to grasp fully what you wish to show, and I 
presume that this must be owing to some dulness on my 

Lastly, it may be mentioned that this cheap edition being 
to some extent intended as a popular one, was made to in- 
clude a glossary of technical terms, " given because several 
readers have complained. . . . that some of the terms used 
were unintelligible to them." The glossary was compiled 
by Mr. Dallas, and being an excellent collection of clear 
and sufficient definitions, must have proved useful to many 


C. Darwin to J. L. A. de Quatrefages. 

Down, January 15, 1872. 
My dear Sir, — I am much obliged for your very kind 
letter and exertions in my favour. I had thought that the 
publication of my last book [' Descent of Man '] would have 
destroyed all your sympathy with me, but though I estimated 
very highly your great liberality of mind, it seems that I 
underrated it. 

I am gratified to hear that M. Lacaze-Duthiers will vote * 
for me, for I have long honoured his name. I cannot help 
regretting that you should expend your valuable time in 
trying to obtain for me the honour of election, for I fear, 
judging from the last time, that all your labour will be in vain. 
Whatever the result may be, I shall always retain the most 
lively recollection of your sympathy and kindness, and this 
will quite console me for my rejection. 

With much respect and esteem, I remain, dear Sir, 

Yours truly obliged, 
Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — With respect to the great stress which you lay on 
man walking on two legs, whilst the quadrumana go on all 
fours, permit me to remind you that no one much values the 
great difference in the mode of locomotion, and consequently 
in structure, between seals and the terrestrial carnivora, or 
between the almost biped kangaroos and other marsupials. 

C. Darwin to August Weismann. f 

Down, April 5, 1872. 
My dear Sir, — I have now read your essay J with very 
great interest. Your view of the i Origin ' of local races 

* He was not elected as a corresponding member of the French Acad- 
emy until 1878. 

f Professor of Zoology in Freiburg. 

% ' Ueber den Einfluss der Isolirung auf die Artbildung.' Leipzig, 


1872.] ISOLATION. 33$ 

through "Amixie," is altogether new to me, and seems to 
throw an important light on an obscure problem. There is, 
however, something strange about the periods or endurance 
of variability. I formerly endeavoured to investigate the 
subject, not by looking to past time, but 'to species of the 
same genus widely distributed ; and I found in many cases 
that all the species, with perhaps one or two exceptions, were 
variable. It would be a very interesting subject for a con- 
chologist to investigate, viz., whether the species of the same 
genus were variable during many successive geological forma- 
tions. I began to make inquiries on this head, but failed in 
this, as in so many other things, from the want of time and 
strength. In your remarks on crossing, you do not, as it 
seems to me, lay nearly stress enough on the increased vigour 
of the offspring derived from parents which have been exposed 
to different conditions. I have during the last five years 
been making experiments on this subject with plants, and 
have been astonished at the results, which have not yet been 

In the first part of your essay, I thought that you wasted 
(to use an English expression) too much powder and shot on 
M. Wagner ; * but I changed my opinion when I saw how 
admirably you treated the whole case, and how well you 
used the facts about the Planorbis. I wish I had studied this 
latter case more carefully. The manner in which, as you 
show, the different varieties blend together and make a con- 
stant whole, agrees perfectly with my hypothetical illustrations. 
. Many years ago the late E. Forbes described three closely 
consecutive beds in a secondary formation, each with repre- 
sentative forms of the same fresh-water shells : the case is 
evidently analogous with that of Hilgendorf, f but the inter- 

* Prof. Wagner has written two essays on the same subject. ' Die Dar- 
win'sche Theorie und das Migrationsgesetz, in 1868, and ' Ueber den Ein- 
fluss der Geographischen Isolirung, &c.,' an address to the Bavarian Acad- 
emy of Sciences at Munich, 1870. 

f " Ueber Planorbis multiformis im Steinheimer Siisswasser-kalk." 
Monatsbericht of the Berlin Academy, 1866. 


esting connecting varieties or links were here absent. I re- 
joice to think that I formerly said as emphatically as I could, 
that neither isolation nor time by themselves do anything for 
the modification of species. Hardly anything in your essay 
has pleased me so much personally, as to find that you believe 
to a certain extent in sexual selection. As far as I can judge, 
very few naturalists believe in this. I may have erred on 
many points, and extended the doctrine too far, but I feel 
a strong conviction that sexual selection will hereafter be 
admitted to be a powerful agency. I cannot agree with what 
you say about the taste for beauty in animals not easily vary- 
ing. It may be suspected that even the habit of viewing 
differently coloured surrounding objects would influence their 
taste, and Fritz Miiller even goes so far as to believe that the 
sight of gaudy butterflies might influence the taste of distinct 
species. There are many remarks and statements in your 
essay which have interested me greatly, and I thank you for 
the pleasure which I have received from reading it. 
With sincere respect, I remain, 

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — If you should ever be induced to consideV the whole 
doctrine of sexual selection, I think that you will be led to 
the conclusion, that characters thus gained by one sex are 
very commonly transferred in a greater or less degree to the 
other sex. 

[With regard to Moritz Wagner's first Essay, my father 
wrote to that naturalist, apparently in 1868 :] 

Dear and respected Sir, — I thank you sincerely for 
sending me your ' Migrationsgesetz, &c.,' and for the very 
kind and most honourable notice which you have taken of my 
works. That a naturalist who has travelled into so many and 
such distant regions, and who has studied animals of so many 
classes,* should, to a considerable extent, agree with me, is, I 

1872.] ISOLATION. 337 

can assure you, the highest gratification of which I am capa- 
ble. . . . Although I saw the effects of isolation in the case 
of islands and mountain-ranges, and knew of a few instances 
of rivers, yet the greater number of your facts were quite un- 
known to me. I now see that from the want of knowledge I 
did not make nearly sufficient use of the views which you 
advocate; and I almost wish I could believe in its impor- 
tance to the same extent with you ; for you well show, in a 
manner which never occurred to me, that it removes many 
difficulties and objections. But I must still believe that in 
many large areas all the individuals of the same species have 
been slowly modified, in the same manner, for instance, as the 
English race-horse has been improved, that is by the con- 
tinued selection of the fleetest individuals, without any sepa- 
ration. But I admit that by this process two or more new 
species could hardly be found within the same limited area ; 
some degree of separation, if not indispensable, would be 
highly advantageous ; and here your facts and views will be 
of great value. . . . 

[The following letter bears on the same subject. It refers 
to Professor M. Wagner's Essay, published in Das Ausland, 
May 31, 1875 :] 

C. Darwin to Moritz Wagner, 

Down, October 13, 1876. 
Dear Sir, — I have now finished reading your essays, 
which have interested me in a very high degree, notwith- 
standing that I differ much from you on various points. For 
instance, several considerations make me doubt whether spe- 
cies are much more variable at one period than at another, 
except through the agency of changed conditions. I wish, 
however, that I could believe in this doctrine, as it removes 
many difficulties. But my strongest objection to your theory 
is that it does not explain the manifold adaptations in struc- 
ture in every organic being — for instance in a Picus for 
climbing trees and catching insects — or in a Strix for catching 


animals at night, and so on ad infinitum. No theory is in 
the least satisfactory to me unless it clearly explains such 
adaptations. I think that you misunderstand my views on 
isolation. I believe that all the individuals of a species can 
be slowly modified within the same district, in nearly the 
same manner as man effects by what I have called the pro- 
cess of unconscious selection. ... I do not believe that one 
species will give birth to two or more new species as long as 
they are mingled together within the same district. Never- 
theless I cannot doubt that many new species have been 
simultaneously developed within the same large continental 
area ; and in my ' Origin of Species ' I endeavoured to ex- 
plain how two new species might be developed, although 
they met and intermingled on the borders of their range. It 
would have been a strange fact if I had overlooked the 
importance of isolation, seeing that it was such cases as that 
of the Galapagos Archipelago, which chiefly led me to study 
the origin of species. In my opinion the greatest error 
which I have committed, has been not allowing sufficient 
weight to the direct action of the environment, i.e. food, 
climate, &c, independently of natural selection. Modifica- 
tions thus caused, which are neither of advantage nor disad- 
vantage to the modified organism, would be especially fa- 
voured, as I can now see chiefly through your observations, 
by isolation in a small area, where only a few individuals 
lived under nearly uniform conditions. 

When I wrote the i Origin/ and for some years afterwards, 
I could find little good evidence of the direct action of the 
environment ; now there is a large body of evidence, and your 
case of the Saturnia is one of the most remarkable of which I 
have heard. Although we differ so greatly, I hope that you 
will permit me to express my respect for your long-continued 
and successful labours in the good cause of natural science. 
I remain, dear Sir, yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The two following letters are also of interest as bearing 

1872.] ISOLATION. ^9 

on my fathers views on the action of isolation as regards the 
origin of new species :] 

C. Darwin to K. Semper. 

Down, November 26, 1878. 

My dear Professor Semper, — -When I published the 
sixth edition of the i Origin/ I thought a good deal on the 
subject to which you refer, and the opinion therein expressed 
was my deliberate conviction. I went as far as I could, per- 
haps too far in agreement with Wagner ; since that time I 
have seen no reason to change my mind, but then I must add 
that my attention has been absorbed on other subjects. 
There are two different classes of cases, as it appears to me, 
viz. those in which a species becomes slowly modified in the 
same country (of which I cannot doubt there are innumerable 
instances) and those cases in which a species splits into two 
or three or more new species, and in the latter case, I should 
think nearly perfect separation would greatly aid in their 
" specification, " to coin a new word. 

I am very glad that you are taking up this subject, for you 
will be sure to throw much light on it. I remember well, 
long ago, oscillating much ; when I thought of the Fauna and 
Flora of the Galapagos Islands I was all for isolation, when I 
thought of S. America I doubted much. Pray believe me, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. — I hope that this letter will not be quite illegible, 
but I have no amanuensis at present. 

C. Darwin to K. Semper. 

Down, November 30, 1878. 
Dear Professor Semper, — Since writing I have recalled 
some of the thoughts and conclusions which have passed 
through my mind of late years. In North America, in going 
from north to south or from east to west, it is clear that the 
changed conditions of life have modified the organisms in the 


different regions, so that they now form distinct races or even 
species. It is further clear that in isolated districts, however 
small, the inhabitants almost always get slightly modified, and 
how far this is due to the nature of the slightly different 
conditions to which they are exposed, and how far to mere 
interbreeding, in the manner explained by Weismann, I can 
form no opinion. The same difficulty occurred to me (as 
shown in my ' Variation of Animals and Plants under Do- 
mestication ') with respect to the aboriginal breeds of cattle, 
sheep, &c, in the separated districts of Great Britain, and 
indeed throughout Europe. As our knowledge advances, 
very slight differences, considered by systematists as of no 
importance in structure, are continually found to be function- 
ally important ; and I have been especially struck with this 
fact in the case of plants to which my observations have of 
late years been confined. Therefore it seems to me rather 
rash to consider the slight differences between representative 
species, for instance those inhabiting the different islands of 
the same archipelago, as of no functional importance, and as 
not in any way due to natural selection. With respect to all 
adapted structures, and these are innumerable, I cannot see 
how M. Wagner's view throws any light, nor indeed do I see 
at all more clearly than I did before, from the numerous cases 
which he has brought forward, how and why it is that a long 
isolated form should almost always become slightly modified. 
I do not know whether you will care about hearing my 
further opinion on the point in question, for as before re- 
marked 1 have not attended much of late years to such ques- 
tions, thinking it prudent, now that I am growing old, to 
work at easier subjects. 

Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

I hope and trust that you will throw light on these points. 

P.S. — I will add another remark which I remember oc- 
curred to me when I first read M. Wagner. When a species 

1872.] 'DESCENT OF MAN.' 34I 

first arrives on a small island, it will probably increase rapidly, 
and unless all the individuals change instantaneously (which 
is improbable in the highest degree), the slowly, more or less, 
modifying offspring must intercross one with another, and 
with their unmodified parents, and any offspring not as yet 
modified. The case will then be like that of domesticated 
animals which have slowly become modified, either by the 
action of the external conditions or by the process which I 
have called the unconscious selection by man — i.e., in contrast 
with methodical selection. 

[The letters continue the history of the year 1872, which 
has been interrupted by a digression on Isolation.] 

C. Darwin to the Marquis de Saporta. 

Down, April 8, 1872. 

Dear Sir, — I thank you very sincerely and feel much 
honoured by the trouble which you have taken in giving me 
your reflections on the origin of Man. It gratifies me ex- 
tremely that some parts of my work have interested you, and 
that we agree on the main conclusion of the derivation of 
man from some lower form. 

I will reflect on what you have said, but I cannot at pres- 
ent give up my belief in the close relationship of Man to the 
higher Simiae. I do not put much trust in any single char- 
acter, even that of dentition ; but I put the greatest faith in 
resemblances in many parts of the whole organisation, for I 
cannot believe that such resemblances can be due to any 
cause except close blood relationship. That man is closely 
allied to the higher Simiae is shown by the classification of 
Linnaeus, who was so good a judge of affinity. The man 
who in England knows most about the structure of the 
Simiae, namely, Mr. Mivart, and who is bitterly opposed to 
my doctrines about the derivation of the mental powers, 
yet has publicly admitted that I have not put man too 
close to the higher Simiae, as far as bodily structure is con- 
cerned. I do not think the absence of reversions of struct- 


ure in man is of much weight ; C. Vogt, indeed, argues that 
[the existence of] Micro-cephalous idiots is a case of rever- 
sion. No one who believes in Evolution will doubt that the 
Phocae are descended from some terrestrial Carnivore. Yet 
no one would expect to meet with any such reversion in 
them. The lesser divergence of character in the races of 
man in comparison with the species of Simiadae may perhaps 
be accounted for by man having spread over the world at a 
much later period than did the Simiadae. I am fully pre- 
pared to admit the high antiquity of man ; but then we have 
evidence, in the Dryopithecus, of the high antiquity of the 
Anthropomorphous Simiae. 

I am glad to hear that you are at work on your fossil 
plants, which of late years have afforded so rich a field for 
discovery. With my best thanks for your great kindness, 
and with much respect, I remain, 

Dear Sir, yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

[In April, 1872, he was elected to the Royal Society of 
Holland, and wrote to Professor Donders : — 

" Very many thanks for your letter. The honour of being 
elected a foreign member of your Royal Society has pleased 
me much. The sympathy of his fellow workers has always 
appeared to me by far the highest reward to which any 
scientific man can look. My gratification has been not a 
little increased by first hearing of the honour from you."] 

C. Darwin to Chauncey Wright. 

Down, June 3, 1872. 

My dear Sir, — Many thanks for your article * in the 
' North American Review/ which I have read with great 

* The proof-sheets of an article which appeared in the July number of 
the • North American Review.' It was a rejoinder to Mr. Mivart's reply 
(' N. Am. Review,' April 1872) to Mr. Chauncey Wright's pamphlet. 
Chauncey Wright says of it (* Letters,' p. 238) : — " It is not properly a re- 
joinder but a new article, repeating and expounding some of the points of 
my pamphlet, and answering some of Mr. Mivart's replies incidentally." 

1872.] CHAUNCEY WRIGHT. 343 

interest. Nothing can be clearer than the way in which you 
discuss the permanence or fixity of species. It never oc- 
curred to me to suppose that any one looked at the case as 
it seems Mr. Mivart does. Had I read his answer to you, 
perhaps I should have perceived this ; but I have resolved 
to waste no more time in reading reviews of my works or on 
Evolution, excepting when I hear that they are good and 
contain new matter. ... It is pretty clear that Mr. Mivart 
has come to the end of his tether on this subject. 

As your mind is so clear, and as you consider so carefully 
the meaning of w T ords, I wish you would take some incidental 
occasion to consider when a thing may properly be said to be 
effected by the will of man. I have been led to the wish by 
reading an article by your Professor Whitney versus Schleicher. 
He argues, because each step of change in language is made 
by the will of man, the whole language so changes ; but I do 
not think that this is so, as man has no intention or wish to 
change the language. It is a parallel case with what I have 
called " unconscious selection/' which depends on men con- 
sciously preserving the best individuals, and thus uncon- 
sciously altering the breed. 

My dear Sir, yours sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

[Not long afterwards (September) Mr. Chauncey Wright 
paid a visit to Down,* which he described in a letter f to Miss 

* Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Brace, who had given much of their lives to 
philanthropic work in New York, also paid a visit at Down in this sum- 
mer. Some of their work is recorded in Mr. Brace's ' The Dangerous 
Classes of New York,' and of this book my father wrote to the author : — 

" Since you were here my wife has read aloud to me more than half of 
your work, and it has interested us both in the highest degree, and we 
shall read every word of the remainder. The facts seem to me very well 
told, and the inferences very striking. But after all this is but a weak 
part of the impression left on our minds by what we have read ; for we are 
both filled with earnest admiration at the heroic labours of yourself and 

f * Letters,' p. 246-248. 


S. Sedgwick (now Mrs. William Darwin) : " If you can imag- 
ine me enthusiastic — absolutely and unqualifiedly so, without 
a but or criticism, then think of my last evening's and this 
morning's talks with Mr. Darwin. . . . [ was never SO worked 
up in my life, and did QOt sleep many hours under the hospi- 
table roof. ... It would be quite impossible to give by way 
of report any idea of these talks before and at and after 
dinner, at breakfast, and at leave-taking; and yet I dislike 
the egotism of ' testifying ' like other religious enthusiasts, 
without any verification, or hint of similar experience."] 

C. Darwin to Herbert Spencer. 

Bassett, Southampton, June eo 1 1872]. 
Dear SPENCER, — I dare say you will think me a foolish 
fellow, but I cannot resist the wish to express my unbounded 
admiration of your article* in answer to Mr. Martin eau. It 
is, indeed, admirable, and hardly less so your second article 
on Sociology (which, however, I have not yet finished) : I 
never believed in the reigning influence of great men on the 
world's progress ; but if asked why I did not believe, I should 
have been sorely perplexed to have given a good answer. 
Every one with eyes to see and ears to hear (the number, I 
fear, are not many) ought to bow their knee to you, and 1 
for one do. 

Believe me, yours most sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, July 12 [1872], 

My DEAR Hooker, — I must exhale and express my joy at 
the way in which the newspapers have taken up your case. 
I have seen the Times, the Daily Navs, and the Pall Mall, 
and hear that others have taken up the case. 

The Memorial has done great good this way, whatever 

*'Mr. Martinean on Evolution,' by Herbert Spencer, •Contemporary 

Review,' July 1872. 

i<72.] TROUBLES AT KKW. 345 

may be the result in the action of our wretched Government. 
On my soul, it is enough to make one turn into an old honest 
Tory, . . . 

If you answer this, I shall be sorry that I have relieved 
my toolings by writing. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

[ rhe memorial here referred to was addressed to Mr. 
Gladstone, and was signed by a number of distinguished men, 
including Sir Charles Lyell, Mr. Bentham, Mr. Huxley, and 
Sir James Fagot. It gives a complete account of the arbi- 
trary and unjust treatment received by Sir J. I). Hooker at 
the hands ot" his official chief, the First Commissioner of 
Works. The document is published in full in ' Nature ' (July 
11, iS;j), and is well worth studying as an example of the 
treatment which it is possible for science to receive from offi- 
cialism. As 'Nature' observes, it is a paper which must be 
read with the greatest indignation by scientific men in c\ v\ 
part of the world, and with shame by all Englishmen, The 
signatories oi the memorial conclude by protesting against 
the expected consequences ^t Sir Joseph Hooker's persecu- 
tion — namely his resignation, and the loss of "a man hon- 
oured for his integrity, beloved for his courtesy and kindli- 
ness o\ heart ; and who has spent in the public service not 

Only a stainless but an illustrious lite." 

Happily this misfortune was averted, and Sir Joseph was 
freed from further molestation. | 

C Darwin to A. A\ Wall* 

Down, August 3 [ 187a], 

My im\k Wai.i wt, - 1 hate controversy, chiefly perhaps 

because I <\o it badly; but as Dr. l>re< ;es you* of 

"blundering," I have thought myself bound to send the en 

1 Mi. Wallace had reviewed Dr, Bree'a hook) 4 An 1 
laciet In the Hypothesis oi Mr, Darwin,' in ' Mature) 1 \^\ 15, 1S72. 


closed letter * to ' Nature/ that is if you in the least desire it. 
In this case please post it. If you do not at all wish it, I 
should rather prefer not sending it, and in this case please to 
tear it up. And I beg you to do the same, if you intend an- 
swering Dr. Bree yourself, as you will do it incomparably 
better than I should. Also please tear it up if you don't like 
the letter. 

My dear Wallace, yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

Down, August 28, 1872. 

My dear Wallace, — I have at last finished the gigantic 
job of reading Dr. Bastian's book,f and have been deeply, 
interested by it. You wished to hear my impression, but it 
is not worth sending. 

He seems to me an extremely able man, as, indeed, I 
thought when I read his first essay. His general argument 
in favour of Archebiosis J is wonderfully strong, though I 
cannot think much of some few of his arguments. The re- 
sult is that I am bewildered and astonished by his statements, 
but am not convinced, though, on the whole, it seems to me 
probable that Archebiosis is true. I am not convinced, part- 

* The letter is as follows : — i: Bree on Darwinism." ' Nature,' Aug. 8, 
1872. Permit me to state — though the statement is almost superfluous — 
that Mr. Wallace, in his review of Dr. Bree's work, gives with perfect cor- 
rectness what I intended to express, and what I believe was expressed 
clearly, with respect to the probable position of man in the early part of 
his pedigree. As I have not seen Dr. Bree's recent work, and as his let- 
ter is unintelligible to me, I cannot even conjecture how he has so com- 
pletely mistaken my meaning : but, perhaps, no one who has read Mr. 
Wallace's article, or who has read a work formerly published by Dr. Bree 
on the same subject as his recent one, will be surprised at any amount of 
misunderstanding on his part. — Charles Darwin. 
Aug. 3. 

f ' The Beginnings of Life.' H. C. Bastian, 1872. 

X That is to say, Spontaneous Generation. For the distinction be- 
tween Archebiosis and Heterogenesis, see Bastian, chapter vi. 

1872.] * BEGINNING OF LIFE/ 347 

ly I think owing to the deductive cast of much of his reason- 
ing ; and I know not why, but I never feel convinced by de- 
duction, even in the case of H. Spencer's writings. If Dr. 
Bastian's book had been turned upside dowm, and he had 
begun with the various cases of Heterogenesis, and then gone 
on to organic, and afterwards to saline solutions, and had 
then given his general arguments, I should have been, I be- 
lieve, much more influenced. I suspect, however, that my 
chief difficulty is the effect of old convictions being stereo- 
typed on my brain. I must have more evidence that germs, 
or the minutest fragments of the lowest forms, are always 
killed by 212 of Fahr. Perhaps the mere reiteration of the 
statements given by Dr. Bastian [by] other men, whose judg- 
ment I respect, and who have worked long on the lower or- 
ganisms, would suffice to convince me. Here is a fine con- 
fession of intellectual weakness; but what an inexplicable 
frame of mind is that of belief ! 

As for Rotifers and Tardigrades being spontaneously gen- 
erated, my mind can no more digest such statements, whether 
true or false, than my stomach can digest a lump of lead. 
Dr. Bastian is always comparing Archebiosis, as well as 
growth, to crystallisation ; but, on this view, a Rotifer or 
Tardigrade is adapted to its humble conditions of life by a 
happy accident, and this I cannot believe. . . . He must 
have worked with very impure materials in some cases, as 
plenty of organisms appeared in a saline solution not con- 
taining an atom of nitrogen. 

I wholly disagree with Dr. Bastian about many points in 
his latter chapters. Thus the frequency of generalised forms 
in the older strata seems to me clearly to indicate the com- 
mon descent with divergence of more recent forms. Not- 
withstanding all his sneers, I do not strike my colours as yet 
about Pangenesis. I should like to live to see Archebiosis 
proved true, for it would be a discovery of transcendent im- 
portance ; or, if false, I should like to see it disproved, and 
the facts otherwise explained ; but I shall not live to see all 
this. If ever proved, Dr. Bastian will have taken a promi- 


nent part in the work. How grand is the onward rush of sci- 
ence ; it is enough to console us for the many errors which 
we have committed, and for our efforts being overlaid and 
forgotten in the mass of new facts and new views which are 
daily turning up. 

This is all I have to say about Dr. Bastian's book, and it 
certainly has not been worth saying. . . . 

C. Darwin to A, De Candolle. 

Down, December 11, 1872. 
My dear Sir — I began reading your new book * sooner 
than I intended, and when I once began, I could not stop ; 
and now you must allow me to thank you for the very great 
pleasure which it has given me. I have hardly ever read 
anything more original and interesting than your treatment 
of the causes which favour the development of scientific men. 
The whole was quite new to me, and most curious. When 
I began your essay I was afraid that you were going to attack 
the principle of inheritance in relation to mind, but I soon 
found myself fully content to follow you and accept your 
limitations. I have felt, of course, special interest in the 
latter part of your work, but there was here less novelty to 
me. In many parts you do me much honour, and everywhere 
more than justice. Authors generally like to hear what 
points most strike different readers, so I will mention that of 
your shorter essays, that on the future prevalence of lan- 
guages, and on vaccination interested me the most, as, in- 
deed, did that on statistics, and free will. Great liability to 
certain diseases, being probably liable to atavism, is quite a 
new idea to me. At p. 322 you suggest that a young swal- 
low ought to be separated, and then let loose in order to test 
the power of instinct ; but nature annually performs this ex- 
periment, as old cockoos migrate in England some weeks be- 
fore the young birds of the same year. By the way, I have 
just used the forbidden word " nature," which, after reading 

* ' Histoire des Sciences et des Savants/ 1873. 


your essay, I almost determined never to use again. There 
are very few remarks in your book to which I demur, but 
when you back up Asa Gray in saying that all instincts are 
congenital habits, I must protest. 

Finally, will you permit me to ask you a question : have 
you yourself, or some one who can be quite trusted, observed 
(p. 322) that the butterflies on the Alps are tamer than those 
on the lowlands ? Do they belong to the same species ? 
Has this fact been observed with more than one species ? 
Are they brightly coloured kinds ? I am especially curious 
about their alighting on the brightly coloured parts of ladies* 
dresses, more especially because I have been more than once 
assured that butterflies like bright colours, for instance, in 
India the scarlet leaves of Pointsettia. 

Once again allow me to thank you for having sent me 
your work, and for the very unusual amount of pleasure 
which I have received in reading it. 

With much respect, I remain, my dear Sir, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The last revise of the ' Expression of the Emotions ' was 
finished on August 22nd, 1872, and he wrote in his Diary : — 
" Has taken me about twelve months/' As usual he had no 
belief in the possibility of the book being generally success- 
ful. The following passage in a letter to Haeckel gives the 
impression that he had felt the writing of this book as a some- 
what severe strain : — 

" I have finished my little book on ' Expression,' and when 
it is published in November I will of course send you a copy, 
in case you would like to read it for amusement. I have re- 
sumed some old botanical work, and perhaps I shall never 
again attempt to discuss theoretical views. 

" I am growing old and weak, and no man can tell 
when his intellectual powers begin to fail. Long life 
and happiness to you for your own sake and for that of 


It was published in the autumn. The edition consisted of 
7000, and of these 5267 copies were sold at Mr. Murray's sale 
in November. Two thousand were printed at the end of the 
year, and this proved a misfortune, as they did not afterwards 
sell so rapidly, and thus a mass of notes collected by the 
author was never employed for a second edition daring his 

Among the reviews of the ' Expression of the Emotions ' 
may be mentioned the unfavourable notices in the Athenoeum, 
Nov. 9, 1872, and the Times, Dec. 13, 1872. A good review 
by Mr. Wallace appeared in the ' Quarterly Journal of Sci- 
ence/ Jan. 1873. Mr. Wallace truly remarks that the book 
exhibits certain " characteristics of the author's mind in an 
eminent degree," namely, " the insatiable longing to discover 
the causes of the varied and complex phenomena presented 
by living things." He adds that in the case of the author 
" the restless curiosity of the child to know the ' what for ? ' 
the ' why ? ' and the ' how ? ' of everything " seems " never to 
have abated its force." 

A writer in one of the theological reviews describes the 
book as the most " powerful and insidious " of all the author's 

Professor Alexander Bain criticised the book in a post- 
script to the ' Senses and the Intellect ; ' to this essay the fol- 
lowing letter refers :] 

C. Darwin to Alexander Bain. 

Down, October 9, 1873. 
My dear Sir, — I am particularly obliged to you for hav- 
ing sent me your essay. Your criticisms are all written in a 
quite fair spirit, and indeed no one who knows you or your 
works would expect anything else. What you say about the 
vagueness of what I have called the direct action of the nerv- 
ous system, is perfectly just. I felt it so at the time, and even 
more of late. I confess that I have never been able fully to 


grasp your principle of spontaneity,* as well as some other of 
your points, so as to apply them to special cases. But as we 
look at everything from different points of view, it is not likely 
that we should agree closely. 

I have been greatly pleased by what you say about the 
crying expression and about blushing. Did you read a re- 
view in a late ' Edinburgh ? ' f It was magnificently contempt- 
uous towards myself and many others. 

I retain a very pleasant recollection of our sojourn together 
at that delightful place, Moor Park. 

With my renewed thanks, I remain, my dear Sir, 

Yours sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

* Professor Bain expounded his theory of Spontaneity in the essay 
here alluded to. It would be impossible to do justice to it within the 
limits of a foot-note. The following quotations may give some notion 
of it :— 

" By Spontaneity I understand the readiness to pass into movement in 
the absence of all stimulation whatever ; the essential requisite being that 

the nerve-centres and muscles shall be fresh and vigorous The 

gesticulations and the carols of young and active animals are mere overflow 
of nervous energy ; and although they are very apt to concur with pleasing 

emotion, they have an independent source They are not properly 

movements of expression ; they express nothing at all except an abundant 
stock of physical power." 

f The review on the ' Expression of the Emotions ' appeared in the 
April number of the ' Edinburgh Review,' 1873. The opening sentence is 
a fair sample of the general tone of the article : "Mr. Darwin has added 
another volume of amusing stories and grotesque illustrations to the re- 
markable series of works already devoted to the exposition and defence of 
the evolutionary hypothesis." A few other quotations may be worth giv- 
ing. " His one-sided devotion to an a priori scheme of interpretation 
seems thus steadily tending to impair the author's hitherto unrivalled pow- 
ers as an observer. However this may be, most impartial critics will, we 
think, admit that there is a marked falling off both in philosophical tone 
and scientific interest in the works produced since Mr. Darwin committed 
himself to the crude metaphysical conception so largely associated with 
his name." The article is directed against Evolution as a whole, almost 
as much as against the doctrines of the book under discussion. We find 
throughout plenty of that effective style of criticism which consists in the 


C. Darwin to Mrs. Haliburton* 

Down, November 1 [1872]. 

My dear Mrs. Haliburton, — I dare say you will be 
surprised to hear from me. My object in writing now is to 
say that I have just published a book on the ' Expression of 
the Emotions in Man and Animals ; ' and it has occurred to 
me that you might possibly like to read some parts of it ; and 
I can hardly think that this would have been the case with 
any of the books which I have already published. So I send 
by this post my present book. Although I have had no 
communication with you or the other members of your family 
for so long a time, no scenes in my whole life pass so fre- 
quently or so vividly before my mind as those which relate 
to happy old days spent at Woodhouse. I should very much 
like to hear a little news about yourself and the other mem- 
bers of your family, if you will take the trouble to write to 
me. Formerly I used to glean some news about you from my 

I have had many years of bad health and have not been 
able to visit anywhere ; and now I feel very old. As long as 
I pass a perfectly uniform life, I am able to do some daily 
work in Natural History, which is still my passion, as it was 
in old days, when you used to laugh at me for collecting 
beetles with such zeal at Woodhouse. Excepting from my 
continued ill-health, which has excluded me from society, my 
life has been a very happy one ; the greatest drawback being 

use of such expressions as " dogmatism," " intolerance," "presumptuous," 
" arrogant." Together with accusations of such various faults a " virtual 
abandonment of the inductive method," and the use of slang and vulgar- 

The part of the article which seems to have interested my father is the 
discussion on the use which he ought to have made of painting and 

* Mrs. Haliburton was a daughter of my father's old friend, Mr. Owen 
of Woodhouse. Her husband, Judge Haliburton, was the well-known 
author of * Sam Slick.' 


that several of my children have inherited from me feeble 
health. I hope with all my heart that you retain, at least to 
a large extent, the famous " Owen constitution. " With sin- 
cere feelings of gratitude and affection for all bearing the name 
of Owen, I venture to sign myself,' 

Yours affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Mrs. Haliburton. 

Down, November 6 [1872]. 
My dear Sarah, — I have been very much pleased by 
your letter, which I must call charming. I hardly ventured 
to think that you would have retained a friendly recollection 
of me for so many years. Yet I ought to have felt assured 
that you would remain as warm-hearted and as true-hearted 
as you have ever been from my earliest recollection. I know 
well how many grievous sorrows you have gone through ; but 
I am very sorry to hear that your health is not good. In the 
spring or summer, when the weather is better, if you can 
summon up courage to pay us a visit here, both my wife, as 
she desires me to say, and myself, would be truly glad to see 
you, and I know that you would not care about being rather 
dull here. It would be a real pleasure to me to see you. 
— Thank you much for telling about your family, — much of 
which was new to me. How kind you all were to me as 
a boy, and you especially, and how much happiness I owe to 
you. Believe me your affectionate and obliged friend, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — Perhaps you would like to see a photograph of me 
now that I am old. 


[The only work (other than botanical) of this year was the 

preparation of a second edition of the i Descent of Man,' the 

publication of which is referred to in the following chapter. 

This work was undertaken much against the grain, as he was 


at the time deeply immersed in the manuscript of * Insect- 
ivorous Plants.' Thus he wrote to Mr. Wallace (Novem- 
ber 19), " I never in my lifetime regretted an interruption so 
much as this new edition of the ' Descent/ " And later (in 
December) he wrote to Mr. Huxley : " The new edition of 
the * Descent ' has turned out an awful job. It took me ten 
days merely to glance over letters and reviews with criticisms 
and new facts. It is a devil of a job." 

The work was continued until April 1, 1874, when he was 
able to return to his much loved Drosera. He wrote to 
Mr. Murray: — 

" I have at last finished, after above three months as hard 
work as I have ever had in my life, a corrected edition of the 
' Descent/ and I much wish to have it printed off as soon as 
possible. As it is to be stereotyped I shall never touch it 

The first of the miscellaneous letters of 1873 refers to a 
pleasant visit received from Colonel Higginson of Newport, 

C. Darwin to Thos. Wentworth Higginson. 

Down, February 27th [1873]. 

My dear Sir, — My wife has just finished reading aloud 
your t Life with a Black Regiment/ and you must allow me 
to thank you heartily for the very great pleasure which it has 
in many ways given us. I always thought well of the negroes, 
from the little which I have seen of them ; and I have been 
delighted to have my vague impressions confirmed, and their 
character and mental powers so ably discussed. When you 
were here I did not know of the noble position which you had 
filled. I had formerly read about the black regiments, but 
failed to connect your name with your admirable undertaking. 
Although we enjoyed greatly your visit to Down, my wife 
and myself have over and over again regretted that we did 
not know about the black regiment, as we should have greatly 
liked to have heard a little about the South from your own lips. 

Your descriptions have vividly recalled walks taken forty 




years ago in Brazil. We have your collected Essays, which 
were kindly sent us by Mr. [Moncure] Conway, but have not 
yet had time to read them. I occasionally glean a little news 
of you in the ' Index ' ; and within the last hour have read an 
interesting article of yours on the progress of Free Thought. 
Believe me, my dear Sir, with sincere admiration, 

Yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[On May 28th he sent the following answers to the ques- 
tions that Mr. Galton was at that time addressing to various 
scientific men, in the course of the inquiry which is given in 
his ' English Men of Science, their Nature and Nurture/ 1874. 
With regard to the questions, my father wrote, " I have filled 
up the answers as well as I could, but it is simply impossible 
for me to estimate the degrees. ,, For the sake of conven- 
ience, the questions and answers relating to Nurture are 
made to precede those on Nature : 

r How taught? 

Conducive to or restrictive of 
habits of observation ? 

^ . Conducive to health or other- 
^ ' wise? 

Peculiar merits ? 
Chief omissions ? 

Has the religious creed taught 
in your youth had any deter- 
rent effect on the freedom of 
your researches ? 


o your scientific tastes appear 
to have been innate ? 

Were they determined by any 
and what events? 

I consider that all I have learnt of any 
value has been self-taught. 

Restrictive of observation, being al- 
most entirely classical. 


None whatever. 

No mathematics or modern languages, 
nor any habits of observation or 


Certainly innate. 

My innate taste for natural history 
strongly confirmed and directed by 
the voyage in the Beagle. 











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The following letter refers inter alia to a letter which 
appeared in i Nature' (Sept. 25, 1873), "On the Males and 
Complemental Males of certain Cirripedes, and on Rudi- 
mentary Organs :"] 

C. Darwin to E. Haeckel. 

Down, September 25, 1873. 

My dear Hackel, — I thank you for the present of your 
book,* and I am heartily glad to see its great success. You 
will do a wonderful amount of good in spreading the doctrine 
of Evolution, supporting it as you do by so many original 
observations. I have read the new preface with very great 
interest. The delay in the appearance of the English trans- 
lation vexes and surprises me, for I have never been able to 
read it thoroughly in German, and I shall assuredly do so 
when it appears in English. Has the problem of the later 
stages of reduction of useless structures ever perplexed you ? 
This problem has of late caused me much perplexity. I have 
just written a letter to i Nature ' with a hypothetical explana- 
tion of this difficulty, and I will send you the paper with the 
passage marked. I will at the same time send a paper which 
has interested me ; it need not be returned. It contains a 
singular statement bearing on so-called Spontaneous Gener- 
ation. I much wish that this latter question could be settled, 
but I see no prospect of it. If it could be proved true this 
would be most important to us. . . . 

Wishing you every success in your admirable labours, 
I remain, my dear Hackel, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

* * Schopfungs-geschichte,' 4th ed. The translation (' The History of 
Creation ') was not published until 1876. 


Miscellanea, including Second Editions of * Coral 
Reefs/ the ' Descent of Man/ and the ' Varia- 
tions of Animals and Plants/ 

1874 and 1875. 

[The year 1874 was given up to ' Insectivorous Plants/ 
with the exception of the months (see vol. ii, p. 353) devoted 
to the second edition of the ' Descent of Man/ and with the 
further exception of the time given to a second edition of his 
' Coral Reefs ' (1874). The Preface to the latter states that 
new facts have been added, the whole book revised, and " the 
latter chapters almost rewritten. ,, In the Appendix some ac- 
count is given of Professor Semper's objections, and this was 
the occasion of correspondence between that naturalist and 
my father. In Professor Semper's volume, ' Animal Life ' 
(one of the International Series), the author calls attention 
to the subject in the following passage which I give in Ger- 
man, the published English translation being, as it seems to 
me, incorrect : " Es scheint mir als ob er in der zweiten 
Ausgabe seines allgemein bekannten Werks iiber KorallenrirTe 
einem Irrthume iiber meine Beobachtungen zum Opfer gefal- 
len ist, indem er die Angaben, die ich allerdings bisher immer 
nur sehr kurz gehalten hatte, vollstandig falsch wiedergegeben 

The proof-sheets containing this passage were sent by 
Professor Semper to my father before ' Animal Life ' was pub- 
lished, and this was the occasion for the following letter, 
which was afterwards published in Professor Semper's book.] 

360 MISCELLANEA. [1874. 

C. Darwin to K. Semper. 

Down, October 2, 1879. 

My dear Professor Semper, — I thank you for your 
extremely kind letter of the 19th, and for the proof-sheets. I 
believe that I understand all, excepting one or two sentences, 
where my imperfect knowledge of German has interfered. 
This is my sole and poor excuse for the mistake which 1 
made in the second edition of my ' Coral ' book. Your ac- 
count of the Pellew Islands is a fine addition to our knowl- 
edge on coral reefs. I have very little to say on the subject, 
even if I had formerly read your account and seen your 
maps, but had known nothing of the proofs of recent eleva- 
tion, and of your belief that the islands have not since sub- 
sided. I have no doubt that I should have considered them 
as formed during subsidence. But I should have been much 
troubled in my mind by the sea not being so deep as it usu- 
ally is round atolls, and by the reef on one side sloping so 
gradually beneath the sea ; for this latter fact, as far as my 
memory serves me, is a very unusual and almost unparalleled 
case. I always foresaw that a bank at the proper depth be- 
neath the surface would give rise to a reef which could not 
be distinguished from an atoll, formed during subsidence. I 
must still adhere to my opinion that the atolls and barrier 
reefs in the middle of the Pacific and Indian Oceans indicate 
subsidence ; but I fully agree with you that such cases as that 
of the Pellew Islands, if of at all frequent occurrence, would 
make my general conclusions of very little value. Future 
observers must decide between us. It will be a strange fact 
if there has not been subsidence of the beds of the great 
oceans, and if this has not affected the forms of the coral 

In the last three pages of the last sheet sent I am extremely 
glad to see that you are going to treat of the dispersion of 
animals. Your preliminary remarks seem to me quite excel- 
lent. There is nothing about M. Wagner, as I expected to 


find. I suppose that you have seen Moseley's last book, 
which contains some good observations on dispersion. 

I am glad that your book will appear in English, for then 
I can read it with ease. Pray believe me, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The most recent criticism on the Coral-reef theory is by 
Mr. Murray, one of the staff of the Challenger, who read a 
paper before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, April 5, 1880* 
The chief point brought forward is the possibility of the 
building up of submarine mountains, which may serve as 
foundations for coral reefs. Mr. Murray also seeks to prove 
that " the chief features of coral reefs and islands can be 
accounted for without calling in the aid of great and general 
subsidence." The following letter refers to this subject :] 

C. Darwin to A. Agassi z. 

Down, May 5, 1881. 
. . . You will have seen Mr. Murray's views on the forma- 
tion of atolls and barrier reefs. Before publishing my book, I 
thought long over the same view, but only as far as ordinary ma- 
rine organisms are concerned, for at that time little was known 
of the multitude of minute oceanic organisms. I rejected 
this view, as from the few dredgings made in the Beagle, in 
the south temperate regions, I concluded that shells, the 
smaller corals, &c, decayed, and were dissolved, when not 
protected by the deposition of sediment, and sediment could 
not accumulate in the open ocean. Certainly, shells, &c, were 
in several cases completely rotten, and crumbled into mud 
between my fingers ; but you will know well whether this is 
in any degree common. I have expressly said that a bank at 
the proper depth would give rise to an atoll, which could not 
be distinguished from one formed during subsidence. I can, 

* An abstract is published in vol. x. of the * Proceedings/ p. 505, and 
in 'Nature,' August 12, 1880. 

362 MISCELLANEA. [1874, 

however, hardly believe in the former presence of as many- 
banks (there having been no subsidence) as there are atolls 
in the great oceans, within a reasonable depth, on which mi- 
nute oceanic organisms could have accumulated to the thick- 
ness of many hundred feet. . . . Pray forgive me for troubling 
you at such length, but it has occurred [to me] that you 
might be disposed to give, after your wide experience, your 
judgment. If I am wrong, the sooner I am knocked on the 
head and annihilated so much the better. It still seems to 
me a marvellous thing that there should not have been much, 
and long continued, subsidence in the beds of the great 
oceans. I wish that some doubly rich millionaire would take 
it into his head to have borings made in some of the Pacific 
and Indian atolls, and bring home cores for slicing from a 
depth of 500 or 600 feet. . . . 

[The second edition of the ' Descent of Man ' was published 
in the autumn of 1874. Some severe remarks on the " mo- 
nistic hypothesis " appeared in the July * number of the 
' Quarterly Review' (p. 45). The Reviewer expresses his 
astonishment at the ignorance of certain elementary distinc- 
tions and principles (e. g. with regard to the verbum mentale) 
exhibited, among others, by Mr. Darwin, who does not ex- 
hibit the faintest indication of having grasped them, yet a 
clear perception of them, and a direct and detailed exami- 
nation of his facts with regard to them, "was a sine qua non 
for attempting, with a chance of success, the solution of the 
mystery as to the descent of man." 

Some further criticisms of a later date may be here alluded 
to. In the i Academy/ 1876 (pp. 562, 587), appeared a re- 
view of Mr. Mivart's ' Lessons from Nature/ by Mr. Wallace. 
When considering the part of Mr. Mivart's book relating to 
Natural and Sexual Selection, Mr. Wallace says : li In his 
violent attack on Mr. Darwin's theories our author uses unu- 
sually strong language. Not content with mere argument, he 

* The review necessarily deals with the first edition of the ' Descent 
of Man/ 

1874.] MR. MIVART. 363 

expresses ' reprobation of Mr. Darwin's views ' ; and asserts 
that though he (Mr. Darwin) has been obliged, virtually, to 
give up his theory, it is still maintained by Darwinians with 
i unscrupulous audacity,' and the actual repudiation of it 
concealed by the ' conspiracy of silence.' " Mr. Wallace 
goes on to show that these charges are without foundation, 
and points out that, " If there is one thing more than another 
for which Mr. Darwin is pre-eminent among modern literary 
and scientific men, it is for his perfect literary honesty, his 
self-abnegation in confessing himself wrong, and the eager 
haste with which he proclaims and even magnifies small errors 
in his works, for the most part discovered by himself." 

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Wallace (June 
17th) refers to Mr. Mivart's statement ('Lessons from Na- 
ture/ p. 144) that Mr. Darwin at first studiously disguised his 
views as to the " bestiality of man " : — 

" I have only just heard of and procured your two articles 
in the Academy. I thank you most cordially for your gener- 
ous defence of me against Mr. Mivart. In the ' Origin' I did 
not discuss the derivation of any one species ; but that I 
might not be accused of concealing my opinion, I went out 
of my way, and inserted a sentence which seemed to me 
(and still so seems) to disclose plainly my belief. This was 
quoted in my ' Descent of Man.' Therefore it is very unjust, 
.... of Mr. Mivart to accuse me of base fraudulent con- 

The letter which here follows is of interest in connection 
with the discussion, in the ' Descent of Man,' on the origin of 
the musical sense in man :] 

C. Darwin to E. Gurney* 

Down, July 8, 1876. 
My dear Mr. Gurney, — I have read your article \ with 
much interest, except the latter part, which soared above my 

* Author of ' The Power of Sound.' 

f " Some disputed Points in Music." — * Fortnightly Review,' July, 1876. 

364 MISCELLANEA. [1874. 

ken. I am greatly pleased that you uphold my views to a 
certain extent. Your criticism of the rasping noise made by 
insects being necessarily rhythmical is very good ; but though 
not made intentionally, it may be pleasing to the females 
from the nerve cells being nearly similar in function through- 
out the animal kingdom. With respect to your letter, I be- 
lieve that I understand your meaning, and agree with you. I 
never supposed that the different degrees and kinds of pleas- 
ure derived from different music could be explained by the 
musical powers of our semi-human progenitors. Does not 
the fact that different people belonging to the same civilized 
nation are very differently affected by the same music, almost 
show that these diversities of taste and pleasure have been 
acquired during their individual lives ? Your simile of archi- 
tecture seems to me particularly good ; for in this case the 
appreciation almost must be individual, though possibly the 
sense of sublimity excited by a grand cathedral, may have 
some connection with the vague feelings of terror and super- 
stition in our savage ancestors, when they entered a great 
cavern or gloomy forest. I wish some one could analyse the 
feeling of sublimity. It amuses me to think how horrified 
some high flying aesthetic men will be at your encouraging 
such low degraded views as mine. 

Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The letters which follow are of a miscellaneous inter- 
est. The first extract (from a letter, Jan. 18, 1874) refers 
to a spiritualistic seance, held at Erasmus Darwin's house, 6 
Queen Anne Street, under the auspices of a well-known 
medium :] 

". . .. We had grand fun, one afternoon, for George hired a 
medium, who made the chairs, a flute, a bell, and candle- 
stick, and fiery points jump about in my brother's dining- 
room, in a manner that astounded every one, and took away 
all their breaths. It was in the dark, but George and Hens- 

1874.] SPIRITUALISM. 365 

leigh Wedgwood held the medium's hands and feet on both 
sides all the time. I found it so hot and tiring that I went 
away before all these astounding miracles, or jugglery, took 
place. How the man could possibly do what was done passes 
my understanding. I came downstairs, and saw all the chairs, 
&c, on the table, which had been lifted over the heads of 
those sitting round it. 

The Lord have mercy on us all, if we have to believe 
in such rubbish. F. Gal ton was there, and says it was a good 
seance. ..." 

The seance in question led to a smaller and more carefully 
organised one being undertaken, at which Mr. Huxley was 
present, and on which he reported to my father :] 

C Darwin to Professor T. Zf, Huxley. 

Down, January 29 [1874]. 

My dear Huxley, — It was very good of you to write so 
long an account. Though the seance did tire you so much 
it was, I think, really worth the exertion, as the same sort of 

things are done at all the seances, even at 's ; and now to 

my mind an enormous weight of evidence would be requisite 
to make one believe in anything beyond mere trickery. . . . 
I am pleased to think that I declared to all my family, the 
day before yesterday, that the more I thought of all that I 
had heard happened at Queen Anne St., the more convinced 
I was it was all imposture .... my theory was that [the 
medium] managed to get the two men on each side of him to 
hold each other's hands, instead of his, and that he was thus 
free to perform his antics. I am very glad that I issued my 
ukase to you to attend. 

Yours affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[In the spring of this year (1874) he read a book which 
gave him great pleasure and of which he often spoke with ad- 
miration : — The ' Naturalist in Nicaragua/ by the late Thomas 

366 MISCELLANEA. [1874. 

Belt. Mr. Belt, whose untimely death may well be deplored 
by naturalists, was by profession an Engineer, so that all his 
admirable observations in Natural History in Nicaragua and 
elsewhere were the fruit of his leisure. The book is direct 
and vivid in style and is full of description and suggestive 
discussions. With reference to it my father wrote to Sir J. 
D. Hooker : — 

" Belt I have read, and I am delighted that you like it so 
much, it appears to me the best of all natural history journals 
which have ever been published/'] 

C. Darwin to the Marquis de Saporta. 

Down, May 30, 1874. 
Dear Sir, — I have been very neglectful in not having 
sooner thanked you for your kindness in having sent me your 
1 Etudes sur la Vegetation/ &c, and other memoirs. I have 
read several of them with very great interest, and nothing can 
be more important, in my opinion, than your evidence of the 
extremely slow and gradual manner in which specific forms 
change. I observe that M. A. De Candolle has lately quoted 
you on this head versus Heer. I hope that you may be able 
to throw light on the question whether such protean, or poly- 
morphic forms, as those of Rubus, Hieracium, &c, at the 
present day, are those which generate new species ; as for 
myself, I have always felt some doubt on this head. I trust 
that you may soon bring many of your countrymen to be- 
lieve in Evolution, and my name will then perhaps cease to 
be scorned. With the most sincere respect, I remain, Dear 

Yours faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

1874.J DR. GRAY. 367 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, June 5 [1874]. 

My dear Gray, — I have now read your article* in ' Na- 
ture/ and the last two paragraphs were not included in the 
slip sent before. I wrote yesterday and cannot remember 
exactly Vhat I said, and now cannot be easy without again 
telling you how profoundly I have been gratified. Every one, 
I suppose, occasionally thinks that he has worked in vain, 
and when one of these fits overtakes me, I will think of your 
article, and if that does not dispel the evil spirit, I shall know 
that I am at the time a little bit insane, as we all are occa- 

What you say about Teleology f pleases me especially, and 
I do not think any one else has ever noticed the point.J I 
have always said you were the man to hit the nail on the 

Yours gratefully and affectionately, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[As a contribution to the history of the reception of the 
' Origin of Species/ the meeting of the British Association in 
1874, at Belfast, should be mentioned. It is memorable for 
Professor Tyndall's brilliant presidential address, in which a 
sketch of the history of Evolution is given culminating in an 
eloquent analysis of the ' Origin of Species/ and of the nature 
of its great success. With regard to Prof. Tyndall's address, 
Lyell wrote (' Life/ ii. p. 455) congratulating my father on the 

* The article, " Charles Darwin," in the series of Scientific Worthies 
(' Nature,' June 4, 1874). This admirable estimate of my father's work in 
science is given in the form of a comparison and contrast between Robert 
Brown and Charles Darwin. 

f " Let us recognise Darwin's great service to Natural Science in bring- 
ing back to it Teleology : so that instead of Morphology versus Teleology, 
we shall have Morphology wedded to Teleology." 

% See, however, Mr. Huxley's chapter on the ' Reception of the Origin 
of Species' in vol. i., p. 554. 

368 MISCELLANEA. [1874. 

meeting, "on which occasion you and your theory of Evolu- 
tion may be fairly said to have had an ovation/* In the same 
letter Sir Charles speaks of a paper * of Professor Judd's, and 
it is to this that the following letter refers :] 

C. Darwin to C. LyelL 

Down, September 23, 1874. 

My dear Lyell, — I suppose that you have returned, or 
will soon return, to London ; \ and, I hope, reinvigorated by 
your outing. In your last letter you spoke of Mr. Judd's pa- 
per on the Volcanoes of the Hebrides. I have just finished it, 
and to ease my mind must express my extreme admiration. 

It is years since I have read a purely geological paper 
which has interested me so greatly. I was all the more in- 
terested, as in the Cordillera I often speculated on the sources 
of the deluges of submarine porphyritic lavas, of which they 
are built ; and, as I have stated, I saw to a certain extent the 
causes of the obliteration of the points of eruption. I was 
also not a little pleased to see my volcanic book quoted, for 
I thought it was completely dead and forgotten. What fine 
work will Mr. Judd assuredly do ! . . . Now I have eased 
my mind; and so farewell, with both E. D.'s and C. D.'s very 
kind remembrances to Miss Lyell. 

Yours affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

[Sir Charles Lyell's reply to the above letter must have 
been one of the latest that my father received from his old 
friend, and it is with this letter that the volumes of his pub- 
lished correspondence closes.] 

* On the Ancient Volcanoes of the Highlands, 'Journal of Geolog. 
Soc.,' 1874. 

f Sir Charles Lyell returned from Scotland towards the end of Sep- 

1874.] ANTS. 3 6 g 

C. Darwin to Aug. For el. 

Down, October 15, 1874. 

My dear Sir, — I have now read the whole of your admir- 
able work * and seldom in my life have I been more inter- 
ested by any book. There are so many interesting facts and 
discussions, that I hardly know which to specify ; but I think, 
firstly, the newest points to me have been about the size of 
the brain in the three sexes, together with your suggestion 
that increase of mind power may have led to the sterility of 
the workers. Secondly about the battles of the ants, and 
your curious account of the enraged ants being held by their 
comrades until they calmed down. Thirdly, the evidence of 
ants of the same community being the offspring of brothers 
and sisters. You admit, I think, that new communities will 
often be the product of a cross between not-related ants. 
Fritz Muller has made some interesting observations on this 
head with respect to Termites. The case of Anergates is 
most perplexing in many ways, but I have such faith in the 
law of occasional crossing that I believe an explanation will 
hereafter be found, such as the dimorphism of either sex and 
the occasional production of winged males. I see that you 
are puzzled how ants of the same community recognize each 
other; I once placed two (F. rufd) in a pill-box smelling 
strongly of asafcetida and after a day returned them to their 
homes ; they were threatened, but at last recognized. I made 
the trial thinking that they might know each other by their 
odour ; but this cannot have been the case, and I have often 
fancied that they must have some common signal. Your 
last chapter is one great mass of wonderful facts and sugges- 
tions, and the whole profoundly interesting. I have seldom 
been more gratified than by [your] honourable mention of my 

I should like to tell you one little observation which 1 
made with care many years ago ; I saw ants {Formica rufd) 

* ' Les Fourmis de la Suisse,' 4to, 1874. 

370 MISCELLANEA. [1874. 

carrying cocoons from a nest which was the largest I ever saw 
and which was well known to all the country people near, 
and an old man, apparently about eighty years of age, told 
me that he had known it ever since he was a boy. The ants 
carrying the cocoons did not appear to be emigrating ; fol- 
lowing the line, I saw many ascending a tall fir tree still car- 
rying their cocoons. But when I looked closely I found that 
all the cocoons were empty cases. This astonished me, and 
next day I got a man to observe with me, and we again saw 
ants bringing empty cocoons out of the nest; each of us fixed 
on one ant and slowly followed it, and repeated the observa- 
tion on many others. We thus found that some ants soon 
dropped their empty cocoons ; others carried them for many 
yards, as much as thirty paces, and others carried them high 
up the fir tree out of sight. Now here I think we have one 
instinct in contest with another and mistaken one. The first 
instinct being to carry the empty cocoons out of the nest, and 
it would have been sufficient to have laid them on the heap 
of rubbish, as the first breath of wind would have blown them 
away. And then came in the contest with the other very 
powerful instinct of preserving and carrying their cocoons as 
long as possible ; and this they could not help doing although 
the cocoons were empty. According as the one or other 
instinct was the stronger in each individual ant, so did it 
carry the empty cocoon to a greater or less distance. If this 
little observation should ever prove of any use to you, you 
are quite at liberty to use it. Again thanking you cordially 
for the great pleasure which your work has given me, I re- 
main with much respect, 

Yours sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. — If you read English easily I should like to send 
you Mr. Belt's book, as I think you would like it as much as 
did Fritz Muller. 


C. Darwin to J. Fiske. 

Down, December 8, 1874. 
My dear Sir, — You must allow me to thank you for the 
very great interest with which I have at last slowly read the 
whole of your work.* I have long wished to know some- 
thing about the views of the many great men whose doctrines 
you give. With the exception of special points I did not 
even understand H. Spencer's general doctrine ; for his style 
is too hard work for me. I never in my life read so lucid an 
expositor (and therefore thinker) as you are ; and I think 
that I understand nearly the whole — perhaps less clearly 
about Cosmic Theism and Causation than other parts. It is 
hopeless to attempt out of so much to specify what has inter- 
ested me most, and probably you would not care to hear. I 
wish some chemist would attempt to ascertain the result of 
the cooling of heated gases of the proper kinds, in relation 
to your hypothesis of the origin of living matter. It pleased 
me to find that here and there I had arrived from my own 
crude thoughts at some of the same conclusions with you ; 
though I could seldom or never have given my reasons for 
such conclusions. I find that my mind is so fixed by the 
inductive method, that I cannot appreciate deductive reason- 
ing : I must begin with a good body of facts and not from a 
principle (in which I always suspect some fallacy) and then 
as much deduction as you please. This may be very narrow- 
minded ; but the result is that such parts of H. Spencer, as I 
have read with care impress my mind with the idea of his 
inexhaustible wealth of suggestion, but never convince me ; 
and so I find it with some others. I believe the cause to lie 
in the frequency with which I have found first-formed theo- 
ries [to be] erroneous. I thank you for the honourable men- 
tion which you make of my works. Parts of the i Descent of 
Man ' must have appeared laughably weak to you : never- 
theless, I have sent you a new edition just published. Thank- 

* 1 

Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy,' 2 vols. 8vo. 1874. 

372 MISCELLANEA. [1875. 

ing you for the profound interest and profit with which I have 
read your work. I remain, 

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 


[The only work, not purely botanical, which occupied my 
father in the present year was the correction of the second 
edition of ' The Variation of Animals and Plants/ and on 
this he was engaged from the beginning of July till October 
3rd. The rest of the year was taken up with his work on in- 
sectivorous plants, and on cross-fertilisation, as will be shown 
in a later chapter. The chief alterations in the second edi- 
tion of ' Animals and Plants ' are in the eleventh chapter on 
" Bud-variation and on certain anomalous modes of repro- 
duction ; " the chapter on Pangenesis "was also largely al- 
tered and remodelled." He mentions briefly some of the au- 
thors who have noticed the doctrine. Professor Delpino's 
' Sulla Darwiniana Teoria della Pangenesi ' (1869), an adverse 
but fair criticism, seems to have impressed him as valuable. 
Of another critique my father characteristically says,* " Dr. 
Lionel Beale ('Nature/ May n, 1871, p. 26) sneers at the 
whole doctrine with much acerbity and some justice." He 
also points out that, in Mantegazza's ' Elementi di Igiene/ 
the theory of Pangenesis was clearly foreseen. 

In connection with this subject, a letter of my father's to 
■ Nature ' (April 27, 1871) should be mentioned. A paper by 
Mr. Galton had been read before the Royal Society (March 
30, 1 871) in which were described experiments, on intertrans- 
fusion of blood, designed to test the truth of the hypothesis 
of pangenesis. My father, while giving all due credit to Mr. 
Galton for his ingenious experiments, does not allow that 
pangenesis has " as yet received its death-blow, though from 
presenting so many vulnerable points its life is always in 

* ■ Animals and Plants,' 2nd edit. vol. ii. p. 350. 


He seems to have found the work of correcting very 
wearisome, for he wrote : — 

" I have no news about myself, as I am merely slaving 
over the sickening work of preparing new editions. I wish I 
could get a touch of poor Lyell's feelings, that it was delight- 
ful to improve a sentence, like a painter improving a pic- 

The feeling of effort or strain over this piece of work, is 
shown in a letter to Professor Haeckel : — 

" What I shall do in future if I live, Heaven only knows ; 
I ought perhaps to avoid general and large subjects, as too 
difficult for me with my advancing years, and I suppose en- 
feebled brain. " 

At the end of March, in this year, the portrait for which 
he was sitting to Mr. Ouless was finished. He felt the sit- 
tings a great fatigue, in spite of Mr. Ouless's considerate de- 
sire to spare him as far as was possible. In a letter to Sir J. 
D. Hooker he wrote, " I look a very venerable, acute, melan- 
choly old dog; whether I really look so I do not know." 
The picture is in the possession of the family, and is known 
to many through M. Rajon's etching. Mr. Ouless's portrait 
is, in my opinion, the finest representation of my father that 
has been produced. 

The following letter refers to the death of Sir Charles 
Lyell, which took place on February 22nd, 1875, m his sev- 
enty-eighth year.] 

C. Darwin to Miss Buckley (now Mrs. Fisher)* 

Down, February 23, 1875. 
My dear Miss Buckley,— I am grieved to hear of the 
death of my old and kind friend, though I knew that it could 
not be long delayed, and that it was a happy thing that his 
life should not have been prolonged, as I suppose that his 
mind would inevitably have suffered. I am glad that Lady 

Mrs. Fisher acted as Secretary to Sir Charles Lyell. 

374 MISCELLANEA. [1875. 

Lyell * has been saved this terrible blow. His death makes 
me think of the time when I first saw him, and how full of 
sympathy and interest he was about what I could tell him of 
coral reefs and South America. I think that this sympathy 
with the work of every other naturalist was one of the finest 
features of his character. How completely he revolutionised 
Geology : for I can remember something of pre-Lyellian 

I never forget that almost everything which I have done 
in science I owe to the study of his great works. Well, he 
has had a grand and happy career, and no one ever worked 
with a truer zeal in a noble cause. It seems strange to me 
that I shall never again sit with him and Lady Lyell at their 
breakfast. I am very much obliged to you for having so 
kindly written to me. 

Pray give our kindest remembrances to Miss Lyell, and I 
hope that she has not suffered much in health, from fatigue 
and anxiety. 

Believe me, my dear Miss Buckley, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down, February 25 [1875J. 

My dear Hooker, — Your letter so full of feeling has 
interested me greatly. I cannot say that I felt his [Lyell's] 
death much, for I fully expected it, and have looked for some 
little time at his career as finished. 

I dreaded nothing so much as his surviving with impaired 
mental powers. He was, indeed, a noble man in very many 
ways ; perhaps in none more than in his warm sympathy with 
the work of others. How vividly I can recall my first con- 
versation with him, and how he astonished me by his interest 
in what I told him. How grand also was his candour and 

* Lady Lyell died in 1873. 

1875.] LYELL'S DEATH. 375 

pure love of truth. Well, he is gone, and I feel as if we were 
all soon to go. ... I am deeply rejoiced about Westminster 
Abbey,* the possibility of which had not occurred to me 
when I wrote before. I did think that his works were the 
most enduring of all testimonials (as you say) to him ; but 
then I did not like the idea of his passing away with no out- 
ward sign of what scientific men thought of his merits. Now 
all this is changed, and nothing can be better than West- 
minster Abbey. Mrs. Lyell has asked me to be one of the 
pall-bearers, but I have written to say that I dared not, as I 
should so likely fail in the midst of the ceremony, and have 
my head whirling off my shoulders. All this affair must have 
cost you much fatigue and worry, and how I do wish you 
were out of England. . . . 

[In 1881 he wrote to Mrs. Fisher in reference to her article 
on Sir Charles Lyell in the ' Encyclopaedia Britannica ' : — 

" For such a publication I suppose you do not want to say 
much about his private character, otherwise his strong sense 
of humour and love of society might have been added. Also 
his extreme interest in the progress of the world, and in the 
happiness of mankind. Also his freedom from all religious 
bigotry, though these perhaps would be a superfluity." 

The following refers to the Zoological station at Naples, 
a subject on which my father felt an enthusiastic interest :] 

C. Darwin to Anton Dohrn. 

Down [1875 ?]. 
My dear Dr. Dohrn, — Many thanks for your most kind 
letter, I most heartily rejoice at your improved health and at 
the success of your grand undertaking, which will have so 
much influence on the progress of Zoology throughout 

If we look to England alone, what capital work has already 
been done at the Station by Balfour and Ray Lankester. . . . 

* Sir C. Lyell was buried in Westminster Abbey. 

376 MISCELLANEA. [1875. 

When you come to England, I suppose that you will bring 
Mrs. Dohrn, and we shall be delighted to see you both here. 
I have often boasted that I have had a live Uhlan in my 
house ! It will be very interesting to me to read your new 
views on the ancestry of the Vertebrates. I shall be sorry to 
give up the Ascidians, to whom I feel profound gratitude; 
but the great thing, as it appears to me, is that any link what- 
ever should be found between the main divisions of the Ani- 
mal Kingdom. . . . 

C. Darwin to August Weismann. 

Down, December 6, 1875. 

My dear Sir, — I have been profoundly interested by your 
essay on Amblystoma,* and think that you have removed a 
great stumbling-block in the way of Evolution. I once thought 
of reversion in this case ; but in a crude and imperfect manner. 
I write now to call your attention to the sterility of moths 
when hatched out of their proper season ; I give references in 
chapter 18 of my i Variation under Domestication* (vol. ii. 
p. 157, of English edition), and these cases illustrate, I think, 
the sterility of Amblystoma. Would it not be worth while to 
examine the reproductive organs of those individuals of wing- 
less Hemiptera which occasionally have wings, as in the case 
of the bed-bug. I think I have heard that the females of 
Mutilla sometimes have wings. These cases must be due to 
reversion. I dare say many anomalous cases will be here- 
after explained on the same principle. 

I hinted at this explanation in the extraordinary case of 
the black-shouldered peacock, the so-called Pavo nigripennis 
given in my * Var. under Domest. ; ' and I might have been 
bolder, as the variety is in many respects intermediate between 
the two known species. 

With much respect, 

Yours sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

* ' Umwandlung des Axolotl.' 

1875.] VIVISECTION. 377 


[It was in November 1875 tnat mv father gave his evidence 
before the Royal Commission on Vivisection.* I have, there- 
fore, placed together here the matter relating to this subject, 
irrespective of date. Something has already been said of my 
father's strong feeling with regard to suffering both in man 
and beast. It was indeed one of the strongest feelings in his 
nature, and was exemplified in matters small and great, in 
his sympathy with the educational miseries of dancing dogs, 
or in his horror at the sufferings of slaves.f 

The remembrance of screams, or other sounds heard in 
Brazil, when he was powerless to interfere with what he 
believed to be the torture of a slave, haunted him for years, 
especially at night. In smaller matters, where he could inter- 
fere, he did so vigorously. He returned one day from his 
walk pale and faint from having seen a horse ill-used, and from 
the agitation of violently remonstrating with the man. On 
another occasion he saw a horse-breaker teaching his son to 
ride, the little boy was frightened and the man was rough ; 
my father stopped, and jumping out of the carriage reproved 
the man in no measured terms. 

One other little incident may be mentioned, showing that 
his humanity to animals was well known in his own neigh- 
bourhood. A visitor, driving from Orpington to Down, told 

* See vol. i. p. 118. 

f He once made an attempt to free a patient in a mad-house, who (as 
he wrongly supposed) was sane. He had some correspondence with the 
gardener at the asylum, and on one occasion he found a letter from a 
patient enclosed with one from the gardener. The letter was rational in 
tone and declared that the writer was sane and wrongfully confined. 

My father wrote to the Lunacy Commissioners (without explaining the 
source of his information) and in due time heard that the man had been 
visited by the Commissioners, and that he was certainly insane. Some 
time afterwards the patient was discharged, and wrote to thank my father 
for his interference, adding that he had undoubtedly been insane, when 
he wrote his former letter. 

378 MISCELLANEA. [1875. 

the man to go faster, "Why," said the driver, "If 1 had 
whipped the horse this much, driving Mr. Darwin, he would 
have got out of the carriage and abused me well." 

With respect to the special point under consideration, — 
the sufferings of animals subjected to experiment, — nothing 
could show a stronger feeling than the following extract from 
a letter to Professor Ray Lankester (March 22, 1871) : — 

" You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree 
that it is justifiable for real investigations on physiology ; but 
not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a 
subject which makes me sick with horror, so I will not say 
another word about it, else I shall not sleep to-night." 

An extract from Sir Thomas Farrer's notes shows how 
strongly he expressed himself in a similar manner in con- 
versation : — 

" The last time I had any conversation with him was at my 
house in Bryanston Square, just before one of his last seizures. 
He was then deeply interested in the vivisection question ; 
and what he said made a deep impression on me. He was a 
man eminently fond of animals and tender to them ; he would 
not knowingly have inflicted pain on a living creature ; but 
he entertained the strongest opinion that to prohibit experi- 
ments on living animals, would be to put a stop to the know- 
ledge of and the remedies for pain and disease." 

The Anti-Vivisection agitation, to which the following 
letters refer, seems to have become specially active in 1874, 
as may be seen, e.g. by the index to ' Nature ' for that year, 
in which the word " Vivisection," suddenly comes into promi- 
nence. But before that date the subject had received the 
earnest attention of biologists. Thus at the Liverpool Meet- 
ing of the British Association in 1870, a Committee was ap- 
pointed, which reported, defining the circumstances and 
conditions under which, in the opinion of the signatories, ex- 
periments on living animals were justifiable. In the spring of 
1875, Lord Hartismere introduced a Bill into the Upper 
House to regulate the course of physiological research. Short- 
ly afterwards a Bill more just towards science in its provisions 

1875-1 VIVISECTION. 379 

was introduced to the House of Commons by Messrs. Lyon 
Playfair, Walpole, and Ashley. It was however, withdrawn 
on the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into 
the whole question. The Commissioners were Lords Card- 
well and Winmarleigh, Mr. W. E. Forster, Sir J. B. Karslake, 
Mr. Huxley, Professor Erichssen, and Mr. R. H. Hutton : 
they commenced their inquiry in July, 1875, an d the Report 
was published early in the following year. 

In the early summer of 1876, Lord Carnarvon's Bill, en- 
titled, "An Act to amend the Law relating to Cruelty to 
Animals/' was introduced. It cannot be denied that the 
framers of this Bill, yielding to the unreasonable clamour of 
the public, went far beyond the recommendations of the Royal 
Commission. As a correspondent in ' Nature ' put it (1876, 
p. 248), "the evidence on the strength of which legislation 
was recommended went beyond the facts, the Report went 
beyond the evidence, the Recommendations beyond the 
Report ; and the Bill can hardly be said to have gone be- 
yond the Recommendations ; but rather to have contradicted 
them. ,, 

The legislation which my father worked for, as described 
in the following letters, was practically what was introduced 
as Dr. Lyon Playfair's Bill] 

C. Darwin to Mrs. Litchfield* 

January 4, 1875. 
My dear H. — Your letter has led me to think over vivi- 
section (I wish some new word like anses-section could be 
invented f) for some hours, and I will jot down my conclusions, 
which will appear very unsatisfactory to you. I have long 
thought physiology one of the greatest of sciences, sure sooner, 

* His daughter. 

f He communicated to * Nature* (Sep. 30, 1880) an article by Dr. 
Wilder, of Cornell University, an abstract of which was published (p. 517). 
Dr. Wilder advocated the use of the word ' Callisection ' for painless opera- 
tions on animals. 

380 MISCELLANEA. [1875. 

or more probably later, greatly to benefit mankind ; but, 
judging from all other sciences, the benefits will accrue only 
indirectly in the search for abstract truth. It is certain that 
physiology can progress only by experiments on living ani- 
mals. Therefore the proposal to limit research to points of 
which we can now see the bearings in regard to health, &c, 
I look at as puerile. 1 thought at first it would be good to 
limit vivisection to public laboratories ; but I have heard only 
of those in London and Cambridge, and I think Oxford ; but 
probably there may be a few others. Therefore only men 
living in a few great towns would carry on investigation, and 
this I should consider a great evil. If private men were per- 
mitted to work in their own houses, and required a licence, I 
do not see who is to determine whether any particular man 
should receive one. It is young unknown men who are the 
most likely to do good work. I would gladly punish severely 
any one who operated on an animal not rendered insensible, 
if the experiment made this possible ; but here again I do not 
see that a magistrate or jury could possibly determine such a 
point. Therefore I conclude, if (as is likely) some experi- 
ments have been tried too often, or anaesthetics have not been 
used when they could have been, the cure must be in the 
improvement of humanitarian feelings. Under this point of 
view I have rejoiced at the present agitation. If stringent 
laws are passed, and this is likely, seeing how unscientific the 
House of Commons is, and that the gentlemen of England 
are humane, as long as their sports are not considered, which 
entailed a hundred or thousand-fold more suffering than the 
experiments of physiologists — if such laws are passed, the re- 
sult will assuredly be that physiology, which has been until 
within the last few years at a standstill in England, will lan- 
guish or quite cease. It will then be carried on solely on the 
Continent; and there will be so many the fewer workers on 
this grand subject, and this I should greatly regret. By the 
way, F. Balfour, who has worked for two or three years in the 
laboratory at Cambridge, declares to George that he has never 
seen an experiment, except with animals rendered insensible. 

I875-] VIVISECTION. 381 

No doubt the names of Doctors will have great weight with 
the House of Commons ; but very many practitioners neither 
know nor care anything about the progress of knowledge. I 
cannot at present see my way to sign any petition, without 
hearing what physiologists thought would be its effect, and 
then judging for myself. I certainly could not sign the paper 
sent me by Miss Cobbe, with its monstrous (as it seems to 
me) attack on Virchow for experimenting on the Trichinae. 
I am tired and so no more. 

Yours affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, April 14 [1875]. 
My dear Hooker, — I worked all the time in London on 
the vivisection question ; and we now think it advisable to go 
further than a mere petition. Litchfield * drew up a sketch 
of a Bill, the essential features of which have been approved 
.by Sanderson, Simon and Huxley, and from conversation, 
will, I believe, be approved by Paget, and almost certainly, I 
think, by Michael Foster. Sanderson, Simon and Paget wish 
me to see Lord Derby, and endeavour to gain his advocacy 
with the Home Secretary. Now, if this is carried into effect, 
it will be of great importance to me to be able to say that the 
Bill in its essential features has the approval of some half- 
dozen eminent scientific men. I have therefore asked Litch- 
field to enclose a copy to you in its first rough form ; and if 
it is not essentially modified may I say that it meets with your 
approval as President of the Royal Society ? The object is 
to protect animals, and at the same time not to injure Physi- 
ology, and Huxley and Sanderson's approval almost suffices 
on this head. Pray let me have a line from you soon. 

Yours affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

* Mr. R. B. Litchfield, his son-in-law. 

382 MISCELLANEA. [1881. 

[The Physiological Society, which was founded in 1876, was 
in some measure the outcome of the anti-vivisection move- 
ment, since it was this agitation which impressed on Physiolo- 
gists the need of a centre for those engaged in this particular 
branch of science. With respect to the Society, my father 
wrote to Mr. Romanes (May 29, 1876) : — 

" I was very much gratified by the wholly unexpected 
honour of being elected one of the Honorary Members. 
This mark of sympathy has pleased me to a very high 
degree. 1 ' 

The following letter appeared in the Tinies, April 18th, 
1881 :] 

C. Darwin to Frithiof Holmgren* 

Down, April 14, 1881. 
Dear Sir, — In answer to your courteous letter of April 7, 
I have no objection to express my opinion with respect to 
the right of experimenting on living animals. I use this latter 
expression as more correct and comprehensive than that of 
vivisection. You are at liberty to make any use of this letter, 
which you may think fit, but if published I should wish the 
whole to appear. I have all my life been a strong advocate 
for humanity to animals, and have done what I could in my 
writings to enforce this duty. Several years ago, when the 
agitation against physiologists commenced in England, it 
was asserted that inhumanity was here practised, and useless 
suffering caused to animals; and I was led to think that it 
might be advisable to have an Act of Parliament on the 
subject. I then took an active part in trying to get a Bill 
passed, such as would have removed all just cause of com- 
plaint, and at the same time have left physiologists free to 
pursue their researches, — a Bill very different from the Act 
which has since been passed. It is right to add that the 
investigation of the matter by a Royal Commission proved 
that the accusations made against our English physiologists 

* Professor of Physiology at Upsala. 

i88i.] VIVISECTION. 383 

were false. From all that I have heard, however, I fear that 
in some parts of Europe little regard is paid to the sufferings 
of animals, and if this be the case, I should be glad to hear of 
legislation against inhumanity in any such country. On the 
other hand, I know that physiology cannot possibly progress 
except by means of experiments on living animals, and I 
feel the deepest conviction that he who retards the progress 
of physiology commits a crime against mankind. Any one 
who remembers, as I can, the state of this science half a 
century ago, must admit that it has made immense progress, 
and it is now progressing at an ever-increasing rate. What 
improvements in medical practice may be directly attributed 
to physiological research is a question which can be properly 
discussed only by those physiologists and medical practitioners 
who have studied the history of their subjects ; but, as far as 
I can learn, the benefits are already great. However this may 
be, no one, unless he is grossly ignorant of what science has 
done for mankind, can entertain any doubt of the incalculable 
benefits which will hereafter be derived from physiology, not 
only by man, but by the lower animals. Look for instance 
at Pasteur's results in modifying the germs of the most 
malignant diseases, from which, as it so happens, animals will 
in the first place receive more relief than man. Let it be 
remembered how many lives and what a fearful amount of 
suffering have been saved by the knowledge gained of 
parasitic worms through the experiments of Virchow and 
others on living animals. In the future every one will be 
astonished at the ingratitude shown, at least in England, to 
these benefactors of mankind. As for myself, permit me to 
assure you that I honour, and shall always honour, every one 
who advances the noble science of physiology. 

Dear Sir, yours faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

[In the Times of the following day appeared a letter 
headed "Mr. Darwin and Vivisection, " signed by Miss 
Frances Power Cobbe. To this my father replied in the 

384 MISCELLANEA. [1881. 

Times of April 22, 1881. On the same day he wrote to Mr. 
Romanes : — 

" As I have a fair opportunity, I sent a letter to the Times 
on Vivisection, which is printed to-day. I thought it fair to 
bear my share of the abuse poured in so atrocious a manner 
on all physiologists."] 

C. Darwin to the Editor of the Times, 

Sir, — I do not wish to discuss the views expressed by 
Miss Cobbe in the letter which appeared in the Times of the 
19th inst. ; but as she asserts that I have "misinformed " my 
correspondent in Sweden in saying that u the investigation of 
the matter by a Royal Commission proved that the accu- 
sations made against our English physiologists were false," 
I will merely ask leave to refer to some other sentences from 
the Report of the Commission. 

(1.) The sentence — "It is not to be doubted that in- 
humanity may be found in persons of very high position as 
physiologists," which Miss Cobbe quotes from page 17 of the 
report, and which, in her opinion, " can necessarily concern 
English physiologists alone and not foreigners," is immediate- 
ly followed by the words " We have seen that it was so in 
Magendie." Magendie was a French physiologist who became 
notorious some half century ago for his cruel experiments on 
living animals. 

(2). The Commissioners, after speaking of the "general 
sentiment of humanity" prevailing in this country, say 
(p. 10) :— 

" This principle is accepted generally by the very highly 
educated men whose lives are devoted either to scientific 
investigation and education or to the mitigation or the 
removal of the sufferings of their fellow-creatures ; though 
differences of degree in regard to its practical application 
will be easily discernible by those who study the evidence as 
it has been laid before us." 

Again, according to the Commissioners (p. 10) : — 

i88i.] VIVISECTION. 385 

" The secretary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of 

Cruelty to Animals, when asked whether the general tendency 

of the scientific world in this country is at variance with 

humanity, says he believes it to be very different, indeed, 

from that of foreign physiologists ; and while giving it as the 

opinion of the society that experiments are performed which 

are in their nature beyond any legitimate province of science, 

and that the pain which they inflict is pain which it is not 

justifiable to inflict even for the scientific object in view, he 

readily acknowledges that he does not know a single case of 

wanton cruelty, and that in general the English physiologists 

have used anaesthetics where they think they can do so with 

safety to the experiment." 

I am, Sir, your obedient servant, 

Charles Darwin. 
April 21. 

[In the Times of Saturday, April 23, 1881, appeared a 
letter from Miss Cobbe in reply :] 

C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes. 

Down, April 25, 1881. 
My dear Romanes, — I was very glad to read your last 
note with much news interesting to me. But I write now to 
say how I, and indeed all of us in the house have admired 
your letter in the Times* It was so simple and direct. I was 
particularly glad about Burton Sanderson, of whom I have 
been for several years a great admirer. I was also especially 
glad to read the last sentences. I have been bothered with 
several letters, but none abusive. Under a selfish point of 
view I am very glad of the publication of your letter, as I 
was at first inclined to think that I had done mischief by 
stirring up the mud. Now I feel sure that I have done good. 
Mr. Jesse has written to me very politely, he says his Society 
has had nothing to do with placards and diagrams against 

* April 25, 1881. — Mr. Romanes defended Dr. Sanderson against the 
accusations made by Miss Cobbe. 

386 MISCELLANEA. [i88i< 

physiology, and I suppose, therefore, that these all originate 

with Miss Cobbe Mr. Jesse complains bitterly that the 

Times will " burke " all his letters to this newspaper, nor am 
I surprised, judging from the laughable tirades advertised in 
Nature. Ever yours, very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[The next letter refers to a projected conjoint article on 
vivisection, to which Mr. Romanes wished my father to con- 
tribute :] 

C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes. 

Down, September 2, 1881. 

My dear Romanes, — Your letter has perplexed me be- 
yond all measure. I fully recognise the duty of every one 
whose opinion is worth anything, expressing his opinion pub- 
licly on vivisection ; and this made me send my letter to the 
Times. I have been thinking at intervals all morning what I 
could say, and it is the simple truth that I have nothing worth 
saying. You and men like you, whose ideas flow freely, and 
who can express them easily, cannot understand the state of 
mental paralysis in which I find myself. What is most 
wanted is a careful and accurate attempt to show what physi- 
ology has already done for man, and even still more strongly 
what there is every reason to believe it will hereafter do. 
Now I am absolutely incapable of doing this, or of discussing 
the other points suggested by you. 

If you wish for my name (and I should be glad that it 
should appear with that of others in the same cause), could 
you not quote some sentence from my letter in the Times 
which I enclose, but please return it. If you thought fit you 
might say you quoted it with my approval, and that after still 
further reflection I still abide most strongly in my expressed 

For Heaven's sake, do think of this. I do not grudge the 
labour and thought ; but I could write nothing worth any one 

i88i.] VIVISECTION. 387 

Allow me to demur to your calling your conjoint article a 
" symposium " strictly a " drinking party." This seems to me 
very bad taste, and I do hope every one of you will avoid any 
semblance of a joke on ,the subject I know that words, like 
a joke, on this subject have quite disgusted some persons not 
at all inimical to physiology. One person lamented to me 
that Mr. Simon, in his truly admirable Address at the Medi- 
cal Congress (by far the best thing which I have read), spoke 
of the fantastic sensuality* (or some such term) of the many 
mistaken, but honest men and women who are half mad on 
the subject. . . . 

[To Dr. Lauder Brunton my father wrote in February 
1882 :— 

u Have you read Mr. [Edmund] Gurney's articles in the 
1 Fortnightly ' f and * Cornhill ? ' J They seem to me very 
clever, though obscurely written, and I agree with almost 
everything he says, except with some passages which appear 
to imply that no experiments should be tried unless some im- 
mediate good can be predicted, and this is a gigantic mistake 
contradicted by the whole history of science."] 

* * Transactions of the International Medical Congress,' 188 1, vol. iv. 
p. 413. The expression " lackadaisical " (not fantastic), and "feeble sen- 
suality," are used with regard to the feelings of the anti-vivisectionists. 

f " A chapter in the Ethics of Pain," 'Fortnightly Review,' 1881, vol. 
xxx. p. 778. 

X "An Epilogue on Vivisection," 'Cornhill Magazine,' 1882, vol. xlv. 
p. 191. 




[We have now to consider the work (other than botanical) 
which occupied the concluding six years of my father's life. 
A letter to his old friend Rev. L. Blomefield (Jenyns), written 
in March, 1877, shows what was my father's estimate of his 
own powers of work at this time : — 

" My dear Jenyns (I see I have forgotten your proper 
names). — Your extremely kind letter has given me warm 
pleasure. As one gets old, one's thoughts turn back to the 
past rather than to the future, and I often think of the 
pleasant, and to me valuable, hours which I spent with you 
on the borders of the Fens. 

" You ask about my future work ; I doubt whether I shall 
be able to do much more that is new, and I always keep 

before my mind the example of poor old , who in his old 

age had a cacoethes for writing. But I cannot endure doing 
nothing, so I suppose that I shall go on as long as I can 
without obviously making a fool of myself. I have a great 
mass of matter with respect to variation under nature ; but so 
much has been published since the appearance of the ' Origin 
of Species,' that I very much doubt whether I retain power of 
mind and strength to reduce the mass into a digested whole. 
I have sometimes thought that I would try, but dread the 
attempt. . . ." 

1876.] GEOLOGY. 389 

His prophecy proved to be a true one with regard to any 
continuation of any general work in the direction of Evolu- 
tion, but his estimate of powers which could afterwards prove 
capable of grappling with the i Power of Movement in Plants,' 
and with the work on ' Earthworms,' was certainly a low one. 

The year 1876, with which the present chapter begins, 
brought with it a revival of geological work. He had been 
astonished, as I hear from Professor Judd, and as appears in 
his letters, to learn that his books on * Volcanic Islands,' 
1844, and on ' South America/ 1846, were still consulted by 
geologists, and it was a surprise to him that new editions 
should be required. Both these works were originally pub- 
lished by Messrs. Smith and Elder, and the new edition of 
1876 was also brought out by them. This appeared in one 
volume with the title ' Geological Observations on the Vol- 
canic Islands, and Parts of South America visited during the 
Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle' He has explained in the preface 
his reasons for leaving untouched the text of the original edi- 
tions : " They relate to parts of the world which have been 
so rarely visited by men of science, that I am not aware that 
much could be corrected or added from observations subse- 
quently made. Owing to the great progress which Geology 
has made within recent times, my views on some few points 
may be somewhat antiquated ; but I have thought it best to 
leave them as they originally appeared." 

It may have been the revival of geological speculation, 
due to the revision of his early books, that led to his recording 
the observations of which some account is given in the fol- 
lowing letter. Part of it has been published in Professor 
James Geikie's ' Prehistoric Europe/ chaps, vii. and ix.,* a 
few verbal alterations having been made at my father's re- 
quest in the passages quoted. Mr. Geikie lately wrote to me : 
" The views suggested in his letter as to the origin of the 

* My father's suggestion is also noticed in Prof. Geikie's address on the 
* Ice Age in Europe and North America/ given at Edinburgh, Nov. 20, 

3 9 MISCELLANEA. [1876. 

angular gravels, &c, in the South of England will, I believe, 
come to be accepted as the truth. This question has a much 
wider bearing than might at first appear. In point of fact 
it solves one of the most difficult problems in Quaternary 
Geology — and has already attracted the attention of German 

C. Darwin to James Geikie. 

Down, November 16, 1876. 

My dear Sir, — I hope that you will forgive me for troub- 
ling you with a very long letter. But first allow me to tell 
you with what extreme pleasure and admiration I have just 
finished reading your ' Great Ice Age.' It seems to me ad- 
mirably done, and most clear. Interesting as many chapters 
are in the history of the world, I do not think that any one 
comes [up] nearly to the glacial period or periods. Though 
I have steadily read much on the subject, your book makes 
the whoie appear almost new to me. 

I am now going to mention a small observation, made by 
me two or three years ago, near Southampton, but not fol- 
lowed out, as I have no strength for excursions. I need say 
nothing about the character of the drift there (which includes 
palaeolithic celts), for you have described its essential feat- 
ures in a few words at p. 506. It covers the whole country 
[in an] even plain-like surface, almost irrespective of the 
present outline of the land. 

The coarse stratification has sometimes been disturbed. 
I find that you allude " to the larger stones often standing on 
end ; " and this is the point which struck me so much. Not 
only moderately sized angular stones, but small oval pebbles 
often stand vertically up, in a manner which I have never 
seen in ordinary gravel beds. This fact reminded me of what 
occurs near my home, in the stiff red clay, full of unworn 
flints over the chalk, which is no doubt the residue left un- 
dissolved by rain water. In this clay, flints as long and thin 
as my arm often stand perpendicularly up ; and I have been 
told by the tank- diggers that it is their ." natural position! " 

1876.] GEOLOGY. 39I 

I presume that this position may safely be attributed to the 
differential movement of parts of the red clay as it subsided 
very slowly from the dissolution of the underlying chalk; so 
that the flints arrange themselves in the lines of least resist- 
ance. The similar but less strongly marked arrangement of 
the stones in the drift near Southampton makes me suspect 
that it also must have slowly subsided ; and the notion has 
crossed my mind that during the commencement and height 
of the glacial period great beds of frozen snow accumulated 
over the south of England, and that, during the summer, 
gravel and stones were washed from the higher land over its 
surface, and in superficial channels. The larger streams may 
have cut right through the frozen snow, and deposited gravel 
in lines at the bottom. But on each succeeding autumn, 
when the running water failed, I imagine that the lines of 
drainage would have been filled up by blown snow afterwards 
congealed, and that, owing to great surface accumulations of 
snow, it would be a mere chance whether the drainage, to- 
gether with gravel and sand, would follow the same lines dur- 
ing the next summer. Thus, as I apprehend, alternate layers 
of frozen snow and drift, in sheets and lines, would ultimate- 
ly have covered the country to a great thickness, with lines 
of drift probably deposited in various directions at the bot- 
tom by the larger streams. As the climate became warmer, 
the lower beds of frozen snow would have melted with ex- 
treme slowness, and the many irregular beds of interstrati- 
fied drift would have sunk down with equal slowness ; and 
during this movement the elongated pebbles would have ar- 
ranged themselves more or less vertically. The drift would 
also have been deposited almost irrespective of the outline 
of the underlying land. When I viewed the country I could 
not persuade myself that any flood, however great, could 
have deposited such coarse gravel over the almost level 
platforms between the valleys. My view differs from that of 
Hoist, p. 415 [' Great Ice Age '], of which I had never heard, 
as his relates to channels cut through glaciers, and, mine to 
beds of drift interstratified with frozen snow where no gla- 

392 MISCELLANEA. [1876. 

ciers existed. The upshot of this long letter is to ask you to 
keep my notion in your head, and look out for upright peb- 
bles in any lowland country which you may examine, where 
glaciers have not existed. Or if you think the notion de- 
serves any further thought, but not otherwise, to tell any one 
of it, for instance Mr. Skertchly, who is examining such dis- 
tricts. Pray forgive me for writing so long a letter, and 
again thanking you for the great pleasure derived from your 

I remain yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. ... I am glad that you have read Blytt ; * his paper 
seemed to me a most important contribution to Botanical 
Geography. How curious that the same conclusions should 
have been arrived at by Mr. Skertchly, who seems to be a 
first-rate observer ; and this implies, as I always think, a 
sound theoriser. 

I have told my publisher to send you in two or three days 
a copy (second edition) of my geological work during the 
voyage of the Beagle, The sole point which would perhaps 
interest you is about the steppe-like plains of Patagonia. 

For many years past I have had fearful misgivings that it 
must have been the level of the sea, and not that of the land 
which has changed. 

I read a few months ago your [brother's] very interesting 
life of Murchison.f Though I have always thought that he 
ranked next to W. Smith in the classification of formations, 
and though I knew how kind-hearted [he was], yet the book 
has raised him greatly in my respect, notwithstanding his 
foibles and want of broad philosophical views. 

[The only other geological work of his later years was 
embodied in his book on earthworms (1881), which may 

* Axel Blytt. — ' Essay on the Immigration of the Norwegian Flora 
during alternate rainy and dry Seasons.' Christiania, 1876. 
f By Mr. Archibald Geikie. 

1877] WORMS. 393 

therefore be conveniently considered in this place. This 
subject was one which had interested him many years before 
this date, and in 1838 a paper on the formation of mould 
was published in the Proceedings of the Geological Society 
(see vol. i. p. 255). 

Here he showed that " fragments of burnt marl, cinders, 
&c, which had been thickly strewed over the surface of sev- 
eral meadows were found after a few years lying at a depth 
of some inches beneath the turf, but still forming a layer." 
For the explanation of this fact, which forms the central idea 
of the geological part of the book, he was indebted to his 
uncle Josiah Wedgwood, who suggested that worms, by bring- 
ing earth to the surface in their castings, must undermine 
any objects lying on the surface and cause an apparent 

In the book of 1881 he extended his observations on this 
burying action, and devised a number of different ways of 
checking his estimates as to the amount of work done.* He 
also added a mass of observations on the habits, natural his- 
tory and intelligence of worms, a part of the work which 
added greatly to its popularity. 

In 1877 Sir Thomas Farrer had discovered close to his 
garden the remains of a building of Roman-British times, 
and thus gave my father the opportunity of seeing for him- 
self the effects produced by earthworms' work on the old 
concrete-floors, walls, &c. On his return he wrote to Sir 
Thomas Farrer : — 

" I cannot remember a more delightful week than the last. 
I know very well that E. will not believe me, but the worms 
were by no means the sole charm." 

* He received much valuable help from Dr. King, of the Botanical 
Gardens, Calcutta. The following passage is from a letter to Dr. King, 
dated January 18, 1873 : — 

" I really do not know how to thank you enough for the immense 
trouble which you have taken. You have attended exactly and fully to 
the points about which I was most anxious. If I had been each evening 
by your side, I could not have suggested anything else." 

3 9 4 MISCELLANEA. [1877. 

In the autumn of 1880, when the * Power of Movement 
in Plants ' was nearly finished, he began once more on the 
subject. He wrote to Professor Cams (September 21) : — 

" In the intervals of correcting the press, I am writing a 
very little book, and have done nearly half of it. Its title 
will be (as at present designed) * The Formation of Vegetable 
Mould through the Action of Worms.'* As far as I can 
judge it will be a curious little book/' 

The manuscript was sent to the printers in April, 1881, 
and when the proof-sheets were coming in he wrote to Pro- 
fessor Cams : " The subject has been to me a hobby-horse, 
and I have perhaps treated it in foolish detail." 

It was published on October 10, and 2000 copies were 
sold at once. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker, " I am glad that 
you approve of the * Worms/ When in old days I used to 
tell you whatever I was doing, if you were at all interested, I 
always felt as most men do when their work is finally pub- 

To Mr. Mellard Reade he wrote (November 8) : " It has 
been a complete surprise to me how many persons have cared 
for the subject." And to Mr. Dyer (in November) : " My 
book has been received with almost laughable enthusiasm, 
and 3500 copies have been sold ! ! ! " Again, to his friend 
Mr. Anthony Rich, he wrote on February 4, 1882, "I have 
been plagued with an endless stream of letters on the sub- 
ject ; most of them very foolish and enthusiastic ; but some 
containing good facts which I have used in correcting yes- 
terday the i Sixth Thousand.' " The popularity of the book 
may be roughly estimated by the fact that, in the three years 
following its publication, 8500 copies were sold — a sale rela- 
tively greater than that of the ' Origin of Species.' 

It is not difficult to account for its success with the non- 
scientific public. Conclusions so wide and so novel, and so 
easily understood, drawn from the study of creatures so fa- 

* The full title is ' The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the 
Action of Worms with Observations on their Habits,' 1881. 

1879.] ERASMUS DARWIN. 395 

miliar, and treated with unabated vigor and freshness, may 
well have attracted many readers. A reviewer remarks : " In 
the eyes of most men . . . the earthworm is a mere blind, 
dumb, senseless, and unpleasantly slimy annelid. Mr. Darwin 
undertakes to rehabilitate his character, and the earthworm 
steps forth at once as an intelligent and beneficent person- 
age, a worker of vast geological changes, a planer down of 
mountain sides. ... a friend of man. . . and an ally of the 
Society for the preservation of ancient monuments. ,, The St. 
James's Gazette, October 17, 1881, pointed out that the teach- 
ing of the cumulative importance of the infinitely little is the 
point of contact between this book and the author's previous 

One more book remains to be noticed, the ' Life of Eras- 
mus Darwin.' 

In February 1879 an essay by Dr. Ernst Krause, on the 
scientific work of Erasmus Darwin, appeared in the evolu- 
tionary journal, ' Kosmos.' The number of ' Kosmos ' in 
question was a " Gratulationsheft," * or special congratulatory 
issue in honour of my father's birthday, so that Dr. Krause's 
essay, glorifying the older evolutionist, was quite in its place. 
He wrote to Dr. Krause, thanking him cordially for the hon- 
our paid to Erasmus, and asking his permission to publish \ 
an English translation of the Essay. 

His chief reason for writing a notice of his grandfather's 
life was " to contradict flatly some calumnies by Miss Sew- 
ard." This appears from a letter of March 27, 1879, to hi s 
cousin Reginald Darwin, in which he asks for any documents 
and letters which might throw light on the character of Eras- 
mus. This led to Mr. Reginald Darwin placing in my father's 
hands a quantity of valuable material, including a curious 

* The same number contains a good biographical sketch of my father, 
of which the material was to a large extent supplied by him to the writer, 
Professor Preyer of Jena. The article contains an excellent list of my 
father's publications. 

f The wish to do so was shared by his brother, Erasmus Darwin the 
younger, who continued to be associated with the project. 

396 MISCELLANEA. [1879. 

folio common-place book, of which he wrote : " I have been 
deeply interested by the great book, .... reading and look- 
ing at it is like having communion with the dead .... [it] 
has taught me a good d al about the occupations and tastes 
of our grandfather. ,, A subsequent letter (April 8) to the 
same correspondent describes the source of a further supply 
of material : — 

" Since my last letter I have made a strange discovery ; 
for an old box from my father marked " Old Deeds," and 
which consequently I had never opened, I found full of let- 
ters — hundreds from Dr. Erasmus — and others from old mem- 
bers of the Family : some few very curious. Also a drawing 
of Elston before it was altered, about 1750, of which I think 
I will give a copy/' 

Dr. Krause's contribution formed the second part of the 
* Life of Erasmus Darwin/ my father supplying a " prelimi- 
nary notice. " This expression on the title-page is somewhat 
misleading ; my father's contribution is more than half the 
book, and should have been described as a biography. Work 
of this kind was new to him, and he wrote doubtfully to Mr. 
Thiselton Dyer, June 18th : " God only knows what I shall 
make of his life, it is such a new kind of work to me." The 
strong interest he felt about his forebears helped to give zest 
to the work, which became a decided enjoyment to him. 
With the general public the book was not markedly success- 
ful, but many of his friends recognised its merits. Sir J. D. 
Hooker was one of these, and to him my father wrote, " Your 
praise of the Life of Dr. D. has pleased me exceedingly, for I 
despised my work, and thought myself a perfect fool to have 
undertaken such a job." 

To Mr. Galton, too, he wrote, November 14 : — 

" I am extremely glad that you approve of the little ' Life ' 
of our grandfather, for I have been repenting that I ever un- 
dertook it, as the work was quite beyond my tether." 

The publication of the ' Life of Erasmus Darwin ' led to 
an attack by Mr. Samuel Butler, which amounted to a charge 
of falsehood against my father. After consulting his friends, 

i88o.] ERASMUS DARWIN. 397 

he came to the determination to leave the charge unanswered, 
as unworthy of his notice.* Those who wish to know more 
of the matter, may gather the facts of the case from Ernst 
Krause's * Charles Darwin/ and they will find Mr. Butler's 
statement of his grievance in the Athenceuni, January 31, 1880, 
and in the St. James's Gazette \ December 8, 1880. The affair 
gave my father much pain, but the warm sympathy of thooe 
whose opinion he respected soon helped him to let it pass 
into a well-merited oblivion. 

The following letter refers to M. J. H. Fabre's ' Souvenirs 
Entomologiques.' It may find a place here, as it contains a 
defence of Erasmus Darwin on a small point. The postscript 
is interesting, as an example of one of my father's bold ideas 
both as to experiment and theory :] 

C. Darwin to J. H. Fabre. 

Down, January 31, 1880. 

My dear Sir, — I hope that you will permit me to have 
the satisfaction of thanking you cordially for the lively pleas- 
ure which I have derived from reading your book. Never 
have the wonderful habits of insects been more vividly de- 
scribed, and it is almost as good to read about them as to 
see them. I feel sure that you would not be unjust to even 
an insect, much less to a man. Now, you have been misled 
by some translator, for my grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, 
states ('Zoonomia,' vol. i. p. 183, 1794) that it was a wasp 
(guepe) which he saw cutting off the wings of a large fly. I 
have no doubt that you are right in saying that the wings are 
generally cut off instinctively ; but in the case described by 
my grandfather, the wasp, after cutting off the two ends of 
the body, rose in the air, and was turned round by the wind ; 
he then alighted and cut off the wings. I must believe, with 
Pierre Huber, that insects have " une petite dose de raison." 

* He had, in a letter to Mr. Butler, expressed his regret at the over- 
sight which caused so much offence. 

398 MISCELLANEA. [1880. 

In the next edition of your book, I hope that you will alter 
part of what you say about my grandfather. 

I am sorry that you are so strongly opposed to the Descent 
theory ; I have found the searching for the history of each 
structure or instinct an excellent aid to observation ; and 
wonderful observer as you are, it would suggest new points 
to you. If I were to write on the evolution of instincts. I 
could make good use of some of the facts which you give. 
Permit me to add, that when I read the last sentence in your 
book, I sympathised deeply with you.* 

With the most sincere respect, 

I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully, 
Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — Allow me to make a suggestion in relation to your 
wonderful account of insects finding their way home. I for- 
merly wished to try it with pigeons : namely, to carry the 
insects in their paper " cornets," about a hundred paces in the 
opposite direction to that which you ultimately intended to 
carry them ; but before turning round to return, to put the 
insect in a circular box, with an axle which could be made to 
revolve very rapidly, first in one direction, and then in 
another, so as to destroy for a time all sense of direction in 
the insects. I have sometimes imagined that animals may 
feel in which direction they were at the first start carried. \ 
If this plan failed, I had intended placing the pigeons within 

* The book is intended as a memorial of the early death of M. Fabre's 
son, who had been his father's assistant in his observations on insect 

+ This idea was a favourite one with him, and he has described in 
1 Nature' (vol. vii. 1873, p. 360) the behaviour of his cob Tommy, in whom 
he fancied he detected a sense of direction. The horse had been taken by 
rail from Kent to the Isle of Wight ; when there he exhibited a marked 
desire to go eastward, even when his stable lay in the opposite direction. 
In the same volume of ' Nature,' p. 417, is a letter on the ' Origin of 
Certain Instincts,' which contains a short discussion on the sense of di- 

i88o.] PORTRAITS. 399 

an induction coil, so as to disturb any magnetic or dia-mag- 
netic sensibility, which it seems just possible that they may 
possess. C. D. 

[During the latter years of my father's life there was a 
growing tendency in the public to do him honour. In 1877 
he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge. The degree was conferred on November 
17, and with the customary Latin speech from the Public 
Orator, concluding with the words : " Tu vero, qui leges na- 
turae tarn docte illustraveris, legum doctor nobis esto." 

The honorary degree led to a movement being set on foot 
in the University to obtain some permanent memorial of my 
father. A sum of about ^400 was subscribed, and after the 
rejection of the idea that a bust would be the best memorial, 
a picture was determined on. In June 1879 he sat to Mr. 
W. Richmond for the portrait in the possession of the Uni- 
versity, now placed in the Library of the philosophical So- 
ciety at Cambridge. He is represented seated in his Doctor's 
gown, the head turned towards the spectator : the picture has 
many admirers, but, according to my own view, neither the 
attitude nor the expression are characteristic of my father. 

A similar wish on the part of the Linnean Society — with 
which my father was so closely associated — led to his sitting 
in August, 1881, to Mr. John Collier, for the portrait now in 
the possession of the Society. Of the artist, he wrote, 
" Collier was the most considerate, kind and pleasant painter 
a sitter could desire." The portrait represents him standing 
facing the observer in the loose cloak so familiar to those who 
knew him, and with his slouch hat in his hand. Many of 
those who knew his face most intimately, think that Mr. 
Collier's picture is the best of the portraits, and in this judg- 
ment the sitter himself was inclined to agree. According to 
my feeling it is not so simple or strong a representation of 
him as that given by Mr. Ouless. There is a certain expres- 
sion in Mr. Collier's portrait which I am inclined to consider 
an exaggeration of the almost painful expression which 

400 MISCELLANEA. [1880. 

Professor Cohn has described in my father's face, and which 
he had previously noticed in Humboldt. Professor Cohn's 
remarks occur in a pleasantly written account of a visit to 
Down* in 1876, published in the Breslauer Zeitung, April 23, 

Besides the Cambridge degree, he received about the same 
time honours of an academic kind from some foreign socie- 

On August 5, 1878, he was elected a Corresponding Mem- 
ber of the French Institute f in the Botanical Section, % and 
wrote to Dr. Asa Gray : — 

" I see that we are both elected Corresponding Members 

* In this connection may be mentioned a visit (1881) from another dis- 
tinguished German, Hans Richter. The occurrence is otherwise worthy 
of mention, inasmuch as it led to the publication, after my father's death, 
of Herr Richter's recollections of the visit. The sketch is simply and sym- 
pathetically written, and the author has succeeded in giving a true picture 
of my father as he lived at Down. It appeared in the Neue Tagblatt of 
Vienna, and was republished by Dr. O. Zacharias in his * Charles R. Dar- 
win,' Berlin, 1882. 

f " Lyell always spoke of it as a great scandal that Darwin was so long 
kept out of the French Institute. As he said, even if the development 
hypothesis were objected to, Darwin's original works on Coral Reefs, the 
Cirripedia, and other subjects, constituted a more than sufficient claim." — 
From Professor Judd's notes. 

% The statement has been more than once published that he was 
elected to the Zoological Section, but this was not the case. 

He received twenty-six votes out of a possible 39, five blank papers 
were sent in, and eight votes were recorded for the other candidates. 

In 1872 an attempt had been made to elect him to the Section of Zo- 
ology, when, however, he only received 15 out of 48 votes, and Loven was 
chosen for the vacant place. It appears (' Nature,' August 1, 1872) that 
an eminent member of the Academy wrote to Les Mondes to the follow- 
ing effect : — 

" What has closed the doors of the Academy to Mr. Darwin is that the 
science of those of his books which have made his chief title to fame — the 
'Origin of Species,' and still more the 'Descent of Man,' is not science, 
but a mass of assertions and absolutely gratuitous hypotheses, often evi- 
dently fallacious. This kind of publication and these theories are a bad 
example, which a body that respects itself cannot encourage." 

i88i.] BRESSA PRIZE. 401 

of the Institute. It is rather a good joke that I should be 
elected in the Botanical Section, as the extent of my knowl- 
edge is little more than that a daisy is a Compositous plant 
and a pea a Leguminous one. ,, 

In the early part of the same year he was elected a Corre- 
sponding Member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and he 
wrote (March 12) to Professor Du Bois Reymond, who had 
proposed him for election : — 

" I thank you sincerely for your most kind letter, in which 
you announce the great honour conferred on me. The 
knowledge of the names of the illustrious men, who seconded 
the proposal is even a greater pleasure to me than the honour 

The seconders were Helmholtz, Peters, Ewald, Pringsheim 
and Virchow. 

In 1879 he received the Baly Medal of the Royal College 
of Physicians.* 

Again in 1879 he received from the Royal Academy of 
Turin the Bressa Prize for the years 1875-78, amounting to 
the sum of 12,000 francs. In the following year he received 
on his birthday, as on previous occasions, a kind letter of 
congratulation from Dr. Dohrn of Naples. In writing (Feb- 
ruary 15th) to thank him and the other naturalists at the 
Zoological Station, my father added : — 

"Perhaps you saw in the papers that the Turin Society 
honoured me to an extraordinary degree by awarding me 
the Bressa Prize. Now it occurred to me that if your station 

* The visit to London, necessitated by the presentation of the Baly 
Medal, was combined with a visit to Miss Forster's house at Abinger, in 
Surrey, and this was the occasion of the following characteristic letter : — 
" I must write a few words to thank you cordially for lending us your 
house. It was a most kind thought, and has pleased me greatly ; but I 
know well that I do not deserve such kindness from any one. On the 
other hand, no one can be too kind to my dear wife, who is worth her 
weight in gold many times over, and she was anxious that I should get 
some complete rest, and here I cannot rest. Your house will be a delight- 
ful haven, and again I thank you truly." 

4 02 MISCELLANEA. [1881. 

wanted some pieces of apparatus, of about the value of ^100, 
I should very much like to be allowed to pay for it. Will 
you be so kind as to keep this in mind, and if any want 
should occur to you, I would send you a cheque at any time. ,, 

I find from my father's accounts that ^100 was presented 
to the Naples Station. 

He received also several tokens of respect and sympathy 
of a more private character from various sources. With re- 
gard to such incidents and to the estimation of the public 
generally, his attitude may be illustrated by a passage from a 
letter to Mr. Romanes : — * 

"You have indeed passed a most magnificent eulogium 
upon me, and I wonder that you were not afraid of hearing 
'oh ! oh! ' or some other sign of disapprobation. Many per- 
sons think that what I have done in science has been much 
overrated, and I very often think so myself ; but my comfort 
is that I have never consciously done anything to gain ap- 
plause. Enough and too much about my dear self." 

Among such expressions of regard he valued very highly 
the two photographic albums received from Germany and 
Holland on his birthday, 1877. Herr Emil Rade of Minister, 
originated the idea of the German birthday gift, and under- 
took the necessary arrangements. To him my father wrote 
(February 16, 1877) : — 

" I hope that you will inform the one hundred and fifty- 
four men of science, including some of the most highly hon- 
oured names in the world, how grateful I am for their kind- 
ness and generous sympathy in having sent me their photo- 
graphs on my birthday." 

To Professor Haeckel he wrote (February 16, 1877) : — 

" The album has just arrived quite safe. It is most su- 
perb, f It is by far the greatest honour which I have ever re- 

* The lecture referred to was given at the Dublin meeting of the Brit- 
ish Association. 

f The album is magnificently bound and decorated with a beautifully 
illuminated title page, the work of an artist, Herr A. Fitger of Bremen, 
who also contributed the dedicatory poem. 

1881.] BIRTHDAY GIFTS. 403 

ceived, and my satisfaction has been greatly enhanced by 
your most kind letter of February 9. ... I thank you all 
from my heart. I have written by this post to Herr Rade, 
and I hope he will somehow manage to thank all my generous 

To Professor A. van Bemmelen he wrote, on receiving a 
similar present from a number of distinguished men and 
lovers of Natural History in the Netherlands : — 

"Sir, — I received yesterday the magnificent present of 
the album, together with your letter. I hope that you will 
endeavour to find some means to express to the two hundred 
and seventeen distinguished observers and lovers of natural 
science, who have sent me their photographs, my gratitude 
for their extreme kindness. I feel deeply gratified by this 
gift, and I do not think that any testimonial more honourable 
to me could have been imagined. I am well aware that my 
books could never have been written, and would not have 
made any impression on the public mind, had not an immense 
amount of material been collected by a long series of admir- 
able observers ; and it is to them that honour is chiefly due. 
I suppose that every worker at science occasionally feels de- 
pressed, and doubts whether what he has published has been 
worth the labour which it has cost him, but for the few re- 
maining years of my life, whenever I want cheering, I will 
look at the portraits of my distinguished co-workers in the 
field of science, and remember their generous sympathy. 
When I die, the album will be a most precious bequest to my 
children. I must further express my obligation for the very 
interesting history contained in your letter of the progress of 
opinion in the Netherlands, with respect to Evolution, the 
whole of which is quite new to me. I must again thank all 
my kind friends, from my heart, for their ever-memorable 
testimonial, and I remain, Sir, 

Your obliged and grateful servant, 

Charles R. Darwin." 

[In the June of the following year (1878) he was gratified 

404 MISCELLANEA. [1882. 

by learning that the Emperor of Brazil had expressed a wish 
to meet him. Owing to absence from home my father was 
unable to comply with this wish ; he wrote to Sir J. D. 
Hooker : — 

" The Emperor has done so much for science, that every 
scientific man is bound to show him the utmost respect, and 
I hope that you will express in the strongest language, and 
which you can do with entire truth, how greatly I feel hon- 
oured by his wish to see me ; and how much I regret my ab- 
sence from home.' , 

Finally it should be mentioned that in 1880 he received 
an address personally presented by members of the Council 
of the Birmingham Philosophical Society, as well as a memo- 
rial from the Yorkshire Naturalist Union presented by some 
of the members, headed by Dr. Sorby. He also received in 
the same year a visit from some of the members of the Lewis- 
ham and Blackheath Scientific Association, — a visit which 
was, I think, enjoyed by both guests and host.] 


[The chief incident of a personal kind (not already dealt 
with) in the years which we are now considering was the 
death of his brother Erasmus, who died at his house in Queen 
Anne Street, on August 26th, 1881. My father wrote to Sir 
J. D. Hooker (Aug. 30) : — 

" The death of Erasmus is a very heavy loss to all of us, 
for he had a most affectionate disposition. He always ap- 
peared to me the most pleasant and clearest headed man, 
whom I have ever known. London will seem a strange place 
to me without his presence ; I am deeply glad that he died 
without any great suffering, after a very short illness from 
mere weakness and not from any definite disease.* 

" I cannot quite agree with you about the death of the old 

* " He was not, I think, a happy man, and for many years did not 
value life, though never complaining." — From a letter to Sir Thomas 

1876.] MR. WALLACE. 405 

and young. Death in the latter case, when there is a bright 
future ahead, causes grief never to be wholly obliterated." 

An incident of a happy character may also be selected for 
especial notice, since it was one which strongly moved my 
father's sympathy. A letter (Dec. 17, 1879) to Sir Joseph 
Hooker shows that the possibility of a Government Pension 
being conferred on Mr. Wallace first occurred to my father at 
this time. The idea was taken up by others, and my father's 
letters show that he felt the most lively interest in the success 
of the plan. He wrote, for instance, to Mrs. Fisher, " I hard- 
ly ever wished for anything more than I do for the success 
of our plan." He was deeply pleased when this thoroughly 
deserved honour was bestowed on his friend, and wrote to 
the same correspondent (January 7, 1881), on receiving a let- 
ter from Mr. Gladstone announcing the fact : " How extraor- 
dinarily kind of Mr. Gladstone to find time to write under 
the present circumstances.* Good heavens ! how pleased I 

The letters which follow are of a miscellaneous character 
and refer principally to the books he read, and to his minor 

C. Darwin to Miss Buckley {Mrs, Fisher). 

Down, February II [1876]. 

My dear Miss Buckley, — You must let me have the 
pleasure of saying that I have just finished reading with very 
great interest your new book.f The idea seems to me a 
capital one, and as far as I can judge very well carried out. 
There is much fascination in taking a bird's eye view of all 
the grand leading steps in the progress of science. At first I 
regretted that you had not kept each science more separate ; 
but I dare say you found it impossible. I have hardly any 

* Mr. Gladstone was then in office, and the letter must have been writ- 
ten when he was overwhelmed with business connected with the opening 
of Parliament (Jan. 6). 

f * A Short History of Natural Science.' 

4 o6 MISCELLANEA. [1876. 

criticisms, except that I think you ought to have introduced 
Murchison as a great classifier of formations, second only to 
W. Smith. You have done full justice, and not more than 
justice, to our dear old master, Lyell. Perhaps a little more 
ought to have been said about botany, and if you should ever 
add this, you would find Sachs* ' History,' lately published, 
very good for your purpose. 

You have crowned Wallace and myself with much honour 
and glory. I heartily congratulate you on having produced 
so novel and interesting a work, and remain, 

My dear Miss Buckley, yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace. 

[Hopedene] *, June 5, 1876. 
My dear Wallace, — I must have the pleasure of ex- 
pressing to you my unbounded admiration of your book,f 
tho' I have read only to page 184 — my object having been to 
do as little as possible while resting. I feel sure that you 
have laid a broad and safe foundation for all future work on 
Distribution. How interesting it will be to see hereafter 
plants treated in strict relation to your views ; and then all- 
insects, pulmonate molluscs and fresh-water fishes, in greater 
detail than I suppose you have given to these lower animals. 
The point which has interested me most, but I do not say the 
most valuable point, is your protest against sinking imaginary 
continents in a quite reckless manner, as was stated by Forbes, 
followed, alas, by Hooker, and caricatured by Wollaston and 
[Andrew] Murray ! By the way, the main impression that 
the latter author has left on my mind is his utter want of all 
scientific judgment. I have lifted up my voice against the 
above view with no avail, but I have no doubt that you will 
succeed, owing to your new arguments and the coloured 
chart. Of a special value, as it seems to me, is the conclusion 

* Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood's house in Surrey. 
f * Geographical Distribution/ 1876. 


that we must determine the areas, chiefly by the nature of the 
mammals. When I worked many years ago on this subject, 
I doubted much whether the now called Palaearctic and Ne- 
arctic regions ought to be separated ; and I determined if I 
made another region that it should be Madagascar. I have, 
therefore, been able to appreciate your evidence on these 
points. What progress Palaeontology has made during the 
last 20 years ; but if it advances at the same rate in the future, 
our views on the migration and birth-place of the various 
groups will, I fear, be greatly altered. I cannot feel quite 
easy about the Glacial period, and the extinction of large 
mammals, but I must hope that you are right. I think you 
will have to modify your belief about the difficulty of dispersal 
of land molluscs ; I was interrupted when beginning to ex- 
perimentize on the just hatched young adhering to the feet 
of ground-roosting birds. I differ on one other point, viz. 
in the belief that there must have existed a Tertiary Ant- 
arctic continent, from which various forms radiated to the 
southern extremities of our present continents. But I could 
go on scribbling for ever. You have written, as I believe, a 
grand and memorable work which will last for years as the 
foundation for all future treatises on Geographical Distribu- 
tion. My dear Wallace, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — You have paid me the highest conceivable com- 
pliment, by what you say of your work in relation to my 
chapters on distribution in the ' Origin,' and I heartily thank 
you foi it. 

[The following letters illustrate my father's power of tak- 
ing a vivid interest in work bearing on Evolution, but uncon- 
nected with his own special researches at the time. The 
books referred to in the first letter are Professor Weismann's 
* Studien zur Descendenzlehre,' * being part of the series of 

* My father contributed a prefatory note to Mr. Meldola's translation 
of Prof. Weismann's * Studein,' 1880-81. 

408 MISCELLANEA. [1876. 

essays by which the author has done such admirable service 
to the cause of evolution :] 

C. Darwin to Aug. Weisniann. 

January 12, 1877. 

... I read German so slowly, and have had lately to read 
several other papers, so that I have as yet finished only half 
of your first essay and two-thirds of your second. They 
have excited my interest and admiration in the highest de- 
gree, and whichever I think of last, seems to me the most 
valuable. I never expected to see the coloured marks on 
caterpillars so well explained ; and the case of the ocelli de- 
lights me especially. . . . 

. . . There is one other subject which has always seemed 
to me more difficult to explain than even the colours of cater- 
pillars, and that is the colour of birds' eggs, and I wish you 
would take this up. 

C. Darwin to Melchior Newnayr* Vienna. 

Down, Beckenham, Kent, March 9, 1877. 

Dear Sir, — From having been obliged to read other 
books, I finished only yesterday your essay on * Die Conge- 
rien,' &c.f 

I hope that you will allow me to express my gratitude for 
the pleasure and instruction which I have derived from read- 
ing it. It seems to me to be an admirable work ; and is by 
far the best case which I have ever met with, showing the 
direct influence of the conditions of life on the organization. 

Mr. Hyatt, who has been studying the Hilgendorf case, 
writes to me with respect to the conclusions at which he has 
arrived, and these are nearly the same as yours. He insists 
that closely similar forms may be derived from distinct lines 
of descent ; and this is what I formerly called analogical 
variation. There can now be no doubt that species may be- 
come greatly modified through the direct action of the envi- 

* Professor of Palaeontology at Vienna. 

f ' Die Congerien und Paludinenschichten Slavoniens,' 4to, 1875. 

1877] MR. ALLEN'S WORKS. 409 

ronment. I have some excuse for not having formerly in- 
sisted more strongly on this head in my i Origin of Species,' 
as most of the best facts have been observed since its publi- 

With my renewed thanks for your most interesting essay, 
and with the highest respect, I remain, dear Sir, 

Yours very faithfully, 

Charles Darwin. 

C. Darwin to £. S. Morse. 

Down, April 23, 1877. 

My dear Sir, — You must allow me just to tell you how 
very much I have been interested with the excellent Address * 
which you have been so kind as to send me, and which I had 
much wished to read. I believe that I had read all, or very 
nearly all, the papers by your countrymen to which you refer, 
but I have been fairly astonished at their number and im- 
portance when seeing them thus put together. I quite agree 
about the high value of Mr. Allen's works, f as showing how 
much change may be expected apparently through the direct 
action of the conditions of life. As for the fossil remains in 
the West, no words will express how wonderful they are. 
There is one point which I regret that you did not make clear 
in your Address, namely what is the meaning and importance 
of Professors Cope and Hyatt's views on acceleration and 
retardation. I have endeavoured, and given up in despair, 
the attempt to grasp their meaning. 

Permit me to thank you cordially for the kind feeling 
shown towards me through your Address, and I remain, my 
dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

* " What American Zoologists have done for Evolution," an Address 
to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, August, 
1876. Vol. xxv. of the Proceedings of the Association. 

f Mr. J. A. Allen shows the existence of geographical races of birds 
and mammals. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. vol. xv. 

4 io MISCELLANEA. [1877 

[The next letter refers to his i Biographical Sketch of 
an Infant/ written from notes made 37 years previously, and 
published in ' Mind/ July, 1877. The article attracted a good 
deal of attention, and was translated at the time in ' Kosmos/ 
and the i Revue Scientifique/ and has been recently pub- 
lished in Dr. Krause's ' Gesammelte kleinere Schriften von 
Charles Darwin/ 1887 :] 

C. Darwin to G. Croom Robertson* 

Down, April 27, 1877. 
Dear Sir, — I hope that you will be so good as to take the 
trouble to read the enclosed MS., and if you think it fit for 
publication in your admirable journal of ' Mind/ I shall be 
gratified. If you do not think it fit, as is very likely, will you 
please to return it to me. I hope that you will read it in an 
extra critical spirit, as I cannot judge whether it is worth 
publishing from having been so much interested in watching 
the dawn of the several faculties in my own infant. I may 
add that I should never have thought of sending you the 
MS., had not M. Taine's article appeared in your Journal. f 
If my MS. is printed, I think that I had better see a proof. 

I remain, dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[The two following extracts show the lively interest he 
preserved in diverse fields of inquiry. Professor Cohn, of 
Breslau had mentioned, in a letter, Koch's researches on 
Splenic Fever, my father replied, January 3 : — 

" I well remember saying to myself, between twenty and 
thirty years ago, that if ever the origin of any infectious 
disease could be proved, it would be the greatest triumph to 
science ; and now I rejoice to have seen the triumph." 

* The editor of ' Mind.' 

\ 1877, P- 252. The original appeared in the * Revue Philosophique' 

1878.] GEOLOGY. 411 

In the spring he received a copy of Dr. E. von Mojsisovics* 
1 Dolomit Riffe,' his letter to the author (June 1, 1878) is 
interesting as bearing on the influence of his own work on 
the methods of geology. 

" I have at last found time to read the first chapter of your 
' Dolomit Riffe,' and have been exceedingly interested by it. 
What a wonderful change in the future of Geological chro- 
nology you indicate, by assuming the descent theory to be 
established, and then taking the graduated changes of the 
same group of organisms as the true standard ! I never 
hoped to live to see such a step even proposed by any one." 

Another geological research which roused my father's 
admiration was Mr. D. Mackintosh's work on erratic blocks. 
Apart from its intrinsic merit the work keenly excited his 
sympathy from the conditions under which it was executed, 
Mr. Mackintosh being compelled to give nearly his whole 
time to tuition. The following passage is from a letter to 
Mr. Mackintosh of October 9, 1879, and refers to his paper 
in the Journal of the Geological Society, 1878 : — 

" I hope that you will allow me to have the pleasure of 
thanking you for the very great pleasure which I have derived 
from just reading your paper on erratic blocks. The map 
is wonderful, and what labour each of those lines show ! I 
have thought for some years that the agency of floating ice, 
which nearly half a century ago was overrated, has of late 
been underrated. You are the sole man who has ever noticed 
the distinction suggested by me * between flat or planed 
scored rocks, and mammillated scored rocks."] 

C. Darwin to C. Ridley, 

Down, November 28, 1878. 
Dear Sir, — I just skimmed through Dr. Pusey's sermon, 
as published in the Guardian, but it did [not] seem to me 

w — ■ ■ 

* In his paper on the ' Ancient Glaciers of Carnarvonshire,' Phil. Mag, 
xxi. 1842. See p. 187. 

4 I2 MISCELLANEA. [1878. 

worthy of any attention. As I have never answered criti- 
cisms excepting those made by scientific men, I am not will- 
ing that this letter shoald be published; but I have no ob- 
jection to your saying that you sent me the three questions, 
and that I answered that Dr. Pusey was mistaken in imagin- 
ing that I wrote the ' Origin ' with any relation whatever to 
Theology. I should have thought that this would have been 
evident to any one who had taken the trouble to read the 
book, more especially as in the opening lines of the introduc- 
tion I specify how the subject arose in my mind. This an- 
swer disposes of your two other questions ; but I may add 
that many years ago, when I was collecting facts for the 
i Origin/ my belief in what is called a personal God was as 
firm as that of Dr. Pusey himself, and as to the eternity of 
matter I have never troubled myself about such insoluble 
questions. Dr. Pusey's attack will be as powerless to retard 
by a day the belief in Evolution, as were the virulent attacks 
made by divines fifty years ago against Geology, and the still 
older ones of the Catholic Church against Galileo, for the 
public is wise enough always to follow Scientific men when 
they agree on any subject ; and now there is almost complete 
unanimity amongst Biologists about Evolution, though there 
is still considerable difference as to the means, such as how 
far natural selection has acted, and how far external condi- 
tions, or whether there exists some mysterious innate ten- 
dency to perfectability. I remain, dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[Theologians were not the only adversaries of freedom in 
science. On Sept. 22, 1877, Prof. Virchow delivered an ad- 
dress at the Munich meeting of German Naturalists and 
Physicians, which had the effect of connecting Socialism with 
the Descent theory. This point of view was taken up by 
anti-evolutionists to such an extent that, according to Haeckel, 
the Kreuz Zeitung threw " all the blame of" the l( treason- 
able attempts of the democrats Hodel and Nobiling . . . 

I879-] SOCIALISM. 413 

directly on the theory of Descent." Prof. Haeckel replied 
with vigour and ability in his * Freedom in Science and 
Teaching' (Eng. Transl. 1879), an essay which must have 
the sympathy of all lovers of freedom. 

The following passage from a letter (December 26, 1879) 
to Dr. Scherzer, the author of the ' Voyage of the Novara* 
gives a hint of my father's views on this once burning ques- 
tion : — 

" What a foolish idea seems to prevail in Germany on the 
connection between Socialism and Evolution through Natu- 
ral Selection."] 

C. Darwin to H. N. Moseley* 

Down, January 20, 1879. 
Dear Moseley, — I have just received your book, and I 
declare that never in my life have I seen a dedication which 
I admired so much.f Of course I am not a fair judge, but I 
hope that I speak dispassionately, though you have touched 
me in my very tenderest point, by saying that my old Journal 
mainly gave you the wish to travel as a Naturalist. I shall 
begin to read your book this very evening, and am sure that 
I shall enjoy it much. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to H. N. Moseley. 

Down, February 4, 1879. 
Dear Moseley, — I have at last read every word of your 
book, and it has excited in me greater interest than any other 

* Professor of Zoology at Oxford. The book alluded to is Prof. Mose- 
ley's ' Notes by a Naturalist on the Challenger' 

t " To Charles Darwin, Esquire, LL. D., F. R. S., &c, from the study 
of whose * Journal of Researches ' I mainly derived my desire to travel 
round the world ; to the development of whose theory I owe the princi- 
pal pleasures and interests of my life, and who has personally given me 
much kindly encouragement in the prosecution of my studies, this book is, 
by permission, gratefully dedicated." 

414 MISCELLANEA. [1879. 

scientific book which I have read for a long time. You will 
perhaps be surprised how slow I have been, but my head 
prevents me reading except at intervals. If I were asked 
which parts have interested me most, I should be somewhat 
puzzled to answer. I fancy that the general reader would 
prefer your account of Japan. For myself I hesitate between 
your discussions and description of the Southern ice, which 
seems to me admirable, and the last chapter which contained 
many facts and views new to me, though I had read your 
papers on the stony Hydroid Corals, yet your re'sunie' made 
me realise better than I had done before, what a most curious 
case it is. 

You have also collected a surprising number of valuable 
facts bearing on the dispersal of plants, far more than in any 
other book known to me. In fact your volume is a mass of 
interesting facts and discussions, with hardly a superfluous 
word ; and I heartily congratulate you on its publica- 

Your dedication makes me prouder than ever. 

Believe me, yours sincerely, 

Ch; Darwin. 

[In November, 1879, he answered for Mr. Galton a series 
of questions utilised in his ' Inquiries into Human Faculty,' 
1883. He wrote to Mr. Galton :— 

" I have answered the questions as well as I could, but 
they are miserably answered, for I have never tried looking 
into my own mind. Unless others answer very much better 
than I can do, you will get no good from your queries. Do 
you not think you ought to have the age of the answerer ? I 
think so, because I can call up faces of many schoolboys, not 
seen for sixty years, with much distinctness, but nowadays I 
may talk with a man for an hour, and see him several times 
consecutively, and, after a month, I am utterly unable to 
recollect what he is at all like. The picture is quite washed 
out. The greater number of the answers are given in the 
annexed table. "] 




Questions on the Faculty of Visualising. 




Illumination ? 

Moderate, but my solitary breakfast was early, 
and the morning dark. 


Definition ? 

Some objects quite defined, a slice of cold 
beef, some grapes and a pear, the state of 
my plate when I had finished, and a few 
other objects, are as distinct as if I had 
photo's before me. 


Completeness ? 

Very moderately so. 



The objects above named perfectly colored. 


Extent of Field of 

View ? 

Rather small. 




Pt inted pages. 

I cannot remember a single sentence, but I 
remember the place of the sentence and the 
kind of type. 


Furniture ? 

I have never attended to it. 


Persons ? 

I remember the faces of persons formerly 
well-known vividly, and can make them do 
anything I like. 



Remembrance vivid and distinct, and gives me 


Geography ? 



Military movements ? 



Mechanism ? 

Never tried. 


Geometry ? 

I do not think I have any power of the 


Numerals ? 

When I think of any number, printed fig- 
ures arise before my mind. I can't re- 
member for an hour four consecutive fig- 


Card playing? 

Have not played for many years, but I am 
sure should not remember. 


Chess ? 

Never played. 
— — ■■■■■■■ — ■ 1 . — .... — ■ ,, » 

4 i6 MISCELLANEA. [1880. 

[in 1880 he published a short paper in * Nature ' (vol. 
xxi. p. 207) on the " Fertility of Hybrids from the common 
and Chinese goose." He received the hybrids from the 
Rev. Dr. Goodacre, and was glad of the opportunity of test- 
ing the accuracy of the statement that these species are fer- 
tile inter se. This fact, which was given in the ' Origin ' on 
the authority of Mr. Eyton, he considered the most remark- 
able as yet recorded with respect to the fertility of hybrids. 
The fact (as confirmed by himself and Dr. Goodacre) is of 
interest as giving another proof that sterility is no criterion 
of specific difference, since the two species of goose now 
shown to be fertile inter se are so distinct that they have 
been placed by some authorities in , distinct genera or sub- 

The following letter refers to Mr. Huxley's lecture : " The 
Coming of Age of the Origin of Species," * given at the 
Royal Institution, April 9, 1880, published in i Nature/ and 
in ' Science and Culture,' p. 310 :] 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Abinger Hall, Dorking, Sunday, April 1 1, 1880. 
My dear Huxley, — I wished much to attend your Lec- 
ture, but I have had a bad cough, and we have come here to 
see whether a change would do me good, as it has done. 
What a magnificent success your lecture seems to have been, 
as I judge from the reports in the Standard and Daily News, 
and more especially from the accounts given me by three 
of my children. I suppose that you have not written out 
your lecture, so I fear there is no chance of its being printed 
in extenso. You appear to have piled, as on so many other 
occasions, honours high and thick on my old head. But I 
well know how great a part you have played in establishing 

* This same " Coming of Age " was the subject of an address from the 
Council of the Otago Institute. It is given in ' Nature,' February 24, 

i88o.] MR. HUXLEY'S LECTURE. 417 

and spreading the belief in the descent-theory, ever since 
that grand review in the Times and the battle royal at Ox- 
ford up to the present day. 

Ever my dear Huxley, 

Yours sincerely and gratefully, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — It was absurdly stupid in me, but I had read the 
announcement of your Lecture, and thought that you meant 
the maturity of the subject, until my wife one day remarked, 
"it is almost twenty-one years since the ' Origin ' appeared," 
and then for the first time the meaning of your words flashed 
on me ! 

[In the above-mentioned lecture Mr. Huxley made a 
strong point of the accumulation of palaeontological evidence 
which the years between 1859 and 1880 have given us in fa- 
vour of Evolution. On this subject my father wrote (August 
31, 1880) :] 

My dear Professor Marsh, — I received some time ago 
your very kind note of July 28th, and yesterday the mag- 
nificent volume.* I have looked with renewed admiration at 
the plates, and will soon read the text. Your work on these 
old birds, and on the many fossil animals of North America 
has afforded the best support to the theory of Evolution, 
which has appeared within the last twenty years, f The 
general appearance of the copy which you have sent me is 

* Odontornithes. A monograph on the extinct Toothed Birds of N. 
America. 1880. By O. C. Marsh. 

f Mr. Huxley has well pointed out (' Science and Culture,' p. 317) 
that: "In 1875, the discovery of the toothed birds of the cretaceous for- 
mation in N. America, by Prof. Marsh, completed the series of transitional 
forms between birds and reptiles, and removed Mr. Darwin's proposition 
that, * many animal forms of life have been utterly lost, through which the 
early progenitors of birds were formerly connected with the early progeni- 
tors of the other vertebrate classes,' from the region of hypothesis to that 
of demonstrable fact." 

4I g MISCELLANEA. [1880. 

worthy of its contents, and I can say nothing stronger than 


With cordial thanks, believe me, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

[In November, 1880, he received an account of a flood in 
Brazil, from which his friend Fritz Miiller had barely escaped 
» with his life. My father immediately wrote to Hermann 
Miiller anxiously enquiring whether his brother had lost books, 
instruments, &c, by this accident, and begging in that case 
" for the sake of science, so that science should not suffer," to 
be allowed to help in making good the loss. Fortunately, 
however, the injury to Fritz Mullens possessions was not so 
great as was expected, and the incident remains only as a 
memento, which I trust cannot be otherwise than pleasing to 
the survivor, of the friendship of the two naturalists. 

In ' Nature ' (November n, 1880) appeared a letter from 
my father, which is, I believe, the only instance in which he 
wrote publicly with anything like severity. The late Sir 
Wyville Thomson wrote, in the Introduction to the ' Voyage 
of the Challenger ' : " The character of the abyssal fauna re- 
fuses to give the least support to the theory which refers the 
evolution of species to extreme variation guided only by 
natural selection." My father, after characterising these re- 
marks as a " standard of criticism, not uncommonly reached 
by theologians and metaphysicians," goes on to take excep- 
tion to the term " extreme variation," and challenges Sir 
Wyville to name any one who has u said that the evolution 
of species depends only on natural selection." The letter 
closes with an imaginary scene between Sir Wyville and a 
breeder, in which Sir Wyville criticises artificial selection in 
a somewhat similar manner. The breeder is silent, but on 
the departure of his critic he is supposed to make use of 
" emphatic but irreverent language about naturalists." The 
letter, as originally written, ended with a quotation from 
Sedgwick on the invulnerability of those who write on what 

i88i.] * WORMS/ 4 ! 9 

they do not understand, but this was omitted on the advice 
of a friend, and curiously enough a friend whose combative- 
ness in the good cause my father had occasionally curbed.] 

C. Darwin to G. J, Romanes, 

Down, April 16, 188 1. 

My dear Romanes, — My MS. on ' Worms ' has been sent 
to the printers, so I am going to amuse myself by scribbling 
to you on a few points ; but you must not waste your time in 
answering at any length this scribble. 

Firstly, your letter on intelligence was very useful to me 
and I tore up and re-wrote what I sent to you. I have not 
attempted to define intelligence ; but have quoted your 
remarks on experience, and have shown how far they apply 
to worms. It seems to me that they must be said to work 
with some intelligence, anyhow they are not guided by a 
blind instinct. 

Secondly, I was greatly interested by the abstract in 
* Nature ' of your work on Echinoderms,* the complexity with 
simplicity, and with such curious co-ordination of the nervous 
system is marvellous ; and you showed me before what splen- 
did gymnastic feats they can perform. 

Thirdly, Dr. Roux has sent me a book just published by 
him: l Der Kampf der Theile,' &c, 1881 (240 pages in 

He is manifestly a well-read physiologist and pathologist, 
and from his position a good anatomist. It is full of reason- 
ing, and this in German is very difficult to me, so that I have 
only skimmed through each page ; here and there reading 
with a little more care. As far as I can imperfectly judge, it 
is the most important book on Evolution, which has appeared 
for some time. I believe that G. H. Lewes hinted at the 
same fundamental idea, viz. that there is a struggle going on 
within every organism between the organic molecules, the 

* " On the locomotor system of Echinoderms," by G. J. Romanes and 
J. Cossar Ewart. ' Philosophical Transactions,' 1881, p, 82Q. 

4 20 MISCELLANEA. [1881. 

cells and the organs. I think that his basis is, that every cell 
which best performs its function is, in consequence, at the 
same time best nourished and best propagates its kind. The 
book does not touch on mental phenomena, but there is much 
discussion on rudimentary or atrophied parts, to which sub- 
ject you formerly attended. Now if you would like to read 
this book, I would send it. . . . If you read it, and are 
struck with it (but I may be wholly mistaken about its value), 
you would do a public service by analysing and criticising it 
in ' Nature/ 

Dr. Roux makes, I think, a gigantic oversight in never 
considering plants ; these would simplify the problem for 

Fourthly, I do not know whether you will discuss in your 
book on the mind of animals any of the more complex and 
wonderful instincts. It is unsatisfactory work, as there can 
be no fossilised instincts, and the sole guide is their state in 
other members of the same order, and mere probability. 

But if you do discuss any (and it will perhaps be expected 
of you), I should think that you could not select a better case 
than that of the sand wasps, which paralyse their prey, as 
formerly described by Fabre, in his wonderful paper in the 
* Annales des Sciences/ and since amplified in his admirable 

Whilst reading this latter book, I speculated a little on the 
subject. Astonishing nonsense is often spoken of the sand 
wasp's knowledge of anatomy. Now will any one say that 
the Gauchos on the plains of La Plata have such knowledge, 
yet I have often seen them pith a struggling and lassoed cow 
on the ground with unerring skill, which no mere anatomist 
could imitate. The pointed knife was infallibly driven in 
between the vertebrae by a single slight thrust. I presume 
that the art was first discovered by chance, and that each 
young Gaucho sees exactly how the others do it, and then 
with a very little practice learns the art. Now I suppose that 
the sand wasps originally merely killed their prey by stinging 
them in many places (see p. 129 of Fabre's 'Souvenirs/ and 


p. 241) on the lower and softest side of the body — and that 
to sting a certain segment was found by far the most suc- 
cessful method ; and was inherited like the tendency of a 
bulldog to pin the nose of a bull, or of a ferret to bite the 
cerebellum. It would not be a very great step in advance to 
prick the ganglion of its prey only slightly, and thus to give 
its larvae fresh meat instead of old dried meat. Though 
Fabre insists so strongly on the unvarying character of in- 
stinct, yet it is shown that there is some variability, as at p. 
176, 177. 

I fear that I shall have utterly wearied you with my scrib- 
bling and bad handwriting. 

My dear Romanes, yours, very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

Postscript of a Letter to Professor A. Agassiz, May $th, 

1 88 1 :— 

I read with much interest your address before the Ameri- 
can Association. However true your remarks on the gene- 
alogies of the several groups may be, I hope and believe that 
you have over-estimated the difficulties to be encountered in 
the future : — A few days after reading your address, I inter- 
preted to myself your remarks on one point (I hope in some 
degree correctly) in the following fashion : — 

Any character of an ancient, generalised, or intermediate 
form may, and often does, re-appear in its descendants, after 
countless generations, and this explains the extraordinarily 
complicated affinities of existing groups. This idea seems 
to me to throw a flood of light on the lines, sometimes used 
to represent affinities, which radiate in all directions, often to 
very distant sub-groups, — a difficulty which has haunted me 
for half a century. A strong case could be made out in 
favour of believing in such reversion after immense intervals 
of time. I wish the idea had been put into my head in old 
days, for I shall never again write on difficult subjects, as I 
have seen too many cases of old men becoming feeble in 

422 MISCELLANEA. [1881. 

their minds, without being in the least conscious of it. If I 
have interpreted your ideas at all correctly, I hope that you 
will re-urge, on any fitting occasion, your view. I have men- 
tioned it to a few persons capable of judging, and it seemed 
quite new to them. I beg you to forgive the proverbial gar- 
rulity of old age. 

C. D. 

[The following letter refers to Sir J. D. Hooker's Geo- 
graphical address at the York Meeting (1881) of the British 
Association :] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down, August 6, 1881. 

My dear Hooker, — For Heaven's sake never speak of 
boring me, as it would be the greatest pleasure to aid you in 
the slightest degree and your letter has interested me ex- 
ceedingly. I will go through your points seriatim, but I have 
never attended much to the history of any subject, and my 
memory has become atrociously bad. It will therefore be a 
mere chance whether any of my remarks are of any use. 

Your idea, to show what travellers have done, seems to me 
a brilliant and just one, especially considering your audience. 

1. I know nothing about Tournefort's works. 

2. I believe that you are fully right in calling Humboldt 
the greatest scientific traveller who ever lived, I have lately 
read two or three volumes again. His Geology is funny 
stuff ; but that merely means that he was not in advance of 
his age. I should say he was wonderful, more for his near 
approach to omniscience than for originality. Whether or 
not his position as a scientific man is as eminent as we think, 
you might truly call him the parent of a grand progeny of 
scientific travellers, who, taken together, have done much for 

3. It seems to me quite just to give Lyell (and secondari- 
ly E. Forbes) a very prominent place. 

4. Dana was, I believe, the first man who maintained the 


permanence of continents and the great oceans. . . . When 
I read the i Challenger's ' conclusion that sediment from the 
land is not deposited at greater distances than 200 to 300 
miles from the land, I was much strengthened in my old be- 
lief. Wallace seems to me to have argued the case excellent- 
ly. Nevertheless, I would speak, if I were in your place, 
rather cautiously; for T. Mellard Reade has argued lately 
with some force against the view ; but I cannot call to mind 
his arguments. If forced to express a judgment, I should 
abide by the view of approximate permanence since Cambrian 

5. The extreme importance of the Arctic fossil-plants, is 
self-evident. Take the opportunity of groaning over [our] 
ignorance of the Lignite Plants of Kerguelen Land, or any 
Antarctic land. It might do good. 

6. I cannot avoid feeling sceptical about the travelling of 
plants from the North except during the Tertiary period. It 
may of course have been so and probably was so from one 
of the two poles at the earliest period, during Pre-Cambrian 
ages ; but such speculations seem to me hardly scientific see- 
ing how little we know of the old Floras. 

I will now jot down without any order a few miscellaneous 

I think you ought to allude to Alph. De Candolle's 
great book, for though it (like almost everything else) 
is washed out of my mind, yet I remember most distinctly 
thinking it a very valuable work. Anyhow, you might 
allude to his excellent account of the history of all culti- 
vated plants. 

How shall you manage to allude to your New Zealand 
and Tierra del Fuego work ? if you do not allude to them you 
will be scandalously unjust. 

The many Angiosperm plants in the Cretacean beds of 
the United States (and as far as I can judge the age of these 
beds has been fairly well made out) seems to me a fact of 
very great importance, so is their relation to the existing flora 
of the United States under an Evolutionary point of view. 

424 MISCELLANEA. [1881. 

Have not some Australian extinct forms been lately found in 
Australia ? or have I dreamed it ? 

Again, the recent discovery of plants rather low down in 
our Silurian beds is very important. 

Nothing is more extraordinary in the history of the Vege- 
table Kingdom, as it seems to me, than the apparently very 
sudden or abrupt development of the higher plants. I have 
sometimes speculated whether there did not exist somewhere 
during long ages an extremely isolated continent, perhaps 
near the South Pole. 

Hence I was greatly interested by a view which Saporta 
propounded to me, a few years ago, at great length in MS* 
and which I fancy he has since published, as I urged him to 
do — viz., that as soon as flower-frequenting insects were de- 
veloped, during the latter part of the secondary period, an 
enormous impulse was given to the development of the 
higher plants by cross-fertilization being thus suddenly formed. 

A few years ago I was much struck with Axel Blytt's* 
Essay showing from observation, on the peat beds in Scandi- 
navia, that there had apparently been long periods with more 
rain and other with less rain (perhaps connected with Croll's 
recurrent astronomical periods), and that these periods had 
largely determined the present distribution of the plants of Nor- 
way and Sweden. This seemed to me, a very important essay. 

I have just read over my remarks and I fear that they will 
not be of the slightest use to you. 

I cannot but think that you have got through the hardest, 
or at least the most difficult, part of your work in having 
made so good and striking a sketch of what you intend to 
say ; but I can quite understand how you must groan over 
the great necessary labour. 

I most heartily sympathise with you on the successes of 
B. and R. : as years advance what happens to oneself becomes 
of very little consequence, in comparison with the careers of 
our children. 

* See footnote, p. 392. 


Keep your spirits up, for I am convinced that you will 
make an excellent address. 

Ever yours, affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

[In September he wrote : — 

" I have this minute finished reading your splendid but 
too short address. I cannot doubt that it will have been 
fully appreciated by the Geographers of York ; if not, they 
are asses and fools."] 

C. Darwin to John Lubbock. 

Sunday evening [1881]. 
My dear L., — Your address * has made me think over 
what have been the great steps in Geology during the last 
fifty years, and there can be no harm in telling you my im- 
pression. But it is very odd that I cannot remember what 
you have said on Geology. I suppose that the classification 
of the Silurian and Cambrian formations must be considered 
the greatest or most important step ; for I well remember 
when all these older rocks were called grau-wacke, and 
nobody dreamed of classing them ; and now we have three 
azoic formations pretty well made out beneath the Cambrian ! 
But the most striking step has been the discovery of the 
Glacial period : you are too young to remember the pro- 
digious effect this produced about the year 1840 (?) on all our 
minds. Elie de Beaumont never believed in it to the day of 
his death ! the study of the glacial deposits led to the study 
of the superficial drift, which was formerly never studied and 
called Diluvium, as I well remember. The study under the 
microscope of rock-sections is another not inconsiderable step. 
So again the making out of cleavage and the foliation of the 
metamorphic rocks. But I will not run on, having now 
eased my mind. Pray do not waste even one minute in ac- 
knowledging my horrid scrawls. Ever yours, 

Ch. Darwin. 

* Presidential Address at the York meeting of the British Association. 

426 MISCELLANEA. [1881. 

[The following extracts referring to the late Francis Mait- 
land Balfour,* show my father's estimate of his work and 
intellectual qualities, but they give merely an indication of 
his strong appreciation of Balfour's most lovable personal 
character : — 

From a letter to Fritz Miiller, January 5, 1882 : — 
" Your appreciation of Balfour's book [' Comparative Em- 
bryology '] has pleased me excessively, for though I could not 
properly judge of it, yet it seemed to me one of the most 
remarkable books which have been published for some con- 
siderable time. He is quite a young man, and if he keeps 
his health, will do splendid work. . . . He has a fair fortune 
of his own, so that he can give up his whore time to Biology. 
He is very modest, and very pleasant, and often visits here 
and we like him very much." 

From a letter to Dr. Dohrn, February 13, 1882 : — 

" I have got one very bad piece of news to tell you, that 

F. Balfour is very ill at Cambridge with typhoid fever 

I hope that he is not in a very dangerous state ; but the 
fever is severe. Good Heavens, what a loss he would be to 
Science, and to his many loving friends ! "] 

C. Darwin to T. H. Huxley. 

Down, January 12, 1882. 
My dear Huxley, — Very many thanks for ' Science and 
Culture/ and I am sure that I shall read most of the essays 
with much interest. With respect to Automatism,f I wish 
that you could review yourself in the old, and of course for- 
gotten, trenchant style, and then you would here answer 
yourself with equal incisiveness ; and thus, by Jove, you 

* Professor of Animal Morphology at Cambridge. He was born in 
185 1, and was killed, with his guide, on the Aiguille Blanche, near Cour- 
mayeur, in July, 1882. 

f " On the hypothesis that animals are automata and its history/' an 
Address given at the Belfast meeting of the British Association, 1874, and 
published in the ' Fortnightly Review,' 1874, and in ' Science and Culture. 5 


might go on ad infinitum^ to the joy and instruction of the 
world. Ever yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The following letter refers to Dr. Ogle's translation of 
Aristotle, 'On the Parts of Animals' (1882):] 

C. Darwin to W. Ogle. 

Down, February 22, 1882. 

My dear Dr. Ogle, — You must let me thank you for 
the pleasure which the introduction to the Aristotle book 
has given me. I have rarely read anything which has inter- 
ested me more, though I have not read as yet more than a 
quarter of the book proper. 

From quotations which I had seen, I had a high notion of 
Aristotle's merits, but I had not the most remote notion what 
a wonderful man he was. Linnaeus and Cuvier have been 
my two gods, though in veTy different ways, but they were 
mere schoolboys to old Aristotle. How very curious, also, 
his ignorance on some points, as on muscles as the means of 
movement. I am glad that you have explained in so probable 
a manner some of the grossest mistakes attributed to him. I 
never realized, before reading your book, to what an enormous 
summation of labour we owe even our common knowledge. 
I wish old Aristotle could know what a grand Defender of 
the Faith he had found in you. Believe me, my dear Dr. 


Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[In February, he received a letter and a specimen from a 
Mr. W. D. Crick, which illustrated a curious mode of dispersal 
of bivalve shells, namely, by closure of their valves so as to 
hold on to the leg of a water-beetle. This class of fact had 
a special charm for him, and he wrote to i Nature,' describing 
the case.* 

* ■ Nature/ April 6, 1882. 

428 MISCELLANEA. [1882. 

In April he received a letter from Dr. W. Van Dyck, 
Lecturer in Zoology at the Protestant College of Beyrout. 
The letter showed that the street dogs of Beyrout had been 
rapidly mongrelised by introduced European dogs, and the 
facts have an interesting bearing on my father's theory of 
Sexual Selection.] 

C. Darwin to W. T. Van Dyck. 

Down, April 3, 1882. 

Dear Sir, — After much deliberation, I have thought it 
best to send your very interesting paper to the Zoological 
Society, in hopes that it will be published in their Journal. 
This journal goes to every scientific institution in the world, 
and the contents are abstracted in all year-books on Zoology. 
Therefore I have preferred it to i Nature/ though the latter 
has a wider circulation, but is ephemeral. 

I have prefaced your essay by a few general remarks, to 
which I hope that you will not object. 

Of course I do not know that the Zoological Society, 
which is much addicted to mere systematic work, will publish 
.your essay. If it does, I will send you copies of your essay, 
but ■ these will not be ready for some months. If not pub- 
lished by the Zoological Society, I will endeavour to get 
1 Nature ' to publish it. I am very anxious that it should be 
published and preserved. Dear Sir, 

Yours faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[The paper was read at a meeting of the Zoological So- 
ciety on April 18th — the day before my father's death. 

The preliminary remarks with which Dr. Van Dyck's pa- 
per is prefaced aTe thus the latest of my father's writings.] 

We must now return to an early period of his life, and 
give a connected . account of his botanical work, which has 
hitherto been omitted. 


Fertilisation of Flowers. 

[In the letters already given we have had occasion to 
notice the general bearing of a number of botanical problems 
on the wider question of Evolution. The detailed work in 
botany which my father accomplished by the guidance of the 
light cast on the study of natural history by his own work on 
Evolution remains to be noticed. In a letter to Mr. Murray, 
September 24th, 1861, speaking of his book on the ' Ferti- 
lisation of Orchids/ he says : "It will perhaps serve to illus- 
trate how Natural History may be worked under the belief 
of the modification of species. ,, This remark gives a sugges- 
tion as to the value and interest of his botanical work, and 
it might be expressed in far more emphatic language without 
danger of exaggeration. 

In the same letter to Mr. Murray, he says : " I think this 
little volume will do good to the 'Origin/ as it will show that 
I have worked hard at details." It is true that his botanical 
work added a mass of corroborative detail to the case for 
Evolution, but the chief support to his doctrines given by 
these researches was of another kind. They supplied an 
argument against those critics who have so freely dogma- 
tised as to the uselessness of particular structures, and as to 
the consequent impossibility of their having been developed 
by means of natural selection. His observations on Orchids 
enabled him to say : u I can show the meaning of some of 
the apparently meaningless ridges, horns, who will now ven- 
ture to say that this or that structure is useless ? " A kindred 
point is expressed in a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker (May 14th, 
1862) :— 


" When many parts of structure, as in the woodpecker, 
show distinct adaptation to external bodies, it is preposterous 
to attribute them to the effects of climate, &c., but when a 
single point alone, as a hooked seed, it is conceivable it may 
thus have arisen. I have found the study of Orchids emi- 
nently useful in showing me how nearly all parts of the flower 
are co-adapted for fertilization by insects, and therefore the 
results of natural selection — even the most trifling details of 

One of the greatest services rendered by my father to the 
study of Natural History is the revival of Teleology. The 
evolutionist studies the purpose or meaning of organs with 
the zeal of the older Teleology, but with far wider and more 
coherent purpose. He has the invigorating knowledge that 
he is gaining not isolated conceptions of the economy of the 
present, but a coherent view of both past and present. And 
even where he fails to discover the use of any part, he may, 
by a knowledge of its structure, unravel the history of the 
past vicissitudes in the life of the species. In this way a 
vigour and unity is given to the study of the forms of organised 
beings, which before it lacked. This point has already been 
discussed in Mr. Huxley's chapter on the ' Reception of the 
Origin of Species,' and need not be here considered. It does, 
however, concern us to recognize that this "great service 
to natural science," as Dr. Gray describes it, was effected 
almost as much by his special botanical work as by the ' Ori- 
gin of Species/ 

For a statement of the scope and influence of my father's 
botanical work, I may refer to Mr. Thiselton Dyer's article 
in ' Charles Darwin,' one of the Nature Series. Mr. Dyer's 
wide knowledge, his friendship with my father, and especially 
his power of sympathising with the work of others, combine 
to give this essay a permanent value. The following passage 
(p. 43) gives a true picture : — 

" Notwithstanding the extent and variety of his botanical 
work, Mr. Darwin always disclaimed any right to be regarded 
as a professed botanist. He turned his attention to plants, 


doubtless because they were convenient objects for studying 
organic phenomena in their least complicated forms ; and 
this point of view, which, if one may use the expression 
without disrespect, had something of the amateur about it, 
was in itself of the greatest importance. For, from not being, 
till he took up any point, familiar with the literature bearing 
on it, his mind was absolutely free from any prepossession. 
He was never afraid of his facts, or of framing any hypothe- 
sis, however startling, which seemed to explain them. . . . 
In any one else such an attitude would have produced much 
work that was crude and rash. But Mr. Darwin — if one may 
venture on language which will strike no one who had con- 
versed with him as over-strained — seemed by gentle persua- 
sion to have penetrated that reserve of nature which baffles 
smaller men. In other words, his long experience had given 
him a kind of instinctive insight into the method of attack of 
any biological problem, however unfamiliar to him, while he 
rigidly controlled the fertility of his mind in hypothetical 
explanations by the no less fertility of ingeniously devised 

To form any just idea of the greatness of the revolution 
worked by my father's researches in the study of the fertilisa- 
tion of flowers, it is necessary to know from what a condition 
this branch of knowledge has emerged. It should be remem- 
bered that it was only during the early years of the present 
century that the idea of sex, as applied to plants, became at 
all firmly established. Sachs, in his i History of Botany* 
(1875), nas given some striking illustrations of the remark- 
able slowness with which its acceptance gained ground. He 
remarks that when we consider the experimental proofs given 
by Camerarius (1694), and by Kolreuter (1761-66), it appears 
incredible that doubts should afterwards have been raised as 
to the sexuality of plants. Yet he shows that such doubts 
did actually repeatedly crop up. These adverse criticisms 
rested for the most part on careless experiments, but in many 
cases on a priori arguments. Even as late as 1820, a book of 
this kind, which would now rank with circle squaring, or 


flat-earth philosophy, was seriously noticed in a botanical 

A distinct conception of sex as applied to plants, had not 
long emerged from the mists of profitless discussion and 
feeble experiment, at the time when my father began botany 
by attending Henslow's lectures at Cambridge. 

When the belief in the sexuality of plants had become 
established as an incontrovertible piece of knowledge, a 
weight of misconception remained, weighing down any rational 
view of the subject. Camerarius* believed (naturally enough 
in his day) that hermaphrodite flowers are necessarily self- 
fertilised. He had the wit to be astonished at this, a degree 
of intelligence which, as Sachs points out, the majority of his 
successors did not attain to. 

The following extracts from a note-book show that this 
point occurred to my father as early as 1837 : — 

u Do not plants which have male and female organs to- 
gether [i.e. in the same flower] yet receive influence from 
other plants? Does not Lyell give some argument about 
varieties being difficult to keep [true] on account of pollen 
from other plants ? Because this may be applied to show all 
plants do receive intermixture." 

Sprengel,f indeed, understood that the hermaphrodite 
structure of flowers by no means necessarily leads to self- fer- 
tilisation. But although he discovered that in many cases 
pollen is of necessity carried to the stigma of another flower, 
he did not understand that in the advantage gained by the 
intercrossing of distinct plants lies the key to the whole ques- 
tion. Hermann Mtiller has well remarked that this " omis- 
sion was for several generations fatal to Sprengel's work. . . 
. . For both at the time and subsequently, botanists felt 
above all the weakness of his theory, and they set aside, along 
with his defective ideas, his rich store of patient and acute 
observations and his comprehensive and accurate interpreta- 

* Sachs, ' Geschichte/ p. 419. 

f Christian Conrad Sprengel, born 1750, died 1816. 


tions." It remained for my father to convince the world 
that the meaning hidden in the structure of flowers was to 
be found by seeking light in the same direction in which 
Sprengel, seventy years before, had laboured. Robert 
Brown was the connecting link between them, for it was 
at his recommendation that my father in 1841 read Spren- 
gel's now celebrated ' Secret of Nature Displayed/ * The 
book impressed him as being " full of truth," although 
" with some little nonsense." It not only encouraged him 
in kindred speculation, but guided him in his work, for in 
1844 he speaks of verifying Sprengel's observations. It 
may be doubted whether Robert Brown ever planted a 
more beautiful seed than in putting such a book into such 

A passage in the ' Autobiography ' (vol. i. p. 73) shows 
how it was that my father was attracted to the subject of 
fertilisation: il During the summer of 1839, an d I believe 
during the previous summer, I was led to attend to the cross- 
fertilisation of flowers by the aid of insects, from having come 
to the conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, 
that crossing played an important part in keeping specific 
forms constant." 

The- original connection between the study of flowers 
and the problem of evolution is curious, and could hardly 
have been predicted. Moreover, it was not a permanent 
bond. As soon as the idea arose that the offspring of 
cross-fertilisation is, in the struggle for life, likely to con- 
quer the seedlings of self-fertilised parentage, a far more 
vigorous belief in the potency of natural selection in mould- 
ing the structure of flowers is attained. A central idea is 
gained towards which experiment and observation may be 

Dr. Gray has well remarked with regard to this central 

* l Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur im Baue und in der Befruch- 
tung der Blumen.' Berlin, 1793. 


idea ('Nature/ June 4, 1874):— "The aphorism, ' Nature 
abhors a vacuum/ is a characteristic specimen of the science 
of the middle ages. The aphorism, ' Nature abhors close 
fertilisation/ and the demonstration of the principle, belong 
to our age and to Mr. Darwin. To have originated this, and 
also the principle of Natural Selection .... and to have 
applied these principles to the system of nature, in such a 
manner as to make, within a dozen years, a deeper impres- 
sion upon natural history than has been made since Linnaeus, 
is ample title for one man's fame. ,, 

The flowers of the Papilionaceae attracted his attention 
early, and were the subject of his first paper on fertilisation.* 
The following extract from an undated letter to Dr. Asa 
Gray seems to have been written before the publication of 
this paper, probably in 1856 or 1857 : — 

u . . . . What you say on Papilionaceous flowers is very 
true ; and I have no facts to show that varieties are crossed ; 
but yet (and the same remark is applicable in a beautiful way 
to Fumaria and Dielytra, as I noticed many years ago), I 
must believe that the flowers are constructed partly in direct 
relation to the visits of insects ; and how insects can avoid 
bringing pollen from other individuals I cannot understand. 
It is really pretty to watch the action of a Humble-bee on 
the scarlet kidney bean, and in this genus (and in Lathyrus 
grandiflorus) the honey is so placed that the bee invariably 
alights on that one side of the flower towards which the spiral 
pistil is protruded (bringing out with it pollen), and by the 
depression of the wing-petal is forced against the bee's side 
all dusted with pollen.f In the broom the pistil is rubbed 
on the centre of the back of the bee. I suspect there is some- 

* Gardeners' Chronicle, 1857, p. 725. It appears that this paper was a 
piece of "over-time" work. He wrote to a friend, "that confounded 
leguminous paper was done in the afternoon, and the consequence was I 
had to go to Moor Park for a week." 

\ If you will look at a bed of scarlet kidney beans you will find that 
the wing-petals on the left side alone are all scratched by the tarsi of the 
bees. [Note in the original letter by C. Darwin.] 


thing to be made out about the Leguminosae, which will 
bring the case within our theory ; though I have failed to do 
so. Our theory will explain why in the vegetable and animal 
kingdom the act of fertilisation even in hermaphrodites usu- 
ally takes place sub-jove, though thus exposed to great injury 
from damp and rain. In animals which cannot be [fertilised] 
by insects or wind, there is no case of /ana 7 - animals being her- 
maphrodite without the concourse of two individuals." 

A letter to Dr. Asa Gray (Sept. 5th, 1857) gives the sub- 
stance of the paper in the Gardeners* Chronicle : — 

" Lately I was led to examine buds of kidney bean with 
the pollen shed ; but I was led to believe that the pollen 
could hardly get on the stigma by wind or otherwise, except 
by bees visiting [the flower] and moving the wing petals : 
hence I included a small bunch of flowers in two bottles in 
every way treated the same : the flowers in one I daily just 
momentarily moved, as if by a bee ; these set three fine pods, 
the other not one. Of course this little experiment must be 
tried again, and this year in England it is too late, as the 
flowers seem now seldom to set. If bees are necessary to 
this flower's self-fertilisation, bees must almost cross them, as 
their dusted right-side of head and right legs constantly 
touch the stigma. 

"I have, also, lately been re-observing daily Lobelia ful- 
gens — this in my garden is never visited by insects, and never 
sets seeds, without pollen be put on the stigma (whereas the 
small blue Lobelia is visited by bees and does set seed) ; I 
mention this because there are such beautiful contrivances to 
prevent the stigma ever getting its own pollen ; which seems 
only explicable on the doctrine of the advantage of crosses." 

The paper was supplemented by a second in 1858.* The 
chief object of these publications seems to have been to obtain 

* Gardeners' Chronicle, 1858, p. 828. In 1861 another paper on Fer- 
tilisation appeared in the Gardeners' Chronicle, p. 552, in which he ex- 
plained the action of insects on Vinca major. He was attracted to the 
periwinkle by the fact that it is not visited by insects and never sets seeds. 


information as to the possibility of growing varieties of legu- 
minous plants near each other, and yet keeping them true. 
It is curious that the Papilionaceae should not only have been 
the first flowers which attracted hib attention by their obvious 
adaptation to the visits of insects, but should also have con- 
stituted one of his sorest puzzles. The common pea and the 
sweet pea gave him much difficulty, because, although they 
are as obviously fitted for insect-visits as the rest of the 
order, yet their varieties keep true. The fact is that neither 
of these plants being indigenous, they are not perfectly 
adapted for fertilisation by British insects. He could not, 
at this stage of his observations, know that the co-ordination 
between a flower and the particular insect which fertilises 
it may be as delicate as that between a lock and its 
key, so that this explanation was not likely to occur to 
him * 

Besides observing the Leguminosae, he had already begun, 
as shown in the foregoing extracts, to attend to the structure 
of other flowers in relation to insects. At the beginning of 
i860 he worked at Leschenaultia,f which at first puzzled him, 
but was ultimately made out. A passage in a letter chiefly 
relating to Leschenaultia seems to show that it was only in 
the spring of i860 that he began widely to apply his knowledge 
to the relation of insects to other flowers. This is somewhat 
surprising, when we remember that he had read Sprengel 
many years before. He wrote (May 14) : — , 

" I should look at this curious contrivance as specially re- 
lated to visits of insects ; as I begin to think is almost univer- 
sally the case." 

Even in July 1862 he wrote to Dr. Asa Gray : — 

" There is no end to the adaptations. Ought not these 
cases to make one very cautious when one doubts about the 

* He was of course alive to variety in the habits of insects. He pub- 
lished a short note in the Entomologists Weekly Intelligencer, i860, asking 
whether the Tineina and other small moths suck flowers. 

f He published a short paper on the manner of fertilisation of this 
flower, in the Gardeners Chronicle, 1871, p. 11 66. 


use of all parts ? I fully believe that the structure of all 
irregular flowers is governed in relation to insects. Insects 
are the Lords of the floral (to quote the witty Athenceum) 

He was probably attracted to the study of Orchids by 
the fact that several kinds are common near Down. The 
letters of i860 show that these plants occupied a good deal of 
his attention ; and in 1861 he gave part of the summer and 
and all the autumn to the subject. He evidently considered 
himself idle for wasting time on Orchids, which ought to 
have been given to ' Variation under Domestication/ Thus 
he wrote : — 

" There is to me incomparably more interest in observing 
than in writing ; but I feel quite guilty in trespassing on these 
subjects, and not sticking to varieties of the confounded 
cocks, hens and ducks. I hear that Lyell is savage at me. I 
shall never resist Linum next summer." 

It was in the summer of i860 that he made out one of the 
most striking and familiar facts in the book, namely, the 
manner in which the pollen masses in Orchis are adapted 
for removal by insects. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker July 
12 : — 

"I have been examining Orchis pyramidalis, and it almost 
equals, perhaps even beats, your Listera case ; the sticky 
glands are congenitally united into a saddle-shaped organ, 
which has great power of movement, and seizes hold of a 
bristle (or proboscis) in an admirable manner, and then 
another movement takes place in the pollen masses, by 
which they are beautifully adapted to leave pollen on the 
two lateral stigmatic surfaces. I never saw anything so beau- 

In June of the same year he wrote : — 

"You speak of adaptation being rarely visible, though 
present in plants. I have just recently been looking at the 
common Orchis, and I declare I think its adaptations in 
every part of the flower quite as beautiful and plain, or even 
more beautiful than in the Woodpecker. I have written and 


sent a notice for the Gardeners' Chronicle* on a curious diffi- 
culty in the Bee Orchis, and should much like to hear what 
you think of the case. In this article I have incidentally 
touched on adaptation to visits of insects ; but the contriv- 
ance to keep the sticky glands fresh and sticky beats almost 
everything in nature. I never remember having seen it de- 
scribed, but it must have been, and, as I ought not in my book 
to give the observation as my own, I should be very glad to 
know where this beautiful contrivance is described." 

He wrote also to Dr. Gray, June 8, i860 : — 

" Talking of adaptation, I have lately been looking at our 
common orchids, and I dare say the facts are as old and well- 
known as the hills, but I have been so struck with admiration 
at the contrivances, that I have sent a notice to the Garden- 
ers' Chronicle. The Ophrys apifera, offers, as you will see, a 
curious contradiction in structure.' , 

Besides attending to the fertilisation of the flowers he was 
already, in i860, busy with the homologies of the parts, a 
subject of which he made good use in the Orchid book. He 
wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker (July) : — 

" It is a real good joke my discussing homologies of Or- 
chids with you, after examining only three or four genera; 
and this very fact makes me feel positive I am right ! I do 
not quite understand some of your terms ; but sometime I 
must get you to explain the homologies ; for I am intensely 
interested on the subject, just as at a game of chess." 

This work was valuable from a systematic point of view. 
In 1880 he wrote to Mr. Bentham : — 

" It was very kind in you to write to me about the Or- 
chidese, for it has pleased me to an extreme degree that I 
could have been of the least use to you about the nature of 
the parts." 

The pleasure which his early observations on Orchids gave 

* June 9, i860. This seems to have attracted some attention, espe- 
cially among entomologists, as it was reprinted in the Entomologists Weekly 
Intelligencer, i860. 


him is shown in such extracts as the following from a letter 
to Sir J. D. Hooker (July 27, 1861) :— 

"You cannot conceive how the Orchids have delighted 
me. They came safe, but box rather smashed ; cylindrical 
old cocoa- or snuff-canister much safer. I enclose postage. 
As an account of the movement, I shall allude to what I sup- 
pose is Oncidium, to make certain, — is the enclosed flower 
with crumpled petals this genus ? Also I most specially want 
to know what the enclosed little globular brown Orchid is. 
I have only seen pollen of a Cattleya on a bee, but surely 
have you not unintentionally sent me what I wanted most 
(after Catasetum or Mormodes), viz. one of the Epidendreae ? ! 
1 particularly want (and will presently tell you why) another 
spike of this little Orchid, with older flowers, some even al- 
most withered. " 

His delight in observation is again shown in a letter to 
Dr. Gray (1863). Referring to Cruger's letters from Trini- 
dad, he wrote : — " Happy man, he has actually seen crowds of 
bees flying round Catasetum, with the pollinia sticking to 
their backs ! " 

The following extracts of letters to Sir J. D. Hooker illus- 
trate further the interest which his work excited in him : — 

" Veitch sent me a grand lot this morning. What wonder- 
ful structures ! 

" I have now seen enough, and you must not send me more, 
for though I enjoy looking at them much, and it has been 
very useful to me, seeing so many different forms, it is idle- 
ness. For my object each species requires studying for 
days. I wish you had time to take up the group. I would 
give a good deal to know what the rostellum is, of which I 
have traced so many curious modifications. I suppose it 
cannot be one of the stigmas,* there seems a great tendency 
for two lateral stigmas to appear. My paper, though touch- 
ing on only subordinate points will run, I fear, to 100 MS. 
folio pages ! The beauty of the adaptation of parts seems 

* It is a modification of the upper stigma. 


co me unparalleled. I should think or guess waxy pollen 
was most differentiated. In Cypripedium which seems least 
modified, and a much exterminated group, the grains are 
single. In all others, as far as I have seen, they are in packets 
of four ; and these packets cohere into many wedge-formed 
masses in Orchis ; into eight, four, and finally two. It seems 
curious that a flower should exist, which could at most fertil- 
ise only two other flowers, seeing how abundant pollen gen- 
erally is ; this fact I look at as explaining the perfection of 
the contrivance by which the pollen, so important from its 
fewness, is carried from flower to flower" (1861). 

" I was thinking of writing to you to-day, when your note 
with the Orchids came. What frightful trouble you have 
taken about Vanilla ; you really must not take an atom 
more ; for the Orchids are more play than real work. I have 
been much interested by Epidendrum, and have worked all 
morning at them ; for heaven's sake, do not corrupt me by 
any more " (August 30, 1861). 

He originally intended to publish his notes on Orchids 
as a paper in the Linnean Society's Journal, but it soon be- 
came evident that a separate volume would be a more suitable 
form of publication. In a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker, Sept. 
24, 1861, he writes : — 

" I have been acting, I fear that you will think, like a 
goose ; and perhaps in truth I have. When I finished a few 
days ago my Orchis paper, which turns out 140 folio pages! ! 
and thought of the expense of woodcuts, I said to myself, I 
will offer the Linnean Society to withdraw it, and publish it 
in a pamphlet. It then flashed on me that perhaps Murray 
would publish it, so I gave him a cautious description, and 
offered to share risks and profits. This morning he writes 
that he will publish and take all risks, and share profits and pay 
for all illustrations. It is a risk, and heaven knows whether 
it will not be a dead failure, but I have not deceived Murray, 
and [have] told him that it would interest those alone who 
cared much for natural history. I hope I do not exaggerate 
the curiosity of the many special contrivances. ,, 


He wrote the two following letters to Mr. Murray about 
the publication of*the book :] 

Down, Sept. 21 [1861]. 

My dear Sir, — Will you have the kindness to give me 
your opinion, which I shall implicitly follow. I have just 
finished a very long paper intended for Linnean Society 
(the title is enclosed), and yesterday for the first time it 
occurred to me that possibly it might be worth publishing 
separately which would save me trouble and delay. The 
facts are new, and have been collected during twenty years 
and strike me as curious. Like a Bridgewater treatise, the 
chief object is to show the perfection of the many contrivances 
in Orchids. The subject of propagation is interesting to 
most people, and is treated in my paper so that any woman 
could read it. Parts are dry and purely scientific ; but I 
think my paper would interest a good many of such persons 
who care for Natural History, but no others. 

... It would be a very little book, and I believe you think 
very little books objectionable. I have myself great doubts 
on the subject. I am very apt to think that my geese are 
swans ; but the subject seems to me curious and interesting. 

I beg you not to be guided in the least in order to oblige 
me, but as far as you can judge, please give me your opinion. 
If I were to publish separately, I would agree to any terms, 
such as half risk and half profit, or what you liked ; but I 
would not publish on my sole risk, for to be frank, I have 
been told that no publisher whatever, under such circum- 
stances, cares for the success of a book. 

C. Darwin to J. Murray. 

Down, Sept. 24 [1861]. 
My dear Sir, — I am very much obliged for your note and 
very liberal offer. I have had some qualms and fears. All 
that I can feel sure of is that the MS. contains many new and 
curious facts, and I am sure the Essay would have interested 
me, and will interest those who feel lively interest in the 


wonders of nature ; but how far the public will care for such 
minute details, I cannot at all tell. It is a bold experiment ; 
and at worst, cannot entail much loss ; as a certain amount 
of sale will, I think, be pretty certain. A large sale is out of 
the question. As far as I can judge, generally the points 
which interest me I find interest others ; but I make the 
experiment with fear and trembling, — not for my own sake, 
but for yours. ... , 

[On Sept. 28th he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : — 

" What a good soul you are not to sneer at me, but to pat 
me on the back. I have the greatest doubt whether I am not 
going to do, in publishing my paper, a most ridiculous thing. 
It would annoy me much, but only for Murray's sake, if the 
publication were a dead failure/' 

There was still much work to be done, and in October 
he was still receiving Orchids from Kew, and wrote to 
Hooker : — 

" It is impossible to thank you enough. I was almost mad 
at the wealth of Orchids. " And again — 

" Mr. Veitch most generously has sent me two splendid 
buds of Mormodes, which will be capital for dissection, but 
I fear will never be irritable ; so for the sake of charity and 
love of heaven do, I beseech you, observe what movement 
takes place in Cychnoches, and what part must be touched. 
Mr. V. has also sent me one splendid flower of Catasetum, 
the most wonderful Orchid I have seen." 

On Oct. 13th he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker : — 

" It seems that I cannot exhaust your good nature. I 
have had the hardest day's work at Catasetum and buds of 
Mormodes, and believe I understand at last the mechanism of 
movements and the functions. Catasetum is a beautiful case 
of slight modification of structure leading to new functions. 
I never was more interested in any subject in my life than in 
this of Orchids. I owe very much to you." 

Again to the same friend, Nov. 1, 1861 : — 


"If you really can spare another Catasetum, when nearly 
ready, I shall be most grateful ; had I not better send for it ? 
The case is truly marvellous ; the (so-called) sensation, or 
stimulus from a light touch is certainly transmitted through 
the antennae for more than one inch instantaneously. ... A 
cursed insect or something let my last flower off last night." 

Professor de Candolle has remarked* of my father, " Ce 
n'est pas lui qui aurait demande de construire des palais pour 
y loger des laboratoires." This was singularly true of his 
orchid work, or rather it would be nearer the truth to say 
that he had no laboratory, for it was only after the publication 
of the ' Fertilisation of Orchids/ that he built himself a green- 
house. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (Dec. 24th, 1862) : — 

" And now I am going to tell you a most important piece 
of news ! ! I have almost resolved to build a small hot-house ; 
my neighbour's really first-rate gardener has suggested it, 
and offered to make me plans, and see that it is well done, 
and he is really a clever fellow, who wins lots of prizes, and 
is very observant. He believes that we should succeed with 
a little patience; it will be a grand amusement for me to 
experiment with plants." 

Again he wrote (Feb. 15 th, 1863) : — 

" I write now because the new hot-house is ready, and I 
long to stock it, just like a schoolboy. Could you tell me 
pretty soon what plants you can give me ; and then I shall 
know what to order ? And do advise me how I had better 
get such plants as you can spare. Would it do to send my 
tax-cart early in the morning, on a day that was not frosty, 
lining the cart with mats, and arriving here before night ? 
I have no idea whether this degree of exposure (and of course 
the cart would be cold) could injure stove-plants ; they would 
be about five hours (with bait) on the journey home." 

A week later he wrote : — 

" You cannot imagine what pleasure your plants give me 

* * Darwin considere, &c.,' ' Archives des Sciences Physiques et Natu- 
relles/ 3eme periode. Tome vii. 481, 1882 (May). 


(far more than your dead Wedgwood ware can give you) ; 
and I go and gloat over them, but we privately confessed to 
each other, that if they were not our own, perhaps we should 
not see such transcendent beauty in each leaf." 

And in March, when he was extremely unwell he wrote : — 

"A few words about the Stove-plants; they do so amuse 
me. I have crawled to see them two or three times. Will 
you correct and answer, and return enclosed. I have hunted 
in all my books and cannot find these names,* and I like 
much to know the family." 

The book was published May 15th, 1862. Of its reception 
he writes to Murray, June 13th and 18th : — 

" The Botanists praise my Orchid-book to the skies. Some 
one sent me (perhaps you) the ' Parthenon/ with a good re- 
view. The Athenceum f treats me with very kind pity and 
contempt ; but the reviewer knew nothing of his subject." 

" There is a superb, but I fear exaggerated, review in the 
' London Review.' J But I have not been a fool, as I thought 
I was, to publish ; # for Asa Gray, about the most competent 
judge in the world, thinks almost as highly of the book as 
does the ' London Review/ The Athenczurn will hinder the 
sale greatly." 

The Rev. M. J. Berkeley was the author of the notice in 
the ' London Review/ as my father learned from Sir J. D. 

* His difficulty with regard to the names of plants is illustrated, with 
regard to a Lupine on which he was at work, in an extract from a letter 
(July 21, 1866) to Sir J. D. Hooker : " I sent to the nursery garden, whence 
I bought the seed, and could only hear that it was * the common blue Lu- 
pine,' the man saying 'he was no scholard, and did not know Latin, and 
that parties who make experiments ought to find out the names.' " 

f May 24, 1862. 
% June 14, 1862. 

# Doubts on this point still, however, occurred to him about this time. 
He wrote to Prof. Oliver (June 8): "I am glad that you have read my 
Orchis-book and seem to approve of it ; for I never published anything 
which I so much doubted whether it was worth publishing, and indeed I 
still doubt. The subject interested me beyond what, I suppose, it is 


Hooker, who added, " I thought it very well done indeed. I 
have read a good deal of the Orchid-book, and echo all he 

To this my father replied (June 30th, 1862) : — 
" My dear Old Friend, — You speak of my warming the 
cockles of your heart, but you will never know how often you 
have warmed mine. It is not your approbation of my scien- 
tific work (though I care for that more than for any one's) : it 
is something deeper. To this day I remember keenly a letter 
you wrote to me from Oxford, when I was at the Water-cure, 
and how it cheered me when I was utterly weary of life. 
Well, my Orchis-book is a success (but I do not know 
whether it sells). " 

In another letter to the same friend, he wrote : — 
" You have pleased me much by what you say in regard to 
Bentham and Oliver approving of my book ; for I had got a 
sort of nervousness, and doubted whether I had not made an 
egregious fool of myself, and concocted pleasant little stinging 
remarks for reviews, such as 'Mr. Darwin's head seems to 
have been turned by a certain degree of success, and he 
thinks that the most trifling observations are worth publica- 
tion/ " 

Mr. Bentham's approval was given in his Presidential 
Address to the Linnean Society, May 24, 1862, and was all 
the more valuable because it came from one who was by 
no means supposed to be favourable to evolutionary doc- 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, June 10 [1862]. 
My dear Gray, — Your generous sympathy makes you 
overestimate what you have read of my Orchid-book. But 
your letter of May i8th and 26th has given me an almost 
foolish amount of satisfaction. The subject interested me, I 
knew, beyond its real value ; but I had lately got to think 
that I had made myself a complete fool by publishing in a 
semi-popular form. Now I shall confidently defy the world 


I have heard that Bentham and Oliver approve of it ; but I 
have heard the opinion of no one else whose opinion is worth 
a farthing. . . . No doubt my volume contains much error : 
how curiously difficult it is to be accurate, though I try my 
utmost. Your notes have interested me beyond measure. I 
can now afford to d — my critics with ineffable complacency 
of mind. Cordial thanks for this benefit. It is surprising to 
me that you should have strength of mind to care for science, 
amidst the awful events daily occurring in your country. I 
daily look at the Times with almost as much interest as an 
American could do. When will peace come ? it is dreadful 
to think of the desolation of large parts of your magnificent 
country ; and all the speechless misery suffered by many. I 
hope and think it not unlikely that we English are wrong in 
concluding that it will take a long time for prosperity to re- 
turn to you. It is an awful subject to reflect on. . , . 

[Dr. Asa Gray reviewed the book in 'Silliman's Journal/* 
where he speaks, in strong terms, of the fascination which it 
must have for even slightly instructed readers. He made, too, 
some original observations on an American orchid, and these 
first-fruits of the subject, sent in MS. or proof sheet to my 
father, were welcomed by him in a letter (July 23rd) : — 

" Last night, after writing the above, I read the great 
bundle of notes. Little did I think what I had to read. 
What admirable observations ! You have distanced me on 
my own hobby-horse ! I have not had for weeks such a glow 
of pleasure as your observations gave me." 

The next letter refers to the publication of the review:] 

* ' Silliman's Journal,' vol. xxiv. p. 138. Here is given an account of 
the fertilisation of Platanthera Hookeri. P. hyperborea is discussed in Dr. 
Gray's * Enumeration ' in the same volume, p. 259 ; also, with other 
species, in a second notice of the Orchid-book at p. 420. 


C Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, July 28 [1862]. 

My dear Gray, — I hardly know what to thank for first. 
Your stamps gave infinite satisfaction. I took him * first one 
lot, and then an hour afterwards another lot. He actually- 
raised himself on one elbow to look at them. It was the first 
animation he showed. He said only : " You must thank Pro- 
fessor Gray awfully. " In the evening after a long silence, 
there came out the oracular sentence : u He is awfully kind." 
And indeed you are, overworked as you are, to take so much 
trouble for our poor dear little man. — And now I must begin 
the "awfullys" on my own account: what a capital notice 
you have published on the orchids ! It could not have been 
better ; but I fear that you overrate it. I am very sure that I 
had not the least idea that you or any one would approve of it 
so much. I return your last note for the chance of your pub- 
lishing any notice on the subject ; but after all perhaps you 
may not think it worth while ; yet in my judgment several of 
your facts, especially Platanthera hyperborea, are much too 
good to be merged in a reyiew. But I have always noticed 
that you are prodigal in originality in your reviews. . . . 

[Sir Joseph Hooker reviewed the book in the Gardeners' 
Chronicle, writing in a successful imitation of the style of 
Lindley, the Editor. My father wrote to Sir Joseph (Nov. 
12, 1862) : — 

" So you did write the review in the Gardeners' Chronicle. 
Once or twice I doubted whether it was Lindley ; but when 
I came to a little slap at R. Brown, I doubted no longer. 
You arch-rogue ! I do not wonder you have deceived others 
also. Perhaps I am a conceited dog ; but if so, you have 
much to answer for ; I never received so much praise, and 
coming from you I value it much more than from any other." 

With regard to botanical opinion generally, he wrote to 

* One of his boys who was ill. 


Dr. Gray, " I am fairly astonished at the success of my book 
with botanists." Among naturalists who were not botanists, 
Lyell was pre-eminent in his appreciation of the book. I 
have no means of knowing when he read it, but in later life, 
as I learn from Professor Judd, he was enthusiastic in praise 
of the i Fertilisation of Orchids/ which he considered " next 
to the ' Origin/ as the most valuable of all Darwin's works." 
Among the general public the author did not at first hear of 
many disciples, thus he wrote to his cousin Fox in September 
1862: " Hardly any one not a botanist, except yourself, as 
far as I know, has cared for it." 

A favourable notice appeared in the Saturday Review, 
October 18th, 1862 ; the reviewer points out that the book 
would escape the angry polemics aroused by the i Origin.' * 
This is illustrated by a review in the Literary Churchman, in 
which only one fault found, namely, that Mr. Darwin's ex- 
pression of admiration at the contrivances in orchids is too 
indirect a way of saying, " O Lord, how manifold are Thy 
works ! " 

A somewhat similar criticism occurs in the ' Edinburgh 
Review' (October 1862). The writer points out that Mr. 
Darwin constantly uses phrases, *such as " beautiful contri- 
vance," "the labellum is . . . in order to attract," "the 
nectar is purposely lodged." The Reviewer concludes his 
discussion thus: "We know, too, that these purposes 
and ideas are not our own, but the ideas and purposes of 

The ' Edinburgh ' reviewer's treatment of this subject was 
criticised in the Saturday Reviezv y November 15th, 1862 : 
With reference to this article my father wrote to Sir Joseph 
Hooker (December 29th, 1862) : — 

" Here is an odd chance ; my nephew Henry Parker, an 
Oxford Classic, and Fellow of Oriel, came here this evening ; 

* Dr. Gray pointed out that if the Orchid-book (with a few trifling 
omissions) had appeared before the ' Origin,' the author would have been 
canonised rather than anathematised by the natural theologians. 


and I asked him whether he knew who had written the little 
article in the Saturday, smashing the [Edinburgh reviewer], 
which we liked ; and after a little hesitation he owned he had. 
I never knew that he wrote in the Saturday ; and was it not 
an odd chance ? " 

The ' Edinburgh ' article was written by the Duke of 
Argyll, and has since been made use of in his ' Reign of Law/ 
1867. Mr. Wallace replied * to the Duke's criticisms, making 
some specially good remarks on those which refer to orchids. 
He shows how, by a u beautiful self-acting adjustment," the 
nectary of the orchid Angraecum (from 10 to 14 inches in 
length), and the proboscis of a moth sufficiently long to reach 
the nectar, might be developed by natural selection. He goes 
on to point out that on any other theory we must suppose 
that the flower was created with an enormously long nectary, 
and that then by a special act, an insect was created fitted to 
visit the flower, which would otherwise remain sterile. With 
regard to this point my father wrote (October 12 or 13, 


" I forgot to remark how capitally you turn the tables on 
the Duke, when you make him create the Angraecum and 
Moth by special creation. ,, 

If we examine the literature relating to the fertilisation of 
flowers, we do not find that this new branch of study showed 
any great activity immediately after the publication of the 
Orchid-book, There are a few papers by Asa Gray, in 1862 
and 1863, by Hildebrand in 1864, and by Moggridge in 1865, 
but the great mass of work by Axell, Delpino, Hildebrand, 
and the Mtillers, did not begin to appear until about 1867. 
The period during which the new views were being assimi- 
lated, and before they became thoroughly fruitful, was, how- 
ever, surprisingly short. The later activity in this department 
may be roughly gauged by the fact that the valuable ' Biblio- 
graphy,' given by Prof. D'Arcy Thompson in his translation 

* * Quarterly Journal of Science,' October 1867. Republished in 
4 Natural Selection,' 1871. 


of Miiller's ' Befruchtung ' (1883), contains references to 814 

Besides the book on Orchids, my father wrote two or 
three papers on the subject, which will be found mentioned 
in the Appendix. The earliest of these, on the three sexual 
forms of Catasetum, was published in 1862 ; it is an antici- 
pation of part of the Orchid-book, and was merely published 
in the Linnean Society's Journal, in acknowledgment of the 
use made of a specimen in the Society's possession. The 
possibility of apparently distinct species being merely sex- 
ual forms of a single species, suggested a characteristic ex- 
periment, which is alluded to in the following letter to one 
of his earliest disciples in the study of the fertilisation of 
flowers :] 

C. Darwin to J. Traherne Moggridge* 

Down, October 13 [1865]. 

My dear Sir, — I am especially obliged to you for your 
beautiful plates and letter-press ; for no single point in natu- 
ral history interests and perplexes me so much as the self- 
fertilisation f of the Bee-orchis. You have already thrown 
some light on the subject, and your present observations 
promise to throw more. 

I formed two conjectures : first, that some insect during 
certain seasons might cross the plants, but I have almost given 
up this ; nevertheless, pray have a look at the flowers next 
season. Secondly, I conjectured that the Spider and Bee- 
orchids might be a crossing and self-fertile form of the same 
species. Accordingly I wrote some years ago to an acquaint- 
ance, asking him to mark some Spider-orchids, and observe 

* The late Mr. Moggridge, author of ' Harvesting Ants and Trap-door 
Spiders,' ' Flora of Men tone,' &c. 

f He once remarked to Dr. Norman Moore that one of the things that 
made him wish to live a few thousand years, was his desire to see the ex- 
tinction of the Bee-orchis, — an end to which he believed its self-fertilising 
habit was leading. 


whether they retained the same character ; but he evidently- 
thought the request as foolish as if I had asked him to mark 
one of his cows with a ribbon, to see if it would turn next 
spring into a horse. Now will you be so kind as to tie a string 
round the stem of a half-a-dozen Spider-orchids, and when 
you leave Mentone dig them up, and I would try and culti- 
vate them and see if they kept constant ; but I should require 
to know in what sort of soil and situations they grow. It 
would be indispensable to mark the plant so that there could 
be no mistake about the individual. It is also just possible 
that the same plant would throw up, at different seasons dif- 
ferent flower-scapes, and the marked plants would serve as 

With many thanks, my dear sir, 

Yours sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. — I send by this post my paper on climbing plants, 
parts of which you might like to read. 

[Sir Thomas Farrer and Dr. W. Ogle were also guided and 
encouraged by my father in their observations. The follow- 
ing refers to a paper by Sir Thomas Farrer, in the ' Annals 
and Magazine of Natural History/ 1868, on the fertilisation 
of the Scarlet Runner :] 

C. Darwin to T. H. Farrer. 

Down, Sept. 15, 1868. 
My dear Mr. Farrer,— I grieve to say that the main 
features of your case are known. I am the sinner and de- 
scribed them some ten years ago. But I overlooked many 
details, as the appendage to the single stamen, and several 
other points. I send my notes, but I must beg for their re- 
turn, as I have no other copy. I quite agree, the facts are 
most striking, especially as you put them. Are you sure that 
the Hive-bee is the cutter ? it is against my experience. If 
sure, make the point more prominent, or if not sure, erase it. 
I do not think the subject is quite new enough for the Lin- 


nean Society ; but I dare say the ' Annals and Magazine of 
Natural History/ or Gardeners'' Chronicle would gladly pub- 
lish your observations, and it is a great pity they should be 
lost. If you like I would send your paper to either quarter 
with a note. In this case you must give a title, and your 
name, and perhaps it would be well to premise your remarks 
with a line of reference to my paper stating that you had ob- 
served independently and more fully. 

I have read my own paper over after an interval of sev- 
eral years, and am amused at the caution with which I put 
the case that the final end was for crossing distinct individ- 
uals, of which I was then as fully convinced as now, but I 
knew that the doctrine would shock all botanists. Now the 
opinion is becoming familiar. 

To see penetration of pollen-tubes is not difficult, but in 
most cases requires some practice with dissecting under a 
one-tenth of an inch focal distance single lens ; and just at 
first this will seem to you extremely difficult. 

What a capital observer you are — a first-rate Naturalist 
has been sacrificed, or partly sacrificed to Public life. 
Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. — If you come across any large Salvia, look at it — the 
contrivance is admirable. It went to my heart to tell a man 
who came here a few weeks ago with splendid drawings and 
MS. on Salvia, that the work had been all done in Germany.* 

[The following extract is from a letter, November 26th, 
1868, to Sir Thomas Farrer, written as I learn from him, "in 
answer to a request for some advice as to the best modes of 
observation. " 

* Dr. W. Ogle, the observer of the fertilisation of Salvia here alluded 
to, published his results in the ' Pop. Science Review,' 1869. 

He refers both gracefully and gratefully to his relationship with my 
father in the introduction to his translation of Kerner's ' Flowers and their 
Unbidden Guests/ 


" In my opinion the best plan is to go on working and 
making copious notes, without much thought of publication, 
and then if the results tarn out striking publish them. It 
is my impression, but I do not feel sure that I am right, that 
the best and most novel plan would be, instead of describing 
the means of fertilisation in particular plants, to investigate 
the part which certain structures play with all plants or 
throughout certain orders ; for instance, the brush of hairs 
on the style, or the diadelphous condition of the stamens, in 
the Leguminosae, or the hairs within the corolla, &c. &c. 
Looking to your note, I think that this is perhaps the plan 
which you suggest. 

"It is well to remember that Naturalists value observations 
far more than reasoning ; therefore your conclusions should 
be as often as possible fortified by noticing how insects actu- 
ally do the work." 

In 1869, Sir Thomas Farrer corresponded with my father 
on the fertilisation of Passiflora and of Tacsonia. He has 
given me his impressions of the correspondence :— 

" I had suggested that the elaborate series of chevaux-de- 
frise, by which the nectary of the common Passiflora is 
guarded, were specially calculated to protect the flower from 
the stiff-beaked humming birds which would not fertilise it, 
and to facilitate the access of the little proboscis of the hum- 
ble bee, which would do so ; whilst, on the other hand, the 
long pendent tube and flexible valve-like corona which re- 
tains the nectar of Tacsonia would shut out the bee, which 
would not, and admit the humming bird which would, fertil- 
ise that flower. The suggestion is very possibly worthless, 
and could only be verified or refuted by examination of flow- 
ers in the countries where they grow naturally. . . . What 
interested me was to see that on this as on almost any other 
point of detailed observation, Mr. Darwin could always say, 
' Yes ; but at one time I made some observations myself on 
this particular point ; and I think you will find, &c. &c.' 
That he should after years of interval remember that he had 
noticed the peculiar structure to which I was referring in the 


Passiflora princeps struck me at the time as very remark- 

With regard to the spread of a belief in the adaptation of 
flowers for cross-fertilisation, my father wrote to Mr. Ben- 
tham April 22, 1868 : 

" Most of the criticisms which I sometimes meet with in 
French works against the frequency of crossing, I am certain 
are the result of mere ignorance. I have never hitherto 
found the rule to fail that when an author describes the 
structure of a flower as specially adapted for self-fertilisation, 
it is really adapted for crossing. The Fumariaceae offer a 
good instance of this, and Treviranus threw this order in my 
teeth ; but in Corydalis, Hildebrand shows how utterly false 
the idea of self-fertilisation is. This author's paper on Salvia 
is really worth reading, and I have observed some species, 
and know that he is accurate. ,, 

The next letter refers to Professor Hildebrand's paper on 
Corydalis, published in the ' Proc. Internat. Hort. Congress,' 
London, 1866, and in Pringsheim's ' Jahrbiicher/ vol. v. The 
memoir on Salvia alluded to is contained in the previous vol- 
ume of the same Journal :] 

C. Darwin to F. Hildebrand* 

Down, May 16 [1866]. 
My dear Sir, — The state of my health prevents my at- 
tending the Hort. Congress ; but I forwarded yesterday your 
paper to the secretary, and if they are not overwhelmed with 
papers, yours will be gladly received. I have made many 
observations on the Fumariaceae, and convinced myself that 
they were adapted for insect agency ; but I never observed 
anything nearly so curious as your most interesting facts. I 
hope you will repeat your experiments on the Corydalis on a 
larger scale, and especially on several distinct plants ; for your 
plant might have been individually peculiar, like certain indi- 

* Professor of Botany at Freiburg. 


vidual plants of Lobelia, &c, described by Gartner, and of 
Passiflora and Orchids described by Mr. Scott. . . . 

Since writing to you before, I have read your admirable 
memoir on Salvia, and it has interested me almost as much 
as when I first investigated the structure of Orchids. Your 
paper illustrates several points in my ' Origin of Species/ 
especially the transition of organs. Knowing only two or 
three species in the genus, I had often marvelled how one 
cell of the anther could have been transformed into the mov- 
able plate or spoon ; and how well you show the gradations ; 
but I am surprised that you did not more strongly insist on 
this point. 

I shall be still more surprised if you do not ultimately 
come to the same belief with me, as shown by so many beau- 
tiful contrivances, that all plants require, from some unknown 
cause, to be occasionally fertilized by pollen from a distinct 
individual. With sincere respect, believe me, my dear Sir, 

Yours very faithfully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[The following letter refers to the late Hermann MuTler's 
'Befruchtung der Blumen,' by far the most valuable of the 
mass of literature originating in the ' Fertilisation of Orchids.' 
An English translation, by Prof. D'Arcy Thompson was 
published in 1883. My father's " Prefatory Notice" to this 
work is dated February 6, 1882, and is therefore almost the 
last of his writings :] 

C. Darwin to H. Miiller. 

Down, May 5, 1873. 
My dear Sir, — Owing to all sorts of interruptions and 
to my reading German so slowly, I have read only to p. %% of 
your book ; but I must have the pleasure of telling you how 
very valuable a work it appears to me. Independently of the 
many original observations, which of course form the most 
important part, the work will be of the highest use as a means 
of reference to all that has been done on the subject. I am 


fairly astonished at the number of species of insects, the visits 
of which to different flowers you have recorded. You must 
have worked in the most indefatigable manner. About half 
a year ago the editor of ' Nature ' suggested that it would be 
a grand undertaking if a number of naturalists were to do 
what you have already done on so large a scale with respect 
to the visits of insects. I have been particularly glad to read 
your historical sketch, for I had never before seen all the 
references put together. I have sometimes feared that I was 
in error when I said that C. K. Sprengel did not fully per- 
ceive that cross-fertilisation was the final end of the structure 
of flowers ; but now this fear is relieved, and it is a great 
satisfaction to me to believe that I have aided in making his 
excellent book more generally known. Nothing has surprised 
me more than to see in your historical sketch how much I 
myself have done on the subject, as it never before occurred 
to me to think of all my papers as a whole. But I do not 
doubt that your generous appreciation of the labours of others 
has led you to over-estimate what I have done. With very 
sincere thanks and respect, believe me, 

Yours faithfully, 
Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — I have mentioned your book to almost every one 
who, as far as I know, cares for the subject in England ; and 
I have ordered a copy to be sent to our Royal Society. 

[The next letter, to Dr. Behrens, refers to the same sub- 
ject as the last :] 

C. Darwin to W. Behrens. 

Down, August 29 [1878]. 
Dear Sir, — I am very much obliged to you for having 
sent me your 'Geschichte der Bestaubungs-Theorie,'* and 
which has interested me much. It has put some things in a 

* Progr. der K. Gewerbschule zu Elberfeld, 1877, 1878. 


new light, and has told me other things which I did not 
know. I heartily agree with you in your high appreciation of 
poor old C. Sprengel's work ; and one regrets bitterly that he 
did not live to see his labours thus valued. It rejoices me 
also to notice how highly you appreciate H. Miiller, who has 
always seemed to me an admirable observer and reasoner. I 
am at present endeavoring to persuade an English publisher 
to bring out a translation of his ' Befruchtung.' 

Lastly, permit me to thank you for your very generous 
remarks on my works. By placing what I have been able to 
do on this subject in systematic order, you have made me 
think more highly of my own work than I ever did before ! 
Nevertheless,, I fear that you have done me more than justice. 

I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully and obliged, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The letter which follows was called forth by Dr. Gray's 
article in * Nature/ to which reference has already been made, 
and which appeared June 4, 1874 :] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, June 3 [1874]. 
My dear Gray, — I was rejoiced to see your hand-writ- 
ing again in your note of the 4th, of which more anon. I was 
astonished to see announced about a week ago that you were 
going to write in ' Nature ' an article on me, and this morning 
I received an advance copy. It is the grandest thing ever 
written about me, especially as coming from a man like your- 
self. It has deeply pleased me, particularly some of your 
side remarks. It is a wonderful thing to me to live to see 
my name coupled in any fashion with that of Robert Brown. 
But you are a bold man, for I am sure that you will be 
sneered at by not a few botanists. I have never been so 
honoured before, and I hope it will do me good and make 
me try to be as careful as possible ; and good heavens, how 
difficult accuracy is ! I feel a very proud man, but I hope 
this won't last. . . . 


[Fritz Mullerhas observed that the flowers of Hedychium 
are so arranged that the pollen is removed by the wings of 
hovering butterflies. My father's prediction of this observa- 
tion is given in the following letter :] 

C. Darwin to H. Milller. 

Down, August 7, 1876. 
. ; . . I was much interested by your brothers article on 
Hedychium ; about two years ago I was so convinced that 
the flowers were fertilized by the tips of the wings of large 
moths, that I wrote to India to ask a man to observe the flow- 
ers and catch the moths at work, and he sent me 20 to 30 
Sphinx-moths, but so badly packed that they all arrived in 
fragments ; and I could make out nothing. . . . 

Yours sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[The following extract from a letter (Feb. 25, 1864), to 
Dr. Gray refers to another prediction fulfilled : — 

" I have of course seen no one, and except good dear 
Hooker, I hear from no one. He, like a good and true friend, 
though so overworked, often writes to me. 

" I have had one letter which has interested me greatly, 
with a paper, which will appear in the Linnean Journal, by 
Dr. Criiger of Trinidad, which shows that I am all right about 
Catasetum, even to the spot where the pollinia adhere to the 
bees, which visit the flower, as I said, to gnaw the labellum. 
Criiger's account of Coryanthes and the use of the bucket- 
like labellum full of water beats everything : I suspect that 
the bees being well wetted flattens their hairs, and allows the 
viscid disc to adhere."] 

C. Darwin to the Marquis de Saporta. 

Down, December 24, 1877. 

My dear Sir, — I thank you sincerely for your long and 
most interesting letter, which I should have answered sooner 


had it not been delayed in London. I had not heard before 
that I was to be proposed as a Corresponding Member of the 
Institute. Living so retired a life as I do, such honours 
affect me very little, and I can say with entire truth that your 
kind expression of sympathy has given and will give me much 
more pleasure than the election itself, should I be elected. 

Your idea that dicotyledonous plants were not developed 
in force until sucking insects had been evolved seems to me 
a splendid one. I am surprised that the idea never occurred 
to me, but this is always the case when one first hears a new 
and simple explanation of some mysterious phenomenon. , . . 
I formerly showed that we might fairly assume that the 
beauty of flowers, their sweet odour and copious nectar, may 
be attributed to the existence of flower-haunting insects, but 
your idea, which I hope you will publish, goes much further 
and is much more important. With respect to the great 
development of mammifers in the later Geological periods 
following from the development of dicotyledons, I think it 
ought to be proved that such animals as deer, cows, horses, 
&c. could not flourish if fed exclusively on the gramineae and 
other anemophilous monocotyledons ; and I do not suppose 
that any evidence on this head exists. 

Your suggestion of studying the manner of fertilisation of 
the surviving members of the most ancient forms of the 
dicotyledons is a very good one, and I hope that you will 
keep it in mind yourself, for I have turned my attention to 
other subjects. Delpino I think says that Magnolia is fer- 
tilised by insects which gnaw the petals, and I should not be 
surprised if the same fact holds good with Nymphaea. 
Whenever I have looked at the flowers of these latter plants 
I have felt inclined to admit the view that petals are modified 
stamens, and not modified leaves ; though Poinsettia seems 
to show that true leaves might be converted into coloured 
petals. I grieve to say that I have never been properly 
grounded in Botany and have studied only special points— 
therefore I cannot pretend to express any opinion on your 

remarks on the origin of the flowers of the Comferae, Gneta- 


ceae, &c. ; but I have been delighted with what you say on the 
conversion of a monoecious species into a hermaphrodite one 
by the condensations of the verticils on a branch bearing 
female flowers near the summit, and male flowers below. 

I expect Hooker to come here before long, and I will then 
show him your drawing, and if he makes any important re- 
marks I will communicate with you. He is very busy at 
present in clearing off arrears after his American Expedition, 
so that I do not like to trouble him, even with the briefest 
note. I am at present working with my son at some Physio- 
logical subjects, and we are arriving at very curious results, 
but they are not as yet sufficiently certain to be worth com- 
municating to you. . . . 

[In 1877 a second edition of the ' Fertilisation of Orchids' 
was published, the first edition having been for some time out 
of print. The new edition was remodelled and almost re- 
written, and a large amount of new matter added, much of 
which the author owed to his friend Fritz M tiller. 

With regard to this edition he wrote to Dr. Gray : — 

" I do not suppose I shall ever again touch the book. 
After much doubt I have resolved to act in this way with all 
my books for the future ; that is to correct them once and 
never touch them again, so as to use the small quantity of 
work left in me for new matter." 

He may have felt a diminution of his powers of reviewing 
large bodies of facts, such as would be needed in the prepa- 
ration of new editions, but his powers of observation were 
certainly not diminished. He wrote to Mr. Dyer on July 14, 

i8 7 8:] 

My dear Dyer, — Thalia dealbata was sent me from Kew : 
it has flowered and after looking casually at the flowers, they 
have driven me almost mad, and I have worked at them for 
a week : it is as grand a case as that of Catasetum. 

Pistil vigorously motile (so that whole flower shakes when 
pistil suddenly coils up) ; when excited by a touch the two 


filaments [are] produced laterally and transversely across the 
flower (just over the nectar) from one of the petals or modi- 
fied stamens. It is splendid to watch the phenomenon under 
a weak power when a bristle is inserted into a young flower 
which no insect has visited. As far as I know Stylidium is the 
sole case of sensitive pistil and here it is the pistil+stamens. 
In Thalia* cross-fertilisation is ensured by the wonderful 
movement, if bees visit several flowers. 

I have now relieved my mind and will tell the purport of 
this note — viz. if any other species of Thalia besides T. deal- 
bata should flower with you, for the love of heaven and all 
the saints, send me a few in tin box with damp moss. 

Your insane friend, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[In 1878 Dr. Ogle's translation of Kerner's interesting 
book, ' Flowers and their Unbidden Guests,' was published. 
My father, who felt much interest in the translation (as 
appears in the following letter), contributed some prefatory 
words of approval :] 

C. Darwin to W. Ogle, 

Down, December 16 [1878]. 
.... I have now read Kerner's book, which is better 
even than I anticipated. The translation seems to me as 
clear as daylight, and written in forcible and good familiar 
English. I am rather afraid that it is too good for the 
English public, which seems to like very washy food, unless 
it be administered by some one whose name is well known, 
and then I suspect a good deal of the unintelligible is very 
pleasing to them. I hope to heaven that I may be wrong. 
Anyhow, you and Mrs. Ogle have done a right good service 
for Botanical Science. Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

* Hildebrand has described an explosive arrangement in some of the 
Maranteae— the tribe to which Thalia belongs. 


P.S. — You have done me much honour in your prefatory 

[One of the latest references to his Orchid-work occurs in 
a letter to Mr. Bentham, February 16, 1880. It shows the 
amount of pleasure which this subject gave to my father, and 
(what is characteristic of him) that his reminiscence of the 
work was one of delight in the observations which preceded 
its publication, not to the applause which followed it : — 

" They are wonderful creatures, these Orchids, and I 
sometimes think with a glow of pleasure, when I remember 
making out some little point in their method of fertilisation/'] 



[This book, as pointed out in the ' Autobiography,' is a 
complement to the ■ Fertilisation of Orchids,' because it shows 
how important are the results of cross-fertilisation which are 
ensured by the mechanisms described in that book. By 
proving that the offspring of cross-fertilisation are more 
vigorous than the offspring of self- fertilisation, he showed that 
one circumstance which influences the fate of young plants in 
the struggle for life is the degree to which their parents are 
fitted for cross-fertilisation. He thus convinced himself that 
the intensity of the struggle (which he had elsewhere shown 
to exist among young plants) is a measure of the strength 
of a selective agency perpetually sifting out every modifica- 
tion in the structure of flowers which can effect its capabili- 
ties for cross-fertilisation. 

The book is also valuable in another respect, because it 
throws light on the difficult problems of the origin of sexuality. 
The increased vigour resulting from cross-fertilisation is allied 
in the closest manner to the advantage gained by change of 
conditions. So strongly is this the case, that in some instances 
cross-fertilisation gives no advantage to the offspring, unless 
the parents have lived under slightly different conditions. 
So that the really important thing is not that two individuals 
of different blood shall unite, but two individuals which have 
been subjected to different conditions. We are thus led to 
believe that sexuality is a means for infusing vigour into the 
offspring by the coalescence of differentiated elements, an 

464 THE 'EFFECTS OF CROSS- [1876. 

advantage which could not follow if reproductions were en- 
tirely asexual. 

It is remarkable that this book, the result of eleven years 
of experimental work, owed its origin to a chance observa- 
tion. My father had raised two beds of Linaria vulgaris — 
one set being the offspring of cross- and the other of self-fertili- 
sation. These plants were grown for the sake of some obser- 
vations on inheritance, and not with any view to cross-breed- 
ing, and he was astonished to observe that the offspring of 
self-fertilisation were clearly less vigorous than the others. 
It seemed incredible to him that this result could be due to 
a single act of self-fertilisation, and it was only in the following 
year when precisely the same result occurred in the case of 
a similar experiment on inheritance in Carnations, that his 
attention was " thoroughly aroused " and that he determined 
to make a series of experiments specially directed to the 
question. The following letters give some account of the 
work in question :] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

September 10, [1866?] 
. . . . I have just begun a large course of experiments on 
the germination of the seed, and on the growth of the young 
plants when raised from a pistil fertilised by pollen from the 
same flower, and from pollen from a distinct plant of the 
same, or of some other variety. I have not made sufficient 
experiments to judge certainly, but in some cases the differ- 
ence in the growth of the young plants is highly remarkable. 
I have taken every kind of precaution in getting seed from the 
same plant, in germinating the seed on my own chimney- 
piece, in planting the seedlings in the same flower-pot, and 
under this similar treatment I have seen the young seedlings 
from the crossed seed exactly twice as tall as the seedlings 
from the self-fertilised seed ; both seeds having germinated 
on same day. If, I can establish this fact (but perhaps it will 
all go to the dogs), in some fifty cases, with plants of different 


orders, I think it will be very important, for then we shall 
positively know why the structure of every flower permits, or 
favours, or necessitates an occasional cross with a distinct 
individual. But all this is rather cooking my hare before I 
have caught it. But somehow it is a great pleasure to me to 
tell you what I am about. Believe me, my dear Gray, 

, Ever yours most truly, and with cordial thanks, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to G. Benthani. 

April 22, 1868. 
.... I am experimenting on a very large scale on the 
difference in power of growth between plants raised from 
self-fertilised and crossed seeds ; and it is no exaggeration to 
say that the difference in growth and vigour is sometimes 
truly wonderful. Lyell, Huxley and Hooker have seen 
some of my plants, and been astonished ; and I should much 
like to show them to you. I always supposed until lately 
that no evil effects would be visible until after several genera- 
tions of self-fertilisation ; but now I see that one generation 
sometimes suffices; and the existence of dimorphic plants 
and all the wonderful contrivances of orchids are quite in-, 
telligible to me. 

With cordial thanks for your letter, which has pleased me 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

[An extract from a letter to Dr. Gray (March 11, 1873) 
mentions the progress of the work : — 

" I worked last summer hard at Drosera, but could not 
finish till I got fresh plants, and consequently took up the 
effects of crossing and self-fertilising plants, and am got so 
interested that Drosera must go to the dogs till I finish with 
this, and get it published ; but then I will resume my beloved 
Drosera, and I heartily apologise for having sent the precious 
little things even for a moment to the dogs." 

466 THE ' EFFECTS OF CROSS- [1868. 

The following letters give the author's impression of his 
own book.] 

C. Darwin to J. Murray. 

Down, September 16, 1876. 
My dear Sir, — I have just received proofs in sheet of 
five sheets, so you will have to decide soon how many copies 
will have to be struck off. I do not know what to advise. 
The greater part of the book is extremely dry, and the whole 
on a special subject. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the 
book is of value, and I am convinced that for many years 
copies will be occasionally sold. Judging from the sale of 
my former books, and from supposing that some persons will 
purchase it to complete the set of my works, I would suggest 
1500. But you must be guided by your larger experience. 
I will only repeat that I am convinced the book is of some 
permanent value. . . . 

C. Darwin to Victor Carus. 

Down, September 27, 1876. 

My dear Sir, — I sent by this morning's post the four 
first perfect sheets of my new book, the title of which you 
will see on the first page, and which will be published early 
in November. 

I am sorry to say that it is only shorter by a few pages 
than my 4 Insectivorous Plants.' The whole is now in type, 
though I have corrected finally only half the volume. You 
will, therefore, rapidly receive the remainder. The book is 
very dull. Chapters II. to VI., inclusive, are simply a record 
of experiments. Nevertheless, I believe (though a man can 
never judge his own books) that the book is valuable. You 
will have to decide whether it is worth translating. I hope 
so. It has cost me very great labour, and the results seem 
to me remarkable and well established. 

If you translate it, you could easily get aid for Chapters 
II. to VI., as there is here endless, but I have thought 


necessary repetition. I shall be anxious to hear what you 


I most sincerely hope that your health has been fairly 
good this summer. 

My dear Sir, yours very truly, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, October 28, 1876. 

My dear Gray, — I send by this post all the clean sheets 
as yet printed, and I hope to send the remainder within a 
fortnight. Please observe that the first six chapters are not 
readable, and the six last very dull. Still I believe that the 
results are valuable. If you review the book, I shall be very 
curious to see what you think of it, for I care more for your 
judgment than for that of almost any one else. I know also 
that you will speak the truth, whether you approve or dis- 
approve. Very few will take the trouble to read the book, 
and I do not expect you to read the whole, but I hope you 
will read the latter chapters. 

... I am so sick of correcting the press and licking my 
horrid bad style into intelligible English. 

[The * Effects of Cross and Self-fertilisation ' was published 
on November 10, 1876, and 1500 copies were sold before the 
end of the year. The following letter refers to a review in 
' Nature : ' *] 

C. Darwin to W. Thiselton Dyer. 

Down, February 16, 1877. 

Dear Dyer, — I must tell you how greatly I am pleased 

and honoured by your article in ' Nature/ which I have just 

read. You are an adept in saying what will please an author, 

not that I suppose you wrote with this express intention. 

* February 15, 1877. 


I should be very well contented to deserve a fraction of your 
praise. I have also been much interested, and this is better 
than mere pleasure, by your argument about the separation 
of the sexes. I dare say that I am wrong, and will hereafter 
consider what you say more carefully : but at present I can- 
not drive out of my head that the sexes must have originated 
from two individuals, slightly different, which conjugated. 
But I am aware that some cases of conjugation are opposed 
to any such views. 

With hearty thanks, 

Yours sincerely, 

Charles Darwin, 


* different forms of flowers on plants of the same 

species/ 1877. 

[The volume bearing the above title was published in 1877, 
and was dedicated by the author to Professor Asa Gray, "as 
a small tribute of respect and affection. " It consists of cer- 
tain earlier papers re-edited, with the addition of a quantity 
of new matter. The subjects treated in the book are : — 

(i.) Heterostyled Plants. 

(ii.) Polygamous, Dioecious, and Gynodicecious Plants. 

(iii.) Cleistogamic Flowers. 

The nature of heterostyled plants may be illustrated in the 
primrose, one of the best known examples of the class. If a 
number of primroses be gathered, it will be found that some 
plants yield nothing but " pin-eyed " flowers, in which the 
style (or organ for the. transmission of the pollen to the ovule) 
is long, while the others yield only " thrum-eyed " flowers with 
short styles. Thus primroses are divided into two sets or 
castes differing structurally from "each other. My father 
showed that they also differ sexually, and that in fact the bond 
between the two castes more nearly resembles that between 
separate sexes than any other known relationship. Thus for 
example a long-styled primrose, though it can be fertilised by 
its own pollen, is not fully fertile unless it is impregnated by 
the pollen of a short-styled flower. Heterostyled plants are 
comparable to hermaphrodite animals, such as snails, which 
require the concourse of two individuals, although each pos- 
sesses both the sexual elements. The difference is that in 
the case of the primrose it is perfect fertility, and not simply 


fertility, that depends on the mutual action of the two sets of 

The work on heterostyled plants has a special bearing, to 
which the author attached much importance, on the problem 
of origin of species.* 

He found that a wonderfully close parallelism exists be- 
tween hybridisation and certain forms of fertilisation among 
heterostyled plants. So that it is hardly an exaggeration to 
say that the "illegitimately" reared seedlings are hybrids, 
although both their parents belong to identically the same 
species. In a letter to Professor Huxley, given in the second 
volume (p. 176), my father writes as if his researches on 
heterostyled plants tended to make him believe that sterility 
is a selected or acquired quality. But in his later publica- 
tions, e.g. in the sixth edition of the ' Origin/ he adheres to 
the belief that sterility is an incidental rather than a selected 
quality. The result of his work on heterostyled plants is of 
importance as showing that sterility is no test of specific dis- 
tinctness, and that it depends on differentiation of the sexual 
elements which is independent of any racial difference. I 
imagine that it was his instinctive love of making out a diffi- 
culty which to a great extent kept him at work so patiently 
on the heterostyled plants. But it was the fact that general 
conclusions of the above character could be drawn from his 
results which made him think his results worthy of publica- 

The papers which on this subject preceded and contribu- 
ted to ' Forms of Flowers ' were the following : — 

" On the two Forms or Dimorphic Condition in the Spe- 
cies of Primula, and on their remarkable Sexual Relations.'' 
Linn. Soc. Journal, 1862. 

" On the Existence of Two Forms, and on their Reciprocal 
Sexual Relations, in several Species of the Genus Linum." 
Linn. Soc. Journal, 1863. 

* See ■ Autobiography,' vol. i. p. 97. 
f See ' Forms of Flowers,' p. 243. 


M On the Sexual Relations of the Three Forms of Ly thrum 
salicaria" Ibid. 1864. 

" On the Character and Hybrid-like Nature of the Off- 
spring from the Illegitimate Unions of Dimorphic and Tri- 
morphic Plants." Ibid. 1869. 

" On the Specific Differences between Primula verts, Brit. 
Fl. (var. officinalis y Linn.), P. vulgaris, Brit. Fl. (var. acaulis, 
Linn.), and P. elatior, Jacq. ; and on the Hybrid Nature of 
the Common Oxlip. With Supplementary Remarks on Nat- 
urally Produced Hybrids in the Genus Verbascum." Ibid. 

The following letter shows that he began the work on 
heterostyled plants with an erroneous view as to the meaning 
of the facts.] 

C. Darwin to J, D. Hooker. 

Down, May 7 [i860]. 
.... I have this morning been looking at my experi- 
mental cowslips, and I find some plants have all flowers with 
long stamens and short pistils, which I will call " male plants/* 
others with short stamens and long pistils, which I will call 
"female plants." This I have somewhere seen noticed, I 
think by Henslow ; but I find (after looking at my two sets 
of plants) that the stigmas of the male and female are of 
slightly different shape, and certainly different degree of 
roughness, and what has astonished me, the pollen of the 
so-called female plant, though very abundant, is more trans- 
parent, and each granule is exactly only § of the size of the 
pollen of the so-called male plant. Has this been observed ? 
I cannot help suspecting [that] the cowslip is in fact dioecious, 
but it may turn out all a blunder, but anyhow I will mark with 
sticks the so-called male and female plants and watch their 
seeding. It would be a fine case of gradation between an 
hermaphrodite and unisexual condition. Likewise a sort of 
case of balancement of long and short pistils and stamens. 
Likewise perhaps throws light on oxlips. . . . 


I have now examined primroses and find exactly the same 
difference in the size of the pollen, correlated with the same 
difference in the length of the style and roughness of the 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray, 

June 8 [i860]. 

.... I have been making some little trifling observations 
which have interested and perplexed me much. I find with 
primroses and cowslips, that about an equal number of plants 
are thus characterised. 

So-called (by me) male plant. Pistil much shorter than 
stamens ; stigma rather smooth,— pollen grains large, throat 
of corolla short. 

So-called female plant. Pistil much longer than stamens, 
stigma rougher, pollen-grains smaller, — throat of corolla long. 

I have marked a lot of plants, and expected to find the so- 
called male plant barren ; but judging from the feel of the 
capsules, this is not the case, and I am very much surprised at 
the difference in the size of the pollen. ... If it should 
prove that the so-called male plants produce less seed than 
the so-called females, what a beautiful case of gradation from 
hermaphrodite to unisexual condition it will be ! If they pro- 
duce about equal number of seed, how perplexing it will be. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, December 17, [1863?] 

.... I have just been ordering a photograph of myself for 
a friend ; and have ordered one for you, and for heaven's sake 
oblige me, and burn that now hanging up in your room. — It 
makes me look atrociously wicked. 

.... In the spring I must get you to look for long pistils 
and short pistils in the rarer species of Primula and in some 
allied Genera. It holds with P. Sinensis. You remember 
all the fuss I made on this subject last spring ; well, the other 
day at last I had time to weigh the seeds, and by Jove the 
plants of primroses and cowslip with short pistils and large 


grained pollen * are rather more fertile than those with long 
pistils, and small-grained pollen. I find that they require the 
action of insects to set them, and I never will believe that 
these differences are without some meaning. 

Some of my experiments lead me to suspect that the large- 
grained pollen suits the long pistils and the small-grained 
pollen suits the short pistils ; but I am determined to see if I 
cannot make out the mystery next spring. 

How does your book on plants brew in your mind ? Have 
you begun it ? . . . . 

Remember me most kindly to Oliver. He must be 
astonished at not having a string of questions, I fear he will 
get out of practice ! 

[The Primula-work was finished in the autumn of 1861, 
and on Nov. 8th he wrote to Sir J. D, Hooker : — 

"I have sent my paper on dimorphism in Primula to the 
Linn. Soc. I shall go up and read it whenever it comes on ; 
I hope you may be able to attend, for I do not suppose many 
will care a penny for the subject. ,, 

With regard to the reading of the paper (on Nov. 21st), he 
wrote to the same friend : — 

"I by no means thought that I produced a " tremendous 
effect" in the Linn. Soc, but by Jove the Linn. Soc. pro- 
duced a tremendous effect on me, for I could not get out of 
bed till late next evening, so that I just crawled home. I 
fear I must give up trying to read any paper or speak ; ft is 
a horrid bore, I can do nothing like other people." 

To Dr. Gray he wrote, (Dec. 1861) : — 

' You may rely on it, I will send you a copy of my Primula 
paper as soon as I can get one ; but I believe it will not be 
printed till April ist,and therefore after my Orchid Book. I 
care more for your and Hooker's opinion than for that of all 
the rest of the world, and for Lyell's on geological points. 
Bentham and Hooker thought well of my paper when read ; 

* Thus the plants which he imagined to be tending towards a male 
condition were more productive than the supposed females. 


but no one can judge of evidence by merely hearing a 

The work on Primula was the means of bringing my 
father in contact with the late Mr. John Scott, then working 
as a gardener in the Botanic Gardens at Edinburgh, — an 
employment which he seems to have chosen in order to 
gratify his passion for natural history. He wrote one or two 
excellent botanical papers, and ultimately obtained a post in 
India.* He died in 1880. 

A few phrases may be quoted from letters to Sir J. D. 
Hooker, showing my father's estimate of Scott : — 

" If you know, do please tell me who is John Scott of the 
Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh ; I have been correspond- 
ing largely with him ; he is no common man." 

" If he had leisure he would make a wonderful observer ; 
to my judgment I have come across no one like him. ,, 

" He has interested me strangely, and I have formed a 
very high opinion of his intellect. I hope he will accept 
pecuniary assistance from me ; but he has hitherto refused." 
(He ultimately succeeded in being allowed to pay for Mr. 
Scott's passage to India.) 

" I know nothing of him excepting from his letters ; these 
show remarkable talent, astonishing perseverance, much 
modesty, and what I admire, determined difference from me 
on many points/' 

So highly did he estimate Scott's abilities that he formed 
a plan (which however never went beyond an early stage of 
discussion) of employing him to work out certain problems 
connected with intercrossing. 

The following letter refers to my father's investigations 
on Lythrum,f a plant which reveals even a more wonderful 

* While in India he made some admirable observations on expression 
for my father. 

f He was led to this, his first case of trimorphism by Lecoq's * Geo- 
graphic Botanique,' and this must have consoled him for the trick this 
work played him in turning out to be so much larger than he expected. 
He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : M Here is a good joke : I saw an extract 


condition of sexual complexity than that of Primula. For 
in Lythrum there are not merely two, but three castes, differ- 
ing structurally and physiologically from each other :] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, August 9 [1862]. 

My dear Gray, — It is late at night, and I am going to 
write briefly, and of course to beg a favour. 

The Mitchella very good, but pollen apparently equal- 
sized. I have just examined Hottonia, grand difference in 
pollen. Echium vulgare, a humbug, merely a case like Thy- 
mus. But I am almost stark staring mad over Lythrum ; * 
if I can prove what I fully believe, it is a grand case of 
Trimorphism, with three different pollens and three stigmas; 
I have castrated and fertilised above ninety flowers, trying all 
the eighteen distinct crosses which are possible within the 
limits of this one species ! I cannot explain, but I feel sure 
you would think it a grand case. I have been writing to 
Botanists to see if I can possibly get L. hyssopifolia, and it has 
just flashed on me that you might have Lythrum in North 
America, and I have looked to your Manual. For the love 
of heaven have a look at some of your species, and if you 
can get me seed, do ; I want much to try species with few 
stamens, if they are dimorphic ; JVescea verticillata I should 
expect to be trimorphic. Seed ! Seed ! Seed ! I should rather 
like seed of Mitchella. But oh, Lythrum ! 

Your utterly mad friend, 

C. Darwin. 

P.S. — There is reason in my madness, for I can see that to 
those who already believe in change of species, these facts 

from Lecoq, 'Geograph. Bot.,' and ordered it and hoped that it was a good 
sized pamphlet, and nine thick volumes have arrived ! " 

* On another occasion he wrote (to Dr. Gray) with regard to Lyth- 
rum : " I must hold hard, otherwise I shall spend my life over dimor- 



will modify to a certain extent the whole view of Hy- 

[On the same subject he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker in 
August 1862 : — 

" Is Oliver at Kew ? When I am established at Bourne- 
mouth I am completely mad to examine any fresh flowers of 
any Lythraceous plant, and I would write and ask him if any 
are in bloom." 

Again he wrote to the same friend in October : — 

" If you ask Oliver, I think he will tell you I have got a 
real odd case in Lythrum, it interests me extremely, and 
seems to me the strangest case of propagation recorded 
amongst plants or animals, viz. a necessary triple alliance 
between three hermaphrodites. I feel sure I can now prove 
the truth of the case from a multitude of crosses made this 

In an article, ' Dimorphism in the Genitalia of Plants ' 
('Silliman's Journal/ 1862, vol. xxxiv. p. 419), Dr. Gray 
pointed out that the structural difference between the two 
forms of Primula had already been denned in the ' Flora of 
N. America,' as dioecio- dimorphism. The use of this term 
called forth the following remarks from my father. The 
letter also alludes to a review of the ' Fertilisation of Orchids ' 
in the same volume of * Silliman's Journal/] 

* A letter to Dr. Gray (July, 1862) bears on this point : " A few days 
ago I made an observation which has surprised me more than it ought to 
do— it will have to be repeated several times, but I have scarcely a doubt 
of its accuracy. I stated in my Primula paper that the long-styled form 
of Linum grandiflorum was utterly sterile with its own pollen ; I have 
lately been putting the pollen of the two forms on the stigma of the same 
flower ; and it strikes me as truly wonderful, that the stigma distinguishes 
the pollen ; and is penetrated by the tubes of the one and not by those of 
the other ; nor are the tubes exserted. Or (which is the same thing) the 
stigma of the one form acts on and is acted on by pollen, which produces 
not the least effect on the stigma of the other form. Taking sexual power 
as the criterion of difference, the two forms of this one species may be said 
to be generically distinct." 


C. Darwin to Asa Gray, 

Down, November 26 [1862]. 

My dear Gray, — The very day after my last letter, yours 
of November 10th, and the review in ' Silliman/ which I 
feared might have been lost, reached me. We were all very 
much interested by the political part of your letter ; and in 
some odd way one never feels that information and opinions 
painted in a newspaper come from a living source ; they seem 
dead, whereas all that you write is full of life. The reviews 
interested me profoundly ; you rashly ask for my opinion, 
and you must consequently endure a long letter. First for 
Dimorphism ; I do not at present like the term u Dioecio- 
dimorphism ; " for I think it gives quite a false notion, that 
the phenomena are connected with a separation of the sexes. 
Certainly in Primula there is unequal fertility in the two 
forms, and I suspect this is the case with Linum ; and, there- 
fore I felt bound in the Primula paper to state that it might 
be a step towards a dioecious condition ; though I believe 
there are no dioecious forms in Primulaceae or Linaceae. 
But the three forms in Lythrum convince me that the phe- 
nomenon is in no way necessarily connected with any ten- 
dency to separation of sexes. The case seems to me in re- 
sult or function to be almost identical with what old C. K. 
Sprengel called " dichogamy," and which is so frequent in 
truly hermaphrodite groups ; namely, the pollen and stigma 
of each flower being mature at different periods. If I 
am right, it is very advisable not to use the term "dioe- 
cious," as this at once brings notions of separation of 

... I was much perplexed by Oliver's remarks in the 
i Natural History Review ' on the Primula case, on the lower 
plants having sexes more often separated than in the high- 
er plants, — so exactly the reverse of what takes place in 
animals. Hooker in his review of the * Orchids ' repeats 
this remark. There seems to be much truth in what you 


say,* and it did not occur to me, about no improbability of 
specialisation in certain lines in lowly organised beings. I 
could hardly doubt that the hermaphrodite state is the 
aboriginal one. But how is it in the conjugation of Con- 
fervse — is not one of the two individuals here in fact male, 
and the other female ? I have been much puzzled by this 
contrast in sexual arrangements between plants and animals. 
Can there be anything in the following consideration : By 
roughest calculation about one-third of the British genera of 
aquatic plants belong to the Linnean classes of Mono and 
Dicecia; whilst of terrestrial plants (the aquatic genera being 
subtracted) only one-thirteenth of the genera belong to these 
two classes. Is there any truth in this fact generally ? Can 
aquatic plants, being confined to a small area or small com- 
munity of individuals, require more free crossing, and there- 
fore have separate sexes ? But to return to our point, does 
not Alph. de Candoile say that aquatic plants taken as a 
whole are lowly organised, compared with terrestrial ; and 
may not Oliver's remark on the separation of the sexes in 
lowly organised plants stand in some relation to their being 
frequently aquatic ? Or is this all rubbish ? 

.... What a magnificent compliment you end your re- 
view with ! You and Hooker seem determined to turn my 
head with conceit and vanity (if not already turned) and make 
me an unbearable wretch. 

With most cordial thanks, my good and kind friend, 


C. Darwin. 

[The following passage from a letter (July 28, 1863), to 
Prof. Hildebrand, contains a reference to the reception of the 
dimorphic work in France : — 

" I am extremely much pleased to hear that you have been 

* " Forms which are low in the scale as respects morphological com- 
pleteness may be high in the scale of rank founded on specialisation of 
structure and function." — Dr. Gray, in ' Silliman's Journal.' 


looking at the manner of fertilisation of your native Orchids, 
and still more pleased to hear that you have been experi- 
menting on Linum. I much hope that you may publish the 
result of these experiments ; because I was told that the most 
eminent French botanists of Paris said that my paper on 
Primula was the work of imagination, and that the case was 
so improbable they did not believe in my results."] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

April 19 [1864]. 

.... I received a little time ago a paper with a good 
account of your Herbarium and Library, and a long time 
previously your excellent review of Scott's ' Primulaceae/ and 
I forwarded it to him in India, as it would much please him. 
I was very glad to see in it a new case of Dimorphism (I for- 
get just now the name of the plant) ; I shall be grateful to 
hear of any other cases, as I still feel an interest in the sub- 
ject. I should be very glad to get some seed of your dimor- 
phic Plantagos ; for I cannot banish the suspicion that they 
must belong to a very different class like that of the common 
Thyme.* How could the wind, which is the agent of fertilisa- 
tion, with Plantago, fertilise " reciprocally dimorphic " flowers 
like Primula ? Theory says this cannot be, and in such cases 
of one's own theories I follow Agassiz and declare, ■' that na- 
ture never lies." I should even be very glad to examine the 
two dried forms of Plantago. Indeed, any dried dimorphic 
plants would be gratefully received. . . . 

Did my Lythrum paper interest you ? I crawl on at the 
rate of two hours per diem, with ' Variation under Domestic- 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, November 26 [1864]. 
.... You do not know how pleased I am that you have 
read my Lythrum paper ; I thought you would not have time, 

* In this prediction he was right. See ' Forms of Flowers,' p. 307. 


and I have for long years looked at you as my Public, and 
care more for your opinion than that of all the rest of the 
world. I have done nothing which has interested me so 
much as Ly thrum, since making out the complemental males 
of Cirripedes. I fear that I have dragged in too much mis- 
cellaneous matter into the paper. 

... I get letters occasionally, which show me that Nat- 
ural Selection is making great progress in Germany, and 
some amongst the young in France. I have just received a 
pamphlet from Germany, with the complimentary title of 
" Darwinische Arten-Enstehung-Humbug " ! 

Farewell, my best of old friends, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

September 10, [1867?] 
.... The only point which I have made out this sum- 
mer, which could possibly interest you, is that the common 
Oxlip found everywhere, more or less commonly in England, 
is certainly a hybrid between the primrose and cowslip ; 
whilst the P. elatior (Jacq.), found only in the Eastern Coun- 
ties, is a perfectly distinct and good species ; hardly distin- 
guishable from the common oxlip, except by the length of the 
seed-capsule relatively to the calyx. This seems to me 
rather a horrid fact for all systematic botanists. . . . 

C. Darwin to F. Hildebrand. 

Down, November 16, 1868. 
My dear Sir, — I wrote my last note in such a hurry 
from London, that I quite forgot what I chiefly wished to 
say, namely to thank you for your excellent notices in the 
\ Bot. Zeitung' of my paper on the offspring of dimorphic 
plants. The subject is so obscure that I did not expect that 
any one would have noticed my paper, and I am accordingly 
very much pleased that you should have brought the subject 
before the many excellent naturalists of Germany. 


Of all the German authors (but they are not many) whose 
works I have read, you write by far the clearest style, but 
whether this is a compliment to a German writer I do not 

[The two following letters refer to the small bud-like 
" Cleistogamic " flowers found in the violet and many other 
plants. They do not open and are necessarily self-fertilised :] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, May 30 [1862]. 

.... What will become of my book on Variation ? I am 
involved in a multiplicity of experiments. I have been 
amusing myself by looking at the small flowers of Viola. 
If Oliver* has had time to study them, he will have seen the 
curious case (as it seems to me) which I have just made 
clearly out, viz. that in these flowers, the few pollen grains 
are never shed, or never leave the anther-cells, but emit long 
pollen tubes, which penetrate the stigma. To-day I got the 
anther with the included pollen grain (now empty) at one 
end, and a bundle of tubes penetrating the stigmatic tissue 
at the other end ; I got the whole under a microscope with- 
out breaking the tubes ; I wonder whether the stigma pours 
some fluid into the anther so as to excite the included grains. 
It is a rather odd case of correlation, that in the double sweet 
violet the little flowers are double ; i. e. y have a multitude of 
minute scales representing the petals. What queer little flow- 
ers they are. 

Have you had time to read poor dear Henslow's life ? 
it has interested me for the man's sake, and, what I did 
not think possible, has even exalted his character in my 

* Shortly afterwards he wrote : " Oliver, the omniscient, has sent me a 
paper in the * Bot. Zeitung,' with most accurate description of all that I 
saw in Viola." 


[The following is an extract from the letter given in 
part at p. 477, and refers to Dr. Gray's article on the sexual 
differences of plants :] 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray, 

November 26 [1862]. 
.... You will think that I am in the most unpleasant, 
contradictory, fractious humour, when I tell you that I do 
not like your term of "precocious fertilisation " for your 
second class of dimorphism [/. e. for cleistogamic fertilisa- 
tion]. If I can trust my memory, the state of the corolla, of 
the stigma, and the pollen-grains is different from the state 
of the parts in the bud ; that they are in a condition of spe- 
cial modification. But upon my life I am ashamed of myself 
to differ so much from my betters on this head. The tempo- 
rary theory * which I have formed on this class of dimorphism, 
just to guide experiment, is that the perfect flowers can only 
be perfectly fertilised by insects, and are in this case abun- 
dantly crossed ; but that the flowers are not always, especially 
in early spring, visited enough by insects, and therefore the 
little imperfect self-fertilising flowers are developed to ensure 
a sufficiency of seed for present generations. Viola canina 
is sterile, when not visited by insects, but when so visited 
forms plenty of seed. I infer from the structure of three 
or four forms of Balsaminece, that these require insects ; at 
least there is almost as plain adaptation to insects as in the 
Orchids. I have Oxalis acetosella ready in pots for experi- 
ment next spring ; and I fear this will upset my little theory. 
. . . Campanula carpathica, as I found this summer, is abso- 
lutely sterile if insects are excluded. Specularia speculum is 
fairly fertile when enclosed ; and this seemed to me to be 
partially effected by the frequent closing of the flower ; the 
inward angular folds of the corolla corresponding with the 
clefts of the open stigma, and in this action pushing pollen 

* This view is now generally accepted. 


from the outside of the stigma on to its surface. Now can 
you tell me, does S. perfoliata close its flower like S. specu- 
lum, with angular inward folds ? if so, I am smashed without 
some fearful " wriggling.'* Are the imperfect flowers of your 
Specularia the early or the later ones ? very early or very 
late ? It is rather pretty to see the importance of the closing 
of flowers of S. speculum. 

[' Forms of Flowers ' was published in July ; in June, 
1877, he wrote to Professor Carus with regard to the trans- 
lation : — 

" My new book is not a long one, viz. 350 pages, chiefly 
of the larger type, with fifteen simple woodcuts. All the 
proofs are corrected except the Index, so that it will soon be 

". . . . I do not suppose that I shall publish anymore 
books, though perhaps a few more papers. I cannot endure 
being idle, but heaven knows whether I am capable of any 
more good work." 

The review alluded to in the next letter is at p. 445 of the 
volume of ' Nature ' for 1878 :] 

C. Darwin to W. Thiselton Dyer. 

Down, April 5, 1878. 
My dear Dyer, — I have just read in ' Nature ' the re- 
view of ' Forms of Flowers/ and I am sure that it is by you. 
I wish with all my heart that it deserved one quarter of the 
praises which you give it. Some of your remarks have in- 
terested me greatly. . . . Hearty thanks for your generous 
and most kind sympathy, which does a man real good, when 
he is as dog-tired as I am at this minute with working all day, 
so gDod-bye. 

C. Darwin. 



[My father mentions in his ' Autobiography ' (vol. i. p. 75) 
that he was led to take up the subject of climbing plants 
by reading Dr. Gray's paper, " Note on the Coiling of the 
Tendrils of Plants.'' * This essay seems to have been read 
in 1862, but I am only able to guess at the date of the letter 
in which he asks for a reference to it, so that the precise 
date of his beginning this work cannot be determined. 

In June 1863 he was certainly at work, and wrote to Sir. J. 
D. Hooker for information as to previous publications on the 
subject, being then in ignorance of Palm's and H. v. Mohl's 
works on climbing plants, both of which were published in 


C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down [June] 25 [1863]. 

My dear Hooker, — I have been observing pretty care- 
fully a little fact which has surprised me ; and I want to know 
from you and Oliver whether it seems new or odd to you, so 
just tell me whenever you write ; it is a very trifling fact, so do 
not answer on purpose. 

I have got a plant of Echinocystis lobata to observe the 
irritability of the tendrils described by Asa Gray, and which 
of course, is plain enough. Having the plant in my study, 
I have been surprised to find that the uppermost part of each 
branch (/. e. the stem between the two uppermost leaves ex- 

* 'Proc. Amer. Acad, of Arts and Sciences,' 1858. 


eluding the growing tip) is constantly and slowly twisting round 
making a circle in from one-half to two hours ; it will some- 
times go round two or three times, and then at the same rate 
untwists and twists in opposite directions. It generally rests 
half an hour before it retrogrades. The stem does not become 
permanently twisted. The stem beneath the twisting portion 
does not move in the least, though not tied. The movement 
goes on all day and all early night. It has no relation to light 
for the plant stands in my window and twists from the light 
just as quickly as towards it. This may be a common 
phenomenon for what I know, but it confounded me quite, 
when I began to observe the irritability of the tendrils. I do 
not say it is the final cause, but the result is pretty, for the 
plant every one and a half or two hours sweeps a circle (ac- 
cording to the length of the bending shoot and the length of 
the tendril) of from one foot to twenty inches in diameter, 
and immediately that the tendril touches any object its sensi- 
tiveness causes it immediately to seize it ; a clever gardener, 
my neighbour, who saw the plant on my table last night, said : 
" I believe, Sir, the tendrils can see, for wherever I put a 
plant it finds out any stick near enough." I believe the 
above is the explanation, viz. that it sweeps slowly round and 
round. The tendrils have some sense, for they do not grasp 
each other when young. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down, July 14 [1863]. 
My dear Hooker, — I am getting very much amused by 
my tendrils, it is just the sort of niggling work which suits 
me, and takes up no time and rather rests me whilst writing. 
So will you just think whether you know any plant, which 
you could give or lend me, or I could buy, with tendrils, re- 
markable in any way for development, for odd or peculiar 
structure, or even for an odd place in natural arrangement. I 
have seen or can see Cucurbitaceae, Passion-flower, Virginian- 


creeper, Cissus discolor, Common-pea and Everlasting-pea. It 
is really curious the diversification of irritability (I do not 
mean the spontaneous movement, about which I wrote be- 
fore and correctly, as further observation shows) : for in- 
stance, I find a slight pinch between the thumb and finger at 
the end of the tendril of the Cucurbitaceae causes prompt 
movement, but a pinch excites no movement in Cissus. The 
cause is that one side alone (the concave) is irritable in the 
former ; whereas both sides are irritable in Cissus, so if you 
excite at the same time both opposite sides there is no move- 
ment, but by touching with a pencil the two branches of the 
tendril, in any part whatever, you cause movement towards 
that point; so that I can mould, by a mere touch, the two 
branches into any shape I like. . . . 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, August 4 [1863]. 
My present hobby-horse I owe to you, viz. the tendrils : 
their irritability is beautiful, as beautiful in all its modifica- 
tions as anything in Orchids. About the spontaneous move- 
ment (independent of touch) of the tendrils and upper inter- 
nodes, I am rather taken aback by your saying, "is it not 
well known ? M I can find nothing in any book which I have. 
. . . The spontaneous movement of the tendrils is independ- 
ent of the movement of the upper internodes, but both work 
harmoniously together in sweeping a circle for the tendrils to 
grasp a stick. So with all climbing plants (without tendrils) 
as yet examined, the upper internodes go on night and day 
sweeping a circle in one fixed direction. It is surprising to 
watch the Apocyneae with shoots 18 inches long (beyond the 
supporting stick), steadily searching for something to climb 
up. When the shoot meets a stick, the motion at that point 
is arrested, JDut in the upper part is continued ; so that the 
climbing of all plants yet examined is the simple result of the 
spontaneous circulatory movement of the upper internodes. 
Pray tell me whether anything has been published on this 


subject ? I hate. publishing what is old ; but I shall hardly 
regret my work if it is old, as it has much amused me. . . . 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

May 28, 1864. 
.... An Irish nobleman on his death-bed declared that 
he could conscientiously say that he had never throughout 
life denied himself any pleasure ; and I can conscientiously 
say that I have never scrupled to trouble you ; so here goes. 
— Have you travelled South, and can you tell me whether 
the trees, which Bignonia capreolata climbs, are covered with 
moss or filamentous lichen or Tillandsia ?* I ask because its 
tendrils abhor a simple stick, do not much relish rough bark, 
but delight in wool or moss. They adhere in a curious man- 
ner by making little disks, like the Ampelopsis. ... By the 
way, I will enclose some specimens, and if you think it worth 
while, you can put them under the simple microscope. It is 
remarkable how specially adapted some tendrils are ; those 
of Eccremocarpus scaber do not like a stick, will have nothing 
to say to wool ; but give them a bundle of culms of grass, or 
a bundle of bristles and they seize them well. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Down, June 10 [1864]. 
... I have now read two German books, and all I be- 
lieve that has been written on climbers, and it has stirred me 
up to find that I have a good deal of new matter. It is 
strange, but I really think no one has explained simple twin- 
ing plants. These books have stirred me up, and made me 
wish for plants specified in them. I shall be very glad of 
those you mention. I have written to Veitch for young 
Nepenthes and Vanilla (which I believe will turn out a grand 

* He subsequently learned from Dr. Gray that Polypodium incanum 
abounds on the trees in the districts where this species of Bignonia grows. 
See ' Climbing Plants,' p. 103. 


case, though a root creeper), and if I cannot buy young 
Vanilla I will ask you. I have ordered a leaf-climbing fern, 
Lygodium. All this work about climbers would hurt my 
conscience, did I think I could do harder work.* 

[He continued his observations on climbing plants during 
the prolonged illness from which he suffered in the autumn 
of 1863, and in the following spring. He wrote to Sir J. D. 
Hooker, apparently in March 1864 : — 

" For several days I have been decidedly better, and what 
I lay much stress on (whatever doctors say), my brain feels 
far stronger, and I have lost many dreadful sensations. The 
hot-house is such an amusement to me, and my amusement 
I owe to you, as my delight is to look at the many odd 
leaves and plants from Kew. . . . The only approach to 
work which I can do is to look at tendrils and climbers, this 
does not distress my weakened brain. Ask Oliver to look 
over the enclosed queries (and do you look) and amuse a 
broken-down brother naturalist by answering any which he 
can. If you ever lounge through your houses, remember me 
and climbing plants/' 

On October 29, 1864, he wrote to Dr. Gray : — 

" I have not been able to resist doing a little more at your 
godchild, my climbing paper, or rather in size little book, 
which by Jove I will have copied out, else I shall never stop. 
This has been new sort of work for me, and I have been 
pleased to find what a capital guide for observations a full 
conviction of the change of species is." 

On Jan. 19, 1865, he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker : — 

" It is working hours, but I am trying to take a day's 
holiday, for I finished and despatched yesterday my climbing 
paper. For the last ten days I have done nothing but correct 
refractory sentences, and I loathe the whole subject." 

A letter to Dr. Gray, April 9, 1865, has a word or two on 
the subject : — 

" I have begun correcting proofs of my paper on ' Climb- 

* He was much out of health at this time. 


ing Plants/ I suppose. I shall be able to send you a copy in 
four or five weeks. ■ I think it contains a good deal new and 
some curious points, but it is so fearfully long, that no one 
will ever read it. If, however, you do not skim through it, 
you will be an unnatural parent, for it is your child. " 

Dr. Gray not only read it but approved of it, to my father's 
great satisfaction, as the following extracts show : — 

"I was much pleased to get your letter of July 24th. 
Now that I can do nothing, I maunder over old subjects, 
and your approbation of my climbing paper gives me very 
great satisfaction. I made my observations when I could 
do nothing else and much enjoyed it, but always doubted 
whether they were worth publishing. I demur to its not be- 
ing necessary to explain in detail about the spires in caught 
tendrils running in opposite directions ; for the fact for a long 
time confounded me, and I have found it difficult enough to 
explain the cause to two or three persons." (Aug. 15, 1865.) 

" I received yesterday your article * on climbers, and it 
has pleased me in an extraordinary and even silly manner. 
You pay me a superb compliment, and as I have just said to 
my wife, I think my friends must perceive that I like praise, 
they give me such hearty doses. I always admire your skill 
in reviews or abstracts, and you have done this article ex- 
cellently and given the whole essence of my paper I 

have had a letter from a good Zoologist in S. Brazil, F. 
Mliller, who has been stirred up to observe climbers and gives 
me some curious cases of branch-c\\mhtrs y in which branches 
are converted into tendrils, and then continue to grow and 
throw out leaves and new branches, and then lose their ten- 
dril character." (October 1865.) 

The paper on Climbing Plants was republished in 1875, as 
a separate book. The author had been unable to give his 
customary amount of care to the style of the original essay, 
owing to the fact that it was written during a period of con- 

* In the September number of * Silliman's Journal,' concluded in the 
January number, 1866. 


tinued ill-health, and it was now found to require a great 
deal of alteration. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (March 3, 
1875) : " It is lucky for authors in general that they do not 
require such dreadful work in merely licking what they write 
into shape." And to Mr. Murray in September he wrote ; 
"The corrections are heavy in ' Climbing Plants/ and yet I 
deliberately went over the MS. and old sheets three times. ,, 
The book was published in September 1875, an edition of 
1500 copies was struck off; the edition sold fairly well, and 
500 additional copies were printed in June of the following 


[In the summer of i860 he was staying at the house of his 
sister-in-law, Miss Wedgwood, in Ashdown Forest, whence he 
wrote (July 29, i860), to Sir Joseph Hooker : — 

" Latterly I have done nothing here ; but at first I 
amused myself with a few observations on the insect-catch- 
ing power of Drosera ; and I must consult you some time 
whether my i twaddle ' is worth communicating to the Lin- 
nean Society." 

In August he wrote to the same friend : — 

" I will gratefully send my notes on Drosera when copied 
by my copier : the subject amused me when I had nothing 
to do." 

He has described in the ' Autobiography ' (vol. i. p. 77), 
the general nature of these early experiments. He noticed 
insects sticking to the leaves, and finding that flies, &c, 
placed on the adhesive glands were held fast and embraced, 
he suspected that the leaves were adapted to supply nitro- 
genous food to the plant. He therefore tried the effect on 
the leaves of various nitrogenous fluids — with results which, 
as far as they went, verified his surmise. In September, 
i860, he wrote to Dr. Gray : — 

" I have been infinitely amused by working at Drosera : 
the movements are really curious ; and the manner in which 
the leaves detect certain nitrogenous compounds is marvel- 


lous. You will laugh ; but it is, at present, my full belief 
(after endless experiments) that they detect (and move in 
consequence of) the -g-gVo P art of a single grain of nitrate of 
ammonia ; but the muriate and sulphate of ammonia bother 
their chemical skill, and they cannot make anything of the 
nitrogen in these salts ! I began this work on Drosera in re- 
lation to gradation as throwing light on Dionaea." 

Later in the autumn he was again obliged to leave home 
for Eastbourne, where he continued his work on Drosera. 
The work was so new to him that he found himself in diffi- 
culties in the preparation of solutions, and became puzzled 
over fluid and solid ounces, &c. &c. To a friend, the late 
Mr. E. Cresy, who came to his help in the matter of weights 
and measures, he wrote giving an account of the experiments. 
The extract (November 2, i860) which follows illustrates 
the almost superstitious precautions he often applied to his 
researches : — 

" Generally I have scrutinised every gland and hair on the 
leaf before experimenting ; but it occurred to me that I might 
in some way affect the leaf ; though this is almost impossible, 
as I scrutinised with equal care those that I put into distilled 
water (the same water being used for dissolving the carbonate 
of ammonia). I then cut off four leaves (not touching them 
with my fingers), and put them in plain water, and four other 
leaves into the weak solution, and after leaving them for an 
hour and a half, I examined every hair on all eight leaves ; 
no change on the four in water ; every gland and hair affected 
in those in ammonia. 

" I had measured the quantity of weak solution, and I 

counted the glands which had absorbed the ammonia, and 

were plainly affected ; the result convinced me that each 

gland could not have absorbed more than 6 4ooo or 6g ^ 00 of 

a grain. I have tried numbers of other experiments all 

pointing to the same result. Some experiments lead me to 

believe that very sensitive leaves are acted on by much 

smaller doses. Reflect how little ammonia a plant can get 

growing on poor soil — yet it is nourished. The really sur- 


prising part seems to me that the effect should be visible, 
and not under very high power ; for after trying a high pow- 
er, I thought it would be safer not to consider any effect 
which was not plainly visible under a two-thirds object glass 
and middle eye-piece. The effect which the carbonate of 
ammonia produces is the segregation of the homogeneous 
fluid in the cells into a cloud of granules and colourless fluid ; 
and subsequently the granules coalesce into larger masses, 
and for hours have the oddest movements — coalescing, divid- 
ing, coalescing ad infinitum. I do not know whether you will 
care for these ill-written details ; but, as you asked, I am 
sure I am bound to comply, after all the very kind and great 
trouble which you have taken." 

On his return home he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (No- 
vember 21, i860) : — 

"I have been working like a madman at Drosera. Here 
is a fact for you which is certain as you stand where you are, 
though you won't believe it, that a bit of hair ts o"or °f one 
grain in weight placed on gland, will cause one of the gland- 
bearing hairs of Drosera to curve inwards, and will alter the 
condition of the contents of every cell in the foot-stalk of 
the gland/' 

And a few days later to Lyell : — 

" I will and must finish my Drosera MS., which will take 
me a week, for, at the present moment, I care more about 
Drosera than the origin of all the species in the world. But 
I will not publish on Drosera till next year, for I am fright- 
ened and astounded at my results. I declare it is a certain 
fact, that one organ is so sensitive to touch, that a weight 
seventy-eight times less than that, viz., toVo" of a grain, which 
will move the best chemical balance, suffices to cause a con- 
spicuous movement. Is it not curious that a plant should be 
far more sensitive to the touch than any nerve in the human 
body ? Yet I am perfectly sure that this is true. When I 
am on my hobby-horse, I never can resist telling my friends 
how well my hobby goes, so you must forgive the rider. ,, 

The work was continued, as a holiday task, at Bourne- 


mouth, where he s-tayed during the autumn of 1862. The 
discussion in the following letter on u nervous matter " in 
Drosera is of interest in relation to recent researches on the 
continuity of protoplasm from cell to cell :] 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker. 

Cliff Cottage, Bournemouth. 
September 26 [1862]. 

My dear Hooker, — Do not read this till you have leis- 
ure. If that blessed moment ever comes, I should be very 
glad to have your opinion on the subject of this letter. I 
am led to the opinion that Drosera must have diffused matter 
in organic connection, closely analogous to the nervous mat- 
ter of animals. When the glands of one of the papillae or 
tentacles, in its natural position is supplied with nitrogenised 
fluid and certain other stimulants, or when loaded with an 
extremely slight weight, or when struck several times with a 
needle, the pedicel bends near its base in under one minute. 
These varied stimulants are conveyed down the pedicel by 
some means ; it cannot be vibration, for drops of fluid put on 
quite quietly cause the movement ; it cannot be absorption 
of the fluid from cell to cell, for I can see the rate of absorp- 
tion, which though quick, is far slower, and in Dionaea the 
transmission is instantaneous ; analogy from animals would 
point to transmission through nervous matter. Reflecting on 
the rapid power of absorption in the glands, the extreme 
sensibility of the whole organ, and the conspicuous move- 
ment caused by varied stimulants, I have tried a number of 

substances which are not caustic or corrosive, 

but most of which are known to have a remarkable action on 
the nervous matter of animals. You will see the results in 
the enclosed paper. As the nervous matter of different ani- 
mals are differently acted on by the same poisons, one would 
not expect the same action on plants and animals ; only, if 
plants have diffused nervous matter, some degree of analo- 
gous action. And this is partially the case. Considering 


these experiments, together with the previously made remarks 
on the functions of the parts, I cannot avoid the conclusion, 
that Drosera possesses matter at least in some degree analo- 
gous in constitution and function to nervous matter. Now 
do tell me what you think, as far as you can judge from my 
abstract; of course many more experiments would have to be 
tried ; but in former years I tried on the whole leaf, instead 
of on separate glands, a number of innocuous* substances, 
such as sugar, gum, starch, &c, and they produced no effect. 
Your opinion will aid me in deciding some future year in 
going on with this subject. I should not have thought it 
worth attempting, but I had nothing on earth to do. 

My dear Hooker, Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

P.S. — We return home on Monday 28th. Thank Heaven ! 

[A long break now ensued in his work on insectivorous 
plants, and it was not till 1872 that the subject seriously oc- 
cupied him again. A passage in a letter to Dr. Asa Gray, 
written in 1863 or 1864, shows, however, that the question 
was not altogether absent from his mind in the interim : — 

" Depend on it you are unjust on the merits of my beloved 
Drosera ; it is a wonderful plant, or rather a most sagacious 
animal. I will stick up for Drosera to the day of my death. 
Heaven knows whether I shall ever publish my pile of experi- 
ments on it." 

He notes in his diary that the last proof of the ' Expres- 
sion of the Emotions' was finished on August 22, 1872, and 
that he began to work on Drosera on the following day.] 

* This line of investigation made him wish for information on the ac- 
tion of poisons on plants ; as in many other cases he applied to Professor 
Oliver, and in reference to the result wrote to Hooker : " Pray thank Oli- 
ver heartily for his heap of references on poisons." 


C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

[Sevenoaks], October 22 [1872]. 
... I have worked pretty hard for four or five weeks on 
Drosera, and then broke down ; so that we took a house near 
Sevenoaks for three weeks (where I now am) to get complete 
rest. I have very little power of working now, and must put 
off the rest of the work on Drosera till next spring, as my 
plants are dying. It is an endless subject, and I must cut it 
short, and for this reason shall not do much on Dionaea. 
The point which has interested me most is tracing the nerves ! 
which follow the vascular bundles. By a prick with a sharp 
lancet at a certain point, I can paralyse one-half the leaf, so 
that a stimulus to the other half causes no movement. It is 
just like dividing the spinal marrow of a frog : — no stimulus 
can be sent from the brain or anterior part of the spine to the 
hind legs ; but if these latter are stimulated, they move by 
reflex action. I find my old results about the astonishing 
sensitiveness of the nervous system (! ?) of Drosera to various 
stimulants fully confirmed and extended. . . . 

[His work on digestion in Drosera and other points in 
the physiology of the plant soon led him into regions where 
his knowledge was defective, and here the advice and assistance 
which he received from Dr. Burdon Sanderson was of much 
value :] 

C. Darwin to J. Burdon Sanderson. 

Down, July 25, 1873. 

My dear Dr. Sanderson, — I should like to tell you a little 
about my recent work with Drosera, to show that I have 
profited by your suggestions, and to ask a question or two. 

1. It is really beautiful how quickly and well Drosera and 
Dionsea dissolve little cubes of albumen and gelatine. I kept 
the same sized cubes on wet moss for comparison. When 
you were here I forgot that I had tried gelatine, but albumen 
is far better for watching its dissolution and absorption. 
Frankland has told me how to test in a rough way for pep- 


sin ; and in the autumn he will discover what acid the digest- 
ive juice contains. 

2. A decoction of cabbage-leaves and green peas causes 
as much inflection as an infusion of raw meat ; a decoction 
of grass is less powerful. Though I hear that the chemists 
try to precipitate all albumen from the extract of belladonna, 
I think they must fail, as the extract causes inflection, whereas 
a new lot of atropine, as well as the valerianate [of atropine], 
produce no effect. 

3. I have been trying a good many experiments with 
heated water. . . . Should you not call the following case 
one of heat rigor ? Two leaves were heated to 130 , and had 
every tentacle closely inflected ; one was taken out and placed 
in cold water, and it re-expanded ; the other was heated to 
145°, and had not the least power of re-expansion. Is not 
this latter case heat rigor? If you can inform me, I should 
very much like to hear at what temperature cold-blooded and 
invertebrate animals are killed. 

4. I must tell you my final result, of which I am sure, [as 
to] the sensitiveness of Drosera. I made a solution of one 
part of phosphate of ammonia by weight to 218,750 of water; 
of this solution I gave so much that a leaf got 80 \ of a grain 
of the phosphate. I then counted the glands, and each could 
have got only ttswoo" °f a grain ; this being absorbed by the 
glands, sufficed to cause the tentacles bearing these glands to 
bend through an angle of 180 . Such sensitiveness requires 
hot weather, and carefully selected young yet mature leaves. 
It strikes me as a wonderful fact. I must add that I took 
every precaution, by trying numerous leaves at the same time 
in the solution and in the same water which was used for 
making the solution. 

5. If you can persuade your friend to try the effects of 
carbonate of ammonia on the aggregation of the white blood 
corpuscles, I should very much like to hear the result. 

I hope this letter will not have wearied you. 

Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 


C. Darwin to W. Thiselton Dyer. 

Down, 24 [December 1873 ?] 
My dear Mr. Dyer, — I fear that you will think me a 
great bore, but I cannot resist telling you that I have just 
found out that the leaves of Pinguicula possess a beautifully 
adapted power of movement. Last night I put on a row of 
little flies near one edge of two youngish leaves ; and after 14 
hours these edges are beautifully folded over so as to clasp 
the flies, thus bringing the glands into contact with the upper 
surfaces of the flies, and they are now secreting copiously 
above and below the flies and no doubt absorbing. The acid 
secretion has run down the channelled edge and has collected 
in the spoon-shaped extremity, where no doubt the glands 
are absorbing the delicious soup. The leaf on one side looks 
just like the helix of a human ear, if you were to stuff flies 

within the fold. Yours most sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to Asa Gray. 

Down, June 3 [1874]. 

.... I am now hard at work getting my book on Dro- 
sera & Co. ready for the printers, but it will take some time, 
for I am always finding out new points to observe. I think 
you will be interested by my observations on the digestive 
process in Drosera ; the secretion contains an acid of the 
acetic series, and some ferment closely analogous to, but not 
identical with, pepsin ; for I have been making a long series 
of comparative trials. No human being will believe what I 
shall publish about the smallness of the doses of phosphate 
of ammonia which act. 

.... I began reading the Madagascar squib * quite 
gravely, and when I found it stated that Felis and Bos in- 
habited Madagascar, I thought it was a false story, and did 
not perceive it was a hoax till I came to the woman. . . . 

* A description of a carnivorous plant supposed to subsist on human 


C. Darwin to F. C. Donders* 

Down, July 7, 1874. 

My deaji Professor Bonders, — My son George writes 
to me that he has seen you, and that you have been very 
kind to him, for which I return to you my cordial thanks. 
He tells me on your authority, of a fact which interests me 
in the highest degree, and which I much wish to be allowed 
to quote. It relates to the action of one millionth of a grain 
of atropine on the eye. Now will you be so kind, whenever 
you can find a little leisure, to tell me whether you yourself 
have observed this fact, or believe it on good authority. I 
also wish to know what proportion by weight the atropine 
bore to the water solution, and how much of the solution was 
applied to the eye. The reason why I am so anxious on 
this head is that it gives some support to certain facts repeat- 
edly observed by me with respect to the action of phosphate 
of ammonia on Drosera. The 40 ooo fo of a g ram absorbed 
by a gland clearly makes the tentacle which bears this gland 
become inflected ; and I am fully convinced that -g~o oVomor of 
a grain of the crystallised salt (i.e. containing about one-third 
of its weight of water of crystallisation) does the same. Now 
I am quite unhappy at the thought of having to publish such 
a statement. It will be of great value to me to be able to 
give any analogous facts in support. The case of Drosera is 
all the more interesting as the absorption of the salt or any 
other stimulant applied to the gland causes it to transmit a 
motor influence to the base of the tentacle which bears the 

Pray forgive me for troubling you, and do not trouble 
yourself to answer this until your health is fully re-estab- 

Pray believe me, 

Yours very sincerely, 
Charles Darwin. 

* Professor Donders, the well-known physiologist of Utrecht. 


[During the summer of 1874 he was at work on the genus 
Utricularia, and he wrote (July 16th) to Sir J. D. Hooker 
giving some account of the progress of his work : — 

" I am rather glad you have not been able to send Utricu- 
laria, for the common species has driven F. and me almost 
mad. The structure is most complex. The bladders catch 
a multitude of Entomostraca, and larvae of insects. The 
mechanism for capture is excellent. But there is much that 
we cannot understand. From what I have seen to-day, I 
strongly suspect that it is necrophagous, i.e. that it cannot 
digest, but absorbs decaying matter." 

He was indebted to Lady Dorothy Nevill for specimens of 
the curious Utricularia montana, which is not aquatic like the 
European species, but grows among the moss and debris on 
the branches of trees. To this species the following letter 
refers :] 

C. Darwin to Lady Dorothy Nevill. 

Down September 18 [1874]. 

Dear Lady Dorothy Nevill, — I am so much obliged 
to you. I was so convinced that the bladders were with the 
leaves that I never thought of removing the moss, and this 
was very stupid of me. The great solid bladder-like swell- 
ings almost on the surface are wonderful objects, but are not 
the true bladders. These I found on the roots near the sur- 
face, and down to a depth of two inches in the sand. They 
are as transparent as glass, from -^ to y^- of an inch in size, 
and hollow. They have all the important points of structure 
of the bladders of the floating English species, and I felt 
confident I should find captured prey. And so I have to my 
delight in two bladders, with clear proof that they had ab- 
sorbed food from the decaying mass. For Utricularia is a 
carrion-feeder, and not strictly carnivorous like Drosera. 

The great solid bladder-like bodies, I believe, are reser- 
voirs of water like a earners stomach. As soon as I have 
made a few more observations, I mean to be so cruel as to 
give your plant no water, and observe whether the great 



bladders shrink and contain air instead of water ; I shall 
then also wash all earth from all roots, and see whether there 
are true bladders for capturing subterranean insects down to 
the very bottom of the pot. Now shall you think me very 
greedy, if I say that supposing the species is not very pre- 
cious, and you have several, will you give me one more plant, 
and if so, please to send it to "Orpington Station, S. E. R., 
to be forwarded by foot messenger/' 

I have hardly ever enjoyed a day more in my life than I 
have this day's work ; and this I owe to your Ladyship's 
great kindness. 

The seeds are very curious monsters ; I fancy of some 

plant allied to Medicago, but I will show them to Dr. 


Your Ladyship's very gratefully, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker, 

Down, September 30, 1874. 
My dear H., — Your magnificent present of Aldrovanda 
has arrived quite safe. I have enjoyed greatly a good look 
at the shut leaves, one of which I cut open. It is an aquatic 
Dionsea, which has acquired some structures identical with 
those of Utricularia ! 

If the leaves open and I can transfer them open under 
the microscope, I will try some experiments, for mortal 
man cannot resist the temptation. If I cannot transfer, I 
will do nothing, for otherwise it would require hundreds of 

You are a good man to give me such pleasure. 

Yours affectionately, 

C. Darwin. 

[The manuscript of 'Insectivorous Plants' was finished 
in March 1875. He seems t0 nave been more than usually 
oppressed by the writing of this book, thus he wrote to Sir 
J. D. Hooker in February : — 


u You ask about my book, and all that I can say is that 
I am ready to commit suicide ; I thought it was decently 
written, but find so much wants rewriting, that it will not be 
ready to go to printers for two months, and will then make 
a confoundedly big book. Murray will say that it is no use 
publishing in the middle of summer, so I do not know what 
will be the upshot ; but I begin to think that every one who 
publishes a book is a fool. ,, 

The book was published on July 2nd, 1875, an d 2 7°° 
copies were sold out of the edition of 3000.] 



[The few sentences in the autobiographical chapter give 
with sufficient clearness the connection between the ' Power 
of Movement/ and one of the author's earlier books, that on 
1 Climbing Plants/ The central idea of the book is that the 
movements of plants in relation to light, gravitation, &c, are 
modifications of a spontaneous tendency to revolve or cir- 
cumnutate, which is widely inherent in the growing parts of 
plants. This conception has not been generally adopted, and 
has not taken a place among the canons of orthodox physi- 
ology. The book has been treated by Professor Sachs with 
a few words of professorial contempt ; and by Professor 
Wiesner it has been honoured by careful and generously ex- 
pressed criticism. 

Mr. Thiselton Dyer* has well said: " Whether this mas- 
terly conception of the unity of what has hitherto seemed a 
chaos of unrelated phenomena will be sustained, time alone 
will show. But no one can doubt the importance of what 
Mr. Darwin has done, in showing that for the future the phe- 
nomena of plant movement can and indeed must be stud- 
ied from a single point of view." 

The work was begun in the summer of 1877, after the 
publication of i Different Forms of Flowers/ and by the 
autumn his enthusiasm for the subject was thoroughly estab- 
lished, and he wrote to Mr. Dyer : " I am all on fire at the 
work." At this time he was studying the movements of 

* i 

Charles Darwin ' (' Nature ' Series), p. 41. 


cotyledons, in which the sleep of plants is to be observed in 
its simplest form ; in the following spring he was trying to 
discover what useful purpose these sleep-movements could 
serve, and wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker (March 25th, 1878) : — 

11 I think we have proved that the sleep of plants is to 
lessen the injury to the leaves from radiation. This has in- 
terested me much, and has cost us great labor, as it has been 
a problem since the time of Linnaeus. But we have killed or 
badly injured a multitude of plants : N. B. — Oxalis carnosa 
was most valuable, but last night was killed. ,> 

His letters of this period do not give any connected ac- 
count of the progress of the work. The two following are 
given as being characteristic of the author :] 

C. Darwin to W. Thiselton Dyer. 

Down, June 2, 1878. 

My dear Dyer, — I remember saying that I should die a 
disgraced man if I did not observe a seedling Cactus and 
Cycas, and you have saved me from this horrible fate, as they 
move splendidly and normally. But I have two questions to 
ask : the Cycas observed was a huge seed in a broad and very 
shallow pot with cocoa-nut fibre as I suppose. It was named 
only Cycas. Was it Cycas pectinata ? I suppose that I can- 
not be wrong in believing that what first appears above ground 
is a true leaf, for I can see no stem or axis. Lastly, you may 
remember that I said that we could not raise Opuntia nigri- 
cans ; now I must confess to a piece of stupidity ; one did 
come up, but my gardener and self stared at it, and concluded 
that it could not be a seedling Opuntia, but now that I have 
seen one of O. basilaris, I am sure it was ; I observed it only 
casually, and saw movements, which makes me wish to ob- 
serve carefully another. If you have any fruit, will Mr. 
Lynch * be so kind as to send one more ? 

I am working away like a slave at radicles [roots] and at 

* Mr. R. I. Lynch, now Curator of the Botanic Garden at Cambridge, 
was at this time in the Royal Gardens, Kew. 


movements of true leaves, for I have pretty well, done with 
cotyledons. . . . 

That was an excellent letter about the Gardens : * I had 
hoped that the agitation was over. Politicians are a poor 
truckling lot, for [they] must see the wretched effects of keep- 
ing the gardens open all day long. 

Your ever troublesome friend, 

Ch. Darwin. 

C. Darwin to W. Thiselton Dyer. 

m 4 Bryanston St., Portman Square, 

November 21 [1878]. 

My dear Dyer, — I must thank you for all the wonderful 
trouble which you have taken about the seeds of fmpatiens, 
and on scores of other occasions. It in truth makes me feel 
ashamed of myself, and I cannot help thinking : " Oh Lord, 
when he sees our book he will cry out, is this all for which I 
have helped so much ! " In seriousness, I hope that we have 
made out some points, but I fear that we have done very little 
for the labour which we have expended on our worl^ We are 
here for a week for a little rest, which I needed. 

If I remember right, November 30th, is the anniversary at 
the Royal, and I fear Sir Joseph must be almost at the last 
gasp. I shall be glad when he is no longer President. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

[In the spring of the following year, 1879, when he was 
engaged in putting his results together, he wrote somewhat 
despondingly to Mr. Dyer : " I am overwhelmed with my 
notes, and almost too old to undertake the job which I have 
in hand — />., movements of all kinds. Yet it is worse to be 

Later on in the year, when the work was approaching 

* This refers to an attempt to induce the Government to open the 
Royal Gardens at Kew in the morning. 


completion, he wrote to Prof. Carus (July 17, 1879), with re- 
spect to a translation : — 

" Together with my son Francis, I am preparing a rather 
large volume on the general movements of Plants, and I think 
that we have made out a good many new points and views. 

" I fear that our views will meet a good deal of opposition 
in Germany ; but we have been working very hard for some 
years at the subject. 

" I shall be much pleased if you think the book worth 
translating, and proof-sheets shall be sent you, whenever they 
are ready/' 

In the autumn he was hard at work on the manuscript, 
and wrote to Dr. Gray (October 24, 1879) : — 

" I have written a rather big book — more is the pity — on 
the movements of plants, and I am now just beginning to go 
over the MS. for the second time, which is a horrid bore." 

Only the concluding part of the next letter refers to the 
i Power of Movements ' :] 

C. Darwin to A. JDe Candolle. 

May 28, 1880. 
My dear Sir, — I am particularly obliged to you for hav- 
ing so kindly sent me your ' Phytographie ;' * for if I had 
merely seen it advertised, I should not have supposed that it 
could have concerned me. As it is, I have read with very 
great interest about a quarter, but will not delay longer 
thanking you. AH that you say seems to me very clear and 
convincing, and as in all your writings I find a large number 
of philosophical remarks new to me, and no doubt shall find 
many more. They have recalled many a puzzle through 
which I passed when monographing the Cirripedia ; and your 
book in those days would have been quite invaluable to me. 
It has pleased me to find that I have always followed your 

* A book on the methods of botanical research, more especially of sys- 
tematic work. 


plan of making notes on separate pieces of paper ; I keep 
several scores of large portfolios, arranged on very thin shelves 
about two inches apart, fastened to the walls of my study, 
and each shelf has its proper name or title ; and I can thus 
put at once every memorandum into its proper place. Your 
book will, I am sure, be very useful to many young students, 
and I shall beg my son Francis (who intends to devote him- 
self to the physiology of plants) to read it carefully. 

As for myself I am taking a fortnight's rest, after sending 
a pile of MS. to the printers, and it was a piece of good 
fortune that your book arrived as I was getting into my 
carriage, for I wanted something to read whilst away from 
home. My MS. relates to the movements of plants, and I 
think that I have succeeded in showing that all the more 
important great classes of movements are due to the modifi- 
cation of a kind of movement common to all parts of all 
plants from their earliest youth. 

Pray give my kind remembrances to your son, and with 
my highest respect and best thanks, 

Believe me, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

P.S. — It always pleases me to exalt plants in the organic 
scale, and if you will take the trouble to read my last chapter 
when my book (which will be sadly too big) is published and 
sent to you, I hope and think that you also will admire some 
of the beautiful adaptations by which seedling plants are 
enabled to perform their proper functions. 

[The book was published on November 6, 1880, and 1500 
copies were disposed of at Mr. Murray's sale. With regard 
to it he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (November 23) : — 

" Your note has pleased me much — for I did not expect 
that you would have had time to read any of it. Read the 
last chapter, and you will know the whole result, but without 
the evidence. The case, however, of radicles bending after 
exposure for an hour to geotropism, with their tips (or brains) 


cut off is, I think, worth your reading (bottom of p. 525) ; it 
astounded me. The next most remarkable fact, as it ap- 
peared to me (p. 148), is the discrimination of the tip of the 
radicle between a slightly harder and softer object affixed 
on opposite sides of tip. But I will bother you no more 
about my book. The sensitiveness of seedlings to light is 

To another friend, Mr. Thiselton Dyer, he wrote (Novem- 
ber 28, 1880) :— 

" Very many thanks for your most kind note, but you 
think too highly of our work, not but what this is very 
pleasant Many of the Germans are very contempt- 
uous about making out the use of organs ; but they may 
sneer the souls out of their bodies, and I for one shall think 
it the most interesting part of Natural History. Indeed you 
are greatly mistaken if you doubt for one moment on the very 
great value of your constant and most kind assistance to us." 

The book was widely reviewed, and excited much interest 
among the general public. The following letter refers to a 
leading article in the Times, November 20, 1880 :] 

C. Darwin to Mrs. Haliburton* 

Down, November 22, 1880. 
My dear Sarah, — You see how audaciously I begin; 
but I have always loved and shall ever love this name. Your 
letter has done more than please me, for its kindness has 
touched my heart. I often think of old days and of the 
delight of my visits to Woodhouse, and of the deep debt of 
gratitude which I owe to your father. It was very good of 
you to write. I had quite forgotten my old ambition about 
the Shrewsbury newspaper ; f but I remember the pride 

* Mrs. Haliburton was a daughter of my father's early friend, the late 
Mr. Owen, of Woodhouse. 

f Mrs. Haliburton had reminded him of his saying as a boy that if 
Eddowes' newspaper ever alluded to him as " our deserving fellow-towns- 
man," his ambition would be amply gratified. 



which I felt when I saw in a book about beetles the impres- 
sive words " captured by C. Darwin." Captured sounded so 
grand compared with caught. This seemed to me glory 
enough for any man ! I do not know in the least what made 
the Times glorify me,* for it has sometimes pitched into me 

I should very much like to see you again, but you would 
find a visit here very dull, for we feel very old and have no 
amusement, and lead a solitary life. But we intend in a few 
weeks to spend a few days in London, and then if you have 
anything else to do in London, you would perhaps come and 
lunch with us. \ 

Believe me, my dear Sarah, 

Yours gratefully and affectionately, 

Charles Darwin. 

[The following letter was called forth by the publication 
of a volume devoted to the criticism of the ' Power of 
Movement in Plants ' by an accomplished botanist, Dr. Julius 
Wiesner, Professor of Botany in the University of Vienna :] 

C. Darwin to Julius Wiesner. 

Down, October 25th, 1881. 

My dear Sir, — I have now finished your book, J and have 
understood the whole except a very few passages. In the 
first place, let me thank you cordially for the manner in which 
you have everywhere treated me. You have shown how a 
man may differ from another in the most decided manner, 
and yet express his difference with the most perfect courtesy. 
Not a few English and German naturalists might learn a 
useful lesson from your example; for the coarse language 

* The following is the opening sentence of the leading article : — " Of 
all our living men of science none have laboured longer and to more splen- 
did purpose than Mr. Darwin." 

f My father had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Haliburton at his brother's 
house in Queen Anne Street. 

% ' Das Bewegungsvermogen der Pflanzen/ Vienna, 188 1. 


often used by scientific men towards each other does no good, 
and only degrades science. 

I have been profoundly interested by your book, and some 
of your experiments are so beautiful, that I actually felt 
pleasure while being vivisected. It would take up too much 
space to discuss all the important topics in your book. I fear 
that you have quite upset the interpretation which I have 
given of the effects of cutting off the tips of horizontally 
extended roots, and of those laterally exposed to moisture ; 
but I cannot persuade myself that the horizontal position of 
lateral branches and roots is due simply to their lessened 
power of growth. Nor when I think of my experiments with 
the cotyledons of Phalaris, can I give up the belief of the 
transmission of some stimulus due to light from the upper 
to the lower part. At p. 60 you have misunderstood my 
meaning, when you say that I believe that the effects from 
light are transmitted to a part which is not itself heliotropic. 
I never considered whether or not the short part beneath the 
ground was heliotropic ; but I believe that with young seed- 
lings the part which bends near, but above the ground is 
heliotropic, and I believe so from this part bending only 
moderately when the light is oblique, and bending rectan- 
gularly when the light is horizontal. Nevertheless the bend- 
ing of this lower part, as I conclude from my experiments 
with opaque caps, is influenced by the action of light on the 
upper part. My opinion, however, on the above and many 
other points, signifies very little, for I have no doubt that 
your book will convince most botanists that I am wrong in all 
the points on which we differ. 

Independently of the question of transmission, my mind is 
so full of facts leading me to believe that light, gravity, &c., 
act not in a direct manner on growth, but as stimuli, that I 
am quite unable to modify my judgment on this head. I 
could not understand the passage at p. 78, until I consulted 
my son George, who is a mathematician. He supposes that 
your objection is founded on the diffused light from the lamp 
illuminating both sides of the object, and not being reduced,